Saturday, July 31, 2004

leftovers, still good for eating

I blogged this elsewhere a couple of days ago after the end of the Democratic National Convention. Because it's important, I thought I'd repost here.


I don't know if you guys have caught any of the DNC on C-SPAN the last couple nights, but I just had a few thoughts after tonight. Mostly, I wanted to catch Dennis Kucinich, but I missed his speech (sorry Jake). Tonight though, I watched a speech by former Senator Max Cleland, who introduced Kerry at the convention. Any other campaign, and I wouldn't know this name. But I've been reading a lot about this presidential race, and the last one, and the name Max Cleland has come up quite a bit.

Cleland was a Senator from Georgia, who served until 2003. He fought in Vietnam, losing his right arm and both his legs. It was because of his service in Vietnam that he was elected as a Democrat to the Senate in a conservative state like Georgia (Bush crushed Gore in 2000 there, 55% to 43%). Cleland co-sponsored Homeland Security legislation after 9/11 with Joe Lieberman. But he voted against President Bush's own Homeland Security bill, because he thought the bill he created was better (it had something to do with Bush's version not guaranteeing Homeland Security employees with civil service protection, such as the ability to bargain collectively under a union).

When he ran for re-election in 2002, his Republican opponent Saxy Chambliss attacked his voting record concerning the "war on terror." One TV ad flashed images of bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and Senator Cleland, lumping them together as opponents of the war on terror. Bin Laden and Hussein for obvious reasons, Cleland because he liked his own Homeland Security bill more than Bush's. The tag line for the commercial: "Max Cleland says he has the courage to lead. But the record proves Max Cleland is just misleading." Chambliss won the seat. Cleland went home.

I don't know what makes me more mad. The fact that Chambliss didn't have the integrity to tell the whole story about Cleland's voting record, that he compared a Vietnam war veteran to Osama bin Laden, or that Chambliss had the gall to question Cleland's courage when he sat out the war with a bad knee while Cleland lost three limbs in active combat.

All this came back to me while watching Cleland's speech, from a wheelchair behind the podium at the DNC. Kerry's and Bush's speeches probably won't be much to write home about, but it's these speeches by their friends and colleagues that are important to watch, because I think they tell a lot about a person's character. Of course they'll be whitewashed for the consumption of the American public on national television, but they're still important, I think, because you really can know something about the character of a man by the company he keeps.

Friday, July 30, 2004


70 people now, the first reports I heard were lower. 70 people now, dead in Iraq. Not an American among them, but does that really matter? It shouldn't matter, but for some reason, it still does.

70 people now. And other numbers too staggering to talk about. I can't take much more of this.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Can't fall asleep.

Sometimes I wonder how many other people listened to bonnie 'prince' billy, a tribe called quest, and the polyphonic spree today. Do I need to meet these people? Should I start a fan club that includes all three just to find out? What would I call it? Would there be dues? Would I continue to be a part of the club were I ever voted out as president?

I hope Martha Stewart goes to jail for a long, long time. There's just something about her. She's shifty. I don't like her demeanor. And I think she would kill people for a living if someone offered her job like that. Never turn your back on her.

Today I climbed the fire escape to my roof. It was after sunset, so I took a flashlight to read Time magazine. I need to do this more often.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition might be end result of the evolution of television. All other programs were made in order to produce this. Television's crowning achievment. It does not get any better than this. Even if they brought back Earth:2, and aired it against EMHE, I would stick to my guns. My remote would not waver. I would stand firm upon the promises of God.

I think I would like to walk on the moon. This is my sole reason for supporting capitalism. I must make enought money to reach the moon. No matter who I have to crush, I will prevail.

One-two-three-four. Why the [explicative deleted] ain't MCs MC no more?

If I had to have a man crush on any one person, I think it would be Conan O'Brien. I will not get into specifics.

Why do I have three phones in my apartment? Is there any need for this, really? And why are two of them not even hooked up? Do I have a problem that needs medical attention? Do I just need attention of any sort, period? Do I need to use a period in this paragraph? "."

I don't want to vote for anyone. That's not true, I want to vote for John McCain and Christine Todd Whitman. I want to get a lump in my throat when I hear a candidate talk. I want to weep openly when they are announced at the nominating convention. I want to cast a vote come November without feelings of guilt or shame. I want the impossible. I delude myself. I should take up tennis, and forget about believing in public officials. I should place my trust in Boris Becker and Gorin Isovich.

It's time for bed. I only need the tempature to drop another ten degrees, then things will be ideal for a good sleep. I hate it that the Rolling Stones have sold "You Can't Always Got What You Want" to some Sprint or McDonalds or Merril Lynch. Does it matter who? Does it matter?

Monday, July 12, 2004

On Matters Regarding the State of the Union

An introductory note: this was written in Borders this afternoon after seeing Fahrenheit 9/11. My plan was to see Spider-Man, then Fahrenheit if I felt like another movie. I was running late (surprise) and missed the start of Spider-Man, and Fahrenheit was starting soon after I got there, so....


Back to the Future III was on TBS the other day, and while cleaning the house, I caught the last half an hour or so. I joined in right before Doc takes his one shot of Whiskey and passes out on the bar room floor. May favorite line from the movie comes later in the scene: "Let's make some wake-up juice." (Side-note: I did a Google search on the line, because I'm a geek, and only found one hit for the line. That's kind of sad [in more ways than one].) Anyways, the "juice" does the trick, and Doc sobers up.

Confession: I'm a wuss, and I've never been drunk. For the most part, I don't even like alcohol. Red wine tastes a bit like vinegar poured through dirty socks, and white wine doesn't fare much better. Beer smells like urine, and tastes like armpit sweat. These are just my opinions, so you don't have to agree. So even though I've never been drunk, today I learned what it feels like to sober up. Just about fifteen minutes ago, I got done watching Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore's documentary about September 11, homeland security, and the war on terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, and abroad. And all I can say at this point is that it was, if nothing else, sobering.

Let's get the BS out of the way upfront. Moore's documentary is not journalism (it barely even pretends to be objective). It's incredibly biased, narrated by the author, rather than a detached, observant third party; and Moore leans heavily on emotional pathos rather than argumentative, persuasive fact telling in order to make his case. His documentary's are more left-leaning propaganda than reasoned, articulate accounts of the state of affairs in Flint, Columbine, Iraq, or wherever else he might be shooting. They have to be consumed with discernment and judged only after a thorough examination of the facts in question. But damn if this guy isn't persuasive.

I don't want to talk too much about the content of the documentary. Just to say that Fahrenheit 9/11 has high points and low points, moments where I wanted to yell obscenities at Moore for distorting facts, and moments where I almost stood up and shouted, "Amen!" If anything, this film has gumption. It also has courage, and it intentions are pure. If it screws things up, it s because its director is just another messed up human. Moore might be totally off base at times, and he might beat certain things to death that should never have been beaten in the first place. But it cannot be said that Moore is not passionate, and it cannot be argued the he is not righteous in his cause. Because, completely factual or not, his cause is righteous. Fahrenheit 9/11 is about many things, but its mostly about patriotism. Maybe not my brand of patriotism, and maybe not yours, but it is about patriotism nonetheless.

If you have friends or relatives in the armed services, whether in Iraq or anywhere else around the world, please go see this film. If you care about the world community's view of Western Christianity, as our soldiers (whether Christian or not) represent the American Church to countries who have little or no contact with modern conservative evangelicalism, please, go see this film. If you plan to cast a vote, ever again, at any point in the rest of your life, for any publicly held position of government authority, please, here is where I beg, please go see this film. You don't have to agree with Moore; you can even hate and taunt him with belittling names, drawing malicious little doodles on his face in print adds, mocking his every word. But you at least have to hear what he has to say before you can begin to criticize. Because what he has to say is sobering, and it is just.

I could be writing about Back to the Future III right now, because, to be honest, I really love it. It takes me back to 4th grade, when things were simpler because Iraq was invading other countries for oil, and Don Mattingly was the greatest baseball player God had ever breathed into existence. But I can't just write about the exploits of Doc Brown and Marty McFly, because it wouldn't be just. We've got to talk about what's important sometimes, and we've got to figure out what's best for our nation, simply put because we're called to: "And what does the LORD require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindly, and to walk humbly with your God?" -- "Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work." That last verse from Titus is especially poignant, because things have changed since Paul's day. The People are the rulers now, and the public servants we elect answer to us. We're the boss, and it's up to us to exercise an informed opinion. And if our servants in public office fail to submit to the will of the People, it's up to the People to set things straight. It's what we're called to.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

watching flims at half speed

Yes, yes...I know it's late. But I've spent most of the night trying to get the internet to work on my computer. Oh-ho! That's right, I own my very own computer these days. Where have I been the last three weeks? In good old www.limbo.suck, where we are currently swapping ISPs at work, allowing me to check my email just once in that time. But Shady's back.

So news. Uh-huh, I have a beautiful new iMac, courtesy of the credit/debt society in which we live. Some might say I'm a fool (I might say I'm a fool), but I think it may be worth it. It took me a while to coax a dial-up connection out of my old apartment phone lines, but here I am. P.S., dial-up is as slow as ever. And by slow I mean not awesome or fun to use. But, it's better than nothing.

Summer at work is tremendous. There have been problems, but nothing that dampens the utter radicalness that is hanging out with kids all summer long. I am rediscovering some bands that I never really discovered in the first place: Spoon, the Walkmen, Stereolab, Godspeed..., Dntel; and loving every second of their little works of pop heaven. Last night, I found a story in my head from (first) senior year that might be fun to tell, so I started writing random things down. Fourth of July weekend, I almost drove to Edmonton, Canada, but decided against it when I realized I was broke. But that almost didn't stop me. Also, I have found a neato spot here in Lewistown to hang out where one can get away without actually going anywhere. But it's kind of a secret. More on that at a later date.

Many emails to write, and I will respond to each and every person except for Carrie, who just sends me emails from some eTicket place asking me to sign up for free movie tickets with email subjetcs like "Hey, Want Some Free Tickets?" or "Let's Get Free Tickets Together!" They are the bane of my existence. In fact, in these messages, I have found my Nemesis -- junk email from friends. I will die fighting this beast.

Okay then, I have to sleep now. Adios!