"It's a hoax device, but when the officer sawr it, it appeared to be, to him to be a molotov cocktail. It's shaped like a bottle with a fuse in it." Commanding Officer Robert Dunford.

[Unknown]: "So it's a protest statement..."

Dunford: "No, it's a provocative act."

In today's Pirate news (including pretend pirates), Democracy Now reported that a protester dressed as a pirate was arrested outside the Democratic National Convention for brandishing a paper-mache hook.

When Amy Goodman held up a microphone to ask him about it later, she says Officer Dunford slammed her arm down.

Click on the following link for info on how to donate eyeglasses to the
New Jersey Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center, Inc., and ask them to send a few pairs to the cops in Boston.


Election Hyperbole - great article by Michael Albert of Znet and Parecon fame.
"...Whatever your electoral inclinations, at this point repetitive, redundant entreaties about Kerry and Bush from leftists to other leftists, and even about Nader and Cobb from leftists to other leftists, and probably also entreaties from leftists to more mainstream citizens about Kerry/Bush, are most likely not the most efficient way to productively manifest our insights and utilize our energies."

Given that leftist goals won't be implemented by either of the candidates who have been selected for us, wouldn't it make more sense for leftists to forget about the presidential election for the moment and focus efforts on local political organizing or activism, something more likely to get results? That doesn't mean we should not vote, but why should we continue to debate about who to vote for when no one is likely to change their minds at this point? As for undecided voters, I don't know what to think of them. I have no sympathy or understanding for them, so I can't figure how to set them straight. Forget about them and focus on things we can actually change.


The below event occurred across the street from our house yesterday. The funny thing is how they say it was on the "700 block" of our street, but the street is only one block long.

Police recover gun on [Secret] Street
[Secretopolis] police recovered a .22-caliber rifle after responding to a report of gunshots fired on [Secret] Street on Tuesday afternoon. At 2 p.m., officers were called to the 700 block of [Secret street], where witnesses claimed a man fired off a round during an argument outside. Police stopped and searched the suspect's vehicle nearby, Lt. John [Secreto] said. Officers also searched the man's home. No arrests were made. A report will be sent to the prosecutor's office.

Melinda was home at the time and heard the gunshot, then looked out the window and saw high school aged guys running down the street. There were plenty of witnessses, and supposedly they hauled away the guy who did it. The part that doesn't make it into the news story is that our neighbors said it was a 12 guage shotgun, not a .22. They told Melinda that the cops couldn't find a shotgun but they found enough other guns in this guy's car and/or house to arrest him.

Somehow it comforts me that the perpetrator's house is around the corner, not exactly on our street. Not like it was a violent person from our street, just shooting at people on our street. See, we don't live in a dangerous neighborhood! I hope they lock him up or something, or maybe find his stash so they can lock him up longer.


Another god damn good installment of This American Life last week (Someone To Watch Over Me). Actually I couldn't take the short story very seriously after the excellent bit about a woman taking care of her husband suffering from dementia.


Snake People (+1968)
A.K.A. "Isle of the Snake People" +1971? Another horror movie that you can find anywhere dirt-cheap dvds are sold.

Selling points:
- Boris Karloff
- Voodoo
- Zombies
- Ladies caressing snakes and dancing to the pounding, pounding drums.
- Bald midget voodoo priest in tophat, chewing on the scenery (or at least laughing maniacally at it). Wearing sunglasses at night and in caves.
- European imperialist trying to stop the natives from practicing their heathen ways (such as human sacrifice).
- Who is Damballah, the masked leader of the cult? An attempted twist that you can guess within seconds.
- Boris' wardrobe apparently liberated from Col. Sanders.
- Several animals appear to have been harmed in the making of this film, fatally. I doubt they could have created a prop chicken that would continue twitching realistically after getting its head cut off, or a prop snake that would writhe after being thrown in the fire.
- Prudish damsel has a dream (induced by the voodoo priestess) in which she is pursued by her doppelganger, eventually making out with herself.
- The rest of the effects are so unconvincing, you can be confident that it's not a prop when she puts the snake head in her mouth.
- Cute native gal lures cop out of the bar and eats him alive, with help from other cannibal cuties.

Try to guess:
-- When the voodoo cultists have to make a human sacrifice at the climax of the movie, will they choose one of the anonymous native women who hasn't spoken any lines throughout the movie, or Karloff's niece, the lilywhite temperance worker?
-- After the way he has treated the locals, will the strict police captain survive the final confrontation?
-- Was this movie the peak of actors using only one name? Or were Julissa, Tongolele, Martinique and SantanĂ³n in any other major motion pictures? (Don't forget the single-named Still Photographer "Ciro".)
-- Given that some of the actors have light skin and others have dark skin, which ones do you suppose will become zombie slaves and which will be giving orders?

Selected quotes:
"Modern science has shown that alcohol is responsible for 99.2% of all the world's sins."

"My glasses! My glasses! My glasses!"
Here's Melinda's assessment of our vacation on the day we got home, 6 June 2004. I didn't notice it earlier because she posted it on an email group instead of on her blog....

My Vacation In Links

We just got back from vacation earlier today. I never thought I would be sick of long car rides. Here is some places we went and things we did. Not in the exact order they occured.

Jim Henson museum- Leland, Mississippi
Cute small museum. Cool for kids and dorks like me.

Cathead-Clarksdale, Mississippi
Delta Blues and Folk Art---store/gallery/mostly store

Delta Blues Museum- Clarksdale, Mississippi

Trinity Music City--Hendersonville, TN
The gift shop had a package of three soaps selling for 40 bucks!!!
Expensive!!! Lots of products from Israel, making note of that cause I know people want to protest Israel. Did not see the movie in their theater. Had a brownie at the Sold Rock Bistro, hefty prices. Went on free tour. It entailed a tour of the lower floors of the Conway Twitty mansion. Upper floors roped off. TBN staff live upstairs! They leave Xmas trees out year round. Tour also showed the studio. Saw the set for the Betty Jean Robinson show! Exciting!
Tour did not go to the church because services were underway during
the tour. Could not interrupt that.
They handed out gift bags at the end of the tour. I don't know if they did that special cause a church group was there. Anyway, that was cool whatever the reason. Maybe they always do that.
TBN car visor clip, TBN coffee mug, TBN spoon, TBN magnet were in the gift bag.

We went to the Museum of Fine Art in Houston and the Contemporary Arts Museum.

I forced Rob into a Cracker Barrel, I think in Lousiana. Rob did not want to go there because a while back Cracker Barrel sent a memo not to hire gay people. I wanted to go cause I like the dorky gift shop. So Rob foresook his principles. Oh we have no principles cause we ate fast food meat products and burned foreign oil during the whole ride. Oh, I got a kids cheeseburger cause the adult one was like half a pound. The bun was like stale so that sucked. Good steak fries though.

[Melinda forgot to mention that on the way out of Cracker Barrel, we sort of validated the fact that the company either ceased their homophobic hiring practices, or else they don't enforce it anymore. The slim young man with narrow mustache who worked the cash register tried to upsell candy to us, saying that it was "fabulous." As he cashed out other customers, he said that the skin cream was "fabulous" and every other product that they asked about or that he tried to upsell to them was "fabulous." He made Melinda sound butch by comparison.]
I never saw one of these places. We stopped in one in Mississippi. I had these high priced chicken strips. Very good. Place is expensive like Wendy's. Almost sitdown prices. Choices of fries, seasoned or waffled.

Oh I went to Jack in the Box twice. The first time was in Tennessee. I had a crappy edition of the Ultimate Cheeseburger. They changed it or something. Did not eat fries. The toll of fast food was setting in. Should have ordered the dumb salads. The salads sometimes cost more than the burgers!
Second time was okay. Had a Sourdough Jack. It was made right like I remembered.
Oh, they used to put only mayonnaise on the Ultimate Cheeseburger. Now you have to tell them to leave off ketchup and shit. They ruined a good thing. It is a piggy burger. Could barely eat it. It did not taste that great and I was overdosing on grease.

Can't remember if there is anything else. I kept a diary, a little.
Oh we went to a wax museum near Opryland. I wrote about it in my
diary. I should make it a zine.

So it was a fun trip. Oh, the most important part. I had lots of fun visiting my relatives. I got to see three nephews I never seen before. My family is doing pretty okay now. My Grandmother has been ill lately. She has to use a walker now and can't get about alot. This is a lady who like to go and blow around town selling Avon. Now Dad is the Avon lady. Dad can't stay in his own trailer since he needs to be with Grandmother all the time.
My aunt Delphy still has cancer. I have not seen her in a long time. She looked good. I saw my Aunt Faye. She owns the Piggly Wiggly in Collinsville, Mississippi. Her son in law manages it. She bbq'ed for me and Rob. That was cool.
I did want to stay at Grandmother's house with Dad and Grandmother.
Dad insisted that we stay at his trailer. It is walking distance away, the next house over. His reasons for this is we stay up late and would want to watch tv. Also they wake up alot in the night so they may keep us up.
I like Dad's trailer but I like sleeping at Grandmother's. I slept in that house for 20 some years all the times I visited.
My brother had all of us over for a BBQ and that was cool.

Anyways, that is all I will write for now.

Melinda =^..^=


Recap: I find myself reading a thick "Quality Paperback" collection of three Toni Morrison novels -- Sula, Song of Solomon and Tar Baby, in spite of being put off by Beloved when I read it in college. Can't dispute that she writes well, but sometimes she forces you to dig for it to understand it. And you really have to be in the mood for some matricide, infanticide, a couple of sympathetic characters doing very highly unsympathetic, inhumane things to other sympathetic characters.

So why am I reading it this time? Having finished a few non-fiction books, looking for books on my own shelves and too lazy to get anything from the library, these things looked like a good choice. It's painful to watch it develop sometimes, but at least you're drawn to feel sympathy for them.

Now I'm half-way through Song of Solomon. Not sure what the body count is in this book so far, probably two or three major deaths/murders and a series of political murders. What I'm realizing as I zoom through this second excellent book and happily anticipate the third one, is that in spite of having the ultimate mark of being ChickLit -- "Oprah's Book Club" -- these stories have a lot of action. I mean, generally you don't see Action Heroes killing their own children, watching stoically while their mothers runs around on fire, sleeping with cousins or fathers or anyone available. (Oh yeah, lots of graphic sex in Morrison novels.)

PS - Do not get caught by your wife abusing yourself while watching Danny Glover getting it on with Thandie Newton in Beloved. Unless she has read it or watched the whole thing, it's not clear at that point that Beloved is just a ghost, and that she might be using supernatural powers of seduction on him. If you're watching it for the first time, it just looks like he's cheating on Oprah by sleeping with a mildly-retarded young woman who might be Oprah's daughter. Majorly uncool. No amount of explaining will really rectify the situation, even if you tell her you read it in college and discussed it ad nauseum.

I mean, I hear tell that it would be really difficult to talk your way out of that situation.

[Now which is more sleazy, admitting that story, or including links to products on Amazon for which I could get kickbacks?]
I would never have guessed that Farai Chedaya's writing style was so heavily influenced by E. C. Segar. (See her blog entries for July. Faskinatin'.)


Howard Dean debates Ralph Nader about third parties and their influence on the 2004 election. Yowza.
Blood of Heroes. Propaganda so abstract that almost no one would disagree with it. When you talk about lofty ideas like Freedom and Honor and Duty without details of what you're talking about, then it's easy to make strong statements anyone could agree with.

You know they're talking about whether the wars are right or wrong, but they don't come out and say it (until you click through on the accompanying essay from the "info" link). But I can picture people totally disagreeing with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq who would watch that thing and agree with the whole thing.

Yes, when invaders come at you, then defending yourself or allies is a righteous thing to do. But when Joe punches me and my reaction is to punch Judy, it's hard to see where the Freedom and Honor and Duty fit in. If I die in a car wreck trying to wipe out Judy and her family and acquaintances in retaliation for the attack by Joe, do I get included in the "Blood of Heroes" that you should never forget? Am I helping you keep the liberty and lifestyle you've grown accustomed to?

Never mind. No need to persuade you for or against the war. By now, you've presumably made up your mind or you don't care. Setting that aside for a moment, I guess the interesting or amusing or sad thing here is how a powerful hunk of propaganda can be so vague that it carries all the meaning you want, yet anyone could agree with it.

I should watch the thing again and see if they bring up Justice. That's the one that makes me oppose the wars and still feel patriotic.


When you really need your fix of literary infanticide, you could turn to Stienbecks' The Pearl. But for consistency from one book to the next, you can always count on Toni Morrison.

...Which is to say, I started reading Sula again.


The Exquisite Cheese of New Wave White Slaves

Here are several good reasons (okay, maybe "mitigating factors") to see Death Ride to Osaka, a 1983 movie starring Jennifer Jason Leigh which Melinda picked up on DVD for $5.99:

Jennifer Jason Leigh
Ann Jillian
Her big hair.
"White Slavery"
New wave music.
Jennifer Jason Leigh singing the Motown classic "Heat Wave" in a new wave style.
At least six to eight character actors from other movies and tv, mostly recurring minor characters on MASH, possibly one guy from Gung Ho (the Michael Keaton comedy, not the WWII movie). See if you recognize the newstand vendor, the black cop, the Yakuza boss, the mean Yakuza enforcer who owns the White Orchid club, and the old lady who looks out for vulnerable, young Jennifer Jason Leigh.
The title!: Death Ride to Osaka.