Sunday, August 28, 2005

Me no bloggie next week.

Going on vaca. On the off chance you care.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

A two blog household

My wife Paula has just launched an East Bay shopping blog called Discount Army. Sales, and rumors of sales and general shopping warmth for (I guess) the East Bay and San Francisco. I'm sure she'd love correspondents from the far flung corners of the world, like Sun Valley Mall and France. Drop her a line if you've got any juice, from the Bay Area, or anywhere else for that matter. The woman is like a shopping anthropologist.

We need a second PowerBook. There is no way around it.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Larry King: the missing link?

Ripped off from the Daily Howler, Larry King cross examines an evolutionary biologist:

KING: All right, hold on. Dr. Forrest, your concept of—how can you out-and-out turn down creationism, since if evolution is true, why are there still monkeys?


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Teeming Masses Call for Robertson's Death

The Associated Press
Monday, August 22, 2005; 11:06 PM

The Civilized Nations of Earth. – The Teeming Masses of the civilized world called on Monday for the assassination of American televangelist Pat Robertson, calling him a "pig-faced cretin" dangerous to the civilization and the genetic integrity of the human race.

The Teeming Masses, who membership includes King Albert II of Belgium and actress Suzanne Pleschette, said in millions of conversations around the globe that “someone should shoot that pig faced cretin in the head, and do us all a favor already.” Barber Kato Kastuo, of Nara, Japan added "somebody should also step on his neck.”

Robertson has emerged as one of the most outspoken critics of civilization, accusing the people with premium cable of witchcraft, as well as contending all adult males who own lap dogs are probably “anal probing queerbaits” who should be stoned.

"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks everybody is evil, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," said eight year old Talia Winston of Morristownship, New Jersey. "We could watch it on the TV, just to make sure the job got done right."

"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Bono said to a capacity stadium crowd at a rally in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
He was joined on stage by the Dali Lama, who stated: "We don't need $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, asshole. It's a whole lot easier to have some guys do the job and then get it over with."

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Meanwhile, in the geopolitical real world.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Kinky Friedman: A Texas Governor That Will Rarely Embarrass

Kinky Friedman, friend to dogs, Willie Nelson, and both the Ashkanzi and Sephardim populations of Texas, is running for Governor of that particular state. This is a good thing.

Now, aside for his affinity for dogs, tax-evading stoners and Jews, what can we say about Kinky Friedman?

Richard 'Kinky' Friedman is humorist, performer, mystery writer and Texas Monthly columnist. He's a western singer-songwriter of the same generation and spirit as Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt, Kris Kristopherssen, and David Allen Coe. In other words, he's a badass, a man who can live without a blowdrier. He is the orniest Jew in Texas, and he's running as an independent.

He is not another George Bush, or that other doofus they've got now. He's a pragmatic libertarian, like Jesse "Body" Ventura (who turned out to be a pretty good governor).

He's also for modernizing Texas economy by weening it off of oil. A not idiotic idea.

He'd also be a thumb in the eye for both parties, so how can that be a bad thing?

I'm in California, so I can't vote. But from my visitor stats, I know some of you bastards come from Texas way. What have you got to lose? You can check out his site here.


President Jaruzelski: What an asshole!!!

Former Polish president General Wojciech Jaruzelski is now apologizing for signing the order to send Polish tanks to crush the Czechslovakian liberalization of 1968. Gee, thanks, Wojo.

He says, in so many words, "Hey, it was a crazy time! What can I say?"


Friday, August 19, 2005

PBS doesn't want my money.

Spared the Central Valley heat thanks to an impenetrable blanket of fog (it’s like living on Venus), the Bay Area still manages to know it’s summer. How? A grey and bent Eric Burdon is alternately spewing misty-eyed nostalgia and begging the aging boomers of Marin County for money. It’s pledge time on KQED! PBS’ most bloated affliate is once again shaking the cages for that sweet boomer buckage.

The lead Animal is in town for the twice-yearly decrepit hippy begathon, hosting a hideous showcase of c-list sixties bands who have taken time out from touring the county-fair-and-corporate-picnic circuit to prop up the stuffed corpses of cheap drugs, VD and vague providential missions in front of the cameras one more time.

Man oh man, tell me one more time how your generation all managed to attend the best concert of all time in upstate New York, while simultaneously serving in and protesting against an unjust Southeast Asian war, all at the same time. You guys did everything together! The logistics must have been insane! Now, me and my scummy coevals are allowed the privilege of watching your sub-icons strap on their trusses, wheeze out their battle-cries-of-a-generation and their righteous Soul jams (this is a new sop thrown to the youngsters who came of age in early ‘70s) and shake their guts like Topol.

Herman and the Hermits! Damn, where’s my checkbook?

And we’ve have been hammered by this sixties nostalgia since the eighties!! We have had twenty years of KQED wheeling these acid causalities out (with a slight interregnum under the Three Tenors regime in the nineties).

Not only is there no – as in “no” – relevance in any of this programming to people my age, it actually steals from the KQED of the future. For as KQED is narrowcasting to a class of people who are, even as we speak, starting to feel the icy hand of the Black Angel. Conflagrate sage all you want, starchildren -- the Angel comes for you, and the KQED sticker on your Volvo is no Passover talisman. And dead people aren’t generally too forthcoming with the ducats.

Now, this is occasional relief from the boils of the summer of love, though I would argue the cure is worse than the disease. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you....John Motherscatching Tesh. John Tesh. JOHN TESH??? Who makes these programming decisions? Is it the same guy who assured ATT that Carrot Top was a spokesman with moxie?

John Tesh is an anomaly. He is a popular artist that has no actual demographic. Of if he has a demographic, it’s a group of people, who, like say Hell’s Angels or the Mennonites, you have heard about and guess they exist, and you’d be damn tempted to take a picture if you did see one. There is no Venn diagram that could include John Tesh’s demographic.

They are a singularity. They cannot be experienced through direct observation, only through statistical analysis. And KQED really wants their money.

I write this now as a grudgingly settled thirty-five year old, with a house, two little kids and a happening wife. I’ve lived in the Bay Area all my life. I’ve got a job, some walking around money, I watched Sesame Street when I was three and I watch now (unwillingly), all on KQED. And yet I do not feel compelled to give those weasels one red cent, even if that means that I will never experience that rare frisson of plastering a KQED sticker to my Element. (Next to the Apple sticker.) So what’s wrong with my money? What about my goddamn upper-middle class nostalgia?

I suspect that KQED would point (lamely) at some poignant documentary about Queer teens or something as “contemporary”, “fresh” and “having somewhat to do with life in this century”. They do occasionally manage a decent documentary (the nationally syndicated PBS programs are for the most part excellent), but usually it’s some pandering thought piece for aging liberals.

(And I do watch the Rick Steves in Europe stuff, because I have a suspicion that Rick Steves is secretly a dope fiend, a theory that makes watching the program a much richer experience. He really is that excited about visiting a Belgian lace factory. )

So, again, as my generation emerges from behind the 7-11 to raise kids, hold jobs, start the companies that drive the Bay Area economy, we ask one thing of you KQED: make some effort to be relevant to us, the living. And I’m sure we’d open our checkbooks. I’m just saying.

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Friday, August 12, 2005

Races hated by my mother, who is now dead.

My Russian-born mother had an impressive range of ethic prejudices. You'd have a hard time beating her collection for sheer breadth and originality. She was no ordinary race-hater. Mind you, she never ACTED on these feelings, but she sure was vocal about them.

For convenience, I've divided up the ethnicities by continent of origin. I've also noted traditional Russian enimities with a single asterix(*). Since she spent her formative years in Japan, I've marked traditional Japanese enimities with a double asterix (**). The rest are just run of the mill racist.


Poles (*) (Amusing anecdote: Mom and her Russian girlfriend ended up sharing a cabin on a cruise ship with two Polish women on some old people package tour. Cleverly, Mom and her friend talked shit about how stupid Poles were in front of these women, thinking they wouldn't understand.

If my Mom hadn't been an ignorant dumbass, she would have know Polish is not hugely dissimilar from Russian, and actually, a lot of Poles SPEAK Russian. One of the old Polish ladies busted her. Awesome.)

Germans (*)
Croats (*) (I doubt she could identify who the Croats actually are, other than they are the enemies of her pal the Serbs, who she has an affection for as fellow Orthodox Christians)

Russians (If they had emigrated after, say, 1960, if they were too Soviet, if they were too "American", if they were Jews, if they had settled in Pennsylvania, if they had lives that weren't centered around sustaining Russian kitsch, Old Believers, if they had emigrated through Shanghai or Europe instead of Japan...I could go on.)

Chinese (*) (**)
Vietnamese (*)
Koreans (**)
(Further racist cruise fun with Mom: So this cruise (I think it's the same one I mentioned above) has a port of call in Korea. Mom gets pissed that a)the Koreans wouldn't take dollars and b)THEY DIDN'T SPEAK JAPANESE (which my mom spoke reasonable well). Her reasoning was that Koreans lived under Japanese occupation for hundreds of years, so it entirely makes sense that one could communicate with any Korean walking down the street by jabbering Russian accented Japanese at them while waving dollars in their face.

Also, nevermind that the Japanese pretty much treated most Koreans like cattle and forced Korean women into postitution, so the percentage of Koreans still alive that might remember the Japanese occupation would really want to stand around and rap IN Japanese. Oh, and she would frequently bust out in Japanese to random Asian Americans without first determining what their national origin was -- I'm talking toll takers, store clerks, whoever. Doesn't matter.)

Phillipinos (*)

Catholics (*)(Except French)
Jews (*)
Russian Orthodox (Due an obscure issue of doctrine, there are two Russian Orthodox churches in the US. One recognises the Patriach of Moscow, while other one thought he was a puppet of the Reds. Mom was with the anti-commie group and wasn't
terribly keen on the pro-Moscow group. Of course she picks the one that goes by the Old Calender so we had to celebrate Xmas on January 7th. We also had the Imperial Crest of the Romanovs hanging over the fireplace, or so we thought. I think that it actually was the Hapsburg Double Eagle, which would have drove her crazy, being Austrian and all.)

Russian "Old Believers"

Freemasons (*)

The Americas
She had a strange ambiguous feeling towards Latin Americans. I think she defaulted out of laziness to hatred of Mexicans in her day-to-day life. But she had a thang for swarthy crooners with graying around the temples. Mario Lanza (an Italian, who in my mom's eye were Mexicans, unless they were the Pope.) was a fav.

Not out and out hatred, but not what I would call a fan. Did have a thing for Harry Belfonte and Arthur Ashe.

The lucky races of the earth that could call Lena Mills their friend.
Basically, she was a silk route kind of gal (until you hit China, then all bets were off)

ARABS!!! Probably because there is a sizeable Orthodox preseance in the Eastern Meditterrean and Middle East. My mom looked a little Arab, which might have had something to do with it.

CENTRAL ASIAN TURKOMEN (!!!!!!): As former subjects of the Czar, I ask you, what's not to love?




(Some) Russians


Various non-Catholic Slavs (Bulgarians, Serbs, Romanians. Poles were still Poles, however, Orthodox or not.)


Georgians (As in Tbilisi, not Crunk)

Canadians, because really, they are a very nice bunch of people.

My mother died four years ago. I can now live openly as a Jew AND Korean.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Sex, Solid Fuel Rockets, and L. Ron Hubbard.


Just read an interesting book:
Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons

It’s the true story of the high school dropout who helped launched the space program, John Parsons. But this is no fuck-up does good and become Lee Iacocca bullshit. Parsons was a WACKO, as well as an interesting footnote in the history of religious chicanery, serving as a bridge between the Victorian Old World flim- flam of Aleister Crowley and the Space Age Yankee flim-flam of L. Ron Hubbard (who makes a last act appearance as a dastardly villain, fleeing on yacht with Parson’s lady and a good chunk of his life savings.)

Parson blew up sheds in and around Cal Tech by day, and ran a Gnostic free love freakshow in an old Pasadena mansion by night. (LA was very, very weird in the forties. Full of racial strife, institutionalized corruption and flakely cults. The more things change...) Parson was Crowley’s man in LA, running the local temple of Crowley’s order, the OTO. He was also one of the underappreciated international network of amateurs that ushered in the rocket age.

Rockets were written off by the scientific establishment as goony kids stuff, not worthy of study, especially as propulsion for spacecraft. Some physicists, who should have known better, even argued rockets would not work in a vacuum.

It was only through the efforts of a bunch of obsessed misfits existing outside academia that the US eventually had any sort of rocket program. The Nazis, on the other hand, became very very interested in what their nerds were up to rocket-wise and as a result 3,000 V2s later rained on London and Rotterdam. Rockets worked.

The sadly ironic result for Parsons is that once rocketry became respectable, weirdos like him were pushed aside for degreed professionals. While his grab-ass little posse of pyros eventually became the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Parson ended his life in an accidental explosion, blowing himself to smithereens mixing up demolition effects for a movie studio.

What’s interesting is watching Hubbard, at the time a fairly successful Sci-Fi writer, out-Crowley Crowley, creating a global religion with not a little cribbing from Crowley’s playbook. Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and L. Sprague de Camp (Conan’s co-creator) even make a brief appearance to comment on the audacity of their fellow pulp-spieler.

It’s the prose is a bit dry, but the subject matter more than makes up for it. As soon as you’re done rereading Princess Daisy, give it a spin.

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Monday, August 08, 2005

AutoSummarized Lyrics to Black Sabbath's Album, the Mob Rules, translated into German then French, then German, then English via Alta Vista Babelfish.

I feel like William Burroughs, if he were alive, straight and not a junkie, and liked Dio-era Black Sabbath. "Poltern" is a high Saxon term for a short douchebag from New Jersey with a perm.


I am not Poltern thunder,
under your by am not NAKED Poltern,
under any fan raises your thunder with blow in,
am free your burns shades,
me for you can see,
it of good me right take your children am,
burn, If NAKED echo does not answer,
when hears song the animal one SE certain
that then with and that is the dead spirit
put freely moves all you,
the end always
which not returned us gone far on,
for always to in my heart
starts from other left blind tides
are even are, to break with inch in the tops
fortunes future without A, OF more THAN route, for It

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Friday, August 05, 2005

Uncyclopedia makes me angry it's so goddamn funny.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

John Paul Cupp: my kind of weirdo

I have this mild fascination with Kim Jung Il, star of "Team America: World Police" and blood thirsty short person. He likes pizza, he likes Mike Jordan, and he's nutsy for the Juche Idea, North Korea's flavor of nutzoid people starving authoritarianism.

Like most Asian popstars Kim has yet to crack the states-side market. But he does have a friend in Portland, Comrade John Paul Cupp -- Chairman,Songun Politics Study Group (USA). If that weren't enough, Cupp is turning heads in the corridors of powers as the Chairman of US Solidarity Committee to Support the NDFSK and the South Korean People's Struggle. I'm calling you out, Teen People. Get your best star reporter on this New Soviet Man.

Paul has got himself a full plate, unlike the majority of North Koreans.

The wonder of all this is Paul manages to out-Gorky Gorky with some of the freshest, most heartfelt socialist realistic verses coming out of the red hot salons of
Portland's Stalinist poetry scenes.

He has a 17 stanza ode with it's own internal fucked mickey mouse clock rhythm that
blows Bourgeoisie standards of "talent" out of their Saragossa Sea of STAGNANT KITSCH.

It's called The Korea of Songun: a Poem in 17 Stanzas, and I'm not going to reprint it because I don't want any fancy pants North Korea intellectual property attorney bending me over in court. I will link to it here, however.

Fair use allows for reprinting part of a work for comment or review, so here's the first stanza to whet your whistle:

I. Preludes of Life and Death Battles

Long Live North Korea!
Long Live Freedom's Dream!
While mourning for Belgrade, and cheering for Baghdad,
Pyongyang, our eyes on you!
Long Live North Korea!

There's sixteen more where that came from, some even better than this!

And just so you know this love affair isn't one sided, the Pyongyang Mission of the National Democratic Front of South Korea sent back their ownpuppy love mash note.

So, heads up, policy wanks. Pyongyang's man in Portland is getting ready to take his place among the pundits and Wise Old Men. CNN, you listening? Yeah, I bet you are.

John Paul Cupp: a juicy man with a Juche plan.

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