Wednesday, May 31, 2006

He just takes to his leash so well!

The boys at Wonkette say:

Karen Feld: out at the Examiner.
FishbowlDC: looking for a new co-editor.

You guys thinking what we're thinking?


Let's make it happen, Washington.

Huh? What was Garrett Graff, then?

How To Make Your Own List of Conservative Rock Songs

As shown by the National Review, it takes only a few ingredients to turn that rebel rock song you've been pissing your parents off with into a down-home paean to the redistribution of a nation's wealth into the hands of degenerate fatcats. All it takes is the following:

1. Extreme cognitive dissonance.
2. The willingness to ignore anything fact-esque.
3. The ability to discard the truth of an author's intent while savoring the delicate morsel of truthiness you manage to construct.

In that way, we can take a song, like...say, Tori Amos' "Me And A Gun," and have this to say about it:

"Me and a Gun", by Tori Amos
In this Coulterian anthem, Amos sings: "Yes, I wore a slinky red thing. Does that mean I should spread for you, your friends Your father, Mr Ed?" Amos is right to consider the many things women do each day that induce men to rape them and then later pass them on to their friends, relations, and animals from television shows.

It seems easy. And to prove it, I allowed my iPod to determine which songs get transformed into the next RNC anthem. This wasn't going to be easy. My iPod, for whatever reason, loves Snow Patrol.

Here's what it came up with:*

1. "Use It" by the New Pornographers
Carl Newman issues a cri du coeur for the United States to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling in order to provide energy for the future by singing: "If you've got something that sheds some light, use it tonight!"

2. "Cheated Hearts" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Karen O, stung by what she calls "the opposite of love," finds a new-found determination to wait for the right fella--stowing her "rings" for "a rainy day"--and marry into heterosexual monogamy. She exudes the sort of confidence that only a woman in a normal nuclear family can experience, saying directly: "Sometimes I think I'm bigger than the sound." The sound of all those feminazis screaming, "More lesbo sodomy! I needs it!" that is.

3. "White Collar Boy" by Belle and Sebastian
Once you join the Republican party, you'll be able to embezzle your employees' retirement funds and get off with community service.

4. "Theme Song" by Too Much Joy
The central part of the chorus, "To create, you must destroy," marks this as one of the most stirring tributes to economist Joseph Alois Schumpeter and his principle of "creative destruction" ever penned. In case you're wondering what "creative destruction" is, that's the term the conservatives use to explain why even after you pulled yourself up by your bootstraps and worked with zeal and diligence all your life, you still aren't getting your pension.

5. "Sister In Love" by the Envelopes
The narrator repeatedly asks, "Is your sister in love?" He may never find out, but he at least knows damn well what the meaning of "is" is.

6. "Nevermind the Enemy" by the Archers of Loaf
"Nevermind your friends 'cause you can make a joke of them." The Harriet Miers SCOTUS nomination, explained at last.

7. "Fox Confessor Brings The Flood" by Neko Case
Whenever a conservative pol gets his or her ass in a bind, the best course of action is to "kneel before the wheel" of a Fox confessor--like O'Reilly or Hannity--and he'll see too it that the problems are swept away in a "flood" or truthiness.

8. "Killer Parties" by the Hold Steady
My friend Ramesh Ponnuru went to a
Killer Party, once. And it was...THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY! BWAHAHAHHAHA!**

9. "Shakey Dog" by Ghostface Killah
Michael Moore criticizes the military for disproportionately targeting poor black kids for recruitment into the Armed Forces, and then shipping them off en masse to die in the Middle East. But damn if Ghostface and his crew don't sound like they'd be better equipped to be going door-to-door in Sadr City than whatever cracker-ass yoyos we have over there doing it now!

10. "Barely Legal" by the Strokes
"I didn't take no shortcuts. I spent the money that I saved up." Awesome, dude. Let's go grab Ayn Rand and listen to 2112 again!

*And, no, these aren't the only ten songs on my iPod, silly.
**This book: all about the Straw Men. ("Rooowwwr!")

For another side-splitting dose of hilarity on this topic, please go see Mr. Jon Swift. The Meatloaf entry made me pee myself just a little bit.

Through a List, Dubiously, Part Two

In our examination of the first part of the list, patterns emerged:

  • Stalinism is bad. With the bar set that low, you have to wonder why they just didn't define conservatism as being "pro-puppy" or something.
  • A single lyric is enough to offset the rest of a songs content.
  • Rush may be even lamer than scientists previously imagined.
  • When confronted, fans of the list say it's not meant to be taken seriously. Whatever, this is about MY ENJOYMENT.

Let's continue.

26. "Capitalism" by Oingo Boingo
Capitalism is pretty well-established and only railed against by leftist misfits who haven't held public office in several generations. Let's get current, NR. If you've gotta bring Danny Elfman into this, what about "Weird Science?" Did Commander Cuckoo Bananas not issue a rallying cry to the nation to defend her precious nethers against the coming invasions of the animal-human hybrids? "Weird Science" is clearly the Fight Song of the Covert Weirdie Battalions.

27. "Obvious Song" by Joe Jackson
I really should defer to someone who is a Joe Jackson fan. The lyric cited ("There was a man in the jungle / Trying to make ends meet / Found himself one day with an axe in his hand / When a voice said ?Buddy can you spare that tree / We gotta save the world ? starting with your land? / It was a rock ?n? roll millionaire from the USA / Doing three to the gallon in a big white car / And he sang and he sang ?til he polluted the air / And he blew a lot of smoke from a Cuban cigar.") sounds pretty environmentally friendly to me.

28. "Janie's Got A Gun" by Aerosmith
I differ from many orthodox liberals on the issue of gun control. It's one of the ways I ensure that EVERYONE hates me. But we all know that Janie's dad was, like, a Bush/Cheney Ranger-level campaign funder.

29. "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Iron Maiden
The NR seems to imply that quoting Samuel Taylor Coleridge is some sort of conservative shibboleth. If that's the case, I hope they're building a Log Cabin for my Homo McGay friends from Frankie "Welcome to the Pleasuredome" Goes to Hollywood. Frankie say relax! Your environmental regulations, that is.

30. "You Can't be Too Strong" by Graham Parker
Parker asks of someone who's had an abortion, "Did they tear it out with talons of steel?" To which I reply: "No, silly. In America, abortion is safe and legal and performed with sterilized medical instruments." Also, I love NR's qualification: "Although [the song]'s not explicitly pro-life..." Sixty percent of the way through and they're defining the standard of success downward--just like the Iraq war!

31. "Small Town" by John Mellencamp
Sort of condescending coming from a bunch of pointy-heads on Lexington Avenue.

32. "Keep Your Hands To Yourself" by the Georgia Satellites
In their desperation to work another Southern band onto the list, the NR somehow misses the point of the song, which is that pre-marital sex with sluts is teh awesome.

33. "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones
This song makes the list because of the creepy culture of victimhood that infects conservatives. Poor babies! So tired of being abused by demonstrators. Meanwhile, Mr. Jimmy's standing in that Chelsea pharmacy trying to figure out why he was told Bush's health care plan was gonna save him money when it's clear he's being jacked.

34. "Godzilla" by Blue Oyster Cult
One thing that the editors of the National Review and I have in common is that none of us have any idea how this song made the list.

35. "Who'll Stop The Rain" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
I'll agree that that the song takes a "dim view" of activism. But what the song really takes a dim view of is the, uhm, "rain." Clearly, when the National Review cues up this song on the hi-fi, they step back and high-five each other, saying: "Yo! Our rain is totally dope, dood! We really stuck it to some motherfuckers." That's sorta kinda not what everyone else hears when the song gets played.

36. "Government Cheese" by the Rainmakers
Now, this IS a conservative song. Though it seems to imply that the government is behind the crack epidemic.

37. "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" by The Band
Clearly, I need to help these Yankees at the National Review out here. This song is about how the South, after the Civil War, was left to rot--it's infrastructure destroyed and its best and brightest killed off in the war. Virgil Caine, the song's narrator, avoided that fate, but when he says, "You take what you need and you leave the rest / But they should never have taken the very best", he's lamenting the fact that Dixie ended up in the care of cowardly thugs who grew up to be Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond. Seriously, NR, you guys need to read Cold Mountain or something.

38. "I Can't Drive 55" by Sammy Hagar
Like an Enron executive, Hagar boasts of attempting his "best illegal move", then complains that he can't steer. Moreover, he remains in second gear while travelling 55. He's killing his car! And, obviously, he's blowing a .18 on the BAC. So, is the Republican party for law and order or not?

39. "Property Line" by the Marshall Tucker Band
Ewww. So the Marshall Tucker Band likes walking on the edge of their property because it gets them in the mood to fuck, and then they tell me that they find black Arabian mares just as pretty as a "woman you can't stand to stare at." Why can't you stand to stare at that woman? Sounds gay to me. This is conservatism? Uhm, anyway, maybe if home ownership was more affordable, more Americans could enjoy walking their own property lines, even if they opt out of the horse fucking.

40. "Wake Up Little Susie" by the Everly Brothers
The NR says of this song: "A smash hit in 1957, back when high-school social pressures were rather different from what they have become." I take this to mean that the National Review actually thinks that Susie didn't get boned. That is so precious and naive that I want to take the NR home with me and keep them warm and safe and feed them kibble.

41. "The Icicle Melts" by the Cranberries
The Cranberries=great rock? That's a pretty bold statement.

42. "Everybody's a Victim" by the Proclaimers
Sheesh. They're one to talk about playing the victim! Potkettleblackcakes.

43. "Wonderful" by Everclear
Uhm, divorce is bad, mmkay? But the kid from the Everclear song needs the kid from the misconstrued-by-the-NR Blink 182 song to sit him down and tell him that denial's not just a river in Egypt, to let go of his angst, accept the fact that his parents can't stand each other, and then play one off against the other for favor, like any smart conservative would do.

44. "Two Sisters" by the Kinks
The married sister envies her wild single sister's lifestyle! But the single sister envies her married sister's domestic security! Starring Jenna Elfman, coming this fall on ABC!

45. "Taxman, Mr. Thief" by Cheap Trick
Ugh. We get it. There shouldn't be roads or schools or lighthouses or an Air Force. Marx wasn't the only one living in a fantasy land.

46. "Wind of Change" by the Scorpions
For obvious reasons, "Rock You Like a Hurricane" was left off the list.

47. "One" by Creed
Ahh, definitely a conservative rock song--right down to it's a priori problem. But it's just amazing to me that with Creed's entire catalog beckoning the National Review unto it's bosom, they pick the one that criticizes affirmative action. I mean, Stapp's got songs that hint at full blown Mel Gibsonian Messiah complexes! Think big!

48. "Why Don't You Get a Job" by the Offspring
Someday, the person who suggested that this Offspring song "captures the motive force beyond welfare reform" is going to wake up one morning, take a look at himself in the mirror, and quietly whimper: "Oh, my stars! I truly have wasted my entire life!"

49. "Abortion" by Kid Rock
You know, if the right wing is just going to throw its loving arms around Kid Rock, it stands to reason that I should be able to enjoy Janet Jackson's titty on national TV without the entire world ending in the ensuing 24 hours.

50. "Stand By Your Man" by Tammy Wynette
Ha! It makes the list because Hillary Clinton apparently doesn't like it. Well, at least for once, I can't fault that reasoning.

So there you have it. Conservative rock in all its glory. Still it begs the question: if this is conservative rock, then it is implied that all other rock necessarily involves babykilling and Stalinism. The previously quoted maker of rock, Paul, says: "It occurs to me that to live in a world like that, it is imperative that you NEVER, EVER come into contact with an actual liberal. Because, you know, I'm a liberal, and yet I married my wife (although, to be fair, after we had had a fair amount of sex); I didn't kill my baby; I occasionally believe in God; and I'm actually pretty into my country, on the whole."

Word. And as a student of this thing called "the rock music," I must confess that I am at a loss to inform you as to where to turn if you want good old-fashioned rock and roll that is excited about abortion and gulags and hating freedom. Who's making that sort of music? Who's listening to it?

I think we know the answer to that!


"Roowwwwwrrr! Hey, DJ, I gotta hear that dope new al Qaeda jawn. Because I want to be blown up in my own home by terrorists! Fuck yeah that don't make sense! This is ROCK! Roooowwwwr!"

Budahls in Indonesia

Just in case there's anyone out there who are mutual friends of this blog's favorite pair of State Department jetsetters and haven't yet heard about the news from the other side of the world--Chris and Susan are fine in the wake of that earthquake in Indonesia. Kitties also. Spare a thought for those who were not as fortunate.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Through a List, Dubiously.

National Review's list of the 50 Greatest Conservative Rock Songs is, by and large, a monument to the Iron Triangle of Contemporary Conservative Thought: 1) wishful thinking 2) desperation and 3) missing the point entirely. That said, they have found, on occasion, one or two tunes that perhaps fit the mold they are looking for. But, again, by and large, this is sort of a joke.

1. "Won't Get Fooled Again", by The Who
Gotta admit, it takes some degree of chutzpah to rank a song famously mangled by the Glorious Leader in one of his public utterances as the number one. But, the NR's interpretation of this song is so insular as to be useless. I'm afraid my decidedly non-conservative worldview is PLENTY validated by this song. Besides, I wish the administration WOULD take a vow to not get fooled again--hire Richard Clarke back and stop listening to Ahmed Chalabi.

2. "Taxman", by the Beatles
Jeesh. A monosyllabic song by one of the most liberal bands on the planet. Beatle-phile Paul Hashemi sums up the inclusion best: "Everybody wants a piece of the Beatles, and they had such a huge amount of output that there's BOUND to be a song or two that people can read into. On the other hand, "I Am the Walrus" is about... er... being a walrus. Or an eggman. And OBVIOUSLY, the eggman is a liberal - he feels likehe's the victim of the Military-Pushing-Off-Walls complex." Yeah, everyone knows Rumsfeld has it in for the Eggman.

3. "Sympathy For The Devil", by the Rolling Stones
NR calls this "The Screwtape Letters of rock." Actually, the song was inspired by Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita. Naturally, the book is anti-Stalinist and the Moscow intelligentsia is made to look like fools. But if the GOP wants to assert Bulgakov's particular re-imagining of the Christian ethos--in which the Devil is portrayed as a servant of God, and Jesus and Pilate become best buddies, then hell: sign me up! But don't be surprised when Antonin Scalia throws a shit-fit. Additionally, the NR misinterprets lyrics badly: it's not the devil "that will try to make you think" that cops are criminals and sinners are saints--the devil says in the song that that's the way it is! To wit: "I watched with glee while your kings and queens fought for ten decades for the gods they made." Poor National Review: still puzzled by the nature of his game.

4. "Sweet Home Alabama", by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Feh. This is only conservative to the NR because it's about the South--a world most of the pointy-headed elites they have on staff couldn't hope to understand and that they'd doubtlessly avoid visiting given the chance. Plus it's a "response song" to Neil Young. Pretty thin premise.

5. "Wouldn't It Be Nice", by the Beach Boys
It would be nice if the song wasn't kindergarten-level lyrics, or that this supposedly "pro-family" song wasn't performed by a bunch of drugged-out pals of the Manson family.

6. "Gloria" by U2.
Only the National Review would consider a Latin paean to the uber-liberal offspring of God, sung by a destitute man "beautifully reactionary." They should have listened harder to to the cries from rooftops in the Lower Ninth Ward.

7. "Revolution" by the Beatles
Heh. Cf. "Taxman." Though Paul adds: ""Revolution" is a song about disillusionmentwith organized social movements - surely a libertarian impulse - butit's also about love, love, love and all that hippie crap thatconservatives love to bash."

8. "Bodies" by the Sex Pistols
Surely they joke. Badly misconstrued as an anti-abortion song by the NR, the song is actually anti-the-conditions-that-lead-to-abortion.
Just ask the songwriter.

9. "Don't Tread On Me", by Metallica
The National Review can take this bunch of Luddite dipshits who needed the help of a therapist in order to rock for all I care.

10. "20th Century Man" by the Kinks
Hmmm. The NR seems bent on portraying the Kinks as conservative. What I love about the Kinks is that they blow away orthodoxies of all stripes so that everyone can dance and mack on transvestites. But, shit, maybe the NR is on to something. I thought this song came off an album about the forced gentrification of town full of those common folk who the GOP loves to take up for, but heck. I think the Kinks ae fucking primo, so if this means more record sales for them then I say hell yeah.

11. "The Trees" by Rush
Snore! Ayn Rand surely spun in her grave everytime these nerdy Canucks rendered her philosophy into prog-rock twaddle. And of all the songs to assert as "great"..."The Trees?!" Really? Is that your final answer?

12. "Neighborhood Bully", by Bob Dylan
I know nothing about this song. I don't think I've ever heard it. Given it's Dylan, I imagine it's from one of his forgettable periods of output and that this is purely a desperate move to get a liberal icon on this list by any means necessary.

13. "My City Was Gone", by the Pretenders
Another song I've never heard. If it's really about "a Jane Jacobs sensibility against central planning," though, I'm not sure I want to hear it. I don't go to Chrissie Hynde for white papers.

14. "Right Here, Right Now", by Jesus Jones.
Part of the "history" the world was waking up from at the time this song came out? The Reagan years. Odd that a boisterous tune about the wide-open optimism of the Clinton years makes the list. But I guess even the GOP is coming around to wanting a piece of him, too.

15. "I Fought The Law", by the Crickets
Uhm. Obviously the National Review have never heard the song. Or else they're all big fans of Natural Born Killers now.

16. "Get Over It" by The Eagles
From the same songwriter who later rued seeing "a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac." This is the moment where you realize this list is heading into a black hole of twisted irony.

17. "Stay Together For the Kids" by Blink 182.
Uhm, Blink 182? John Kerry worshipping Blink 182? Really? Okay. But this is actually a song sung from the point of view of a kid who wish his parents would stop faking it and get divorced already. A curious, spurious choice.

18. "Cult of Personailty" by Living Color
The Bush administration IS a cult of personality! But, the singer says something bad about Stalin, so the song HAS TO BE THE NEXT BEST THING TO REAGANOMICS AND AIDS, RIGHT?

19. "Kicks", by Paul Revere and the Raiders
Before my time. Which is probably the point.

20. "Rock the Casbah" by the Clash
Blogga, PLEASE! This is a song about conflict in the Middle East getting solved by a really dope beat! If only!

21. "Heroes" by David Bowie
Bowie comes out against the Berlin Wall. Okay? You got that? He's on record. Berlin wall sucks! Okay! Is that clear!

22. "Red Barchetta" by Rush
All in all, a better choice than "The Trees" in that someone has actually heard this song. But, before we go down this Rush road any further, I would remind the National Review that Rush's libertarianism had limits: After all it is "the men who hold high places" who "must be the ones to start to mold a new reality closer to the heart." So, don't go making the government small enough to drown in the bathtub just yet.

23. "Brick" by Ben Folds Five
As Paul points out, this song really serves as a fantastic counterpoint to all those liberal songs that celebrate how awesome it is to take your girlfriend to the abortion clinic. I mean, it's gonna be fun fun fun until the OB/GYN takes the speculum away!

24. "Der Kommissar" by After The Fire.
Okay! Let it be said! The Republicans are hereby taking a brave stance against Kommissars! Here's my favorite part of the National Review's listing of this song. Apropos of nothing, they add: "Also a hit song for Falco, who wrote it." What? Was the piece a sentence short?

25. "The Battle of Evermore", by Led Zeppelin
Quoth the NR: "It's hard to miss the Cold War metaphor: 'The tyrant's face is red.'" Actually, it's really easy to miss that metaphor, given that this is a song by a bunch of drugged up nerds with elephantine cocks singing about FUCKING HOBBITS--unless, of course, you are a contributing editor for National Review tasked with finding five words of a Led Zeppelin song upon which conservatism can be tenuously hung.

NEXT: 26-50. It just gets WEIRDER.

Keep on Rocking in the GOP World!

The National Review unloaded a summer's worth of cognitive dissonance on the world last week by identifying what they consider to be the Fifty Greatest Conservative Rock Songs of all time. Looking at the list, it's hard to say whether the adjective "greatest" is meant to modify the conversativeness of the songs or the rockingness of the songs. I'm left to conclude, mainly, that it chiefly refers to the level of wishful thinking going on.

For a list of songs that supposedly evince conservative greatness, the bar is set awfully low. For example, if you've ever had a problem with Stalinism and sung about it, it turns out you are a cosmonaut for the right wing. Really, who knew? For a liberal like me, you'd think I have a bunch of pro-Stalin tunes blazing up my iPod, but, surprise surprise, much like the majority of the non-crazy world, I, too am against totalitarian kleptocracies that murder their own citizens. That said, George Allen better just calm down before he wets his britches in anticipation of my vote.

Additionally, if you've ever said anything bad about abortion or evinced a dislike of paying your taxes, then you too are a card carrying member of the CON, and you'd better start loving those wiretaps.

The list is a little bereft of songs that are actively FOR anything, which, now that I think about it, is pretty much in line with conventional conservative thought circa now. Also, it's a little short on recent accomplishment. I mean, that's great that memories of the Berlin Wall falling are so fresh and vivid in the minds of the National Review's editors, but where are the pop tributes to their party's recent good works? Where's "The Night the Lights Went Out in Baghdad"? Where's "Subterranean Homesick Tax Cuts"? Where's their hellacious version of "Bring the Noise"--sample lyric: "Chalabi is a prophet that I think you ought to listen to..."

And really...they miss some obvious choices. Why only one Creed song? Why no craptastic corporate country music? Fucking Joey Ramone spent his dying days penning odes to Maria Baritromo and telling everyone who would listen that he was a Republican, and these assholes from NR can't even kick one of punk rock's pioneers a bone? For shame.

Perhaps most shocking and shameful: not a single cut from Bruce Willis' seminal The Return of Bruno made the list. NOT A SINGLE CUT!

What did make the list?
See for yourself. Send me some emails on your thoughts.

LATER: We go over the list.
AND THEN: I prove that with a little tortured reasoning, any random ten songs on your iPod can be turned into a conservative anthem.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Pompatus of Lost:2.22--Did You Ever Get The Feeling That A Season Finale Was About to Happen?

Previouslies: Michael betrayed Ana and then he lied, tried to hide. And Libby died deep inside, now we'll know the reason why.

13 Days Ago, JJ Abrams had the brilliant idea of reappropriating previously shown footage in a new Lost. Hey, it worked for those oh, so trenchant months that we spent with the Tailies, going back in time, marvelling at their crapulence, not being won over by Ana Lucia or her backstory or her drunk driving habits. And now they've had to off Libby, too, so that the whole killtastic Michael moment carried some emotional weight with us viewers, who really couldn't have cared one way or the other about her.

But anyway, 13 days ago, the Losties had themselves one seriously fucking laissez-faire policy when it came to checking out guns for personal use. Michael, twitchy and nervous as if he had just bathed in crack, approaches Locke and asks for a gun. Locke's like the friendly neighborhood soda fountain guy: "Sure, clammy, sweaty, agitated friend of mine! Here's a nice rifle!" He does ask what Michael intends to do with it, to which he replies he's going to continue taking target practice. "Gotta stay sharp," Michael avers, adding in the most awkward way possible, "Say, Locke, you got any of those...what are they called again? Hmmm. Right on thr tip of my...oh yeah! Bullets. Am I pronouncing that correctly? Bullets? You got any of those bullet thingies? Because I hear we're just made of bullets around here, and, heck, it's not like we're in any kind of deadly danger. I just want to shoot at some mayonaise jars for a while."

And Locke, idiot that he is, gives Michael the bullets, whereupon Michael brains him in the back of the head with the butt of the rifle. He runs to the computer, frantically trying to communicate with Walt. He doesn't realize what we know, which is that he's probably being watched on camera and manipulated by the Others or the Dharma people or whoever. Finally, he gets a message back, ostensibly from Walt, saying to head north and look for a rock with a hole in it. Like obscenity, he'll know it when he sees it. That's when Jack walks in and discovers Locke all knocked out and bereft of rifle. Michael tells Jack that he's going after Walt and he's not going to wait around. He locks them both up in the armory. This is where Jack and Locke get the idea of locking Gale up in the armory--they remember how much it sucked to be stuck in there.

Today: Michael has a piece of paper, entitled "Plan for the Season Finale." He stares at it, tantalizing us with it's content. Those sorts of people who have the immediate need to know what's on it ask, "Wait! What's on it?" The other sort of people say, "Shhh. Just wait." Jack walks outside, his keen observational skillz failing to see that Michael was burning something, and calls him into the Hatch.

In the Hatch, the group is totalling up the whole of their artillery. They've lost a considerable amount of firepower this season, and, ironically, Michael is the reason why. Nevertheless, they have what they need to move out and launch a season ending strike on the Others and their kidnappy ways.

That's when Michael starts acting really steaky, telling them that his idea for the season finale is to take Jack, Sawyer, Kate and Hurley and sneak over to the Others' camp and ambush them. It's a strange idea even if you forgive the fact that "Hurley" and "sneak" go about as well together as " a souffle" and "those weird faces on Easter Island." Jack sees no reason why the season finale shouldn't find them with a considerable posse, seeing as Michael says there's about twenty of them and they're armed. Michael counters that if they bring an army, they'll be heard, but, again: one Hurley=10 Charlies (or seven Jin's if you are using the metric system.

Speaking of Hurley, he finally pipes up in this scene, loudly declaiming, "They're dead!" Of course, he's referring to Ana and Libby. This sort of kills the mood as far as the whole strategic planning session goes. Jack and the gang start hauling bodies to the surface. Mike stares at the bloodstains on the floor as we go to commercial.

13 days ago: Michael flees the Hatch and heads north, bumbling across the jungle at top speed. Suddenly, he happens upon a man with his back turned to him, peeing on some shrubs. Michael, figuring that maybe all the larger problems of life on La Isla Encanta could be solved by declaring war on quality of life crimes a la Guiliani's "Broken Windows" hippy-shit nonsense, decides that it's up to him to threaten the man with his gun. Besides, it's for his own good. he shouldn't be out here pissing all willy-nilly like that. Hasn't he heard about the polar bear?

But it's a trap! Pissing man is just a distraction to keep Michael stupidly transfixed long enough for the Dude From That Kansas Album to get up close and grab him. Michael notices just in time and manages to pull away, blindly firing back over his shoulder. One of the Others returns fire, but Dude From That Kansas Album angrily calls him off, saying, "I need him." That's when Dude From That Kansas Album busts out this wicked ass bolo and starts swinging it over his head. He lets fly and sure enough, he's able to rope up Michael's legs on the first try. Motherfucker must have been in that same gang with Napoleon Dynamite or something! I'm going to put "wicked bolo skillz" on my resume right now. Not because I have any, but because it would mean a lot to be asked. Dude From That Kansas Album tells his fellows that they got to "bag him" really quick. Which they do. These motherfuckers can bag. Gotta hand it to them.

Today: Michael is limply attempting to clean up the blood from the floor of the hatch when in pads Eko, quiet as a mouse. He startles Michael with his Ekoesque ways, and watches as Eko gets down on the floor and starts helping to sop up the blood. Eko is a lot better at it than Michael. Michael, feeling guilty with all the tell-tale blood and knowing Eko at the very least contains priest-like substance, asks Eko if he believes in Hell. This prompts Eko to launch into one of his patented somewhat-helpful but somewhat-disturbing stories, this one about a boy who beats a dog to death and worries that the dog will be in Hell waiting for him. That Eko, always one to lighten the mood.

Outside the Hatch, Michael is barfing up a lung when along come Jack. You can see the gears in Jack's mind get the sense that everything's not adding up. He checks up on Michael, and that's when Michael starts in again with his "It's gotta be just the five of us, man! It's what the audience wants to see. Just the five most important characters. Think about the deep ties I have with all of you! Me and Sawyer totally bonded at sea, and I really missed you and Kate and Hurley while I was running around the woods! We need to hang out more! That's not why I think it should be the five of us...exactly. I mean, we should TOTALLY hang out more, Jack, maybe go golfing again when this is all over or something...yeah...uhm, something. Look, it's my rescue plan! Okay! I am the decider!"

Back at the Beach, Charlie approaches Claire for the first time in a long time. He's looking for Eko, because the two of them are supposed to be building a church on the beach. Claire is at first standoffish, but Charlie, for once, seems relatively calm and at ease. He's not dithering around or acting all needy. He's just seems to have a little backbone and a little confidence, is all. He even looks better. It's a pretty nice bit of acting from Dominic Monaghan. Of course, Charlie being at peace has fueled a lot of chatroom banter about people worried that Charlie may meet his demise in the season finale. We remind you that JJ Abrams promised to never kill Charlie. Though it's not like his word is worth much. He rebooted Alias three times and, as a commenter pointed out today, he also wrote Gone Fishin'. So don't accept everything Abrams says as a guarantee.

Charlie has managed to recover a suitcase full of vaccine, or what should be referred to as "vaccine." There's no telling if there's actually any truth to the persistent talk of some sort of disease, but Charlie, charitable soul that he is, and obviously wanting to get back in Claire's good graces, tells Claire that she and the baby probably needed it more than anyone else. How sweet! And Charlie's thorough-going knowledge of drugging with all manner of needles FINALLY pays dividends in that he knows how to use the injector. Shit, Charlie can probably nail someone with a heroin tainted blow-dart if he needed to.

Charlie's gesture leads to an overall lightening of the mood, and you can sense Charlie's about to make his big play, but just then Claire catches sight of Michael. That's right! Most of the beach-dwelling lollygaggers don't know he's back. Everyone seems really happy to see Michael again--after all, he's their buddy who'd never kill or betray anyone. But just before celebrations can get underway, the Buzzkill Island Gang emerges from the jungle bearing the bodies of Ana Lucia and Libby. Slowly, the gathered Losties start formulating excuses for why they can't help dig the graves.

13 days ago, Michael was dragged to a point in the woods for the great unbagging. There is a campfire, and Dude From That Kansas Album, Pissing Man and Alex Rousseau are there. A couple of other Others bring a bound and gagged Kate into the clearing, so we know that we are dovetailing with the earlier episode "The Hunting Party." Dude From That Kansas Album tells his goons to get ready with the torches and orders Michael to be regagged. Then, they are off to relive earlier adventures through the magic of stock footage.

Alex, though, is filled with a bunch of chatty questions for Michael about Claire and her baby. She seems a little unclear on the whole concept of a "gag", however and seems to be frustrated by Michael's inability to answer. When she's ordered to bring Kate out, she's so bamboozled by Michael's silence that she demurs and sends Kate out with someone else. This is why we may have thought momentarily that the Alex of the Others was not Alex Rousseau. Anyway, the episode unfolds the same way it does when it first aired, and, the matter concluded, Dude From That Kansas album returns and orders Alex to coldcock Michael with her rifle, which she does after apologizing. I suppose we are supposed to think that there's hope for some sort of fifth column within the rank of the Others, but this Alex...she not so bright.

Meanwhile, back at the beach, Mike is petting Vincent as Jack and Sawyer discuss matters various and sundry, such as the recent night they spent together yelling at the woods. Sawyer basically implies that Jack and Kate made the Namaste Nasty while they were together. Jack tells Sawyer that they were caught in a net. And so Sawyer learns a great new metaphor, and the clock is ticking on him getting to deploy it.

They happen upon Sayid and fill him in on the details. Naturally, Sayid offers to help, citing the fact that the Ladies who Love Lost Dig Cool Sayid, and why would you not want to have his brooding looks in the Season Finale, but Jack test-drives Michael's whole weird five-man team idea and tells him that he won't be coming on this adventure. Sayid rightly thinks this is bananas, as does Sawyer, who, in all fairness, has a pretty good point to make about Hurley not being the ideal candidate for island-based Metal Gear Solid action. Sawyer settles the matter by handing Sayid a gun and welcoming him to the team. Now they just need to get Jin, Charlie, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck and Elliot Gould and they'll be all set to knock over the Bellagio.

Back in the Hatch, Eko is checking out the place where he's going to spend the next part of his life, entering the numbers that Locke no longer wants to. Charlie comes in and is all: "Where ya been, dude. We got churches to build." Eko tells Charlie--or Chally, as he calls him--that church building is out, number crunching is in.

This pisses Charlie off. After all, as far as Charlie's concerned, the number-entering nonsense was what turned Locke into a mega-douchebag and now Eko's going down that road as well. This is why the numbers are bad. The numbers take more or less reasonable and affable and useful people and turns them into lame bitches. The numbers are like Amway. One day, you and your friends are all building churches like you got Amish in your ass, and the next day, all your friend wants to talk about is "great opportunities."

It's funny, but in the past few days I've had more than one occasion to talk about this dude I went to grad school with who got mixed up with Amway and was never the same again. He was one of the other actors in our graduate program--very talented, super dedicated. I'll never forget the Sunday afternoon that I got a call from him--which was itself weird, as we lived next door to each other--and he told me that he fell into a money making opportunity. I was on the phone, figuring that summer was coming and maybe this was the old gang who staged Good Morning Desdemona (Good Night Juliet) getting the band back together to mount some sort of summer throwdown.

That's when he told me that he and his fiancee had recently stumbled upon a fantastic way to earn a living and the best part was "you earn the money by sharing." At the very enunciation of that phrase alarm bells sounded in my head like air raid claxons and my agile neural network opened up a socket marked "Quickest Way Out of this Phone Call." See, I knew full well that there ain't no motherfucker on the planet who ever made any scratch by "sharing." You make money by TAKING. Sharing money is for people who live on ashrams. So I immediately knew i was getting pitched by a sales cult. Deep inside, I thought to myself: "You bastards. Why'd you have to come for [name of friend]. Why couldn't you leave him well enough alone."

The effect was almost immediate. My colleague was never the same again. Overnight, it was like he had become enveloped in an invisible cloak of lame. The trajectory of his studies levelled off and plummeted. People made a point of avoiding getting locked in a one-on-one conversation with him. was like SHIRTS DIDN'T EVEN LOOK GOOD ON HIM ANYMORE. And along with the lameness was the slumped shoulders, the bags around the eyes, and this profound sadness itching from just beneath the surface. And it is really sad. I just Googled him, and he should have a ton of theatre credits that pop up next to his name. But instead, it looks like he's just moved back to his teeny hometown in Pennsylvania. This is a tragedy, and Amway, be warned: I shall one day avenge this great wrong, V for Vendetta steez.

At any rate, I can see where Charlie is coming from. He's definitely a Hatch-hater.

Back at the beach, Sawyer tells Michael the good news that Sayid is going to be part of the rescue effort. Michael, hearing this, freaks out like crazy, saying that it's not a part of his grand and mystifyingly short-sighted Season Finale. Michael wants to go to war with the cast that he has, but Sawyer ain't having no truck with his Rumsfeldian reasoning and tells Michael that he's straight batshit and that it makes sense to go to war with Sayid because he's the one guy on the island who's got war skillz. Jack's handling the stoic leadership role, Kate's got the whole femme fatale thing going on, Hurley's got a quiver full of witty non-sequiturs and Sawyer's ready to dispense nicknames with a fury. Michael agrees to this arrangement, but when Sawyer walks off, you can tell that this does not sit well with Michael.

And why is that? Well eleven days ago, Michael finally arrived at Camp Others. He sees the rock with the hole in it and, based upon what we see, the Others' sorry-ass existence and basic camp set-up is more or less exactly the way Michael described it. Dude From That Kansas Album tells someone to "Tell her we're here," and Pissing Man draws some blood from Michael, which is gross because, let's face it, I never saw him wash his hands after handling his junk. All the while, the Others continue to talk in that jaunty, hipster sort of lingo that just infuriates me.

Michael is taken to meet with Mrs. Klugh-pronounced-Clue. I guess they've arrived too late for Mr. Parcheesi's office hours. Klugh peppers him with questions about Walt: is he Walt's biological father, has he ever appeared in a place he wasn't supposed to be. All the while, Michael is demanding to see Walt. But Klugh is nonplussed, telling him that he seems strangely concerned about someone he barely knows. Like that's Michael's fault. Hasn't Klugh been to Flashbackistan?

Back at the beach in the present day, Michael approaches Sayid to tell him that he can't be on the team, it has to be done his way, blahdeeblah. Sayid appears to relent, but it is with great relief that we finally see evidence of one of the Losties actually clearly wondering why Michael is acting so strangely about who he brings on the season finale.

Over on another part of the beach, lonely Charlie struggles on his now solo mission to construct Our Lady of the Misplaced Polar Bear. Suddenly, Vincent runs up to him with one of the heroin Marys in his mouth. Charlie's understandably agog and aghast, but he follows Vincent, who leads him right back to Sawyer's tent and the stash of heroin. Charlie gathers up all the Marys and heads down to the beach and starts winging them one by one into the ocean. So, note to Losties: try to die quickly and painlessly from now on, because ol' Doc Shephard's got nothin' fo' ya. The upside? Maybe some sort of boat will grow where Charlie planted all the heroin. You know, maybe. Just a crazy idea. Charlie tosses the last Mary in, and turns to see the leonine Locke watching approvingly from afar. You get the sense that something maybe thaws between Charlie and Locke at that moment, but I was too distracted by JJ Abrams painting what looked like a target on Charlie's back for the Season Finale.

Back in the Hatch, Jack and Sawyer are still ginning up for the big season finale when they discover Eko. Jack tells Eko that they are going to have funerals for Tequila and Tonic around sunset. Eko says that he shall mourn them in his own way. Whatever, Eko.

Sawyer then takes a moment to confess to Jack that he tapped Ana Lucia's ass in the woods, and that's how she came to get the gun off him. And, yes, Sawyer gets to deploy the caught in a net metaphor. Jack's all: dude, why are you telling me this? And Sawyer's facade cracks a little bit when he tells Jack that he's the closest thing he has to a friend. Awww. I'm sure Jack feels that you're the closest thing he has to a seedy grifter that lives in the same neighborhood as him.

Back at the Lostie Cemetery, Hurley and Kate are digging graves. Everyone else wanted to help, but they had prior engagements. Michael comes up to them to once again explain his crazy plan, as if saying it again and again out loud is going to make it sound less crazy. Well, bad news, Mike. Hurley tells him that he's not going on any farkakte rescue mission. Michael acts incredulous at the thought that Hurley wouldn't take this awesome opportunity to sneak up on a band of murderous douchebags, but it seems that Hurley would rather have some time to himself to grieve as well as being seemingly aware of the tactical shortcomings he poses. If Michael really wants to sell the idea of Hurley as Tom Clancy hero, he ought to start teaching him drunken style kung fu or something.

Three days ago: Michael has been a prisoner of the others for just over a week now, and you get the impression that the daily routine is wake up, eat, don't shower, spend the whole day getting asked pointed questions from Ms. Klugh, reply mainly with shrill demands to see son, Lunch, resume litany of questions, watch Seinfeld reruns, dinner, quiet time, story time, sleep. Only today, there has been a development in the plot.

Due to the massive demands of Michael's one track mind, he once again demands to see Walt. Klugh tells him that he is right outside and he can see him for three minutes. During that three minutes, Walt tells Michael that they are making him take tests--presumably the MCATs, because who wouldn't want to see their kidnapped child grow up to be a doctor. He also tells Michael that the Others are not who they claim to be. "They're pretending!" But since we have little context for what they may or may not be pretending at, it's a little tease that must be saved for later. They hug, are soon put asunder, and Walt is dragged out again.

Mrs. Klugh has a proposition for Michael. "Basically, Michael," Klugh says, "We want you to go back to your camp and whip up what we like to call a season finale." "What's that?"Michael asks. "Well," Klugh says, "We'd like for you to go back to your camp and do something uniquely odd and out-of-character. Answer some questions. The rest, just answer with more questions. be revelatory without revealing much. Come up with an interesting, semi-crazy plan that'll end up being seen through, almost thwarted, until something happens like a twist or a cliffhanger. And if he can kill Charlie on the way back, that'd be awesome.

Klugh gives him a list with the names of four people: Jack, Kate, Hurley and James Ford, aka Sawyer. Why those four? Well, they've been testing well. The one thing they share in common is that they are the ones that have had waking psychic encounters with someone or something from their past. Jack saw his dad. Kate and Sawyer saw Misty of Chincoteague. Hurley saw whosit from Sex and the City. Since then, Eko may or may not have seen his brother, and I believe Charlie was asleep when he went to Mindfuckzembourg. Any other ideas? Oh, and The Losties have captured Henry Gale, and the Others want Michael to free him. In return, he and Walt will be permitted to go free, they'll win a boat and other parting gifts, including a copy of THE OTHERS board game and a gift certificate to Botany 500.

Today: Back at the beach, everyone is gearing up for the double-funeral of the season, which they wouldn't even be having if it weren't for Libby. If it was just Ana Lucia, they'd have likely dumped her in the woods for the polar bears as Sawyer scrambled around his stash for a bottle of Axe Snake Peel. On their way to the funeral, Jack is telling Sayid about his father. Seems like a pretty random thing for them to be talking about--but keep it in mind, it could be something the writer's wanted our attention alerted to.

Anyhoo, Sayid finally comes out with what we've been hoping he would say, that in his opinion, Michael's attempting to play them. Sayid checks off a few things that I guess you'd have to be a viewer or an Iraqi to notice, like: 1. Michael's acting all steaky. 2. He wants Hurley on the team. 3. For a plan dear to his heart, it's really not much of a plan. Sayid suggests that for the time being, they allow Michael to believe that he is in control, so that they might gain an advantage.

The funeral begins and neither Jack nor Hurley seem to have the whole toastmaster thing going on. Hurley, flustered by the loss of a budding paramour as well as what could have been a few interesting flashback episodes, changes his mind and tells Michael that he will, in fact, be on board for the Season Finale. Things seem to be winding down when Sun sees something on the water-it's a sailboat, and it's looking very Desmondtastic.

NEXT: Season finale. Why'd the plane crash? What's with the boat? Who the fuck is Desmond? Will Charlie die? Will JJ Abrams promise to not end up taking four episodes to introduce all these new characters? You'll find out, and because of a rehearsal, you'll find out before me. So no spoils, if you please.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Webb Slinger

Many of the trendy, left-leaning political bloggers are saying that Jim Webb, whose signs are ubiquitous around my domicile, stands an excellent chance of beating George Allen in the Senate race. This would be a good thing, Allen is what we from the Old Dominion call "dumber'n a sack fulla rocks." Of course, it hardly counts as a full victory if Allen kinda, sorta just blows it because he's got his eyes on a bigger prize: the Presidency. If you are sitting around wondering what life would be like with a President that's twice as stupid as Commander Cuckoo Bananas while simultaneously being one-fifth as cunning, you owe it to yourself to check Allen out.

But, back to Webb, you can count me out when it comes to being bullish on his chances for victory. And I'll tell you why. It's this slogan of his: "Born Fighting." That is, to my mind, a very unappealing image. Almost sad. Sorta Reesesque. This whole "Born Fighting" thing conjures an image of an infant that self-selected a C-section as his means of escape so he could start bitchslapping people. I would not want to be the person upon Mr. Born Fighting has suckled. And, what's worse, is that one takes his "Born Fighting" stance to mean that he has never stopped fighting. Since infancy, Jim Webb has been in a state of constant conflict. Did he never, as a young boy, take the odd day to relax and skip stones or fly a kite?

Another reason is the terrible 80's font he uses for "Born Fighting" on his campaign materials. Look at that shit! It conjures images of teen hipsters calling things "critical" and "rad" while wearing paint splattered Duron hats and listening to B106.

Look, Mr. Webb, I know you've been told by Markos that the Democrats have a near terminal case of the creeping pussy disease. I'm not going to deny the truth of that, but I'd suggest that you are really embarrassingly overcompensating with all this "Born Fighting" shizz. Just take it down a notch or four, okay? And Jim: the eighties nearly killed me, so, let's not recall them quite so fondly. Capiche?

The 24gasm: 6-7am.

  1. Okay. Here we go. We have one hour to bring Logan to justice and explain what Dr. Romano and the Bluetooth Dorks have to do with any of this. At this point, I haven't ruled anything out. Maybe those guys are the National Hockey League or something, and I still don't understand what the grand plan was supposed to be.
  2. Wow. I guess you can add premature ejaculation to President Logan's list of high crimes and misdemeanors. I mean, even if we give him the six extra minutes that were left at the end of the previous episode, that still means he went from being fully clothed to getting redressed in eight minutes. No wonder Martha Logan looks about thirty times more unhappy than she has at any point in this episode.
  3. Jack tells Chloe: "Hold on, I'm switching to com." This is a nice shout-out to the script supervisor, who is the person in charge of maintaining continuity throughout the 24verse. Script supervision is probably harder on 24 than just about anything else on television. We learned in our weekly reading that one of the script supervisor's major jobs is making sure Jack switches from his cellphone to "com" at the right time, so that he's not engaging hostiles while holding his handpiece up to his ear. Way to go, script supervisor!
  4. Wow. Their plot to foil Logan basically hinges on how fast Mike Novick can make and send copies. We know this isn't the real world because no Chief of Staff knows how to do that sort of thing.
  5. Damn. That is one ugly helmet Jack has to wear. Huge, too. That thing was like, designed for James van der Beek's head.
  6. Bauer tasers the Secret Service detail and takes his helmet off, revealing his identity to Logan, and all I can think about is how badly I wished he had used the line: "HappyBirthday, Mister President."
  7. They take the helicopter to an abandoned printing press. Is that a metaphor for the sorry state of the media today?
  8. So, Morris shows up with the "equipment", once again blazng his way through Los Angeles as if he were pure quicksilver, and then he takes off. Hey, how about introducing BRAND NEW CHARACTERS in the last five minutes of a series? Later, Morris. See you next season.
  9. Ewwww. Jack is silently watching Logan become unglued, and as Logan flops his head around, we're getting a really good look at Logan's floppy-ass jowls and they are the grossest thing you've ever seen. It's like a deflated haggis is trying to fight its way out of his shirt collar.
  10. Wow. That's so not how I thought this was going to go. Though, in retrospect, Logan makes a good point about how no one would believe any statements he made under torture, and it's hard to see how the threat of killing someone would lead to the confession being treated as beyond reproach. Nevertheless, I think we've all learned an important lesson--when you have a tape of the President admitting to a crime, PLAY THE FUCKING THING! Let's all agree to do this from now on. I cannot stress it enough.
  11. And the band played John Philip Sousa's Woeful Lament For David Palmer.
  12. President Logan once again launches into his favorite excuse for his actions: "I did it for the good of the country!" Okay. Explain this to me. If all of Logan's plans had come to fruition, how exactly would the country have benefitted? I don't get it! There's being cruel only to be kind, I guess, but this is more being daft only to be a grade-A criminal dickmiser.
  13. I need to give a wag of the scrotum to whoever paired this Heineken Light crap with that execrable Pussycat Dolls song. This commercial has been burning up commercial breaks cable-wide for the last few months, and everytime I hear it, part of my soul dies. Even more than those crackmired Fanta spots. Thanks, Heineken, for ruining many moments of the second half of the television season.
  14. President Logan is about to give his speech and no ones managed to pry a confession from him. Maybe they've loaded a confession onto the TelePrompter in the hopes he'd be too dense to realize what he's saying, Anchorman steez.
  15. Oh, snap! Bauer placed the listening device ON Logan! Thus rightly hoisted on his own petard. And he had the smart questioning of Martha Logan and Morris O'Brian's technical expertise to thank. The good guys have a deep ass bench, even after killing everyone off yesterday morning.
  16. President Logan: pwn3d.
  17. Okay. Now we have fifteen minutes left for Jack to roll up Dr. Romano and his gang of Bluetooth Earpieced Criminals and expose their crime for the pointless and nonsensical endeavor it was. I want to have that Scooby Gang moment at the end of this shit. Speaking of, wouldn't it have been awesome if Jack Bauer had been in the Scooby Gang? At the end of every episode, the bad guy would say: "...and I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling--hey...HEY! What're--what're you doing with my balls! WHAT THE--OH, MY GOD! THE PAIN! WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME!!SWEET MOTHER MARY AND JOSEPH MAKE IT STOOOOOP!!"
  18. Audrey and Jack reunite on the tarmac of the airport. Audrey's looking well for someone who lost four pints of blood and ruined her most stylish coat. She says, "Jack...when I heard that you kidnapped the President..." Oh, my. What a RELATIONSHIP these two are going to have!
  19. Someone tells Jack that his daughter is on the phone. I instantly recognize that something is very wrong. In the 24verse, the appearance of Kim Bauer--even the mere invocation of her name--is a harbinger of deadly, deadly danger. Sure enough, the ever primed for combat Jack walks into a dark, unoccupied warehouse and gets jumped and dragged off! I tell you, the one call you don't have patched through to your com could be your last!
  20. Bill Buchanan's love connection with Karen Hays is going to have to wait. Still, it was nice to see Bill smile with all his teeth for the first time. You earned it, Bill. Now go home, get some rest, and have Chloe come by and upgrade your computer. Maybe see if she can install a Phoenix Shield. I hear those are really hot right now.
  21. Chloe is handed a picture. Oh! That's right! Edgar Styles died this season!
  22. Dude. What an ending. "Did you think the Chinese...would forget, Mr. Bauer?" Chilling. Even moreso when you're me and you remember the last time you went to Hunan Number One and had the manager swing by with your plate of fortune cookies and orange slices. "Hey! I can't believe I didn't remember we had fortune cookies coming!" I said. "What...did you think the Chinese...would forget, Mr. DCeiver?" I think it's just something that they do.
  23. So dig it. Next season, America finally gives back to Jack Bauer for all the shit he's been put through. Audrey rustles up an awesome gang of rescuers, we're talking Chloe, Bill, Curtis, Chloe's weird ex-husband, Agent Pierce and Martha Logan (when they aren't fucking each other's brains out), one-handed James Badge Dale, Chief Petty Officer Rooney, the two Middle Eastern sporting goods store clerks from a couple seasons ago, Matt Dillon's survivalist brother from Season 2, the kids who Kim Bauer saved from child abuse, and, hell, let's say seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong as they invade China to rescue Jack from the people he wrongly supposed might forget. Awesome sounding season, n'est-ce pas? And then, of course, the season after that, they need to take 24 hours and explain who the hell Dr. Romano is working for and what, exactly, was their plan this season.
  24. Well, what a season. Joel Surnow, you are one magnificent bastard, and, of course, how could all of this have happened without the crazy and charismatic genius of Mark Rabinowitz? It couldn't have. I think, though, if there was one thing I would have added to this fine conclusion, it would have been a slow-motion montage of Jack getting worked over by the Chinese goons, all set--American Idol stizz--to the dulcet strains of Daniel Powter's "Bad Day." To wit:
Where is the help when you need it the most?
You kicked the President's ass but now you're toast.
They tell me you beat the terrorist sleaze.
Now you're getting kidnapped by Chinese.
And I don't need no carryin' on.
Because you had a bad day.
You nearly got shot down.
And Tony Almeida's six feet in the ground.
Edgar Styles is dead.
Chloe took that so hard.
How'd the baddies end up with Agent Samwise's key card?
You had a bad day,
Now they're working your bowel.
You're daughter's a ho, dating C. Thomas Howell.
You had a bad day.
You had a bad...24 hour period.

25. Man. When he finally wakes up, Wayne Palmer is going to kick himself for missing all of this shit!

The Best Summer Blockbusters of All Time.

With the release of M Followed By Colons and I's and The Da Vinci Code, the summer movie season is now basically pushed up well in advance of Memorial Day. And it's a great time for those rocketsaucy event movies, of which, as you know, we are most looking forward to Snakes On A Plane. I, sadly, don't get out to the movies much anymore. Movie theatres these days suck balls and the movies are often worse. That's why I'm the guy who's only now pulling things like Hustle and Flow out of my mailbox. But I remember more carefree times when I got to the movie theatre more, both as a young kid and as a worn out graduate student who needed a fucking break from the endless litany of craptastic scene study and paper writing. I've cast my mind back, and I offer you my personal list of the greatest Summer movies of my lifetime.

Gone Fishin' (1997)
Are you kidding me? Joe Pesci and Danny Glover together again, working their summer box office magic? This movie was pretty much a sure thing, considering the fact that if you take a thousand people and ask them to make a list of the Thirty Most Memorable Things from the Lethal Weapon Franchise, Pesci and Glover would almost certainly be on more than half!

Capturing the Friedmans (2003)
Summer is a carefree season of vacations, and fireworks, cookouts and lazy days on the hammock in the backyard. Certainly, many filmmakers throughout history and across the globe had long endeavored to communciate the impressions and feelings of summertime and sum them up in a manner so singular and succinct that it could be packed onto Voyager and blasted into space without any fear whatsoever that it wouldn't be appreciated by even the most retarded of alien cultures that happened upon it. But, until the release of Capturing the Friedmans, those attempts were all horrible and embarrassing failures not worth a dollop of your excrement, let alone your time.

Big Momma's House (2000)
Wow. Many filmmakers had the vision to put Martin Lawrence in a movie. Many others realized that the morbidly obese were funny. Today, we can see the date on the calendar--June 4, 2000--and silently pay homage each year that on that very date, Hollywood crossed over into a new frontier of filmmaking--Big Momma's House proved that if you dressed Martin Lawrence up like a morbidly obese person--in drag, on top of everything else!--that film as a medium might indeed approach a sublimity bordering on the music of the celestial spheres.

Cock Smokers 31 (2001)
A no brainer. I'm sure this is on everybody's list!

Le Temps Retrouvee (1999)
Every summer, Americans from all walks of life seem gripped by two major infatuations that all but define those hot months of June and July: French art-house cinema and biographies of Marcel Proust. When Le Temps Retrouvee opened in the summer of 1999, it's no wonder it touched off a major crime wave--you can only imagine how inflamed the passions of moviegoers were that fateful summer after this French-language masterpiece, starring Catherine Deneuve AND Emmanuelle Beart (that's right bitches--AND Emmanuelle Beart!), opened across the country.

Friday the 13th Part VI (1986)
I'll never forget when my friend told me that they were making an unprecedented sixth movie in the Friday the 13th franchise. "No, way!" I said, as flabbergasted as any gast full of flabber had ever been in recorded history. "No shit ass damn way. No way Jason survived Part 5!" But my friend insisted it was true. Sure enough, I went to see Part 6, only to be stunned to see Jason appear in the movie! I think it was that summer when it occurred to me that bringing characters back from the dead on the thinnest of pretexts could be potentially lucrative. Maybe a part of my innocence died that summer.

Ran (1985)
In July of 1985, America was gripped by a fever...a fever for Ran.

Nine Months (1995)
Summer brings out the best in people, and it's hard to point to a time when Hugh Grant and Julianne Moore have ever been closer to the summit of ultimate awesomeness as they were in this classic film. Many people credit director Chris Columbus, whose career pretty much peaked right here with his fearless, cliché-free directing, but I say the real rocket fuel in this summer blockbuster is Tom Arnold, who, like a Michael Jordan of the silver screen, simply brings out the A-game in everybody! Except, of course, for Luc Longley.

Arthur (1981)
No surprise here. If you were ten years old at the time of this film, as I was, there's no doubt that you were among the legions of children whose imaginations had been captivated in a way that only a film with Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli, and Jill Eikenberry could. Bewitching and transfixing. The greatest thing ever seen by the naked human eye during the month of July since the month of July was invented.

Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987)
Wow! Okay, when it comes to debating the great summer blockbusters, right here you get game, set and checkmate! No discussion necessary. When you look up "Summer Blockbuster" in the dictionary, right there on the page you will see a picture. A picture of a movie poster. That poster: depicting the movie that every man, woman and child born of woman and possessing the tongue to speak it's abbreviated name called, simply and unpretentiously "S4TQFP." The best part, of course, is that this movie taught the whole world about the dangers of nuclear weaponry, and, of course, we were never troubled by the thoughts of grim, radioactive annihilation ever again.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The 24gasm: 5-6am

  1. Dude! How did the terrorists vent the nerve gas off a submarine--an airtight vessel with no possible use for a major venting system--faster than they got it out of CTU? It took three minutes to kill everyone and another three or so to get rid of it all? Did they save the most overachieving looking canister for last?
  2. Bierko announces that they are going to "finish what they started." F'real, Vladimir? It's more like you guys are going to finally get started what you've been trying to start all day.
  3. I hate bad guys that just won't stop talking about what they are going to do. "We will be remembered by our countrymen!" I didn't know that was even up for debate! Shut up and do your thing, terrorist dude!
  4. How is it that when F-18s are scrambled to shoot Jack down, they are up in his grill with a quickness, but when the same planes need to be scrambled to help Jack, the military's all: "Give us a few minutes." What Bill Buchanan needs to do in the future is that as soon as x number of sockets get open and y number of times Jack and Chloe freelance on shit without permission, he needs to just scramble the jets and tell those guys to just stay scrambled in the air over LA.
  5. If the 24verse is allowed to continue, I believe we will have a chance to see President Chief Petty Officer Rooney in office.
  6. Chief Petty Officer Rooney protests that he's an engineer, not a guy who can kill people. Pish. At UVA, none of our engineers can graduate without thorough training in engaging hostiles.
  7. I love how Jack is so thorough in instructing Chief Petty Officer Rooney on how to properly dispose of the guard. Jack should have, like, a call-in show, like Car Talk. "Yeah. It sounds to me like you have Serbian nationalists there. You don't want to get face to face with one of those guys or use a garotte from around the back. Too much in the upper body. Try to get him from behind, knock him over the head with a blackjack or jab him in the back of the neck with a sharp knife. Forty-five degree angle upwards."
  8. All right. Rooney did a good job. He got mad. He did it for his buddy. He did it for America. Now, promise me he'll survive. I'm still a little upset over the whole bank manager thing. Let some guy trying to do the right thing live through this.
  9. Wow. Bierko's really going to stick it to San Francisco. He must really hate Asian kids who trick out their Honda Civics or something.
  10. Oh, poor Agent McCullough. He goes down in a hail of bullets, and don't you know? He just got promoted to the Tactical Team from the Red Shirt Brigade.
  11. Oh, my god. Jack offed Bierko with his legs! That was Jack's most homoerotic killing to date! That one was for you, San Francisco!
  12. Well, after all the muss and tension and fuss, the taser to the neck, the bomb in the clipboard, withstanding the torture, killing Almeida, convincing Scott Evans to co-pilot a doomed flight, and basically thriving and surviving, Henderson is brought low by the old "There's no bullets in my gun!" trick. Suck it, Robocop, and may Audrey Raines dance on your corpse.
  13. Jack tells CTU that he had to kill Henderson because he drew down, and NOBODY believes him.
  14. Chloe and Jack are going after Logan. They're the Treason Twins. Rock. Of course, it helps that CTU's dysfunctional corporate culture just allows people to endlessly use system resources for non-approved purposes.
  15. Logan tries to get Mike Novick amped up about defeating all the terrorists, but Novick demurs. Nobody wants to party with President Suckface. Still, this would have been a good time to ask the President to show him that "evidence" that supposedly had Jack fingered as Palmer's killer, Mike.
  16. Logan, again, blase as hell: "Mr. Bauer will be taken care of."
  17. Aaron Pierce and Martha Logan share an "almost" moment, where their love very nearly comes to the surface in full flower. So very Wuthering Heights! "But no moors," adds Wife of DCeiver. "You mean the topographical feature or swarthy Muslims?" I ask. "Well, neither, really."
  18. "Hey Mike. It's Jack. Look, if you have a chance, you need to get me in touch with Aaron Pierce." "Actually Jack, I happen to be in the middle of the woods with him, disposing of a body this very minute."
  19. This is Chloe's ex-husband? He's like a paunchy, balding Colin Farrell! These two were married? Holy shit. I smell comedy spin-off GOLD!
  20. Jesus. How on Earth did he get down to CTU so quickly? Does he live in the apartment complex across the street from CTU?
  21. Jack needs to get on board a helicopter? Oooh. Sounds like a chance for a return engagement for the Arrested Development stair car!
  22. Well, at least President Logan wants to know where Wayne Palmer is!
  23. Poor Martha. She has to resort to fucking a man she despises in order to give Jack enough time to get onto the helicopter. She's about to have the fakest orgasm in history.
  24. WTF? Did this episode end early or what? Don't try to fuck with me, "real-time" clock! I know damn well it's only 8:54. I hope we can get some top fanfic writers to fill us in on the lost six minutes.

DCeptette: Victims of a grim duality version.

  1. Gwendolyn Hemphill. First she said she was too stupid to have embezzled all that coin. Now she says she's ashamed. But the most important thing is that she's guilty. And headed for 11 years in stir. Tell 'em how you stole from the children, Gwennie, and don't ever come back. [Washington Post]
  2. Gossip wars, huh? Well, it's Hoos before hoes at the DCeiver, so you know we have Amy Argetsinger's back. It's curious, though, that Karen Feld even rates a mention in the article. She's done? Who even noticed? In the war on gossip, Feld was a conscientious objector. And, bear in mind, I've always felt that it's in everyone's best interests to allow blithering idiots to be conscientious objectors. [FishbowlDC]
  3. This will probably be the least effective Missed Connection ever. [Craigslist]
  4. Mike Grass already captured my elegant disdain of people like this: provincial dweebs who move to your city, never leave their block, and then hold out their provincial dweebiness as a badge of honor. Me, I suck the marrow out of the entire Metro area, and what's more, I aim to have baggage claims with exotic names. Heh. Get some game outside your own zipcode, and then you can talk to me. [DC Urban Cloister]
  5. So the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals square off in '06 and the Nationals get a measure of revenge over Peter Angelos and his strongarm ways. Who did we root for? Uhm, fuck them both. Go Cardinals! [Washington Post]
  6. People always talk about how the Democratic party's longstanding DC hegemony has ultimately been bad for the city--sheer electoral success has transcended, even supplanted, the need for efficacy. We try to put a good spin on it, but every once in a while, they go out and basically do something that really does prove that their heads are happily up their own asses. [DCist]

The Next Big Thing

Get you Memorial Day weekend off to a memorable start.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The 24gasm: 4-5am.

  1. I love how Jack hates the idea of impeachment. Too slow! Not good enough for a man of action. If you can't pull it out of Jack's magic bag of solutions, if it doesn't end up involving that little telescope thingy or some dopr hand to hand combat, Jack wants no part of it. I don't blame him. There's a reason Arlen Specter isn't part of the CTU tactical team. He'd be talking everyone's ear off about Scottish Common Law and ancient precepts of jurisprudence. Also, he has cancer.
  2. See this is why they should have accounted for Wayne Palmer, who is still presumably cooling his heels at Buchanan's bachelor pad. Lacking the recording, Wayne could at least tell the Attorney General that he drove up to the retreat and motherfuckers tried to kill him and Agent Pierce. I mean, that has to count for something, right. That qualifies as maybe something fucked up going on with the President, right?
  3. You might flinch at Jack yelling at Chloe all the time, as he does in this case: "THINK ABOUT IT!!! COGITATE, BITCH!! FUCKING CONSIDER SOME POSSIBILITIES!! DRAW SOME GODDAMN CONCLUSIONS!!" But Jack and Chloe work well together this way. She'll say something withering in an hour or so and it'll be even Steven. Besides, I know that if I had Jack Bauer in my life to say things like: "CHANGE YOUR FUCKING OIL ON A REGULAR BASIS, DUMBASS!" it'd make my life a lot easier.
  4. What's with this Tac-Team ambush survivor? "I got hit in the shoulder and I blacked out." Hit in the shoulder? What a pussy! In this episode, Curtis gets shot in the shoulder and he barely flinches.
  5. Yet he overhears a conversation between Bierko and his minions: "He said something about an extra canister of nerve gas." Right. I'm sure that after the ambush (which they pulled off with an IED without hurting Bierko!), he gathered his troops together and said: "Look, I know that CTU will be after us in a matter of minutes, but I want to pause and explain to all of you that we still have some terrorism left to do tonight. It's going to involve the extra canister of nerve gas. You understand? We have an extra canister of nerve gas. Really, I want this to sink in before we get going."
  6. They tell the Tac-Team survivor that they are sending a medical unit out for them. At this point, I'm surprised the guy doesn't protest, screaming: "No! Those butchers! Please!"
  7. How is it that Bierko ended up with an extra canister of nerve gas? I thought CTU has accounted for them all! Surely they opened up a socket for the "count the canisters" protocol. Was nothing sent to the right person's screen?
  8. At least Bierko finally removes that envelope from his face.
  9. Over at the Presidential Retreat, we gear up for Martha to play a big role in what's to come because she's unable to bring herself to OD on all her lovely pills. She slaps them into her mouth, and we see pills dribbling out. It's kind of gross. But then she sees Agent Pierce's cellphone! Oh, Agent Pierce's cellphone! All the memories we've shared. Hmm, she thinks, I wonder if it has a vibrate setting.
  10. Oh, man. I'm looking at Aaron Pierce, all jacked up and bleeding, and personally, I think: "This is the worst thing that's happened to pretend-America on this day. Aaron Pierce is the anti-Chris Henderson, and he's like the faithful dog character in the disaster movie--he can't die. The world will spin off its axis without the steadying presence of Aaron Pierce. Plus, someone needs to be left standing to tap the glorious Milfy goodness of Martha Logan, especially if she's just going to be roofying herself.
  11. What would David Palmer do? He'd teach us to be careful of the swoop and squat for starters.
  12. Jack's going to "present the deal" to Henderson, which is still probably preferable to having the deal presented to you by Howie Mandel. But we kid. That Deal or no Deal gig is probably the only thing keeping Mandel from a career in serial pedophilia.
  13. Let's all take a minute to applaud the heroic boom operators, who managed to expertly capture the seething quietude in this scene between Jack and Henderson. They bring inside voices to thrilling life.
  14. He's going to hit hard? You'd better think fast? That's Henderson's fucking "give me immunity" advice? Awesome, you fucking genius! Why, now that CTU is armed with the power of the obvious, nothing can stop us! Nothing!
  15. I have to tell you, for a lot longer than I care to admit, I've thought this grey-haired Taylor Hicks dude on American Idol was yelling "Snow Patrol!" And I kept thinking to myself: "Damn. Dude really likes Snow Patrol."
  16. Check out the body language between Karen and Bill as they drape themselves over the back of a chair in the Situation Room, bodies turned quarter-in to one another as they loosely and languidly discuss operations. I think the two of them are getting quite familiar. The potential is there for a Almeida-Dessler-for-the-Metamucil-set thing to happen between the two of them. That would leave Chloe as the odd person out, since I kind of hoped she'd end up getting with Buchanan. But, maybe this is where Wayne comes in. Wayne's like the hottie and the end of Pretty in Pink, who's all up in Ducky's jock, saying, "Yeah, me. That's what I'm saying." Wayne's going to have some stuff to work out of his system after this is all over, Chloe's going to want to get Spencer out of her system. This could work.
  17. Also, Audrey deserves to have the chance to kill Henderson. That will endear her to Jack forever.
  18. Now they worry that CTU looks like a trendy Internet cafe? I always thought that was the architectural motif they were going for!
  19. Wooooh. Molina has a Phoenix shield! Not a Phoenix shield! What does a Phoenix shield do, protect your system with the awesome defensive skills of Steve Nash? If this sort of thing was on the market, why don't all the terrorists use it? I need to ask Tommy if we can get this thing for DCist.
  20. I'm so happy that Martha saved Aaron. Their love can live on! I'm not so sure about this whole leave Aaron alone and bleeding in the stable plan. Also, I'm not sure she's the ideal candidate to slip back into the retreat and summon Mike Novick. She's not exactly Ms. Subtle. Though she has learned not to use her titties to get herself out of a jam. All I can say is if her drugged up fugue prevents her from saving Aaron, I'll never forgive her.
  21. Yeah, even if you gave me Molina's apartment, I still wouldn't move to Los Angeles.
  22. What's Molina doing awake at this hour, nervously pacing his living room? Doesn't he realize he's got a Phoenix Shield?!
  23. I'm a little disappointed that this Russian sub that's not become the target of everyone's attention doesn't have nuclear warheads on it. I mean, we got ONE SHOW LEFT. Deep down, we all know that Jack's going to save the day, so why back off on raising the stakes? It's very rare, but it feels a bit like a tiny letdown.
  24. Jesus. Captain Idiot climbs a ladder and gets plugged by Bierko. Dude, what were you thinking? The sub has all of ONE entrance. So where do you think the terrorists are going to be? God, I hope that our own fate isn't in the hands of military officers who don't understand the concept of whack-a-mole.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Catastrophe Keeps Us Together.

Well, it's the last weekend for A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY. You're down to the last three performances and this little group disbands. Perhaps they'll reunite as some Vegas rock show, One-Eyed Grady and the Chomkos. Who knows. But if you still desire to see it, or see it again, as some have done, you got tonight, and then two shows on Sunday. You can stalk me at the final show, where joining me in the Front of House will be Liz (at least supposedly), marking the first time the FOH has been staffed by someone in the show. At least on purpose.

As always, for details, go here, or better yet here. Thanks to everyone for making it a really great run and something I know I'll never forget.

Pimpage TK includes: Forum's Memorandum at H Street, Arabian Night at Rorschach and of course, Unbuckled next week with Georgie Fuckin' James.

George Bush Proves to be Man Enough to Join Another Organization for Part of a Day.

This has got to take him back to his National Guard days:

"Tango el gato, los pantalones!" Bush was heard to exclaim.

Awesome. Here's my only question, after we totally come 90% short of solving the immigrant problem, prompting the President and the 29 Percent Crew to hang another "Mission Accomplished" banner down on the Rio Grande, is a dune buggy really going to be enough? I mean, sure, it looks cool, but doesn't this mean the President is going to have to stuff his crotch with, like, THREE TIMES AS MUCH STUFF as he did riding in a fighter plane?

More conversations in real time.

Wife of DCeiver: Hey, how long has it been since you've seen Doctor G_______?

DCeiver: Hmm. It's been a while. Why, was she asking after me today?

W: No. It's just, you know she's got gotten back from maternity leave.

DCV: Yeah?

W: Well, you know how hot she is.

DCV: [pause] Yeah?

W: Well, put it this way. The boobies. They are looking awfully good these days.

DCV: Hmmm. Maybe I should make an appointment.

DCeptette: Who left the lights off version.

  1. Generally off-topic, but because I've been bad at weighing in on the state of the popular music this year (I've dug myself a deep hole as far as a backlog goes and will probably just start in June with a Year So Far dump and take it from there), I feel guilty and I must share. As I prepped myself to listen to Guillemots' EP From The Cliffs, I reminded myself, "Okay. Remember. This is pointy-head, blogger bluzzy music, so if you don't like it, remember, it at least comes from a grand tradition of stuff that's hyped and then fails to capture the imagination." But, damn. Guillemots are GOOD! Kick in the pants good! Rangy, tuneful, great musicianship. And, by God, they are even FUN! What a concept! Go indulge yourself, people. And, Guillemots, please, please, practice and practice and practice some more to avoid succumbing to "CYHSYndrome" when you come to town.
  2. Amanda recommends The Blank Top Chronicles, and I concur. The hilarious escapades of one poor taxi dispatcher, his fortune cookies and the telephone that brings hilarious trouble into his life. [The Blank Top Chronicles]
  3. Jesu, joy of man's desiring! What is up with Washington, DC preachers and their hilarious tendency to fall back upon gay-hating epithets! It's like atrophy has stricken their entire vocabulary. I'm beginning to think that when these dumbass preachers get together, to, you know, plan how to fuck everyone's parking up and how to keep property values in the toilet, the "he who denied it supplies it" rule is in full effect. And Mayor Williams calls out the most recent offender, Bishop Alfred A. Owens of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church for using a dirty mouth to kiss God with. And, dude, this comes a day after Williams cussed out Mark Plotkin! The Mayor's using his last days to put some motherfuckers on BLAST! Damn. Don't call him a lame duck. [Washington Post]
  4. Staying on the topic of religion, I was down at Catholic University a few nights ago and was blown away by how tomb-quiet the place is at night. Little did I know that all the hot action was off-campus. What's the deal with lacrosse teams in the '06? Worst year ever for them. [DCist]
  5. Mike Grass. A man. A man who blogs. In a suit. [NBC 4]

Thursday, May 18, 2006


You know, there's this running thing with me and my parents that has to do with their belief that I told them to go rent Gangs of New York, a movie they ended up hating. Of course, it's an easy thing to pin on me, I've made my share of dubious choices culturally speaking. But I know that I never ever recommended that ass movie to anyone. That's a fact. But my parents don't believe me and they still blame me for the time they lost on that cinematic turd when the fault really lies with Martin Scorsese.

So, when I heard that Commander Cuckoo Bananas was documenting my calls through the NSA, I thought: "Sweet. Now all I have to do is FOIA that shit and get the transcripts and prove once and for all that I never ever recommended that movie to anyone." Awesome. Finally, a crazy, illegal overreach by Bush that I might be able to wring some value out of!

Ahh, but such was not to be, or at least we think. According to reports, this little instance of Bush breaking the law has resulted only in a massive database with something on the order of two trillion placed calls between U.S. citizens noting who called who when. Where's the harm in that, the conservative blogosphere says. To which I reply--pish, if you are down with this NSA program, even if it's just taking cursory notes, you can turn in your conservative credentials, never talk to me about being the party that limits bloat and keeps the federal government out of my grill ever again.

It's hard to know what to even say about this.
Well, it's illegal for starters. This wiretap/datamine whatever sidesteps the legal process in the same way the previous wiretap nonsense does. And, as has been pointed out, there's absolutely no reason to sidestep the current, agreed-upon legal process if what you want to do is pursue a criminal investigation against terrorists. FISA, is not just an effective tool, it is a nearly perfect tool. The FISA court has historically been a rubber stamp. And what's more, speed isn't an issue under FISA--you place your tap and give yourself 15 days to sort it out (and given FISA's tendencies, it's hard to imagine they'd kill you if you bent the deadline a little bit, the court's prerogative always takes precedence over deadlines anyway.

But I'm not going to revisit all of that. Suffice it to say: the absolute black-letter fact is that none of these insanely intrusive wiretap programs have improved upon the FISA process. They are all a waste of time, a waste of effort, a waste of breath if you want to effectively pursue terrorists. In fact, there is and has only ever been one reason to engage in this sort of instrusion and subvert the legal process, and that's if you want to do something that the FISA court--who typically never meet an application they don't love--is going to find patently unreasonable, like say, gathering information on people who have nothing to do with terrorism or national security or crime of any kind.

And that's what's going on. And there's no reason in the world anymore to worry about coming off as paranoid because what we've seen here is that the goalposts have moved. When the story broke on domestic wiretapping back in December, the President and his people bent over backwards to ensure us that OF COURSE they weren't spying on innocent Americans, don't be silly, don't be CRAZY. Now, we know that those assurances were all lies and that those doing the assuring were well aware that they were in the process of deceiving us. What we have here is an escalation of this criminal activity, pure and simple.

So, for everyone saying that this sort of information is no big deal for the government to have--that's not the point. There's no reason to believe that the goalposts aren't still moving--or have been moved, and there's no reason in the world to believe that this criminal activity hasn't escalated to the point that some fucknut at the NSA couldn't tell me right now that it wasn't me that recommended
Gangs of New York to my parents.

And, of course, Bush knows that this program is illegal. The same old evasive behavior has resurfaced again. He briefed the Democrats! He briefed two of the FISA judges! The buck stops somewhere else! Oh, for once and for all, so fucking what? Telling someone you are going to break the law doesn't make it less illegal. It has all the legal weight as a cup of my warm piss. Do we get to hear the legal opinion of the two FISA judges? No. And when Bush talks about "briefing the Democrats," he's talking about briefings whose attendees are legally enjoined from discussing.

If Bush was really fighting the good fight against terrorism, why doesn't he just man up and say, "Yeah. I broke the law. I did what I thought needed to be done. Go ahead and prosecute me, because I'm going to come into court with an ironclad argument as to why my actions were effective and why we had no other option at hand. Sure, let's have this out." That's what a man with courage in his convictions does. Bush is covering his ears and singing, "La la la! I don't hear you when you point out that what I'm doing is illegal! LA LA LA LA!" He's a fucking cartoon, this guy. And his actions lead, inevitably and inescapably, to one conclusion.

Maybe he's not fighting the good fight against terrorism after all.

That's what this boils down to: Just under five years ago, a few thousand Americans lost their lives. In the seventeen hundred days that have passed since, President Bush has failed to avenge these deaths. In the seventeen hundred days since that calamity, he's managed to enhance the danger we're in rather than boost our security. We've sunk a generation's wealth into deposing a tinhorn dictator who lacked the military capacity to melt ice cream and--AND!-- have cocked up that whole operation as well, so that now we're in hock up to our ears for having transformed Iraq into an al-Qaeda empowerment zone. Really. The mind just boggles.

But, Mr. President, at least you've figured out a way to know how many times I called my mom.

Goody FUCK-a-doo for you, asshole.