Sunday, March 30, 2008

A double-shot weekend!

Van Gogh, The Poet's Garden, October 1888.

Hey, if classic rock stations can play two Zeppelin or Floyd tracks on Saturdays and Sundays, we can certainly celebrate two birthdays chez Randal. So, friends, Romans, Frenchmen -- and Dutch -- lend me your ears.

Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week. Enjoy the cake.

And try not to shoot anyone. Read them some verse instead.

Mon rêve familier*

Je fais souvent ce rêve étrange et pénétrant
D'une femme inconnue, et que j'aime, et qui m'aime,
Et qui n'est, chaque fois, ni tout à fait la même
Ni tout à fait une autre, et m'aime et me comprend.

Car elle me comprend, et mon coeur, transparent
Pour elle seule, hélas! cesse d'être un problème
Pour elle seule, et les moiteurs de mon front blême,
Elle seule les sait rafraîchir, en pleurant.

Est-elle brune, blonde ou rousse?—Je l'ignore.
Son nom? Je me souviens qu'il est doux et sonore,
Comme ceux des aimés que la Vie exila.

Son regard est pareil au regard des statues,
Et, pour sa voix, lointaine, et calme, et grave; elle a
L'inflexion des voix chères qui se sont tues.

*Paul Verlaine, Poèmes Saturniens

Saturday, March 29, 2008


A nice Washington Post write-up about the land of the Cathars as she is now, via The French Journal. I certainly wouldn't mind escaping this tarnished city on a hill for awhile to write and explore amidst the long shadows of that history. If old stuff fires up your inner geek, and you're stuck here as well, then I can heartily recommend books such as these to get your imaginary journey out of the house and onto the road.

Friday, March 28, 2008

"We're just tryin' to accomplish what we're tryin' to do."

"Hit this, sucker."

Sorry to recycle those famous words -- well, famous among the two or three of us Cleveland-area baseball fans that actually remember Jim Thome saying them -- but they haven't rung this true in a long time. Falling one game short of the World Series means the team with the worst logo in professional sports is pretty damn close -- especially without any major losses -- to accomplishing something of merit. Like, oh, I don't know, WINNING A FUCKING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP OF ANY KIND FOR CLEVELAND FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1964. But I'm not bitter and harbor no animosity towards The Red Sux Nation nor The Fucking Yankees for outspending everyone on an annual basis thereby increasing their opportunities because, hey, that's the American way, isn't it. An actual salary cap would be socialistic and Stalinistic and would only lead to premarital intercourse, rampant wide stancing and the ingestion of illegal substances while zoning out to Grateful Dead albums. But enough about the fucked-up economics of the sport and onto the stuff that stirs the competitive soul, the action on the diamond.

AL East: Sure, Grade A wingnut Curt Schilling is hurt and Josh Beckett has a wonky back, but Boston can still smack the ball and probably has the deepest staff in baseball. The Fucking Yankees have seen some young talent blossom (Robinson Cano, Gnats-Frighten-Me Chamberlain) and have the capacity to take on monster contracts while scoring more than [insert disgraced politician joke of your choice], but there's some wear and tear in the field and especially on the mound. But not on the Clutchiest Shortstop of Clutchdom, the World's Only Living Superhero, by gosh! Toronto is quietly accumulating some skill and with some breaks (such as the bones of the above clubs) could push for a playoff spot. Tampa Bay and Baltimore merely suck in varying degrees, and once all that top-shelf youth begins to earn their paychecks -- which might start happening in Tampa this year -- they'll be leaving for greener pastures anyway. En plus, fuck you Floridians for getting rid of 'devil.' Wankers.

AL Central: Let's get the scrubs out of the way. Hard to believe that the Royals were at one time the poster child for professional expansion teams way back in the 1970s, when such teams received no perks of pity. They did it the old fashioned way -- they ehhhhned it. (It just isn't the same without audio. Oh well.) Anyway, despite young and talented dudes like Alex Gordon and Billy Butler, they will continue their recent trend towards the pleasantly bad. At least Gil Meche sort of deserved his ridiculous contract last year. I really thought his ERA would be above five. Good job! The Twins? Well, they resigned Joe Nathan. They'll be 'scrappy' once again and finish under .500. The White Sox are only a few years removed from a world championship, and they can still clobber the ball, but good luck with those starters. I suggest kidnapping and/or human sacrifice. Which leaves us and Detroit. On paper, they have the better lineup and we have the better staff, though I certainly worry about C.C. and Fausto staying fresh after last season's marathon. The Tigers are currently infected with a rash of injuries and that might be prove to be just enough difference to give us the edge, but flip a coin.

AL West: The Los Angeles Angels of Walt Disney's Anti-Semitic Corpse of Anaheim will repeat, but barely. I know the Mariners are a chic pick, but they didn't add a reconstituted Ken Griffey or Edgar Martinez to the lineup, were outscored last year despite their 88 wins, and unless Felix Hernandez and Erik Bedard turn into the second coming of Jim Palmer and Mike Cuellar, forget it. That's all assuming another Angel starter doesn't get hurt. Oakland is retooling on the fly once again and will play this season's version of September spoiler. And then there's Chimpy's old team and its joke of a staff. But please, Ian Kinsler, hit 30+ for my fantasy team, thanks.

NL East: The NY Mets are not my favorite squadron, and they have been bitten by the injury insect as well, but they did add the best pitcher on Planet Earth and there's simply no way they can top last year's masterpiece of chokery. Philadelphia has a top-flight lineup and Cole Hamels and Atlanta has quietly added some pop since abdicating their near-birthright to the divisional throne, but will either one have enough to hold off the Mets? Florida traded a bunch of their best players for the 85th year in a row -- hard to blame them when three people come to the game, but did you really have to trade Cabrera to the Tigers? -- and the Senators simply aren't very good. Now about Washington's baseball team. Admit it. You chuckled.

NL Central: You know the second Kerry Wood blows a save, some fucker will ramble on about that goddamn curse. Shut the fuck up already because it doesn't matter. Why? The Cubs are the best all-around team in the division again and curses only work in literature and film. I'd love to see a fellow, brat-eating Midwestern city get in, but the Brewers don't have enough pitching and you know Ben Sheets will get hurt like he does every year. You can set your watch to it. Each season has a sleeper, and what the hell, I say it's Cincinnati. The Reds, like the DEVIL Rays, have some nice young talent, but aren't quite ready at the moment. Boy, did the Cardinals get crappy quick, but when you drink the bitter bromide of age, ineffectiveness and injury, that's what happens. The Pirates will likely float below .500, but their staff isn't as bad as you think. Matt Morris, Paul Maholm and Zach Duke can't be that bad again, can they? And then there's the Astros, wasting the arm of Roy Oswalt and a solid lineup. But man, the rest of those pitchers. Must be something in the Texas water.

NL West: The Dodgers have a quality staff, a monster, if aging, closer, and young dude James Loney will be crushing the ball with gusto. Funny how I don't hate Joe Torre anymore now that he's not wearing pinstripes. San Diego had the best 1-2 punch in baseball in Jake Peavy and Chris Young, and don't be surprised if the latter continues to get better as his ERA and WHIP have improved three years running. They don't brutalize the ball, but their babyfaced lineup will score just enough -- barely -- though I wonder how many quality starts 752-year old Greg Maddux can give them. A hell of a run by Colorado, but does anyone really see that happening again? They have enough talent to do so. Arizona added Dan Haren to an already excellent staff, but lest we forget, they, like Seattle, were outscored last year, so don't put on your shuffleboard shoes yet, retirees. Holy hell, the Giants might have the worst everyday lineup in the history of the known universe. One hundred losses is a possibility. I could see poor Matt Cain impersonating Nolan Ryan circa 1987: leading the league in ERA and going 8-16.

AL wild card: Just wouldn't be an American League postseason without The Fucking Yankees, would it? Why, yes it would because Detroit, not The Fucking Yankees, will be the fourth playoff team in the American League. Of course Alex Rodriguez will get blamed. Duh.

NL wild card: The *rolls die* Padres edge the Phillies, Brewers, Rockies, Braves and Diamondbacks.

ALCS: Boston over Cleveland. Again. Sigh.

NLCS: The Non-Evil team from New York over The Ghost of Harry Caray.
Holy cow!

World Series: Yes, they'll repeat. Boston over The Non-Evil team from New York. Get ready for rehashes of Buckner and cokeheads a' plenty.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Invasion of the body snatchers

Sure, the temperature is still a bit cool in Northeast Ohio, but I couldn't place why I began to shudder so, such bodily tectonics strangely allied with a hint of a piquant, vomity feeling climbing up the throat. Arriving at work, I immediately hung ten on the internets to find out if there was some heretofore underreported strain of the avian flu making the rounds.

It was something much, much worse.

President Bush is offering a fresh assessment of progress on political, security and economic fronts in Iraq as he weighs a decision on troop levels.

The president planned to use the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, as the backdrop for his address.
Take it easy, Hangar 18 and put away your ray guns. You want fresh assessments? You got 'em, and just dig that rhythm!
The U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad also gave an upbeat assessment.

"Iraqi operations in Basra also reflect the growing ability of the Iraqi security forces, Iraqi decision-making and Iraqi leadership," said Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner. He said that the operation wasn't against the Mahdi Army, only against outlaws who didn't honor Sadr's freeze.

Rikabi similarly said that the Iraqi government isn't targeting any political group or party, only "outlaws, the gangs and the murderers."

The situation on the ground suggested otherwise.
Hey, Captain Doom and Gloom, take some pills for your BDS. There'll soon be a new sheriff in town and at the end of his six-shooter is incontrovertible proof that when Al Qaeda blows shit up, you damn well better believe we won't need to stay forever because the Iraqis have things in hand and they can keep their oil because we sure don't want it.

Confused? Don't be! Come January 20, 2009, this twisted intrigue will be given crisp, reinvigorating clarity! Take a whiff. Damn right it's that just-out-of-the-showroom new car smell!

"I don't care what anyone says, but I did stay on the Straight Talk Express last night."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Use Your Carbonation

"To answer your question, no, I don't know if they drink soda in China. But they really hate democracy. See, I'm clever, motherfucker!"

Oh, Dr. Pepper, save us, please won't you save us, from our long national nightmare. Yes, I'm trying to avoid doing a political post. It's that obvious, huh.

Bitter? Sweet as sugar.

Hot damn, kids, few things are finer than drowning in anticipation for a new album -- six long years in this case if you count a soundtrack release, and I do -- having that album arrive and, most importantly, having that album more than satisfy said anticipation. The sultry-voiced Jill Tracy, last heard here, is back with her new long player, The Bittersweet Constrain, and it's as wonderfully dark and mischievous and mesmerizing as I had hoped, the perfect spell to make one forget, even if just for a moment, about superdelegates and crumbling ice shelves.

Her piano still dominates proceedings the way a lover dominates -- oops, that's another story for another time -- but her backing band, The Malcontent Orchestra, has upped the propulsive thrust of the musical backbone in comparison to her debut, Diabolical Streak, leaving the strings to accent the proceedings and bringing to the fore the cornucopia of percussion heard on Into the Land of Phantoms, the aforementioned instrumental soundtrack to F. W. Murnau's silent horror classic Nosferatu, thus luring the songs with an amorous kiss out of a turn-of-the-century cabaret and its table of forlorn green fairies and through the fog for a rendez-vous in a smoky, noirish jazz club caught in the dark cloak of a nearby hotel that's seen and heard everything under the moon.

The lyrics still spin twilight tales of spurned love, untimely ends and thoughts lost in the shadows, slowly creeping unseen and meaning to not merely embrace, but drag us down into those oh-so-wrong exalted states. Go on, wear the masque of shock at their devious plan, but do you really want to fight it? Thought not. I suppose that I could name some 'highlights' -- the hypnotic languor of lead track Haunted by the Thought of You, the sinister longing of Sell My Soul, the sordid delicacy of Room 19, the seductively sardonic Torture -- but I've always been an album guy, so sitting down with nary a weak track and sleepwalking in daydream through all sixty-one minutes is the only way to listen. What a bloody good record. I need a smoke.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

[Crappy Blog® posting template 1.0]

[roll d10 for subject]

1. Machinations of Bush administration and/or the Republican horde [roll additional d10 for specifics: 1. lying; 2. cheating; 3. stealing; 4. wide stancing; 5. hypocrisy; 6. apocalyptico-John Hagee-ism; 7. diaper wearing; 8. pillaging; 9. bombing; 10. Bush malapropism]

2. Music

3. Poetry

4. Sports [roll d10 for particular sport: 1. football; 2. basketball; 3. baseball; 4. hockey; 5. soccer; 6. lawn darts; 7. rock/paper/scissors; 8. synchronized swimming; 9. Bocce ball; 10. three card monte]

5. Wikipedia birthday search

6. Democrats [flip a coin to determine fortitude/wimpery status]

7. Writing

8. Goofy album covers [scan if necessary]

9. Potpourri

10. Reroll

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Fine Art of Poisoning

Music by Jill Tracy, directed by Bill Domonkos.

I wanted to go with something Easter-themed, and what's more topical than poisoning by arsenic chocolate? Enjoy your weekend, Jesusheads -- no, not you of the fundie variety, you can go Cheney yourselves -- and secularists. Don't stay in bed too long and while you're out visiting grandma, be careful parking.

And watch out for exploding stars. It's bad enough gas prices are blowing up.
"Unka Dick, we should get one of those. Kill a lotta turrists, heh, heh."
"Grr, grr, GRR, G-R-R!"

As for me, I'll be in the middle of an all-day ritual to appease Cthulhu so he'll eat me last. Now where did I put those virgins....

Friday, March 21, 2008

I have some horrible, bone-chilling news!

"No reunion for you!"

Unsurprising, but horrible and bone-chilling nonetheless.

Happy 323rd, you crazy German dude

His music is so perfect, even your simple, primitive thoughts will be contrapuntal after you've listened to it. Hell, after one mere spin of the Art of Fugue, my IQ finally cracked triple digits. And everyone should have a copy of this. Depressed? Angry at having your passport files rummaged through? You'll feel fucking groovy afterwards, even if it's a tenebrous groovy. Trust me. After all, it was just imprudent curiosity, and who hasn't fallen prey to that?

Still ungroovy? Then you're more of a misanthrope than I am. Kudos.
Here's the lovingly sad andante from his violin concerto in A minor.

It's nigh impossible to express pure feeling, the things that move us to not merely exist, but to create, to live, but Bach came pretty goddamn close, no?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Workin' for NCAA

Kent State guard and MAC Player of the Year, Al Fisher.

Believe me, I really wanted to pull the trigger on a Kent State upset over Kansas, but I just can't see it. Then again, the Jayhakws have historically choked in the tournament, at least in recent years under Roy Williams, who will probably win his second title since moving to the land of tobacco. Anyway, here's what might possibly maybe sort of could happen. Just don't use these picks as the basis of any kind of wager involving goods, services or cash:

East final: North Carolina(1) over Louisville(3).
Midwest final: Georgetown(2) over Kansas(1).
South final: Texas(2) over Michigan State(5).
West final: UCLA(1) over Xavier(3). (fuck you, Duke!)

Final Four: North Carolina over UCLA.

It appears that I'm not going out on much of a limb, save for the early ouster of Memphis -- hey, some powerhouse has to turn turnovers and cold shooting into a second-round loss, right? -- but consider that in the last ten tournaments, twenty of the eighty participants in a regional final were seeded lower than fourth -- that's 25%, kids -- meaning at least two grotesque surprises should rear their ugly heads this year based on recent trends. Of course, there weren't any last year and only one in 2006 (George Mason). On the other hand, fifth-seeded Indiana made the title game in 2002, as did fifth-seeded Florida in 2000, which was quite the wacky year as five of the eight teams were sub-four seeds. Something else happened that year, but I can't exactly remember. Oh well, probably nothing important. As I said, don't place any bets using the information contained in this post. Watch O.J. Mayo and USC win the damn thing.

Go Golden Flashes!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A political post? Oh, what the hell.

If this isn't proof that our Grand Clusterfuck was worth it, I don't know what is.

Not all anniversary assessments were as upbeat as Bush's. A Washington Post-ABC News poll showed nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the war was not worth waging.

Told about the poll result in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America," Vice President Dick Cheney, in Oman after a visit to Iraq, said: "So?"

Awesome! Totally awesome! All right, Cheney!

Nature still breathes

Bands toss out EPs between albums for various reasons: to stay in the spotlight with a brand new song, usually paired with some poorly-recorded, studio-enhanced live tracks; a tantalizing prelude of the next platter; fragmented, discarded leftovers to placate the rabid completists, of which I'm stupidly proud to count myself as a member for many acts. With Portland, Oregon folk-metallers Agalloch, it's none of the above, certainly not with their 'brand new' EP, The White. Sort of a companion piece to 2004's The Grey and its noisecape reworkings of tracks off their beyond brilliant 2002 album, The Mantle, the band has released seven mellow, melancholy, (mostly) instrumental tracks recorded in the last few years that wouldn't have sounded out of place on said long player, fit comfortably within their oeuvre and rank among their finest compositions.

Opening with a clip from The Wicker Man, a movie making additional appearances in the final two tracks as well, The Isle of Summer begins proceedings with a haunting acoustic guitar that recalls nothing but verdant leaves fluttering like ribbons in a warm, lilting August breeze, with a short, single fuzzed-out electric enhancing this late exhalation of the season. Twilight begins to arrive with Birch Black, along with a rippling electric/acoustic mix and percussion buried underneath. A sad, gentle, nearly wordless solitary voice echoes in the soundscape of Hollow Stone, a vague hymn to the panorama before us. The murmurs of the flora and fauna and a crisp, rock-strewn stream calls forth the world of the Pantheist, the EPs physical and thematic centerpiece, intertwining lines of guitar, both metallic and unplugged, a veil of drums, the notes wandering as a body and mind purposely lost in the wonders of creation, soon joined, for a moment, by a defiantly sad voice. Now, the rays of dawn, and the uptempo, accordion-accented neo-folk of Birch White, layered below the verse of English poet A. S. J. Tessimond:

The birch tree in winter
Leaning over the secret pool
Is Narcissus in love
With the slight white branches,
The slim trunk,
In the dark glass;
Spring coming on,
Is afraid,
And scarfs the white limbs
In green.

The call of birds, swathed in that green, are the final notes heard before the plaintive guitar and piano of Sowilo Rune, whose whispered vocals and swirling synths conjure up the world of the ethereal, of the magical, all brought back home to the oncoming change with the piano of Summerisle - Reprise, whose notes are that inexplicable alchemy of the happy and the sad, of life and death, the ouroboros of existence that we're all fated to endure.

Sure, these guys take years between churning out full-lengths, but the wait is always worth it. And unsurprisingly, given the craftsmanship of the band, the same goes for 'stopgap' releases like The White, a wonderful collection of songs that explore yet one more shade of the band's deep-rooted interest in the stormy, yet fragile natural world that surrounds us. A request: don't take another four years until the next album, gents. Three will be just fine.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Song

Actually, it's Jerry Cantrell's song and it's also his birthday, shared with French poet Stéphane Mallarmé. Yes, the poem below is his and not mine, évidemment. Bonne anniversaire, vous artistes que j'aime.

La chevelure vol d'une flamme à l'extrême
Occident de désirs pour la tout déployer
Se pose (je dirais mourir un diadème)
Vers le front couronné son ancien foyer

Mais sans or soupirer que cette vive nue
L'ignition du feu toujours intérieur
Originellement la seule continue
Dans le joyau de l'oeil véridique ou rieur

Une nudité de héros tendre diffame
Celle qui ne mouvant astre ni feux au doigt
Rien qu'à simplifier avec gloire la femme
Accomplit par son chef fulgurante l'exploit

De semer de rubis le doute qu'elle écorche
Ainsi qu'une joyeuse et tutélaire torche.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Boozehound on my trail

"Randal, you look so fine today. Of course I'm wearing my beer goggles, why do you ask?"

I've nothing against the drink, but man, am I fucking glad I'm not at work today so I don't have to deal with the inevitable invasion of drunken, hooky-playing idiots buzzing like bloodthirsty, brain-damaged flies around the tightly coiled feces serpent that is the St. Patrick's Day parade meandering through downtown Cleveland.

"Dude! Where's the fucking bathroom!"
"Your pants, apparently."

Oh, and don't fall in the giant crater, morons.

"Dude, that's the biggest tap I've ever seen!"

At least the little kids don't get plastered, then annoying.
They're merely there to see shiny, floaty things of green.

Let us close on a classy note, with some poetry.
Edgar, take it away.

Lines on ale

Fill with mingled cream and amber
I will drain that glass again.
Such hilarious visions clamber
Through the chamber of my brain -
Quaintest thoughts - queerest fancies
Come to life and fade away;
What care I how time advances?
I am drinking ale today.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Fashionable Male

"Of course I'm a slob, ya bastard!"

Mathman and DCup have invented a meme associated with something near and dear to my heart: the t-shirt. Why dress up when you can dress down like a bum, I always say. Hey, if clothes made the man, then evil rich fuckers preening in their sartorial Armanis would be the bestest men ever.

I must also concur with his observation that we're seeing more kids wearing AC/DC shirts now than back in their late 70s/early 80s heyday. Zeppelin, too. Normally it would bring a tear to this bastard's eye if the young people were indeed jonesing for heavy duty power chording, but alas, I fear perhaps it's merely an infection of snarky indie rock-itis. I hate kids, so I don't feel like asking them.

But I'll be damned if I tell you guys what's in my closet. The feds might be watching. I mean, it's just full of shirts, man, I swear. No, that suit isn't mine, I don't know how it got there.

The rockin' rules:

1. Link back to the original post.
2. Describe two t-shirts that you own.
3. If you design your own vanity t-shirt what would it say?
4. Where would you wear your vanity t-shirt?
5. Tag three of your best blogging buds.

Le premier t-shirt:

Because they rule, fuckers.

Le deuxième t-shirt:

Damn right I'm proud to be an alumnus of such a prestigious institution.

No, I don't have gills, stop staring, dammit.

There's not much to describe aside from the above photos. The top shirt is black, the bottom one is a dark green. They've held up well through repeated washings, so the stitching seems to be top notch, an important factor when one browses for such a wardrobe cornerstone.

As for my own vanity t-shirt, perhaps something like this:

Since there's no vulgarity -- or anything -- I can wear it anywhere, even work. I suppose I could try and come up with something clever, but that would require thinking on a Sunday morning and later on lead to people trying to converse with me when I wasn't wearing headphones, and why the hell would I want that?

Becca, FranIAm, Function of Time, consider yourself tagged.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Beware the Zips of March

"Oh, hey there Mister, uh, Brown Shoes! How about that local sports team, hmm?"

Yes, Monty, how about them.

Since Obama apparently decided to not leave some Technicolor rainbow jumpshots or sports-minded Care Bears behind after the debate back in February, my hometown Cleveland State Vikings proceeded to lose the Horizon conference title game on Tuesday. Goddamn fucking David Robinson. Oh, sorry, I was having flashbacks of 1986.

But I'm presented with a nice consolation prize, today's MAC title tilt between my almost-alma mater University of Akron Zips and the Kent State Golden Flashes. Hopefully, one of these teams can at least duplicate what Kent State did in 2002. Or better yet, what George Mason did in 2006. Or even better, this.

Needless to say, the Buckeyes, sans current NBAers Greg Oden and Mike Conley, will not be returning to the NCAA-keeps-all-the-profit-so-eat-it-'student-athletes' tournament.

My question to you, loyal 1.3 readers, is whom will you be cheering for once the big show begins? I need to start compiling my list of whom I should be rooting against. Ha, I say, ha. Don't worry, Fairlane, I've already written Louisville down. Better hope they don't meet up with Pittsburgh along the way.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Worst. Meme. Ever?

"No, don't play that!"

How could a man such as Splotchy, who, once upon a time, had created this wonderful meme whereby us goofy denizens of the internets each added his or her own personalized piece to a living, breathing cultural puzzle of laughter and violence and joy and outright weirdness, come up with this bloody thing?

I must admit that my soul is torn over this particular instance of taggery. On the one hand, a meme provides an avenue of escape, especially on days like today where I don't feel very political and would rather finish working on some poems -- only during lunch hour, of course, most gracious and forgiving employment overlords -- than post about why Bush and his neocon puppeteers suck vast, unending fields of toxic bullshit.

They do, in case you were at all curious.

And on the other, well, The Name Game was obviously an insidious communist plot to indoctrinate American youth so that when they grew up into fine, patriotic astronauts, they'd travel in their Apollo: The Next Generation spacecraft and land on the moon, whereby a double-secret, special ops branch of the KGB would activate their diabolical gamma ray signal, making the astrodudes and astrochicks slice their near-zero gravity golf shots, an embarrassing international incident of the first rank. En plus, it's one of those musical and lyrical combinations that no matter how much one loathes it, there's an inherent catchiness that's unavoidable, that sticks in your craw until you wash it out with some rock, roll or Drano.

Oh, Splotchy claims it'll save the lives of innocent puppies, but I think that's merely a front to hide his love of that evil Cold War relic. Now, the pain.

La Belette Rouge, La Belette Rouge, Ba-Belette Rouge,
Banana-fana fo-felette Rouge,
Fee-fi-mo-melette Rouge,
La Belette Rouge!

Marjorie, Marjorie, bo-barjorie,
Banana-fana fo-farjorie,

Mathman, Mathman, bo-bathman,
Banana-fana fo-fathman,

Susan, Susan, bo-busman,
Banana-fana fo-fusman,

Mary Ellen, Mary Ellen, bo-barry Ellen,
Banana-fana fo-farry Ellen,
Fee-fi-mo-Mary Ellen,
Mary Ellen! (all of you Ms are fucking things up! good!)

Je m'excuse, mes amis.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Heir Apparent

No, nothing to do with our next king, but some new, as-yet-unreleased, Opeth.

As an aside, I recommend
taking a day off, unplugging,
just mellowing out and pretend
political idiocy
and the daily variety
are each a fabricated thing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran

"I'm outta here. Good luck, suckers, you're gonna need it."

"Good memoirs. Good, not great."

"Hello, Mr. Bush!"

What does George Herbert Walker Bush have to do with this post? Outside of the title, nothing. Anyway, The Invisible Woman ruthlessly tagged her entire blogroll with the 'memoir meme' currently stalking the electrons, and if you saw what picture she had accompanying her post, well, I'd be quite the fool to not post my own version. I'll be damned if I end up becoming a corpse at my youthful age because of misguided hubris.

The rules, suckers:
1. Write your own six word memoir.
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.
3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post.
4. Tag five more blogs with links.
5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

La vie intérieure est mon sanctuaire.

Everyone is tagged since half of my blogroll has probably done this or will be doing it or will have said 'fuck off, good sir or madame, I will not.' Thus, the whole of the law shall be, do what thou wilt.

Monday, March 10, 2008

"I'm a white male age eighteen to forty-nine fifty-nine, everyone listens to me!"

Instead of coming up with my own introduction to the predictions below, I humbly suggest you check out Anthony Cartouche's write-up for a much more detailed and interesting explanation. But for now, the lazy man version:

A local classic rock station has started announcing the inductees to their own 'rock hall' -- The Hall of Fame of the People, dammit! -- voted on by the hard-workin', middle-aged, blue-collar listeners of Northeast Ohio, all with the chance to win a Wii, which is what all hard-workin', middle-aged, blue-collar listeners want. Gotta do something while jamming to The Wall, no?

The inductees so far:
1. Led Zeppelin
2. The Beatles
3. Pink Floyd
4. The Rolling Stones
5. Eric Clapton

My predictions:
6. AC/DC
7. The Who
8. Boston
9. Van Halen
10. ZZ Top

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Breaking the Law?

Security camera footage of Republican operatives looting the U.S. Treasury.

Crossing over isn't just for Texas.

A staggering 16,000-plus Republicans in Cuyahoga County switched parties when they voted in last week's primary.

That includes 931 in Rocky River, 1,027 in Westlake and 1,142 in Strongsville. More than a third of the Republicans in Solon and Bay Village switched. Pepper Pike had the most dramatic change: just under half of its Republicans became Democrats. And some of those who changed - it's difficult to say how many - could be in trouble with the law.

At least one member of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections wants to investigate some Republicans who may have crossed party lines only to influence which Democrat would face John McCain in November.

Anyone who crossed lines was supposed to sign a pledge card vowing allegiance to their new party. In Cuyahoga County, dozens and dozens of Republicans scribbled addendums onto their pledges as new Democrats.
So, is it indeed illegal?
Lying on the pledge is a felony, punishable by six to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Election watchers said they don't know any cases that have been prosecuted in Ohio. And it's unlikely the Republican crossovers influenced the outcome since Clinton handily defeated Obama, said Edward Foley, an election-law professor at Ohio State University.

But he said Ohioans need to learn the rules governing their voting - and poll workers need to enforce them.

In a nutshell, here how it's supposed to work: Ohio voters are allowed to switch party affiliations on the day of a primary election but only if they sign a pledge vowing to support their new party - and mean it.

If a majority of poll workers at a precinct doubt a voter's sincerity, they can challenge the voter even if the voter signed the pledge.

In the days following the election, The Plain Dealer interviewed more than two dozen voters - most of them Republicans who crossed over to Democrats last week.

None - including five who acknowledged lying about supporting the Democrats - were challenged. And several said poll workers never asked them to sign a pledge, but gave them a Democratic ticket.
Fine, technically it's illegal if you don't follow through on the pledge, but then again, I'm not big on loyalty oaths. What this strikes me as most is one more flaw in our limiting, two-party system. Among the legion of Limbaugh Automatons I'm sure a few switched out of truly wishing to do so. Yes, the number of such creatures is probably small, but are we then to lock someone into voting for the subsequent nominee? I can't read minds, can you?

According to the Plain Dealer, there are 249,742 registered Democrats in Cuyahoga county, 84,713 Republicans and 729,542 independents. That's over two-thirds not affiliated with one of the two major political parties.

Is crossing over a devious practice? Probably. But our system is devious, and until we get a new one -- I put the over/under on that at ten centuries assuming the cockroaches haven't usurped our rule by then -- we're pretty much stuck with this solution: Obama/Hillary/partisan followers/DNC/everyone else, start attacking the real enemy with a continuous gusto, the guy who'll continue to support the legalization of immoral behavior such as this. Remember, he's beefy, thus tough to beat.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Friday, March 7, 2008

Hell hath no fury like a meme scorned

Screaming up from the bloodstained abyss, conceived in a cavern of burning sulfur, the floor strewn with failed alchemical experiments and the bones of the sinful dead, comes another one of those diabolical memes whose only purpose is to strike with pain and terror at our pitiful mortal realm, this time thrown with demonic accuracy by Marjorie, who's not even in the same ballpark as evil (that I know of), but I needed to riff on something for this introductory paragraph and you did mention black metal in your post, even if just in passing. Anyway, the rules:

List 7 random things about yourself that people may not know.

Link the person who sent this to you, and leave a comment on their blog so that their readers can visit yours.

Post the rules on your blog.

Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, linking their blog. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Seven more completely uninteresting facts about yours truly:

1. Old Van Halen may have been my official entry into the exciting world of crushing power chords, but my first experience with anything remotely rocking was probably Tenderly, performed by Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, on my vinyl copy of The Muppet Show when I was a wee lad way back in the late 70s.

2. I love Cadbury eggs and Totino's pizza rolls, but not at the same time.

3. I do not love liver.

Is it that obvious I'm straining for stuff?

4. When I was a slightly older wee lad, I wanted to be an F-14 pilot, and I spent all kinds of time building scale models of said aircraft plus Nimitz-class carriers, A-6 Intruders, even some old school A-5 Vigilantes and F-8 Crusaders and even older school WW2 stuff. Who knew that kid would grow up to be an angry lefty jackass. Must've been the fumes from the Testors glue.

5. Once upon a time, in a galaxy classroom far, far away, we students were directed to create dioramas -- given what I ended up making, it must've been a history class -- and, using Legos, fashioned a 'working' guillotine. A stack of blocks with grooves in them provided the perfect structure for a masking-taped cardboard blade, a radar dish was the perfect catch for a bunch of decapitated Lego heads and a red magic marker was the blood. It was *sniff* beautiful. Vive la France ! Vive la révolution !

6. Summer is my least favorite season.

7. For multiple reasons, my all-time favorite piece of music is the allegretto from Beethoven's seventh symphony.

Those condemned to an eternity of taggery: Candace, Dean Wormer, Dr. Zaius, dguzman, Angie, Snave and b. Standard caveats apply: do it now, do it later, do it never, it's a semi-free country, mes amis!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Little Rascal

"Hiiiiiii, crabby."

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Federal Bureau of Intransigence

"I know my impression of the President isn't all that good, but I've been practicing, really I have!"

You've got to hand it to the man. Robert Mueller is certainly on a roll.

First we had the "sorry we spied on your ass" routine.

And now, this:

At the heart of President Bush's plea to give telecommunications companies legal immunity is the contention that these companies were merely being patriotic corporate citizens when they facilitated the warrantless wiretapping of Americans.

FBI Director Robert Mueller undercut that argument Wednesday, telling Congress that the 'good faith' argument should have nothing to do with whether or not they are let off the hook in dozens of pending court cases.

"I would focus more on the downsides, substantial downsides, of not providing retroactive immunity as being the principal rational of the legislation, providing immunity," Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
What really bothers me though, especially after the above statement which, in no subtle terms, dictates that WE MIGHT ALL FUCKING DIE -- we haven't yet, as far as I can tell, unless I'm hallucinating, but I don't remember taking any illegal substances today -- is the following grotesque display of blasphemy against St. Bauer:
"Do you waterboard Timothy McVeigh?" [Senator Sheldon] Whitehouse asked.

Mueller demurred, saying he would "prefer not to answer hypotheticals," although he acknowledged under further questioning that such a ticking time-bomb scenario could happen today.

"I would not know how I would respond," Mueller said.
I'm sure others would prefer not to answer hypotheticals, as well.

Oh well.

Hello Sons of the Revolution

Unlike those purveyors of grocery store porn, I actually listened to the new Black Crowes album before commenting on it here. I wouldn't call this a full-fledged review, more of a collection of initial impressions. At first listen, it sounds good; a rich, organic yet not overwhelming vibe, a marriage of Amorica -- still their finest hour, methinks -- and Three Snakes and One Charm, with a smidgen of Zeppelinesque tight-but-loose tossed in the mixture for good measure.

From the slow blues march of Walk Believer Walk to the undulating cosmic rave-up of Wee Who See the Deep (with some groovy and rockin' guitar interplay between Rich Robinson and new guy Luther Dickinson) to the ballad Oh, Josephine (think of a slightly more hopeful Girl From A Pawnshop), Warpaint showcases all of the band's influences and strengths, with a lyrical theme of a possible future, of arrival at something better, threading throughout the album's eleven tracks. A few songs aren't as immediately strong as the rest -- true of any album -- but that's why one must let a new disc simmer in the emotional and aesthetic crock pot for awhile before coming to anything resembling a conclusion.

Warpaint carries a warm, natural feel, a pretty goddamn good release by an experienced band who've benefited from an infusion of new blood. I don't know if it'll win over any converts to the cause, but who cares. They've got their thing and we've got ours, and I think we can all move forward without stabbing each other in the gut with rusty kitchen knives.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

This is what happens when you fail your saving throw.

Yeah, I'm probably about the 7,348,225th geek with a blog to point this out, but Dungeons and Dragons co-creator E. Gary Gygax left this mortal coil today. Oh, how many hours we passed playing this damn thing during the pre-internets Dark Ages of the early 1980s.

See kids, when you appear on a Matt Groening television program, you end up a corpse, without fail. Beware.

The Life and Times of The Maverick®

"I can't bear to watch."
"The Ohio returns? The general isn't until November, Senator."
"No, another introduction by Hagee."

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Meet Zombie George Allen, our new GM

"I know my son is an idiot. But it's not my fault, I was never home!"

We don't need no stinkin' picks, apparently. So, our first, second and third are gone, in addition to talented, yet often injured, cornerback Leigh Bodden, and in exchange we've netted Brady Quinn, Corey Williams and talented, yet often large, defensive lineman Shaun Rogers. At the present moment, an upgrade because one has shown promise, and the other two have shown it on the field. Well, when Mr. Rogers -- ha! -- is motivated. Please won't you be, my nose tackle. Hi, nose tackle.

Of course, DA is still the big question mark. 29 touchdowns, yay, 19 interceptions -- a few bunched in two heartbreaking, give-it-away losses -- nay. But adding the speedy Donté Stallworth will help. See, dguzman, no creaky Zach Thomas around these parts. Maybe your Cowboys can sign him to help in coverage. I think Amani Toomer is still open. Yeah, that was a low blow, but hey, mon amie, that's what you get for rooting for Pure Evil®!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Night music

Maurizio Pollini playing nocturne no. 8 in D-flat.

Given whom he shacked up with and where he lived most of his adult life and subsequently died, I suppose we could say bonne anniversaire Monsieur Chopin. I have no clue how to say it in Polish, but that matters not. Chopin spoke through the universal language, and beautifully.

Now if you'll excuse me, it's time to get the hell out of Dodge work, spin some of the man's discs, completely forget that politics and the real world even exist, and write.

Contempt? Inherent.

Surprise, surprise, surprise.

U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey Friday said he will not ask a federal grand jury to investigate whether two top Bush administration officials should be prosecuted for contempt of Congress.
Didn't he read the Democrats' sternly-worded letters?
"The department has determined that the noncompliance by Mr. Bolten and Ms. Miers with the Judiciary Committee subpoenas did not constitute a crime," Mukasey wrote in a letter to Pelosi.

"Therefore the department will not bring the congressional contempt citations before a grand jury or take any other action to prosecute Mr. Bolten or Ms. Miers."
"I'll take your sternly-worded letter and raise!" Ooh, well played, Mike!
The White House argues that forcing the aides to testify would violate the Constitution's separation of powers.
Working brains argue that utilizing inherent contempt would proudly display a spiny disdain for, you know, law-breaking, unconstitutionality and all-around assholery.
A spokesman for House Republican Leader John Boehner issued a statement Thursday calling Pelosi's request a "partisan political stunt" and "complete waste of time."
Boehner then cried a little. So did I when I realized nothing was going to happen. Well, there's that civil suit, and I'm sure that'll be wrapped up right quick and not end up dragging on like molasses in the dead of an Antarctic winter until getting tossed out on some legalese by a Republican-appointed judge, thereby allowing the politicization of the Department of the Justice to continue unabated.

I guess January 20, 2009 can't get here fast enough, huh.

Unless McCain wins. Oops.