Wednesday, May 31, 2006

trooped up

The other night, I watched Donald Rumsfeld talking to Larry King about the war. Good ol' Larry asked him about his response to his critics. Rummy responded with a nice little story in which he said he visited an airport for some well-wishing of an Army unit who had just come off a tour in Iraq and was now headed back to the desert for a third rotation. He said that as the soldiers boarded the plane, people in the airport broke out into applause. He liked that. He said it shows the American people support the troops.

Nice story. Sweet.

And I'm glad that most Americans do support the troops...

Of course, it has nothing to do with Rumsfeld or his policies or even the question asked of him. In fact, his little yarn begs a more terrible question that has gone unanswered: why is an Army unit deploying on a THIRD rotation to Iraq?!

Larry certainly didn't ask him.

And what has supporting the troops got to do with Rummy's response to his critics?


See, it's like a magic trick. Politicians in power screw up and when someone calls them on it, they use a bit of misdirection. Not to be confused with misinformation, which is just a lie. No, the misdirection is far more devious. Misdirection involves hiding behind an inarguable truth and suddenly, you're not debating the substance of a problem, you're arguing whether or not Saddam is bad, whether or not you like paying taxes, or whether or not you support the troops.

None of these are real arguments. They are merely a smokescreen to mask the losing argument of a real debate. When someone who screwed up war planning trots out the ol' "I support the troops" chesnut, just think of it like this: they're pretty much using troops as human shields to protect themselves from the bullets of honest criticism.

If someone screws up, it's their job to fix it. And if they can't or won't, then someone else has to. For politicians, this means either forcing them to correct their mistakes or get rid of them and replace them with someone who will. This is called accountability.

For more on responsibility, I point you to John Rogers' excellent Memorial Day post, which has been widely circulated around these here internets.

An excerpt:

I understand why one would cling to a worldview wherein this Administration has not screwed up both this war and the fulfillment of our duty to the men and women fighting it. But that worldview is there for your comfort, to make you feel brave in demanding action, or secure in the idea that your government is competent, or noble in pursuit of higher ideals of patriotism or freedom. It is our responsibility to be clear-headed, mature, and frankly ruthless enough to discard our own emotional needs and kick the Bastards when they need kicking.

If you fail to even make that tiny effort -- hold the Bastards accountable -- to insure the troops the material, planning and care they need, then no matter what you say, what you write, or how many flags you wave, you are not supporting the troops. I am sure the pfc. with no body armor, no armored Hummer, on his third of who knows how many tours while his family goes quietly bankrupt appreciates your "support for his mission." But the other shit matters more. You are not holding our representatives accountable for their failures. You are not living up to your responsibility. You have broken the covenant. With this relationship broken, the soldiers are no longer your proxies, they are your instruments. You are treating them as tools. You may not feel that way, that characterization may fill you with rage, but how else to characterize such one-sided relationship?

There is a goddam world of difference between asking a man to risk his life to defend the nation and waste his life proving a point.

That these unquestioning war devotees will not sacrifice their lives, their comfort, their safety: that's hardly a sin in modern society. But they are not even willing to risk emotional discomfort by admitting their faith has been misplaced. That they will not even risk this, this tiny, tiny thing ... that is the sin. It is not that that you're not risking your life. It's that you are risking nothing.

One more thing I'll add. I know it's become difficult to sometimes tell the difference between the Democrats and Republicans these days. Both have become stubborn and single-minded in their arguments. But here's how you can tell the difference. Democrats are, and have always been, the party of the donkey. Republicans have become the party of jack-asses.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Today's Memorial Day quote

Let me see if I've got this straight: in order to be grounded, I've got to be crazy. And I must be crazy to keep flying. But if I ask to be grounded, that means I'm not crazy any more and I have to keep flying.
(Alan Arkin)


Screenplay by Buck Henry

Novel by Joseph Heller


Friday, May 26, 2006

welcome back, Kal-El

Actual conversation between me and Ross. Edited for our own protection. And yes. These are the things geeks talk about.

Me: ...but I just don't buy that he left the Earth for 10 years after Superman II.

Ross: I'm sure they'll give him a good reason.

Me: I'm guessing that's how the movie starts. "Bad shit happened and then Superman took off."

Ross: If they don't explain it, the next movie better be called: Superman Returns 2: The Really Good Reson Why The Hell He Left in the First Place!

Me: And are they gonna explain why everyone looks younger? Superman looks younger han he did in the first movie.

Ross: That's what happens to you in space.

Me: Superman's really from Ork?

Ross: See? You just explained it. And Lois has a kid now, who's Jonathan Winters.

Me:But the entire premise is flawed. Because at the end of Superman II, he puts the flag on the White House and he's all, "I'm sorry I let you down. It won't happen again." And then he jut flies off for 10 years?! It doesn't make sense.

Ross: They're keeping the continuity of the first two movies, right? But they're ignoring Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace?

Me: THAT would be a good reason. I would use Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace as the justification for him leaving Earth. THAT I could buy.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Lay convicted on all 6 counts
1 minute ago
Enron founder Kenneth Lay was convicted today of all six counts against him, including conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud.

Former Enron Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling was convicted of conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud.

Massive corporate fraud? Millions of dollars.

Ex-Enron workers who lost jobs, pensions, and more? Thousands.

Charges against Kenny Boy Lay? Six.

Going to jail because he was found guilty of all six charges? Priceless.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

end of the season "24"


Admit it. That was a great season of 24.

It brought together pre-existing threads very nicely and beautifully set up future plotlines with ease. Pissed off a German spy and his government? Check. Left the death of Henderson slightly ambiguous? Check. Shadowy secret uber-agency controlling things? Check.


The Chinese Government kidnapping Jack and throwing him on a slow torture boat to China was a brilliant final twist and promises an intense 6th season, far from American shores.

But I think my favorite little bit of this season was the last minute addition of Morris, Chloe's ex-husband. That guy was like a concentrated bit of Warren Ellis goodness. He had less than 5 minutes of screen time, but he stole the show. Looking forward to more of that guy next season.

Nice job, writers of 24! Well done.

Monday, May 22, 2006

What Would Jesus Watch?

Look, I'm not trying to convert anyone here. But by golly, I LOVE YouTube.

Why do I love it so? Just ask Little Marcy.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Show

The show was fantastic.

I totally felt like a rock star after my set.

So, yeah. That was cool.

brilliant quote o' the day

From Pulp Fiction.

Written by Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary (stories).

The night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That's pride fucking with you. Fuck pride.
-Marsellus Wallace
(Ving Rhames)

Friday, May 19, 2006

My name is in the NYT

The New York Times
May 19, 2006

'Laughing Liberally': Punch Lines With a Political Agenda


Another bruising battle in the take-no-prisoners war for America's ideological soul will be fought tonight at Town Hall in Midtown Manhattan. It should be pretty funny.

The event, "Laughing Liberally," will feature an assortment of stand-up comics doing what stand-up comics do, only, well, more liberally. It is one of a series of shows organized by Justin Krebs, Katie Halper and David Alpert as a counter to the talk-radio right, the idea being to use humor to advance a liberal perspective.

Will Durst, whose résumé includes PBS and NPR, is the biggest name on the bill; the lineup also includes Jim David, Julie Goldman, Negin Farsad, Benari Poulten and Dean Obeidallah. Yes, there are likely to be George W. Bush jokes, but Mr. Krebs said the intent was to define liberalism much more broadly, encompassing social issues like the growing gap between rich and poor.

"We are trying not to just bash away," he said. And, he noted, when there is bashing, it is likely to be not just of Republicans. "Some of the biggest laughs our first show got in February was when people made fun of the Democrats," he said.

For Mr. Obeidallah, an Arab-American comic who will lead off the evening, the beauty of the "Laughing Liberally" banner is that he does not have to stick to lowest-common-denominator jokes about relationships and sex. "I can do my smartest material," he said. "I can do jokes about the Patriot Act. I can do jokes about domestic spying."

In a club, he said, he may slip in a little material of that type, but at tonight's show "we can do the top of the comedy pyramid" for the full set.

Of course, a few well-known names are already doing such stuff: Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Al Franken, Janeane Garofalo. Mr. Krebs said that part of the intent of "Laughing Liberally" was to broaden the ranks beyond that top tier.

"We think that there needs to be more of a training ground," he said. "There's a big gap. There's not really a farm team out there right now."

About a year ago he and his partners began staging small shows in New York called "Laughing Liberally Labs." Mr. Krebs, 28, said it was his father, the theatrical producer Eric Krebs, who helped push them to think bigger. Their first large-scale show drew more than 1,300 people to Town Hall last February, he said, and ended up being "part comedy show, part rock show, part rally."

Now, in addition to tonight's reprise, the group is planning a June 3 show in Los Angeles and future dates in Las Vegas and Boston. Maybe it's wishful thinking to imagine that humor can effect change. But to Mr. Obeidallah at least, an excellent time to impart new ideas to people is when they are laughing.

"Everyone's guard's up when they're watching the news," he said. "But comedy, their guard is down."

"Laughing Liberally" will be performed tonight at 8 at Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street, Manhattan, (212) 730-2423, and on June 3 atthe Wadsworth Theater, Los Angeles.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

laugh, you filthy hippies

Come see the show that's already been plugged on MyDD and Daily Kos.

Friday Night's Town Hall show!

One Night Political Comedy Show
Friday, May 19, 2006 - 8:30pm
Town Hall, 123 W 43rd Street

Step away from the computer and come see real live actual comedy. In real life!!

C'mon cyber hippies! Freedom is on the march!

welcome back, jerk!

I know I'm a little late on this one, but let's all take a moment to welcome Rob Reuter back to the online world of alcohol-fueled rants with the triumphant return of The American Jerk.

Have you clicked over to check it out yet?

Congratulations. You are now on the Terrorist Watch list.

Stop crying. You were on it anyway. Might as well enjoy a few laughs...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Someone call Colbert!!

Bears Attack Monkey!

The horror. The horror.

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - Bears killed and ate a monkey in a Dutch zoo in front of horrified visitors, witnesses and the zoo said Monday. In the incident Sunday at the Beekse Bergen Safari Park, several Sloth bears chased the Barbary macaque into an electric fence, where it was stunned.

It recovered and fled onto a wooden structure, where one bear pursued and mauled it to death.

Not even the monkeys are safe from bears.

Sloth bears, no less. What I can only assume to be the laziest of the bear family.

Robo Quote

"I'd buy that for a dollar!"

-Bixby Snyder
(S.D. Nemeth)


Written by Edward Neumeier & Michael Miner.

Friday, May 12, 2006

It's not an invasion if you're asking for it...

Countries ain't the only thing our guv'ment is good at invading...

...but "invasion of privacy" sounds so sordid. Let's just say "information mining."

Eavesdropping on everyone is not an invasion, says Bush

By Mark Coultan Herald Correspondent in New York
May 13, 2006

PRESIDENT George Bush has denied the US Government is invading the privacy of its citizens after reports Washington is trying to compile a database of every phone call made by Americans.

That's awesome.

"Hey, bud, just because we're eavesdropping on everybody, it don't mean we're invading your privacy."

Uh, then what is it?

"It's just monitoring your daily activities, personal habits, and regular communications with other human beings."

Oh. Thanks for clearing that up.

USA Today said on Thursday that the secret program, conducted by the National Security Agency, was the largest database ever assembled. It quoted one source as saying its goal was "to create a database of every call ever made" within US borders.

The report said the program does not listen to or record calls, but mines telephone records to look for calling patterns that could show terrorist activity.

Most identifying data, such as customers' names and addressees, have been removed from the phone records provided to the Government. But the phone numbers can easily be cross-referenced against other data to match these personal details.

Three of America's largest telecommunications companies, AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, have co-operated with the Government by handing over the data. Only one big company, Qwest, refused, saying it was uneasy about handing over its customers' private records without a court warrant.

Mr Bush did not deny the story directly, but said: "We're not mining or trawling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans. Our efforts are focused on links to al-Qaeda and their known affiliates. So far we've been very successful in preventing another attack on our soil."

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, said there was a looming constitutional clash between the Administration and the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

Arlen Specter, the Republican chairman of the judiciary committee, said he would hold hearings into the program and intended to call the heads of the three big telephone companies.

One immediate consequence will be a much more difficult confirmation process for General Michael Hayden, the former head of the National Security Agency, as Mr Bush's choice as the next head of the CIA.

He cancelled a day of meetings, and when confronted by television cameras said only that everything the NSA had done was within the law.

The story visibly annoyed Mr Bush, who said every such story "hurts our ability to defeat this enemy". He said all NSA activities were within the law, and appropriate members of Congress from both parties had been briefed.

The NSA has previously been revealed as having conducted a phone-tapping surveillance program, where one party was outside the US, without seeking warrants. But the new program goes much wider than this.

The political fallout is uncertain. Mr Bush managed to fight off criticism of the overseas eavesdropping program. Most Democrat congressman backed off their criticism of it when opinion polls showed most Americans were not concerned about the Government bugging overseas phone calls. But this program, potentially affecting all Americans, could be different.


* More than 200 million US telephone accounts and more than a trillion telephone calls made since late 2001 are included in the database.

* The US phone system is anchored by four companies: AT&T, Verizon Communications, BellSouth and Qwest Communications.

* BellSouth covers the south-east and is being acquired by AT&T, which has territories from Texas to Michigan, California and Nevada.

* It is the norm for phone companies and mobile phone operators to provide information to authorities if there is a proper subpoena.

All Apologies

Reports said to confirm lawsuit linking
AT&T to `data mining'

By Pete Carey
Mercury News

It's not just phone calls, it's e-mail, too, according to a lawsuit that accuses AT&T of turning over vast amounts of domestic phone and Internet traffic to the National Security Agency.

As a stand-up comic, a member of the US Army Reserve, a politically active citizen, and a graduate student...I've probably said some things. Over e-mail, on the cell phone, on the stage...


Things know...I mean, people say things. Satirical things. Acerbic things. Crazy things.

Jokes, really.

Anyway, let's just say, I've said some things.

So, with the latest revelations of this massive betrayal of privacy by private corporations who would turn you over to a faceless government bureaucracy for a few tax credits...

...Let me just apologize to any and everyone who I may have said some things to.

I'd hate to think that Ross now has a sleeper agent hiding in the trunk of his car ready to schiv him because he joked about the United 93 movie. Not to name names, BIG BROTHER. ha ha ha. Sorry, Ross.

I'd hate to think that some joke I may have made in a comedy club could endanger said club and its staff and performers.

It's just that, uh, because of me, somewhere, it's very possible that a SWAT team is busting down the doors of a Chuckle Hut right now.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

For the geeks: OYL spin-offs

Scipio asks what spin-offs we'd like to see in the post-Infinite Crisis era of DC Comics.

Here's what I want to see:

A multi-media, 12-part R. Kelly-style hip-hopera!

Jason Todd: Trapped in the Coffin. Chapters 1-12.

In Sox news...

With the Yankees leading 2-0 in the third, there was just something so perfect about David Ortiz driving in a run and tagging first base safely on an error made by last year's American League MVP Alex Rodriguez. Which then led to a wild pitch, scoring a runner from third and tying the game, followed by a solid shot from Manny Ramirez that brought Ortiz home and gave the Red Sox their first lead of the game.

Check out the sister blog for the rest of my Sox ramblings.

Stand Up Guy

John Morrison has got to be the nicest, most respectful guy in NY stand-up right now.

He puts together a great little monthly show at the Cornelia St. Cafe in NY and although the audience was light last night, they were friendly, engaged, and generous with their laughter.

As for the man himself, well, I don't mean to gush, but John really knows how to treat a comic. He provides food and drink and even a little money (it's a paid gig), the show order is given far in advance, so you know exactly when you're going on, and he packs the show with a great variety of different comics, men and women of all backgrounds and's really a great show.

It's like he just really loves good comedy or something?

The Morrison Motel has one more show before a summer break, the second Tuesday in June. You should go. It's a great show filled with excellent comics and an audience who's there to laugh. It's a cheap cover and a $6 drink minimum (the beers are only $5, so a Stella and a coke'll do it...but the food's great, too!) And John could use the support. He runs a room in this city that actually treats comics as people and respects them as performers. I know, it's making me a little misty, too.

Second Tuesday in June. I'll see you all there.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Morrison Motel Tuesday Night

Thought I'd pass on some friendly self-promotion for a show I'm on tomorrow night.

Tuesday, May 9th, 8:30 PM

Morrison Motel @ Cornelia Street Cafe

Cornelia Street Cafe, 29 Cornelia Street, between Bleecker and West 4th. A,C,E,B,D,F & V trains to West 4th. 1 train to Christopher St. (212) 989-9319 for reservations.

8:30 pm. $5 cover, $6 drink minimum.

John Morrison hosts Frank Vignola, Susan Prekel, Claudia Cogan, Benari Poulten, Catie Lazarus, Elon James White, Ray Field and Daniel Tassew.

quote anything

Finishing up my first of year of Grad School.
And as I contemplate my crushing debt and uncertain future, I'm feelin' kind of Lloyd Dobbler. So, this week's quote is, of course, a classic from:

Say Anything.

Written and directed by Cameron Crowe.

"I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that."
-Lloyd Dobbler
(John Cusack)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Go shorty.

It's your birthday.

And Geordarna's gonna party like it's her birthday.

Cuz it is.

A long time ago...

You could watch the original Star Wars movies exactly as you had seen them in the movie theater.

But you couldn't get them on DVD. Well, not legally.

But now you can.

Die-hard Star Wars fans soon can see the original theatrical versions of the first three Star Wars films on DVD.

Even though George Lucas adamantly declared 2004's digitally restored Star Wars Trilogy DVDs the definitive versions of his movies, fans have held out hope for DVDs of the originals.

Their wishes will be granted Sept. 12 when Fox releases new two-disc DVDs ($30 each) of Star Wars (since retitled as Episode IV: A New Hope), The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi that include the films as they first appeared in theaters, along with the new, restored versions (now available in the four-disc $70 Star Wars Trilogy).

The individual DVDs will be taken off the market on Dec. 31, a strategy that Disney uses on many of its classic releases.

Why didn't they just release them this way in the first place?

Back in 2004, Lucas told the New York Post, "The special edition is the one I wanted out there."

This new set of DVDs does not constitute "George changing his mind," says Lucasfilm's Jim Ward.

Nope. Lucas just decided he wanted a few extra bucks.

I hate to be cynical, but...Lucas has gone from giving fans what they want to duping them into buying what he wants them to buy, when he wants them to buy. It's almost as if he believes that he's doing the right thing, but has become blinded by his own passions. It's eerily similar to ... some famous film character. Darth something or other. Has Lucas lost his way? Has he fallen down that dark path, seduced by the Dark Side?

I know. I know. My lack of faith is disturbing.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Make Your Own Jeter Joke

Thank you, NY Post!!!

And, yes. That is EXACTLY what the front page of today's New York Post looks like.

Thank you.

*Okay, so I posted this elsewhere, as well...but come on! This NY Post cover is a gift to Red Sox fans EVERYWHERE! A GIFT! It should be shared as much as possible with the entire WORLD! Or at least, the world wide web.

Monday, May 01, 2006


Standing 10 feet away from the President, Stephen Colbert said many things last night.

So many quotes to choose from...

I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound -- with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.
I'm sorry, but this reading initiative. I'm sorry, I've never been a fan of books. I don't trust them. They're all fact, no heart. I mean, they're elitist, telling us what is or isn't true, or what did or didn't happen. Who's Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was built in 1914? If I want to say it was built in 1941, that's my right as an American! I'm with the president, let history decide what did or did not happen.
Joe Wilson is here, Joe Wilson right down here in front, the most famous husband since Desi Arnaz. And of course he brought along his lovely wife Valerie Plame. Oh, my god! Oh, what have I said? [looks horrified] I am sorry, Mr. President, I meant to say he brought along his lovely wife Joe Wilson's wife. Patrick Fitzgerald is not here tonight? OK. Dodged a bullet.

He never broke character, he never pulled a punch. He made a room full of some of the most powerful people in the world squirm. I love this country.

God Bless Stephen Colbert, who exemplifies truthiness and is a true American patriot.

Watch the video via Crooks and Liars or via YouTube. Uncomfortably biting, indeed.