Archive for May, 2006

Medal of Honor Campaign

May 30, 2006

For those of you who spent the weekend watching all or part of the Band of Brothers Marathon on History Channel, here is an opportunity to do your part.

Major Richard Winters, portrayed by Damian Lewis, was recommended for the Medal of Honor for his actions at Brecourt Manor.  As mentioned in the miniseries, it was a textbook example of small unit tactics and is taught today at the military academies and to ROTC cadets.  Valuable intel,  in the form of German maps detailing machine gun and artillery positions, were also found by then Lt. Winters during this assault.  These maps saved countless American lives during the Normandy campaign.  His original recommendation for the award was downgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross.  Compare that to Dugout Doug MacArthur, who got the MOH for failing to adequately defend the Phillipines and leaving thousands of American soldiers to the tender mercies of the Imperial Japanese Army.  After playing bridge in Australia for a few years, he waded ashore at Leyte Island.  He should have faced court-martial, rather than recieving the nation’s highest decoration.

Major Winters is in the twilight of his years like most of the WWII generation.   The time to honor him, and by extension, all of Easy Company is now.  Instead of giving bloggy lip service, we can all do something for this fine man who exemplifies all that we know is good and true about the American Soldier.

Sign this online petition.  

It is the least you can do. 




Important Safety Tip

May 29, 2006

Always wear shoes when using the weed whacker.


Where in the Hell is Beeks?

May 29, 2006

Mesothelioma has claimed the life of actor Paul Gleason.

He is probably best known for playing the principal Richard Vernon in the seminal Eighties John Hughes vehicle The Breakfast Club, as well as playing Mr. Beeks in Trading Places.

I hope his last words were "The next time I have to come in here, I’m crackin’ skulls." 

De Oppresso Liber

May 29, 2006

When a nation is filled with strife, then do patriots flourish.  Lao Tzu

Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.  Donald Rumsfeld

Memorial Day isn’t just the official start of summer.  Most folks associate it with "um, something to do with veterans and the day the condo association opens the pool."  

Today we honor our dead.  Specifically, the holiday is for our war dead.  Over time, the holiday has evolved into a rememberance of our family dead, and for classic rock stations, the day we remember Jimi, Janis, Mama Cass and  Mr. Mojo Risin’. 

I’ve been fortunate that all of my comrades, as far as I know, have thankfully come home alive.   Although, today while fixing the regulator valve on my gas grill, I’ll be thinking about a guy I never had the honor to meet. 

Jeremy Chandler attended North Georgia College and State University.  Like so many who matriculated from my alma mater, he received a commission in the Army immediately following graduation.  Although he was nine years behind me in school, we had many of the same professors and instructors. 

For what I assume were tax reasons, he listed Clarksville, TN as his place of residence.  I did the same thing during my active-duty time.  He was stationed at Ft. Bragg and was on his third deployment to Afghanistan.  He died while conducting training in Demolition Operations.

At a time when our nation needs men of his caliber and  excellence, he will be missed.  He died last August.  He died not from enemy fire, but while fulfilling the Special Forces motto of liberating the oppressed.  I sincerely hope the Afghanis and Iraqis prove worthy of the cost.

Victory is no cause for rejoicing
If you rejoice in victory, then you delight in slaughter;
If you delight in slaughter you will not succeed
in your ambition to rule the world.
Enter the battle gravely
with hearts full of sorrow.
A victory must be observed like a funeral.

Tao Te Ching, 31 


Lo, there do I see my father
Lo, there do I see my mother and my sisters

and my brothers
Lo, there do I see the line of my people back

to the beginning
Lo, they do call to me
They bid me take my place among the
in the Hall of Valhalla

Where the brave may live forever..

Norse Invocation to Battle, The 13th Warrior


The Night They Drove Old Dixie Beer Down

May 27, 2006

Getting worked up about slights to one’s regional pride is something that grown-ups should try to avoid.  Damn, that’s near impossible.  Even though I don’t have a dog in the hunt, I wind up defending the SEC as the best football conference whenever the subject comes up.  It comes with the territory, I guess.  My cousins got me visibly irritated recently when they snickered at the idea of the existence of Thai restaurants in Nashville.   

Southerners (both native born and naturalized residents) wind up with a sort of inferiority complex about how the rest of the country views us as backwards shit kickers.  This chip on the shoulder manifests itself in all sorts of ways.  Randy Newman even wrote a great song about it:

Last night I saw Lester Maddox on a TV show
With some smart ass New York Jew
And the Jew laughed at Lester Maddox
And the audience laughed at Lester Maddox too
Well he may be a fool but he’s our fool
If they think they’re better than him they’re wrong
So I went to the park and I took some paper along
And that’s where I made this song

We talk real funny down here
We drink too much and we laugh too loud
We’re too dumb to make it in no Northern town
And we’re keepin’ the niggers down 

For a recent example of  Randy’s point, here’s a list of the Top 50 Places to have a beer in America.  About three of them could be considered in the South–two in Virginia and one in Georgia.  That’s it.  Are you going to tell me that there isn’t a place in Texas as good as the three beer joints listed in Massachusetts?   Brooklyn, NY gets two and there isn’t a place in Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Both Carolinas, or Kentucky where you can get a beer as good as the Guidos and Massholes serve.  Pardon me, but fuck you.

These fruity beer dorks wear me out.  Most of them exude a fussiness only seen on old Lost in Space episodes.  Here’s a sampler:

Let’s check out the Big River Review: 16th Avenue Pilsner — looked more like a Hefeweizen than a pilsner, very cloudy and not transparent at all. Tasted yeasty and had a thick mouthfeel, but lacked any esters or flavor to make up for it on the flavor scale. Had a bit of the grassy notes that you’d expect of a pilsner, but not anywhere close to what I was expecting.  Nothing like a thick mouthfeel to ruin your day, Tiffany.

Here’s another beer dork who probably didn’t play sports in high school, with a review of The Broadway Brewhouse.
The bar was tight and smoky. The men’s restroom had a toilet, two urinals and a sink (no partitions) in a room the size of a phone booth.  Oh, you poor little girl.  We have a rule at the Brewhouse, "If you have to take a dump, it is time for you to go home."

I need a beer.  Preferably a Shiner, Abita, or Sweetwater.  Time to head to the Brewhouse.

The Vast Wasteland

May 27, 2006

Last night, I was channel surfing around midnight.  This must be why people read books.

2 ABC       Jimmy Kimmel–Why hasn’t this been cancelled?

5 CBS       Craig Ferguson–See Jimmy Kimmel. 

14 UPN     Becker–It’s like House, but without the laughs.  Which I thought was odd, considering it had a laugh track and all. 

20 WGN    DaVinci’s Inquest–Son of a bitch!  Please, not another goddamn DaVinci show. The  History Channel wore that shit into the ground over the last few weeks.  Oh, wait.  It is just a Canadian version of Quincy.   Never mind.

32 VH1       Getting Naked–You had me until Courtney Love showed up.  Then you lost me.

41 A&E      Ike: Countdown to D-Day–Starring Tom Selleck as Dwight D. Eisenhower, Larry Manetti as George S. Patton, Roger E. Mosley as Charles DeGaulle, and John Hillerman as Winston Churchill.

43 Hist      How William Shatner Changed The World Don’t get me started.

51 MSNBC      Lockup: New MexicoWhat is up with these continual voyeur trips behind bars? Someone at MSNBC sure misses watching Oz.

57 Sci-Fi       Shark Attack 3: Megalodon–I’m pretty sure I didn’t see the first two.  There are probably important plot points and character development that were covered in the first two that the casual viewer would miss by only viewing the final chapter in the trilogy.

60 Comedy       Jamie Foxx Presents Laffapalooza–Aside from the name itself, if you want to watch something funny with Jamie Foxx in it, try Stealth.         

109 NGEO       The Dog WhispererHoly Shit!  This show is just like that South Park episode.  Tssst!

320 MAX          Sex Games: Cancun–Hold on, I’ll be back in a minute.

321 MMAX       Intimate Sessions–Give me another minute or two.

324 AMAX       Hotline–Annnnd, I’m spent.  There is something reliable and constant about Skinemax.

344 SHOT-W    Big Black Comedy Show –This has to be better than J. Foxx’s Laffapalooza…damn, wrong again.  Although, the irony of a black comedy program on this particular channel (the abbreviation) has not escaped me. 

376 STZ-W    Stealth.   Finally something funny to watch.  If you think clown cars running over nuns and orphans is funny.


Generation of Swine

May 25, 2006

I really dig the lenticular cover of Rolling Stone’s 1000th issue.

0505w_rolling_stone_narrowweb__300x3950.jpgAs for the interior of the magazine, not so much.  Is auto-hagiography a word?  There are some great photos from such renowned artistes as Annie Leibovitz, Mark Seliger and Herb Ritts.  Some of the truly iconic images of our times are on display.

However, the copy inside generally sucks balls.  In fact, it is so smug and self-congratulatory it sucks its own balls.  Which if you know anything about Jann Wenner, is probably intentional. 

Slate had this to say:  But like birthday parties thrown by the birthday boy, anniversary issues tend to overindulge the honoree. Rolling Stone‘s self-regard—never small to begin with—gets amplified on every page: the gallery of famous Rolling Stone covers in the 1,000th issue, former staff photographer Annie Leibovitz’s special memories, and other admiring looks back. Rolling Stone last paid tribute to itself three years ago, making the current issue as significant an event as the Golden Globe Awards. Will the magazine dare produce a 40th-anniversary issue two years hence? Need you ask?

There are many glaring examples to cull from in regard to the fawning coverage of RS favorites.  The best two are the eye-rollingly suck up reviews of Neil Young and Paul Simon’s latest efforts.  Without a touch of irony, RS trumpets Young’s new anti-Bush screed as being brave and courageous.  Nothing like hopping on the bandwagon with 60% of the population in order to appear brave and courageous, Neil.  The magazine also points out that  Young the Canadian demands that "We need a new leader."  And in a brilliant spin move, pre-empts any pointing out of that, by labeling critics as "right wing foghorns".

Simon, as another Wenner familiar, gets a glowing review for yet another record no one will buy.  The reviewer muses about why the collaboration with Brian Eno didn’t happen thirty years ago.  Because the little bald guy was still making decent music back then, that’s why. 

Rolling Stone has been a corporate media whore for about twenty five years now.  There is nothing wrong with that, unless you are posturing yourself as the Pied Piper for Youth Culture.   Sorry Jann, you are no longer leading anything but the fulfillment of your own appetites and smug self-satisfaction. 

On the other hand, if it weren’t for the back pages of RS, I wouldn’t be an ordained minister

The Amazing Zolten

May 23, 2006

Penn Jillette’s son was born yesterday.  In a serendipitous confluence of events, Penn was working on his radio show, when his wife called to tell him it was time to get to the hospital.  The podcast of the show (May 22nd show) is a pretty damn funny view of Nervous Penn as he gets that call, then stays on the phone with the studio to bitch about the traffic between the studio and the hospital.

Congratulations to Penn and Emily Jillette on the arrival of their son and to Moxie Crimefighter on the her new brother. 

The Mencken Code

May 22, 2006

No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.  H.L. Mencken

I have always loved that quote.  Others have shortened it, but it remains as true now as when ol’ Hank said it back in the day.  With that in mind,  will you people please shut up about The Goddamn Da Vinci Code.

Opie’s Opus Dei offendin’ magnum opus, , raked in a shitload of money over the weekend.  This should come as a surprise to exactly no one.  See the quote above for the logic behind the boffo box office haul.  Even with the bad reviews, the sheep flocked to the theaters for their fleecing.  Hidden amongst the controversy is the main reason why any discriminating film-goer should skip this flick.  His name is Akiva Goldsman.

Demagogue: One who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.  H.L. Mencken

Goldsman is Hollywood’s go-to guy for hack writing.  His work runs the gamut from treacle (A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man) to truly indictable crimes against humanity (Batman & Robin, Lost in Space).  His upcoming work on I Am Legend will guarantee him a special place in Hell next to Hitler, Mother Teresa, and John Edward.  The involvement of Goldsman is only one part of the myriad of reasons why this whole uproar is such a tremendous waste of time.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.  H.L. Mencken

Last night, WKRN’s Jamie Tucker had a non-newsworthy bit about the reaction to DaVinci and an interview with a guy who is making a buck disputing Dan Brown’s cash cow.  It was at least as pointless as Tucker’s expose on whether Hell exists or not.  The answer was, of course, "depends on who you ask".

The guy who is selling his anti-Da Vinci book, claimed in the piece that in regards to Jesus and Mary Magdalene getting hitched, "There is absolutely no historical evidence whatsoever for it period!"  That’s a slippery slope you are on there, Josh.  If you want to get into the historical evidence pool, you better bring your water wings.  For instance, there is absolutely no historical evidence for the Massacre of Innocents that shows up in Matthew.  Even the other Gospels don’t mention it.  You would think that SOMEONE might have written down SOMETHING about all the first born children being slaughtered.  You may want to rethink that historical evidence rejoinder when bringing up Bible stuff.

Josh goes on to state this figure "Fifty-some percent of all Americans who read it said it is factual and true.  That’s a problem.  Fifty seven percent said it had a profound effect on their beliefs and faith."   So, the general public are a pack of gullible suckers.  Who knew?

The Vandy Divinity prof nails it on the head.  "I think the United States is both a Jesus saturated culture and a biblically illiterate culture. "  Kind of like all the people in this town who are Titans fans, but don’t know a damn thing about football.

The believing mind is externally impervious to evidence. The most that can be accomplished with it is to induce it to substitute one delusion for another. It rejects all overt evidence as wicked… H. L. Mencken

Josh goes on to proclaim, " The DaVinci Code wouldn’t even be an issue…if we had trained JUST OUR PEOPLE to discern truth from fiction."  Uh-oh, you don’t want to start doing that.  The whole house of cards might come down.

Take, for example, the popular story (John 7:53-8:11) in which Jesus saves a woman from being stoned as an adulteress. It is from this passage that Christianity draws the oft-paraphrased advice, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her."

Interestingly enough, this entire story  is missing from the earliest version of John. It is also missing from early Latin translations of the text, missing from older versions used in the Holy Land and in fact, according to the 12th century Byzantine scholar Euthymius Zigabenus (the earliest church father to comment on the passage), accurate copies of the Gospel of John do not and should not contain it. Furthermore, if one blocks out the entire little story, John 7:52 flows just fine into John 8:12, lending further credence to the idea that the passage was simply inserted after the fact. 

Is that the kind of truth Jamey Tucker is willing to do a story on? Or will these faith and ethics broadcasts continue to have such pandering howlers as "We all know you can’t believe everything coming out of Hollywood…" and "So what does history say?  Were Jesus and Mary a couple?" 

Gee whiz, only very small children and very slow adults don’t realize that movies are make-believe.  As far as what history says, it doesn’t say anything about the dating habits of Jesus.  Conjecture about it is the realm of fiction writers and biblical scholars.  That’s the whole point, isn’t it?  There is no PROOF either way.  If you had proof, why would you need faith?

The trouble with Communism is the Communists, just as the trouble with Christianity is the Christians. H.L. Mencken

Three Out of Ten is Considered Great

May 21, 2006

 Ernest Lawrence Thayer can go suck it.  Here is a poem that resonates with the daily struggle everyone faces:

"I Am A Baseball Player" 

I am a baseball player who is playing a game.
I wonder if I am going to hit the ball.
I hear the crowd screaming.
I see the pitcher looking at me.
I want to hit the ball.
I am a baseball player who is playing a game.

I pretend to hit the ball.
I feel very strong.
I touch the bat as hard as I can.
I worry I will miss the ball.
I am a baseball player who is playing a game.

I understand that I might miss the ball.
I say to myself, "I can do it".
I dream I will hit a homerun.
I try to hit it.
I hope I will hit the ball.
I am a baseball player who is playing a game. 

Chris Carey, age 11.