Rented "Kingdom of Heaven" tonite. Afterward, I thought it'd be cool to check out the historocity of the film. You know, did these characters actually live and die, how close is it to the truth.

Good luck finding that. I found a bunch of crusaders are good christian websites, and a bunch of crusaders are bad non-christian websites. Not much history involved in either.
oh, and by the way,
Where the fuck have you been?

Well, busy. Working all the time, going to school when I'm not working. And still not managing to keep up with those two top priorities. Also, money stuff.

For entertainment, well, I saw Social D this week, and got completely wrecked afterward. And I had a blast, thank you, I woke up with injuries I didn't remember causing. Always a good sign.

Trying, and trying, to do some fiction. And reading alot. And computer stuff. And family stuff, both mine and the future in-laws. And car stuff. And so much more stuff.

Check out the Hard Case Crime series. Biggest hitters in the industry, doing 50's style pop-fiction. Great stuff.

But no, I haven't quit blogging. Just been otherwise directed for a bit. If Sadie ever deigns to acknowledge my application to her design service (that I hopefully actually sent, and didn't just hallucinate sending), and I put the hours into it, I'll be moving to moonoo soon, so I can not-blog over there. I am officially a moonoovian, as soon as I make the shift. God only knows why they let me in, but I'll be bringing down property values over there soon, with thanks to the currently (but hopefully not permanently) defunct Ilyka Damen.

Until then, take it easy, I'm going to go figure out how to drive MT.
I heard a quote on an hourly news blurb in which an Iraqi Soldier told Bush "I like you", and some other stuff before that that was complementary, in a broken English sort of way. Which is to be expected; If I remember right, he was confusing "Everyone" or "Everything" with "Anyone", which threw our ever-eloquent President into a loop.

The gist of it, though, was obviously positive, even if the exact complement wasn't. I was just trying to find the quote, and everything I can find is titled "Bush interview staged" or "Rehearsed". But, from the text of the articles, it dosen't seem rehearsed or prompted, as much as...organized. This person answers a question, then pass the mike to your left, then this person, etcetera etcetera. That isn't "Staged", that's just ordered.

So...what's the friggin deal? I'm surprised this hasn't been covered more by the right blogosphere, a complement directly to the President from an Iraqi involved in the war would be a great soundbite. But the only media coverage I can find is about some practice that seems, to me, to be pretty innocent.
See, here's the key when getting a tatoo: Pay Attention. Know what you're doing, and what the artist is doing.

I don't get people that walk into tatoo parlours and request one off the wall. That is going to be on your body for the rest of your life, period. Shouldn't there be a bit more of a requirement than "Oh, that one's cool."

And, as I said, pay attention to what the person drawing a permanent mark on your body is doing. Part of this (a big part) is knowing at least something about the person doing the work. That means, No Carnie Tatoos. If the artist is known to you only as "Moose" and he smokes and drinks canned Coors through the process, you might want to turn him down. I have very stupid friends who didn't have the balls to say "Wait, stop that, that isn't what I asked for", who are now walking around with really dumb-looking shit on their bodies.

Also, if you're going to get something done in a foreign language, make sure you know what it says. I have a tatoo on my back that is the chinese glyph for "Faithful". How do I know this? Well, before we got the tattoo, we went to Barnes and Nobel and (ahem) ripped a page out of a Chinese dictionary. We had thought about it for a while, found that particular symbol and...ah, acquired an accurate version of it. Then we took it to a place where we knew the people and their work and had it inked exactly like it was in the dictionary. My next tatoo, which is coming very soon, is going to be in Arabic, also from a verified source.

I had a buddy in Basic that had his girlfriend's name in Chinese on his arm. Or at least, that was what he thought. And he told me, about halfway through basic training, that if she ever broke up with him he could just tell people it meant "Fearsome Warrior" or some shit, because who knew? Presumably that's what he's doing right now. The tat probably means "General Tso's Chicken", for all any of us know.

The point is, the understanding that whatever you're getting inked is permanent seems to be lacking with an awful lot of people. It's going to be there when your lover leaves you, when you aren't talking to any of your old friends any more, and when whatever pop fad is long passe. If it means something to you, even something fleeting, than great, but make sure it means something to you, and that it means what you think it means.

blather inspired here.
I listened to Ace's radio broadcast (on repeat) tonight, and left the righttalk station on.

Right now, there's a woman named Phills Schafly hosting a show, about banned books. the show went right into a guest, a woman that has six kids (and has put them up for parochial schools, and home schooling, and presumably seminary at age 12) who is HYSTERICAL. Right off the bat, she described the books as "Radical Feminist, Anti-Christian, demaning of Traditional Roles", and whole bunch of other stuff. So far, she hasn't mentioned any actual titles (God forbid), except "To Kill A Mockingbird", which she described as being not particularly offensive. Who knows what is offensive, she dosen't say. She does say, however, that it's brainwashing, and that it somehow leads directly to drug abuse.

I can't even explain it. Go to righttalk.com, and see if her show is playing, and listen to the first five minutes. Stuff like this makes me miss Ilyka.
new reading list
via ASV: Banned Books Week

I know this is old news to many, but it's new to me. I am, primarily, a book dork; more than any of my other geeky hobbies, I love to read. I still read at least one book a week, ususally more. I always have a book with me, everywhere I go, in case I get stuck having to wait for ten minutes at an appointment or something. I hate sitting and staring at walls (or, worse, reading Pimple magazine at the dentist's office) when I could be entertaining myself. Books have, at times of stress, been my refuge, my island in the storm.

And, while I understand the concern over having your eighth grader picking up a copy of Naked Lunch or a Chuck Palhunik novel, banning a book is not the way to go. The key, as usual (i.e. video games, music, movies) is keeping track of what your kid is reading. Somewhere in Jr. High, I found a copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and when I told my dad I was reading it, he said something like "Isn't that a bit...advanced for you?" Which translates from parent-speak as "Dosen't that have, like, sex jokes and stuff?" To a certain extent, it does, but he let me read it anyway, and, lo and behold, I'm not some kind of freakazoid pervert or anything. Or not so much as to be abnormal, anyway. In fact, books like that, that were probably above my reading level, were a big part of what engendered a love of books in me early on. English classes are important, but often, they don't introduce students to books they actually want to read; they make reading a task. Books like the Hitchhiker's Guide can demonstrate the fun that can be found in books, even if they aren't exactly literature.

The second key to keep in mind, when it comes to banning books, is for everybody to step back, take a deep breath, and get a friggin grip already. Huck Finn is not a racist work. Harry Potter is not satanic. Book banning is one of those fun issues that both major political parties are wrong on; they both scream when censorship is applied to something they like, while aggresively pursuing censorship on stuff they don't like. This is especially egregious, to me, when coming from the right: Who cares what the government-funded schools stock in their library? It takes a Family, right Mr. Santorum? So if your kid comes home with a copy of "Mary has Two Mommies", or, god forbid, "The half-blood Prince", maybe you need to talk to your kid. Tell them about what they're reading, explain the reality an ups and downs of the point of the book to the kid. If it's so bad, forbid your kid from reading it. But don't try to get the government to tell your kid what books they should or should not read. Everybody expects the left to call for legislation of what they think morality should be, the whole point of conservatism is that that isn't the government's job.

The craze over banning fantasy and horror books reminds me of people a decade ago that wanted to ban dungeons and dragons. R.L. Stine is not going to turn your kid into a satanist any more than Gary Gygax was.

Anyway, the top 100 banned books, with bold for ones I've read follows. As with the song poll earlier, I'm surprised just how few of these I've heard of, but in this case I plan to find out:

1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
2. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling

8. Forever by Judy Blume
9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
15. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
19. Sex by Madonna
20. Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
30. The Goats by Brock Cole
31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
32. Blubber by Judy Blume
33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
37. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
40. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
46. Deenie by Judy Blume
47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
55. Cujo by Stephen King
56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
61. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
62. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
65. Fade by Robert Cormier
66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
71. Native Son by Richard Wright
72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
74. Jack by A.M. Homes
75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
77. Carrie by Stephen King
78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
88. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Hm. There's alot of great books on there. A few of my favorites. If I taught High School English, maybe five of them would be requried reading. And there's a few I don't get; I mean, I understand that you don't want your kid reading "Sex", by Madonna, but who's calling for the banning of "The Color Purple"? "To Kill A Mockingbird?" Who the hell is calling for the banning of that?

It's all nonsense. Like I said, there's several there that every kid should read, and several that would make for good wholesome entertainment. Any of the other ones, you should know your kid is reading, and be able to explain why they're good or bad.

That is, of course, assuming that the parents have read (and understood) the books at some point, instead of just firing off angry letters to their school districts, which I seriously doubt.
funniest photo of the day
Was going to be this, via Ace:

Until I saw this, via C&S (link not safe for work):
there's a bar joke in here somewhere
As you may have heard, the Catholic church is going to soon be looking specifically for celibate men to ban from the priesthood. That is, if they are gay, celibate men.

I guess that, somehow, I am once again landing as a moderate on this. Which kills me.

Alot of left-leaning Christians want to assert that homosexuality is not a sin, which is nonsense. Gay sex is specifically prohibited in the bible more than once. There's alot of wiggling and parsing going on there, but if you are a strict follower of the bible, it's wrong, wrong wrong.

Notice, though, that I said "Gay sex". Boinking another man is a sin. Wanting to boink another man but not doing so is called temptation. Temptation, of course, is not a sin, else we'd all be fucked. Even Jesus was famously tempted by the devil; I certainly can't quote the scripture, but there's a passage where Jesus is looking out on a city, and the devil tells him "Come with me, and this can all be yours". Jesus thinks about it, and eventually rejects the idea, but the point is that he thinks about it. He was tempted. He chose the righteous path, but as with any human, he was tempted. The point of the story is that temptation, or wanting somehting in your head that you know is wrong, is not a sin. Acting on it is.

Which makes the whole weeding out of gay priests thing nonsense. It dosen't matter if a man is attracted to women, men, or farm animals, so long as he maintains the dedication to remain abstinante. Once he violates that oath, with man, woman, or schoolboy, he's fucked. He can think about it, be tempted by it all day long, and it's no big deal. If you think there isn't a priest out there that has never thought "Woah, look at the boobs on that one", you're sadly mistaken. That's part of the programming. Virtue is overcoming that base temptation and living a sinless life.

In a way, I would say that the priesthood is good for a serious Catholic that discovered he was gay: from a Catholic perspective, he can either have gay sex and be doomed forever, or he can have a marriage to a woman that he isn't really interested in, or he can give his life to god and humanity. If you are a Catholic, and you honestly believe that being gay is to be doomed forever, then better to dedicate your life to abstinance in the name of doing God's work.

As for the idea that gay men are more likely to violate the rules...well, there's a pretty serious basis for that, but it's still wrong. There's the alter boy problems. Also, much cited is the idea that among non-priests, gay men are, generally, more lauditudinarian toward sex. That's a statistic, not an insult, and not a surprising one, much to the lament of many gay men who do not share that view. But I doubt that that attitude is shared with men willing to join the priesthood. You're there because you know you're a sinner, as is every other human being on the planet. You join the priesthood looking to repent, not looking to get laid. If anybody with loose attitudes toward sex of any kind makes it through seminary, then there's something wrong.

What they should be looking for is not people prone to temptation, but rather, people prone to give in to their temptation. Being attracted to men, while a statistically higher risk, is not a sin. Having sex, with anyone or anything, is. And for chrissake, when somebody does do something wrong, kick him the fuck out. That, I think, is really the biggest problem: not that there wre some guys that enjoyed buggering kids working for one of the largest organized religions in the world, but rather that the power structure of that Church passed on it. Not only ignored it, but covered it. Hey, kick the guy the fuck out. Tell the world: He's not one of ours.

But banning gay men for the simple transgression of temptation is silly. Every living human deals with temptation, daily. The character, and virtue, of a man is how he deals with that temptation; and that virtue is what should be the qualification to lead others.
the first! ever! gay horror movie
Via the ads at ASV: The first ever offical gay slasher flick.

Two things: in the ad there, is the "Thrusting the knife at somebody's face" gif right below the word "Gay" incedental or intentional? Just curious.

Second, "First ever gay horror movie?" Have you ever seen a Clive Barker film?
the bettster, bette-o-rama
Okay, I'm way to fuckin' lazy to go dig up the audio files, but I have a question: Has anybody heard the most recent Bette Middler speech?

Is anybody else reminded of the stupid SNL skit where whassisface would play an office dork sitting in a corner, making name plays on everybody that walked into the copy room? "The Danster. Dan o rama. Danalicious..." Etcetera etcetera, ad nauseum.

I don't know, maybe that's just how she talks. But the inflection was exactly the same: heavily enunciated, high at that the beginning, dropping and dragging at the end.

"The Bushsterrrrr. What an Assholllllllle. Ka-trinaaaaaaa. Lots of dead folllllks. Global Warminggggg. War in Iraaaaaaaaaq. What an Assholllllllle..."
phone sex in public places
I have nothing important to say, so instead, I'm going to amuse (bore?) you with a fun story from my life:

For reasons I don't care to discuss, I recently had to buy a western union to send to the people that own the better part of my car. I don't really know where one goes to buy western unions, but I remembered seeing a sign about it at my local Giant Evil, so I went there.

A matronly black lady pointed me to the forms I needed, which I filled out and returned to her. I didn't have my account number on hand, however, because I do all my business with this company with my SSN. That wasn't good enough, but she kindly called up the company for me.

Unfortunatly, instead of providing a series of actual numbers for the telephone number, a helpful acronym was used, which corresponded to numbers on the telephone. Something like "1-800-I-OWN-YOU" or "1-FUCK-UR-KREDT" or "1-800-THANKS FOR THE PAYMENT, ASSHOLE, WE'RE KEEPING YOUR FUCKING CAR ANYWAY!!!! WE KNOW YOU CAN'T AFFORD A LAWYER! GOOD LUCK EVER SEEING YOUR CAR AGAIN, MOTHERFUCKER!!!". Something like that, I don't remember exactly.

So, the nice lady behind the counter dials up the Loan Sharks. This is a very long process, as she experiences some difficulty trying to translate the acronym into actual numbers. Why the loan sharks insist on using letters, even in their western union account, is beyond me, as all it does is create confusion.

Having finally consulted the Dead Sea Scrolls and translated the phone number, she hands me the phone to deal with the computerized voice I am sure to encounter on the other end. She sure as hell dosen't want to hear it. I, of course, am paralyzed with fear; talking to my car company on a supermarket phone makes me feel like a KGB officer placing a phone call from the basement of the Hoover building. Everybody is staring, especially the people in line, and I have to deal with the labryinth of computer-routed recordings before getting to a real person that, probably after considerable begging and maybe a ritual bloodletting, will give me my own account number. It's enough to make Kafka gag.

Anyway, I'm standing there with the grimy phone to my ear, when what should I hear: a sultry female voice. Not the impersonal "Dial one for German, Two for French, Three for Swahili, Three hundred and Pi for English" voice, but rather a sexed-up Jenna Jameson. Who has, by the time my brain catches up, thanked me for calling "Intimate connections", and is presently asking me to input a credit card number.

Ummm, unless there's been a policy change I haven't heard about, that isn't the right number. Of course, me being who I am, I can't just tell her to hang it up. I hand the phone back to the afore mentioned friendly, matronly lady behind the counter, explaining that I don't think that that's the right number. She listens for maybe ten seconds before her eyes go wide, she lets out an "OH SHIT" giggle and slams the phone down. I wish I had a photograph of that moment, her expression was priceless.

She offered to try the number again, but I declined and drove the ten minutes to home and back to get the proper account number, which I should have done in the first place to spare both her and myself the mysteries of telephone communications. She delayed her break to help me, and, thirteen hundred-dollar bills later, I had my western union.

Still haven't gotten my car back, but I wish I knew what number she had dialed. That chick sounded hot.
smells like...infantry

"You are stuck on stupid."

Beautiful. Click through there, and listen to the mp3. I wonder what unit that guy was with, if he's 82nd or what. Sounds like pure infantry. Guy reminds me of one of my Drill Sergeants, except quieter. But that piece of speech is classic Army, even throws in a quick "Huah?", which I'm sure just confused the reporters. I'd say that I'd like to see politicians pick up on that, but they'd never be able to get the inflection right, the final, declarative tone of it.

And I like the poster idea, but it should be just the declarative form he uses second. That's perfect. Somebody needs to make an mp3 of just that line that I can keep handy and click on every time I read the news.


howdy, thanks for stopping by. what you're looking at is the intermittent ramblings of an iraqi vet, college student, goth-poseur, comic book reading, cheesy horror loving, punk listening, right-leaning, tech-obsessed, poorly typing, proudly self-proclaimed geek. occasionally, probably due to these odd combinations, i like to think i have some interesting things to say; this is where they wind up.

"I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us...We need the books that affect us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside of us.

ace o spades hq
bargain-basement allahpundit
a small victory
army of mom
babalu blog
beautiful atrocities
being american in t o
belmont club
blame bush!
castle argghhh!
citizen smash
the command post
common sense runs wild
curmudgeonly & skeptical, r
curmudgeonly & skeptical, pg-13
dean's world
drill sergeant rob
exit zero
enjoy every sandwich
feisty repartee
fistful of fortnights
free will
four right wing wacos
ghost of a flea
half the sins of mankind
the hatemonger's quarterly
hog on ice
house of plum
id's cage
ilyka damen
incoherant ramblings
in dc journal
the jawa report
knowledge is power
lileks bleat
the llama butchers
memento moron
the mudville gazette
naked villainy
nerf-coated world
those damned pajama people
professor chaos
professor shade
the protocols of the yuppies of zion
protein wisdom
the queen of all evil
seven inches of sense
shinobi, who is a f'n numbers ninja, yo
tall dark and mathteriouth
the nose on your face
the thearapist
this is class warfare
texas best grok
tim worstall
way off bass

other must reads: