30 October 2008

Well, If He's Single He Can Append His Profile With, "I Like To Take Long Walks Along Firestone Blvd...."

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Here's Google Maps suggested route for walking from Cerritos to NFL Networks headquarters in Culver City. Might be a nice way to spend a pleasant Saturday in January. TJ Houshmandzadeh has promised to walk from his home in Cerritos to NFL Networks HQ in Culver City should his Cincinnati Bengals not win at least two games. TJ might want to target January 10th for the trip, as he won't have to worry about any pesky playoff games to get in the way, and the weather's likely to be ideal for a long, brisk, walk. I suggest starting early, like about 8AM, you'd be done well before the sun sets, and you'd probably be feeling a bit peckish by the time you get near Dinah's Restaurant, so I suggest stopping for a lunch break and load up on one of their fine pasta dishes before you complete the last ten or so miles.

I hope he has some good walking shoes, and he could turn the ordeal into a fundraiser and health awareness campaign type deal, so some good may come out of this.

I picked a starting point at the big mall in Cerritos, since if they were to make this a big public event, that would be a logical starting point, and the terminus for this jaunt is at NFL Networks studio at 10950 Washington Blvd in Culver City.

It's slightly more than a marathon, but TJ's an athlete, and I think he can handle it no sweat. Google predicts this trip should take 8 hours 39 minutes to walk, but I think one of the better WR in the league ought to be able to do this in under six hours.

(and given the woeful state of the Bengals, looks like a good chance that he's going to have to make good on this promise by walking, and not winning two or more games)

And to Tony Reali (at the end of PTI on 10/29 (here's the MP3 link, he mentions it at about 20:31 into the podcast) added an aside about this since Tony and Mike discussed it in the first segment of the show), you are an idiot, you said, "I think it's on the 405", there's plenty of ways to get from A to B without using a highway. Besides that, I don't think that taking the 91 to the 405 is even the best way to make the trip by car. That may be the most direct route, but direct and best aren't always the same hereabouts. Taking the 91(west) to the 605(north) to the 5(north) to the 10(west) and getting off at Washington would probably be better. The 91 to the 405 is best avoided most of the time.

(also, to you Northern Californians who may be reading this, I will not apologize for using the word "the" before the name of the freeways mentioned, you'll take the "the" away from me when you pry it from my cold dead mouth)

(Grant Geyer ("a" Grant Geyer, not "the" Grant Geyer) wrote an article published in American Speech on the subject, Kevin Drum also muses on the subject)

And to the idiot blogger at NFL Network (Adam Schefter), he did the map thing, too (his link is the first link at the top of this post), but:

A) he forgot to indicate the route would be attempted by foot, and not by car before plugging it in, so his suggested route includes highways (a path I wouldn't advise, even by car, by the way)

B) You have the directions backwards, he said he'd walk from home to NFL Networks HQ, not the other way around, I know the "from" and "to" thing gets complicated, but you're a paid professional, get it right, anyway.

C) If your end point is really TJ's home address in Cerritos, not cool, give the guy some privacy. And even if it's not, plenty of people will think it's his home address and might start disturbing the actual owners of the house you designated, so either way, not cool, Mr. Schefter, not cool at all.

27 October 2008

In A Recently Conducted Poll in Southern California, John McCain Has a 2:1 Lead Over Barack Obama!!!

OK, it's not really a poll, but it's me walking my dog. And my sample only included walking up and down my residential block by 5 blocks in either direction. Within that 10 block radius, there were 2 McCain yard signs or window displays while for Obama there was only 1.

If McCain is enjoying a 67-33% edge in super-liberal Santa Monica, then it would appear that California will produce a surprising landslide victory for Sen. John S. McCain. To contrast, in roughly the same area I recall Kerry enjoying about a 5:1 advantage in visible support.

I bet my poll is just about as scientific and accurate as some of the media sponsored polls that are floating around currently.

24 October 2008

Possible Assailant

So, the McCain volunteer who claims she was mugged and had a backwards "B" carved into her face when her assailant saw her McCain/Palin bumper sticker has discrepancies in her story from different police interviews.

That doesn't mean she wasn't attacked, but it does cast serious doubt. But as far as the backwards "B", I know many think that's the simplest proof and that it suggests she carved the letter herself looking in a mirror.

But I have another explanation, the man pictured above is known to be an Obama supporter, had lived an opulent lifestyle as a child only to have it all taken away (which could lead to desperate acts, like mugging), and most importantly, has a longtime gang affiliation (that gang simply referred to as "Our Gang", not all that different from "Cosa Nostra" if you ask me) that whenever their signs and tags are spotted, frequently feature backwards lettering (some speculate caused by rampant dyslexia within the group possibly caused by a common environmental contaminant such as lead, others think it may be on purpose to identify their 'tags' when compared to rivals, others suspect that it's a nod to Cyrillic lettering and speaks of the groups socialist sympathies, and still others think they do it just cause it's 'cute'). And if you look closely at the image above, you can see he's even holding a rather intimidating looking cutting tool, could it be the very same instrument he used to make his mark on that poor young woman?

On top of that, it's possible that the "B" isn't for "Barack", but instead it's for "Buckwheat".

(Farina would have never done anything like this, he got out of "Our Gang" much earlier and straightened out his life)


Looks like Buckwheat is off the hook, the young woman in question confessed to being an attention-seeking idiot. Nothing to see here, move along. Now if we can get a confession from this (possible) idiot in Sherman Oaks who (probably) spray-painted his own Obama sign with racial epithets . . .

22 October 2008

Your Immodestly Californian Voter Guide . . .

Because it's never too early to vote (and you can never vote often enough!), here's my guide to the myriad (if by myriad you mean 12) of propositions infesting our state ballot.

Proposition 1A Hell NO!
The only way it could be better (and by better, I mean more ridiculous, of course) would be if it were for a proposed monorail. Instead Prop 1A wants to spend $20B over the next 30 years and operate a high speed rail link (220 MPH) between basically L.A., Silicon Valley, and the Bay Area, but the real goal is to build out 700 miles of track serving multiple communities at a likely cost of $80B not the $20B admitted to in the voter guide (and the proposal only claims to need $9B in bonds, but that's just to start this project rolling, but don't believe me, believe this 196 page PDF put together by Reason, Citizens Against Government Waste, and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation ). Never mind that this kind of rail link has never been successfully constructed over such a great distance (not at the proposed speeds, anyway, China's opened up 6000km of new high speed rail, but most of that is in the 120-150mph range, significantly slower than the California proposal), never mind that such a rail link has never gone through the kind of terrain found in between the target cities, and never mind that there's a reason commuter rail fails in the United States, nope never mind any and all of those things, instead push some pie in the sky dream of 'green' tech and high-speed mass transit that will be the envy of the world. Yeah, I don't think so. I'm not down on all high speed rail in SoCal, though, I think Desert XPress Enterprises has the right idea, and could be profitable if government gets out of their way (even just the Victorville to Las Vegas portion alone would alleviate a lot of car and air traffic between LA and LV, have a big park and ride center in Victorville, have adult only cars on the train, have plenty of booze, and maybe gaming instruction (and even strippers), and you got yourself a service planes can't beat).

Proposition 2 Hell NO!!
This one is to improve the conditions for farm animals. How can anyone be against better conditions for farm animals? I am, for one. The rules in place are sufficient, these new rules will give folks another reason to move their businesses from California. Now is not the time to be driving businesses away from California (and food stuffs are still really big business here in the Golden State).

Proposition 3 Hell NO!!!
This one raises nearly $1B for children's hospitals. How can you be against children's hospitals? That these various entities are spending $7M to get their hands on the $1B of government funding probably tells you most what you need to know. They're using sick children to justify bloated budgets, overly generous compensation packages for their executives, and the usual mix of sweetheart deals and graft that go hand in hand with freeing up $1B for building out new infrastructure. I'm for caring for sick children, but that's not really what this bill funds. Clearly, now is not the time for these kind of questionable 'investments' at taxpayer expense.

Proposition 4 Reluctantly No.
Amending the State Constitution to require adult notification for abortions by unemancipated minors seems like a worthy goal, but I'm not comfortable with amendments in general, and I can't imagine that this situation happens often enough to warrant tinkering with our Constitution.

Proposition 5 Hell NO!!!!!
Didn't we just have this on the ballot? It's a complicated bill that aims to add more money to treating drug addiction, expand the Department of Corrections involvement into drug treatment, and lessen the penalty for possession of marijuana. Some parts of this bill I'm for, but on the whole it smells of a boondoggle, and when in doubt when it comes to creating new levels of state bureaucracies to solve problems at the societal level that are more about individual choices, I always lean towards, "hell no!!! (with varying numbers of "!"). I think all the treatment crap was thrown in to cover for the main part of the bill which is reducing penalties for Mary Jane. I still believe that marijuana should be fully legalized, but I think incremental steps such as this when larded up with pork would be worse than no change at all.

Proposition 6 Hell NO!!!!!!
Another $1B in spending to screw up our state budget and limit the flexibility of what our governor and legislature can do. This time the $1B is to 'clean up the streets' and 'take back our neighborhoods' and would go to combating gangs and the meth trade. There's already enough laws on the books, and enough police on the streets to tackle the problem, the problem isn't money, or the number of prison bunks, or the number of cops, the problem comes from within the communities themselves. Money won't fix that, especially when that money comes from required budgetary outlays that will limit flexibility to respond to the other problems that cause these kinds of situations to arise in the first place. If you don't like the way your legislators are legislating, rather than trying to do their jobs for them by placing artificial impositions on spending priorities within the state budget through the ballot process, instead, vote the bums out.

Proposition 7, Hell NO!!!!!!!
The boondoggles to top all past boondoggles. This bill imposes all sorts of 'green energy' requirements on power generation and use within the state, and comes up with all sorts of time tables and goals that aren't currently feasible with available technology (the bill makes all sorts of assumptions about innovations that are 'just around the corner'). It's "Green" so it must be good. But, "Green" and "Greed" are off by only one letter for a reason, and what this bill really is a sweetheart deal to the folks pushing wind and solar as the be all and end all to power generation. If we do this and go down this road, good bye business. We'll have brownouts and higher costs when compared to neighboring states that choose an 'all the above' path towards generation. Electricity fuels the economy, we need energy period, cleaner or not, by placing artificial restrictions on the sources of this energy, we'll destroy our economy. This isn't about the environment anymore, it's about namby-pamby pie in the sky wish fulfillment and it's about Californians buying into some fairyland of cheap, renewable, CO2 free energy generation. I'm not sold, I'm not buying it, and the costs of voting yes on this one will be a massive reduction in the competitiveness of our entire economy. Not a good idea to gimp our economy, not now, not ever.

Proposition 8 No
This one is getting a lot of national attention. It's a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage in the state as between a man and a woman. I'm not pleased, personally, that our state courts invented a 'right' to marriage within the existing Constitution, but it doesn't upset me to the point where I think codifying a traditional view of marriage is needed. I'd vote for this if it amended the Constitution to eliminate all state recognition of marriage, period. Then there'd be no hint of discrimination, marriage shouldn't be a state matter to begin with, whether it between Dick and Jane, or Dick and Dick. I sympathize with the bill, but I find it flawed, and I'm not comfortable mucking up the state's Constitution over something that in the long run is a personal matter and won't really have much effect one way or the other.

Proposition 9 No
This is a victim's notification bill on steroids. Victims are currently notified at sentencing and parole proceedings, this proposition would extend that to notification at every stage of the legal system, from bail, to plea deals, to sentencing, to parole. It's micromanagement of the criminal justice system, and I think it's a solution to a problem that doesn't really exist. It's unwieldy, and unnecessary, so as usual, I vote no.

Proposition 10, Hell NO!!!!!!!!!!
Another green bill, this one focuses on vehicles rather than power generation. This is just as dumb as Prop 7, and potentially just as costly to our economy. Alternative fuels will happen when they happen, government fiddling won't make petrol disappear any faster. It's a waste of taxpayer money, and won't bring about the coming 'green paradise' any sooner. Let the dopey Europeans waste their money on this crap, let's tax Californians less, and spend the funds we have on maintaining the current infrastructure, not fairyland dreams of cars powered by unicorn farts.

Proposition 11, Yes?
I didn't realize Yes was in my vocabulary when it came to propositions. This one is yet another scheme to take redistricting away from the legislature and put it in the hands of a bipartisan commission. I can live with that, even if the plan is a bit overly complicated, this is one change that I can accept and can readily believe that doing something is better than doing nothing given that we live in the most gerrymandered, least competitive politically, state in the nation. Enough is enough, and since our legislature won't do it, the people will have to, even if they have to embrace a less than perfect instrument in reaching the goal of creating competitive districts that reflect the will of the people and not the will of the incumbents. The current system is sufficiently broken to require amending our State Constitution, this is an example of non-frivolous change.

Proposition 12, No.
Another bond, another $2B outlay of funds our state doesn't have. This time the target for California taxpayers' gold are our veterans. They're worth it, but not by this much. The legislature can figure out a way to get stuff like this done by legislating, I refuse to pay for bond issues through the proposition process, even for bonds that otherwise might make sense. In this case it's not about the bond itself, the target for the money, or the amount of money, it's the principle of the thing that informs my decision to say "no".

So that's my voting guide, one yes snuck in there amongst a cavalcade of nos. I guess I'm contrarian, or I don't believe that I should have to do the job that my elected officials were elected to do, one or the other. For those not in California, hope you enjoyed a glimpse at the mess created when you have a very active initiative culture within the political system. The populist impulse to give people a direct voice and vote in making policy may have good origins, but it's morphed into another form of rent-seeking where interests groups try and buy themselves with a few million in advertising dollars a billion or two in bond money over a decade or two. Sometimes props lead to positive changes, mostly though, it's just a windfall for local broadcasters and leads to legislative gridlock and future court cases where the poorly written propositions get tied up in some judge's chambers. That's why you have the first round of a prop where it's just a proposed law, and then when it's struck down, it returns from the dead as an amendment the way Prop 8 is doing. I understand the process, I see why it happens, but I don't have to like it, and in all but rare cases, I will not support it.

21 October 2008

Well, I Have a Suggestion For Where the California Motto Should Go . . .

Times of London mentions this Meghan McCain post promising to ink the message "Live Free or Die" upon her flesh should her father win the election and the state of New Hampshire as well.

And do I really have to spell out in graphic detail where best an attractive young woman should have "Eureka" upon her person (I will say that waxing will be involved)?

(I know her father won't win our state, but he'll probably get his most votes here, even as he doesn't garner our electoral votes, so I think we're worthy commemoration, too)

Why Your Vote Matters (Even In States Where the Electoral College Result Isn't In Doubt)

If folks thought that all the wailing and gnashing in the aftermath of Democratic losses in 2000 and 2004 were bad, wait until Sen. Obama somehow manages not to be acclaimed as The One on November 4th.

The groundwork for whining about the Electoral College is already being laid, and I've noticed that The One with the obscene amount of campaign cash (hey, most of it is probably legal, so no complaining) is spending plenty of money in the Los Angeles TV market, a market that he most certainly will win, within a state that won't even be close.

So why spend the money (other than he has more money than he can possibly spend before the end of the election, no matter how profligate his campaign gets)? I believe the Democrats not only want to win in the Electoral College (obviously), but they also want a decisive popular vote victory, or if they lose in the Electoral College, they still want to garner a 1-2% advantage in the popular vote.

Why is this important? The Democrats are addicted to whine, they are whine-os, and they're still pissed off by Gore's slim popular vote win that didn't translate to victory in the Electoral College (though the opposite would have been true if 60,000 Ohioans had switched from Bush to Kerry in 2004, and I bet they wouldn't have complained about Kerry losing the popular by a couple million votes while winning the White House).

They need either a landslide, or at least a talking point for the next four years about the unfairness and inherent racism of the Electoral College (racist, because it favors rural votes over urban votes, also racist because everything that doesn't go Obama's way is a result of racism).

So even if you live in one of the many non-battleground states, your vote for President will count in how McCain or Obama's presidency is perceived and spoken about. It matters more for McCain than Obama, though. McCain has to both win the Electoral College and popular vote, if he wins a narrow victory in the Electoral College while losing the popular vote, I hate to imagine what the NYT, MSNBCs and Politicos of the world will be like. They'll be vicious cesspools of McCain and GOP hatred regardless of the popular vote differential, but I think the public will accord their rantings a little more legitimacy if McCain wins the EC but not the popular vote.

So, while I am loathe to do so, I'll hold my nose and vote for McCain/Palin, not because I like him, his maverick ways, or his government first reflex towards solving problems. I'm voting for him, even in solidly blue California, cause in every scenario, the popular vote is going to matter.

It may not matter in terms of who governs, but it will matter as far as the 'mandate' they have, and how they'll be treated by the media and on the internet. I don't want a victorious McCain hamstringed by constant sniping that he's didn't win a 'legitimate' result, and I don't want a victorious Obama to think he has a broad mandate to sweep in a new and wonderful more socially democratic United States. If Obama wins, hopefully the margin won't be huge, and the Dems won't pick up too many seats, otherwise it'll be a rocky few years.

In These Troubled Financial Times I'm Troubled By Articles That Include the Phrase 'In These Troubled Financial Times' For No Good Reason...

Really? LOLCats is a sign that folks are seeking comfort during these, "troubled financial times". From this Times of London article:
If porn and shopping were the two dominant themes of the first internet era, it's possible that, in these troubled financial times, porn and cats - though not, thankfully, together (icanhascheezburger has strict moderators) - are becoming the two dominant themes of the second.

Yeah, OK, sure, you know what else is kind of funny? The word "troubled", go ahead, say it to yourself a few times with different inflections (and in the voice of different folks, like say Barbara Walters or Tom Brokaw)

18 October 2008

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation, Week 07, The Picks

Week 7, you know the drill, 5 games on L.A. air, five immodest picks (and probably some pissing and moaning about which games are picked by FOX and CBS).

San Diego (3-3) at Buffalo (4-1) my pick San Diego even
Buffalo's for real, but I think after beating up on New England, San Diego should be able to rattle off a few victories against good teams. Buffalo doesn't stack up well against with teams with solid QBs and versatile receivers, which is exactly what San Diego has. San Diego's defense should be able to hold Buffalo at bay, so a relatively easy victory for the Chargers in this one.

Dallas (4-2) at St. Louis (1-4) no line (uncertainty about Romo's status)
No line, so no pick, instead I'll pick the game that FOX should be showing, instead.

New Orleans (3-3) at Carolina (4-2) my pick New Orleans +3.0
Seriously, why aren't they showing this battle instead of that sorry Rams crap? New Orleans looked good against a bad team last week, can they do the same against a good team? I think they can. Carolina has been getting the job done, but I think the Saint's offense does too many things well and their defense is improving, so they should be able to post an impressive win on the road against a division rival.

NY Jets (3-2) at Oakland (1-4) my pick NY Jets -3.0
CBS and FOX still behave as if Oakland and St.Louis have local followings. Idiots (or I should say, Eeeeeeeeediotsss!!!). Jets, in a laugher, Oakland has quit, they'll probably go 1-15.

Seattle (1-4) at Tampa Bay (4-2) my pick Tampa Bay -11.0
Seattle is awful, Tampa Bay, pretty solid. Lot of points to give up, but that's OK, since the Seattle defense will give up plenty of points, and the Tampa Bay defense will probably score more points themselves than the Seattle offense. Tampa will roll over the sorry Seahawks. But why the hell would anyone watch this when the Sox and the Rays will be engaged in a game seven, anyway?

Denver (4-2) at New England (3-2) my pick New England -3.0
New England is going to struggle this season, but after getting embarrassed Sunday in San Diego, they won't let Denver come into town and beat them. Also, Denver, despite their record, not all that good.

I feel good about these picks, I don't think most of these games will be watchable, but sometimes there's better things to do with a Sunday than watch crappy football (watching good football, beats doing most other things, though).

The Results, Week 06, Weekly NFL Related Humiliation

Hmmm, 3-2 isn't terrible, I'll take it. Did better on the seasonal picks with a surprising 10-4.

Woohoo!!! Oakland 3 New Orleans 34 my pick New Orleans -6.5
So, either New Orleans' (3-3) defense finally showed up, or Oakland's (1-4) offense is truly awful. Also, Drew Brees is on a record setting pace for yards in a season, but doesn't seem like he can keep this up over the next 10 games. New Orleans looks like a team that might make the NFC Finals again, but plenty of teams have looked good against Oakland, so judgement remains reserved. Oakland, less said the better, can we keep them off L.A. air for the rest of the season, please?

D'oh!! Chicago 20 Atlanta 22 my pick Chicago -3.0
Atlanta (4-2) might be good? Chicago (3-3), mediocre at best, they still have a strong defense, but they aren't scary right now, and their offense is crappy. Devin Hester has turned himself into a decent receiver, so there's a bright spot for them, anyway. And Matt Ryan is playing a lot better than any rookie QB has any right to even dream of playing. Hard to imagine this team keeps this up, but stranger things have happened (and this has been a strange season so far).

Woohoo!!! Dallas 24 Arizona 30 my pick Arizona +4.5
That was a fun game to watch, anyway. Dallas (4-2) might not be so good. Arizona (4-2) look to be a shoe in to win their craptacular division. Arizona is a sexy team right now, a good enough defense, and a ridiculous array of weapons on offense. Dallas is in disarray at the moment, and Romo's damaged pinkie won't help.

Woohoo!!! New England 10 San Diego 30 my pick San Diego -4.5
San Diego (3-3) dismantled New England (3-2). San Diego is going to have a tough go over the next 8 days, tomorrow they play in Buffalo (who aren't half bad), and then have to travel to London to face New Orleans (yeah, doesn't make much sense to me, either). New England has the look of a team in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in a long while. Their defense is slow, and their QB sucks. There's no way they can be consistent as long as Brady is out. But I don't want to hear any complaining coming out of the yaps of New Englanders, Boston still has the Sox and the Celts, so that should be enough for any city, but unless they reload on defense and lose the aging LB corps, they'll have trouble even with Brady back next season.

D'oh!! NY Giants 14 Cleveland 35 my pick NY Giants -7.5
The real NY Giants (4-1) finally showed up. I knew they suck, just took them a few weeks to discover it themselves. Cleveland (2-3) might have salvaged their season with this victory, depends if the Derek Anderson who played on Monday continues to show up (and Braylon Edwards continues to hold onto his passses).

So that was the week that was, could get interesting in the next few weeks as some teams falter (Dallas, NY Giants, and others rise, New Orleans, Atlanta).

Totals so far...

Seasonal 50-38

Weekly 17-13

Since When Have Stoners Been Able to Shut Their Pieholes About With Whom They've Toked?

This bit, allegedly from a lawyer for Cindy McCain pushing back against NYT stupidity, where the correspondent questions why the wife of a candidate is getting so much more scrutiny and delving into her past when compared to the actual candidate of the other side, reminded me of something that's bothered me about Dreams of My Father.

I haven't read it, but as has been pointed out over and over again, Obama readily admits to having a misspent youth and having run around with druggy friends and got himself involved into that scene as a high school kid in Hawaii and as an undergrad in Los Angeles at Occidental.

I think he's lying. I think he never was that much into that stuff, but he needed to have something that he 'overcame', so he exaggerated his use of drugs so that his story arc could be that of redemption and struggle rather than privilege and ease.

Simply put, druggies love telling stories about who they get high with, and if they got high with someone famous, or would later become famous, despite their blissed out nature and poor short term memory, this is the kind of detail they'd love to endlessly talk about.

The sad truth about Sen. Obama is that he was a square then, he was a square at Harvard, and he's a square now, but he's afraid the notion that he's always been square would be bad for his image, so he constructed this narrative about his past that was based on attending a few parties and he spun this into his own 'struggle' with the demon weed and the Colombian marching powder.

Sorry, but I ain't buying it. If you were a real user, then you've got the scars, stories, and associations real users collect, and there's just no evidence of this.

If you don't believe me, here's what was reported in the NYT back in February:

Mr. Obama’s account of his younger self and drugs, though, significantly differs from the recollections of others who do not recall his drug use. That could suggest he was so private about his usage that few people were aware of it, that the memories of those who knew him decades ago are fuzzy or rosier out of a desire to protect him, or that he added some writerly touches in his memoir to make the challenges he overcame seem more dramatic.

In more than three dozen interviews, friends, classmates and mentors from his high school and Occidental recalled Mr. Obama as being grounded, motivated and poised, someone who did not appear to be grappling with any drug problems and seemed to dabble only with marijuana.

I have a much bigger problem with someone making up youthful indiscretions, rather than actually having youthful indiscretions. For the former, you are a grown-assed person who should know better than to fabricate an identity for yourself, for the latter, you were young dumb and full of vigor, so as long as you didn't get anyone killed or jailed for more than a decade, no harm done (except to yourself).

It's amazing how often, and in how many different contexts, that the memories and accounts of everyone around Sen. Obama seems to fail them. There always seems to be a discrepancy between his recollection and those of the rest of the universe. Obviously, the universe is wrong, cause The One does not make those kind of mistakes.

15 October 2008

The Moshtra From Hofstra!!!

It's ON!

Hi, I'm Bob Schieffer, and we're just a bunch a folksy folks talkin folksy stuff around a folksy table, so let's be regular folks and talk to the regular folks about the regular folksy folks stuff that regular folks folk about when they folk with each other.

First question: Market, sucks, what are you gonna do?
McCain: Homes, homes, throw money in a hole and help dumb people pay their mortgages.
Obama: I love Lon Guy Land! It's Depression II!!! Oh Noes!!!!! We both supported the bailout so, but don't forget executive compensation, and see I said, "MIDDLE CLASS", did McCain say "MIDDLE CLASS", no I don't think so, therefore because I say the words, "MIDDLE CLASS" and throw out the meaningless phrase "MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUT" I'm more a man of the people than those fatcat Republicans. Specifics, Ha, you don't want specifics from The One, you just want him to whisper sweet nothings in your ear.
MCCAIN: McCain fires back with Joe the Plumber from Ohio, and he's taking to long to get to the punchline, the punchline was, Obama explicitly said he wants to "SPREAD THE WEALTH AROUND", without that phrase, the Joe the Plumber incident loses its fire. As Ren would say, EEEEEEDIOTTTTTTT!!!!
OBAMA: Rebuttal, spreading the wealth around is a great thing, evil OIL, did I mention EXXXON yet (yes, the extra 'x' is intentional, cause EXXXON is obscene), I just did, I'm so smart, I am The One, this is in the bag, I guess I'll just get wonky and ignore that I said I'd SPREAD THE WEALTH AROUND, and instead mention how giving money away to people who now aren't paying any taxes and actually redistrubiting existing wealth isn't socialism.
MCCAIN: Finally, he wants Joe the Plumber to "SPREAD THE WEALTH AROUND", Obama's plan is Class Warfare (and it is, too), McCain doesn't want to raise anybody's taxes.
OBAMA: I'm cutting taxes for 95% of Americans even while 40% of Americans don't pay taxes, cause I'm MAGICAL, and I'm going to mention EXXXON again, cause they're evil, and you MIDDLE CLASS Folksy Folks are wonderful.
MCCAIN: He's not afraid to come off as irascible tonight, apparently, corporate taxes are too high, if we raise business tax, businesses will run off to Ireland and hire a bunch of leprechauns, we don't want leprechauns running our corporations!!!

6:14PM PDT
Schieffer: Both you are spending like drunken sailors, you'll both raise the deficit, what are you going to cut?
OBAMA: The rescue package will not add to the deficit if I'm running things, cause I'm MAGICAL. I believe in pay as you go, and every thing I've ever proposed on the Senate floor has been paid for (of course, I've never actually proposed anything), and again because I'm so magical, the Congress is going to give me a magical LINE ITEM VETO even though it's currently unconstitutional. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, still no cuts, even more spending proposed, actually, but he promises to be responsible.
MCCAIN: I'm going to ignore the question to Bob, I like spending tax money just as much as every other Senator, it's an addiction with us. Energy independence will magically balance the budget (actually, it could help if we sold mass quantities of oil on the open market, but that ain't happening), spending freeze, just go at the budget with a hatchet. End Ethanol subsidies (Woohoo!!), no tariff on Brazilian sugar based ethanol (again, woohoo!!!!). He'll fight for a line item veto (D'oh!, guess that pesky constitution is meaningless to McCain, too).
OBAMA: Spending freeze is bad, we can cut carefully and somehow come up with a 40-50% reduction of the federal budget (which is what you'd need to get towards not only balancing current budgets but reducing the debt). And it's all Bush's fault, and McCain is Bush, so there.

6:20PM PDT
Can you balance the budget?
MCCAIN: I ain't BUSH, MUTHERF$($#(&!!!!!! If a budget freeze works in NYC, it'll work here, and I'm the person to do it. Obama's a spender, and a liberal, and a waster, I'm not, MUTHERF*(&$#(&!!!!!!! (he didn't say the mutha's but he meant them)
OBAMA: Once I voted against lawyers, and I supported charter schools, and I support clean coal (funny he doesn't campaign much on those issues). McCain is a liar, even FOXNEWS says so, and they're evil. And I call you BUSH, cause you are BUSH, so there, and you hurt my feelings, you are a mean old man, you mean old man.

6:25PM PDT
You both pledged to be above the mud, but you're both slinging the muddy stuff, what's up with that?
MCCAIN: It's Obama's fault, if we met face to face, we wouldn't have had to trash him in paid ads. Rep. John Lewis is a libelous jerk and Sen. Obama sat silently, that hurt my feelings, too. Campaigning is tough, get used to it, and Obama's spent more on negative campaigning then anyone in history, and he lied about public financing, cause he's a liar, liar, with his pants on fire.
OBAMA: Ummh, Ahhh, Ummm, Ahhh, campaigns are Ummm, ahhh, tough. Ummm, ahhh, I think he doesn't like this Ummmm, Ahhh, question. 100% of McCain's ads are not only negative but racist, even the ones where he just talks about his own record (which have been plentiful, so this 100% of ads are negative is a laughably, and easily provably false statement that takes some amazing audacity to even think, let alone say out loud). Let's get back to the economy, he's being negative cause people love my WEALTH SPREAD™(see here).
MCCAIN: Obama sucks, and he knows it.
OBAMA: Rep. John Lewis was reacting to those MOBS of angry pitchfork wielders at all the GOP events, so it was understandable, but his analogy was inappropriate, and he Rep. Lewis also pulled back slightly. I'm not getting into tit for tat, cause we have big challenges, and let's talk health care, let's ignore that I'm an asshole.
MCCAIN: Our rallies are full of good folks, and an occasional idiot. Do not impugn the good folks just cause a few idiots show up, you pissant little fool. When they say bad stuff, I jump on them and tell them it's wrong, when your folks say bad stuff, you smirk your stupid little smirk you smarmy little bastard (OK, he didn't say those exact words, but that's what he meant).
OBAMA: This campaign is too serious to worry about the unlevel playing field that the MSM and fears about being labeled a racist have created.
MCCAIN: Ayers and ACORN are relevant given that Obama won't own up to his relationships with these crazies.
OBAMA: I'm above all this, I can't believe he deigned to mention Mr. Ayers, Bill Ayers is just a kindly Professor, and that little board we worked on was bi-partisan and Bill Ayers won't influence my presidency. ACORN is fine, just a few folks got out of line, and my past with them. I like a bunch of old white folks and DC Wonks, those are who will run my presidency, so don't bring up Ayers or ACORN.
MCCAIN: Facts are facts, and Obama's still not forthcoming, and my campaign is a positive one that will fix America, Obama's is a commie marxist radical piece of crap.

6:40PM PDT
Schieffer: Why would your VP be better if thrust into the Presidency than the other guy's?
OBAMA: Regular folksy folk Joe Biden is folksy folk, and an experienced policy wonk. Nevermind the plagarism, the blowhard, the sheer idiocy of his behavior on various Senate committees, or his shady familial dealings and spreading of campaign cash, Joe Biden will be wonderful, and did I mention I'm going to raise corporate taxes and give 95% of folks a tax cut?
MCCAIN: America Lurrrrrvvvvvvvsssssssss Palin! She's a reformer, she's real folksy folk, she's stood up to big oil, and she's reduced government, and she's a breast of freth aire (or something like that). Why'd he bring up Autism? I guess he's confusing Autism with Downs, or he sees all developmentally challenged children about the same.
OBAMA: (BOB: Is Palin qualified) Palin's wonderful, and yeah, special needs is important, and we need to spend more federal dollars on this stuff, and if you freeze monies, that won't happen.
MCCAIN (BOB: Is Biden qualified) He's a qualified idiot. (he says more, but that's all he really says). Obama's answer to everything is spending more, cause he's a spendaholic, and his programs will scuttle our economy.

6:47PM PDT
Bob Schieffer: How much can we reduce Oil imports by 2012?
MCCAIN: We can cut out Saudi and Venezuelan oil completely by 2012 (by upping domestic and Canadian, and reducing demand through alternatives). Canadian oil is good, it's got that special Canuck flavor.
OBAMA: 10 years, completely, I won't say what we can do in 4 years, but domestic production should be raised, carefully, and we must reduce demand, but only with types of energy sources that the Laurie Davids and Sheryl Crows of the world would approve. Did I mention that BUSH=MCCAIN lately? No, we'll I'll do it again, not all trade is good trade, but McCain thinks all trade is good, and we should be firm with South Korea and be protectionist, cause Smoot-Hawley worked so well.
MCCAIN: Notice Obama said, 'we'll 'look' at off shore drilling', he didn't say we'll do it. And Hell Yeah!! with the Free Trade, asshole. We're screwing Colombia, and Obama wants to keep screwing them, I want Colombia to prosper, Obama's never even been South of the Border.
OBAMA: The Colombian government is evil, and they've killed socialist, and I always prefer socialist, that's why I supported a free trade agreement with Peru. Back to energy, Ford/GM/Chrysler can be saved if we force them to create econoboxes and hybrids, cause government intervention into the design process ALWAYS turns out wonderfully!
MCCAIN: Obama won't trade with Colombia, but he'll sit down with Chavez (damn commies, both of them Obama and Chavez). If you want Hoover's Smoot-Hawley all over again, elect that smirking fool sitting next to me.

Bob Schieffer: Health care, what's up with that?
OBAMA: It breaks my heart, I love the middle aged women, especially those still angry about me snubbing Hillary, so let me look into the camera and tell you all the wonderful things that I'll do for you on health care. Unicorn farts, and candy rainbows, that's what I'm offering, it'll cost some money to harvest those unicorn farts, sure, but it's WORTH IT!
MCCAIN: It's a tough subject, and it's a cost issue, so reduce costs, improved records, clinics, tackle obesity, reward wellness, and most importantly, encourage competition. Hey, Joe the Plumber, what are you doing with that ballot in your hand? Vote for me! If Obama's elected, Obama will force you to spend far more to cover each employee, while my plan will be much more private, and his will be socialist.
OBAMA: Joe the Plumber, small business won't have to provide health care, I'm only going after the fat cats (ummm, then there'll be fewer big companies, or they'll hire far fewer people, not a good situation). Joe the Plumber will get a big fat tax credit, and that'll be wonderful. And McCain's credit won't cover some people, and he's going to tax health care, so he's evil, and won't cover most people (but my unicorn farts will cover everyone!).
MCCAIN: Hey Joe, Obama's a commie, and Obama is lying about my plan, it will be a net benefit to most people, and it will be far more portable both geographically, through the workplace. Obama is Senator Government (he shouldn't have corrected that mistake, he is Sen. Government). With the Dems in charge and Obama as President, it'll get far worse.
OBAMA: McCain's plan is scarrrrryyyyy!!!!!! Booooooooo!!!!!!

7:06PM PDT
Roe v Wade, McCain is against it, Obama loves it, would you nominate a Justice against your view?
MCCAIN: No litmus test from me. I lead the GANG of 14, Obama stayed away from it. I've voted for Breyer and Ginsburg cause they were qualified, Obama based his votes purely on ideology, cause he's an ideologue. Supporting Roe v Wade would probably be inconsistent with the type of constructionist I'd appoint, however.
OBAMA: There's a couple of old liberals on the court, and I won't have a litmus test, but *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*, so if you want to keep the current ideological balance, you know which one of us will pick correctly (I'll ignore the bit about Alito and Roberts and my opposition to those qualified nominees). Now I'm getting wonky with some dumb equal pay for equal work case (I guess his polling with PUMAs isn't looking good to bring up this at this time, he's pandering to a specific group, and despite the polls looking good for him, he seems very concerned with courting Hillary voter types).
MCCAIN: Obama kills live babies!
OBAMA: Ummm, ahh, ummmm, ahhhh, ummm, I didn't vote the way I voted, and the law I opposed didn't do what you claim it did. I support a late term ban, as long as you have loopholes that you could drive a truck through in it. And we shouldn't burden people with unwanted pregnancies, I'm mainstream on this issue, I swear. I don't like abortion.
MCCAIN: Health of the mother is a huge loophole, and is used for everything under the sun, and Obama knows that. The unborn have rights, period.

7:16PM PDT
Bob Schieffer: I don't like how Obama sounded on that last question, so let's move on, our education system is expensive and it sucks, what are you going to do about it?
OBAMA: Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, we need reform and money, blah, blah, blah, blah, we must start state indoctrination while children are still in diapers, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, more pay for teachers, blah, blah, blah, blah, accountability, blah, blah, blah, blah, college is too expensive, blah, blah, blah, blah, tuition credit, blah, blah, blah, forced service for a government stipend, cause that'd be wonderful, and finally, the parents must be parents.
MCCAIN: It's a civil rights issue, we have equal access, but we still have failing schools, and we need choice and competition between schools to break the back of the unions, reward good teachers, and dump bad teachers. Charter schools are part of the answer, not throwing money at the problem. Teach America and Troops to Teacher should be supported, college loans, wait, I'm sounding pretty much just like Obama, I guess we both suck.
BOB Schieffer: Local or Federal control of education?
OBAMA: Yes, of course I believe we should socialize and standardize and federalize the schools, I'm a commie, afterall (but I'll pretend it's all about fixing No Child Left Behind and ending 'unfunded mandates'). I'm pro-charter school, I swear. And I'm against bad teachers. But, vouchers won't work, and he's not giving enough money to get people to take Marxist Theory courses or Wimyn's Studies.
MCCAIN: Vouchers do work, biiiiiyyyyyaaattttcchhhhh!!!! NCLB is just a beginning, money isn't the answer, reform Head Start, transperancy, and more accountability, and I'll guess I'll ignore the original question about whether or not this is primarily a Federal or Local thing.
OBAMA: I'm going to do more, I swear.
MCCAIN: You suck!

7:27PDT Closing statements:

MCCAIN: Vote for me.
OBAMA: Vote for me.

Almost Totally Useless, but I Kinda Want One, Anyway...

Meet Rovio, the mobile webcam.

Ten Questions for Each Candidate That Probably Won't Be Asked...

For Obama (going into bullet point mode, cause this blog has been lacking in bullet points, lately)

  • Edward Said, fool or sage?

  • Wealth redistribution, policy goal or communism?

  • Mandatory government servitude, bringing us together or neo-slavery?

  • White Sox or Cubs?

  • Of all the cities to make a name for yourself politically, why pick the biggest cesspool of corruption in the nation?

  • Should the federal government set prices at the pump and for home heating oil?

  • Is combating global warming more important than improving the economy, and if one adversely effects the other, which wins in your administration?

  • Yes or No? (no other question and not referencing anything else, just ask him, "Yes or No", sometimes, how one responds to nonsense has meaning)

  • Which should be the larger priority in K-12 education, encouraging more students to embrace the hard sciences, or promoting social justice?

  • Do you really believe that the President has a line item veto as you've implied throughout your campaign?

  • McCain questions that won't be asked:

  • What's wrong with a flatter simplified tax code?

  • In retrospect, McCain-Feingold, a huge mistake, or success?

  • How 'bout them Cardinals, playoff bound?

  • How old is too old to run for President?

  • If you were forced to cut three cabinet posts, which three would you eliminate?

  • As you are likely going to be faced with a solid Democratic majority in the Senate, how would you get a strict constructionist for the Supreme Court through the Senate confirming process?

  • Fish or Fowl? (what, you didn't expect the same nonsense question, did you?)

  • In light of the Heller decision, will you direct your DOJ to aggressively attack municipal and state handgun bans?

  • What could we learn from Canada, and the way they are governed?

  • Should voting standards be more nationalized to prevent future Florida and ACORN style messes?
  • If Either Candidate Had Any Guts...

    They'd stride out on the stage at Hofstra for tonight's debate, wearing one of these (let's see Mr. Schieffer deal with that, again).

    (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'll semi-live-blog this semi-interesting-debate)

    11 October 2008

    Weekly NFL Related Humiliation, Week 06, The Picks

    I can do no worse than last week, so things are looking up! (bet some stock traders are saying the same thing)

    Oakland Raiders (1-3) at New Orleans Saints (2-3) my pick New Orleans -6.5
    If New Orleans hadn't blown last Monday's game against Minnesota with those numerous turnovers, they'd probably be two TD favorites in this. New Orleans looks like a bargain in this, they'll rebound from their mistakes, and the Cable Guy's NFL head coaching debut won't go so well, I predict. (I forgot to complain about the Raiders being on local air, seeing the Saints make up for it, they're my favorite team at the moment, even if they haven't lived up to their potential the past season and a half)

    Chicago Bears (3-2) at Atlanta (3-2) my pick Chicago -3.0
    Both these teams are 3-2?!? Whodathunkit? I expected both these teams to be 1-4 at this point, so I'm not sure which of these teams being half way decent is more surprising. Given the crap Atlanta went through last year, I'm leaning towards Atlanta, but Chicago's gotten surprisingly solid play out of Orton. The Bears defense and special teams will be the difference in this one, they'll disrupt Atlanta, and make the Falcons rookie QB, Matt Ryan, look like, well, a rookie QB.

    Dallas Cowboys (4-1) at Arizona Cardinals (3-2) my pick Arizona +4.5
    Maybe Dallas isn't so good afterall. I had them making the Superbowl this year, but now I'm not so sure. They only have one loss, but their four victories haven't been dominant, and they have vulnerabilities on defense, and the Arizona offense is well suited to exploit those soft spots. It'll be a shoot out. Both teams ought to put up scores above 30 points. So regardless of who wins, definitely bet the over 52.0 points on the total, that's the surest bet this week (just like last week's under on the TEN v BAL match up).

    New England (3-1) at San Diego (2-3) my pick San Diego -4.5
    San Diego's favored by more than a field goal in this game? Not going to stop me from picking them, but that's a bit surprising. Neither of these teams can beat Miami for some reason, but have looked decent against everyone else they've played. New England needs to keep the score low to win, and I don't think they can against San Diego. Beyond not wanting to drop down to 2-4, the Chargers have the extra motivation of their AFC Championship loss to help motivate them. I expect the Chargers to be fired up, and not only win, but pour it on and humiliate the Pats for the home town crowd.

    NY Giants (4-0) at Cleveland (1-3) my pick NY Giants -7.5
    Damn it, Damn it, Damn it. OK I admit it, the Giants don't suck. Not only do they not suck, but they're the best team in the NFL, and look like they have a solid chance to appear in back to back Superbowls. The Browns, on the other hand, do suck, and will get killed in this game. This will be lopsided, and ugly to watch, so don't, there's better ways to spend a Monday night than to watch this crap.

    So those are my week 6 picks. No predictions on my predictions this week. Will do a top 5 team rundown again, though (in reverse order, to build suspense)

    5) Carolina Panthers - They're a solid all around squad, don't make mistakes on offense and play well on defense, it should be a good enough formula to win their division, and make some noise in the playoffs

    4) Dallas Cowboys - They remain in the top 5, at least until they get thumped by Arizona tomorrow...

    3) Tennessee Titans - One of two undefeated teams remaining, they look like the team to beat in the AFC at the moment.

    2) NY Giants - I can't bring myself to make them #1, sorry, can't do it, they caught the Redskins while they were still getting used to their rookie coach, and otherwise they've beaten up on creampuffs. I'm still not completely sold on them.

    1) Washington Redskins - After stinking up the joint against NY Giants the first week, they've rattled off impressive victories, and are done with all their in division road games, which should be a huge benefit down the road. Even though the Giants are undefeated, the Redskins have the inside track on the division title in the best division in the NFL. As long as Campbell, and Portis play as well as they've been playing, they're the team to beat.

    The Difference Between the Two Candidates . . .

    If what is actually happening in the markets is that traders are 'pricing in' an Obama victory as it seems more certain, then the difference between the expected Obama victory and an unexpected McCain victory might look something like this when the markets close on December 5th about a month after the election:

    President Elect Obama
    DJIA 7500

    President Elect McCain
    DJIA 11,000

    The market isn't the entire economy (despite the way many are acting in the media at the moment), and an Obama victory beating down the market isn't all about Obama, but has to do with the fear in some circles that a unified Executive and Legislative branch (and even worse, a fillibuster proof Senate) would be compelled to 'do something' to the economy (and I do mean 'to' with all the associated connotations of that preposition, and not 'with', or 'for').

    McCain would also be compelled to 'do something', but luckily in the McCain scenario, he'd be opposed rather than egged along by the Legislative branch.

    Do Parker and Stone Read This Blog?

    If Parker and Stone are fans of this blog (please may that be so), they took my post back in May regarding the Indy IV pic, and made its primary metaphor much more literal than I ever intended.

    Good going fellas, that was sickeningly funny.

    Just For the Record . . .

    Since it seems that SAT scores from the 80s are suddenly relevant to whether or not a person is qualified for the Presidency or Vice Presidency, and given that I'm contemplating a go at the GOP nomination in 2016, I guess I should reveal my score when I took the SAT way back in OCT of '86.

    Verbal 680
    Math 690

    I am teh smart!

    (and even though many on the left want this to be real, Palin's scores are fake, and easily proven so, sort of like a particular set of TANG documents that played a role in 2004, brought down Dan Rather, and helped birth Pajamas Media)

    (dug around to see if I could find the actual score sheet, didn't turn up, but did find a bet slip from August 13, 1990 where I confidently laid $20 to win $400 on the Detroit Lions winning the NFC Championship, what was I thinking?)

    (checking the Wiki, that bet wasn't that bad, they won their one and only playoff game since their 1957 championship season by beating the Cowboys and made it to the NFC Championship Game, but lost to the eventual Superbowl Champion Redskins)

    (also, what the hell was I doing at Imperial Palace on a Monday morning?)

    (ahhh, I remember now, celebrating my 21st birthday a few months late, no comment beyond that, this is a family blog . . .)

    (speaking of the phrase, "I am teh smart", look what blog shows up number two on Google currently . . .)

    10 October 2008

    I'm Having More Trouble With This BLOGTOBER 2008 Thing Than I Expected . . .

    more animals


    (Still working on those music reviews, trying to pick good stuff, stuff I have something to say about, which turns out much harder than imagined, but you'll get your 23 album reviews in BLOGTOBER 2008, even if it kills me)

    (OK, maybe not kills me, you'll get your 23 album reviews, even if it causes my wrists some discomfort)

    (I expect to blog more broadly, and more frequently, next week, this week just got a bit unblogworthy for some reason, lot's of stuff happening, but nothing I can say that'd be funny, unique, or informative)

    A Modest Proposal On Improving Presidential Elections in the United States

    We are closing in on another Presidential Election. I think most people are worn out by the seemingly endless two year slog that presidential electioneering has become in our modern system. While many may feel that this is a natural result of ubiquitous media, a 24 hour news cycle, and a polarized electorate, I think there are a few minor reforms that can be made to transform our election system into something that better serves the voters and leads to better quality candidates pursuing the dream of becoming our nation's chief executive.

    The first reform is a simple one, yet one that will benefit most voters and make it far easier for people to participate in the election. The first Tuesday in November is a lousy day to be voting in most of the country. Instead, a date closer to the vernal equinox makes more sense, but the equinox moves around, so the beginning of the month just after that celestial event would be the most auspicious and appropriate day to pick our national leader. April 1st would be the day we choose our President. Of all the days on the calendar, I can think of none other that would be better. In addition, make it a national holiday (but only in Presidential Election years). Also, have all polls open from 12:01AM till 11:59PM EDT. Having all the polls opening and closing at the same moment will preclude many of the shenanigans that have plagued the reporting of results in recent elections. I know some of you might be thinking that 'April Fool's Day' would be an inappropriate day to head to the polls, but given the traditions of the day, and the kind of folks who run for President, can you really argue against its appropriateness?

    The second reform is a little more complicated. The secret ballot is an important part of the electoral process, but I think we should take it much further, and also have secret candidates. How can you vote for someone if you don't know who they are? Glad you asked, anyone seeking the presidency would have to file an affidavit swearing that they are eligible to be President and have that statement filed electronically in a GAO run database not before April 1 the year before the election and not after April 30th. Any direct campaigning for the Presidency before that date would be grounds for ineligibility, and possibly some other traditional form of punishment dating back to the times of our founding fathers such as tar and feathering (use a substance that does not have to be heated as much as tar for the feathers to stick, and that can be removed without tearing the skin, we aren't barbarians after all) or putting in stocks (with appropriate restroom breaks and stretching breaks every few hours, again we want humiliation, not barbarism). So, by making anyone caught campaigning for President more than a year before the election, ineligible (obviously an Amendment would be required), we would effectively and permanently end the incentive for perpetual campaigning. Even the incumbent President would be subject to this rule and would not be able to talk about their plans in office beyond their first term (until the prohibition against campaigning is lifted, more about that later). On May 1st of the year before the election, then the campaign can begin, but all campaigners must remain ANONYMOUS. How can one campaign anonymously? Easily, those seeking the office will be forced to campaign on ideas and policies alone, not on their voice, their personality, or their ability to sway a crowd. From May 1st to October 31st, campaigners would be putting proposals out into the world available on the Internet and every local library for all to see. Interviews could only be conducted via IM or chat rooms, there would be a verification process managed by the GAO to ensure that the answerer was legitimately the candidate (a candidate could choose to have someone else do the inputting, but they alone would be responsible for the content of their responses), but beyond that those asking the questions would not know to whom their questions were aimed. Starting on November 1st, the party primaries would begin, but people in the various parties would have to make their choices without knowing who they were choosing, just the policies and positions they advocate, and how they performed when questioned in the IM and chat room interviews. The primary schedule will be shrunk to just two months, and no primary shall be later than December 31st of the calendar year prior to the election year. Party conventions would be held in January, and only after each party has chosen the candidate's platform they feel would represent them best and have the most to offer the nation would the identity of the candidate be revealed to the public.

    So these two modest reforms would shrink the election calendar to a year, and would keep the candidates' ideas in the forefront of the discussion rather than their personality for the majority of that time. The candidates would have all of February and March to do traditional campaigning, and really, 8-10 weeks is plenty of time for anyone to make their case to the electorate.

    My reforms may seem radical, but I think they are quite modest, yet despite their modesty, they'd have a massive effect on the kind of election season we'd see in the wake of these modest reforms. The quality of the ideas are what would be fought over, substance would trump style, and campaigning for the presidency would no longer be a perpetual occupation. Obviously there'd be some speculation as to which political figure was embodied by which policy positions during the anonymous months, but the chattering classes would have to have something to chatter about, and at least the focus of the chattering would be more or less on ideas. This system would leave the possibility of a complete outsider within a party, but with brilliant and attractive ideas, be the standard bearer when it comes around to the April 1st election. To me that's an exciting and worthwhile notion. Call me crazy, but I think this could work, and be an improvement, how could it be worse?

    08 October 2008

    Oh, I Give Up . . .


    more animals


    (I'll get back to BLOGTOBER blogging tomorrow, and I'll finish all the promised music reviews plus a Proposal by the close of business Friday (business hours here are 12:01AM to 11:59PM)

    07 October 2008

    The BLOGTOBER 2008 Album Reviews (05 of 23) Belanova, Fantasia Pop

    I guess I'm a sucker for 80s pop, remade in the 00s, with an extra dollop of queso. That's why you may catch me bouncing along to these catchy tunes on the highways and byways of greater Southern California (OK, I lie, mostly just on the Westside).

    Also, I'm cheating a bit with this album, it was released worldwide last year, but it was new to me in 2008, so as far as I'm concerned, it counts as a 2008 release.

    Belanova, Fantasia Pop [Zune.net, Amazon]

    1) Baila Mi Corazon
    (video here, sound quality not so great, good job UMG!) A bouncy little tune, super cheesy, if it was in English, I'd probably hate it, but it's in Spanish so I love it. I'm biased that way, can't help it, my tolerance for cheesy pop is much higher when sung by cute chicas.

    2) One, Two, Three, Go!
    (video here) Another bouncy tune, this one's a bit less cheesy, and it's a lot of fun. I will not apologize for finding this fun. It's got a bit of Art of Noise, a bit of lots of bands from the 80s, and plenty of queso, but it's good queso.

    3) Por Esta Vez
    (video here) I know just enough Spanish to get the jist of songs like this. It helps that the themes are pretty simple. It's an appealing little pop confection, this. Denisse Guerrero has a really nice voice, and she doesn't push it too hard the way some pop stars do nowadays.

    4) Rockstar
    (video here) OK, now we might be entering CHEESE OVERLOAD territory. I think they pull it off, but just barely.

    5) Paso El Tiempo
    (video here) Another slightly disposable piece of pop fluff. None of these songs will change your life or make you rethink your taste in music, but it's not a bad way to spend 3 and a half minutes, either.

    6) Vestida De Azul
    (video here) OK, they've done it, here it is, this song is clearly a case of CHEESE OVERLOAD! Next.

    7) Cada Que...
    (video here) They're 25 years behind the times (or right in the middle of current trends, depending), and they're not making any apologies. More pleasantly fluffy pop fluffness. Does the loud/quiet/loud thing well, though.

    (the remaining tracks are pending, stuff to do, this BLOGTOBER business is tough to keep up with...)

    Economic Commentary By Means of Kinks Songs . . .

    (The Pretenders version is superior, though)

    (and the United States economy is fundamentally strong as McCain has said, even if Obama finds that a risible comment)

    If a Blogger Liveblogs a Debate, and Nobody Follows it Live, Was It Really a Liveblog?

    Bears, wood, shit, I'll be liveblogging the debate, even if nobody notices.

    5:55PM PDT

    Why is a Panda sneezing in my semi-liveblog? Cause I expect this Townhall to be PANDERFEST 2008™

    6:00PM PDT
    80 uncommitted voters selected by Gallup, vetted by NBC, that makes me feel good about this being fair to the GOP candidate (or not).

    6:01PM PDT
    Tom Brokaw's the final arbiter of what's asked and unasked, Brokaw begins with woooooeeeeeeeee, the economy, we're doooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmm. Allen Shaffer asks the first question, Obama begins the littany of woe, depression is here, etc, and I guess that means a new New Deal is in order. But, that FDR crap screwed us over and delayed the recovery from that trough until WWII. Of course, this is an excuse for class warfare, boooooo!!! CEOs, yeaahhhhh!!! middle class. That's Obama's solution.

    McCain's solution is socializing home ownership. Uggghhh.

    Neither candidate is really offering anything interesting or sensible.

    Brokaw asks who would you appoint to replace Paulson, McCain's answer, maybe Warren Buffett, maybe Meg Whitman, someone folksy folks can trust. Candidate Obama unanswers the question, instead he wants to hit the wooooooeeeeee is the middle class crap again. Meh.

    6:11PM PDT
    Oliver Clark asks what's up with this bailout? McCain hits the Fannie/Freddie link to the current mess, and links Obama to it, and touts his own calls for reform. Will anyone hear him (Obama can be seen smirking as he listens). McCain pushes the home loan thing again, along with reform of Fannie/Freddie presumably.

    Obama gets up to answer, says it's about the credit market (so why didn't the money go straight to the credit market?). Obama blames deregulation, Fannie/Freddie had nothing to do with it, I suppose.

    James Brown sums up both responses.

    Brokaw asks, 'will things get worse before they get better'? McCain's answer, American workers are great, Obama doesn't get that question.

    On to Teresa Finch, 'both your parties suck, why should we trust either of you?'
    Obama's answer, GWB, GWB, GWB, McCain=GWB, GWB=Satan, therefore McCain=Satan. Obama claims he's a deficit hawk who will shrink government (seems hardly believable).

    McCain's answer, DC is broken, he's Mr. Reform! Oh, no he didn't he mentioned his crappy ass McCain-Feingold, the same bill both candidates have run circles around and raised huge wads of cash. McCain hits Obama on being a big fat liberal, and big spender, Obama's smirking again, I guess he's going for bemused disdain. Somehow McCain brought in Energy Independence, I guess he figures that's a winning issue for him.

    Brokaw asks Health Care, Energy, Entitlement, which is highest priority?
    McCain answers first, McCain says you can go after all three, and 'my friends' Social Security is a joke, it won't be there for you if you were born after 1960. Nuclear power, all the above, domestic production of energy, and health care, whatever, all three can be done, no priorities.

    Obama's answer, energy is first (I guess), specifics, naaahhhhh. $15B over 10 years to create magic fairy dust that will power our cars using the bottled farts of unicorns and dragons. Obama still seems to think the President has a line item veto, guess he hasn't read the U.S. Constitution lately. Hits McCain on that $4B to BIG OIL (Booo!) bit.

    6:29PM Internet Question from 78 year old Fiorra (or 12 year old Candi, it's the internet, who knows?)
    What sacrifices will we ask from our citizens, McCain pushes for earmark reform again. Reduce the size of the federal government with spending freezes to non-essential programs (why not eliminate the non-essential? I hate half measures, Federalism would be nice for a change). McCain goes back to the importance of not prioritizing.

    Obama gets up to bat, brings up 9/11 and how GWB (booo!!!) squandered all that good will and not asking for sacrifices (derides, 'go out and shop' back in 2001). In the great ObamaNation that will follow his inaugural, we will all happily reduce our own energy use by buying smaller cars, weather stripping, and serving in the Peace Corps, and starting up a Volunteer Corps so that everyone gets drafted into non-military service (he didn't say that, but he did say that as far as I'm concerned).

    Brokaw asks how Government will restrain itself. Obama answers, we must punish the rich (not what he said, but what he means). Derides freeze proposal, cause government is wonderful. McCain calls Obama changeable with regards to his various tax proposals, compares him to Herbert Hoover, and even invokes Smoot-Hawley (but not by name). McCain wants to leave taxes alone, and game the system with tax credits rather than actually fixing the system and reducing the complexity of the system.

    Internet Langdon asks, unfunded entitlements will eat the whole budget within a few decades, what are you gonna do about it? Obama won't give up on his 95% OF YOU WILL GET A TAX CUT, PROMISE, PINKIE SWEAR, CROSS MY HEART AND HOPE TO DIE. Let's ignore the entitlement question. Hit's McCain on tax cuts for the rich thing again. Whatever, soaking the rich will have a 'trickle down' effect, things that trickle only trickle down, wanting the economy to work from the bottom up instead of top down defies history, experience, and physics.

    McCain's answer, 'I'm a Maverick!' He'll attack Social Security (no specifics), he'll attack Medicare with a Commission! (similar to the base-closing commission of the 90s). McCain hits back on Obama's tax record.

    Ingrid Jackson asks 'Climate change, green jobs, why can't Congress always act so fast as on the bailout'? McCain answers, me and my buddy Leiberman are green, we're so green we green glow with Nuclear Power! (woohoo!!) Go Nuclear! Pushes his 'all the above' approach, cause American workers are great.

    Obama describes this as both an opportunity as a challenge, and we'll have 5,000,000 new green jobs if the government gets involved. He implies that the computer was a government project, but that's bunk, computers were big room filling pieces of hardware before the PC revolution, and computers as they are used in our daily lives and have changed the shape of the world were decidedly NOT a government aided phenomenon. Green Tech will be similar, I suspect, the more government stays out of the way, the better, but Obama wants the government to pick which companies and solutions win, and which lose, which is why we end up with porkbarrel crap like E85. Grrrr, Arrggggghhhhhh.

    Brokaw's getting sniffy, do we want incubators, or Manhattan project?
    McCain wants both, start off with government project, and once it gets going, hand it over to the private sector. McCain hits the pork thing again, which is relevant given that much of our energy policy is pork based in one way or another and that's why it has failed so miserably and Obama's suggested solution will most likely fail miserably (hey, I'm not impartial, I can through in a partisan screed from time to time).

    Lindsey Trella asks, 'should Health Care be a commodity'?
    Obama answers, 'waahhh, waaahhh, waahhh, boohoo, boohoo, boohoo, health care is broken, and the government must step in and save everyone and everything'. Somehow socializing health care won't lead to socialized medicine. If the government steps in and offers a gold-plated health care system of first resort like what Congress gets, then health care will be effectively socialized, private providers will not be able to compete. Either he's lying about his intentions, or he's an idiot.

    McCain answers, expand effeciency, and the market can work and folks can afford it with a bit of a bump from the government with his tax credit. Let folks shop, they'll make the better decisions. Choice will work, markets will work, that's his mantra.

    Brokaw asks, health care, privilege, right or responsibility?
    McCain answers, it's a responsibility, we ain't Canada biyaaaatccchhhhh!!!! (I may have maed up the part about Canada). Ohhh, 'nother smirk.
    Obama, health care is a RIGHT, cause his mother died of cancer fighting with insurance companies (Earth to Obama, socialized medicine paradises don't do half of the stuff we do for cancer patients, they would have stuck your mama in hospice care and morphined her up and she probably would have died months earlier than she did here, but why let facts get in the way of a good personal anecdote?)
    That sums up the difference between the two, doesn't it, and it shows that if health care is a RIGHT, then how can you leave it up to the private sector? Someone isn't telling the whole truth about what he wants to do about health care, and it ain't McCain.

    I missed Obama's rant against deregulation while I was doing my own rant. Phil Eliott asks, 'will our economy effect our military?' (obviously I've been paraphrasing the questions, that's why the single quotes).
    McCain answers by singing the little ditty below:

    (I know the above video is meant to be anti-American, but screw that, we kick too much ass for some little snot on the internet to make us look bad).
    OK, I lied, he didn't start singing that song, but he should have.

    Obama's answer, we are in decline, Iraq was a mistake, everyone hates us, woooooeeeee, wooooeeeeee, woooooeeeee is us, Unless we elect The One.

    Brokaw, what's the 'Obama Doctrine' and what's the 'McCain Doctrine'?
    Obama answers, Rwanda should have been considered, genocide is very, very bad, and we should intervene where possible, but defining what's possible is entirely up to The One. Darfur, we could do some stuff, but only if everyone loves us.

    McCain answers, goes back to Obama being wrong about withdrawal, would have screwed Iraq and the whole region. The USA (F Yeah!) is a force for good in the world, McCain won't repeat the mistakes of Somalia, or Lebanon in the early 80s.

    Both said about the same, but Obama emphasized international cooperation.

    Katie Hamm asks about hitting Pakistan with or without their approval to hit Al Qaeda and Taleban.
    Obama blames Bush, Iraq is why Bin Laden is dead somewhere (hey, you can't prove he's alive, so I'm assuming he's dead) in Pakistan. We need to talk tough with Pakistan, so far hasn't answered the question, he'll waive his wand and get them to do what we want, I guess.

    McCain answers, Teddy Roosevelt is a hero of mine, I knew Teddy (oh, wait, sorry, he wasn't pulling a Lloyd Bentsen). Goes back to driving out the Soviets, should have helped rebuild Afghanistan in the 80s, won't make the same mistake. Petraeus will save Afghanistan, and we'll work with Pakistan, McCain won't talk tough (but he'll act tough, as implied, and also implying that Obama is all bluster with his talk of going after Bin Laden in Pakistan).

    Obama demands a rebuttal, rambles, accuses McCain of being unhinged and bloodthirsty.

    So far nothing new from this dog and pony show, neither is hurting the other (nor helping themselves, really).

    Brokaw, Oh Noes! Afghanistan is a disaster, we need a friendly dictator there.
    Obama, answers, Iraq is the problem with Afghanistan. Blah, Blah, Blah, this is going nowhere, refutes friendly dictator suggestion, but thinks Afghan government can be more responsible to their people.

    McCain answers, tactics need to change, NATO needs to be better commanded, and the Afghans and Pakistanis most step up, and the surge can work in Afghanistan (and also, Obama won't admit that he was wrong about the surge in Iraq). In Petraeus we trust. Honor, Victory.

    Russia, they're bad, how do we get them to be better?
    McCain answers, Russia is bad, they're fat with oil money, they're being run by ex-KGB, and they're acting agressively in their backyard. We must support Georgia and Ukraine, and get them in NATO. Get the rest of the world on our side (ahhh, but there's all that oil, and Europe and China are weenies, so that's a non-starter).

    Obama answers, Russia is one of the central issues for any future adminstration, and we must help these ex-Soviet Republics, and we must talk alot without actually saying anything (oh wait, that's what he's doing, not what he's saying he'll do, but he's still not saying anything, and brings Bin Laden back into this somehow).

    Russia, Evil Empire?
    Obama, they have evil impulses.
    McCain, maybe, can't answer either way, Russia will play ball, but we must play from strength.

    7:26PM Two more questions
    Retired Navy Chief Terry Shirey asks will we defend Israel if Iran attacks?
    McCain shakes the CPO's hand, can't wait for UN to defend our friends, must prevent Iran from getting nukes, cause Iran having nukes means Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and any one else with the means will want their own. Sanctions will prevent the possibility of an Iranian attack on Israel seems to be his answer, and that we won't allow a 2nd holocaust, so I guess that means we'll defend Israel (and possibly bomb the hell out of Iran with our own nukes, though he doesn't say that).

    Obama replies diplomacy will keep us from having to make this decision (but only if we have a president the rest of the world lurrrvvvvvvvs, like The Obama). He's still talking, goes back to the idea of direct talks with Iran, cause there's nothing wrong with a President Obama meeting with President Ahma-dinner-jacket.

    7:31PM Last Question!
    Peggy asks, What Don't You Know, and How Will You Learn It?
    Obama's answer, Michelle has my balls in a jar by her dresser (oh, wait, that's not what he said, but sounds like it to me). He's giving a closing statement, he's not even thinking about answering the question, Brokaw should break in with an, "Obama, Please" (is that racist of me to suggest that?). More Wooooooooeeeeeeeee, woooooooeeeeee is we, but that woe will be relieved if we have the courage and nerve to elect The One.

    McCain steps up, McCain doesn't know what everyone doesn't know, nobody knows the trouble we'll see.

    But, that trouble will be overcome by the great folks of the US of A, and his steady hand will guide us through these troubled waters.

    Nobody did nothing, they told the same half-truths, spun the same spin, neither hurt themselves, or the other, neither of them seemed to really have any solution more than 'more government' to the domestic issues, and as far as foreign policy, Obama believes the consensus fairy will come and build global consensus at the waive of a wand, while McCain seems to believe that more of the same with a slight McCain twist will do the job.

    Watching the NBC feed, Brian Williams and Andrea Mitchell are immediately spinning it as a big Obama victory (without directly saying so).

    06 October 2008

    The BLOGTOBER 2008 Album Reviews (04 of 23) Pop Levi, Never Never Love

    This is a placeholder, I'll get around to writing up a full review of this fun little album tomorrow.

    The Results, Week 05, Weekly NFL Related Humiliation

    Ouch. 0-5!

    D'oh!! Seattle 6 NY Giants 44 my pick Seattle +7.0
    Seattle (1-3) suck. The only team they've been able to beat this year is the historically awful St. Louis Rams. The Superbowl Champion New York Giants (4-0)might not be half bad. I guess I have to admit that now.

    D'oh!! San Diego 10 Miami 17 my pick San Diego -6.5
    San Diego (2-3) aren't able to play consistently well. They let Miami (2-2) jump out to a big lead, and couldn't recover. They're still probably the best team in the AFC West, but that's not saying much. Miami might be a team to watch this season, they've beat two good teams in New England and San Diego.

    D'oh!! Cincinnati 22 Dallas 31 my pick Dallas -16.0
    Dallas (4-1) jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the 2nd quarter, had this game under control, then fell asleep. Cincinnati (0-5) almost came back, but they're still losers, and it still looks like an awful season for them, but they covered the spread, so they screwed up my pick, the bastards.

    D'oh!! Pittsburgh 26 Jacksonville 21 my pick Jacksonville -5.5
    I guess Big Ben isn't so injured afterall. Pittsburgh (4-1) are a hard team to figure out. They've been winning ugly, but they've been winning. Jacksonville (2-3) have to be disappointed to be 2-3 at this point, they're not playing up to their talent level at the moment.

    D'oh!! Minnesota 30 New Orleans 27 my pick New Orleans -3.0
    Minnesota (2-3) pulled off a small upset on the road. New Orleans (2-3) wasted a great effort by Reggie Bush (2 punt returns for TDs, 176 total return yards). On the plus side for the Saints, despite giving up 23 points (7 points were on a blocked FG for a TD), they played well. They held Adrian Peterson in check, and held the Vikings to 270 total yards, but 4 turnovers gave Minnesota too many opportunities. New Orleans dominated both sides of the ball, and had outstanding play from their Special Teams, and still lost, clean up the mistakes, and they look like one of the best teams in the NFC.

    A perfect week of NFL picks, that'll keep me from thinking about heading to Vegas. As far as the seasonal picks go, those weren't as horrible at 6-8.

    Totals so far . . .

    Seasonal 40-34

    Weekly 14-11

    04 October 2008

    Weekly NFL Related Humiliation, Week 05, The Picks

    Week 5 already, not much else to say, other than the usual griping about which teams get picked for Los Angeles air by FOX and CBS.

    Seattle Seahawks (1-2) at New York Giants (3-0) my pick Seattle +7.0
    Seattle has looked pretty bad, the defending champs are undefeated and have already equalled my predicted seasonal win total for them. Maybe they don't suck as bad as I expected them to. Their both coming off bye weeks, so have had plenty of time to prepare, I'm expecting NY Giants to begin a season remaining spiral of mediocrity and Seattle to improve a little, so this is a turn around game for both teams. I can't believe Fox is showing this crap instead of the much better Washington at Philadelphia battle.

    San Diego Chargers (2-2) at Miami Dolphins (1-2) my pick San Diego -6.5
    The Chargers seem to be on track now after blowing their first two games, and Miami is coming off their surprisingly easy defeat of New England. The trick plays that were effective against the old slow Pats defense won't work against San Diego's speedier LB crew. San Diego will control this and cover easily. CBS is choosing this game over the defensive battle of the decade, Tennessee at Baltimore, if any game has a chance of finishing an OT 0-0 tie, this is the game (surest bet of the week, under 33.5 total for these two teams, can't believe the line is more than 25). Both those defenses are playing very well, guess it's time to start looking into getting DirecTV.

    Cincinnati Bengals (0-4) at Dallas Cowboys (3-1) my pick Dallas -16.0
    Dallas has last week's disaster to recover from, and Cincy has a couple seasons worth of continuing turmoil to play through. Doesn't matter if Palmer plays or not, Dallas will destroy the Bungles.

    Pittsburgh (3-1) at Jacksonville (2-2) my pick Jacksonville -5.5
    Pittsburgh could easily be 1-3 instead of 3-1, and they're losing RBs left and right. Roethlisberger is a game manager, he's not a playmaker, without a solid RB in the backfield, he's dead meat. Pittsburgh's very solid defense won't be able to keep the game close, Jacksonville will put together their first solid game of the season and win with ease.

    Minnesota (1-3) at New Orleans (2-2) my pick New Orleans -3.0
    Vikings have moved the bal well, but haven't been putting up TDs. New Orleans can score, and score big, especially since their strength (passing) is Minnesota's weakness (pass denfense). This feels like a 38-13 type game with the Saints putting on a show for the hometown fans.

    I know I have a 5-0 week in me at some point this season, this could be it, I feel really good about this picks (and if I go 0-5, this may get thrown down the memory hole).

    The Results, Week 04, Weekly NFL Related Humiliation

    That's right, another 4-1 week, it's almost as if I knew what I was talking about, or something. As far as the seasonal thing, that's going decently, too, with a record of 8-5 in week 04.

    D'oh!! Green Bay 21 Tampa Bay 30 my pick Green Bay +1.5
    The only "D'oh!!" of the week, Griese was terrible, but Rodgers nearly matched him in awfulness, so this game was decided by Tampa's rushing attack which rolled up some big numbers against a Packers defense that made Tampa's Earnest Graham look like a Pro Bowler.

    Woohoo!!! Washington 26 Dallas 24 my pick Washington +10.5
    Washington beat their division rivals in Dallas. They almost didn't hold on, but Campbell played well, and their defense stepped up. Also, Terry Owens ought to just shut up and play ball. They involved him in 20 plays and he still complained after the game about being under-utilized. WRs are unbelievable sometimes. The NFC East division is by far the best division in the NFL, top to bottom they're strong.

    Woohoo!!! San Diego 28 Oakland 18 my pick San Diego -7.5
    That was close. Chargers scored 25 points in the 4th quarter to win this, and if LT hadn't scampered for a long TD in the closing minutes, they would have just kneeled down after clinching the game and missed covering the spread. LT made a bunch of gamblers happy with that TD run (and a few pissed off who bet the other side). Oakland is a mess. They've got good players, but their organization is insane, Al Davis is insane, and with the firing of Kiffin, things will just get worse. Hopefully they won't darken the Los Angeles market airwaves again this season.

    Woohoo!!! Philadelphia 20 Chicago 24 my pick Chicago +3.0
    I stll think the Eagles are one of the better teams in football, but the Bears matched up well, and did just enough to win. Orton looked pretty good for Chicago, and having Hester back in the line-up was a big plus.

    Woohoo!!! Baltimore 20 Pittsburgh 23(OT) my pick Baltimore +5.0
    Pittsburgh pulled off the OT victory, but Baltimore covered, and that's what really counts. Baltimore should have held on to win this game, but they didn't. This was a costly victory for Pittsburgh losing tow key offensive players for the season. They'll be lucky to get to 7-9, and even though Baltimore lost the game, they should have the inside track on the AFC North division title.

    Totals so far ...

    Seasonal 34-26

    Weekly 14-6

    03 October 2008

    The BLOGTOBER 2008 Album Reviews (03 of 23) The Sound of Animals Fighting, The Ocean and the Sun

    Another weekday in BLOGTOBER 2008, another 2008 album that I've been really enjoying. This time it's The Sound of Animals Fighting turn to be put under the immodest microscope . . .

    The Sound of Animals Fighting, The Ocean and the Sun [Zune.net, Amazon]

    1) Intro
    Just a little spoken word intro to get things kicked off (not sure which language, sounded Turkic to me, but I could be very wrong).

    2) The Ocean and the Sun
    The clicky-clack of old school typewriters is one of the sounds in the mix. Has a nice funky drummer beat under girding an ethereal swirl of vocals and various electronic effects. Interesting song, nice mix of influences, good execution bringing the disparate elements together.

    3) I, The Swan
    This one is a bit more ponderous and big sounding compared to the title track (in good ways). These folks like swirly, this has a nice swirl to it, a different swirl to the previous track, but swirly nevertheless. This song goes big and guitar heavy towards the end. Nice slow build to a big finish type song.

    4) Another Leather Lung
    Another solid track. Hard to describe, other than to say it's got well played complicated rhythms, interesting vocals, and builds to a big wall of noise finish as it gets more and more aggressive till it finishes in full on speed metal territory. Kind of awesome in its own way.

    5) Lude
    Big change of pace from the previous track, given the nature of this musicians collective, changeability from track to track and album to album is the rule, not the exception. Everything is recognizably part of this collective though, so it's not like the mood swings are inconsistent or off putting. I assume Lude is short for 'interlude' as that's all this track is, a delicate little guitar figure, sort of a palate cleanser between courses.

    6) Cellophane
    I suppose if comparisons to other performers are the way you relate to artists, and it'll help you get a handle on what this might sound like, for this track, think Kid A period Radiohead, and you'd be in the right ballpark (but with more French Horn). Great drumming, really challenging patterns, and vocals well suited to this song. Very listenable in a neo-prog sort of way.

    7) The Heraldic Beak of the Manufacturers Medallion
    What? Yeah, despite the title, this song ROCKS! Another crunchier more or less straight forward metal effort. These folks do metal well.

    8) Chinese New Year
    Another snippet, just the sounds of Chinese New Year, clanging gongs, kids singing, nothing to see here, move along . . .

    9) Uzbekistan
    Turns out Uzbekistan is very electronic, and kinda noisy. Who knew? Not one of the better tracks, but won't make you jump for the 'next' button if it comes up on random play, either.

    10) Blessings Be Yours Mister V
    Another loud and neo-progg-y track. Goes some interesting places, though. Nothing special, nothing horrible.

    11) Ahab
    Another short track, feedback shaped for your listening pleasure.

    12) On the Occasion of Wet Snow
    A more meditative and 'groovy' track than the others. Has a nice slow propulsive forward motion to it. Ends in a wall of noise, cause, that's what you do I guess. It's a skillful wall of noise, so it's forgivable.

    All and all, this is a solid album, not every track works, and tonally it kind of jumps around, but if you like your grooves complicated, you can groove to this in a complicated manner.