Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Paris - Sonic Jihad
David Bazan - Fewer Moving Parts
Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere - Heartbreak and Duct Tape
Starflyer 59 - Leave Here a Stranger
Mustard - Eureka Grande
My Photo
Location: Illinois, United States

The peaches, apples, plums and pears are guarded by ferocious bears.

Powered by Blogger

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling
My Secret - Frank Warren
Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi

29 November 2006

Things I Learned From Family At Thanksgiving

1) Anyone born in the United States can become whatever they want to be if they work hard enough. Race, skin colour, class, lack of a familial support system, excess body fat and the absence of a penis cannot hold back someone who is truly determined.

2) Caucasians should be allowed to say the word “nigger” because African Americans do.

3) Arizona is to be admired because they do not observe Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday as a holiday.

4) When African Americans get together, they plot against the whites.

5) God blesses nations that bless Israel and curses nations that curse Israel. That is why the United States is so blessed. That Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, India, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Iran and Mexico are also very wealthy only proves that God has a strange sense of humour.

6) One of the pillars of Islam is death to Israel and America. All Muslims believe this. This remains true despite the tremendous amount of diversity found within Christianity, whose adherents have been known to dissolve fellowship with one another over issues as seemingly insignificant as whether musical instruments can be played during worship. That the world’s one billion Muslims have not already destroyed Israel and all Christians only means that they’re up to something very sneaky.

7) Jesus, who never killed anyone, and routinely taught such things as turn the other cheek and love thy neighbor as thyself, was not a pacifist.

8) Because it is the church’s job alone to care for the poor, the United States government should have no programmes that support the impoverished or the common good. That God required the nation of Israel to give 10 percent of its income every three years for caring for the poor is irrelevant.

9) All Christians at all times in all countries have always believed the view of biblical eschatology currently held by Christians in the United States. This despite the fact that said view is only approximately 150 years old.

21 November 2006

Haggardback Mountain

This line is metaphysical
And on the one side, on the one side
The bad half live in wickedness
And on the other side, on the other side
The good half live in arrogance
And there's a steep slope with a short rope
This line is metaphysical
And there's a steady flow moving to and fro

--Pedro the Lion

I'm late, it seems, in commenting on the Ted Haggard scandal. I'm not sure I have much to say that hasn't already been said. It has, however, been interesting to see how Christians have reacted to the situation. Some, like the Trinity (Falwell, Dobson and Robertson) have distanced themselves from the events. Falwell and Robertson have pretended that Haggard is an insignificant man, despite his connections to the White House and the sheer immensity of his former congregation. Dobson backed out of helping counsel Haggard through the aftermath, citing his busy schedule. Perhaps he's too overwhelmed counseling his son Ryan through the aftermath of his divorce and remarriage. Others have tried to make the case that Haggard really isn't a hypocrite. That may fly in Christian circles, but, as Greg pointed out, try convincing non-Christians that a man who says one thing and does another isn't a hypocrite.

Most Christians (or most of the blogs I read written by Christians), though, seem to have reacted with a surprising degree of grace. I think that's appropriate. Haggard is clearly a fuckup. But he's no more of a fuckup than you or I. The only real difference is he's in the public eye, and he got caught.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of losers in all of this. Haggard's family is a given. Then there are those outside the church. Most people don't need another reason to discount Christianity. But we've given them another anyway. And, sadly, we've managed to once again demonise gay and lesbian people, many of whom just want to be accepted for who they are. It's a tragedy that in 2,000 years of Christianity we haven't figured out how to do that.

Interestingly, all this parallels the release of a documentary about Lonnie Frisbee, a prominent hippie evangelist of the Jesus Movement. Frisbee pointed thousands towards the Christian faith in the 60s and 70s, and was an important figure in the history of the Calvary Chapel and Vineyard movements. But he has been largely ignored by Christians because he was a non-self-identifying gay man who died of AIDS. At least Haggard has something to look forward to (that being written out of history, not AIDS).

20 November 2006


Both Derek Webb and Over the Rhine are in my neck of the woods on 2 December. Sadly I haven't perfected the art of being in two places at once. No one should have to make these kinds of choices.

16 November 2006

Friday Random Ten (Christmas Mix 1.0)

Half-Handed Cloud - The Star That Moved Around the Night
Jars of Clay - Christmas for Cowboys
Pedro the Lion - Silent Night (live)
Jack Johnson - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Fleming & John - Carol of the Bells
Sense Field - Happy X-mas (War Is Over)
Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Belle & Sebastian - O Come O Come Emmanuel
Starflyer 59 - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Badly Drawn Boy - Donna & Blitzen

Friday Comics Blogging

10 November 2006

Does Whatever A Spider Can

So the new Spider-man 3 trailer is up. Looks really good. And talk about your post-11 September subtext. Forgiving your enemies indeed.

08 November 2006

Christmas In November

It feels a little like Christmas today. I’m not a Democrat by any means. But I am a GeorgeBushAndWhatPassesForTheRepublicanPartyTheseDaysNeeds
UncheckedPowerLikeBritneySpearsNeedsAnotherHusbandocrat. For the past five years these men have done whatever the hell they wanted, Constitution be damned, under the guise of fighting a silly War on Terror™.

Not anymore. Democrats have the House by a big margin, almost certainly the Senate, and a tremendous number of governorships and other state offices. So much for that mandate George Bush claimed to have. And so much for Democrats being out of touch with mainstream America. As Kos put it, when you can’t get an abortion ban passed in South Dakota, or a gay marriage ban passed in Arizona, the last thing that the U.S. is is conservative.

Hopefully all this will mean my country will be injected with some semblance of what passes for sanity now. But, if nothing else, the next couple of years will certainly be entertaining.

A few scattered thoughts:

1) In the past couple of days gas prices in my area have gone up 15-20 cents per gallon. I’d like to believe that’s just a coincidence.

2) The Virginia Senate seat will more than likely belong to the Democrats. While it certainly isn’t over until Karl Rove sings, Allen is down 7,000 votes. He’s not going to make that up in a recount. Democrats are also going to control the machinery of a recount, which means Republicans are only delaying the inevitable. Beyond that, a recount would also give ample time for an investigation into Virginia vote suppression. That may happen anyway, given that the FBI is already looking into the matter. But I’m betting Republicans don’t want to call any more attention to their attempts at cheating than they have to.

3) The mainstream media shows once again that it is completely incompetent. Electronic voting glitches in multiple states? People showing up to polls and mysteriously not being registered to vote? Real reporters might actually investigate things like that.

4) I went to sleep in the United States. I must have awakened in Europe. There are now more women in Congress. There’s also now a female Speaker of the House, a Muslim Representative, the second black governor ever and a Socialist Senator. Good times.

5) Kung Fu Monkey still misses real Republicans

6) I’m curious about what all this means for Christians. There’s the potential for a Republican split here, between old school, fiscal conservatives and Christians who have hooked up with the Republican Party in the belief that it will eventually do something about abortion and homosexuals (keep holding your breath). People also seem to be realizing that not all people who call themselves Christians are conservatives or Republicans. It’s about time.

7) Bush twin porn. Will it happen? I don’t know.

07 November 2006

An Election Day Mix

Today is Intervention Election Day. In celebration, here's an election-themed mix:

Derek Webb - A King and a Kingdom
Derek Webb - A New Law
Derek Webb - My Enemies Are Men Like Me
Dar Williams - Empire
Bad Religion - American Jesus
Eric Idle - The FCC Song
Daniel Roop - This Poem Is Not the Revolution
The Legendary K.O. - George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People
Pedro the Lion - Backwoods Nation
Sage Francis - Makeshift Patriot
Sage Francis - Slow Down Gandhi (Reanimator remix)
James McMurtry - God Bless America
Bright Eyes - When the President Talks to God

You can find plenty more similarly-themed songs here, here and here.

Thoughts On Iraq Part 2

I grew up in East Tennessee. East Tennessee is big on many things. One of those things is football.

There's nothing necessarily wrong with that, of course. But if there's one thing you'll notice about sports fans, it's that many of them are experts. The funny thing is that many such experts, at best, only played second string lineman in high school. These particular fans have lots of advice for coaches and players. But that advice isn't exactly backed up by experience. Such avid sports fans are also notorious for throwing around words like "we," as if they are somehow actually on the sports team in question.

Such sports fans remind me of that group of war supporters referred to as the 101st Fighting Keyboarders. Similar to those armchair quarterbacks, the 101st Fighting Keyboarders are a group of people who are very enthusiastic about fighting in Iraq, provided that it's someone else who is fighting in Iraq.

I suppose it's easy to "support the troops" when that means shelling out $5 for a magnetic ribbon. But here's the deal. If you think the U.S. should be in Iraq, and yet you aren't actually in Iraq, you really have two options. Either go fight in Iraq or shut the fuck up.

As Steve Gilliard notes:

We have a volunteer army with fewer and fewer volunteers, and people reenlisting only to save their friends. There is a time limit to their ability to be in combat. They cannot serve forever. They will have to be replaced. And fewer and fewer are willing to replace them,

What I want people to do is be honest.

If you will not serve in Iraq, and no one you know will serve, stop expecting someone else to do what you will not.

Therefore, it is time to stop calling for more troops, or the US to make Iraq safe. We cannot do this and even Americans are refusing to join the fight. It is time to look at your actions and realize, that despite your ideals, you oppose continuing this war. In practical terms, you have decided that this war is not worth your life or anyone you know. And million of Americans have joined you in this decision.

So, with this fact evident, it is time to call for US troops to withdraw from Iraq. Not save it, not add more boots on the ground. You have already voted by your actions. It is time that you match it with your words.
It couldn't be more simple.

(h/t: On The Homefront)

Thoughts On Iraq

Shelly points to a really interesting op-ed in Rolling Stone. The piece, written by Matt Taibbi, talks about the growing shift in the U.S. from supporting the war occupation in Iraq to the backlash we're seeing now:

We saw this same kind of cultural shift in 1968, after the Tet offensive (an analogy so obvious that even Tom Friedman saw it recently), when the American political establishment soured on the Vietnam War. Despite the conservative propaganda that for decades has insisted that it was the media that lost the war for us in Vietnam, in fact the media didn't turn on the Vietnam war effort until the war was already lost. And the reason the media soured on that war had nothing to do with it being wrong; it had to do with the post-Tet realization that the war was expensive, unwinnable and politically costly. America is reaching the same conclusion now about Iraq, and so, like Dave Letterman, a whole host of people who just a few years ago thought we "had to do something" are now backing off and repositioning themselves in an antiwar stance.

What's dangerous about what's going on right now is that an electoral defeat of the Republicans next week, and perhaps a similar defeat in a presidential race two years from now, might fool some people into thinking that the responsibility for the Iraq war can be sunk forever with George Bush and the Republican politicians who went down with his ship. But in fact the real responsibility for the Iraq war lay not with Bush but with the Lettermans, the Wolf Blitzers, the CNNs, The New York Timeses of the world -- the malleable middle of the American political establishment who three years ago made a conscious moral choice to support a military action that even a three-year-old could have seen made no fucking sense at all.

It doesn't take much courage to book the Dixie Chicks when George Bush is sitting at thirty-nine percent in the polls and carrying 3,000 American bodies on his back every time he goes outside. It doesn't take much courage for MSNBC's Countdown to do a segment ripping the "Swift-Boating of Al Gore" in May 2006, or much gumption from Newsweek's Eleanor Clift to say that many people in the media "regret" the way Gore was attacked and ridiculed in 2000. We needed those people to act in the moment, not years later, when it's politically expedient. We needed TV news to reject "swift-boating" during the actual Swift Boat controversy, not two years later; we needed ABC and NBC to stand up to Clear Channel when that whole idiotic Dixie Chicks thing was happening, not years later; we needed the networks and the major dailies to actually cover the half-million-strong protests in Washington and New York before the war, instead of burying them in inside pages or describing the numbers as "thousands" or "at least 30,000," as many news outlets did at the time; and we needed David Letterman to have his war epiphany back when taking on Bill O'Reilly might actually have cost him real market share.


Letterman's subsequent reasoning -- that seeing one death turn into dozens and then hundreds and thousands made him reconsider the whole thing -- all that tells you is that this is a person who makes life-and-death decisions without considering the consequences. If the Iraq war was not ever going to be worth 3,000 American lives (and countless more Iraqi lives), then why the hell did we go in in the first place? If you make a decision to fight, you had better not be scared of blood. And if you're suddenly changing your mind about things after you lose a few teenage lives, you're a hundred times more guilty than the guys like Bush who are actually sticking to their guns about this war.

Because Bush and the rest of that crew sent young men to die for something they believed in, fucked-up as their reasoning might be and have been. But these shitheads in the political middle who are flip-flopping right now sentenced teenagers to death for the cause of expediency and careerism. There are young men coming home now without arms and legs because the Wolf Blitzers of the world were too afraid to lose their jobs or piss off advertisers bucking the war hysteria of the times. Remember, CNN and the rest of the networks did great business in the run-up to the war. They had artists cooking up fancy new "America's New War" graphics and they were selling lawn fertilizer and soda and male-enhancement drugs by the metric ton right up to the time when the Saddam statue came down. But the war isn't selling anymore; the war is a bummer. And so these guys are changing their minds.

Are you throwing up yet? Surely that behavior is more shameful than anything coming out of the White House.

This assault on the Republicans that's taking place in the national media right now is partially a reflection of national attitudes, but mostly a matter of internal housecleaning. The members of the Bush administration have proven to be incompetent managers of the American system, and so they are being removed. It's that simple. They screwed up a war that all of these people wanted, turned public opinion against the dumbed-down militarist politics that until recently was good business for everybody. And so they have to go. Mistake any of this for ideology or principle at your peril.
In one sense "staying the course" amounts to little more than stubbornness in the face of reality. But in another it is kind of admirable. Bush may be a monster. But perhaps he isn't the biggest monster of all.

03 November 2006

Friday Comics Blogging

Friday Random Ten

Dave Matthews Band - Don't Drink the Water
The Gourds - Pickles
Daikaiju - The Final Phase
Dixie Dirt - Teeth
The Beach Boys - God Only Knows
Superdrag - Who Sucked Out the Feeling
D12 - Filthy
Woven Hand - White Bird
Pedro the Lion - Let Down (Radiohead cover)
Jenny Owen Youngs - Fuck Was I

02 November 2006


Want to make $100? Watch the video...

The Joke Heard 'Round The World

By now you know that Senator John Kerry botched a joke earlier this week. The result has been outrage. Outrage!

Apparently reading someone's comments in the context they were actually spoken is too hard. Apparently it's much worse to inadvertently imply that soldiers are uneducated than it is to manipulate intelligence to start a war. Apparently the fact that a large percentage of the armed forces in the U.S. are poorer, from rural communities, and in some instances less educated is reason to be mad at John Kerry. Apparently this is a major issue, unlike the planet running out of seafood in 50 years. Apparently Republicans who didn't fight in Vietnam have a right to criticise Democrats who did. Apparently, as Streak noted, a Democrat mangling a sentence is a sign of poor leadership (while the President mangling a sentence is called Tuesday). Apparently the media can't bother with something like, I dunno, actual journalism.

And apparently Keith Olbermann once again nails the entire thing: