Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Watch enough football, and you realize that the cliches, catch-phrases and jargon of the game are as unavoidable as a Karl Rove talking point debriefing at a K Street power lunch. Giving 110%, playing smashmouth football, establishing the run, allowing an up-or-down vote, etc. Novelist and ESPN Page 2 contributer Chuck Closterman, covering the Super Bowl media blitz this week wrote the following as part of his blog today...

As I write this, Pittsburgh is a four-point favorite to win Super Bowl XL. As you might have heard, the Steeler players are nonetheless viewing this prediction as a sign of disrespect. On the surface, this makes the Steelers sound about as reasonable as a guy who considers his girlfriend monotonous because all she ever wants to do is perform oral sex. However, Hines Ward spent part of Media Day explaining how being the favored in this game is (covertly) a criticism of his franchise... Ward believes the Steelers will win in a major upset that the world is not recognizing; as such, the Steelers have been disrespected in advance.

As far as I can tell, there is not one player on either of these teams (or in the totality of the NFL) who has gotten the correct amount of respect. Sometimes guys are underrated, and sometimes guys are overlooked -- but nobody has ever been respected accurately.

I keep hoping somebody like Antwaan Randle El will blow everybody's mind and say something along the lines of, "Well, we've had our ups and downs this season, but I sense that the rest of the league respects us an average amount. I feel comfortable with the level of our public esteem." Sadly, this never happens.

Earlier this week, someone told Jerome Bettis that certain Seattle players questioned whether he was truly 255 pounds. Bettis said, "They don't believe we are a good football team, either." Now, does Bettis truly perceive this as reality? I can't believe that he does. And I realize the conventional wisdom is that jocks use disrespect as a "motivating factor," but that can't be true, either; real people simply aren't stupid enough to trick themselves into insecurity every single week for five consecutive months.

I suspect athletes complain about disrespect for the same reason bank-tellers tell you to have a nice day: It just (a.) kills time and (b.) sounds normal, mostly because no one is ever listening.

Chewbacca adds his voice to the blogosphere...

Who doesn't love Chewbecca? Now he has his own blog.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Benjamin Stove. And what did happen at Loon Lake?

This is an interesting story I came across while blog hopping. It might even seem a little spooky if you play some creepish Tales from the Darkside music while reading it - maybe the Twin Peaks soundtrack or some Music for Airports...

For an even creepier story (complete with its own music), check out This American Life's The House on Loon Lake.

"Adam Beckman tells the first part of his story, about how, back in  the 70's, he and his friends broke into an abandoned house in the small town of Freedom, New Hampshire... An abandoned house, and the mysterious family who once lived there but seemed to disappear without a trace - leaving salt and pepper shakers on the table, notes on the bedroom mirror, a wallet with money still inside... Two riveting tales from the heart of Gothic America. Cost to you: didly squat. Enjoy!

Hell, since weird things - as with good things, bad things, and eh, it's o-k, I guess things come in 3s, I'm including the link to the surprisingly still-live Donnie Darko site (sound required) - another place for a brief submersion into the creepy delicious. The reason for this spook-centric post? Watched Dark Water tonight...

Willful Blindness?

"I've asked why nobody saw it coming."

- US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice (Jan 29th, 2006), on militant group Hamas' recent election victory, which the New York Times reports "has reduced to tatters crucial assumptions underlying American policies and hopes in the Middle East.

Well, Bush & Co. sure look stupid, and they'll lose a few political points here and there, but frankly increased aggression benefits the longterm neo-conservative agenda for US military and corporate hegemony, so I wouldn't doubt that not only was this election foreseen, but desired and perhaps even actively encouraged.

The office is fourth in line to succeed the President. The Secretary of State is the caretaker of the Great Seal of the United States and is the official voice of American foreign policy. The first person to hold the job was Thomas Jefferson.

Who isn't rolling over in their graves these days?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

It's Official: Chuck Pennacchio for US Senate

After months and months of deliberation, 50 Bedroom Apartment Editor-in-Chief Ryan Herlinger announced his ringing endorsement of Chuck Pennacchio for US Senate.

"Mr. Pennacchio has expressed fiercely progressive and unequivocating views on the Iraq war, the nomination of Judge Alito, Campaign finance reform, job outsourcing, the environment, and the Bush administration's criminal behavior," Herlinger said, adding, "as I see it Chuck Pennacchio only has two problems to overcome. One - Governor Rendell's nauseating imprimatur of Bob Casey, and two - name recognition. Well, um, name pronouncability - so I guess that's three problems."

Pennacchio (pronounced Penn-OCK-e-oh) appeared before Philadelphians at the First Baptist Church in Center City on Saturday and addressed these three issues - likely the chief concern of nearly everyone gathered inside on the unseasonably warm January day that was begging for some frisbee action, namely "Who is this guy? Can a guy named Pennawhatsawhocchio possibly get elected? Are we just kidding ourselves??"

Pennacchio was quick to address this unspoken concern, noting that the 1st Zogby poll on the Pennsylvania race had just been released - and it indicated (in the words of Zogby) that "Santorum loses when matched with any of the democratic candidates. Both of the self identified progressive democratic candidates draw higher percentages than Casey, with Pennacchio having the largest percentage of votes against Santorum, at a not quite significant 4.4 points higher than Casey." And (snicker) "Casey, at non-significant levels, actually gets MORE votes from Republicans once they find out more about him and Santorum.

A proud progressive Democrat in the tradition of the late Paul Wellstone (D-SD), Pennacchio made it clear that he is the only candidate who clearly (and proudly) differentiates himself from Rick Santorum. While Bob Casey is little more than a watered-down Santorum (disturbingly similar to Santorum on many big issues - Iraq, abortion, stem cell research, health care, gun violence, the living wage, the death penalty, equal rights), Pennacchio makes a point to stand aggressively for progressive values.

His Web site makes no bones about his opposition to the failing Election process and laws, which as someone who firmly believes that the Republicans stole both elections in broad daylight (only to have the people NOT debate Kerry v. Bush, but rather Fedorov v. Underwood), I say Hallelujah. Anyway - get out there and put your political muscle behind Chuck Pennacchio - you have to get involved you slackers and no good layabouts.

Getting back to name recognition and pronunciation, I can only hope that Mr. Pennacchio hasn't so much as fibbed to his children about Santa Claus, because I think we all know where our beloved press will go with that...

Friday, January 27, 2006

160 Pantless Riders (and the "Unlucky 8")

There but for the grace of God go I...

This past Sunday saw Improv Everywhere's latest pantless hijinks on the New York Subway system, and were it not for the fact that my beloved Steelers were set to play the Broncos that afternoon, I too would have been serenely riding along the 6 train, in my best boxers, with 160 other admirerers of the absurd, odd, transient, and pantless. But a trip to New York City was not in the cards as Sunday football and a Monday morning meeting conspired to keep me fully clothed. Life is so very unfair...

But Ryan - wasn't your previous blog entry (from like, 10 minutes ago, you loser) about the possible filibuster of Sam Alito, and to need to put every last ounce of effort into contacting our Senators, our friends, and our fellow citizens, and mobilizing the whole hoi polloi into a vigorous ad hoc political body capable of defeating the Alito nomination and the fascists knocking on the door?

Double True! But, ahem, I include this entry as the latest example of how authority - usually pants-wearing authority - is often (and increasingly) capable, willing, and eager to extend its reach into anything that smacks of non-conformity. While 160 Improv Everywhere pranksters were creating a mirthful little moment of surreality for the riders of the subway, the police felt quite within their power to step in, put the train out of service, detain many of the pranksters for hours, and issue summons for disorderly conduct to 8 of the participants - no doubt causing further aggrevation and likely fines and/or court costs. Paraphrasing Jeff Spicoli "You dicks!

So what, you say? A few people might have to pay $65 and spend an hour at City Hall? Oh boo hoo. Well, maybe you're right, but the notion that this a "free" country increasingly depends on a "definition" of freedom that is watered-down, straight-laced, and pants-centric. OK, I really just wanted to have an excuse to post this picture.

You can watch the leader of Improv Everywhere talk with Keith Olbermann [here].

French readers click [ici].

Mr and Mrs Smith Go to Washington?

So the filibuster is back in the news. Good - I was worried that it would stay shelved until after the next Senate election, which would allow Republicans more leeway in obliterating the old girl by the rules, or so I believe. While John Kerry backed down from his pledge to "count every vote" back in November of 2004 in about 6.36 seconds, now that Senators Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, and Ted Kennedy seem to be rallying behind Kerry, just maybe Kerry will finally start to remind people of Jeb Smith beyond the gangly physical resemblance. I'm not holding my breath though.

Of course, the Democrats would be going against 55 pod people Republican Claude Rains plus reportedly three Democrats (Lieberman I presume), southern bell Robert Byrd (probably), and one other turncoat. And these guys are almost entirely devoid of common decency or fair play (Byrd's a nice guy I think, though he hits the mint juleps a little early) - so the "nuclear option" (where Republicans just flat out change the rules illegally and thumb their noses on their own Senate rules and the Constitution) may be in play.

A filibuster involves endless debate intended to keep a measure — such as a judicial nomination — from reaching a vote. Sixty votes in the 100-member Senate are needed to end a filibuster.

Republicans hold 55 seats, and enough Democratic senators will join them to end debate and hold a vote next week with votes to spare, Alito supporters said. Should Alito supporters fail to get the 60 votes, a filibuster officially would have begun and debate would continue.

From John Kerry's website: "Yesterday, Senator Ted Kennedy and I told our colleagues that we supported a filibuster of Judge Alito’s nomination for the Supreme Court. And we weren’t alone. But the bottom line is that it takes more than two or three people to filibuster successfully. It’s not “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” If you want to stop Judge Alito from becoming Justice Alito, use your own email list and organize. We can’t just preach to our own choir. We need to prove to everyone – from our friends and neighbors to our fellow Senators – that the American people know Judge Alito will take our country in the wrong direction, and they expect something to be done about it...

At least sign the on-line petition [here]. Do something - write to your Senators, write to the media, protest someone somewhere - anything other than blogging - that is a waste of time, let me tell you.

Oh, in case you decided to read this entry based on an erroneous interpretation of the title, I don't want you to leave empty-handed... the real Mrs. Smith.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Franklin Honored on 300th Birthday - Go Hoyas!

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor, November 11, 1755.

While it would have been nice if these Georgetown University law students could have quoted Benjamin Franklin accurately, at least their heart was in the right place. I'm glad that there are still some citizens willing to engage in civil disobediance. Hopefully they're not redefined as enemy combatants anytime soon...

Nicholas Sarwark writes on the Hammer of Truth blog:

"Gonzales was also interviewed by NPR today. In the interview, he claims that the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) authorized all activities “incident to war.” Basically, when we’re fighting an enemy, the President is authorized to spy on and detain the enemy. I’m with him that far.

The part that makes me wonder how he looks in the mirror at night is that, in advancing this argument to justify warrantless surveillance of American citizens, he’s conveniently sidestepping the Constitution and the FISA Act. And what level of proof does it take to authorize this magical transformation of an American citizen into an enemy? The “determination of career professionals at the NSA,” that’s what. But that shouldn’t bother us, because the Inspector General of the same agency has been reviewing the program to make sure it’s okay. I’m not a lawyer (yet), but I’m pretty sure there’s a reason why the Fourth Amendment requires warrants to be issued by a neutral magistrate.

The interview gets even more maddening when he tries to justify not using the FISA courts because he’s have to be sure that there was sufficient probable cause to justify the surveillance to said courts before his office could apply for the warrant. Seriously, he said on national radio that he wasn’t using the FISA courts because he couldn’t come up with sufficient justification (for a court that has only turned down ten warrants in the course of its entire existence) for the surveillance ahead of time, or even be sure that they could round up the justification within the 72-hour emergency provision.

There’s a word for fishing expeditions like that: illegal."
Amen my brother.

Crazy Delicious!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The new Fascism - just like the old, but now with ESPN

I watched the Samual Alito Senate Committee Vote on C-SPAN tonight (I've been told Gilmore Girls has gone down hill by reputable sources), and found myself shocked for about the 9,249th time since George Bush illegally took office just a mere two stolen elections ago. Where is the outrage? Larry the Cable Guy seems to generate more passion and press in this country these days.

Watching the committee vote, I was amazed to listen to windbag Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex), who actually had the straight-faced audacity to suggest that the Confirmation process would need to be re-examined (or eliminated? or kept behind closed doors?) because Senators were apparently "playing politics" and asking mean questions. To make his point, he gravely held aloft a magazine showing the staged photo-op of Samual Alito's teary-eyed wife, Martha-Ann Bomgardner. The sudden "need to re-examine" the confirmation process - so obviously created on this most pathetic of pretenses - was echoed up and down the line by the ever-free thinking Republicans. Rove and his machiavellian talking points. Good grief Charlie Brown!

Oh yes, we forgot, ever since 9/11, (cue the violins) Gasp! Everything's changed!

Of course, nothing has changed. People have wanted to kill Americans and blow up buildings and hijack planes at least as far back as the 1980s, and some scholars have gone so far as to suggest that religious extremism, violence, murder and martydom perhaps existed on Earth even before Ben Franklin invented bi-focals, the Massachusetts colonists dumped non-fair trade coffee into the Boston Harbor, and George Washington chewed down a Cherry tree with his wooden dentures. We should be able to just laugh at this Republican lunacy - (Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.-S.C.) talking tough about "cleaning the clocks" of the Democrats (what a Statesman) during his alloted time, and Orrin Hatch misleading the largely lapdog reporters, etc - but its become all too clear that this hokum actually goes unquestioned by Red and Blue America alike - a great purple haze of apathy and complicity.

Anyone who actually watched the largely dry proceedings with their own eyes would have recognized that the Senators had asked Samual Alito nothing but very simple, straight forward questions about his often controversial and dissenting rulings, and would have agreed that Alito answered with pat answers (aside from openly deepthroating the Unitary Executive/Dictator "theory" (what section of the Constitution is that found in again?). He largely sat on his judicial hands, apparently daydreaming of the coming years that will see the rapid dismantling of the New Deal (almost gone already), Unions (also nearly gone), the Bill of Rights (the paperwork has been drafted), and finally the Constitution itself. Can't happen here? Hogwash!

This country is just one convenient '9/11' away from the ruling oligarchy lustily ruling this nation in a manner not seen since Germany in the 30s. No dissent... Perpetual War... Ignorance is Strength! Stay in line! Get out your papers (or National ID card)! Watch what you say! Watch who you socialize with! We know what books you buy! Where you live! What you read online! Your views can affect your job status, your credit rating, that home-loan...

[Dr. Britt, a political scientist, studied the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile). He found the regimes all had 14 things in common, and he calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism.]

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism -- Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights -- Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to 'look the other way' or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause -- The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military -- Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism -- The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and antigay legislation and national policy.

6. Controlled Mass Media -- Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or through sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in wartime, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security -- Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined -- Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected -- The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed -- Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts -- Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment -- Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses, and even forego civil liberties, in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption -- Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions, and who use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections -- Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against (or even the assassination of) opposition candidates, the use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and the manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Fancy Millionaires To Attend Fancy Broncos Game

Blue Collar Steeler Nation Content To Huddle Around 13" TV To Watch Historic Game
(from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (mostly))

DENVER -- Just how are hard-working salt-of-the-Earth Steeler fans supposed to attend this weekend's Championship game - billed (no pun intended) as one of the most expensive games ever for fans to attend? The fervor around the Mile High City over Sunday's AFC Championship Game reached this zany peak yesterday: The market for Steelers-Broncos tickets has gone through the roof ... of your mouth.

"Does someone in your family need wisdom teeth extracted?" began one plea on craigslist.com yesterday. "Will trade extractions (anesthesia included) for 2 lower or 4 upper level tickets to the AFC Championship game. Approximate value of surgery: $1,800-$2,100."

Such are the deals that people are willing to make for seats in Invesco Field come 1 p.m. Sunday Denver time, 3 p.m. Pittsburgh time. It doesn't stop at dental work.

Want a brand-new, unopened Xbox 360? Want special tutoring in physics, astronomy or mathematics at the University of Colorado in nearby Boulder? Don't waste time with graduate students who "may not be qualified to teach this material," the ad pitched, but here's a Ph.D-holding University of Colorado faculty member in astrophysics willing to tutor your child for "the ENTIRE semester" in exchange for two tickets.

It's a seller's market, and the sellers are reporting record numbers.

Fear not, poor Steelers fans, you are eligible for such sales (even though you are too blue collar to afford such tickets). There's an occasional craigslist.com ad like the one yesterday showing a photograph of a brutal hit by Broncos Pro Bowl linebacker Al Wilson and imploring, in all capital letters: "Hey, all of you trying to make a killing. ... Don't sell to those vagrant Steelers fans! Or else you'll get hit like this!"

"Gosh, wow, this is the highest I've seen it," said Stub Hub public relations director Sean Pate. The top price paid was $2,000, with most remaining tickets listed between $452 and $1,638. Last week, the average Patriots-Broncos seat went for $162. For the full story, click here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Vandals Sack Rome, then Stockton, CA

NFL referee Pete Morelli is having a rough week.
(from Foxsports.com)

On Sunday, NFL Referee Pete Morelli made one of the more controversial calls in NFL history, overturning what appeared to be an interception by the Steelers' Troy Polamalu. On Monday, his Stockton, Calif. home was vandalized, according to police reports. Lieutenant Thomas Wells of the Stockton Police Department told FOXSports.com's Jay Glazer that a police report was filed after a rock was thrown through Morelli's living room window late Monday night...

The report indicated that the act of vandalism had been caught on a home security camera installed last season by Morelli at the urging of his wife Veronica. After reviewing the tape replay, Morelli insisted that the rock had not been in the hands of the vandal long enough for the vandal to have established possession, and therefore "no window breaking had occured."

Police Lieutenant Thomas Wells disagreed, holding a broken piece of plate glass before reporters, stating "replay of the security camera confirms that the Morelli's house was, in fact, vandalized and that a front window to the home had been broken."

Morelli could not be reached for further comment.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Corner of Heart Attack & Jane

What a game, huh! A classic up-and-down fight-to-the-finish battle of juggernauts. Whoever fills Myron Cope's strange and grimey old shoes may one day hmmm haw about the 2006 season, with its storybook ending (?) and games so intense and traumautizing that Stiller fans were reportedly keeling over from heart attacks (see article copied below). Steeler Nation packed bars from Hoboken to Hawaii - with Bettis and Ward and Roethlisberger jersey-wearing fans cheering, cursing, clutching at their chests, and finally, dancing on the tabletops. Pittsburgh native Terry O'Neill's heart-stopping reaction (to what are now apparently being called "The Fumble" and "The Tackle" (names that pale sadly in comparison to "The Immaculate Reception")) probably wasn't the only football-induced medical emergency - and it will certainly become a colorful, though thankfully non-fatal part of Steeler lore - but for me, it was more like a kangaroo kick to the benjamins.

And like everyone else drinking Iron City, wearing black and gold, or shouting 'let's go yunz guys!', I watched The Fumble occur, thinking is this a replay, this is too-scripted, too awful, and I was suddenly resigned to the jaw-dropping, once-in-a-lifetime turn of events (so this is what it feels like to have been a Bills fan in the 90s) and was already bracing myself for the subsequent Steeler drive that would undoubtedly come up a few yards short, and had already begun to dread the inevitable feel-good Nick Harper-overcomes-stabbing articles and dopey Peyton Manning champagne interviews and the Cowher-can't-win-the-big-games tombstone and decades of endless reruns of The Fumble each and every time any NFL game ended slightly abnormally, and I thought, marginally and pathetically optimistically 'well, hmm haw, at least now Bettis might come back next year.' All of these thoughts seemed to really occur in a flash, an elapsed time of perhaps 2.83 seconds, but likely my mind filled in the blanks after the fact, and at the time the only thing going on in my obnoxiously large head was the usual dull white noise (zzzzssssshhhhhh...)

But, as we all know, the football gods were smiling on Pittsburgh for once in a blue moon, and Ben Roethlisberger appeared from out of nowhere, and with an sweet awkward last-second dive, The Tackle brought the wife-abusing Nick Harper to his wounded knee (hurray!), and moments later the NFL's most accurate kicker pushed one so far to the right that even the GOP shuddered, and Steeler Nation exploded in an orgy of IC Light and high-fives. What a game, what an ending. Now its on to Denver, and let's win there!

And, check out this web site of some proud Pittsburgh expatriots: Steelers in Hoboken

Terry O'Neill update: The Arlington man, who suffered cardiac arrest Sunday after Bettis fumbled near the Indianapolis Colts' goal line, had another heart-pounding moment in his hospital room Tuesday when he and the "Bus" spoke briefly during a national radio telecast.

From the Tribune-Review...

For die-hard Steelers fans, Jerome Bettis' fumble as he tried to score from the 2-yard line was a heart-pounding moment in Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

For Terry O'Neill, of Rinne Street in Arlington, it was a heart-stopping moment - literally.

As he watched the game on TV at a South Side tavern, his heart stopped seconds after the crucial play in the final moments of Sunday's divisional playoff game.

"Jerome is my hero," O'Neill, 50, said Monday from his bed at UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Oakland, where he was in stable condition.

"I wasn't upset that the Steelers might lose," he said. "I was upset because I didn't want to see him end his career like that. A guy like that deserves better. I guess it was a little too much for me to handle."

O'Neill credits two city firefighters who also were watching the game at Chupka's I at 27th and Jane streets for saving his life.

"If it wasn't for Tommy Herbster and Dave Grady, I probably wouldn't be alive today," said O'Neill, an engineer with Local 95 of the International Union of Operating Engineers. "I'm very thankful that they were there."

Grady, of Carrick, who works as an instructor at the fire academy, said he and Herbster, a firefighter at Engine Company 22 in Arlington, began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation after seeing O'Neill on the floor of the tavern.

"He was out," said Grady. "We called 911 and started working on him until help arrived a few minutes later, and they were able to use a defibrillator to get his heart started again."

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Rocky Mountain High


Friday, January 13, 2006

Cheap laughs at the expense of Aptenodytes forsteri

I just thought this was funny. But I'd advise you to save it to your desktop now, because there's a good chance I'll wake up tomorrow and decide it's not funny after all, and I'll replace this simple post with an 8,000 word diatribe about the Bush Administration's many many oh good god so many fucking crimes against humanity...

He he he - look at 'em! Just where does that penguin think he's going?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Andre the Giant says "Obey!"

I saw a short video tonight called Public Discourse. If you get a chance to see this (fat chance, loser) I bet you'll be thinking of your own "tag" and a new way to voice your barbaric yawp on the mean streets of [insert name of your backwater town]. Sure, these creations don't come with saffron I-was-there validating swatches, but the temporary and ongoing obliteration of these creations still make their rare and usually chance discoveries endearing and inspiring. Inspiring? Ok, maybe not inspiring, but they're cool...

Swoon. Verbs. Shepard Fairey. Banksy. And a bunch of others.

BJÖRK: Pandas are sexy.

Another unoriginal blog entry by yours truly. But if it makes one person, just one person smile, then brother, it will have all been worth it.


MATTHEW BARNEY: (On phone.) Matthew. Barney. Sure. It's called the Flärke. F-L-A-R-K-E. It's a bookshelf.

BJÖRK: (In background.) Ask if they have an aluminum igloo.

MATTHEW BARNEY: (Muffled.) I'm on hold. I'll check when he gets back on.

BJÖRK: (Giggling.) Imagine if clouds were made of licorice!

MATTHEW BARNEY: Flärke. With an umlaut over the a. Also, my wife was curious if you sold aluminum ... Yes, I can hold again.

BJÖRK: The winter makes me feel particularly blinkered.

MATTHEW BARNEY: The Flärke is in stock? Great. Another quick question. My wife is Scandinavian and she was wondering if you had any aluminum ... All right, I can hold.

BJÖRK: Icelanders complete the echo with feel.

MATTHEW BARNEY: You're kidding me. If you can't deliver it, why do you have the option to order by phone?

BJÖRK: Pandas are sexy.

Monday, January 09, 2006

We Are Scientists' review of Revenge of the Sith

This is a review of Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith by Chris Cain, the bass player for We Are Scientists - a cool band from CA that now resides somewhere in New York City.

Why is the bass player for a band reviewing Revenge of the Sith, you ask? And why am I bothering to copy it here? And, didn't Revenge of the Sith come out like two years ago - AND isn't anything Star Wars-related really lame? Well, here at the highly-infrequently updated 50 Bedroom Apartment we don't have answers to these types of questions. If you're looking for answers, or meaning, or ideas for Valentine's gifts for your significant others, or for a recipe for figgy pudding, well, look elsewhere fucker.

Sorry, ahem, the review...

Well, George Lucas has finally abandoned his dedication to mostly-digital or all-digital productions and made a totally organic film that adheres to Dogme 95 standards, and the results are very nice. Instead of the cold, lifeless shapes and colors that filled the last two Star Wars installments, in this film we get nothing but the real thing: real lava, real metal robots, real HUGE LIZARDS, real YODA, real DOG-HAIR costumes for the wookies (spoiler: yes, I said ‘wookies’; yes, the wookies are back and thank goodness), etc. The difference is huge. The film opens with an elaborately staged space battle — ships and lasers and droids whizzing in every direction like hi-tech shrapnel — and it just feels so damn real. Because it IS real! Which is a big part of the fun in watching this movie: you think to yourself, Holy crap, how did they do this without using digital effects?

If Lucas did a 180 on digital because the fans complained, then it wasn’t the only area where he listened to fans. All the naysayers who called episodes I and II proof that George Lucas can’t write dialog are now wiping the crap out of their eyes. Revenge of the Sith boasts Harold Pinter-level dialog. At one point Anakin lops off Lord Dooku’s head (spoiler: yes lops off his head, thus killing him) and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine goes, “Good! Goo-hoo-hoo-hood!”, and Anakin goes, “It doesn’t FEEL good,” and Palpatine says, “Ha ha ha. Good, Anakin.” When the first Padme-Anakin scene begins, I felt everyone in the audience tighten up in anticipation of some dialog blows to the head, but instead what they got was this:

ANAKIN: “Nnnngh…”
PADME: “What’s wrong, Ani?”
ANAKIN: “I won’t lose you” (and yet he does, to childbirth (spoiler))
PADME: “I love you.”
ANAKIN: “What is… Oh. Was Obi-Wan here earlier?”
PADME: “Obi-Wan. He’s worried about you.”
ANAKIN: “Worried about ME? Don’t you remember how I was the one who saved his life?”
PADME: “He said he remembers that, yes, but that he worries.”
ANAKIN: “Worries about what? About dying when I’m at home with you because no one will be there to save him?”
PADME: “No. Oh… maybe. I don’t think so. He said you. Obi-wan is worried.”
ANAKIN: “Obi-wan was here?”
PADME: “Yes, Anakin, he’s worried.”
ANAKIN: “About dying? Because who will save him?”
PADME: “Yes, I think so.”
ANAKIN: “Well… I wonder if he’s even still alive right now. It’s been forty minutes.”

There’s never even an explicit acknowledgment that Anakin has used a Jedi mind trick to persuade Padmé, but the dialog is so well done that you know exactly what’s going on without anybody saying “Jedi mind trick” aloud as in past movies.

(Spoiler:) Yoda is in this film. At one point he kills a dog with a sling-shot and everyone in the audience went crazy with grief. He’s actually sort of the main character, and in one scene he drives a truck off a bridge and you wonder if even his jedi skills will bring him safely through — they don’t (spoiler: dead). In another delightful scene that by itself enriches the series immeasurably, Yoda says this to Obi-Wan (yes, Obi-Wan is back): “In two years time a child will be born unto the widow Merlin. Besieged by grief and fear of unnatural birth she will take her own life. You must save the child, whose destiny entwines with and lifts aloft the destiny of us all. Go to her disguised as a woodsman and ask for food and shelter. At night, while she slumbers, place this leaf atop the swell of her belly. Three days thence she will swallow poison. After she dies you will have the sands of this hourglass to cut the child from her. You must take it to the black hills and await me there. Remember that if you are caught all is lost, now go!” says Yoda. A satisfying ending to a hit-and-miss but ultimately great series of films.

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