May 14, 2005

WHAT THE HELL

Well this is interesting. Apparently, God has decided it's time to smite Virginia. Yeah, I know, it was bound to happen sooner or later. But anyway, it was 82 degrees and sunny outside about fifteen minutes ago. As I write this, lightning is tearing up across the landscape and hail is falling from the sky at a 35 or so degree angle. I'd like to repeat that because it's somewhat interesting: chunks of ICE are now falling from the sky. I have about a hundred feet of visibility from my window. Which is funny, because usually the view from my window includes Reagan National Airport about two miles away. So odds are they're all in the tower going "the FUCK?" Thoughts like that keep me rational. Also, I spent six months feeling like a jackass for dropping a hundred bucks on a backup power supply terminal for my computer. I don't anymore. Oh. Now five car alarms have gone off in the parking lot. A couple of leaves just flew past my window. And... yes, that was a tree branch just now. I'm on the eighth floor. Someone please tell my family I love them very much. I feel I must go and hide under the bed now.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 6:24 PM

Meow

Straight from the Subconscious Harbored Resentment Department comes an interview by the Washington Post with Dustin "Screech from Saved by the Bell" Diamond.

Alexandria, VA: Do you keep in touch with any of the other cast members from Saved By the Bell?

Dustin Diamond: I don't visit the unemployment office that much.

I live in Wisconsin now so I don't get a chance to see them that often, unless my comedy tour takes me to Cali. Still there is no guarantee that I will be able to get onto the set of Pet Star.

Ouch.


Posted by August J. Pollak at 2:54 PM

May 13, 2005

Posted by August J. Pollak at 4:11 PM

The Passion of the Voinovich

Count me in among the many, both right and left, who have no idea what the hell is going on inside George Voinovich's head after his amazing performance at yesterday's Senate panel in which he declared that John Bolton was a "poster child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be" and was "not the best man" for the job... which he promptly then voted in favor of sending to the full Senate for consideration.

Voinovich has signalled a few things here: first and foremost, he's a gigantic pussy. Monsterous. A pussy of such mythical enormity that the Japanese have made movies about it being awoken during underseas nuclear testing. His new name is George Vaginovich.

It also means he's either lazy or incompetent. To say he thinks a nominee isn't qualified, and then immediately, I mean literally within the same fifteen minutes state he should then be considered by the full Senate, means A. Voinovich simply wants the Senate to make a decision he's too lazy/afraid to make himself, or B. Voinovich has suddenly gone insane.

But more relevant is snug little corner he's painted himself into with his actions. He hates Bolton, but thinks he deserves an up-or-down vote. In other words, he's signalled, lest he reveal himself a lying hypocrite, that he plans to vote in favor of the Nuclear Option. This basically makes him hated on both sides: by Democrats for indicating that he's not one of the six magical Republicans they need to protect the filibuster, and by the Republicans for everything he's done with Bolton in the last month already.

This leads to the belief that Voinovich would also want the showdown on the Nuclear Option to take place. So why, then, would he faciliate Bolton's non-recommended movement to the full Senate- a maneuver that is epically more favorable for the Democrats to filibuster than it would be for a judicial nominee like Janice Rogers Brown or Priscilla Owen?

Does Voinovich support Bolton or not? Does he want the GOP to go nuclear or not? Is he just bored and wants to mind-fuck all of us? Seriously, what the hell is wrong with the guy?

If Voinovich's plan was to martyr himself upon the altar of the old-time idea of moderate Republicanism, he's failed miserably. He's made himself look weak to both sides of the aisle, and equally despised as well.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:09 AM

May 12, 2005

The tyranny of the minority representing the majority

Among the numerous facts Campus Progress and its dashing, I dare say almost too-sexy Associate Editor/Webmaster present in this week's series of articles on the filibuster is this interesting table-turning of the GOP numbers game:

The Senate filibuster has been an essential component of the �checks and balances� that limit the power of the President and the majority party in Congress. Particularly when the same party controls the Presidency and both houses of Congress, Senate debate is one of the critical checks to protect the rights of the minority and promote bipartisan compromise. Today, a minority of Senators actually represent a majority of the American people: The 55 Republican Senators represent 131 million Americans, while the 44 Democratic Senators represent 144 million Americans.
To put it another way: vote-wise, Barbara Boxer and Craig Thomas have equal power regarding voting on legislation, as per the founding concept of the Senate. But in terms of the reality of the people they represent, far more Californians appointed Boxer to defend the filibuster than citizens of Wymoing appointed Thomas to destroy it.

Is this spin? Well, yeah. But still, it's a good retort to the GOP's spin that 51+ seats in the Senate means they get whatever they want with no arguments.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:12 PM

May 11, 2005

WTF?

NEW YORK May 11, 2005 � Comedy Central star Dave Chappelle has checked himself into a mental health facility in South Africa, the magazine Entertainment Weekly reported on Wednesday.

The comedian's whereabouts and condition have been unknown since Comedy Central abruptly announced last week that the planned May 31 launch of the third season of "Chappelle's Show" had been postponed and production halted.

Chappelle flew from Newark, N.J., to South Africa on April 28 for treatment, said the magazine, quoting a source close to the show it would not identify. Entertainment Weekly said it had corroborating sources for its story.

I'm waiting for a punchline here, but I don't see one coming.

Anyhoo, this is from the AP, and appears legit. If so, looks like the new season's definitely off.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:49 PM

Speaking of harassing someone over the phone

Apparently, Rush Limbaugh met his match in the form of Clay Aiken fans:

By Wednesday, Limbaugh--not usually known for backing down--was ready to surrender and make nice by issuing an apology to Claymates everywhere on his Website.

"I have been getting swamped," Limbaugh stated on his Website. "Apparently there's a fan group out there for Clay Aiken, and I am getting swamped because I have dissed Clay Aiken, that he is different, that he is better. And I didn't mean to diss anybody. I was just expressing in passionate terms why I don't watch American Idol. I'm not putting it down. If you like it, that's fine. I know that I'm in the minority on this, and as a minority I have rights. And I have the right here to tell you I don't like it.

"So if you like Clay Aiken, that's fine. If you love Clay Aiken, that's fine. Unfortunately because of my hearing I can't tell the difference between Clay Aiken and anybody else I've never heard sing before. That's another reason I don't watch the show. It's music and it's new music. I can't hear it anyway, doesn't make any sense to me."

Now if we can only harness the power of thousands of outraged callers to force Limbaugh to admit... umm... anything relevant.

(Thanks to Tempest)

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:19 AM

Your phone service gives you teh gay

So speaks United American Technologies:

According to a story by John Avlon in today's New York Sun, the company describes itself as "the only carrier that is taking an active stand against same sex marriages and hardcore child pornography."

With 2000 customers reportedly switching to United American Technologies each month, Christian-based lying and phone homophobia is a lucrative business. But they're not just in it for the money. A cut of the proceeds helps fund conservative political campaigns, via a 527 called "Faith Family and Freedom" created by the Republican floor leader of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Wonkette also provides transcripts of conversations with sales reps which you honestly would not believe actually happened if you didn't go read them yourself.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:15 AM

May 10, 2005

Gerber's is an affront to my political beliefs

Ezra links to a (rolls eyes) libertarian blogger who complains that Ezra didn't use this quote from his argument about health care:

Rights don't involve, involuntarily, the assets of others. Any 'right' to health care would make exactly that sort of demand on the assets of health care workers.
Wow, methinks he should have stopped when he had the chance. "Rights don't involve the assets of others?" So, I guess that means we all can just throw babies in the garbage if we feel like it. I mean, any "right" to feeding and clothing it would make exactly that sort of demand on the assets of parents. Mashed peaches are expensive! And remember when people had to start paying black people for working? Truly, the demand on the assets of all those cotton farmers was a pressing moment in Libertarian values.

Morons.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 2:21 PM

Kerry sneezes: "his sneeze goes against what REAL Democrats stand for!"

Shorter Kos: Kerry is a spineless ass for thinking exactly the same way about gay people as Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Robert Byrd, and Howard Dean.

Look, I disagree with Kerry saying he opposed gay marriage too, but seriously, reading that thread is just embarassing. Okay, I get it. I'm really sorry that Dean was mutilated in Iowa. Can you all stop treating Kerry like the second-place-winning child of a drunken stage mother?

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:25 PM

May 9, 2005

Newest comic - "Exciting new ways to serve the country"

"Shout-outs," or whatever the kids are calling recognition these days, are required for Steve Gilliard, who first alerted me to this story; the links in his post will provide more details into this wonderful new concept for our nation's Best and Brightest.

As the third panel notes, the key argument for this policy is the idea of allowing West Pointers to hit the fast-track toward celebrity status in professional sports- the ultimate marketing angle for army recruiters. The "slight" problem, of course, being that this is taking a taxpayer-funded institution and employing its resources to increase the potential of its students not only not going to war, but instead signing massive contracts in the NBA.

The point- in fact, the very purpose of West Point and why our tax dollars pay for it- is "to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country; professional growth throughout a career as an officer in the United States Army; and a lifetime of selfless service to the nation." Their own words there.

In other words, the very reason for the existence of West Point is to train young Americans for a professional career in the military. If you're going to West Point, tight end for the Broncos isn't supposed to be one of your career objectives. But hey, lifetime of selfless service, $12 million a year and a shoe deal- six of one.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:06 AM

May 8, 2005

Feeling fat and sassy

The Animation Show came to DC this weekend, and like last year I caught the screening. Like last year, if you have anyone who has even the slightest interest in animation, this is the show to take them to. I feel kind of stupid for not highlighting this when the tour actually started, but if you haven't missed a chance in your city yet make the plans.

Pretty much all the shorts in the 90-minute program are superb: Rock Fish will be worth the cost of admission for anyone interested in seeing what CGI can do for animation; the piece is a computer game in-game cinema in the making. Ward 13 is one of the cleverest stop-motion pieces in recent memory, and Guard Dog is, well, Bill Plympton, which really should just be officially made into an adjective. I actually saw one of the pieces, When the Day Breaks, over two years ago, and I'm glad to have seen it again. It's one of those films that was perfectly designed to be seen about once a year- no more, no less. Fallen Art, by far the most gruesomely disturbing piece of the entire program, is still fascinating to watch. There's clearly a message in the film, but as a film itself it's fantastic.

Of course, anyone who follows the animation world knows that's all sort of fluff for the big finish of this year's lineup, which is of course Don Hertzfeldt's newest film The Meaning of Life. Hertzfeldt is, and always will be, the man behind Rejected, almost inarguably the funniest short animated film ever made. And that, sadly, is the major downfall of Hertzfeldt's latest work.

As a film itself, The Meaning of Life is a spectacle of love for one's craft. Likely the greatest reveal of the 12-minute piece comes in the last shot of the credits, when you are reminded that the entire film was created without any computer assistance whatsoever- the lens flares, color tricks, paint smears, and shots containing upwards of 30 characters all moving and interacting simultaneously were done all by Hertzfeldt, all by himself, all by hand. This film not winning next year's Oscar for best animated short would be an outright mystery. However, Hertzfeldt will suffer the same fate as many artists before him- the sheer fact that your favorite will not always be the audience's. It doesn't matter that The Meaning of Life stands out in terms of quality and deserves merit for the five-odd years of work put into it. Rejected is the Rick James sketch to Hertzfeldt's Dave Chappelle- it is, and always will be, the thing that he is remembered and revered for. Commenting on the superiority of any of Hertzfeldt's other films is irrelevant; instead, let us all hope he can take it in stride. He still makes the best cartoons in the world.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:34 PM