I saw a horrible Australian movie called "Freedom Deep." It was like Road Warrior, only less warrior and more submitting poems to magazines. Post-apocalyptic poet crossing a wasteland to bring his important quasi-biblical book to some unknown destination, interspersed with flashbacks of his young 12-year-old self in 1998 dressing like Kurt Cobain and having visions and dreams about Kurt Cobain. There was also a woman soldier who was sent to kill the poet (why? by what group?), but they hook up and she decides not to kill him. The only dialogue was whispered, or quieter than the music, or too heavily accented for me to understand what she was doing.

They actually show Kurt Cobain nailed to a cross at one point. Weird, not a great plot.
A man who wears stylish clothes and stylish hair, beyond the point that straight men have done in the past is known as "metrosexual."

Then what do you call a guy who maintains facial hair and clothing that might get him confused with mountain men or bikers, even though he doesn't act like that in any of his other behaviors? JETHROSEXUAL.

I could almost embrace that term, except it sounds like you want to have sex with Jethro. Please sir may I not have another.


Molatar's Castle: "This site is dedicated to spreading the Gospel in the werewolf and furry communities." Includes dozens of verses from scripture which could possibly relate to the miracle of shape-shifting, as well as instructions for how to pray for God to permanently change you into an animal or fantasy creature. May also work for other miracles if God finds you worthy.

In case you DO shift your shape, you will have expenses to pay for. You should be saving money RIGHT NOW in a mutual fund.

You will need money for tailored clothes, alterations to your vehicle, a good veterinarian (this is not a joke, I'm serious, GOOD vets cost ALOT), a lawyer to protect you from humans who hate the sight of you, new ID cards (driver's license, health cards, that sort of thing), change of name documentation, and other mundane but necessary things like dog toothpaste..., pin brushes, pet nail clippers, medieval swords [!!], that kind of thing.

Another...concern is this mythical army that wants to capture and dissect P-shifters for weapons experimentation (insert raucous sarcastic laughter here). But just in case its true, you'd be best to save up extra funds for a defensible hideout in the wilderness (rocky hills and swamps are best, don't get waterfront because its too expensive), a year's supply of canned goods, and plenty of ammo. If you get a nice rugged piece of land, call me and I can suggest some fortifications to build.

Can't tell if it's sincere or a hoax, but for me it works either way. Will Jesus P-shift some editor to change him into someone who will accept my novels?


"In 96 percent of House races and 91 percent of Senate races that had been decided by mid-day today, the candidate who spent the most money won, according to a post-election analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics....

"In the race for the White House, President Bush spent a total of $306.3 million in private and government funds from January 2003. Sen. John Kerry, who faced a tough battle for the Democratic nomination, spent $241.7 million."

It's not that political offices are really and truly paid for. It's just that they are effectively paid for.
Shortly after Clinton's speech at the opening of his new $165 million Presidential Library, a girl named Stacy, age 9, approached the microphone during a question and answer session. "Mr. Clinton, what percent do you suppose the infant mortality rate might have been lowered in our country or some other country if the money for this library had been spent on them? Like free pre-natal care for women?"

Too late for all that, so they moved all the papers and junk out of the library and let homeless people live there, using the important papers as fuel for heating and cooking. All the other living presidents turned their libraries into shelters too, and Clinton used his personal wealth to pay reparations toward people in Serbia, Iraq and other places where people suffered from his actions. Steven Tyler ate Donald Trump, then some non-celebrities from the fly-over states ate Steven Tyler, and everyone who survived live more happily ever after.
Most Americans have heard of Tet, the Vietnamese New Year celebration. If you asked a Yank what "Ramadan" is, a few would know that it's a month-long Muslim holiday. It would be nice if we could learn about Hindu or Buddhist holidays. Could we invade India or Tibet next?

Here's a haiku for Melinda:

Tile and porcelain
Shake the dew from the lily
You are lighter now


John Marciano: Oppose the War and the Warriors.
"Millions in the U.S. who oppose this war nonetheless claim to support those who carry out the terror it necessarily entails. Such a position appears to rest on the principle that U.S. soldiers' lives are more precious than Iraqis' ­-- a view that cannot be defended on any philosophical or religious grounds. We must acknowledge that these soldiers have not truly made a free choice given the class nature of our economic draft, and the Marine quoted above and others like him are trained to become uncritical warriors. However, it appears that most in Iraq are executing their orders faithfully rather than refusing those that violate U.S. and international law. Conscience and law, therefore, obligate us to oppose both the war and the warriors who embrace it, to see the conflict for what it truly is: a crime against humanity."
Psyched Out by Philip Dawdy, Seattle Weekly.

Finally a realistic picture of mental illness. Not the smiling, happy person who has fully recovered and become a "functioning member of society" (translation: squeezed back into their position as cog in some company). Not the schizophrenic serial killer on death row that comprises the majority of news stories you'll find on any given day that you try to google terms like "mental illness" or "mental health" or "schizophrenia." This story talks about people taking meds, dealing with side effects, recovering for a while before another episode smacks them down. The story manages to end with hope, but this is one of the best descriptions I've read about average people living with mental illness.


Debating A Neocon: There's No There There.
At the end of another excellent article from Stan Goff, I found an index of Military Matters columns that he writes for Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Check out this one from 17 March 2003, Supporting the Troops.
"In all this mayhem and confusion, while we (the Army's most elite, whitest forces) were being spanked by skinny Black folk from Grenada and equally dark Cuban construction workers, I can honestly say that I didn't give a flying fuck about what anyone in the United States might be thinking, or how much supportive spirit they might be psychically channeling my way to cuddle up against."

..."If we want to support troops, we'll do it by encouraging them to think, and when necessary, disobey."


Support Our Troops
Translation of this bumper sticker: the emotional well-being of our vets is more important than the number of them who may die in fighting a war. Especially more important than the number of civilians or enemies who may die in the war.

You've heard how Vietnam vets were called "baby killers" after they returned home, no parades, treated lousy. I don't want to create or add to any stigma for soldiers, but we still have to ask that unjust wars be stopped. How do you fit the two together?

On the one hand, lots of people who oppose the war say that they are supporting the troops. The best way to support them is to bring them home. Keeping them in combat for an illegal war is not supporting them.

Other people imply that anyone arguing against the war is adding to stigma that will come down on innocent troops who were only following orders. To oppose the war is to make the troops feel guilty.

Let's look back at the aftermath of Vietnam. According to official counts, roughly 50,000 US people died fighting the war. Estimates differ on how many Vietnamese were killed, but as time passes and the number gets passed more often among historians instead of government mouthpieces, most people seem to use the figure of 2 million dead Vietnamese.

I don't know how many US soldiers were involved in the whole war, but for the sake of argument, let's assume that 2 million of them returned and all felt stigmatized because they were involved in an unpopular war. [Note that we're only taking into consideration the well-being of US vets from that war, because none of our attention can be spared to consider Vietnamese survivors.]

Which would have been the bigger tragedy: 2,050,000 humans killed in the war and 2 million survivors who felt stigmatized, or resolving the war early with zero humans killed and 4 million survivors who felt stigmatized?

Is the stigma more important than the body count? If the war is wrong, is there any number of stigmatized participants that would stop you from wanting to end it?

This is not to say that soldiers deserve to be treated badly just because they thought their patriotic duty was to carry out illegal orders. It's not their fault that they were misled or lied to. On the other hand, these are adults. They are given the responsibility for deciding whether to kill people on a day to day basis. Surely they can withstand the peril of criticism easier than the peril of combat. It's extortion to expect their emotional well-being ought to trump our right to question our government, or trump other people's right to live.

In the final analysis, some vets and some civilians will continue to feel that they weren't "supported" or that we increase stigma against vets by protesting the war. Don't let them guilt you into agreeing. They are wrong, and their desire to coddle responsible adults is far outweighed by our need to stop endorsing massive international crimes.

Support our species, dammit.


Scroll down to The Unger Report for an explanation of red state/blue state election geography. Are all those red states more concerned about morality than blue states? No, they're just jealous of all the beaches in blue states.


Kitten Torturing and American Politics
[Astute observation from a friend of mine, Pete Larsen]:

Hey Rob,

On November 1st, I was attending a developmental genetics lecture and a Nobel Prize winning experiment by Hebel and Wiesel involving kitten torturing was described in excessively gleeful detail. Newborn kitten’s eyes were sewn shut and the effect of development of their visual cortex (by “cracking their heads open” according to the lecturer) was examined. Denied visual stimulation, the kitten's neural circuitry for vision failed to develop and could not be recovered even if their eyes were re-opened later. Their perfectly functioning eyes were connected to non-working brains. Additional experiments indicated that a kitten reared, for example, in a room without a particular color or only horizontal stripes would lack the ability as an adult to see that color or detect vertical stripes. The study goes on to show how an area of the brain usually specified for a particular function can be co-opted by some other process in absence of its intended stimulus.

On the same day, I saw the results of a political poll quoted. According to this poll, 72% of Bush supporters believed that Iraq harbored ‘weapons of mass destruction’™ and 75% believed that Iraq provided substantial support to @l Qaed@ (post Patriot Act and a second Dubya term, gotta watch these e-mails). This belief is held in spite of a preponderance of evidence to the contrary.

Are these aspects of a similar phenomenon? Could a neuronal deficiency, generated by lack or excess of stimulus during some critical developmental stage, explain how some individuals cannot ‘see’ some facts or process certain kinds of data? What blind spots might we all have?


In case, like me and half the people I work with, you're suffering post-election malaise and you've also run out of Halloween candy except for SweeTarts and dumdums and those peanut butter MaryJane things that your wife buys for old times' sake even though she doesn't like to eat them, here's a Molly Ivins column to perk you up: Don't mourn, organize.

"The Bush administration is going to be wired around the neck of the American people for four more years, long enough for the stench to sicken everybody. It should cure the country of electing Republicans."

..."So, fellow progressives, stop thinking about suicide or moving abroad. Want to feel better? Eat a sour grape, then do something immediately, now, today. Figure out what you can do to help rescue the country -- join something, send a little money to some group, call somewhere and offer to volunteer, find a politician you like at the local level and start helping him or her to move up."


Whew! That was close!

My marriage hung in the balance for a few weeks there, but luckily Proposal 2 passed here in Michigan. According to all the campaign ads, they needed to "protect marriage" by keeping it to one man and one woman at a time. My marriage is "safer" today. Still not quite sure what would have happened if this protection had not been added. Would we have suddenly felt compelled to get a divorce because we'd be so offended by other people having marriages that we disagree with? Would I have been forcibly resettled to a strategic hamlet where I'd be forced to marry a man? Who can tell. But I sure feel safer today. I mean, thousands of my countrymen and hundreds of thousands of other people might have been killed if my vote hadn't corrected this important problem.

No, wait, that's Iraq or Iran or Sudan or something. Congo! No no, Congo is the answer to "What conflict resulted in more direct and indirect deaths than any other war since WWII?" That's the Congo in the 1990s. Did you know they were at war off and on in the Congo for a little while there?

Anyhow, good thing my marriage is protected and we're taking pre-emptive military action in the really important places that obviously need it more than others.

How to Fight Terrorists

Chomsky explains How to Fight Terrorists (ZNet Blog), not based on radical socialist ideals, but the methods suggested by specialists and intelligence agencies. Police investigation and action + attending to background circumstances. What a wacky, wild, terrorist-appeasing notion.

He also points out that the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive strikes would:
"justify Japan’s attack on US military bases in Pearl Harbor and Manila. The Japanese could read the US press, with its lurid discussion of how US bombing could exterminate this inferior and vicious race by burning down Japan’s wooden cities, and they knew that flying fortresses capable of bombing Japan from Pearl Harbor and Manila were coming off the Boeing Assembly line, so they 'knew' that there was a serious threat of extermination, not just terror. Therefore, according to the 'Bush doctrine,' shared by Kerry and elites generally, Japan had every right to bomb Pearl Harbor and Manila." ...

"In 1945 the US was not willing to tolerate principles that would justify the Pearl Harbor attack. Today, it insists on principles that permit far more freedom to resort to violence and aggression..."


Eat a Mary Jane brand Licorice Taffy (leftover from Halloween). While the flavor is still in your mouth, take a swig of Dr. Pepper.

Taste like tea, or is it just me?