Saturday, February 26, 2005

26 February 2005

The O's
Just a caution that there will be no comment about Them here, before, during, or after. Nada. And I will watch them - I always watch them. That is all.

Start the Day with Digby
Really - a great post, long, with a painfully contemporary excerpt from Lincoln's 1860 Cooper Union speech in the middle of the span (link to original text included). Go read it!

Trying to kill this tooth thingy, so didn't get into Town yesterday, therefore no news from the Portland Street. March 4, for sure! I'll pore over the Dean/Perle debate in compensation, with any observations later today.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Tweedledum Perle Victorious over Mouse Army Posted by Hello

25 February 2005

Prince of Darkness v. The Mouse Insurgency
I have it on good authority that a very young Richard Perle once waged a campaign against an invasion of escaped mice in his Los Angeles neighborhood. Perhaps that success went to his head. I asked a friend in UK to do an illustration of the triumph for me, and here it is, above:

The Doctor v. Prince of Darkness
C-SPAN has the Dean/Perle debate of 2/27, here in Portland, as the first segment of a long American Perspectives stream. May not be available very long, so check it out while you can. I haven't had time to review the whole thing, but we know somebody threw a shoe at Perle during the proceedings. I'll post comments when I see it this weekend.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

23 February 2005

In the Teeth
First, go to Ralph Steadman's for his HST elegy.

Next, consider what the new regime at Salon has already wrought. Charles Taylor, whose fierce takedown of David Irving in a review of Deborah Lipstadt's History on Trial only two weeks ago gave further proof of his critical range, has been let go. Joan Walsh appears to feel that criticism has had too much of a front seat on what is now her bus - let's all go love "America's Top Model" instead. I was attracted to Salon in the first place, now years ago, because of the depth of their critical lineup, and it's been chipped away at - or dumbed down - for the last couple of years at an alarming rate. I will still look forward to Laura Miller and Stephanie Zacharek and Andrew O'Hehir - and Allen Barra on his rare appearances - but booting Charley they will be sorry for.

Finally, I have a monstrous toothache (the view south from my left eye shows a puff that wasn't there yesterday), so I will tough that out and hug any other grievances until the swelling goes down. The beefs will keep.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Presidents' Day

Fear & Loathing Come to Call
They seem ever more with us. Hunter S. Thompson saw them very clearly - perhaps too clearly - and now he's gone, may he RIP. Jesus' General has generous quotes in a fine post, and you should keep an eye on Ralph Steadman's site - there's already a sweet passage starring HST there from last November. Steadman's images of HST I can't separate from the man I never met - their Day of the Dead (a celebratory occasion) quality is like an x-ray of their subject.
And for a vision of an America full of Mickey Mice packing automatics that both Steadman and the Dr. would recognize, see Saul Steinberg. It is upon us.

About the writing, it strikes me as a dangerous model, because it was absolutely personal, and to adopt the style it is to be in HST drag. But a fearless nose for bullshit and a love of liberty (not the Liberty™ kind, either), those were his gifts to us, and those we must use.

[Update: Don't miss two posts by Steve Gilliard, here and here, better and deeper than anything I could say.]

The Father of Our Country
So, you win some, you lose some. My head aches.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

19 February 2005

Interlude - with Pictures!
It's still a bit tricky, but image posting is now possible. After the events of the last couple of weeks (and too much more to come, one fears), I went for comfort and the promise of a new season. It's even greener here in Oregon than what Rackham illustrates for Mole, below. And Mole will shortly discover the River, and make a friend of Ratty, and learn something of boats. May the sun shine warmly on you all.

The Mole had been working very hard

all the morning, spring- cleaning his little home. First with brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of whitewash; till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes of whitewash all over his black fur, and an aching back and weary arms. Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing. It was small wonder, then, that he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said `Bother!' and `O blow!' and also `Hang spring-cleaning!' and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat. Something up above was calling him imperiously, and he made for the steep little tunnel which answered in his case to the gravelled carriage-drive owned by animals whose residences are nearer to the sun and air. So he scraped and scratched and scrabbled and scrooged and then he scrooged again and scrabbled and scratched and scraped, working busily with his little paws and muttering to himself, `Up we go! Up we go!' till at last, pop! his snout came out into the sunlight, and he found himself rolling in the warm grass of a great meadow.`

This is fine!' he said to himself. `This is better than whitewashing!' The sunshine struck hot on his fur, soft breezes caressed his heated brow, and after the seclusion of the cellarage he had lived in so long the carol of happy birds fell on his dulled hearing almost like a shout. Jumping off all his four legs at once, in the joy of living and the delight of spring without its cleaning, he pursued his way across the meadow till he reached the hedge on the further side.

Early Spring Cleaning Posted by Hello

Friday, February 18, 2005

18 February 2005

Cracking a CPAC
Good one from Michelle Goldberg on the Conservative Political Action Conference this week (she must have wonderful camo - she's done this kind of thing before...). And Digby adds his usual trenchant notes.

Shoofly Pie
I haven't seen a transcript yet, but the Dean/Perle meetup Thursday evening featured some shoe-leather, according to this from The Oregonian. The paper's Odd Blogger says nothing very interesting, so I hope a few of the other 2800 in attendance get on the stick. Perle, with his various legal troubles, hasn't been much in evidence lately, though I doubt very much if his influence has abated, where it counts. Some floats, no matter what.
I am more interested in Howard's performance - both demeanour and argument - as he settles into the DNC chair.

More Sweet Dreams
What bliss to put head to pillow and not have an ear cocked for the sound of the tinkling bell, and the rustlings of the baby monitor! 10 hours a week is just not enough time off, readers, and this last one hasn't even been eventful - just a grind. Hate to miss seeing my friends, but a call to Town reassured them that I'm alive and will see them next week - except for B, who's taking off for Thailand and Vietnam for 3 weeks. Have an order in for some Vietnamese cinnamon - suggestions for its use will be appreciated.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

17 February 2005

"Strike Him from the Roster, Dr. Girlfriend!"
I'm glad Maureen got the Valentine's Day lament off her chest, because today's spiel is terrific. Nice to know that the White House press vetting operation has their shit in order for....well, someone. Maybe it was all hair-envy (Ari Fleischer, J/J Gannon/Guckert....), 'cause MoDo has a beautiful mop.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

16 February 2005

John lights the propane....
Spare me your sanctimonious bullshit now that those of us in the gay community and on the left have finally - finally - started to fight fire with fire by simply holding you to the very standards you legislate over us. We are simply giving the GOP the sex-less utopia it's always wanted. How does it feel?

Like he said - finally!

Early Signs
Actually, I'm with Chris on this one - I passed up the final episode of Brideshead Revisited to watch the Oscars the year they aired simultaneously [it wasn't like I was missing anything, I'd already read the Waugh...]. My roomies were appalled at my tastelessness (they chose deathbed epiphanies in the Chinese Bedroom), but that was the year Bette Midler showed up in that goofy dress, and not that long afterward I met her assistant, and, well.....pffffftttttttt! Je ne regrette rien!

In Praise of SZ -
And she certainly does deserve it for this self-help title:

Felony Convictions!: How to Know When You're Dating
One of the FBI's Most Wanted

I did that (or he should have been), so I know, and I ignored all the flags, too. Ask my friends. Fucking ex's....

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

15 February 2005


"I'm still not to be had for the price of a cocktail, like a salted peanut."

Oh, yeah? As Digby says about making hay of the Manchurian Beefcake:

"Paraphrasing a comment I read somewhere yesterday (apologies to the author) "pay no attention to the naked gay conservative male prostitute sitting in the middle of the family values white house living room." Goldberg affects a jocular dismissiveness for a reason. He knows what a real story is and he knows how they work. And he is trivializing this one because it is actually quite dangerous.

Meanwhile, on the left we have much handwringing by commenters over this not being a "gay" story and how we should concentrate on the national security angle and how it's really about access etc, etc. We too are ignoring the naked, gay conservative prostitute in the midde of the family values white house living room. And this is where they get us."

He's right, of course. It's been amusing to see the pundits get all shy about the Guckert/Gannon-connected websites and ads that have been uncovered in the last few days - nothing particularly shocking to your garden-variety gay man, anyway, and a lot less weird than the str8 porn spam that crreps into my Inbox from time to time. Where's the prurient interest angle gone, anyway, especially regarding such an honest, dignified, upright and moral White House like this one? Someone sponsored this guy into his Press Room Day Passes, someone with White House connections, outside and/or inside - otherwise, it's the most porous gateway we have, excepting maybe the Canadian. It's Journalism 101 to ask the obvious questions, and I see nothing wrong with pressing the professional Press to complete the assignment.

The Potato (Rice, Pasta, Bean, &c.) Eaters
Fine post by David Neiwert at Orcinus (via Atrios) on the Immigrant Threat. Too bad he left out the Irish in his examples - there's a cartoon here that Michelle Malkin would love, if the guy perched on the edge of the pot was just wearing a different head covering.

Monday, February 14, 2005

14 February 2005

O Joy! O Rapture!
MyDD reports on The Rapture Index today - JFC. As if I didn't hear enough of this crap from the nut branch of the family when I was growing up, now they are really getting juiced about the End of It All. I've got to observe, however, that these people have been gleeful about every war, every natural disaster for as long as I can remember - a bloodthirsty lot, with complete confidence that the tide of blood and destruction will sweep them up to Heaven. Unspeakable.
Let us pray that they will be disappointed, and if they happen to hold public office, let us defeat them, ASAP.

Snarky Sunday
No posts yesterday, owing to the usual attacks of hyper-sensitivty and family melodrama backwash my patient manifests toward the end of a weekend. After more than 2 years of observation, it's completely predictable and thoroughly inexplicable, other than to note that Control Issues are her third rail and that the voltage gets cranked up after the Sunday visit. A bad zap can last all week, and so is to be avoided.

Stupid Genome!
Great post at Pharyngula on attributing vast powers of destiny to humble genes. I often wonder why Evolutionary Psychologists even have jobs, but they should certainly suppress the impulse to drop crumbs so that innocents like Kristof ingest them and come up with these idiot columns. Every damn time I see one, I expect a chorus of "Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life" to swell forth from the page.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

12 February 2005

Only Connect
Let's make it a bright beginning for Howard at the DNC and show that the netroots run deep.

Contribution amount:

Good Question
From Steve Gilliard:

Funny, while Bush is dismantling social security, where have the Greens and Nader been? Holding their dicks? Feeding vegan dog chow to their starving pups? Exactly why haven't they been eager to join the fight? They talk a good game, but when a real fight is here, one which can't be lost, they have nothing to say.

Indeed, I'd almost forgotten about them, myself. Any answers, any tweets out there?

The Dreamers
Matt asks a question - to which I reply:

I would it were so. All that liberally redemptive power of, "..shades and gradations and all the complexities of humanity...," in art can work miracles on a student - specifically, a young student, like the one in Reading Lolita in Teheran - whose knowledge of the
world is still being formed. The flip side is the 15-year-old who never gets over The Fountainhead (let's go to The Corner, shall we?), or all those good little boys and girls who have had moral fiction drummed into their heads - Nabokov would scare the shit out of them, and they'd run screaming in disgust, casting stones as they fled.

By Garcia-Marquez's own account, Castro is very well-read, but I don't think he's takenThe Autumn of the Patriarch much to heart. And, please, Matt - Adolf's taste in ainting and architecture was monumental kitsch at its most deadening - crushing classicism. While artists must make their art, and may make extraordinary claims for its efficacy, they have no proof that it works the way they want it to work. The older they are, the less they insist on changing hearts and minds - the work and the witness speak for themselves, but by that time dictators and thugs are not, I think, assumed to be listening.

A teacher of mine held that Socrates was hostile to poets because they were, at bottom, philosophers in competition with him, by different means. I rather liked that, but it's agonizing to try to persuade people who believe fiction to be lies that it has any conceptual integrity. Music they can, sometimes, still get; pictures that don't resemble something they know, they don't. It's the warm bath notion of aesthetic pleasure. The moralists would probably object to candles around the tub, or bubbles (the least and most passing of entertainments) - more on this later, but what a bunch of fucking killjoys!

This Is Not a Test...
As Digby says, "It's not like they didn't warn us."

Friday, February 11, 2005

11 February 2005

"Manchurian Beefcake"
That's Wolcott's superb name for the Gannon/Guckert story, and I hope it sticks. There's extensive detail at AMERICAblog (and you might have seen John Aravosis on Aaron Brown's show last night, cutting to the quick...). It's looking like a fucking torte, actually, with delicious hidden surprises to come.
I'm not set up to post pics yet, or I'd add the winsomely gruff Jeff/Jim G/G in all his dog-tagged glory - I do hope we found out how many kinds of pin-up boy he has been, and in what shadowy venues besides the White House Press Briefings. He might wish he'd stuck to catering to uniform fetishists.

[Update: The brilliant and lovely SZ at World O' Crap gets props for especially comprehensive, concise and - how you say? - self-effacing coverage of this yumminess. I would bear her children if circumstances didn't make that impossible.]

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

9 February 2005

Already Behind....
Dan Drezner has a fun post: Pretend you're a U of C undergraduate!!
Make sure to check out the reading list and class schedule - the list may look short, but these are not selections, kids. God, quarters are short! I wonder how his class is going to cope with Nietszche's irony...?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

8 February 2005

Hat Trick!
Michael Bérubé scores on a collection of the latest squabbles surrounding the academy. Wankers, beware!

Go Blue!
I'd link to the Cole and Goldberg pages myself, but then you would miss TBogg's scoring system, and that would be negligent of me.

Monday, February 07, 2005

7 February 2005

And Now, Another Chorus of "Tomorrow Belongs to Me"....
How long will it take the warnings to sink in? Here's Digby.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

6 February 2005

The Sun, Where It Sets
There's a very fine post on John Ford at Lance Mannion's blog. I was raised in the West, but it was the Pacific Northwest, not the iconic Monument Valley landscape. Neither that geography nor that son of Iowa John Wayne, who was supposed to personify it - icons my school friends from New York revered - had much resonance. That movie West was as foreign to me, and as idealized, as it was to them, but they thought it was genuine and mythic and I thought it was just too dry. The Lord of the Rings is a hell of a lot closer to what I saw, and to my temperament - I grew up in Wagnerian forests, and New Zealand mimics great tracts of Oregon.
Portland may not know it, but they also live in a transplanted piece of New England; a mere year in Cambridge taught me that. It's entirely appropriate that the town in McCabe & Mrs. Miller - my favorite Western, and to me the truest to my own experience - is named Presbyterian Church. My brother pointed out to me not long ago that Oregon place names bow to that missionary past - Portland, Salem, Medford - while Washington tended to keep, and thereby honor, native names - Seattle, Tacoma.
I don't miss the Western genre that much - god, they used to crank them out indiscriminately! - but it's kind of sad that they lost their hold on our imaginations just as they were really growing out of their triumphal romance period, and loosening up. I still find The Searchers compelling, if we're talking about John Ford, and the Peckinpahs explode all of the old pieties. And James Wolcott is right about giving Anthony Mann his due, too. And there's that singular Altman, in which community really means something. Against the grain, however, in this moment of White Hats/Black Hats. We've got a Real Cowboy to lead us, boy howdy!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

5 February 2005

Go Team Venture!
Venture Bros. -

Apologies, but I have been posting ass-backwards below - newer stuff is below older stuff, which is just not done. Told you I was new at this!

This is pure grandiosity, but I'm adding a Site Meter to measure all the non-existent traffic I'm already getting in less than a week. Is blogging an enabler, or what?

I suppose the next thing will be pics & graphics. Atrios has his kitties, TBogg has his bassets, and we have a great little chocolate dachshund who's stuck with the name Noodles, but is no less handsome, bright, tactful and kind for it. My only nightmare lately is that he meets Dr. James Dobson and is "corrected" for his tolerance and love. You be the judge.

Howard Dean - ex cathedra
I am posting this at Digby's too -

Rock on, HD! Can anyone remember a guy who has been so consistently mis-characterized? The radical and strident profile was, recall, started in the run up to the primaries by his own Dem opponents, and was contrary to his positions and record. Calling Bush on the carpet in the summer of 2003 was so rude; Dean showed it had power and truth, and even if he was a novice at a national campaign, he shoved the whole field in the right direction. The CW shifted seismically, and he was responsible.
That's what scared the hell out the DNC then (and the boys and girls at TNR who endorsed that sancitmonious sack of shit Joe Lieberman, he of the strangled voice and this week's Kiss of Death) - the Right just picked up the themes and cranked them up. They're still cranking, and there are still people on Our Team who are implicitly bobbing their heads to that tune.
I suspect that Howard will surprise them all - and a good thing it will be.

Bosley's Boy
Whoa! Wolcott rips Michael Medved a fresh one - but, damn, the piece he's talking about (apparently adulatory of Medved's new book about his turning Red from Blue) is in next week's NYT Book Review. As JW notes, Medved has a propensity to go intellectually limp, and to whine. In May '03 he whined to Seattle Weekly that he missed the movie criticism of Bosley Crowther, captain of the limpets and a standout on the Times' historical junior varsity of lame-o critics. O yeah, he wonders where the Legion of Decency went, too. Oy! You'd think that finding moral clarity and sucking up to the ubermenschen of the Right would give him a new confidence, but I guess not.

Friday, February 04, 2005

4 February 2005

Talk of the Town
This is my day for time off, and I'll be heading into Portland to see friends and to conduct what small business I have. Back on duty this evening to report on the waters. It's been two weeks since I've seen anyone I don't take care of, work for, or buy things from (I napped the afternoon away last week) - my exercise periods might be an exception if I wasn't always in a rush to get back. "Hello, I must be going." - that's my current tagline.

Fat Friday
I had almost forgotten that Mardi Gras is next Tuesday, until I saw guys with beads at 3pm on Stark Street, two blocks of which pass as a locus of gay club life in PDX. Brought back a few strands, but I didn't have to do anything - or show anything - to get them; standards have been lowered. I think it's all those Girls Gone Wild vids, personally.

But I can't stay out late enough (without special and very much in-advance arrangements) to play like that. The last transportation to my neighborhood from a suburban transit center leaves at 10:30pm, and according to a Service Rep from the transit system, who was taking a survey on my way in today, that may be rolled back to 7:30pm in June, unless ridership raises holy hell. Granted that I'd like to be out of this gig by then, but that kind of cutback would make doing this job almost impossible. My patient can't be left alone for much more than an hour at a time, and even now it is a stretch to get to her pharmacy and back within that window. A car, you say? I'm not paid enough to maintain one. Rx's by mail? Too many controlled substances on her list.

This is how rising fuel prices and straitened state and local budgets are being felt, folks. The route I ride isn't losing population, it's undergoing an exurban explosion of housing and commercial development. What used to be lightly travelled country roads are now jammed, and need widening for - yeah - all those SUVs. The Portland metropolitan area has, in most respects, a terrific system of bus and light-rail public transportation, but it's being starved in the competition for dollars in the Ownership Society. All thanks, Dear Leader!.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

3 February 2005

Build 1.0
And haven't even achieved that, really. Next step is to get a blogroll in the left column - antecedents, models, heroes, enemies - all worth reading, of course.

Medical Oddities
Patients whose blood is well-oxygenated, but who have a history of high levels of morphine sulphate for pain, should not receive oxygen in an emergency situation. The morphined brain will read this as excessive, and shut down respiration. Counter-intuitive, no? The things you pick up on the job.....

Morning Update
Blogroll links are now up. Many Usual Suspects for a lefty (and, please, use gloves when visiting The Corner), but treat these as essentials.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

2 February 2005

Day of the Marmot
Just in case we get stuck in an Eternal Return time loop - which would mean endless repetition of the SOTU address - I direct you to Giblets's takedown of Punxsutawney Phil and Jesus' General's crib on the dreaded Speech.
I'll stick to reading the transcript, though I am in suspense as to whether the Repubs will have the gall to dip their claws blue for the occasion. All the perfurmes of Arabia will not sweeten their little hands.
Yup, they did....