Archive for July, 2004

A Little Tip From The Tabloids

There are a few rumors circulating that the POTUS might not be in the best of mental health. I don’t know about the man himself, but I’ve had my doubts about a couple of the commentors who have been hitting some of my early postings on Dubya lately.

I was getting a little bit worried that I might be paranoid, myself, lately. After all, I just spent the last week watching the Democratic Convention, and some of the comments others made had me wondering if they were watching a different convention than I was. I have to say that it was a relief to find out that I’m not crazy. They were watching a different convention than I had tuned in to.

See, ever since the ‘94 election, I’ve made a habit of watching the conventions (yes, I watch both) on C-SPAN. I do this because I like to see and hear everything that goes on at the convention, while the networks like to pick what they consider to be the highlights. It’s a habit, I guess – I like to get the whole story, analyze for myself, and make my own decisions.

When you allow somebody else to pick the highlights, nasty things happen. A good example is what John Stewart pointed out about the networks’ (and the cable news channels’) coverage of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s speech at the convention this past week. Sharpton delivered an impassioned, powerful speech that got the delegates out of their seats, cheering and roaring for over twenty minutes. I had a chance to see the entire speech, and I have to say that I felt it was a classic – a firm rebuttal of Bush’s condescending speech delivered to the Urban League just a little over a week ago. Sharpton did not mince words and he was not subtle – he had a point to make, and he made certain that everybody know what it was.

Six minutes into Sharpton’s twenty-three minute speech (delivered completely without notes or teleprompter), all major channels covering the event cut away to their analysts who promptly began analyzing Sharpton’s speech. That would be the speech he had just delivered one quarter of and which was still going on in the background. Some analysts went straight to the talking points – he’s bashing Bush, he’s not saying anything new, he’s not exciting anybody (as the crowd in the background leaps to their feet in thunderous applause for the fourth time), and the Democrats won’t win. Others simply pointed at Sharpton and laughed, talking about how ridiculous it was to watch somebody getting so worked up on stage.

I walked away from watching the speech feeling that I had just seen one of the most powerful political speeches that will ever be delivered in my lifetime – a speech delivered by somebody who truly understands the meaning of civil rights and the struggles faced to receive them, and somebody who will not be talked down to by a President seeking to rob votes from the Democratic party.

People who watched other networks, however, walked away with the idea that Sharpton was an insane blowhard who just wanted to call the President names.

Similarly, Kerry’s speech on Friday night was a thing of wonder. Loose and human, far from the wooden charicature people have had burned into their mind, Kerry stood up on that stage and showed himself to be a strong contender with strength of will, a keen intellect, and an boundless passion for public service. At the six-minute mark, Kerry had already worked himself into a sweat – and he wasn’t even close to finished. By the end of the speech, I felt like all of the other Democrats in the hall. I knew – this man can win, and he deserves to win.

The next morning, CNN asked people to tell them what they thought of Kerry’s speech.

“Wooden,” they called him, referring to his “passionless” speech. They blasted him for “offering nothing new,” “bashing Bush,” and “not having any clear ideas for the future.”

It was at this point that I realized the truth. When you have pundits sitting around a table to break in on major speeches and begin delivering interpretations, when you have producers deciding what the “highlights” are, when you have commentators like Bill O’Reilly providing their “no-spin” reports, and when you’re constantly cutting to the Republican “Rapid Response Team,” you have just been spun. And you don’t know what the news is, any more. You just know what the nice folks in their new suits tell you.

Still not sure?

Check this out.

Saturday, July 31st, 2004

What are the tariffs like on those?

I just watched the finale of the Democratic Convention. The Republicans have a long way to go to outdo it. They’re Republicans, so my money is on strippers. Lots and lots of strippers.

Of course, I understand that New York has been importing strippers and hookers for the RNC’s expected arrival. That would be because the Republicans always have to arrive at a party – the Democrats bring the party with them.

Thursday, July 29th, 2004

Blooming Bond

There’s a point at which you really should declare prequels to be a bad idea. I was honestly getting sick of the prequel mania by the time Enterprise hit the airwaves.

Now, Bond is getting the prequel treatment.

LONDON: British actor Orlando Bloom actor has been signed by Miramax to play young James Bond in his new movie which is based on the college days of this widely popular secret agent.

There were rumours floating that Bloom is taking over the role of James Bond from Pierce Brosnan in the next film due out next November.

According to Ananova, Bond producers were looking for a new leading man and Bloom was the lucky guy who got the role.

Do I have to point out to anybody that Bond doesn’t age? That he has come through the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and the past four years without ever growing a decade older? And that isn’t even touching on Fleming’s original novels. Bond has remained the same age, but has always been contemporary. Do we really need a flick of Bond at university? And is he going to be at university in the 50’s? The 60’s? In 2005?

I get the feeling we’re bucking for a repeat of Casino Royale, here. That would be a Bond movie that was originally touted as”the next Bond film,” only to be removed from the canon and relegated to a list of “parodies” when fans decided they didn’t like it.

Then again, there’s always the hope that Quentin Tarantino will actually get to adapt Casino Royale (the book, not the film) with Pierce Brosnan.

Feh. Bond rumors. Who knows?

Thursday, July 29th, 2004


I’ve had the great fortune to avoid any serious encounter with Ann Coulter’s work so far in my life. So I figured it was time to bite the bullet. After all, she just got dumped from USA Today after they had planned to publish her coverage of the Democratic convention (which, I have to admit, is not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard – but close to it).

Human Events Online has the text of Coulter’s first column which inspired USA Today to dump her – lovingly provided by Coulter herself, along with her selected “specific examples” of USA Today’s complaints. (link via pesky’apostrophe)

Here at the Spawn of Satan convention in Boston, conservatives are deploying a series of covert signals to identify one another, much like gay men do. My allies are the ones wearing crosses or American flags. The people sporting shirts emblazoned with the “F-word” are my opponents. Also, as always, the pretty girls and cops are on my side, most of them barely able to conceal their eye-rolling.


Since Coulter seems puzzled at USA Today’s commentary, claiming that most of it has to do with their not getting the joke, I thought I’d offer my own commentary.

Ms. Coulter, you are a bitter and evil person and nobody loves you – but that’s no excuse to take it out on the Democrats.

I kid. I kid because I love. Not in that way, y’know – but the way you’re supposed to hate the sin and love the sinner.

The fact is that the article is one prolonged stream of vomit. It is sophomoric, hateful, and ultimately pointless. Coulter doesn’t provide any actual arguments – let alone any actual coverage. She is more interested in making absolutely certain that every Democrat knows how much she hates them than she is in making any actual points. As a result, every sentence contains an insult with no context or backing. She’s so obsessed with hurling shit that she doesn’t even waste precious column inches to tell people why she wants to hurl these insults.

And that’s why the USA Today didn’t get your jokes, darling Ann. Because they weren’t funny. They were equivalent to those long jokes homophobes tell that are only supposed to be funny because the punchline has the word “fag” in.

Perhaps calling Democratic women “corn-fed, no make-up, natural fiber, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie chick pie wagons” is the height of hilarity to you, but it appears to be a very private joke.

It’s not that we don’t get your jokes, Annie dearest. It’s that you’re just not funny, and your perspective is so severely lacking in context that it is without any redeeming qualities. But cheer up – the local Wal-Mart1 is always hiring greeters.

1 To Wal-Mart lawyers – Don’t sue me! I’m funny!

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

Gir! Remember with your brain!

Which Jhonen Vaquez character are you? By EmReznor.

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

Trackback Spam

I’m going to have to throttle somebody.

Yes, oh yes. I have entered the mainstream for sure. Like many others, I have been hit by trackback spam. All of my spam has been commercial, unlike UrlGreyHot, who on the 17th got spammed by a spammer trying to “prove a point” about how “stupid” it is to allow trackback pings.

Well, forgive me for (a) wanting to know when somebody links to me, and (b) wanting to provide them with a link back to their blogs.

I hate spammers. Unfortunately, MT 3.0 doesn’t allow me to change the TrackBack status on multiple entries at once – otherwise it’d all be closed right now. As it is, I have 571 (make that 572) entries. Does anybody out there know how to close trackbacks on an MT 3.0 blog across the board?

Sunday, July 25th, 2004

Sprout Sub Combo for me, thanks…

So, you call the pizza place to order a double meat special. They have caller ID, so they know your phone number as soon as you call. That caller ID is also interfaced with their records, so they know instantly who’s calling and where to send the pizza. How convenient.

The ACLU would like you to consider: Just how convenient can it get?

Thursday, July 22nd, 2004

Folks on NewsReaders…

I am working to restore full entries to the ArtMachine’s newsfeed. You’ll know when there’s progress.

Wednesday, July 21st, 2004

Fire When Ready

It’s time to fire up those e-mailing fingers, people: CBS News won’t air Ron Reagan Jr’s speech at the Democratic convention.

None of the broadcast networks plans to carry the speech live. Heyward acknowledged that the very fact the son of a Republican president and GOP icon was going to give a speech at the Democratic convention was newsworthy. But, he said, he thinks it is sufficient for CBS to handle it on “The Early Show” and the evening news.

“To take another hour of coverage for an eight-minute speech, I don’t think is justified,” he said.

Asked if it was possible to cover an eight-minute speech in under an hour, Heyward responded, “You mean to break in for eight minutes and come out again? The problem with that is you open yourself up to almost unmanageable sets of debates.

“In other words, to say, ‘We’re interrupting now, here’s a bulletin, so listen to the eight minutes,’ I just don’t feel it’s justified,” he continued, noting there are “so many places where people can hear Ron Reagan in his entirety.”

Excuse me?

Excuse me?

The son of a prominent (recently deceased) conservative President is speaking at the Democratic Convention, which is newsworthy – but it’s not worth broadcasting because it’s only going to be eight minutes long?

CBS News has dedicated entire hours to brief statements from the President. It’s dedicated thirty minutes at a time to Michael Jackson leaving a courthouse. Martha Stewart issues a brief statement, and the analysis alone is six times longer than the statement itself.

This is one of the reasons I don’t like network convention coverage – the networks decide for you what’s important and what’s not. And as the average American, I have to say – I happen to think Ron Reagan’s speaking at the Democratic convention is damned important.

CBS deserves to get hit hard for this. It’s a good thing for us that they provide a feedback form so we can let them know how we feel.

You know, if CBS doesn’t want to cover it because there are “so many places where people can hear Ron Reagan in his entirety,” maybe CBS doesn’t need a news division, period.

Wednesday, July 21st, 2004

Free as in, “No Price.”

iTunes has been offering a free download of the week for those of you who weren’t aware. The single is usually updated on Tuesdays, sometimes late in the evening.

So I go to check the free download of the week.

First of all, it’s yet another in the long string of “Party Ova Heee-eere!” singles.

Second, it’s the radio edit. All right – that makes sense. iTunes is a family music store that’s freely accessible over the computer. Heck – it’s built into every Macintosh system sold these days. So it makes sense that they’d offer a radio edit for the free download.

The title of the track is “Shake That Sh**.”

Excuse me?

No, I actually read that right. “Shake That Sh**.” Asterisks and all.


FYI – Comments are open once again and no longer require registration. Comment away.

Wednesday, July 21st, 2004