August 24, 2006

"I met her on the LiveJournal... the Monarch has been BLOGGING!"

Some site update stuff:

1. I completely blame Matt Bors for convincing me to do this. But yes, XQUZYPHYR & Overboard is now on the MySpace. Apparently, this is somehow good for my career.

2. I've updated the portfolio pages, with a few of my more recent favorite Right-Wing Speaker caricatures, as well as graphics for some freelance jobs I've done in the last few months. As always, if you or someone you know needs some logo or graphic work done, by all means,

3. SPX is less than two months away. I'm hoping to have a new book ready by then. Plus, tune in next week for another really exciting update... that's all I can say for now.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:49 PM
Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:02 AM

About damn time

FDA approves Plan B without a prescription for women 18 and over.

Sadly, it's painfully obvious that right-wingers are going to ignore the fact that this will reduce the number of abortions in America and instead throw up pictures of fetuses and scream bloody murder about, well, bloody murder, which is a shame because this really should be one of those rare agreements in the debate.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:56 AM

August 23, 2006

Lieberfeld

Much as I love Eric Alterman and the others who are pushing this idea, let me be the first to say how flat-out ridiculous this "Lieberman will screw us all by becoming Secretary of Defense after winning in November" talk is.

For those of you out of the loop, the rumor is being floated that if Lieberman wins in November, Bush will then appoint him as Secretary of Defense, allowing Republican governor Jodi Rell to appoint a Republican in his place and conservative bloggers to forcibly spread their seed across keyboards nationwide. This is because politics in the real world is exactly like politics on right-wing weblogs, where what actually matters is pissing off people who disagree with you and not... well, anything else, actually. On a completely unrelated note, this paint is delicious!

Okay, so let's pretend this is actually a plausible rumor though. Here's why is makes no sense at all.

Lieberman's entire presence in the race right now is because he wants to hang onto his Senate seat. He wants to stay in power, and in a prominent position of faux-moderation among non-existent "radical fringes" of the Democratic Senate. Why, then, would he want to leave that for the most undesirable position in the Bush White House?

No one in or out of their right mind wants to be SecDef right now. Hell, Rumsfeld doesn't want to be SecDef right now. The position is tainted, and moreover it's on a time limit. Lieberman's going to give up six years in the Senate for two years as SecDef for a hemmoraging administration? He's selfish, not stupid. Lieberman has always considered his seat a lifetime appointment. His contempt for the primary process is indicative of his assumption that this is a fluke that will not repeat in 2012, or 2018. And he's probably right.

Furthermore, there are a few people in Connecticut who would be very angered by Lieberman betraying the Democrats right after election: they're called the majority of the voting populace. Granted Lieberman is already ignoring them, but a handful of Republican Congresscritters can't. Can you imagine the fallout in 2008 in a solidly blue state after one of the most unpopular Republican presidents in modern history pulled a trick like that? A Lieberman con job would cost the GOP at least three House seats, and huge losses in the state legislature, which I'm sure Jodi Rell wouldn't be too thrilled about either.

There's also the slight issue of Bush not being the hugest fan of PR fallout, which dismisses the idea of nominating Lieberman outright. Lieberman would still need to go through a confirmation process- odds are given the current 2006 outlook that would be in a 50-48-1 Senate (I'm assuming the system isn't so messed up as to allow Lieberman to vote to confirm himself). That's a vastly tough gamble for Bush, with factors including both hard-right conservatives who would refuse to vote for a Democrat versus Gang-of-14ers who would refuse to vote like a Democrat. In other words after all that mess his confirmation wouldn't even be guaranteed, and like Bolton would yeild weeks of bad press for him even if it was.

Does that mean he doesn't want to be SecDef? Not exactly. But Lieberman's M.O. is someone who would abandon his principles and sell out a Democratic hold on the Senate for a position more advantageous than the one he has now, not less. Lieberman doesn't want to be George W. Bush's Secretary of Defense; he wants to be John McCain's. (I would say he also wants to be Hillary Clinton's, but a President Clinton wouldn't appoint a Democrat at the cost of a Senate seat.)

Lieberman keeping his seat and then ducking out for Dubya as some kind of F-U to liberals is a fantasy. If you want to be worried, be worried about a Republican President in 2008, which will yeild a fresh clean slate for Lieberman to start sucking up to for personal gain.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:01 AM

August 22, 2006

El. Em. Eh. Oh.

Thanks to a combination of Republicans saying there's nothing wrong with electronic voting machines along with right-wingers saying for years that Democrats in Florida were just "too stupid to understand the ballot," Tom DeLay's legacy will likely be a Democratic House seat thanks to inept Republican voters using inept electronic voting machines.

Excuse me, I'm off to soak in some irony.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 5:17 PM

Blogging with a whacko

Conservative blogger PunditGuy, via Peter Daou:

If it were me in charge of accompanying Mr. Karr back from Thailand, I would have stripped him naked, tied him up and put him down in the cargo hold. Only for six hours or so of course. Then I'd bring him up for around fifteen minutes or so of good ol' fashioned American style torture. Only fifteen minutes though, then it would have been right back down in the hold for the remainder of the flight. With the lights off.
The conservative stance on torture: a necessary action in the war on terror. Oh, and for complete strangers the news told me I don't like.

I don't know how I keep forgetting it's the right-wingers who take this all very, very seriously.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:13 AM

August 21, 2006

Oh. Oh my.

Just... oh. Oh my goodness, indeedy.

Oh my.

(via Pandagon)

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:46 PM

Chewing the everything

From Mighty Ponygirl, on competitive eating contests:

Every year the week before the Superbowl, Philadelphia hosts an eating competition known as "Wing Bowl," which is half-eating competition and half Hooters Waitress Tryout. Every year it gets bigger and bigger, to the point where they've had to start hosting it in the Wachovia center: Where the 76ers play -- one of the larger indoor stadiums on the east coast.

So, about a year and a half ago, when Philly was going to the Superbowl against Atlanta, the boyfriend and I had woken up one morning and turned on the morning news as we usually do while we watch breakfast, and were greeted with 7am coverage from outside of Wingbowl.

...Except, since so many people had shown up to Wingbowl, that they had to LOCK THE DOORS AT 5AM, (the doors to the Wachovia center, mind you,) and at 7am, the RIOT POLICE HAD BEEN CALLED to disperse the angry crowd of people who were being turned away.

From an eating competition.

As the boyfriend described to his friends: "This is Philadelphia, we're the 2nd fattest city in the country (next to Houston). We won't just riot at the chance to eat food, we'll riot at the chance to WATCH OTHER PEOPLE eat food."

An interesting side note, during the important Wing Bowl coverage, a lot of other local news was relegated to the crawl along the bottom of the screen. Minor stuff like police officers being charged with rape, and two men in North Philly being shot dead ... you know, little stuff.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:04 PM

Latest comic - "Vast food nation"

Look at me, I'm Keith Knight, only without the talent! The real star of the strip this week is of course my friend and co-worker Ramya, who yes, did indeed enter the amateur competition up in Maryland for the IFOCE's pizza competition. The "professional" competition, let's not even get into.

What amazed me most about the whole event was the presence of spectators. The fact that a hundred people chose to sit inside a mall and watch other people eat really fast is a scene I will never be able to explain, and should an alien race ever ask for clarity, I feel we will simply fail.

Now please, buy some crap.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:08 AM

August 20, 2006

Snakes on a Plane

A film degree could obligate me to wax pretentiously on the countless ways the cynical moviegoer could, almost as if it was what they wanted, tally the problems with a film already doomed to eye rolls from everyone out there who "understand" movies. Long, buzzkilling paragraphs could flow from your monitor expounding the physical impossibilities of the last two hours, combined with the plausible alternatives to various choice of camera work that ultimately would only indicate to those with the preconceived notion they were to expect a sub-par film would likewise yeild sub-par filmmaking. There is a time and place for such discussion, in rooms far larger and darker than the one I sit in writing this; hence I will reserve the remainder of this space to engage in human-to-human communication and explain, in as many words I find necessary, just why Snakes on a Plane is one of the goddamn greatest movies ever made.

In a complete and surprising twist of convention, our boys in Hollywood turn the tables on us and present us, the ignorant audience expecting a shlocky crapfest, a movie that at the very minimum, you must admit is well done. To pick any other comparison is simply you being a liar; you didn't expect Halmet here. But you expected Samuel L. Jackson to be awesome and say "motherfucker," and since he does just that, you are left with an extra ninety minutes that entertain you. And admit it, here and now- you didn't see that coming, did you?

It would have been easy- extraordinarily, amazingly, breathtakingly easy- to have made this movie mind-rapingly bad. You could have filled an airplane with blatantly hateful characters that may as well have had targets painted on them to indicate they were the characters not to like and thus enjoy seeing die- instead, we get one, maybe two. You could have flooded the cabing with merchandising tie-ins or ridiculous attempts at This Summer's Hit Catchphrase. Instead, it remained at a minimum. (there was, of course, the line, but it was essential. I stand by that statement) You could have loaded the movie with racial and cultural stereotypes that were overzealous and exuberant, the black ones bobbing their heads and saying "girlfriend;" the gay ones bobbing their heads and saying "girlfriend" only with blonde hair. Instead, you discover that the kid from Good Burger can actually play it naturally. You could have had precocious youngsters save the day with their laptops that hack into the mainframe. Instead, the kids suffer and endure with the other passangers. And you could have hired a big name with the bulk of the budget to sleepwalk through the entire movie. Instead, you got a man who actually cared about the project putting his all into it as if the Oscar not a damn person within a hundred miles of this movie will ever see depended on it.

None of this, of course, can make a bad movie good. But it certainly stopped a bad movie from being an embarrasing pile of shit, and that's more important than anything. Because this movie was just bad enough to make everyone in the damn theater love it.

If you plan on seeing this movie in a week, when the crowds have died and the option is given to enjoy a peaceful, undisturbed filmgoing experience, don't bother. I feel sorry for you for not understanding how this particular film worked. You should have been following along with us on the internet. It is the height of amusement that all this "Web 2.0" nonsense was finally manifested here, now, Snakes, Plane. Millions of people across the internet altering the script, altering the lines, choosing the music, praising the director for listening, cheering Sam on. You think that would have stopped when the lights went down? Horse shit, my friend. For the first time in a very long time- perhaps the only time for a very long time- Hollywood didn't lie to us. It didn't mistreat us, cheat us, slap us around, steal our money, spit in our face when it was done. Hollywood told us what we were going to get. We got it. And we are thankful. Thank you, Hollywood. That was swell.

Snakes on a Plane delivered: the audience craved its pound of flesh, and we got it, snakebites and all. And we also got a lot more that won't be reflected on as much, but it's important. Before the movie, trailers included a new Jackass movie and a handful of other movies revolving around hitting-in-crotch and fart gags. This was what the "industry" expected the audience to be. I can't judge the audience, but I can judge the accompanying film: it was undeserving of that demographic. For all the simplicity, all the silliness of "snakes on a plane" as a concept, this was a clever movie. Yeah, there was fan service and nonsensical action, but so many scenes and lines were just so damn clever you actually had to admit, even if you're trying to hate the film, that it was damn clever. There's a payoff for a certain character in the final scene of the movie that I am still giggling about, two hours after leaving the theater. The last three Oscar-winning movies I've seen didn't have as clever a moment as this.

To put in another way, Snakes on a Plane is silly and absurd, but it's not stupid. There's no crotch kicking and no farting and no pothead humor and no dumbing down. It's a smart movie that treats you like a person smart enough to know you're not supposed to take it seriously. This is what you want in a movie. You asked for it- actually asked for it- and got it. That doesn't happen very often. It might never happen again. So show some respect, right now, while you have the chance to be with other people feeling that kind of magic along with you. This movie is everything going to the movies is supposed to be about.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:57 AM