October 8, 2004


Jesse is a much braver and stronger man than I, for he too is deathly ill yet managed to blog the debate in the face of such sniffly adversity.

I, on the other hand, am going to watch the final half-hour in bed.

As for what I've seen so far, I think it's clear that Kerry is winning in terms of this debate. Bush isn't as bad as he was last time- but honestly- how could one be- and therefore is going to be depicted as improving, possibly even "making a comeback" against Kerry.

I don't think it's going to work though. Bush is addressing the problems with John Kerry while Kerry is actually addressing the problems with America. I think Americans are tuning into that. Bush is still rushing for his turn at the microphone and whining like a petulant child. I simply don't understand how half the country still isn't sick of this yet.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:07 PM

Who needs a house out in Hackensack

I'm still dying from whatever strain of Ebola I was infected with, but I wouldn't have turned away this sudden change of events for the world. And so, the aforementioned big announcement.

A few hours ago, I accepted a job as a Associate Editor and Webmaster with the Center for American Progress. Considering that the two things I enjoy doing more than anything else are producing things online and talking about politics, you can imagine working with an organization like this in such a capacity is a perfect fit for me. I'd be jumping for joy as we speak, five hours after being offered the job, were it not for the sheer level of acitamenophen in my bloodstream being so high right now my bone marrow could have a street value.

So after an entire life living within the Northern New Jersey/NYC area, I'll be moving down to Washington, DC as early as next week. Ignoring my cold, I have to now deal with the much more crucial issue of finding an apartment and placing my stuff within it in about... yeah, four or five days.

I've been told this act ranks in terms of plausibility somewhere around the same area as levitating a Nissan Altima using only my mind. So long story short, there's a chance you might not see as much content on this site for the next week or so.

Once I get settled, I'll get things back up and running. I of course have no intention to stop drawing comics, or stop weblogging. And I sure as hell don't plan on sitting out the election. So everyone, just bear with me for the rest of the month as I suddenly re-adjust about 95% of my life.

Please accept in advance my gratitude toward your well-wishes and accept my apologies for being unable to respond individually to the several hundred e-mails you're all now going to write me now. In lieu of statements associated with luck and hopes that it will be "good," by all means any tangible information on finding an apartment in Washington DC in the $800-or-less range would be much appreciated.

Debate, opinions on debate, and further intake of that delicious, narcotic green goo shortly.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:31 PM

Fight the NyQuil! FIGHT IT!

Pleasant, though unexpected, I'm not sleeping this afternoon. Somewhat big announcement coming; I'll post it in a little bit.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 3:31 PM

NyQuil NyQuil NyQuil

Dealing with a cold or flu or something right now; in Nevada I think I'd be legally classified as dead. Hopefully I'll get some rest now and maybe be up and about for the debate. Management apologizes for the inconvenience.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 2:40 PM

October 7, 2004

But... the... see... wha?... huh... hmmm... umm... yeah.

Dick Cheney just held a town-hall meeting where he explained to the audience that the recent report on Iraq having no WMDs whatsoever justified going to war.

But... and... what the...


Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:54 AM

October 6, 2004

Shed a tear for soon-forgotten Charlie

Q Mr. President, a year ago in Evian, there was an expectation that in the ensuing months, weapons such as chemical or biological weapons, would be found in Iraq. I wonder if you can share with the American people your conclusions, based on what you've learned over the past 15 months, sir, as to whether those weapons were -- existed and they were hidden, were they destroyed, were they somehow spirited out of the country, or perhaps they weren't there before the war, and whether you had a chance to share this with your G8 partners.

THE PRESIDENT: Right, no -- Bob, it's a good question. I don't know -- I haven't reached a final conclusion yet because the inspectors -- inspection teams aren't back yet. I do know that Saddam Hussein had the capacity to make weapons. I do know he's a dangerous person. I know he used weapons against his own people and against the neighborhood. But we'll wait until Charlie gets back with the final report, and then I'll be glad to report.

-George W. Bush press conference, June 10, 2004

Contrary to prewar statements by President Bush and top administration officials, Saddam did not have chemical and biological stockpiles when the war began and his nuclear capabilities were deteriorating, not advancing, said Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq Survey Group.

Something tells me Bush is going to remember Charlie about as much as Dick Cheney remembers John Edwards.

Oh, and a thousand Americans are dead because of a lie. In case, you know, you think that's important or something.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:57 PM

Okay, that's gotta stop

This was a new one for me.

Like most website-owners, I've been getting those "do you want to increase your traffic?" spams about once every, you know, day. And maybe every week or so they send me a postcard.

They called me today. On the telephone. [Pacino voice] In my home. Where my family sleeps. [/Pacino voice]

I'm not suprised that they had my number. I've stupidly neglected registering my domain by proxy, which I guess I'm really going to have to do now... originally I figured I could just wait until I got a new job, moved to wherever I had to move to, and get my hands on a Mailboxes Etc. to handle junk mail. But there's no stopping "progress."

It's annoying because, for one thing, I'm actively seeking work. So when I pick up the phone and I get some guy asking to talk to the "owner and operator of xoverboard.com" I can't really hang up on the guy. For another, these guys clearly didn't give a damn about the no-call list. I even said "look, if you got my name off a mailing list, take me off it." This, I kid you not, was his actually response: "no, sir, if you were on a mailing list you would have recieved our postcard in the mail."

I'm still not sure if that was a threat or not.

Because of the "global village" it's hard to believe there's ever going to be a system that prevents spam and direct mail- companies will just shift to another part of the world. What I'd really like to see is the spam version of "Dolphin Safe"- in other words, companies that do not send bulk e-mail and telemarketing calls get a government-certified seal of approval, of which fraud is punishable by massive fines and serves as a great marketing tool for companies.

More important than stopping the flow of this harassment is conveying the simple message to companies that doing this deprives you of my business. I have no idea what Americans actually cave in to telemarketers, and if I ever find them I'm going to slap them around with a Nerf bat. If the day ever came that I actually need the siding of my house replaced, I swear I'm going to pick the first contractor that I know never called me once a month to ask me about it.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:58 PM

October 5, 2004

Well, that certainly took 90 minutes

I'm literally drawing a blank on the entire debate. Joe Scarborough is on MSNBC right now all but tossing Cheney's salad over his performance, which doesn't even aggravate me... it just confuses me. Cheney did well by nature of Edwards not doing as well as he could have. For Scarborough to actually say Cheney "obliterated" Edwards is so transparent it's laughable.

I don't even want to call it a "tie," because it's not the same as saying neither of them won. I was facing away from the TV much of the time, and I think to a radio audience Cheney sounded like he was testifying before a Senate Subcommittee. Edwards just floated around, on the defensive against random lies Cheney threw at him- sometimes when they didn't even have do do with the question. Meanwhile, this Ifill lady was the most unprepared, fumbling moderator for any debate I've seen in the last few elections. This was the dysfunctional family of debates.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:54 PM

Pulled from the mailbag

From reader Matthew Cand:

Yeah John, I agree with what you said about Blair: full circle. It's like Hitchens: if you support Bush on his mad crusade, then you end up being just a full-on hawk, or nothing. "Either with us or against us", like the boy king said.

This article in the Guardian describes how Blair has made the full transformation, and is relying now of "faith-based facts", a good way of describing the current behaviour of Bushie.

From T. Neil:

Andrew Sullivan has written a "Viewpoint" piece for the September 27 issue of Time magazine that perfectly sums up the self-serving circle-jerk that is 99% of the blogosphere. Unfortunately, Time requires a subscription to their site to view the entire article. I've got a hard copy of the issue right next to me, and figured it'd be worth sending a few quotes along to maybe boil your blood a bit. I'll do my best to provide quotes without leaving myself open for "out of context" criticisms.

The first quote sums up the problem with blogging as a legitimate form of media. Sullivan brags about his 100,000 readers in one day, and then boasts "And I don't even have an editor!" Lack of quality control is apparently a good thing these days.

He goes on to cite the many accomplishments of blogs as media policemen: "...there wouldn't have been a Drudge Report to help speed the impeachment of a sitting President, Trent Lott... would still be Senate majority leader." In the next two sentences, Sullivan sums up his dedication to professionalism with one word: "The critics of blogs cite their lack of professionalism. Piffle." Piffle. Fie on ethics! A plague on fact-checking!
If my eyes were rolling any harder, I'd get a peek at my frontal lobe.

He goes on to cite Instapundit as a good example of a blog whose "readership rivals and often eclipses those of the traditional political magazines." The
next sentences are a bit odd considering his introduction used Dan Rather and CBS' mistake as an introduction to his piece: "Does he screw up? Of
course he does sometimes. I've done so many times myself."

Sullivan then goes back to the CBS non-issue and compares it to the professionalism of blogs: "While CBS had a handful of experts look at the
dubious memos (and failed to heed their concerns), the blogosphere enlisted hundreds within hours. Debates ensued, with different blogs challenging
others over various abstruse points... The result was that the facts were
flushed out more effectively and swiftly than the old media could ever have

This kind of self-sucking bullshit riles me. Hope it made your day just that
much more hypertensive.

Sullivan is right up there with Glenn Reynolds as the epitomes of Guys With Websites: they distort the fact that they have no editor or fact-checker into some kind of approval of having no scruples either. What's depressing is that, following the post-election fallouot, Reynolds' and Sullivan's hubris will probably keep these two around.

Hairy Fish Nuts decided Kerry had a hypno-ray too. I'm annoyed I wasn't the first to make the much funnier suggestion that Kerry was just taking out his can of Whoopass.

For those of you who are a big fan of Bushisms, Adrian Loudermilk is the producer of a new DVD based on the best-selling books. Go get yourself a copy; you'll probably have comedy fodder for a year.

From Mike Swiston, regarding John Eisenhower rejecting Bush for President:

You said at the end of the entry, "Conservatives who worked through prior Republican administrations scoff at Bush's contributions to real conservatism."

I don't question that this is mainly true, but I find it interesting that the people who seem to have the most direct line to Bush's ear are people who worked for his father and/or Nixon. (Also Reagan but to a lesser extent.) Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Richard Perle; Spencer Abraham worked for Quayle; even the illustrious Admiral Poindexter had made an appearance. All W. needed was to recruit Kissinger and Haig.

Anyway, my point is that the main stream of conservative leadership may feel left out, but a narrow segment of conservatives (maybe we can call them the "AEI Gang") must be very happy with Bush's contributions so far.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:51 PM

Brain gone 'splodey

As always, the posts that have nothing to do with politics somehow become the most discussed ones. (Okay, also, Atrios linked to it and I suddenly got 5,000 people reading it. That probably helps too.)

Much as I'd love to, I can't respond to every single e-mail you guys sent me about the post showing how every show on television is a fabrication of another character on a different one. The irony is that I sort of thought it was cool, yet a sign of someone with way too much time on their hands. So you can imagine my suprise when significant numbers of you wrote not the guy who made the site but me explaining the fallacies of their argument.

Now, ignoring the most solid one- that it's just a TV show, for Christ's sake- you're all correct. There's countless reasons that the argument doesn't hold... the most eerie of which being that, while a character from Seinfeld once appeared on an episode of Mad About You, there was in fact an episode of Mad About You in which the character were actually watching Seinfeld.

Crooked Timber takes the Way Too Much Free Time prize, and I say that as a term of respect, not mockery. Though, admittedly... damn.

As for me, I guess I thought this was cool, but at the same time stuck to being a DC Comics fan for about ten years, thus already to terms with the concepts of parallel earths and gaping errors in chronology. My sister's boyfriend watches wrestling shows, so he's even better at accepting that continuity bends like a wet noodle.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:30 PM

October 4, 2004

Newest comic - "Relax, he'll be fine"

I'd like to think that, in an age when it's so obvious almost every humorist will do a gag about Bush's abysmal performance at Thursday's debate, I'm the only one who will somehow include spontaneous combustion. It's the least I can do for all of you.

Thanks to the continous support of others, especially Tom Tomorrow, last week yeilded the highest traffic ever for the site. I get linked to a good post every now and then, but this was the first time one of the actual comics (Some Guy With a Website) was the target of global love. So, to everyone, thanks.

I had a busy week that sort of delved into a cycle of constant time erosion, which included a job interview, being stuck on an Amtrak train for seven and a half hours, and helping my sister move into her new apartment. While the first of those I really hope gels into something good in the future, the moving and getting stuck on train thing I sorta hope never happens again. Regardless, it kept me away from the computer for much of the week, which means I'm spending the next available moment to get through the flood of e-mail that massive enjoyment of the site brings. It's good to be the king. Or something.

As always, buy some crap.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:02 AM

October 3, 2004

Oh good grief

Apparently, the Guys With Websites got really, really upset because their bandwidth all went down in the week following their 15 minutes of Dan Rather-bashing fame. So they've decided to declare that Kerry cheated during the debate.

As you know, the best time to sneak notes into a televised debate it to pull them out of your jacket in front of three cameras broadcasting to 55 million people. Because, you see, that makes much more sense than a bunch of webloggers suffering the most desperate and sad case of denial since Powell held up a tube of Arm & Hammer.

Look, unless Kerry pulled a hypno-ray out of his breast pocket, I'm not exactly sure how they're going to make it Kerry's fault that Bush was a stumbling, vacant deer in headlights who responded to half his questions by complaining that his job was hard.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 2:28 PM

My head just exploded

I absolutely love things like this. Brace yourself, this one's a bit complicated.

Okay, so there was once this medical drama on TV called St. Elsewhere. It was before my time, but I know of it; probably a lot of you know what I'm talking about. The series, to much controversy, ended its final episode by revealing that the entire series- the characters, the story, everything- was in fact the dream of a dying autsitic child named Tommy Westphall.

A strange concept in itself, but wait- this just gets better.

This website has started tracking an interesting "gimmick" of television- crossovers. For example, a character on one show appears not just as the same actor, but actually the same character. Like, say, Michael Richards as Kramer appearing on an episode of Mad About You. It's a gimmick, but it also suggests, logically, that Mad About You and Seinfeld exist in the same "universe" of story continuity.

Thanks to series creator Tom Fontana, of Oz, Homicide, and Law & Order fame, these crossovers occur frequently. Richard Belzer, for example, has played Detective John Munch on at least three series. So since this guy exists in all these series, that means Oz, Homicide, and Law & Order take place in the same New York City in the same plane of TV existence.

Now, on an episode of The X-Files, Belzer once again appeared as Munch. Logic dictates that this means The X-Files exists in the same plane as Law & Order: SVU. But wait, in a later episode of The X-Files, there's a crossover from a character from Millenium, so those two series also share the same universe.

You're starting to see where this is going, aren't you?

That's right... on one episode of Law & Order, the lawyers were involved in a trial of a doctor from St. Elsewhere. Which, as explained above, didn't really exist.

So this website, by means of a Kevin-Bacon-style relationship of crossovers, has logically linked one hundred and sixty-two television series as existing in the same universe of continuity... and therefore are all the creation of the autistic Tommy Westphall.

In other words, in a very subtle, but logically solid way, Tom Fontana has technically implied that over 160 television shows are complete figments of one of his own characters' imagination.

The man is a genius.

(via MetaFilter, BTW)

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:19 PM

Only the good avoid creepy marriages

As you might have noticed, I don't really discuss Hollywood or celebrity stuff on this site, because frankly I find the whole thing boring. I think if anything, shows like The Simple Life existing should be a study of society (if that's what we can call it at this point) as a whole rather than the "quality" of the program.

I am, however, going to break my own rule and engage in some Access Hollywood discussion for a moment, because it concerns a musician I'm a huge fan of. In fact, Billy Joel is probably one of my favorite artists, and has been for a while.

So, in light of his recent third marriage, I would like to express my opinion on a matter that should be of no concern to me whatsoever: Billy, that's fucked up.

Joel's newest wife is Kate Lee. (Joel's full name, by the way, is William Martin Joel. He's now married to Katherine Lee and has a daugher, Alexa Ray. This family avoids last names like Ebloa) She is 23 years old. Billy Joel is 55.

She is less than half his age. The same age as myself, she was not alive when he released his first seven albums.

Now, I don't really mind the whole age issue per se. But there's a significant factor in arguing that Joel is old enough to be his new wife's father: the fact that he has a daughter who is only four years younger than his wife.

Alexa Ray, Joel and model Christie Brinkley's daughter, was born in 1985. She's 19. Her new mother-in-law could, theoretically, have gone to high school with her. That's. Fucked. Up.

I don't normally agree with people claiming it's unfair for older people to marry younger spouses, but when the element of a kid being the same age as your new wife comes into play, that's just... well, creepy. And considering that this is Joel's third marriage, I'm not exactly bouncing with glee at the "true love" concept. Joel's entering Rush Limbaugh territory here.

So, to Billy Joel, from a devoted fan: I love ya, guy. The Stranger? Best album ever. But dude, just... wow. Dude.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:40 PM