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Monday, May 27, 2013

Random Appreciation: Ta-Nehisi Coates

Apropos of nothing, this is a wonderful turn of phrase that applies to so much more than just the learning of French:

The Internet is overrun with advertisements meant for those who feel the longing for another language, who hope to attain understanding without the fear, the pain of mocking or rejection. There is a symmetry in language ads that promise fluency in three weeks and weight-loss ads that promise a new body in roughly the same mere days. But the older I get, the more I treasure the sprawling periods of incomprehension, the not knowing, the lands beyond Google, the places in which you must be immersed to comprehend.


As the man famously said, it ain't what we don't know, it's what we know for sure that just ain't so. That and the assumption that we can learn and gain things of lasting value over a weekend.

More Adventures in Self-Publishing

Final reminder, folks -- the free promo weekend for my two guitar books for Kindle expires tonight. Between the two books, we've had nearly 1,000 downloads over the weekend. Even once the promo is over, they're only $3.99 a pop, far less than the price of a single guitar lesson (and those prices may yet be adjusted). I'm also working on the next three books in the series, hoping to have them all done by the 4th of July. (Probably overly optimistic, but we'll see.)

And by the end of the year, the goal is to have a total of 8-12 books. Most of them will be $2.99 or $3.99, a couple of extended editions may be $5.99 at the most, and having a lot of books going ensures that at least one of them will be available for free at all times.

Thanks to all of you here, and all the folks from the various other sites I've open-thread-spammed over the weekend, for checking it out and downloading the books. Please feel free to leave reviews on the Amazon pages, or comments here.

Finally, if any of you have your own entrepreneurial projects going, feel free to post links in the comments, and I will check them out and help you pimp them here.

The Continued Cyberstalking of Fuckface Von Clownstick

Just a little drive-by posting on this fine holiday weekend, in which it is duly noted that golf-course gangsta and meteorology professor Fuckface von Clownstick has some smackdown for the [finger quotes] "scientists"out there:
Aha, I see what he did there, right? Subverting many tricksy cultural tropes by merely flicking the icicles off his combforward. Not only do the "scientists" not know what the hell they're talking about, but they have the power to influence the weather just by changing their minds about the empirical data they're analyzing! Awesome.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bring It On

You know, as much as I pick at Obama and his many misgivings, I did vote for the guy, if primarily because the alternative really was much worse, at least by sheer degree. So while I'm glad that at least one of this mouthy dunce's listeners had the integrity to call in and repudiate her (supposedly rhetorical) call to violence, there are probably plenty more who agree with her, and maybe even a few of those who might act on her exhortation.

Should someone actually get hurt, Tantaros will no doubt hide behind the same sort of mealy-mouthed crap that Sarah Palin and her ilk did when Jared Loughner emptied the 30-round clip of his Glock into a supermarket parking lot. It's just entertainment, they'll say, or satire, not meant to be taken literally.

But see, morans don't do nuance. They can't spell it or pronounce it, they don't know what it means, they have no use for it, so they don't know or care how to distinguish it. The people who watch this nonsense do so for the same reason they watch reality teevee, whether it's interchangeable "court" shows or swamp-dwelling hillbillies:  to affirm the things they think they know, maybe stoke some imaginary grievances in the process. Really, 90% of the guff most of these halfwits engage in could be communicated in grunts.

I will say this, though -- contrary to the hokey Fixed Noise / Rash Limpballs conventional wisdom about lefty milquetoasts, we're not all Alan Colmes. Some of us actually have been in fights, and don't mind scrapping, and own and use guns.

The idea that this "hey, it's all good fun, go pimp-slap a pussy-ass librul" shit, if acted on, could have any sort of positive outcome for either the tough-guy Obama-hater or the presumed victim of his righteous wrath, is almost literally impossible. Andrea Tantaros told her audience to "punch [Obama voters] in the face." There's only two possible responses -- ignore it, or act upon it. All it takes is one person, that's all it ever takes, and then their chickenshit "we wuz jes' sayin'" Cracker Barrel caveats don't mean a goddamn thing.

The only way the flying monkeys are ever going to shut their gaping, jabbering cakeholes is ironically when someone happens to take them seriously one of these days. Hope they're not too surprised when the target of their bullying actually fights back.

Free Download Weekend

Hey folks, here's the periodic bleg as I try to build my small brand. Please take five (5) minutes of your time over this holiday weekend to click on one or both of the book links at the top of the right sidebar. Both are free to download right now, through Monday 5/27.

Even if you don't play guitar, even if you couldn't care less about it, it helps out my rankings, so when the free promo period is over, they'll be up on the Amazon radar. If the subject does happen to something that interests you, and you like the book(s), please take a moment and write a review.

Thanks in advance for your help and support. I'm working on the next two books right now, and this it where it all begins. As a small recompense for your valuable time, here's the latest and greatest of Dexter the Giant Wonder Kitten (approximately a year old now, and weighing in at a solid 17(!) pounds.)



Have a safe and sane (or wild and crazy, if that's your preference) holiday weekend.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dog the Scandal Hunter

Once again, it boggles the mind that so many doofi waste so much spittle and pork-rind breath foaming over Benghazi and the IRS, when you have daily routine outrages such as this here, or the constant tax evasion of millionaires and corporations, or Eric Holder dicking around with potheads and hackers while the Masters of the Universe continue to fracture the world.

Then again, as we've noted multiple times, the things they profess to be pissed about have been done before by other administrations. They only started caring about them when the blah guy came to town.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Setting the Record Straight

There seems to be some confusion about something that I happen to think is very simple and obvious. Nonetheless, let's clear it up right now:  there is nothing gratuitous about Alice Eve, i'ight? That's good times right there, and I will gut the fool who says otherwise.

Damon Lindelof, on the other hand....

Monday, May 20, 2013

Godwin's Lawn

Via a commenter at G&T comes this pearl-clutching hilarity:
I'm sure the Jews, among others, will be delighted to hear that it is now "absolutely not illegal" to have government agents targeting a particular minority among the population.

You know how it goes: "first they came for the conservatives, but I was not a conservative...."

Wow, like, fuckin' seriously, Chief? The operative verb 'mongst various scaremongers and effect-chillers is "target" -- as in, the big bad gubmint "targeted" these poor, poor teabaggers.

Naw, son, this is targeting:

See, what the IRS did to the 'baggers was sweat them on their insistence on tax-exempt status. That's all. Really? Yeah, really. No one got dragged to jail, or sent off to a camp, or even lost any actual money. But because a good number of these shitheads were being bankrolled by scumbag millionaires who don't have the balls to let the peons see what they do under cover of darkness, the gubmint decided to do its job, and make sure that the requirements for 501(c)(4) status were actually being met.

Was this high, dastardly crime perpetrated by the eeeeevil islamocommienazimoooslim wizard, presumably while on a break from blowing up Benghazi and causing hurricanes to rise from the ocean? I dunno, was Bush personally behind siccing the IRS on the NAACP and Greenpeace?

It is this, over everything else, that I loathe about the self-satisfied teabaggers and their tedious jabber -- it's all of a convenience. The economy started going in the shitter in 2007; they conveniently waited until March of 2009, when the new guy had barely even gotten the seat warm, to start their righteous jihad. They're up in arms over Benghazi, as if no diplomatic personnel had gotten killed in the previous administration, or that teabagger representatives dumped the State Department's request for more money to beef up security at embassies around the world. They're whining about it like Benghazi is the Biggest Thing Evah, even though almost half of them don't even know what fucking country Benghazi's in. Smooth move, morons.

And now this happy horseshit, a political reversal of similar activities perpetrated by the previous occupants of power, but of course that didn't matter then, because IOKIYAR. Not only do they get to ignore the exact same actions just a few years ago from their own party, but they get to extrapolate the current idiocy into yet another dark, sinister conspiracy, to invoke Hitler. Look, assholes, if this country is turning into a concentration camp, then how is it that you're on the fucking internets all day whinging about it. Jesus, Obama's even worse at this fascism thing than he is at the socialism.

Well, hope they enjoy that while it lasts. They're in for a tough haul, most likely; the only reason the Goopers are able even to cause this much disruption is because of their carefully gerrymandered districts. That might hold the fort for them until the next census, but by then the country will be browner, younger, poorer per capita. Meanwhile, they've overinvested in the freakshow wingnuts who, to say the least, critically undermine their constant plaints about smaller, less intrusive gubmint.

Tumblr in the Hay

You know, I'm not ashamed to admit that I sport some nerd lumber whenever Marissa Mayer is in the news, but uh, whose bright idea was it to dump a bil plus on a micropornblogging venture with no real revenue model? Not that Tumblr can't or won't eventually turn a buck, as it continues to build, but right now, Google seems to be holding most of the cards in the tech biz, what with Dell circling the drain and Microsoft devolving into a shameless licensing racket.

Let's face it -- this weekend's real lottery winner wasn't the lucky bastard hiding out in America's Wang, it's David Karp.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Foodie Friday (apologies to the late IOZ)

Since by the end of the month I will be closer to the age of fifty than to forty, and because, as an empirical mammal, I understand that my regular intake of dark rum, tacos, and Peruvian flake is not indefinitely sustainable, I recently tried what is euphemistically known as a "kale chip." I did not know what to expect, but the morning shows tell me it is a "superfood," and who am I to disagree that I deserve a cape?

So, uh, how do I put this delicately. Sweet Jebus, it didn't even meet the low expectations I had for, well, a baked weed. Friends, have you ever had occasion to suck a fart out of the asshole of a dying water buffalo? That's the aftertaste, and it took an hour and about a quart of water to make it go away. Of course, then the water makes you belch a little bit, so the taste comes back.

I dunno, unless and until I start looking like Artie Lange or something, I'll just stick with moderation and some exercise when possible. I grew up watching Jack LaLanne juicing everything and doing triceps dips on kitchen chairs every spare moment, and even as a kid knew that was a fucked way to go through life. I'd much rather live to be 70 and eat steak and peach pie and drink good beer and have sex, than live to be 100 on nuts and twigs and constantly lifting household objects.

Anyhoo, kale chips. Serves 5, if they dare. Bon appetit!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hurl Your Enthusiasm

It's insufferable and sexist enough, but this is the first thing I've ever read from Kevin Williamson that I had no problem with, not even a little bit. The guy's a dick with ears, and I seriously doubt he would have the stones to do that if it had been a man (or at least a bigger man), but I'm glad he did it all the same. (Then again, it could just as easily be some Walter Mitty bullshit pulled squarely out of Williamson's ass. Who knows?)

I admit being somewhat to the right of Larry David when it comes to other people's inconsideration. But there are two types of people who need to have every ounce of fuck soundly truncheoned out of them -- red-light runners, and assholes who talk or text or mess around on their phones during a movie or play or public performance where they ask you to be quiet and turn off your phones before it begins.

Because fuck those people. Because the rest of us are trying to have a goddamned civilization out here. If it makes that inconsiderate dunce think twice before ZOMGing her galpals over some bullshit, at an event other people paid money to attend and watch, then it was a worthwhile endeavor. Save your incessant tweeting for when you're blocking the aisle in front of me at Costco, fool.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Beats Workin'

You have to hand it to the Goopers -- between this nonsense and the Benghazi guff, they've managed to spend a month or so without having to do a single thing to help you, Joe Sucka, make more money or save more money or get a better job or spend less of your money on ever-rising gas and food, etc. And in a couple weeks, they'll take off on summer recess.

But hey, at least they forced Obammy to fire a Bush-appointed bureaucrat who had been with the IRS for 25 years (thus four administrations of both parties), for the high crime of triple-checking the astroturf squids gumming up the public park with their three-cornered hats and their Hoverounds. Folks, the various teabagger/pretend patriot groups did for political activism what herpes did for the dating scene, alright? Let's not beat around the bush here.

The goal of the Republican party, explicitly stated lest you need reminding, is not to develop and implement sensible, utilitarian policies that will benefit the majority of Americans -- it is simply to stymie and obstruct this administration at any and every possible turn. Whether that is accomplished by refusing to work with them or meet them halfway on any proposed legislation or policy, or by making mountains of endless series of molehills, is of no concern. As long as they screw him over, and make it look and sound as if everything is his fault, mission accomplished.

And hey, to a certain extent, it is Obama's fault. At least the Republicans understand what game they're playing. It remains to be seen if the Democrats ever will.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Phantom Scandal

So despite getting their asses handed to them last year, the Goopers have decided to gear up for next year and '16 not by figuring out how to reach out beyond their base. Hell, that would mean trying to engage the very same people they're used to trying to disenfranchise. So we have the continued drumbeat for Benghazi.

This is rich, truly -- I mean, when Oliver Fucking North is whinging about a cover-up, you can be sure that irony is either dead and buried or in the witness protection program. Give it up for the colonel here -- he must need the jaws of life to get his pants on in the morning, just to get around his fucking balls.

Matching North testicle for testicle is Congressman Car Alarm, who not only knows there's no there there, but (among others) actually contributed to the problem by voting down money to enhance embassy security.

Like most things Republican, the feigned outrage over Benghazi is aimed primarily at their inbred Duck Dynasty core audience, people who are incensed over an imaginary, contradictory narrative that didn't occur at a place they can neither pronounce nor find on a map. But to them, it's proof that Obama's a terrorist-hugging pussy, just like his imaginary measures to kick down everyone's front door and confiscate their AR-15s. Yes, and noted Chomskyites such as David Petraeus (who, let's recall, was considered a possible GOP presidential candidate through most of 2011) and Robert "Team B" Gates have nothing better to do than perjure themselves for the commiemoooslin, right?

Just for shits and giggles, if you get the itch to respond to your jackass relative who keeps forwarding you bullshit emails or spamming your Facebook page with this ham-fisted nonsense, remind him that there were far more attacks on and deaths of diplomatic personnel under the Bush administration -- and they never said a goddamned word about it. Nor will they, because the facts don't fit with their preconceived narrative.

Look. You're dealing with information and assumptions of a chaotic situation halfway around the world being presented to the White House by two competing organizations under the same umbrella. Occasionally, these two teams may find themselves with orthogonal or parochial interests. So what they give to the White House to communicate ASAP to the public -- because god forbid you the 'murkin news consumer might have to wait 12 hours for people to get facts straight -- might be inaccurate, or conflicting, or even self-serving.

And even if everyone involved did everything as efficiently and honestly as they humanly could, again, it was a huge riot that sprung up hours after another huge riot in a neighboring country that happens to be the most populous in the region. Shit was flying pretty deep, yo. The first casualty of war is truth, but that does not automatically translate into some calculated bout of misinformation, strategically timed for our quadrennial electoral pageant.

At this point, they're barely even trying to fake sincerity. This is so transparently just another lame exercise in gumming up the works, of hamstringing a second-term president, throwing anything and everything again the wall until something sticks or slides, that it should be obvious to all but the dumbest and most casual, most fact-free political observers.

Which is why Fixed Noise has done so well  in perpetuating this nonsense.

Tell Me Why I Don't Like Mondays

We all know how I loves me some Kanye, so I just wanted to shout out that, while I think paprazzi are detestable and should get real jobs and some goddamned self-respect, this really did make my day. As gaping assholes go, this seemed rather karmic. Maybe his Auto-Tune will make the boo-boo go down faster.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

More Adventures In Self-Publishing

I'd like to give a shout-out to all the folks who have been kind enough to lend their support, both financial and moral, to whatever the hell it is I do here. Part of that support has been expressed by the millionshundreds of folks who have downloaded Mockalypse and 12 in '12. I don't mention it often enough because I don't want to be a leg-humping jackass about the whole thing, but the support is very much appreciated.

This whole process has been a learning experience for me, and a very positive one at that. It ain't gonna make me a millionaire, but I knew that going into this. You have to pick very clear sides to be profitable in political writing, because politics is not just show business for ugly people, it's sports for people who are too fat and old to play sports. You pick a side and root, hog, or die.

So "pox on both their houses" efforts don't typically sell a kajillion copies, even by established, professional authors, much less anonymous bloggerses. But again, this has been more about learning the process than turning a fat buck.

Now, as I mentioned recently, I have another site, which has been building an audience slowly but steadily. I would like for this site to both provide a ton of free material for guitarists of all styles and skill levels to use, while also producing a number of reasonably-priced publications that might at least generate enough income so that I can, I dunno, get the student-loan racket out of my lower cloaca before I hit the age of 65.

Ahem. Anyway, two guitar books are up as of today, and you can see that the icons for them have replaced the Mockalypse ad at top right. I get that most of you are probably not guitarists, and even those of you who are may not be interested in the material presented in these two books.

Nonetheless, what I ask is the same thing as I asked for the two political books:  by Monday both guitar books will be set up for a free promo week. I will be posting reminders every day or so during that 5-day promo, for you to grab a free download of each, to push up the rankings, and to leave a review if you have a minute to spare.

More to come. As always, thank you for your support.

Straw Blogs

Say there, fellow internets heathen! Tired of seeing intellectual coherence and logical reasoning everywhere you look? Looking for evidence that maybe Darwin was wrong? Have you become mistakenly convinced that people who make any sort of living writing actually have to know what the fuck they're talking about before they sharpen their electronic crayon and put it to virtual paper?

Friends, look no further. ClownHall's John Hawkins takes a break from his site, where he apparently encourages unibrow morans to use Family Guy characters to ventriloquize their bumptious nonsense (seriously, The Looking Spoon? seems like I Kin Haz Reetard would have been more appropriate), to generate a laundry list of librul strawmen.

(Further evidence of Hawkins' babbling idiocy can be found here, in which he exhorts his readership to boycott liberal celebrities. Because yeah, otherwise they might keep buying Madonna albums and watching Janeane Garofalo movies. Is this guy fuckin' drunk or what?)

This is the usual ipse dixit, tautological conservatard guff we've become long accustomed to, but what's striking is how the commenters take to this cheap, fact-free chum as if it were brought down by Moses from Mount Sinai. One of these bozos defiantly instructs doubters to "prove" Hawkins "wrong," as if it were possible to muster factual information to counter a group of tedious assertions that had to left some scar tissue when Hawkins pulled them out of his doughy ass.

Ed at G&T would FJM this six ways from Sunday. I'll just leave you with the thought that in the past, you would have had to trudge down to the park and find a homeless heroin addict to hear the sorts of mutterings Hawkins (and his idiot readers) trumpet as some sort of received wisdom. This is beyond the usual intellectual pant-shitting that, say, Jonah Goldberg indulges in. This is more like someone shitting their pants, then smearing it all over the wall.

Or in this case, the internets.

Careful With That Microphone

You know, if Michelle Bachmann didn't exist, you'd have to invent her. I just assumed that God's punishment on us was allowing her to stay in office.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Shadow (1995-2013)

Anyone who has a pet knows that there is an unpleasant bargain built into the arrangement. Unless you have a long-lived exotic pet like an African grey parrot or a Galapagos tortoise, you're going to outlive your animal companions.

And when you end up having an animal for well over half of your own adult life, and said pet's suffering has to be ended, it's not just like losing a family member, it's like having to kill that family member. But again, we all know the deal when we enter into it, we just convince ourselves over the years that the sad day will come tomorrow and tomorrow.

Shadow was one of the true characters that have passed through our menagerie over the years, more dog-like in temperament than cat-like, affectionate to the point of being needy. The photo here was taken probably around 2003-4, when she was fat, happy, affectionate. Over the last year, her senses and mind had deteriorated, and some sort of hyperthyroidism had set in, making her thin, irritable, mostly blind and deaf, wandering around yowling for hours on end sometimes.

And yet she still ate well and never had an accident; in fact, I believe that at least some of the distressed wandering was an indication that, while just senile enough to temporarily forget where the litter box was, she wasn't so senile that she'd drop a deuce on the living room rug.

Euthanizing a beloved pet is one of those terrible tasks, where you know it's the right thing to do, but that knowledge doesn't make the task any easier. But eighteen years is a pretty good run for a cat, especially when it's with good food and lots of love. Make sure to give your pet friends an extra pat or kind word. Rest in peace, old friend.

[Update 5/11/13 1:23 PDT:  Thanks to everyone, here and at Balloon Juice and Eschaton, for the kind words and condolences. It really does mean a lot.]

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Another Day, Another Lie

So here's yet another in a long line of "the Moooslim Brotherhood in the White House" sacks of crap circulating the agnotosphere, even though the "event" actually occurred nearly a full year ago:

A course for U.S. military officers has been teaching that America's enemy is Islam in general, not just terrorists, and suggesting that the country might ultimately have to obliterate the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina without regard for civilian deaths, following World War II precedents of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima or the allied firebombing of Dresden.

The Pentagon suspended the course in late April when a student objected to the material. The FBI also changed some agent training last year after discovering that it, too, was critical of Islam.

The teaching in the military course was counter to repeated assertions by U.S. officials over the last decade that the U.S. is at war against Islamic extremists — not the religion.

"They hate everything you stand for and will never coexist with you, unless you submit," the instructor, Army. Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley, said in a presentation last July for the course at Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va. The college, for professional military members, teaches midlevel officers and government civilians on subjects related to planning and executing war.

Dooley also presumed, for the purposes of his theoretical war plan, that the Geneva Conventions that set standards of armed conflict, are "no longer relevant."

Since then, Lt. Col. Dooley has been fired, in no small part thanks to letters of protest from dozens of organizations representing various cultural and ethnic organizations, who all have Islam in common. So naturally, the folks who see an exploding turban under every bed and/or the creeping threat of sharia law being mandated in the heartland have taken all this to mean complaisance or outright complicity on the part of Obama and his eeeevil minions, whose poorly-hidden mission it is to convert, whether by legalistic trickery, the sword, or some sort of jabbery hocus-pocus. Booga-booga!

Folks, there's no denying that political Islamism is no friend of western democratic principles. It is openly and overtly hostile, not only to the past century of Anglo-American meddling in the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia, but even to relatively benign cultural mores, such as women being allowed to drive, vote, and not be forced by threat of violence to wear sweltering tents whenever in public. Extreme Islamists flip out over the mildest of slights, from cartoons to books. You could not write, produce, and perform a Book of Islam musical, without riots and murders. There's no getting around it, they're dicks and goons. They need to go.

But to insist that a religion with over a billion adherents in dozens of countries is (to indulge in legalistic jargon) jointly and severally responsible for the vile actions of a statistical sliver, is just nuts. And if the excerpts that have been shared from Lt. Col. Dooley's seminar are accurate, then in fact he is striking a needlessly provocative, antagonistic stance, one that will only serve to further polarize the massive impasse between the two cultures.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Fight Fire With Fire

If this little stunt doesn't clarify what the NRA is and does at this point, I don't know what will. They subsist on imaginary grievances and fantastic scenarios, from jackbooted thugs coming to forcibly seize their weapons and bullets, to successfully waging an armed insurrection against a corrupt government.

(Not that being able to counter the excesses of corruption isn't a great thing, but they've got urban assault vehicles and drones and chemicals and nukes. You think some next wave David Koresh is going to hold off a siege of RPGs and Abrams tanks and Predators? Come on. First round of Willy Pete over the wall, and it's over. Your collection of Kalashnikovs and Chinese SKSs won't help you.)

Reasonable people (to the extent that there are any left) can agree to disagree over the specifics of where exactly the line is on the Second Amendment, whether it is presumed that people in the 18th century could conceive of semi-automatic handguns with 30-round clips, or that maybe mild background checks to possibly prevent even one of our weekly spree killings won't infringe on anyone. But the NRA exists merely to leverage antagonism and stoke paranoia.

And collect money. Sweet, sweet money.

So if you're sick of their bullshit, maybe it's time we all chipped in five or ten bucks, and got some lobbyists in there to counter said bullshit. Put together a reel of their greatest hits, go around the country, reach out to responsible gun owners with other responsible gun owners and reiterate that no one wants to take anyone's hunting rifles away, unless you're a violent felon or a raving nutbag.

Or you could continue to suffer, in quiet resentment, the seditious nonsense of a lobbying group whose membership numbers a little over one percent of Americans. Talk about a tyranny of the minority. Law, policy, and cultural rhetoric are apparently being determined by people who watched Red Dawn one too many times.

Frankly, the NRA and its members and political supporters need to decide whether they are merely an ankle-biting special interest group, or a wannabe separatist movement.

Conspiracies in Plain Sight

You know I loves me a good conspiracy theory as much as the next prole, but I think brother Orlov might be reaching a bit here (though his deeper insights as to the history of Russian-Chechen enmity is certainly interesting). It's not that it's inconceivable that people in the gubmint could and would conspire to do horrible things -- it is a business that seems to attract casual psychopaths -- it's that they are simply too organizationally inept and individually talkative to pull something like that off. There's always (okay, usually) one sane individual in any given room that says, if only to themselves, "Wait. What the fuckety-fuck!?!"

This is not to say that Orlov's assumption of false-flag absolutely can't be true, just that it's extraordinarily unlikely, that there's zero reliable evidence of such, and that at least one of his corroborating links appear to be babble and bullshit poached from WhirledNutDaily. But hey, it's a free country, it's okay to ask questions, even if they turn out to be the wrong questions. One thing people across the political spectrum can agree on is that historically, the powerful have tended to resort to unsavory means in order to retain or expand their hold on said power.

Now, all of that said, it is not tinfoil-hattery to point out that the incredibly militarized response in Boston should give one pause. In an urban area that has its share of armed assholes shooting one another routinely, the town went into martial-law lockdown with a fucking quickness, to hunt for a kid who might or might not have a gun and/or a jerry-rigged pressure cooker.

This is not to minimize the threat that the Tsarnaev brothers posed at a time of genuine chaos, but rather to suggest that this is a case of the creeping paramilitarization of municipal police forces. You want the good guys to have more and better weapons than the bad guys, but we're looking at zombie-apocalypse measures being utilized on a city of over half a million people, in response to a vicious crime, but one that is routine in many countries, the way gun massacres are routine here.

These extreme measures should be cause for some concern -- what, every time some asshole figures out how to make an IED or a pipe bomb in his basement, the entire city has to squat in their hovels while SWAT teams and private security firms wave their automatic weapons at every window?

And while Orlov's assumptions may appear to be off-base, his rationales have at least some credibility. The implosion of the empire continues apace, Dow 15000 notwithstanding. The oligarchs have made it clear that the planet is their cash cow, and they don't feel like sharing, because fuck you. Notions of pay commensurate with strenuousness and difficulty of work are whimsically archaic; in the Excel paradise, the man with the golden algorithm sets the earning curve.

But imperial maintenance is costly, and as noted, the donor class only shells out money in order to rent pols to do their bidding; maintaining infrastructure and creating jobs is your fucking problem, hoss. Capital mobility is king, and you are but a serf. What happens if gasoline prices hit six, seven bucks a gallon here, and supply chains start getting iffy? You ever take a look at how your food supply chain operates, how heavily it depends on the affordability of petroleum? What is the official response when the plebes start rioting for reals, when the cheez doodles are no longer on the shelves? What happens when the financial racket finally blows out like the bald tire that it really is?

And the debates over whether Boston was false-flag or not can continue as more evidence (or "evidence") comes in, but one fact comes through regardless -- this was a golden opportunity for gubmint to flex nuts and test civil response mechanisms in case of extreme circumstances.

Since there were no reports of anything untoward during the lockdown, one can assume that compliance has been found sufficient. Regular programming can resume.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Consider the Twittard; Or, The Ballad of Fuckface Von Clownstick

Doop-de-doop, let's see what 'murka's favrit toupee farmer is doing with his historically unparalleled success. Oh look, he's pimping his piece of shit teevee show -- that just got beat in the ratings by the entire Fox lineup -- and getting into another butthurt flame war with a comedian:
Those are not copy-and-pasted together, mind you -- they are consecutive posts.

But wait! Donald also has unwanted advice for the flailing newsprint industry:
No, only Trump is smart enough to take a publication struggling to retain some vestige of legitimacy, and turn it into a print version of CNN. Not that Trump vouching for a guy named "Pecker" isn't a thing of ironic beauty. Maybe Pecker can take over Time and give Bat Boy a column.

That's the business savvy you want from someone who claimed and proved that Barack Obama was born in....no, wait, that didn't quite work out. Well, he is the guy who successfully sued that nasty Bill Maher for $5 million and....oh, wait, right.

Hey, how about that Macy's line, amirite?

I hate people who spout this final one like it's some sort of hidden, profound wisdom:
Ahahaha. Right. Are there still people out there who actually believe this, or do they just not understand what the word "never" means, that it is immeasurably different from, say, "sometimes", or "occasionally"? Maybe we can send those folks over to the Congo (borderline NSFW), with Donny and Billy on the first plane, and they can toss that one out to the folks there, see what that gets 'em.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

The Big Lie

Just in time for the, ah, "National" Day of Prayer (and hey, I didn't, don't, and won't, and I'm willing to bet that almost no one else did either, whether they profess to believe or not), comes this steaming pile from the folks at Big Babywood, or whatever the despondent followers of L. Ron Breitbart (PBUH) are calling it this week.
So President Barack Obama’s civilian appointees who lead the Pentagon are confirming that the military will make it a crime--possibly resulting in imprisonment--for those in uniform to share their faith. This would include chaplains—military officers who are ordained clergymen of their faith (mostly Christian pastors or priests, or Jewish rabbis)--whose duty since the founding of the U.S. military under George Washington is to teach their faith and minister to the spiritual needs of troops who come to them for counsel, instruction, or comfort.

This regulation would severely limit expressions of faith in the military, even on a one-to-one basis between close friends. It could also effectively abolish the position of chaplain in the military, as it would not allow chaplains (or any service members, for that matter), to say anything about their faith that others say led them to think they were being encouraged to make faith part of their life. It’s difficult to imagine how a member of the clergy could give spiritual counseling without saying anything that might be perceived in that fashion.

And it's been sternly retweeted by #jesuschristnotyouagain, so it must be true!

Oooh, heavy duty! Love that Mama Grizzly thinks she can order the preznit like she's telling one of her kids not to do drugs or have premarital sex. He'd "better clear this up today, right now", or I'll, I'll....go on Greta Van Susterenenen and make seagull noises until someone pays me to stick a cork in it.

Noted call-girl aficionado Charlie Sheen once famously cracked that he didn't pay hookers for the sex, he paid them to go home afterward. There may be a corollary theory in the second half of that equation somewhere with regard to Palin. The voice is screechy, but even her writing instantly makes me think of the "wonk-wonk-wonk" muffled-trumpet sound of Charlie Brown's teacher.

Then again, the last time this broad got a wild hair in her ass, someone got shot. So you might not want to piss her off.

Labor Daze

So, uh, lessee here what people's poet Sarah Palin, aka "The Quitter from Twitter" is down to these days:


Oh no she di'unt! That is some grade-A Fuckface von Clownstick smackdown, yo. I especially like how she says "working our asses" off, like she's just a down sista like you, with a second job cleaning motel rooms just to make ends meet.

And totally not a past-their-sell-by-date ankle-biter cashing checks for ghost-written doorstops that no one in their right mind would read, much less write, so stop it you guys! It's quite a formidable work ethic in that family, truly. But there's only so many Big Gulp "punchlines" you can pull out of your ass before you have to move on to the next schtick.

Now, the WHCD nerdprom is a tiresome, unseemly, self-satisfied party thrown by people who do little but party most of the year. Has been for some time. So I guess she gets credit for concern-trolling that rare acorn, before she goes back to doing whatever it is she does.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Rule of Law

"We must be careful about what we pretend to be." -- Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

So let's see if we have this straight:  some two-thirds of the remaining prisoners in Guantanamo -- most of whom have been cleared for release, yet not released all the same -- continue to rot in their subtropical dungeon, without charge nor trial, for over a decade now. The only way for them to get out of their Orwellian sentence is suicide, and some of them have managed to take that path.

Now those who remain get force-fed, nasally. Perhaps this is because it was deemed to be even more painful and humiliating than being force-fed anally. Who knows? Nothing makes sense about this situation anymore. Except that nobody seems to give a shit whether these people will spend the rest of their lives stuck in some legal limbo that no one is in much of a rush to rectify.

Either they are guilty, or they aren't. Either there is evidence against them, or there isn't. Put them on trial and have done with it if they actually did something, or admit a mistake and set them free, and close this place already.

Just as we executed enemies who waterboarded Americans during World War 2, but reserved the right to use the same form of torture when it suited us, so the application of basic jurisprudence appears at this point to be nothing more than a polite affectation. Again, either we -- and our endlessly dithering constitutional law scholar of a president -- believe that it is wrong to imprison a human being without charge, trial, or proof of crime, or we believe it's perfectly fine to do such a thing for no better reason than political convenience and cowardice.

This is yet another in a long (and getting longer all the time) line of issues where Obama continues to whiff. If he wants his legacy to be something other than "Congress wouldn't let me" then he needs to sack up and by god do something about anything.

Seriously, dude, no one's expecting loaves and fishes. Create a few decent jobs; take some steps to alleviate the impending clustersomething that health care deform will perpetuate, since it does nothing at all to address the usurious racket comprising the American health care system; enforce basic party discipline to keep retiring Democrats onboard with simple background-check measures for deadly weapons; maybe pressure Harry Reid to insist on actually having to get your ass up there and spend time filibustering, rather than this lame "threat" dodge the goopers get away with routinely. Take a bold stand that civilized nations don't lock people up without charge and lose them in an offshore gulag for a decade or so.

Put these people on trial; if they're guilty, shoot them as enemy combatants. Whatever. But do something, ferchrissake, something slightly bolder and more principled than strapping a person to a table and jamming tubes up their nose to force-feed them like a foie gras goose. The fact that said person may not only have been supposed to be released, but may very well be innocent in the first place, and spent a decade of their life in hell because of someone else's chickenshittery, is a disgrace.

You can make fun of Dubya's ridonkulous Liberry and its self-serving exhibits, but what's Obama's library going to look like at the rate he's going, a cartoon of Barry O getting pushed around by Mitch McConnell and Jamie Dimon for eight goddamned years?

I know his acolytes console themselves that his feckless 11th-dimensional chess mastery is somehow infinity better than whatever shit sandwich Romney and Ryan were cooking up. But only as a mild, eroding bulwark against the eternal predations of the oligarchy, not that Obama has done thing one about them or even slowed them down. In the meantime, every bloody thing you despised about the Bushies -- imprisonment without trial, drone war without end, the ongoing and deliberate ruination of the financial system, the rich getting richer and the poor no longer even getting by -- continue unabated.

There's not much more time for Obama to decide and act on whether he wants to end on eight years of excuses and ineffectual moderation, or to take a risk and do something, anything, pick a direction and grab a shovel. I have zero faith that he'll do the right thing, and it no longer matters whether he wants to but can't, or if he simply was never the transformative figure he was pretending to be. Just another politician, forever chasing the next election and too timid to do anything that might actually impact someone from the non-donor class.

The Other Site (Purple Tiger Guitar)

So, as I've mentioned previously, I've been building a guitar instructional site. Here it is. There's a fairly substantial amount of content so far, but it is still certainly in process as far as layout and construction and all.

Originally, I had conceived of Purple Tiger Guitar as more of a "shred" site; I've played for nearly 30(!) years now, and have amassed a huge vault of cool practice materials that I wanted to share -- and sure, if there's a buck in there to be made somewhere along the line, I'm more than happy to make it. I hate working a "real" job as much as the next schmuck. I'm not bothered by the prospect of building the proverbial brand, if it's something I actually believe in.

But I'd like to make stuff available for players of differing levels and styles. Mainly the goal is to provide as much for free as possible, and hopefully build up a steady crowd and get them exchanging cool ideas, while selling (at a seriously reasonable price) some useful e-books that will accelerate the learning process.

There has been no real launch as of yet, but this is as good a place as any to generate interest, and if you're a player, there is (and will be) material at PTG for guitarists of all levels and styles. I will be launching two e-books on Amazon in the next 10 days, and will be promoting them here as well as at the PTG site.

Strangely, even though there has been no launch so far, and this post is literally the first mention of the site at any other location, PTG has already gotten substantial worldwide traffic since I started the site five months ago. Aside from North America, there's been hits from Brazil, Poland, Macedonia, India, South Africa. I'm fascinated and thrilled by that, people on the other end of the planet stumbling across something that hasn't been promoted or advertised in the slightest, and hanging out for half an hour at a time, checking out the content. Amazing.

Even more amazing is that if you punch in the phrase "purple tiger guitar" into Google, the site should show up ranked as #1, with the Facebook page as #2. Bear in mind that there are several companies that manufacture actual "purple tiger" guitars. And they're great companies, making great products. I absolutely love my ESP Purple Tiger model; hence the name of the site, durrr. That makes the SEO victory that much sweeter, thank you.

Longtime readers will know that while I grew up in and live in Northern California, I am originally from Southern Cali, and spent every summer down there through high school. One of my more formative experiences took place at about 16 years old. By that time, I had played drums for a few years in junior high, got to where I could play some of Neil Peart's relatively easier stuff, then switched to bass, learning as much Geddy Lee, Chris Squire, Jack Bruce, and John Entwistle as I could.

And then I heard Eddie Van Halen and decided that that would get me laid, being able to play that rapid-fire weedly-weedly-wee stuff. I had a bass tab book and learned how to extrapolate my bass knowledge to the six-string.

Anyhoo, when I would visit LA in those high-school summers, I would hang with my older cousins and hit the beach and surf all day. So there was one day in the summer of 1983, when I had just turned 16, and I had a cousin who attended USC, and he called some friends and (better yet) girls. We surfed all day at San Onofre, built a bonfire, and partied all night, playing classic Beach Boys and Beatles tunes with all these cool college chicks oohing and aahing over every little dominant 7th chord. I know, life is rough sometimes. One has to find the strength to carry on in such times.

To this very day, I vividly recall a distinct point where the sun hit the horizon on its way down, the bonfire hitting its stride, the girls getting  (let's say) enthusiastic, and thinking to myself that if there was a way I could do this for a living, like do it every blessed day, it would be a dream come true. And I did exactly that for the next ten years.

So the real goal of PTG is to get back into that, to play and have fun and show others how to learn faster and better and more efficiently. I get that it's a niche, but if you have any interest at all in guitar playing, I encourage you to check it out, and leave feedback, good or bad. As always, thanks for your participation and forbearance.