Friday, September 30, 2005

THE ALA MOST CHALLENGED BOOKS THING: The one where you list the books you've read that are on the list. I suck:

5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Sex by Madonna (I have "read" this, but not read it, if you know what I mean)
26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard (Underrated Landis movie, by the way.)
Blubber by Judy Blume
47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Huh? Methinks if people actually read more of the science fiction in the library, a lot more of it would be challenged.)
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (AGAIN with the Blume hate.)
Native Son by Richard Wright (Another one I don't get. Is it because a black guy is the villain/antihero?)
Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman (Seriously, I've read this! There was a copy at my grandparents' house.)

I guess Stranger in a Strange Land isn't controversial anymore. Anyway, all the porn I've ever watched is also banned from public libraries, so TAKE THAT, MIDDLE AMERICA!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

HECKUVA JOB, BROWNIE: You're not an administration employee anymore, so get to Congress and start heavily selling the "It was Blanco and Nagin's fault!" line, and basically come off as much of a belligerent ass as possible, since that seems to work with the base. The check's in the mail.

I love how one of the two mistakes he admitted to (the one I'm not interested in was him blaming himself for not finding a way for Nagin and Blanco to work together) was a failure to properly manipulate the media. A remarkably candid admission from a Bush official about Bush administration priorities.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

BSG: PEGASUS: Criminy. They really set it up so we wouldn't miss these frackers at all when they inevitably get bumped off, eh? Thoughts:

--The Cylon interrogator with the attempted Dr. Light was completely intense and completely unexpected, for me anyway. The whole of the Pegasus--it's just what happens when a military mindset is completely removed from its civilian underpinnings, is I guess is what the lesson is here. The disfunctional Galactica is to be preferred to the orderly and depraved Pegasus.

--And it's nice that they use all the old names from the old show, even though names like "Pegasus" and "Cain" have no mythic resonance on the new show. That is to say, all the old Galactica names were meant to mean something; in the new Galactica they're just names. It's one fictional reality built over another one. I have no other point here.

--I guess the Boomer model is built for head trauma, huh? Shot through the cheek, punched by Tigh, punched by Six, choked by Adama, doesn't flinch no matter how many guns are pointed at her skull, and now beaten by a raper of Cylons. Callie was right: aim for the gut.

--Helo and the Chief on the raptor to Pegasus was so crying out for "Here's another fine mess you've gotten us into" moment. I'll just imagine that did, in fact, happen.

--This was Baltar's most sympathetic episode yet. He's a conniving, self-loathing narcissist, yet his love for his female simulacrum is completely legit. You get the feeling that love is going to be the thing that saves the fleet, in one way or another, however corny that sounds in the abstract.

--I'm sure this has been asked and answered across the Internets before--but I guess the Six model is the only one with superstrength.

--When Helo and the Chief rescued Sharon I was so afraid we were going to get a Reservoir Dogs "He was trying to kill the cop" "What, this cop?" BANG! ending there. Thankfully it did not happen. Grace Park is under contract, so there will always be a Boomer somewhere, but maybe not one we know and love. Hey yeah, Galactica Boomer; does she wake up somewhere brimming with love for the Chief and begin to thaw the cold vast Cylon heart? Sure!

--Hot XO on XO drinking ACTION! The Pegasus seems like it's full of Tighs who don't hate themselves.

--CLIFFHANGER! We know the Galactica will survive; we've read the rumors that the Pegasus crew will not remain for very long. But the new Battlestar Galactica is completely unspoilerable. Shoot, last season we Americans knew everything that was going to happen thanks to the British spoilers--and we still watched. It's not solely the twists you watch Galactica for, it's the way they're implemented and who they affect on the show that's the important thing. So, yeah, I am looking forward to next season, but because I want to see how Baltar interacts with the tortured Six, more than I want to see how Helo and the Chief get rescued. It's just the kind of show BSG is.

--And, oh yeah, Helfer was great in the dual role tonight. If you told me Baltar's Six was always an externalization of his psychosis after tonight, without any actual non-Baltar existence, I'd believe you.

--So we've gone from the Cylons as the villains at the end of last season to a renegade Battlestar at the end of this one. Interesting, that.

--Oh, and Adama goes from embracing tyranny at the end of last season, to moving away from it halfway through this one, to embracing mutiny at the end of this season. Also interesting. Perhaps indicating an inconsistency in his character that should be addressed at some point.

That's all. They sort of replicated last season's finale, except they had the fabulous characterama last week and the "Oh SHIT!" moments this week. Good on them.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

REPORTS FROM THE DEAD CITY: The Inderdictor blog: still kicking, still in New Orleans.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


Friday, September 09, 2005

WHEN YOU CONTINUE TO LOSE RALPH PETERS: You know you're in trouble.
B.A. IS A JOKE: One of my favorite commentators, John Emerson, invaded this Crooked Timber thread (via Henley) about how the emphasis on higher education may be limiting social mobility, and linked to his own piece, Forget the BA, which I--a person with a creative writing bachelor's--heartily endorse. Zizka's right--become culturally aware on your own time. Use your education, university-based or no, to get a J-O-B.

I love this passage:

Some years back a sociologist friend of mine told me about a study of why people went to college. None of the reasons given (economic, cultural, etc.) quite explained what was happening. There were too many exceptions, and no matter how you cut it, some students ended up going to college for no apparent reason. His conclusion was that going to college after high school is an "institution" -- like marriage for example. And one of the definitions of "institutions" is that you don't have to give any reason for them except that "everyone does it".

So is Zizka a know-nothing? Not at all. I spend most of my time studying liberal-arts-type stuff on my own. It's my substitute for TV. Books are one of the least expensive forms of entertainment, and if you've got a halfway decent library in town, books are free.

There is really only one sacrifice you'll have to make if you read all the time: if you do that, you can forget about being normal. People will regard you with suspicion. More successful people will fear you because you're smarter than they are and are suspected of having a bad attitude. Self-made men and bitter, unsuccessful people will despise you as a failure. Slackers will avoid you because you're too serious and think too much. So you basically have to give up on all normal human relationships, but given today's baseline for normal human relationships, you may come out ahead on this.

And if you ever happen to be invited into the home of a successful liberal arts graduate, you will have the pleasure of seeing their college books gathering dust on their shelves while they talk to you about their real estate, their hot tub and their yacht.

I would only quibble that, thanks to Netflix, movies are pretty cheap these days too. Not cheaper than free, of course. And the sacrifice of all one's normal human relationships should not be done recklessly either (and I'm not really endorsing that part, more his explanation of the worthlessness of the contemporary liberal arts B.A.)

Thursday, September 08, 2005


It's probably always incompetence, by the way.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

WHEN YOU START LOSING BELGRAVIA DISPATCH: You know you're in trouble. Via Laura Rozen, among others.

Monday, September 05, 2005

AH, GOVERNMENT: Don Gonyea on NPR just said that 1. Bush didn't invite Blanco on his tour of Louisiana today, 2. she showed up anyway, at the airport, to greet him, and 3. they toured at least one shelter together but "kept their distance" from each other once inside.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

IRONIES: You know, it's the conservacons always going on and on about what kind of a message this or that sends to our enemies. But what kind of great power can't even protect its own citizenry? If this was Japan--or the frickin' Netherlands--there'd be giant robot levees around the city of New Orleans, which--as we're all learning now--is an amazingly important port, in addition to being one of our most distinct cities. And it's wiped out.

What a kick in our collective American ass.
YEAH--IT'S LIKE THE ANTI-9/11: Wherein we all unite in hatred for the Federal government. Oh, how I long for the month of Cindy Sheehan....
JEEZ, KATRINA: This is starting to eclipse 9/11 in terms of absolute confusion.
BY THE WAY: CNN is kicking the other two newsnets' butts, if simply by virtue of having live overnight coverage. For instance, rogue Orleans Parish schoolbuses are showing up at the Astrodome posing as Superdome evacuees. (Which is, of course, a problem that will continue as long as everybody knows the Astrodome is a safe haven. They had footage earlier of people being turned away from the Astrodome simply because they weren't coming from the Superdome.) And only CNN has the story.

(And this nation really needs a better way to handle refugees than sticking them in obsolete domed stadiums. Still, if you're going to keep the Astrodome--and it's probably a historical landmark at this point--you should put it to good use.)

Besides, wouldn't you rather hear about a disaster from Aaron Brown than one of those wretched Fox partisans? Hey Brit Hume--nobody gives a flying fart what Cindy Sheehan thinks about the hurricane!