Needful Things

Back in high school, I was a pretty avid Stephen King reader. One of my favorite SK books was Needful things. In the book, Satan comes to a small town in the form of Leland Gaunt, a store owner. In exchange for gifts in his store, he has the townsfolk play tricks on each other. So Person A plays a trick on Person B. Person B assumes Person C played the trick, and thus retaliates against Person C. And so, falling into the trap, an escalating battle ensues between Person B and Person C, all instigated unknowingly by Person A.

Well, a similar trap has been set in Iraq, and all the players are falling into their expected roles.

A couple of days ago, one of Iraq's holiest Shiite mosques was blown up. Shiite's blamed the Sunnis for the bombing, and retaliated by killing scores of people, including many Sunni imams, and attacking Sunni mosques. The incident has many worried that Iraq is heading towards civil war.

I don't know for sure who set off the bombs, but I'd be willing to bet it was Al-Qaeda, and not "Sunnis" en masse. The set things in motion, trying to provoke the Shiites into attacking the Sunnis and starting a civil war, and it fucking worked!

Can you believe it? It's insane that people would fall for such a trick, isn't it?

It would be almost like if Al-Qaeda wanted to turn the Muslim world against us, so they attacked us, hoping that we would attack another country, inflaming the Muslim world and turn world opinion against us.

Imagine that?

Leland Gaunt would be proud.

Dick Cheney, Porn Star

Brit Hume, on Special Report with Brit Hume, February 13:
A Texas man who caught a load of Vice President Cheney’s birdshot…
Man, that comment brings back the Peter North visuals I have whenever I hear the Carl’s Jr. slogan, “If It Doesn’t Get All Over The Place, It Doesn’t Belong In Your Face.”

If you know what I'm talking about, shame on you.

Band-Aids On My Nipples

Okay, I officially love Morrisey.

After a lifetime of mocking Morrissey, The Smiths, and their fans, I have come around. I apologize to all I have offended. So overweight goth chicks, please accept this apology from an overweight, aging punk. Morrissey is pretty fucking cool (the webste did all those gay caps, not me).
Singer MORRISSEY was quizzed by the FBI and British intelligence after speaking out against the American and British governments.

The Brit is a famous critic of the US-led war in Iraq and has dubbed President GEORGE W BUSH a “terrorist” – but he was baffled to be hauled in by authorities.
Morrissey explains, “The FBI and the Special Branch have investigated me and I’ve been interviewed and taped and so forth.

“They were trying to determine if I was a threat to the government, and similarly in England. But it didn’t take them very long to realise that I’m not.

“I don’t belong to any political groups, I don’t really say anything unless I’m asked directly and I don’t even demonstrate in public. I always assume that so-called authoritarian figures just assume that pop/rock music is slightly insane and an untouchable platform for the working classes to stand up and say something noticeable.

“My view is that neither England or America are democratic societies. You can’t really speak your mind and if you do you’re investigated.”


Fuck Wal-Mart

Man, I’ve gone back and forth with my feelings about Wal-Mart long enough. Time to take a stand.

Fuck that place.

I’ve always abhorred their business policies, but it is undeniable that if you’re poor, it is very difficult NOT to shop there. Well, last night I decided to quit giving Wal-Mart my money, although I will continue to loan it to them for short periods.

Let me explain.

So last night I needed to return Item A and buy Item B. I walk in, and the line to return stuff is really, really long. So I ask the greeter lady if I can shop first and hope the line goes down. She says I can, if I leave my stuff in the car. I guess the idea of exchanging things is beyond her. So I get into the return line and wait for twenty goddamned minutes. Every single return in front of me turned into a game of “How Many Wal-Mart Associates Does It Take To Return An Item?” I swear each return started to resemble some sort of football huddle. The weird thing is, there were only two return registers open, but four people huddled for each transaction. Imagine watching this train wreck for twenty freaking minutes.

So I return Item A, go get Item B. There are three registers open, each with long lines. There is also one “self checkout” lane open, with an equally long line of people who I would never let near a self checkout line. There were about 10 closed registers and 5 closed self checkout registers. I almost walked out when the aisle light started flashing for the second time for managerial assistance.

So, it took me another ten minutes to pay for my stuff. A half-hour of my life, wasted in lines at Wal-Mart for fucking vacuum cleaner bags.

As I was waiting in line, I began to think about a movie I saw recently: “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices”. Among many other shady practices, it accuses Wal-Mart of intentionally understaffing stores. Duh. Why didn’t I figure this out before? I thought back to my previous Wal-Mart experiences. It’s ALWAYS like this. There are always extremely long lines and there are always closed registers. Fewer workers may equal lower labor costs which may equal lower prices, but it also equals endless frustration and waiting in line for me. Wal-Mart has never been a pleasant shopping experience. Yet Target always seems to be. Hmmm. Maybe it has something to do with scheduling enough people to minimize my misery. That’s got to be worth an extra fifty cents for vacuum bags.

I didn’t take my frustration out on the people who were working there. They were doing their best and were pretty obviously stressed out. I’ve decided instead to take my frustration out on Wal-Mart in a different way.

Whenever I need something, but I don’t really need it for more than a day, I will now buy it at Wal-Mart and then return it when I am done. If I need to go camping? Buy a tent; return it when I get back. Need to fix something? Buy the tools; return them when I am finished. No doubt, sooner or later Wal-Mart will catch on and ban me or something; I have no problem with that. But until then, fuck ‘em.

Viva Target!

Rush Limbaugh Really Is A Big, Fat Idiot

Rush Limbaugh, February 14:
And don’t forget, Sherrod Brown is black. There’s a racial component here, too. And now, the newspaper that I’m reading all this from is The New York Times, and they, of course, don’t mention that.
Ladies and gentleman, I bring you Sherrod Brown:

Fuck Ford

So Ford is experiencing some financial difficulties. They are losing U.S. marketshare. They are planning massive layoffs. They were late to the hybrid party. The ones they have, they can’t build enough of to meet demand. So they had an idea, a good one, too. A “Tri-Flex” engine that can run on either gasoline, ethanol or hydrogen. Ah, they are starting to get it, right??


Look at this $100,000 monstrosity they chose to put it in:

Do you know what this behemoth is called? The Super Chief. Do you know where they got the name Super Chief? From a motherfucking train. That’s right, in the midst of layoffs and soaring fuel prices, Ford decided they would model a vehicle after a train. It’s 2006, I’m waiting for my hovercraft and jet pack, and Ford is designing trucks inspired by trains. God help us all.

That’s a big ol' FUCK YOU to all those who are going to lose jobs in the upcoming year. How many millions did they spend coming up with this piece of shit nobody but the super rich can afford? They are saying this thing will get 500 miles between fill ups. That’s a FUCK YOU to you, me, and everyone else whose normal affordable cars don’t approach anywhere near that.

With priorities like that, they can go bankrupt for all I care.


Guns Don't Kill People, The Vice-President Does

By now you know that Dick Cheney was trying to be a macho man and ended up shooting a dude in the face. I can’t think of any original jokes about it, since the ineternet and late night TV have been cranking them out at a record pace. Needless to say, The Daily Show is mandatory watching at a time like this.

So I will instead turn to Cheney’s disgusting hunting habit.

First let me say, me and hunters do not see eye to eye. I don’t want to get too deep into that argument, but the whole notion of hunting in an industrialized society makes me feel uneasy. That being said, when someone argues for hunting and talks about their respect for animals, the desire to commune with nature, how they eat or use every part of the animal, and so on and so on, I sort of understand. I guess I sort of get the big picture of hunting as bonding with nature, but I’ll never really see it as anything more than shooting animals with guns for fun. Go catch a deer with your bare hands if you want to impress me.

But what Cheney does takes it to another sick and depraved level.

Cheney was “hunting” quail on a private ranch that was established for that very purpose. The birds are not wild, they are raised in pens. At the designated time they are released, in order to be shot by fat pigs like Dick Cheney. Since they have been raised in pens, their wings aren’t very strong so they don’t fly that fast, if at all. To make it a little more interesting, some people advise getting the birds dizzy before you release them.
Whether in a bag or in a cage, it’s a good idea to swing the birds in a circle at arm’s length immediately before releasing them. A dozen times is a good rule of thumb.
Ask yourself, if Cheney was shooting at a bird in the air, why did he shoot a guy no more than six feet tall? I’m betting the bird he was gunning for could barely fly. According to reports, Cheney's party actually drove right up to the site where they shot from. How's that for communing with nature?

Where is the “sport” in this? Cheney has a long history of, pardon the pun, shooting ducks in a barrel. In 2003,

Upon his arrival at the exclusive Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier Township, gamekeepers released 500 pen-raised pheasants from nets for the benefit of him and his party. In a blaze of gunfire, the group—which included legendary Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), along with major fundraisers for Republican candidates—killed at least 417 of the birds. According to one gamekeeper who spoke to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Cheney was credited with shooting more than 70 of the pen-reared fowl.
"Hunters" particpate in pen hunts with all sorts of animals, from deer to zebras. Lord knows, when the blogosphere starts scratching the surface, there will be a whole history of Dick Cheney’s perverted hunting habits. But is it all that shocking that that a creature as vile as Dick Cheney gets his rocks off doing this sort of thing? If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. During Vietnam, when he had a chance to serve in the military and face other armed human beings, he chickened out, saying, "I had other priorities in the '60s than military service." Yet he has no problem sending other peoples sons and daughters, who might also have "other priorities", into war. When he has the chance to actually hunt wild game, he instead drives up and shoots domesticated birds.

No sense of fair play, no sense of right and wrong, and a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later. With this sort of mindset, sooner or later the shit hits the fan. For Cheney personally, now it has. But for innocent Iraqis and American soldiers, not to mention the hundreds and perhaps thousands of birds that have happened to cross his path, his recklessness and willingness to shed other's blood has been known for quite a while.


Shoe Bomb Fantasies

This is frigging hilarious.

Surely you know by now that the modus operandi of the Bush Administration is to keep you scared. It keeps your mind off of their failures and keeps the hard questions from being asked. It also, magically, expects you to believe the unbelievable and just take their word for it.

So Bush, to keep you shitting your pants, says how in 2002 Al-Queda devised a plan to fly a plane into the Library Tower in Los Angeles (it's now called the U.S. Bank Tower, but that didn't stop pinche Bush from calling it the Liberty Tower). But how would they hijack a plane now that cockpit doors have been fortified? Shoe Bombs! Yes, you read right. Shoe bombs. Luckily, I wasn't the only one who was confused.
Q Scott, I wanted to just ask a follow-up about the LA plot. Is there something missing from this story, a practical application, a few facts? Because if you want to commandeer a plane and fly it into a tower, if you used shoe bombs, wouldn't you blow off the cockpit? Or is there something missing from this story?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know what you're referring to about missing. I mean, I think we provided you a detailed briefing earlier today about the plot. And Fran Townsend, our Homeland Security Advisor, talked about it. So I'm not sure what you're suggesting it.

Q Think about it, if you're wearing shoe bombs, you either blow off your feet or you blow off the front of the airplane.

MR. McCLELLAN: There was a briefing for you earlier today. I think that's one way to look at it. There are a lot of ways to look at it, and she explained it earlier today, Alexis, so I would refer you very much back to what she said, what she said earlier today.

That's just the written transcript. Hopefully the audio contained the press corps Rolling On The Floor, Laughing Their Asses Off.

Back In San Diego, rambling

Well, they are sending my neice to Iraq on Tuesday. Bastards.

So, I'm back in San Diego to see her off. Man it feels like home here. Which is weird, considering I didn't move to San Diego until my mid-twenties. But it feels more like home than "home" does. "Home" being Lemoore, California. Don't worry, no one else has heard of it either. Currently I reside in Sacramento, which is where I was born, so it should technically be home, but I didn't grow up there, so fuck that. Sacramento will never feel like home. I get mad AT THE CITY every day. I never thought I'd see the day when an actual city pissed me off, but ol' Sactown has managed to accomplish that. I'm dreading going back already.

So today I drove by the place I used to live before I moved to San Diego. For some reason I was hoping I'd see Mojo, my cat that disappeared while I was living there. Don't laugh, she's pulled the disappear-reappear thing more than once. Damn I miss that cat.

The neighborhood (North Park/South Park) has gone through some major changes in the past year. Gentrification on a rapid scale. Off The Record, San Diego's hipster music store, has moved here, and indication of how trendy it's gotten. I predicted this would happen, but I'd have never guessed it would take just a year.

I've already had three mochas today, and I'm planning on eating enough for three people. This is my last hurrah, as I'm seriously going to try and lose some weight when I get back. Of course, by "seriously", I mean that I'll try for two days and give up.

Okay back to my neice. Her name is Sarina, and she is the best person in the world. She is the first person on my Myspace friends list, so you should go and wish her well. She has some fucked up taste in music, but her awesomeness outweighs that.


Making The Bombs

The latest issue of The Atlantic has a great article by Robert Bryce on what we are fighting in Iraq: mines.

When people think of “war”, images of gun battles and planes dropping bombs usually come to mind. So when you hear “Iraq War”, no doubt some people still envision this scenario. But that’s not what’s happening. While there are scattered "traditional" see how sbattles (i.e. Fallujah), mainly what we are battling are bombs. Terminology such as "Improvised Explosive Devices" muddles the reality of what is killing our troops: mines and car bombs. These are the weapon of choice of insurgents, and their history in the Arab world goes back to T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt.

In Iraq, the percentage of deaths due to mines is higher than in any war we have ever fought. And it’s not getting better.

So, with the bombs getting bigger in sheer number and detructive capability, you have to ask yourself: where in the world are all these explosives are coming from?

Oh yeah.
Some 380 tons of explosives powerful enough to detonate nuclear warheads are missing from a former Iraqi military facility that was supposed to be under American control, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency says.
That was waaaay back in 2004. Let’s see how seriously the administration took the news at the time:
A senior administration official played down the importance of the missing explosives, describing them as dangerous material but “stuff you can buy anywhere.”
Now let’s see how those not in the administration took it:
“The immediate danger” of the lost stockpiles is its potential use by insurgents to make small, but powerful, bombs, an expert told the Times. The expert said the explosives could be transported easily across the Middle East.
Hmmm. Well what did John Kerry say about it during the campaign?
Kerry, speaking in Dover, New Hampshire, mentioned reports about the missing explosives…
“George W. Bush, who talks tough…and brags about making America safer, has once again failed to deliver…This is one of the great blunders of Iraq and one of the great blunders of this administration.”
He said the “incredible incompetence of this president and this administration has put our troops at risk and put this country at greater risk than we ought to be. ... The unbelievable blindness, stubbornness, arrogance of this administration to do the basics has now allowed this president to once again fail the test of being the commander in chief.”
During 2004 campaign, Kerry was called a flip flopper, and elitist, a loony liberal, French, and on and on. What he wasn't called was exactly what he was: right.

So the next time a bomb kills some of our soldiers, try to imagine where such high grade explosives could have come from. Remember who was in charge when they went missing. The Bush administration talks a good game.

But talk minus action equals nothing.


Support The Troops

I mean, fuck, someone needs to, since the government that sent them into harm’s way doesn’t seem to give a shit.
The last time 1st Lt. William “Eddie” Rebrook IV saw his body armor, he was lying on a stretcher in Iraq, his arm shattered and covered in blood.

A field medic tied a tourniquet around Rebrook’s right arm to stanch the bleeding from shrapnel wounds. Soldiers yanked off his blood-soaked body armor. He never saw it again.

But last week, Rebrook was forced to pay $700 for that body armor, blown up by a roadside bomb more than a year ago.

He was leaving the Army for good because of his injuries. He turned in his gear at his base in Fort Hood, Texas. He was informed there was no record that the body armor had been stripped from him in battle.

He was told to pay nearly $700 or face not being discharged for weeks, perhaps months.

Rebrook, 25, scrounged up the cash from his Army buddies and returned home to Charleston last Friday.


The Super Bore

I think I may be done with the Super Bowl forever (unless, of course, the Chargers ever make it). The Super Bowl has jumped the shark. Just like the phrase "jump the shark" has jumped the shark.

The whole two week buildup, the stories (did you know Jerome Bettis is from Detroit?), reliving memories of Super Bowls past, all that shit, I'm simply done with it. There's too much of it, and the cheesy factor has been racheted up to unbelievable levels. I've gone out of my way for the last two weeks to avoid Super Bowl hype, yet still it got through. And for what? A boring game with two teams I'm pretty ambivilent about. That shit happens, it's football. The thing I can't understand is the commercials.

What the fuck happened? I will admit that I was kinda looking forward to them. By the end of the first half, I was thinking maybe they were waiting to show the "good" ones in the second half. No such luck. And I'm not the sort who needs semi-nude women wrestling (though it doesn't hurt) or horses farting to be entertained. Just bring me the funny. Yet no funny was broughten.

The game sucked.

The commercials sucked.

Lucky for me, spring training is but a month away. Go Padres!



Okay, so this post has been sitting on my hard drive, abandoned and lonely, until I realized I never posted it. So, it's obviously a little out of date, but the point still remains...

The government is spitting in our faces. And we just shrug.

Exhibit A:

Bob Ney, who is named in the indictment against Jack Abramoff for taking gifts and trips in exchange for political favors, was chosen by Republicans to lead an ethics briefing for incoming members of the House Of Representatives. Well I guess he can be the example of what not to do.

Exhibit B:

After unqualified hack and ex-FEMA head Michael Brown was exposed as an incompetent crony, Bush has the nerve to appoint Julie Myers as head of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She has absolutely no experience in immigration, an extremely important area in post 9/11 America. Oh, but she is the neice of Richard Myers, former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman. Oh, and she is married to the chief of staff to Michael Chertoff, the Secretary of Homeland Security. Moreover, Bush installed her as a recess appointment, which means that she doesn’t need Congressional approval. The job is hers, because Bush said so.

You know how your boss's idiot nephew gets the cushy job he can't handle just because he's the boss's nephew? Now you know how the Bush Administartion works.