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Archive for May, 2007

Quote of the Day

Posted by Brian on May 29, 2007

From a  George W. Bush press conference the other day, after being asked about the whereabouts of Osama bin Forgotten:

“Why is he at large? ‘Cause we haven’t got him, yet, Jim. That’s why. And he’s hiding. And we’re looking. And we will continue to look until we bring him to justice. We’ve brought a lot of his buddies to justice, but not him. That’s why he’s still at large.”

Just to recap, then… he’s at large because we haven’t caught him yet. And for added emphasis, we still haven’t brought him to justice, and that’s why he’s still at large.

Does he have such disdain for the American public that he would seriously try to pass off such a stupid answer as somehow informative or helpful? And what American citizen wants their president to treat him or her like a child?

Posted in American Issues | Leave a Comment »

On Memorial Day…

Posted by Brian on May 28, 2007

From Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun:

You can always hear the people who are willing to sacrifice somebody else’s life. They’re plenty loud and they talk all the time. You can find them in churches and schools and newspapers and legislatures and congress. That’s their business. They sound wonderful. Death before dishonor. This ground sanctified by blood. These men who died so gloriously.

They shall not have died in vain. Our noble dead.


But what do the dead say?

Did anybody ever come back from the dead any single one of the millions who got killed did any one of them ever come back and say by god I’m glad I’m dead because death is always better than dishonor? Did they say I’m glad I died to make the world safe for democracy] Did they say I like death better than losing liberty? Did any of them ever say it’s good to think I got my guts blown out for the honor of my country? Did any of them ever say look at me I’m dead but I died for decency and that’s better than being alive? Did any of them ever say here I am and I’ve been rotting for two years in a foreign grave but it’s wonderful to die for your native land? Did any of them say hurray I died for womanhood and I’m happy see how I sing even though my mouth choked with worms?

Nobody but the dead know whether all these things people talk about are worth dying for or not. And the dead can’t talk. So the words about noble deaths and sacred blood and honor and such are all put into dead lips by grave robbers and fakes who have no right to speak for the dead. If a man says death before dishonor he is either a fool or a liar because he doesn’t know what death is. He isn’t able to judge. He only knows about living. He doesn’t know anything about dying. If he is a fool and believes in death before dishonor let him go ahead and die. But all the little guys who are too busy to fight should be left alone. And all the guys who say death before dishonor is pure bull the important thing is life before death they should be left alone too. Because the guys who say life isn’t worth living without some principle so important you’re willing to die for it they are all nuts. And the guys who say you’ll see there’ll come a time you can’t escape you’re going to have to fight and die because it’ll mean your very life why they are also nuts. They are talking like fools. They are saying that two and two make nothing. They are saying that a man will have to die in order to protect his life. If you agree to fight you agree to die. Now if you die to protect your life you aren’t alive anyhow so how is there any sense in a thing like that? A man doesn’t say I will starve myself to death to keep from starving. He doesn’t say I will spend all my money in order to save my money. He doesn’t say I will burn my house down in order to keep it from burning. Why then should he be willing to die for the privilege of living There ought to be at least as much common sense about living and dying as there is about going to the grocery store and buying a loaf of bread.

And all the guys who died all the five million or seven million or ten million who went out and died to make the world safe for democracy to make the world safe for words without meaning how did they feel about it just before they died? How did they feel as they watched their blood pump out into the mud? How did they feel when the gas hit their lungs and began eating them all away? How did they feel as they lay crazed in hospitals and looked death straight in the face and saw him come and take them? I! the thing they were fighting for was important enough to die for then it was also important enough for them to be thinking about it in the last minutes of their lives. That stood to reason. Life is awfully important so if you’ve given it away you’d ought to think with all your mind in the last moments of your life about the thing you traded it for. So did all those kids die thinking of democracy and freedom and liberty and honor and the safety of the home and the stars and stripes forever?

You’re goddamn right they didn’t.

They died crying in their minds like little babies. They forgot the thing they were fighting for the things they were dying for. They thought about things a man can understand. They died yearning for the face of a friend. They died whimpering for the voice of a mother a father a wife a child They died with their hearts sick for one more look at the place where they were born please god just one more look. They died moaning and sighing for life. They knew what was important They knew that life was everything and they died with screams and sobs. They died with only one thought in their minds and that was I want to live I want to live I want to live.

He ought to know.

He was the nearest thing to a dead man on earth.

He was a dead man with a mind that could still think. He knew all the answers that the dead knew and couldn’t think about. He could speak for the dead because he was one of them. He was the first of all the soldiers who had died since the beginning of time who still had a brain left to think with. Nobody could dispute with him. Nobody could prove him wrong. Because nobody knew but he.

He could tell all these high-talking murdering sonsofbitches who screamed for blood just how wrong they were. He could tell them mister there’s nothing worth dying for I know because I’m dead.

There’s no word worth your life. I would rather work in a coal mine deep under the earth and never see sunlight and eat crusts and water and work twenty hours a day. I would rather do that than be dead. I would trade democracy for life. I would trade independence and honor and freedom and decency for life. I will give you all these things and you give me the power to walk and see and hear and breathe the air and taste my food. You take the words. Give me back my life. I’m not asking for a happy life now. I’m not asking for a decent life or an honorable life or a free life. I’m beyond that. I’m dead so I’m simply asking for life. To live. To feel. To be something that moves over the ground and isn’t dead. I know what death is and all you people who talk about dying for words don’t even know what life is.

There’s nothing noble about dying. Not even if you die for honor. Not even if you die the greatest hero the world ever saw. Not even if you’re so great your name will never be forgotten and who’s that great? The most important thing is your life little guys. You’re worth nothing dead except for speeches. Don’t let them kid you any more. Pay no attention when they tap you on the shoulder and say come along we’ve got to fight for liberty or whatever their word is there’s always a word.

Just say mister I’m sorry I got no time to die I’m too busy and then turn and run like hell. If they say coward why don’t pay any attention because it’s your job to live not to die. If they talk about dying for principles that are bigger than life you say mister you’re a liar Nothing is bigger than life There’s nothing noble in death. What s noble about lying in the ground and rotting. What’s noble about never seeing the sunshine again? What’s noble about having your legs and arms blown off? What’s noble about being an idiot? What’s noble about being blind and deaf and dumb? What’s noble about being dead. Because when you’re dead mister it’s all over. It’s the end. You’re less than a dog less than a rat less than a bee or an ant less than a white maggot crawling around on a dungheap. You’re dead mister and you died for nothing.

You’re dead mister. Dead.

Posted in Books | Leave a Comment »

Quote of the Day

Posted by Brian on May 28, 2007

A quote from a month-old David Ignatius column:

“This is the most incompetent White House I’ve seen since I came to Washington. The White House legislative liaison team is incompetent, pitiful, embarrassing. My colleagues can’t even tell you who the White House Senate liaison is. There is rank incompetence throughout the government. It’s the weakest Cabinet I’ve seen.”

And that’s not Michael Moore talking… that’s a GOP senator.

I just finished reading Corn and Isikoff’s Hubris and I fail to see how anyone can avoid the conclusion that the current American government lied to the American people with a case for war that was pretty much a fraud. The media should be all over these new revelations about the bogus reasons for war (such as this one).

But lucky for Bush, there’s always a new batch of dead American bodies that he can exploit for political purposes, thus diverting our attention away from his own fuck-ups that brought our country down this disastrous path. His willingness to use the blood of dead Americans to support whichever domestic or foreign policy his crack team of incompetents has come up with is downright ghoulish.

Posted in American Issues | Leave a Comment »

TV Tropes

Posted by Brian on May 27, 2007

The TV Tropes wiki is a lot of fun to click through if you have some time to kill. Here’s a funny example of the Red Shirt trope from The Family Guy:

Kirk: All right, men, this is a dangerous mission. And it’s likely one of us will be killed. The landing party will consist of myself, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, and Ensign Ricky.
Ensign Ricky: Ahh, crap.

God, I would hate to be in Ricky’s shoes!

Posted in Movies/TV | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Brian on May 24, 2007

Bored with nothing to do, my friend John and I decided to give Nicholas Cage’s new movie, called Next, a shot. Based on a story by Phillip K. Dick and with a slight sci-fi feel to it, I figured it was worth a go on a night without much else to do. Unfortunately, a little bit of precognition on my part would have helped me avoid this mess. What an awful movie!

Cage plays himself, again, though his name in the movie his Cris Johnson (I really, really don’t understand why some people laud Cage as a gifted actor), only this time he has the ability to see up to 2 minutes into the future. The one exception to this rule is that he has some special connection with a woman named Liz (played by Jessica Biel), whose future he can read much further up the time stream. The movie demonstrates this gift by showing Cage’s character avoiding capture at a casino through a series of fortuitous near-misses that he’s able to engineer because he knows just where his pursuers will be.

With that established, the movie devolves into nonsense.

Jullianne Moore plays a gruff FBI agent who is on the hunt for a rogue nuclear device somewhere in the American southwest. After witnessing Johnson’s precognitive abilities in Vegas, she thinks his unique talent can aid her on her mission. Despite protests from her far more sensible superior, she struggles to get Johnson on her team, and eventually succeeds.

Meanwhile, and this makes zero sense to me, the nuke-toting terror group (a motley assortment of European and Russian thugs whose goal and motivations are never, ever explained) also catches wind of Johnson and somehow figures that he’s the one person standing in the way of detonating their nuke. This sets up a chase with Johnson and his new girl Liz on the run from both the feds and the terrorists.

At this point in the movie, I’m failing to understand why the feds think Johnson will be of any help. What? He’ll be able to give them a 2 minute heads up before the nuke goes off? Nor do I understand how the terrorists actually become aware of Johnson’s power and deciding that he’s the one thing standing in their way. Such simple questions plagued me for most of the movie.

Anyway, the terrorists captured Liz as some sort of move against Johnson, though I’m forgetting exactly why. Johnson reluctantly agreed to help the FBI track down the terrorists and the bomb, and then the audience has the rug pulled out from under them with a lame twist.

When the movie finally ended, my friend John loudly rejoiced. We both agreed that had it not been raining quite heavily outside, we would have left the movie early. The only good thing to result from this move is that while scanning over other online reviews of Next I stumbled upon this video clip of Jessica Biel in a bikini in another, obviously far more appealing, movie.

Posted in Movies/TV, Reviews | 1 Comment »


Posted by Brian on May 22, 2007

One of my favorite passages from Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War:

As Fleischer recounted this exchange [a Q&A session btween Ari Fleischer and Helen Thomas] for the president, Bush’s mood changed, according to Levine. He grew grim and determined -steely. Out of nowhere, he unleashed a stream of expletives.

“Did you tell her I don’t like motherfuckers who gas their own people?” the president snapped.

“Did you tell her I don’t like assholes who lie to the world?”

“Did you tell her I’m going to kick his sorry motherfucking ass all over the Mideast?”

Do we have an actual president in the White House or merely a deranged frat boy? I can imagine him punctuating the above comments by smashing a beer can against his forehead.

Posted in American Issues | Leave a Comment »

Al Gore In Time Magazine

Posted by Brian on May 22, 2007

Al Gore made the cover of Time magazine this week. Inside, there’s a lengthy article on the prospect of Gore running for president in 2008. It’s a good read.

I really, really hope he runs.

Posted in American Issues | Leave a Comment »

Funny/Not Funny

Posted by Brian on May 18, 2007

Not funny:


Posted in Other | 1 Comment »