Saturday, September 16, 2006

Our New Experts For the Week

So this guy who was caught in a photograph last year in New Orleans bailing water out of a leaky boat, loaded down with photographers, videographers, and sound guys, with a cup is now an expert on the military, foreign policy, and international finance?

And this guy addresses the UN on the crisis in Darfur.

And she knows who the real threat to the world is.

To be fair, Penn did place his hand on his heart before he offered his comments and said the universal disclaimer "To me. . .", yet in his tone he was rather self-assured of how right he thinks he is.

Voicing an informed opinion is one thing. Grandstanding with an opinion is something else entirely.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Brag, Brag, Brag!

Here's a near-complete list of work I've done for Louisville Music News since 2001. I took a "retirement" midway through '01, feeling the first stages of what I thought was burn-out (but, as I say in this Jazzin' column, I was just tired), but returned two years later. Rested up, you might say.

The list o'links doesn't include anything I did from 1996 through 2000. I'm not sure The Chief's archiving goes back that far. Yet.

Some are still available, scattered around the web on sites buried within sites. I found the story I did on Louisville band Metroschifter back in 1999.

More to come. Or, as is said in Drudgeworld: Developing. . .

Kooky Konspiracy Kidz, Part II


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Kooky Konspiracy Kidz Get KO'd

Repeatedly, that is, but always find the will to pull themselves up with the ropes, sway a little while getting balanced, then stagger and flail toward the target. Again.

Robert Bidinotto drops 'em hard in this piece on conspiracy theories in general and the 9-11 Stoners. . .er, Truthers in specific.

What completely leaves me with my jaw adrop is how the Truthers have concocted a conspiracy of such ridiculously Rube Goldbergian complexity. In their minds, the WTC buildings were rigged for controlled demolition (just exactly how and for how long, with people coming in and out of the towers at all hours, even with energy-saving mandatory lights out periods in sections of the buildings), then people were taken off three airliners and moved to a fourth, and remote-controlled versions of the jets were smashed into the towers, and a missile hit the Pentagon, and all the people taken off the three flights were put on a fourth that was shot down over Shanksville, Pennsylvania (or they were taken to an undisclosed location and are living the lives granted only to people in the Witness Protection Program or astronauts who faked the Mars landing ), and the demolition charges were set off in the WTC buildings, and they took off my legs and threw them over there, then they ripped out my chest and threw it over there! It's a twista! It's a twista!

And it was all done because (chose any one, a combination of the two, or all three):

1. G.W. Bushitlerhaliburton and his Family Who Bathes in Oil needed a pretext to invade the Middle East because they were running out of it, or

2. They (and we know who they are) want to institute a Police State where cops get to wear cool black leather uniforms and always wear helmets with visors lowered and sound like they're speaking through a broken transistor radio when they talk, or

3. The U.S. wants to invade the world to make it safe for Pepsi, Wal-Mart, lite-rock radio, and Papa John's franchises.

And to be such skeptics about the real story behind the attacks of September 11, 2001, they can't tolerate anyone being skeptical about their convoluted gardyloo. You're either so lying or, like, a big-time Shill for the Man, dude.

Another down-the-rabbit hole conspiracy meme has infested the progressive fringe. In this one, a guy named Max Blumenthal wrote a piece for the Huffington Post detailing that a shadowy, interconnected group of conservative individuals and organizations, including Libertas and the Liberty Film Festival, David Horowitz's Front Page Magazine, and a network within ABC, were behind The Path to 9/11. And now that single post has exploded into a full-length article in The Nation and a full-blown conspiracy on the various progressive sites.

The whole thing is detailed here.

Progressives and Truthers are reaching down into an empty wet barrel and can only dig their nails into the wet wood.

What they're bringing out is nothing.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bill & Ted Turn "Truther"

Whoa, dude. Like, the government so totally did 9-11 (h/t: LGF)

How can these numbnuts actually think people can take them seriously when they have the rhetoric and mannerisms of someone who hangs out on the couch in his friend's parents' basement and smells like spilled bongwater?

Even better: the Loose Change children eat floor when they face off against the men of Popular Mechanics. Watch it here.

UPDATE: Now this assclown has taken a hit off the Truther bong. But hasn't he taken one already?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Of Superbeings and World Turmoil

The fifth anniversary of the Attacks has passed. My tribute to one of the victims is below. As a distressing coda to the day, I willingly watched a pair of disturbing video clips that have just now been released via YouTube. A tourist from Seattle and his wife had a camcorder trained on Tower 1 after the plane smashed into it. They captured the falling bodies of the people who chose their own demise as the building burned and they choked on the smoke.

It shows them falling. It shows what was left of those who landed. It is not easy to watch. So if you can, bear witness. And remember.

One guy who remembers that day is Frank Miller, the graphic novel artist, famous for Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Sin City. He's a changed man since September 11, 2001, the day of planes slamming into the buildings, the dust of concrete and crushed bone people breathed in after the towers collapsed.

Yeah, he got it. And he gets it better than a lot of other arrogant, blathering ninnies who have confused eloquence with delusion. A couple of Miller's best lines:

One thing my job involves is making up bad guys. Imagining human villainy in all its forms. Now the real thing had shown up. The real thing murdered my neighbors. In my city. In my country. . . .For the first time in my life, I know how it feels to face an existential menace. They want us to die.

Wonder how ol' Marv would've handled Khalid Shaihk Mohammed?

Miller's next work is Holy Terror, Batman! where he faces al Qaeda. I've often felt that Miller touched on a lot of today's political climate and national security in The Dark Knight Returns. The rageful bellowing of the Mutant Leader sounds an awful lot like what is passing for meaningful dialogue among the progressive left. The Joker casually mentioning that he's going to kill everyone in the audience of the talk show where he's appearing has lots in common with this guy. And the Mayor of Gotham City: Appeaser in Chief.

The whole story is dire, from the opening panel of the first book to the final page of the fourth one. . .with a twist at the end, though. I'll admit that I couldn't sleep after reading the third book. (SPOILER ALERT) The Joker's mass murder of the talk show audience, the poisoning of the Cub Scouts at a fair (from tainted cotton candy he'd handed out), his grisly suicide in a tunnel of love as Batman slowly bleeds to death in the dark as a SWAT team makes its way in to arrest him: all like a microcosm of world turmoil.

I remember that same feeling five years ago yesterday. The images, the smoke, the terror of the faces of people watching the towers burn, the gaped mouths and wide eyes as they fled massive rolling boulders of dust and metal after the buildings collapsed.

And the bodies. The falling bodies. And now today seeing the pink scars on the concrete.

There's one line in Dark Knight that I think fits the War on Terror. When Batman and his new Robin (the smartassed Carrie Kelley) descend on the fair and he surveys the scene of death the Joker has left, he says, "It ends tonight, Joker."

Unfortunately, this war may never end. But at some point, when all the appeasers end up with slit throats, when all the mainstream media arrogance gets about-faced at gunpoint, when all the braying from those who say they want peace and the head of the President on a truncheon gets silenced but not by the ones they think are the real enemy, then the war will have to end.

And it may end in a dark place.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

In Memoriam: Jim Murphy

How hard is it to memorialize someone you never knew? How comfortable would you be if you were walking in front of a church and a pastor came out and said, "Excuse me. We're having a funeral in here and the deceased needs some words said about him. Could you come in and say a few?"

But writing about Jim Murphy, I'm finding it's easy when I thought it would be the hardest thing I've ever written. Why? For one, we all mourned for Jim and his family, as we did the thousands of others who died that day. It was a massive, shared outpouring of grief. Something we all had in common on that day and for the weeks, and, for some, years that followed.

For two: Jim apparently liked to tease. I do that a lot, too. I look at his picture: he's got an easy smile, ready to rip open into a big grin. He's about to deliver the line that will lure you in, the one you'll believe for a couple of seconds before you realize you've fallen into his gentle trap. He'll give out a big, bell-peal of a laugh. You might feel mildly irritated for a second or two. But you won't be mad. He didn't do it to be cruel. He didn't do it to humiliate.

He did it because he liked you.

But one thing that makes this difficult is in measuring that positive, upbeat, teasing, joking personality up against the horrible way in which Jim was murdered. It's too easy to feel the anger down to your bones, to feel your teeth clamp together, to feel your heart shrivel, to feel the hot tears leak from your eyes.

The verse play J.B. by Archibald MacLeish is based on the story of Job, whose children have been killed, whose world has collapsed all around him while all he can do is kneel on a heap of dung and beg God to give him the answer of "Why me?" Toward the end, as parts of his life begin to reassemble themselves, J.B.'s wife, Sarah, says:

The candles in the churches are out.
The lights have gone out in the sky.
Blow on the coal of the heart
And we'll see by and by. . .
We'll see where we are.
We'll know. We'll know.