Sunday, September 30, 2007

Germany 2:0 Brazil, USA 4:1 Norway

Scores. I thought both Norway and Brazil would win, but they dint. Nertz.


Saturday, September 29, 2007


n. That intoxicated feeling you get that says you're really not in the mood.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Laughing Stock

Could anything ridicule American women's soccer more than Jim Mike,'s infuriatingly degrading "PR man?" The expression on the players' faces says it all.

Hopefully, now that the Women's National Team has imploded, Nike's revolting efforts to put a little sex in the beautiful game "or else" will dry up along with its pecuniary returns.

Brazil 4 - USA Zip! Zilch! Nada! Rien! (Don't Marta have prettiful feet? Wow!)


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Washington Hillbillies

No matter which Clinton you elect, don't you just know in your heart of hearts you'll get stuck with The Bill?

Hillary never seems to advance an argument, or explore an idea beyond ankle deep. After all, it's politics — all she really needs is your vote, not your understanding or reasoned acquiescence. Which sort of begs the question, once she's got the presidency, will she know what to do with it?

She's already said that on January 20th, 2009, her first act as President (if elected) will be to empanel a grand jury, or something of that sort, to look into what George W. Bush and his cronies have been up to the last eight years. Gee, lady, could you unpack that a bit, and lay out what it means? Why does a President want to be Attorney General?

Bear in mind that Hillary is not superb at coalition building: Her health care plan in the first few months of Bill's presidensity was fraught with miscalculations, cluelessness and missteps, a curious sort of vacuum into which rushed disarray, retreat and the kind of merciless silence that makes well-deserved second helpings of rue all too possible. This time, though, she says it'll all be different. This time, she'll fight those special interests.

Lyndon Johnson never "fought" a "special interest" in his life, especially not when it was standing in his way. He jawboned it to death. And frankly, Hillary is not a good jawboner. She can't talk down from anybody else's level. She's not charismatic. She's utterly incapable of spontaneous good humor. She tells a joke like it was a Jack-in-the-Box — her smile telegraphs surprise like Gomer Pyle, and her eyes get really, really wide just before the last... wait for it... quarter... here it comes... crank. Ann Richards she ain't.

No thanks. I want Joe Biden leading us out of this war.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

North Korean nukes in Syria?

Not likely. Israel is just spoiling Palestinian statehood, an idea that resurfaced last week in Condi's briefcase. Ain't gonna happen, even if they have to paste tiny PRK decals on those Syrian surveillance photos themselves.

Bush gets high, high marks for the dead silence surrounding this one, including the freaked-out hush by everyone in Tel Aviv except Benjamin Netanyahu, who is used to sucking the oxygen out of a room but seems curiously out of the loop on this one.

You do get the impression that Bush is furious with Israel for launching a mad dog attack in northern Syria. Gee, let's free associate, shall we? Israel. Syria. North Korea. China. Whoa, China... Russia. World War III. 50 megatons...


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Obe Jay Troove Ay

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

World Cup Soccer, U.S. vs. England, Saturday, 7 AM CDT

FIFA Women's World Cup, live from Shanghai, China on Saturday. Some things are worth getting up for.

Update Sat 9/22/07: USA 3 - England 0 (Good game!)


Code Pink

Code Pink is saying (on Chris Matthews' Hardball last night) that Hillary goons threw them out of a rally for displaying "unapproved signs." Say wha...?

Yeah, the old jokes about Democrats forming a firing squad by lining up in a circle probably do apply. Still... Code Pink acts up in front of tough audiences, too, so they've got the credentials as well as the message. Go Code Pink!

In a more jugu... err... jocular vein, I'd have to say I do approve of tasering that troll at the University of Florida. If ever "Don't!" meant "Do!" that was it. Forget Kerry, though. Those cutup Kampus Kops should have zapped the kid for pretending to spoil the ending of the new Harry Potter book. Twice.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Meth the Press

Is John McCain on meth? Or is he just listening to Martian radio on that steel plate in his head? In that "spirited exchange" on Meet the Press yesterday, McCain blurted, catlike, the hairball observation that his reading of military history brought to mind not a single instance of military withdrawal producing "success."

Really? As my favorite Republican Senator of all time, Everett "The Wizard of Ooze" Dirksen was wont to remark in simpler times (all that was at stake in the halcyon days of my youth was the nuclear annihilation of the world), it sometimes seems as though the South lost nothing at Appomattox excepting of course the Civil War.

Losing the battles while winning the war is also a theme of U.S.-Japanese relations since 1945, if I'm not mistaken. We still have ninety or so military bases on Japanese soil (and it looks as though it's going to be Japanese pacifists that kick us out, not the neo-nationalists!), and yet the result of all that brass and treasure piled on Okinawa this last half century has been naught but to build the best trading partner post-Maoist China ever had.

I guess George Bush hates Japan; hence the neglect. But George Bush loves Iraq; hence the micromanagement. Weird.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Three Wise Men of the Dianaic Age

Let's face it, nobody would read George Eliot if she weren't a woman named George, nobody would ever read Jane Austen if she weren't Required, and nobody reads Dickens when they can watch five or six recent flavors of A Christmas Carol on television. Mercifully, thankfully, 99.9% of the English speaking world is clueless about Dame Edith Sitwell, and if claws scuttle across anybody's silent floors, it is only in the abyssal brains of a few shell-shocked English majors stunned by the Dianaic Age.

For all that, reading is not dead. The Three Wise Men of recent English literature are J. R. R. Tolkien, Terry Pratchett and J. K. Rowling. Nobody from the Ivy Leeks even comes close.

Of course, prophetic utterance like this requires neither proof nor elaboration, so I simply invite you to check back in 100 years and see who's still reading who*. But the proximate cause of this little whoop was my concluding weekend, in which I read Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series (trilogic in form, so far; I invite you to Google your own self, and by all means buy from to get the gnarly book covers — goes for Rowling, too.) Great literature is read first without reverence, but a second reading of much Pratchett places him among the finest (and sneakiest) moralists of the modern age.

This includes the 0.0000166 percent of web-bound immoderati who are even marginally aware of Dory Dockertoe.

*Aaaaauuuuuuummmmmmmm... — Swami Prabhavananda
 Aaaaauuuuuuuuuu... — Hermione Granger

A third reading makes you wonder why he cast a streetwalkin' floozy yclept (*ahem*) "Tiffany Aching" in the role of a 13 year old witch, but, hey...! If Henri-Georges Clouzot can cast his randy old lady opposite Yves Montand (Le salaire de la peur, 1953) as a fun-loving heart of gold 40-year-old loli named "Linda," why not?

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Expiration Date: January 20, 2009

According to the only Constitution that matters, the War in Iraq expires on Inauguration Day, 2009, the first words out of Hillary's mouth had better be, "Bug out!" and three star General Petraeus had better be ready.
UPDATE: In the Democratic debate with Judy Woodruff moderating, in Des Moines the other day, Hillary said her first act on January 20, 2009 would be to appoint a committee to "find out what's been going on under George Bush." The woman is all process and no principle, as though she's running for Attorney General. Biden understands that he's running for President. He looked better and sounded smarter, IMHO.


Sunday, September 09, 2007


I'm beginning to see why Star Ocean only sold 235,000 copies in Japan when it was released in 1996 on the Super Famicon (SNES). The predominant aspect of gameplay is simply battle after battle after battle, super redundant, bearing no relationship whatever to puzzle, plot, ambience or even humor — once you've seen three Pretty Bells and a Magius, you've seen them all. Mash A, mash A, mash A...‡

Both SO2 and SO3 suffered from this same defect, in some degree, but by SO3 battles were optional — you could see them lurking on your screen, you could avoid them and you could still advance the game — and, if your only battle strategy was button mashing, you could expect to die hard after you'd seen Gemity.
‡Just picked up Security Card B when the crashing brain freeze hit, in case you were wondering...


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Sewing Machine

Needle, thread, racer and bobbin action — image purloined from a student web page at M.I.T.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I have a doubt...

As much fun as it was watching Larry Craig's career decrepitate and blow away like a Hollywood mummy, listening to that audiotape makes me doubt the cop had anything.

That's a classic "guilt trip" interrogation technique, where you harangue a suspect who's "agreed to cooperate" (i.e., he's given up his rights to remain silent and have an attorney present because not "agreeing to cooperate" is a slam dunk admission of guilt so far as the media is concerned) until he admits something, anything, real or not.

If it sounds familiar, it's the plot to I Know What You Did Last Summer and a hundred other bad B-movies. The schmuck is dazed and confused and feels guilty about something, right? The schoolyard stuff always works best. At least the cop didn't give Craig much more than a pile of innuendo and a verbal (if effective) wedgie... In Los Angeles, he coulda waterboarded him.

Sounds to me like this former "Law and Order" Senator was easy to bully. It would probably be useful to hear the "good cop" dialogue, since there were plainly three people in the room, but I've heard enough. The cop was on a fishing expedition, and the audiotape proves that more than anything it insinuates about Larry Craig, except for a few old saws about reaping the whirlwind, hoist by one's own petard, and suchlike.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Telescopic Visions

One of the things I like about Hayao Miyazaki is his ability to introspect on the creative process, especially in Whisper of the Heart.

The (somewhat generic) Young Girl in this instance is a budding novelist who rediscovers — like all artists — the disconcerting way grand visions as yet unrealised in the heart or head diminish to handkerchief dimensions when translated onto paper or canvas.

I would have thought only tunetinkers immune to this odd wrongway telescopic effect, but then there's Rodgers & Hammerstein's interminable second regaling of "Jam and Bread" from Sound of Music.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Vanishing Japan

If George W. Bush's catastrophically delusional obsession with Saddam Hussein — advancing here the all-too-likely theory that the "War Against Terror" and indeed all U.S. military involvement in Iraq was, is and continues to be pretext to hide Bush the Lesser's private vendetta against Saddam, who flicked boogers at Bush's daddy after the first Gulf War — leads to massive standdowns in regions of the world that do matter, such as the Far East, then Japan will be swallowed alive by China and the United States will dwindle in the nuclear afterglow of its vanished seaboards to residual grease spots in the Dakotas.

I'm not optimistic, even if Bush goes into bunker mode and fights holding actions against a hostile Congress and an even more annoyed electorate until January 20, 2009. Bush's wars have created a fascinating plethora of tunnel visions and sanity-threatening fixations, like a mad rabbit obsessed with a rattlesnake in the corner, which completely prevent wide-angle observation.

There's a great article in tomorrow's Yomiuri Shimbun by Hisahiko Okazaki, a former ambassador and long serving member of Japan's diplomatic corps, that lays it out from Japan's perspective. There's vitriol in there if you read between the lines — Japan feels abandoned by the Bush State Department, hinting (with a bit of finger drumming) that History, like a four ton hippo in a tutu, has a way of pirouetting unexpectedly on seemingly minor disappointments.
Not to change the subject, but I wouldn't give a bucket of warm Gatorade™ for Mitt Romney's chances. Do millions of women really want to be sealed in willy nilly matrimony with him in some brightly lit Mormon afterlife?