Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Scarbee Says: First you get the pollen, then you get the nectar, then you get the women...

I love extremism and so do you! Centrist philosophy and moderation is probably the key to stability and sustainability but once most humans achieve this cozy nook they tend to test the boundaries, then leap over them, and then snort whatever it is they find on the other side. Extremism is where the adventure begins, where humans discover their flaws and where the all the great dramas come to a crashing, fiery end.

Though parenting has rendered me for the most part dormant my appetite for extremism, my deep-seated belief in hedonism as a viable and worthwhile lifestyle is well-documented but of a garden-variety sort. There is a whole other domain of extremism that I dare not go lest the light of dawn find me before I’ve dragged my weary ass back over the aforementioned line. I know I'm missing something even if it's only diminishing returns. For this reason retirement is going to be something special with me for all the six or so months that I'm liable to last. Anything that gives me the fear now is going to be what my Freedom 55 is all about. My children aren't likely to receive much inheritance what with the high cost of infant pituitary glands. They'll have to find their own way like I did which is fine by me, it builds character.

I often ponder if its common sense or cowardice that causes me to pull the rip-cord with the ground still a full mile away. Whether it’s the party life or politics or insane ideologies there are levels of extremism that creates impact craters out of people’s lives and I’ll admit to being honoured when I get to bear witness. I find this kind of extreme consequence for extreme belief fascinating if only for the pendulum’s arc; the predictable path of what some have called karma. Mostly the inevitable outcome, the hammer strike of reckoning is merely the reinforcement of long-established rules but I still walk away humbled and strangely illuminated. Imagining Elvis straining on the toilet will always be my Rodin’s Thinker; it just tells me the stories that I'm always willing to hear.

The Power of Nightmares: perfect Halloween viewing!

If you’ve never watched The Power of Nightmares I highly recommend hitting the torrents. You may not agree with everything this three-part BBC documentary says but it attempts to provide the cause to many of the modern effects we feel today. I recall it now because it describes life in Afghanistan after the Soviet Union retreated; how the various mujahideen cells were prone to turn on each other and then eventually, themselves. Their extreme view of Islam would brook no variation with the end results being that groups of hardened religious warriors would annihilate their own brothers-in-arms upon the aftermath of their victory against the communist superpower.

Al Qaeda here, Al Qaeda there, Al Qaeda - Al Qaeda everywhere!

Meanwhile Pakistan is enjoying the poisonous fruits of their own brand of extremism. Whatever you think the threat of radical Islam is to western nations it pales to the blight they have become where they have been given shelter. Al Qaeda isn’t just in the remote Peshwar region of Pakistan anymore, they’ve insinuated themselves into city and suburb while they raise resources to mount increasingly larger attacks. Something like a thousand Pakistani soldiers have lost their lives fighting this menace since this War on Terror started and they have been left demoralized because a portion of the officers in power seem to condone their supposed enemies. They do so because they go way back, back to when they were allies against the Soviets. They fought the same enemy in their youth and those bonds do not easily break. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Pervez Musharraf has allowed Benazir Bhutto to return; to rally the seculars and repel the rising jihadist tide.

Guess who's coming to my big, fat gay dinner?

An extreme point of view should always be held in suspect because black and white views have through the course of history mobilized those who easily submit to authority. Is the extremist a true-believer or are they manipulating the masses for personal gain? I've always suspected that Republican mouthpiece Ann Coulter was more of a clown than a true neo-conservative. She rarely fails to vilify the purveyors of opposing views as closeted homosexuals. Imagine her embarrassment when she got caught on camera enjoying the viands at a hip gay restaurant in the heart of the West Hollywood village? Busted you might say, much like the ostrich carcass her bigoted soul is bound to. I shouldn't make fun, it must be tough having a body where the part with the widest circumference is your asshole.

Sure the ammenities suck but think about all that free intolerance!

The extremism present in Iraq’s current sectarian fault-lines is an easy example to present when running with this theme. This article goes over the transformation of a declining Baghdad burg over a period of time and the bitterness it engendered among the American troops stationed there. The picture painted is bleak indeed.

When I can afford to wire my mud hut with Alarm Force I promise to lose the rifle.

Check it out, something somewhat related to Canada! Much to no one’s shock it has been discovered that Afghans in the north are stockpiling weapons in case the Taliban return. What isn’t said is that Afghanistan has been a wild frontier for hundreds if not thousands of years and who can begrudge these people their home defence? This is where the illusions of the west collide with the realities of life over there. Any gain made by NATO forces is overshadowed by a restless enemy in the south. There are officially not enough troops to stabilize many significant regions of Afghanistan and so the Taliban operate in this area with impunity. The mission is grinding to a stall of irregular movement and sweet opium still flows from that nation unabated. This situation has all the makings of bad news waiting to happen.

Said with a Tony Montana accent: My queen bee's hive is so fucking polluted she can't have any larva.

Did the extremist trends in our society have an effect on bee population? How’s that for a half-assed tie-in? Anyway a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder is sweeping our continent and killing the bees off in droves. This might potentially have devastating effects on our agriculture. I’m not a big science fan most of the time but this article has sufficient doomy-gloomy goodness to satisfy. Plus this article made me come up with Scarbee, and he's staying. Any last words Scarbee? "Chu got a fucking problem with bee man?" HA! Good one Scarbee!

Newsflash! Religion is still a joke, believers last to get punchline.

This dense article warms my hell-bound heart. The Religious Right movement has run aground due to a marvellously failing President, the disillusionment of their flock, and the death of certain brimstone-farting blowhards. The politically-charged holy trinity of same-sex marriage, abortion, and teaching creationism as a legitimate science has begun to lose its lustre as a form of national debate and none of the current crop of Republican vote-panderers passes muster anymore. Certain heads of the American secular state are calling for the formation of a new party; a traditionalist organisation which focuses on the religious roots of America’s colonial infancy. From a strategic point of view I think the timing is certainly right. The secular big-business libertarians of the G.O.P have always been uneasy partners with the holy rollers. What with the reputation of the former being in the toilet and the latter now voting in record numbers a timely schism may change the face of American politics. This is a long-shot but if you follow these things you can see how Republican candidates have had to embrace religion and change their stance on their core issues. The likes of Guiliani and Romney are running scared and changing tack, you can see it. Who knows, maybe they’ve done the math and are trying to divert a disaster?

A full-on religious party within the U.S. would be like mana from heaven to me. A dynasty of Reverend Presidents is just what the history books need to make this epoch even crazier than it already is. A boy can dream.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Yet another video game post... Yadda yadda like having sex with my grandmother...

First off I would like to thank my erstwhile editor and literary sherpa-boy Mark for improving this blog, in this particular case sussing out how to wrap news links in hypertext. As the post below clearly displays it makes for a nicer overall package, yes? Look at it from the side as well and you’ll agree the package is shaping up.

This weekend I finished playing Half-Life 2 and Episode One of the same franchise. These games and others can be found on Valve Corporation’s anthology titled The Orange Box. For the first time console gamers can experience these award-winning titles on their own terms and I highly recommend doing so. If you own a 360 or a PC then pick it up today, if you run the PS3 you’ll have to wait a bit before it’s released. Half-Life 2 has been extensively reviewed so there is no need to do so, but I will add a few quick personal impressions. In terms of design and immersion I would describe the story as flawless. Visually it’s a gorgeous game that is comparable with this year’s top titles; an impressive feat given the game was first released three years ago! Value-wise it’s a good choice as there is lots of content on this single disc.

What I like best about this series is that you play a scientist thrown into an extra-ordinary set of circumstances and the game never forgets this. Sure as in all shooter games you wind up with assault rifles and rocket launchers but the game rewards you for playing smart above all. As a brainy protagonist the game encourages you to use the environment and come up with clever ways to dispatch enemies while remaining safe. The game trains you to pick up on these environmental clues by pitting you against a number of wonderfully subtle puzzles. These involve you being presented with road-blocks or obstacles that you wind up instinctively trying to circumvent. It hits you later with an ‘oh yeah’ feeling that this is a puzzle you need to figure out in order to further advance through the game. It’s your knowledge of simple physics and where you can apply them more than your skills in gun play that will ensure your success.

I’ve gone on longer than I thought gushing about an excellent game, but maybe this can serve as a counter-point to the review I wanted to do on a demo last week. I am compelled to review this particular demo because the subject matter is near and dear to my heart. Conan the Barbarian was created by Robert E. Howard throughout the 1920’s. To me Howard was one of the greatest fantasy writers of all time. His stories were captivating, authentic, savage, decedent, and strange. He is one of the pioneers of the genre and just about everybody stole from him with good reason.

I would figure that if your game company earned the rights to make a Conan game then you basically have a license to make money if you know what you are doing. Not only do you have a stable of great characters, locations, plot-lines, and dialogue to plumb, but you can look back at all of the previous Conan-related materials (comics, movies, TV shows, more books) to see what worked and what didn’t. Robert E. Howard was above all a short-story writer. There are literally dozens of stories that you could stretch into fantastic ten or twelve hour games. There is so much time-tested creative work already done for you that a game company simply has to pick what they feel is the brightest apple from the basket and devote their time to the mechanics; to make sure Howard’s vision displays well and plays nicely. It’s not necessarily a cake-walk but it is way easier than starting from scratch and developing your own intellectual property. If you can’t make a Conan game work then simply put you suck hard and really have no business in the industry. You need to set your sites lower and slum it making convert-trawling Christian games or maybe budget math tutoring programs for worthless inner-city kids who are going to wind up selling drugs anyway.

It was Nihilistic Software who received what I see as the honour to make a Conan game. Checking their history I learned that the heads of this development team once worked for Lucas Arts dome-fucking R2D2 until the poor guy spat out code for Star Wars titles. They struck out on their own to make a White Wolf Vampire game, then an aborted Star Craft game, and finally a Marvel Superhero game. In short, these guys are parasites in that they gain the rights to use other people’s material rather than create their own. I don’t think they wooed Conan estate holders to make this game out of love or passion for the material but just saw the potential to exploit the marketability of the brand. See? This is how a shit game gets birthed and you can usually predict it by seeing the pattern in developers history. Go internet!

The demo started off with a cut scene; with piss-poor CGI and an exchange between Conan and some random sword-slut. “Would you serve a woman?” She asks. “Service a woman,” Conan replies like the spiritually dead voice actor he is, “and gladly.” She’s outraged by this cheesy tripe and yet counts the barbarian as an ally. She has to otherwise we won’t get to play the actual game but in retrospect she should have scored a point in the battle against misogyny and feathered the fucking creep with a couple arrows.

In short; Conan is absolute garbage on all fronts. Think of God of War except for one important thing, it’s not. It’s a wannabe piece of clunky and cliché-ridden trash that somehow requires a system twice as powerful to play. In fighting the generic enemies I immediately came to realize that one of my attacks would unerringly kill while preventing me from taking damage. For the rest of the ten minute demo I therefore hit that button over and over to the ruination of all. What’s even better is that the more I pressed it the more gruesome and overblown the death scenes became. There was no need for combinations or special techniques, no need to learn or become more engaged. The game rewards monotony the same as when I use to pound grandma’s vag for quarters to play Ms. Pac Man. All of this repetitious slaying is done on a preposterous two-story wooden structure that serves no purpose other than to facilitate elevators that take you from one level to the next. Elevators! Conan of Cimmeria sacked the walls of Venarium at the age of sixteen and let me tell you, he didn’t use a fucking elevator.

There is nothing in this retarded game that is intrinsically Conan or utilizes the strength of Howard’s writing. What’s more it’s a blatant and lackadaisical rip-off of successful games with none of the graphical beauty and graceful flow. Hopefully it will bomb big enough for the corporate lawyers running Nihilistic to ‘diversify their investments’ and get the fuck off my lawn with their committee-made games. Demos are to be commended because you can avoid purchases just like this one. The game just came out so we can take a look at what a mainstream reviewer had to say. Here is the closing paragraph and the rating. If you hear a munching sound while reading that is the author trying to soften up a hard turd he's been forced to swallow.

IGN: Although they say you should never judge a book by its cover, in the case of Conan you can. The box art features a gruff, six-pack-toting barbarian wielding two bloody swords, surrounded by half naked nubile women. All that's missing is a decapitated head at his feet and it would be perfect. Ultimately, Conan is game that revels in the ridiculous and it’s all the more fun because of it. There are plenty of tongue-in-cheek moments, ludicrous cartoon violence and a rather suspect plot. Thankfully, the in-depth combat system, while not as tight as God of War’s offering - is strong enough to carry you through your adventure. Throw in some great boss battles and an array of over-the-top weapons and you've a compelling package. Admittedly, Conan’s violent charms certainly won’t be to everyone’s tastes but, if you’re looking for a brainless but enjoyable romp, you could do far worse than pick up this. Rating: 7.5/10

I love how couched the language is, how the game is praised with the most suspect of accolades; shit like reveling in the ridiculous, tongue-in-cheek, ludicrous, brainless as a good thing even. This paragraph is an internal battle in the writer’s mind, a battle between telling the truth and doing what he’s told. He (and I assume it’s a he) wants to tell us what he really thinks but the frontal lobe forbids it, the rent is due and meat lover’s pizza never, ever pays for itself. Seven-point-fucking-five. HA! Even the rating translations I gave last post didn't account for the sheer quantity of bullshit on this one. These people are not to be trusted.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Aliens vs. My Little Pony... One sided yes... But just think of the tie-in toys!

I don’t think it will be possible for me to review a video game poorly. This is not because I give all things related to the medium a free pass but because in order to review a game properly one must play through the game, and playing poor games is quite simply unnecessary in this day and age.

Reviewers cannot be trusted. These writers are corrupted hacks, industry whores who have thoroughly skewed the system with their secret allegiance to a product provider. I should know; I’ve done the deed and cashed the cheques. You know something isn’t right just by looking at the numbers. Sevens, eights, and nines dominate the review space and nothing wrought by human hand achieves such success on a sustained basis. Ours is a species of momentary, accidental greatness.

Reviews when taken as a whole can be used as a metric. Many game sites now collect all the reviews to create an average. This is more helpful but not without knowing how to mine the data. The system is simple and I can spell it out for you briefly. The system assumes the rankings are from 1 to 10.

Six or Less: This game is an unrepentant piece of shit and you should feel no guilt in stealing it or vandalizing copies when in the store. If you are given a six-rated game by a friend then they are no longer to be trusted because this gift constitutes a serious lack of judgment. If a girlfriend or significant other gives you this game you are within your rights to find someone who looks exactly like them, fuck them mercilessly, take pictures of the event, and then hand them over to the girlfriend while thanking them for last night because it was bloody amazing, and I do mean bloody. Your mother will buy you this game.

Seven: This game has glaring flaws and/or lacks innovation but isn’t broken. It is the video game equivalent of channel-surfing and you will play it only to stave off boredom. There is a whole retail industry devoted to seven-rated games and in English we pronounce it RENTALS. It is possible to fall in love with a seven-rated game if the subject matter just happens to intersect with a topic or task that you are intensely interested in. For example, my favourite seven-rated game is “The Suffering: Prison Is Hell.” In this game you can shoot little girls in the head. They’re supposed to be the evil ghosts of little girls but the graphics are spotty and so they just look like little girls… Little girls that you get to shoot… In the head. I borrowed this game from my gamer-wife Mike years ago and I’m not returning it because mooching off my friend enhances the whole illicit experience.

Eight: This is the true passing grade for a video game. Fucked eh? Eight-rated games are the low-water mark not for excellence but mere acceptability. Little Chinese girls must score an eight in gymnastics school or else they are drowned in dark wells of ice-cold water. I wish the video game industry employed similar motivational tactics. Buying an eight-rated game at full price is a necessary evil to feed the industry.

Nine: This is your standard great fucking game. You will play this game right through two times minimum and you may even do it back to back. This is the heady cream on the top of Belgium beer. Radical Islam flourishes in the Middle East because nine-rated games are unknown to their angry and sexually frustrated youth. Wives should not speak or move ungracefully when a nine-rated game is slotted into the machine. The game would often enjoy a sandwich while running and the wife should feel free to make herself useful in that regard.

Ten: This is a nine-rated game that is being reviewed by one of the above mentioned bribe-taking hacks. The review is worth reading because within you will find reams of bullshit laid out in the most glowing of terms. Reading the lies of others does improve your own skills and so you should approach it as an educational endeavour. Ten-rated games are reviewed by the used car salesmen of the video game industry. They operate in a Glen Gary Glen Ross fog of desperation, and their fawning while pathetic, serves to expose the misery that is their celibate lives. Still this is one good fucking game and you should pick it up.

Reviews are however losing even more status than they already have because downloadable content in the form of demos is sweeping the industry. You get to play a slice of the game and form your own opinion. To that end I have currently played four-and-a-half metric shit-tons of garbage game demos and I could review one of them. I will in fact do so in my next post but right now I’m going to throw out the news items that closed off my week.

Iran defiant over US Sanctions

Sanctions Are Meant to Prevent War

Sanctions against Iran are official. Banks and business interests have been targeted, though these measures are seen as mainly symbolic given that the Iranians do little business with the U.S. This is how a run-up to an attack goes though. You get congressmen into a voting pattern so you can go back later on and coerce them to remain consistent.

U.S. considers Kurdish air strikes

The Kurds may wind up face to face with the business end of the 21st century. In order to keep Turkish forces out of Iraq the U.S. is considering the use of air strikes on the independence-seeking guerrillas. Right or wrong mean nothing in the face of air power.

Modern Ideas in the Desert

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is building a more secular university of technology with his own money because he believes the Arab world is falling behind in that regard.

$240 Million from Microsoft for Facebook

I know you kids love the Facebook. Microsoft bought a very small stake in the business for a quarter of a billion bucks. I’m amazed that advertising dollars alone can generate this kind of megalith.

Pit bulls, Miniature Horse and Cancer Boy

Finally I’m going to tell you the saddest story you’ve ever heard. One day a little boy was stricken with brain cancer. Now I’m going to tell you the nicest story you’ve ever heard. The Make-A-Wish-Foundation found the little cancer boy and gave him a miniature horse named Anniversary which made the boy very happy. Now I’m going to tell you the most terrible story you’ve ever heard. Anniversary was ripped to pieces by a pair of pit bulls! Unfortunately there was no picture accompanying this story so instead I put up a picture of the Predalien to be featured in the upcoming Aliens vs. Predator movie because that is probably what those dogs looked like to poor Anniversary as he met his gory doom. In closing I only have one more thing to say. Where is your baby Jesus now, cancer boy? He’s not in your head fixing your dying brain and he wasn’t protecting your teeny-tiny horse, so where is he?

Kids have to learn. That’s what I’m here for.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Shock the monkey at your own peril my friends... Theirs is an ideology of hate and they are now emboldened by success...

My lovely wife has become Queen of the Torrents and if I can find a suitable tiara I will present it to her and further officiate the title in hopes she wears it while at the computer. She knows all the good sites and has become most proficient with all the troubleshooting required by this crooked, user-based emergent enterprise. She’s become so good that I’ve felt little impetus to learn the ins and outs myself and thus I’ve become digitally lazy. I salve my sense of guilt by convincing myself I do equal work in sussing out and bringing home all the best video games. Marriage seems to float on these day-to-day accommodations, these partitioning of tasks, with the end result being we become specialized creatures when it comes to running our own lives. My grandfather stopped eating salad after my grandmother died because he didn’t know how to make it and he couldn’t recognize the ingredients in their whole form at the supermarket. We’ve come a long way but the essence of our ignorance stemming from convenient and comfortable co-habitation still remains.

We have stolen Dora and Diego episodes for our two year old and in case you can’t gauge my mood on this I relish the misdemeanour. Fuck these two Latino overachievers who engage our youngsters with wholesome messages all while seeking to bombard them with toy and cereal advertisements. It is a grievous misuse of trust, like if you become friends with an Avon Lady and the bitch won’t keep her pink suitcase at home. With great pride I mention that thanks to piracy and the odd DVD purchase my children will never be forced to sit through a commercial. I am counting on this exclusion to result in the formation of an evolved human off-shoot, a super-being who will tear down the billboards of our forefathers and create free head space so that we may once again daydream spontaneously without having to Head On: Apply Directly to the Forehead. I would shit directly into the mouth of any person involved in those commercials before shipping them off to Nuremburg to answer for Crimes Against Humanity.

We finished watching the first season of Dexter which was perversely pleasant enough to lure me back to the cop-thriller, a genre of programming that I swore off fifteen years ago. The titular character is played by Micheal C. Hall. He carries the show easily and entertains throughout, which allows the cliché-ridden support cast to simply phone it in without thankfully breaking my concentration. They could all die and hopefully they will once they start whining for a bigger paycheque. All of them except for Masuka; Dexter’s Asian lab assistant anyway. Any guy in a shiny shirt, drink in hand, who yells out “She is going to fuck me SILLY!” is bound to appeal to the lug nuts that anchor my soul to its earthly frame. Bad-Assed African American Sergeant Doakes is worth mentioning because he’s the worst of the bunch, so bad he’s good. His constant, rapid intonation of the word ‘motherfucker’ is the antithesis of Samuel Jackson’s cool and iconic use of the explicative. Plus he flashes the Black Steel like a muscle-bound fairy; the result of Zoolander and Mr. T. having a butt-baby. My wife has taken to mock him through imitation, much to my amusement.

Okay, okay… I can’t stretch out the mediocrity of my home-bound life any longer. Here’s what I’ve been reading the past few days…


The fires in California are out of control and half a million people have evacuated their homes. The smoke is blotting out the sun in that part of the world. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (still sounds weird) has been all over this and seeing as there are a lot of white people involved President Bush looks to be preparing a proper emergency response. In some far-away, solar-powered bank vault, naked but for his Nobel Prize, a dollar-drenched and cum-stained Al Gore (doesn’t sound weird) is laughing his ass off. Good for him I say! He’s been preaching this stuff for twenty years while the tranquil Santa Ana has transformed into Trogdor the Burninator.



The world is officially on crazy-pills when the Kurds are making front page news for days running. Mountain-dwelling Kurdish guerrillas are raiding both Turkey and Iran in their bid for independence. Sadly their would-be nation is utterly landlocked and they are deeply resented by those who would lose ground in the process. All of this has happened before and the Kurds wind up getting their cracks kicked every time so this might not end well.


This article is one of those “Iraq is about the oil” arguments but it comes with compelling numbers, as in the estimated oil reserves are worth about 30 trillion dollars! So what’s trillion here or there to get it, right? The author also goes over the enduring bases being built for long-term American troops. It makes sense to me. The Green Zone is a huge target and once the oil deals are done they don’t need to pretend to centralize the government anymore. Iraq will remain shattered and reeling for years and the U.S. need only to respond to resource-based threats from their far-off strongholds. The Deputy Minister of Iraq gave a public and absolute answer of ‘NO’ when it came to the question of permanent American bases but these guys couldn’t even get Blackwater out of their own country so I don’t think they’re going to have much better luck with the U.S. Army.


Monkeys are responsible for killing the Deputy Mayor of Delhi! They attacked him in force and he fell one story, later dying from his head injuries. The monkey terrorists are thought to be Hindu radicals who are calling for a return to the worship and obeisance of Hanuman; the vanaran hero of Ramayana who came to the aide of Rama by rescuing the goddess Sita and battling the Rakshasa king Ravana. (I’m not making this stuff up, some ancient priest already did!) Hanuman teaches that feces, not cricket balls should be hurled by the faithful and that simian actors get their own trailers and top billing in Bollywood. The last sighting of Hanuman was made by Guru Sathya Sai Baba back in the 1940’s so we’re about due. If you’re interested in the good guru then I’ll put up his Wikipedia link. The man’s biography reads like my 19th Level Cleric/Rogue character from a Dungeons & Dragons game I played a couple years back.


Friday, October 19, 2007

I'm the fat man at the Buffet Table of World Events...

The previous rant was supposed to be my usual attempt to segue into a variety of somewhat relevant news items but in the end I didn’t bother to land the plane. I’m rather surprised that it wound up being one of my longest posts and that I had twenty times as much to say on the issue than President Bush said himself. At the end of it I was all spent and satisfied but then remembered I had a dozen news links that I originally intended to put in. I’m like that guy who buys four pornos anticipating a musky night of sexual self-exploration only to blow myself empty watching the previews. I see that porno guy a lot, every time I go to the porno shop in fact. (Editors note: He’s looking into a mirror.)

So I’m going to throw up some more links and I have to tell you it’s been a very eventful week in the world. Babies have been born, autumnal corn is all but harvested, somewhere the gentle rain soothes the brow of a weary man who has learned to love himself and in doing so, love the world… But I know you check up on me for all the bat-shit insane crazy stuff, to remind you that we are going straight to hell. So let’s go!


Okay this is fucking horrific. Massive twin explosions turned Benazir Bhutto’s triumphant return to Pakistan after eight years of exile into a tragedy. The explosions spared the obviously-targeted former Prime Minister but killed a whopping 134 people at the time of writing and wounded around 400! If I had known that Pakistanis were so bloody hardcore I would have made way less fun of them back in public school. Do you think Pakistan’s covert agency (the I.S.I.) was behind it? Bhutto’s husband seems to think so. It seems a by-gone conclusion that Bhutto will sweep the upcoming elections and do everything in her power to turn Pakistan once again into a democracy. President - slash - General Pervez Musharraf stands to lose a lot of power and authority if the country changes direction so the motive is certainly there. All in all this was a truly epic event. Check the slideshow in the article, the pictures are something else.


The Turkish government authorized its military to move into Iraq and deal with Kurdish separatists who have been targeting their soldiers and civilians. Really they had no choice; something strong had to be done in order to save face. Consider that last summer Israel had just two soldiers kidnapped and they replied by killing around 1,000 Lebanese. The Kurds stoned one of their own kind - a young girl no less - just for getting engaged to a Sunni, and how did the Sunnis respond? They killed around 500 people with truck bombs just for disrespecting them like that. Turkey has lost something like 31 people in the last two weeks including 13 servicemen. They have to come back hard or look weak. The Turks have crossed into northern Iraq many times in the past but never while the U.S. was minding the store. The military’s authorization will last for a full year so they might take their time on enacting their payback.


It appears that Israel’s target in the Syrian strike was indeed a nuclear plant being constructed. I’ve heard from other sources that the Syrians have abandoned the construction site and that North Korean consultants were killed in the attack. Contrary to the Iran situation I can’t blame Israel for striking a clandestine nuclear project that the I.A.E.A. knew nothing about.


In environmental news China has a lake that’s green and gross. There was a guy saying “Excuse me, but our lakes are becoming green and gross,” so they tossed him in jail. This is why I think China’s new rise to power is a paper dragon. The people who are passionate about sustainability and preventing long-term disaster are silenced so in the end every possible bad thing that can happen to them, will happen to them.


Here’s what might happen to us though. This is a projection of what our lives might be reduced to with the disappearance of cheap oil. It’s very compelling but extremely bleak as well. Black gold hit 90 dollars a barrel today. I’ve already started wringing my hair out for fuel.


This is just a quick update on the Iraq/Blackwater incident. C.E.O. Erik Price said that he will not allow his mercenaries to be tried in Iraqi courts. Remember that Iraq is supposed to be a sovereign nation and this fucker is nothing but a greasy businessman. He says that Iraq lacks the capability to provide fair courts but I think that might have something to do with the fact that Blackwater has ensured Iraq remain lawless by constantly barreling down the streets shooting and killing civilians. It’s sickening how these war-profiteers never realise that they are part of the problem.


Similar in tone to the soldiers writing about the Iraq War, here is another one penned by a large number of officers. Again compare their thoughts with those of General Petraeus.




Finally I have a trio of articles on Russian President Vladimir Putin. This guy, he’s fucking golden. Sure he’s a shadowy, former K.G.B. autocratic with blood on his hands but you can’t help but admire how FUCKING EFFECTIVE he is. This man hasn’t made a misstep in years. His detractors are winding up dead all over the world, one of them by nuclear-frikken-poison! He seized Russia’s oil interests from the oligarchs at the perfect time to fill the nation’s coffers. He bitch slaps Condoleeza Rice anytime he feels like it because the poor half-orc just can’t keep up – the last time was to derail U.S. backed missile defense programs in Europe. Now he’s siding with Iran and is telling the U.S. they should back off. Best of all however is he adopted Franklin Delano Roosevelt of all people as an ideological role model. Brilliant! Beloved President Roosevelt served beyond his two terms you see, and America at the time endorsed it. Putin looks to do the same thing. Talk is that he will become Prime Minister and control the country from there, sighting his love for an American hero while doing it. I’m getting both misty and moist! Bush was so wrong on this guy. Way back he claimed to “look him in the eye” and see his soul and all that bullshit. Now he’s claiming that democracy might not be in “Russian’s D.N.A.” which not only sounds ridiculous but is contrary to his previous talking point that people the world over crave democracy and that America is the tube of Pringles that is sure to satisfy.

Hulk Smash!!! Oh wait, car not paid for, insurance go up? Hulk put down, please excuse Hulk...

Like all great swear words the age-old term asshole has more than one grammatical usage. Using asshole as an adjective is a household favourite and speaking from experience I can tell you it will alter the dynamic of any encounter. The actual meaning of the word in this context is something that has never been demanded of me. You call someone an asshole and you are not likely to be questioned on whether your choice of wordage is apt, rather you’re going to take shit for having the temerity to point out the obvious. This is telling. Random House explains that an asshole in the adjective sense is a person who is stupid, mean, and contemptible. Perfect! I mean it just fits, doesn’t it? As soon as I looked it up it felt like I was slipping into my favourite pair of underwear and I didn’t even need to adjust my balls because they dropped into completely snug positioning on their own. It’s also the reason why you never get called on the veracity of vilifying someone as an asshole, it always fits snugly too. We’ve all been stupid, mean, and contemptible in our lives and chances are you’ve just come back from a meeting with some asshole or are reading this before you engage in yet another merry, assholic foray.

Our capacity to become assholes stems from the fact that we can become thoughtless and inconsiderate, usually when we are tired and cranky. I would argue that many of our flaws stem from our energy levels and therefore the inherit limits of our biology. Of course I’m talking about normal, thoughtful, considerate people who slide into assholism after a bad day or series of unfortunate events. There are those among us who are both stupid and mean by disposition but you can identify and thus avoid them based on their proficiency with a banjo. The third kind of asshole is the conscious one and I’ll admit to having worn this ass-hat on occasion. Sometimes people require that special kind of motivation that is fuelled by shame and sometimes people need to be confronted with their fear of suddenly finding themselves in a volatile situation. Being an asshole in public creates a ripple effect; it re-aligns those caught in the ass-water wake. One time long ago at a party a buddy of mine fell for this blonde but didn’t know how to approach her. I stepped up and started acting like an asshole. She became offended of course but within ten minutes she and my friend were chatting about the incident and they wound up dating all summer. See? I use my powers for good when they're not already sold to highest bidder!

This George W. Bush, I’ve had my eye on him and I’m sorry to report that this guy is a total fucking asshole. What he did this time was basically warn the world at large that if we want to avoid World War III then we should prevent Iran from obtaining the knowledge to make nuclear weapons.


What’s left to ponder is how he came to this assholic state? Is he tired and cranky and prone to slips in the autumn of his second term because of how unpopular he’s become? I don’t think so. When you stand before the press to take questions you need to bring out your A Game, you make sure you’re rested and focused because any gaffs are going to make front page news (case in point.) Did George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara sire a little asshole? Again I don’t think so. Dubya makes friends easily and has a history of disarming his critics. I don’t think you can become the President of the United States as a full-blown asshole, that’s the kind of guy Canadians tend to elect. In America a sunny and charismatic attitude is not just necessary but it’s really all you need. That leaves my third option; this guy chooses to be an asshole. Now incidentally the term dickhead is described as a person who is foolish, inept, and again contemptible. That’s Bush II to a fucking tee! He’s a bone-deep dickhead who chooses to be an asshole when he thinks it suits him. That’s were it gets funny, because he’s stupid he often miscalculates so he winds up being an asshole for no good reason.

I’m going to bang out some quick facts and then we’ll get back to this asshole. First is that Iran has no nuclear weapons, not one. Second is the I.A.E.A., who monitors Iran’s nuclear operations on behalf of the U.N., have found no evidence of a weapons program. Third is that as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran is legally entitled to engage in civilian nuclear power programs. Fourth is that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad, for all his assholic and bellicose behaviour, has no control over Iran’s military and does not possess the authority to call in a military strike, nuclear or otherwise. His is a civilian position.


Every sane person out there is calling for dialogue, for talks and for diplomacy. If you’re going to engage North Korea and if you’re going to call Pakistan an ally then there is no reason why Iran - warts and all - cannot receive overtures of statesmanship. Oh but wait, there is one reason; the States is being lead by an asshole. The facts mean nothing to this man and he is once again invoking the spectre of weapons that don’t exist and pointing to a powerless boogieman to justify a future military campaign.

You can bandy about that World War III wise-crack any way you like but in the end it still comes out as a political piece of shit. Bush apologists are claiming that George is being merely prophetic; that Israel won’t allow Iran to go nuclear. Let us remember that Israel’s military capabilities, both nuclear and conventional, owe their life to the U.S. Do you not think that if you help a country develop weapons then you are obligated to use your leverage to ensure they are only used as a deterrent, for defensive purposes only? We see that even ethically challenged governments like China pull back on the reigns of their subordinate North Korea when things get a little too heated. If Israel is indeed going to bomb Iran then what Bush is actually saying is that they are willing to let their dog off the leash and they won’t be held responsible. Only a true asshole would do that, an asshole with a pit bull, and honestly the pit bull is the Official Canine of the Asshole so I am batting a thousand with my allegories on this one.

Another talking point is that a nuclear Iran will destabilize the region and THAT is what will cause World War III… somehow. This is a conniving notion. Listen, if war breaks out in the Middle East over this issue then only Israel will be the one to start it. You think Turkey or Saudi Arabia thinks this is worth fighting over? If Iran retaliates against Israel then America is jumping right the fuck in. Once Iran (and more particularly its precious oil infrastructure) starts catching fire then Russia and China will quickly move into a protective posture around their energy ally. That is what would classify the campaign as World War III. If you run the country that is most likely to expand a regional conflict into World War III and in a press conference you warn people about the potential for the End of the Trilogy if things don’t go your way, then what the fuck else is that other than a veiled threat? And who makes veiled threats? That’s right, assholes and my dad. Hey! My dad is no asshole but its true his warnings did sound like veiled threats. He was right though, they didn’t like it once they made him angry. Nobody likes it when he gets angry.

It’s evident that President Bush is ideologically corrupt and intellectually bereft when he shoots off his mouth like this. What’s sad is that political experts are saying that nothing can really be done, that both America and the world have to wait out the term before there is a change in policy. What's worse is that Congress and the Senate cannot stop an order to bomb even if they wanted to. Until then we just have to hope that this asshole doesn’t start another war in the next year. To me that is a definition of insanity itself.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It is the DOOM of men that they forget...

The above title is a quote from the 1981 movie ‘Excalibur’ as delivered by Nicol Williamson in his off-beat but effective portrayal of Merlin the Magician. Ironically it stuck with me and I have never forgotten it, nor have I failed to use it when I wish to sound both wise and ominous. Memory is one of those universal subjects of fascination among humans which explains why it not only figures heavily in psychology and studies of the brain but in our art and entertainment as well. Gaining, losing, or viewing memory is a plot device used with such common frequency in storytelling that we barely recognize when we’re exposed to it. Our minds have been trained to transition through time and space seamlessly when following the thread of a particular story.

Memory is of course instrumental when conceiving the passage of time and taken to a further extent, reality itself. If we have forgotten something then how real was the experience in the first place? How many moments have we lived through that wind up having a minimal or negligible effect on us because we lack the ability to store everything we may or may not have done? Do we actually forget more than we remember? If that is the case and if you believe that our subconscious somehow accounts for our unremembered events then might we not be a species formed more from our forgetfulness than our remembrance? What then of a made-up memory? Can remembering a lie have a deeper effect on our development than forgetting the truth?

Hmm… Marijuana…

Myanmar has probably slipped from memory though its mere mention might reactivate and recall what has recently gone on there. It hasn’t stopped, though it being out of front page news might cause one to think that there is stasis or inactivity in that beautiful but benighted part of the world. I’ll admit to feeling that way at least. Sadly it isn’t so.


This report claims that around 200 people have been killed and 6,000 detained. Let’s be clear however, those 6,000 detained are basically at death’s door what with horrid prison conditions, forced labour camps, and the tender mercies of an enforcement establishment with a penchant for firing into crowds in broad daylight. Monk corpses are being found in the surrounding jungles.


A science organization with access to satellite imagery has tracked not only the eradication of several Burmese villages but what seems to be the forced relocation of even more people. Bush clearing on a mass scale indicates that camps may be being created to accommodate a large migration of people.


There is no question that the ruling junta is unpopular, so how can they carry on? It stands to reason that so long as they are swimming in cash they may act with impunity. And so we learn that 90% of the world’s rubies hail from Myanmar. “Fiery Gems from a Fairytale World!” so the advertisements go. Lovely.


Here’s a few more stories for the memory books. I for one am really, really tired of the “Inconvenient Truth” slogan being used to describe everything from Hillary Clinton potentially winning the Democratic nomination to my eventual dependence on bladder control undergarments but that aside this is a very good article on that whole Armenian genocide thing. The motive as to why the Ottomans would have wiped out up to 1.5 million Christians is explained. What's not is the motive of congress to vote on this.

Pure speculation but this might be a way for the Democratic congress to undermine the war in Iraq rather than take the more politically dangerous route of cutting funding. If Turkey wouldn't allow the U.S. to move supplies through their ports then the war effort would have a serious logistical challenge on their hands. Furthermore if Turkey is emboldened by a shaky alliance to move into Kurdish Iraq as they want to then there would be another outbreak of violence. I wouldn't be surprised if the Democratic party desired and even pursued an agenda that would ensure bad news to continue pouring out of Iraq up until the 2008 election. Cynical? Yes. Tinfoil hat crazy even? Yes. I'm just throwing it out there.


Steve Rogers; the original Captain America died not too long ago in a very politically-charged story, gunned down on the steps of a courthouse where he was prepared to submit his secret identity. His death was as much of a statement regarding the modern American identity as it was a money grab to sell ultra-collectible comics. He will be replaced – by whom in the Marvel universe is a closely guarded secret – but the new/old costume has been revealed. The re-addition of a handgun has lowered the jaws of some but again I think this to be another spot of social commentary couched in a bit of “Malibu Stacy with a New Hat” style of marketing. Let’s hope it’s a super gun that gives bullets the ability to change course mid-shot. Then maybe the Captain can go back in time and unwittingly fire on John F. Kennedy, thus confirming the Magic Bullet theory. Ooh! Good thing I have Stan Lee on speed-dial!


Finally in something more archaeological than political there is a massive dig going on right now in Hanoi to fully uncover the thousand year old palaces of the Great Viet; Bronze Age founders of North Viet Nam! Their symbols were both the dragon AND the phoenix which in ancient times stood for Twice the Awesome!

Monday, October 15, 2007

We are all making the new Middle East...

The Middle East is on fire these days or at least it seems to be from the perspective of a westerner living in the cool waters of perpetual peace. It has of course been that way for all of my lifetime but it seems as if many strategies are finally coming to fruition or collapse. In this sandy region the proxies of the world plot and scheme their way into superior position while at the same time placing themselves above the indigenous races by virtue of the painful reality of attrition. Generations of children have now been raised in a reality of broken down neighbourhoods, dead and injured relations, uncertainty, bitterness, and the religious extremism that is sure to follow.

World War I created a whole Lost Generation in just four short years of mechanized barbarity. We see short glimpses of what the multiple lost generations in the Middle East are capable of; lives devoted to guerrilla warfare, suicide bombers, brutal ceremonies such as stoning the unclean and even government sanctioned beheading, to say nothing of common-place torture with various power tools. The shape of the Middle East in our future is uncertain but what seems clear enough is that no matter who wins, these everyday people have lost. They’ve been through too much, they’ve suffered for too long, and I doubt they will properly heal enough to help facilitate lasting peace. Is that part of the master plan? Is bombing, and policing, and sanctioning, and isolating in the name of peace really a ruse to grind a people down so they can never rise up to fight you fairly and openly should they bristle against your injustice?

One never knows…


It seems that what Israel bombed in Syria was a nuclear facility under construction. Apparently it was being built with North Korean know-how and the strike echoes the Osirak bombing of 1991. Look back over just this past year and count the little skirmishes between the regional would-be power of Iran and western trident of the U.S. the U.K. and Israel. The Shahab missile tests, British troops seized in open water, Iranian officials detained in Iraq, carrier battle groups in the Gulf of Hormuz – all of it pushing and prodding and the presentation of resolve.


This is just another upping of the ante, Israel wants Iran to take notice and come to understand the threat. Instead Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has declared that all Middle Eastern countries should boycott an upcoming American sponsored peace process for Palestine.


What’s funny is that despite government rhetoric and position the Industrial Military Complex is uncaring of the politics of these lesser civilian forces. Iran requires F-14 parts for their air force and one way or another Americans are sending them the hardware they need!


Elsewhere it seems Turkey is prepared to toss aside their relationship with America by invading Kurdish Iraq in search of separatists who have killed some 30 soldiers in recent times. They cite that the U.S. should have made more efforts to pacify the Kurdish attackers so that they wouldn’t have to. We could be seeing a new war front boil over.


This whole situation is made more complicated by the fact that the Kurdish Authority, heedless of Iraq’s oil sharing stalls, has gone ahead and made regional agreements that may or may not be legally binding. Conceivably Turkish soldiers could be invading a place where American oil concerns are operating. It’s a potential Bush nightmare.


Al-Qaeda in Iraq is however reported to be crippled, down to only 30% to 40% capacity. I report this in fairness of seeing a problem from all sides but I think there is much salt to be taken with this. First of all, Al-Qaeda is constantly being reported as a minor player in Iraq. Second, the Sunnis tolerated the extremists when there were Shiites to intimidate and now that the country is mostly segregated they have started putting down the rabid dogs lest they get bitten. Third, have we ever heard of Al-Qaeda getting spanked but then coming back better than ever? Oh yeah! Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda isn’t a military force to be vanquished but the result of a discontented population, in this case the whole of the aforementioned Middle East.

Friday, October 12, 2007

When I get that feeling... I want... Sexual Salami...

It’s been like ten days since I put up a post! Where does the time go? Well, since this is my blog why don’t I tell you! For six days I was off work in a kind of stay-at-home vacation except home is not a holiday; it’s an over-emotional child-tending boot-camp where you literally have to steal free time in the dark of night. I cooked a Thanksgiving turkey with stuffing and gravy for the very first time and I have to say that it was mother-fucking delicious. I get to say that see. So long as my mother or my aunt was making the turkey they would ask “how’s the turkey” and I would have to say “oh my but it is very, very tasty” even if it was dry like an Al-Qaeda hand-job. Since I made the turkey this year I was able to sit at my own dinner table and proclaim “this buttery bird with its triple sausage stuffing is mother-fucking delicious, bitches” and the dinner guests could do nothing but look down at the table. When dinner was over I made a taco out of nothing but turkey skin and stuffing. When you cook the bird you control the bird and the possibilities are endless my friends!

I played a lot of Halo 3 at night with my time off and I must say I’m handling myself not too badly. For a while I was getting fragged on the steady but then I started to pick it up. My Skill Level kept rising as I came in third or second in matches and I even won a couple. I recorded one match in its entirety and the game allows you to view it from any angle with a flying camera. I am quick to force my friends to sit down and review the epic battle complete with freeze frame and detailed explanations of everything that’s happening… Sometimes looking back on my life I wonder how I have any friends at all?

We finished watching the first season of Heroes and it really stands nicely on its own as a complete story. So far the latest three episodes of the second season are not on par. It’s moving slowly, they’re concentrating on love stories, and they have even introduced people with duplicate powers, which I think is a bit cheap. This may have something to do with one of the writers leaving only to be replaced by some douche who use to write for the O.C. On the other hand there is this Latina chick that runs around in a sweaty tank top and bleeds deadly black shit from her eyes. Even better she’s always remorseful and afraid, sobbing and mumbling religious nonsense. So nice that would be. No wonder I had this dream where I come home from work carrying this huge, spicy salami over my shoulder and the little lady pictured above was helpless and frantic, trapped with her head stuck in the sewer grate found in my living room. The rest of the fantasy kind of writes itself.

Anyway before this blog gets flagged and my chances with the lovely Dania Ramirez get completely shot to hell let’s look at the news…


Normally I would applaud anyone taking unreasonable and pointless pot-shots at the Turkish if only for my amusement but I cannot figure out what congress hopes to gain by condemning the genocide of Armenians way back in 1915. Is there not a perfectly awesome and far more relevant genocide going on in Darfur right now? The digitally perfect pictures of hacked up African bodies are far more interesting then any surviving sepia-toned tragedy shots the Armenian nonagenarians can cough up. The sperm that would become House Speaker Nancy Pelosi still resided in a hairless ball sac back then so why should she bother weighing in on it now?


Juan Cole from the Global Americana Institute knows more about this issue than anybody and even he doesn’t have all the answers. Still this is a great read too. Thanks to Nima at Report on Positivity for passing it on. http://positivity.wordpress.com/



Blackwater is still in the news. All these crazy stories are coming out adding fuel to the fire. Apparently when their SUV had a fender bender with an Army Humvee the mercenaries pulled their gun and held up the soldiers! If I was an officer I would have lit them up right then and there. Nobody should punk the army. The Iraqi Government wants them completely out of country in six months. Yeah, good luck with that. They’ll be gone just like you suspended their license… Pussies.


Reconciliation amongst Iraq’s various factions is off the table. Now they just want to focus on securing voter confidence and ensconcing themselves in their positions. The Iraqi power structure, laughable as it is, is all set to play the waiting game now. They’re digging in until the U.S. finally leaves and then they’re going to wipe out their rivals.


The poor performance of the Green Zone is being reflected in the streets. Now that most of Iraq is pretty well segregated the militias who once made a living off the corpses of their enemies are running low on cash. They seem to have started turning on their own kind for pocket change and practice. Typical.


If you want to read about more Bush rats abandoning the sinking ship then here you go. I love that these people ‘never look back’ and are ‘always looking forward.’ I would love to grab them by the neck and force them to look back. They would involuntarily close their eyes but I would threaten them to look at what they’ve done or I would cut their eyelids off, just as my new hero Dexter taught me to. Then they would scream and I would sniff up their pungent, nourishing despair.


Finally thanks to Dave for sending me this. These Chinese, so funny. Why do they taunt the River Dragon with their succulent four year olds? Don't they know this kind of mockery will bring about flood and inauspicious harvest?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

There are some heroes and villians in the world but most of us are everyday douchebags...

My wife and I are currently enjoying the first season of Heroes. Normally I wouldn’t waste time being the last person on the planet to laud last year’s most successful show but in doing so there is much to comment on, not just with regards to TV thrillers but comic book culture in general.

I think Heroes has done critical damage to the comic book medium by exposing how many juvenile clichés they have adhered to through the years, all the while claiming to push the medium and elevate the art. Your first reaction might be to exclaim: “Well duh! Why wouldn’t comic books be juvenile?” The answer however is quite simple; they're not and they haven’t been geared that way for years. Gone are the generations that did things when they were kids and then dropped them as they rose into adulthood. There was heavy stigma in the days of our parents and grandparents to grow up, not so today. Everyone I know still watches cartoons, if only the odd one, or plays video games or reads a comic should someone pass them a graphic novel to peruse. Adulthood no longer means that you have to pick up a new set of hobbies or interests. Comics have been taking themselves very seriously and have stayed relevant by holding onto their aging base. This societal shift is the reason why a show like Heroes succeeds in the first place.

Many comics have tried to tell stories about normal people suddenly gaining super-powers and their reactions have never been close to feeling authentic. By issue two or three there is inevitably a costume appearance and all the other trappings of pulp paper heroism. This program on the other hand has succeeded with genuine reactions on multiple occasions. The story of how their characters cope with their new found abilities is subtle, wildly varying, and clever. Power granting has put stains on marriage, has friends and family questioning sanity, has lead to temptation, theft, murder, despair, delusions of grandeur, and yes, a renewed sense of hope for the world. They have covered all the bases and told each story with care. I know Stan Lee has taken notice of this, he even made a cameo.

What’s also great is how every character runs against type. They’ve taken the standard suite of powers any X-Men reader would recognize and matched them with really unlikely personalities. The dashing and manipulative politician isn’t the mind-reader, he can fly. The buff black dude doesn’t have super-strength, his stripper wife does. The otaku can’t pull a run on bank machines or access the internet with his mind, he bends time. In comic books the characters are often mere shadows or extensions of what they can do. In Heroes the people clearly come before the supernatural.

In terms of a TV program Heroes also delivers where shows like The X-Files and Lost have failed. They set up a mystery, they give it a few episodes to stew, and then they land the plane on time. They answer their own big questions with fair regularity rather than milk your patience from one season to the next. Not only does this prove that the show is well written but it has the most excellent side-effect of changing the show and its' characters in significant ways. Maybe if Mulder left the F.B.I. in the third season and started working for the Russians, or if more characters got off Perpetual Mystery Island then both of those shows wouldn’t have deflated into formulaic set-pieces incapable of keeping my attention. It’s refreshing to watch a show with real consequences because you don’t know what will happen next. When a program doesn't have the built-in reset, where everything has to go more or less back to the way it was at the top of the hour, then you can tell the stories that lesser shows dare not tell.

So to honour Heroes I’m going to throw up some entertainment news today with a focus of course on Hollywood casualties and other nut-bar celebrities.



So Unfitney lost custody of her two kids because she failed to attend a court-ordered drug test and counselling sessions, instead tooling around town with her kids and no driver’s license. What the fuck is it with these millionaire entertainment morons and their cars? If I had one-tenth of this egg donor’s money I would be riding dirty in a glass-bottomed hovercraft piloted by a champagne-serving Amazon who would answer to the name THUNDERCUNT – spelt with capital letters only if you please. I ask you my friend, who among us wouldn’t? The latest pictures of Britney show her to be radiantly happy which is more fuel on the fires of speculation that she didn't want them anymore in the first place.


I never heard of Lou Pearlman but apparently this bloated fat-sac was a mogul for boy bands such as NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys. Now he’s behind bars with allegations of child molester coming out of the woodwork. It’s actually quite brilliant in a John Wayne Gacy the Killer Clown kind of way. Lou set up a front that would lure the tastiest cuts of teenage girly-boys into his clutches and in exchange for sex he would set them up in a career requiring no brains or talent. The thought that the handsome and much beloved Justin Timberlake was once a potential fuck-toy for Mojo; Leader of the Spineless Ones (pictured above) seems just and right to me in this topsy-turvy world of ours.


Tom Cruise is apparently going to build a massive bunker under his mansion. Despite his spokesperson denying the Dr. Evil inspired renovations the article obstinately pushes on, claiming that Tom is preparing for a revenge attack on earth to be perpetrated by Xenu! The whole premise is beyond stupid. If Xenu is capable of intergalactic flight then he would have no trouble carving Cruise’s lily-white ass out of whatever earthy stronghold humanity can conceive of. Even a Scientologist like Tom Cruise Mapother IV (no shitting – his real name) would come to this conclusion. The more one believes in Xenu the more hopeless a mere mortal’s plight against him becomes. Xenu destroyed a race of aliens and stuffed their souls into volcanoes. Just what the hell would a sub-basement that gets satellite cable do against the likes of that? This guy gets nothing but bad press these days because he’s proven himself to be a dick but I still love his movies. I thought MI3 and War of the Worlds was great! I’m looking forward to the Nazi film he’s working on.


Last bit of garbage for the trash compactor and it’s a gross one. A couple pictures of Anna Nicole Smith in the final month of her life were leaked to the public by a bodyguard. He’s looking to draw attention to the fact that her demise may have been enabled by those around her. These pictures are horrid to the point of being sad. That said it couldn’t have happened to a nicer lady. Karma can be a real bitch.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The hooks are in too deep... I'm afraid to pull them out... Plus they improve TV reception...

The situation in Myanmar got me thinking about freedom and free will over the weekend. Having children and watching them develop has altered my definition of the concept. When I was younger I believed that freedom meant doing whatever you wanted. These days I would define a free society as one that chooses not to program its citizenry and prevents outside influences from doing the same. We humans, for all of our sophistication, can be whacked around and tinkered with until we turn out little better than two-legged attack dogs and the history books are filled with example civilizations, most of them successful in their hey-day by all accounts.

This kind of percussive people-programming takes many forms from the brutishly simple to the subtle yet deep. In parts of Africa they make child soldiers by taking them away from their families, making them snort large quantities of cocaine and gunpowder, and then subjecting them to violent war films in between raids. When Kim Il-sung died in 1994 they showed little girls and grown men alike sobbing in the streets. They were just howling like Sean Penn at the beginning of Mystic River; a kind of crazy, over-the-top expression of grief that made me feel uncomfortable and suspicious all at once. In that Jesus Camp documentary you have tears rolling down the faces of children during an exuberant Sunday prayer. We don’t hammer our children on what political party they’re going to belong to but those inconsequential issues like the nature of the universe and life after death seem to get a free pass and front row seating.

In Myanmar freedom seems to be at an all-time low but it also shows that if you don’t program your people properly they might take to the streets despite a mobilized military. China’s hands-off approach to one of their vassal states making the world news is telling in my opinion. It looks like they’re going to let that one go on long enough in order for their own population to get the right message; that revolt is pointless, nothing comes of it, and you might get severely hurt for your trouble.

You can point to the various manipulations present in our western society; national identity, class, marketing and religion to name just a few but I don’t think we possess the insight to determine how deeply they affect us. Great writers like Mark Twain have expressed their disgust at concepts like glory, patriotism, honour, and sacrifice because of how the state can manipulate these ideas in times of war, how they have the power to send men to be butchered with a smile on their faces. Is there such a thing as a truly free-willed human or has greed and opportunism ensured that we all receive at least a modicum of training or indoctrination. As I write this I’m thinking that I'd rather be playing Halo. What’s funny is that while playing Halo yesterday I found my mind wandering about the new Half Life installment coming out in a couple weeks, followed by Ratchet & Clank a couple weeks after that (ooh but it looks good) and then Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune just a little later. Dance monkey, dance! Give no thought to the education funds of your children and remain focused on the newest gamer hotness! Don’t forget to pick up beer on your way home. The mortgage payment is due so you better use your credit card…


Here’s a Myanmar update complete with political hand-wringing. They managed to lock up most of the monks in their own monasteries, which is no small feat given that there are 100,000 of them. What kind of monk doesn’t learn some kind of junta-kicking kung fu or even a bit of air bending while living in a monastery? These aren’t the kind of monks that make beer, right? So what hell have they been doing all their lives?


There was a crazy raid in Darfur, an African Union base got taken over and robbed of their supplies. Other nations might think twice about sending their soldiers over there to get mugged by these ass-kicking rebels.


This is an interesting piece that personalizes some of the American soldiers in Iraq. There is a husband and wife with two kids who are both serving. That’s got to be tough.


Seymour Hersh is a great writer and investigator. He’ll convince you that this Iran air strike thing is totally going to happen. If you want a bit of the acrimonious history between the States and Iran then look no further than Operation Ajax. This was the American and British plot to overthrow Mossadegh because he nationalized the oil. It’s amazing that some version of this clown show has been running for fifty years.