Friday, April 30, 2004

Art Show!

Looking for something to pick up for Mother's Day? You're in luck! Well, you're in luck if you're going to be in the Chapel Hill area next weekend as the Orange County Artist's Guild is having their first Spring Art Show on May 8 at Chapel Hill High School from 10am to 6 pm (see link in title for details). JennySlash will be there with her paintings, prints and cards - come on by and pick up something original for Mom! I'm betting she really doesn't need another Veg-o-matic...

On the Screen (soon)

Laws of Attraction is getting really poor reviews, so bad that I'm going to at least be tempted to rent it. How the hell can you take Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore (two of the sexiest people in the history of the planet and both good actors) and screw up a romantic comedy with them in the lead? I can only assume both the writing and the directing are abysmal.

On the other hand, I can't flipping wait for Van Helsing - how can you go wrong with a totally-over-the-top Hugh Jackman combined with another opportunity to watch Kate Beckinsale in her costume from Underworld with the original Universal Studios monsters thrown in?

Finally, an interesting reaction to the original (I mean really, really original pre-Raymond Burr, pre-cuts for the US market) Godzilla, King of Monsters theatrical release from a reviewer at Film Threat:

The main problem, though, is the fact "Godzilla" takes itself so damn seriously that the intense behavior of the actors is poorly reflected against the spectacle of watching a man in a baggy dinosaur costume knock around toy boats, toy tanks, and balsa wood miniatures of the Tokyo skyline. It is no wonder that the rest of the Godzilla series began to play itself for laughs -- the atrocious special effects (you can actually see the wire manipulating Godzilla's tail) cannot be taken seriously and in "Godzilla" it often seems like there are two wildly different movies unreeling simultaneously.

Ah, I'll see it anyway if it makes it to a theater in the area.

G'bye Bob

Drove over to Umstead Park to do my run this morning and had a chance to hear a little bit of Bob Edwards' last "Morning Edition" broadcast. Having telecommuted for most of the last 4 years, I haven't had occasion to listen to the show much lately, but there were many years when I heard it every single day. I knew it was time for the weekend when Edwards had his talk with Red Barber every Friday morning.

I have no idea what NPR was thinking in making the move, but I can't imagine it is being well-received. It certainly didn't appear to be handled very well. My impression of the core audience of "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" is that they frankly don't like change, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out at pledge time (which on WUNC now seems to be every other freaking week...).

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Sinclair-owned ABC affiliates to preempt Friday's "Nightline"?

From Poynter Online by way of Slapnose, it appears that the Sinclair-operated ABC stations (including, I believe, the one in Greensboro) are being told to pre-empt this Friday's show, which will consist of a reading of the names of all the service people killed in action in Iraq. For anyone who isn't sure which stations are run by Sinclair, they're the ones that feature commentary from Mark Hyman, one of the smarmiest cheesedicks I have ever seen actually appear on television. Sinclair is also one of the leaders in centralizing local news broadcasts, so your weather forecast for Asheville on WLOS is probably delivered by someone in, say, Baltimore. Peachy.

While I question whether this week's "Nightline" broadcast is news, tasteful or good television, I'm pretty surprised that SBG is setting themselves up for the kind of criticism that is sure to follow this. I just don't see this as a winning issue for them.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

No Doonesbury?

So the Durham Herald-Sun was one of all of 10 newspapers in the country to pull Doonesbury last week because B.D., realizing he'd had a leg amputated, yelled "Son of a bitch!"? Uh, dude, I think that's about the mildest thing I can imagine saying in that situation.

"Because of a vulgarity in the cartoon, Doonesbury will not appear today. The strip will resume Saturday. Today's strip dealt with the continuing recuperation of the character B.D. after suffering a combat wound in Iraq."

Uh, I think that was actually pretty mild - my reaction would likely be more along the lines of "Motherfucker!?!?!?" or "Just fucking shoot me!" so I thought Trudeau was actually pretty restrained. Given the paper's lack of balls in covering the war, I shouldn't be too surprised.


Man, the things one learns from BoingBoing!

United Airlines' Mileage Plus signup form has the following choices for "Title":

Mr Ms Mrs Miss Dr 1sgt 1st Lt 2nd Lt Adm Baron Baroness Bishop Brig Gen Brother Cantor Capt Cardinal Cmdr Cmst Col Count Countess Cpl Cpo Dean Duchess Duke Elder Ens Father Fleet Adm General Governor Gysgt Hon Imam Judge Lady Lcpl Lord Lt Lt Cmdr Lt Col Lt Gen Lt Jg Ma Major Major Gen Mcpo Mgysgt Minister Monsignor Most Rev Mother Msgt Mstr Pastor Petty Off Pfc Po1 Po2 Po3 President Prince Prof Pvt Rabbi Rear Adm Rev Right Rev Scpo Senator Sfc Sgt Sgtmaj Sir Sister Smn Smn1 Smst Sp4 Sp5 Sp6 Sr Sra Srta Ssgt Swami Tech Sgt Very Rev Vice Adm

Not to be outdone, British Airways does 'em a few better:

Mr Mrs Ms Miss Dr Herr Monsieur Hr Frau A V M Admiraal Admiral Air Cdre Air Commodore Air Marshal Air Vice Marshal Alderman Alhaji Ambassador Baron Barones Brig Brig Gen Brig General Brigadier Brigadier General Brother Canon Capt Captain Cardinal Cdr Chief Cik Cmdr Col Col Dr Colonel Commandant Commander Commissioner Commodore Comte Comtessa Congressman Conseiller Consul Conte Contessa Corporal Councillor Count Countess Crown Prince Crown Princess Dame Datin Dato Datuk Datuk Seri Deacon Deaconess Dean Dhr Dipl Ing Doctor Dott Dott sa Dr Dr Ing Dra Drs Embajador Embajadora En Encik Eng Eur Ing Exma Sra Exmo Sr F O Father First Lieutient First Officer Flt Lieut Flying Officer Fr Frau Fraulein Fru Gen Generaal General Governor Graaf Gravin Group Captain Grp Capt H E Dr H H H M H R H Hajah Haji Hajim Her Highness Her Majesty Herr High Chief His Highness His Holiness His Majesty Hon Hr Hra Ing Ir Jonkheer Judge Justice Khun Ying Kolonel Lady Lcda Lic Lieut Lieut Cdr Lieut Col Lieut Gen Lord M M L M R Madame Mademoiselle Maj Gen Major Master Mevrouw Miss Mlle Mme Monsieur Monsignor Mr Mrs Ms Mstr Nti Pastor President Prince Princess Princesse Prinses Prof Prof Dr Prof Sir Professor Puan Puan Sri Rabbi Rear Admiral Rev Rev Canon Rev Dr Rev Mother Reverend Rva Senator Sergeant Sheikh Sheikha Sig Sig na Sig ra Sir Sister Sqn Ldr Sr Sr D Sra Srta Sultan Tan Sri Tan Sri Dato Tengku Teuku Than Puying The Hon Dr The Hon Justice The Hon Miss The Hon Mr The Hon Mrs The Hon Ms The Hon Sir The Very Rev Toh Puan Tun Vice Admiral Viscount Viscountess Wg Cdr

With all that, it was pointed out that "in German, someone with multiple PhDs goes by Doktor Doktor Doktor (und zo weiter), abbreviated DDDDr -- how does BA expect to attract hyper-educated Germanic people without this honorific in its otherwise exhaustive list?" Very good question...

Medals and Ribbons

Here is the Army description of their decorations. If you click on the link for a particular ribbon, you'll see the medal that it represents. In fact, for a Silver Star you'll see

4. Components: The following are authorized components of the Silver Star Medal:

a. Decoration (regular size): MIL-D-3943/11. NSN for decoration set: 8455-00-269-5758. Individual medal: 8455-00-246-3834.

b. Decoration (miniature size): MIL-D-3943/11. NSN 8455-00-996-5013.

c. Ribbon: MIL-R-11589/136. NSN 8455-00-252-9953.

d. Lapel Button: MIL-L-11484/9. NSN 8455-00-253-0819.

There, that wasn't so fscking hard, was it?! Now, national media, can we find out what the bloody hell Preznit Bush was doing while John Kerry was off in Vietnam getting shot at? Is that too frickin' much to ask?

Wes Clark on Kerry's military record

From today's NYTimes:

In the heat of a political campaign, attacks come from all directions. That's why John Kerry's military records are so compelling; they measure the man before his critics or his supporters saw him through a political lens. These military records show that John Kerry served his country with valor, and that those who served with him and above him held him in high regard. That's honor enough for any veteran.


Republicans have tried to use this event to question his patriotism and his truthfulness, claiming he has been inconsistent in saying whether he threw away his medals or ribbons. This is no more than a political smear. After risking his life in Vietnam to save others, John Kerry earned the right to speak out against a war he believed was wrong.


I believe those who didn't serve, or didn't show up for service, should have the decency to respect those who did serve — often under the most dangerous conditions, with bravery and, yes, with undeniable patriotism.

It still astounds me that an administration led by those that avoided the draft during Vietnam would attack, either personally or through proxy, the record of an opponent who is a decorated veteran of that war. I personally don't give a crap in general whether people avoided the draft during that period but it's not like any of these guys say they did it for ideological or moral reasons. They just had better things to do. To now send other people's kids to fight an unnecessary war of aggression and at the same time attack the service of someone who certainly had the means to avoid Vietnam and chose not to is just more hypocrisy than anybody ought to stand.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Vast Right-Wing Media Conspiracy

The Daily Kos points out the oddness of the cover of the US News and World Report, showing Kerry in a suit and tie and Bush in uniform. Just too, too funny!

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Brian Herbert vs. Frank Herbert

Has anyone read any of the "Dune" books that Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson have published? The three "House" novels (Atriedes, Harkonnen and Corrino) were, I thought, pretty poor reflections of Frank Herbert's work. I recently went back and read Dune, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune and they were as complex, nuanced and incredible as I remember. I also waded through God Emporer of Dune again, which was a bit of a mess but still a damn sight better than the Herbert/Anderson books. And then there's The Butlerian Jihad, which takes five steps backwards from even the House series. With a storyline that is downright silly and dialogue that makes Lucas' "Attack of the Clones" sound like Shakespeare (or at least Elmore Leonard), it's a totally unreadable piece of crap. I managed to skim through the second half to see if I could find a reason, like if the dialogue was actually being used as some kind of literary device, but it ain't there. Feels like it was written by a not-too-bright 11 year old. If anyone out there has read the latest one (The Machine Crusade), let me know if it's as bad (or worse) 'cause I'm going to have to really be convinced to even check it out from the library.


Enjoyed Maureen Dowd's NYT column today - nothing particularly new but it does I think help to be reminded of the broader ridiculousness and evilness of the current administration rather than getting bogged down with spitting and pissing about the stupid thing of the minute. A sample:

In Bushworld, it's fine to take $700 million that Congress provided for the war in Afghanistan and 9/11 recovery and divert it to the war in Iraq that you're insisting you're not planning.

In Bushworld, it's O.K. to run for re-election as the avenger of 9/11, even as you make secret deals with the Arab kingdom where most of the 9/11 hijackers came from.

In Bushworld, you get to strut around like a tough military guy and paint your rival as a chicken hawk, even though he's the one who won medals in combat and was praised by his superior officers for fulfilling all his obligations.

One of those clip 'n' save columns to pull out when you want to decide which Bushism to be angry about that day.

On the Stage

Caught the Brown Mountain Lights at the Cave last night (yeah, 3 club shows in a month - what the fsck's up wit dat?) - second time I'd seen them (first was the Carrboro Music Festival last fall). I pretty much suck at describing a band's sound, so you should probably check out the reviews on their website, but think Western swing, Gram Parsons-era Byrds, Patsy Cline and throw in some high lonesome harmonies and some nice crunchy guitars and you'll be in the ballpark. Not a huge crowd but an enthusiastic one, including a well-behaved dog - there used to always be a dog at the Cave, so nice to see some things are consistent over the years. That and the Chock Full O' Nuts coffee cans used for lightcans, some of which are definitely older than Michelle the bartender. I work with Greg, so naturally I'm biased, so I'll just pass on the quote from their webpage -

"The bald guy rocks!" - overheard at Sadlacks in Raleigh.

Jeff and Janet's songwriting is really tight, Janet's vocals are awesome and Greg was right about Steve Watson's pedal steel - definitely a highlight! Check 'em out!