Sunday, October 31, 2004

National Novel Writing Month begins in 45 minutes - as I start writing this - and, in lieu of a solid idea of my own, I'm going to work with the one suggestion you lame-o's managed to offer me...

I challenge you to write a novel, set in post-apocalyptic (or post election)world. It has to be written in the second person.from the perspective of A-rod's daughter, oh...and it has to have zombies
Thank you, Diane Roy. Wacko!

50,000 words in a month is roughly 1,666 words/day, twice as long as the longest poem I've ever written! Also, 1/3 longer than the first chapter of my less than less than stellar attempt last year. With one-inch margins all around, that's approx 5 pages, depending on the ratio of exposition to dialogue.

WTF am I thinking!?!?

12 minutes and counting...

If you're so inclined, you can track my progress here.

Friday, October 29, 2004

"Those who can, do. Those who can't, edit."

While that's not always true, in light of my inability to write something in time for the newly-launched e-zine of "cutting-edge non-fiction," loupe, I've decided to do the next best thing...launch a web site of my own to highlight all of the great writing I come across in my online travels - not unlike like that appearing in loupe and other e-zines and blogs I read regularly.

[drumroll, please...]

Critiquing the American Dream

Anecdotal Evidence is dedicated to the idea that while everyone has an opinion, the majority of them are unimaginative and ill-informed – both the opinions and those offering them – especially those published in most other magazines and blogs. That’s why we scour the internet for the really good stuff, clean it up when necessary, and republish it in fresh new packaging for the discerning masses. And twice a month, we publish first-time exclusives from the best writers we can get on the cheap! Whether it’s the War in Iraq™, inappropriate places to wear a Kobe Bryant jersey, or why Xbox is better than PlayStation, we present hands-on coverage of the various angles, aspects and annoyances of the fabled American Dream.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness put under the microscope and dissected for your amusement and, we hope, a little enlightenment.

LIFE: It’s hard work. Hard work!
First-person essays on life in America.

LIBERTY: Big Brother’s watching you. Moon him!
First-person essays on politics, current events and other usually boring stuff.

HAPPINESS: If you don’t buy stuff, the terrorists will win!
First-person essays and reviews on anything with a price tag.

MELTING POT: Because homogeneity is boring!
External links to interesting people, places and things.

TOWN HALL: The masses strike back!
Forums, chat rooms, resources, and more.

Anecdotal evidence is evidence stemming from a single, often unreliable source which is used in an argument as if it had been scientifically or statistically proven. The person using anecdotal evidence may or may not be aware of the fact that, by doing so, they are generalizing.

For example, someone who is not a physician or other kind of expert might argue that eating crushed garlic and drinking one glass of red wine per day will prolong your life, just because their own neighbour indulged in that habit and died aged 90. It becomes clear that in this case any form of inductive reasoning lacks a broad empirical basis.

Similarly, a politician might publicly demand better teacher training facilities just because their own son or daughter happens to have a spectacularly incompetent teacher.

This is not to say that anecdotal evidence is fallacious per se; it just depends on how it is used. In many cases, it can be the starting point rather than the result of scientific investigation.

(courtesy of
Think of it as the UTNE Reader of the blogosphere with an angry pumpkin-filtered edge. (The GONZALEZ Reader seemed a bit pretentious to me, and zuzu's petals is too well-established to reclaim.)

The URL,, has already been registered and I'm looking to launch it in January 2005 as the first official publication of loudpoet productions. Right now, I'm looking for section editors, people passionate about specific topics who want to put a spotlight on their favorite writings/ers in those areas. Politics, celebrities, reality TV, the Smurfs, hip hop, poetry...if it falls under LIFE, LIBERTY or the pursuit of HAPPINESS, I'm interested.

E-mail me with ideas, questions, feedback, criticism or offers to design the web site!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Eminem really stepped up to the plate with his latest single, Mosh, evoking memories of Public Enemy's Fight the Power glory days and offering a glimmer of hope for rap's going back to the future and becoming relevant again. The animated video is a powerful visual statement as well and needs to go into instant heavy rotation on every music video channel. Watch it now and pass it on.

Mosh, Eminem

[I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
And to the Republic for which it stands
One nation under God

It feels so good to be back...

[Verse 1]
Scrutinize every word, memorize every line
I spit it once, refuel, reenergize, and rewind
I give sight to the blind, mind sight through the mind
I exercise my right to express when I feel it's time
It's just all in your mind, what you interpret it as
I say to fight you take it as I gonna whip someone's ass
If you don't understand don't even bother to ask
A father who has grown up with a fatherless past
Who has blown up now to rap phenomenon that has
Or at least shows no difficulty multi-tasking
And juggling both, perhaps mastered his craft slash
Entrepreneur who has held long too few more rap acts
Who has had a few obstacles thrown his way through the last half
Of his career typical manure moving past that
Mister kiss his ass crack, he's a class act
Rubber band man, yea he just snaps back

Come along, follow me as I lead through the darkness
As I provide just enough spark, that we need to proceed
Carry on, give me hope, give me strength,
Come with me, and I won't steer you wrong
Put your faith and your trust as I guide us through the fog
Till the light, at the end, of the tunnel, we gonna fight,
We gonna charge, we gonna stomp, we gonna march through the swamp
We gonna mosh through the marsh, take us right through the doors

[Verse 2]
To the people up top, on the side and the middle,
Come together, let's all form and swamp just a little
Just let it gradually build, from the front to the back
All you can see is a sea of people, some white and some black
Don't matter what color, all that matters is we gathered together
To celebrate for the same cause, no matter the weather
If it rains let it rain, yea the wetter the better
They ain't gonna stop us, they can't, we're stronger now more than ever,
They tell us no we say yea, they tell us stop we say go,
Rebel with a rebel yell, raise hell we gonna let em know
Stomp, push up, mush, +fuck Bush+, until they bring our troops home come on just . . .


[Verse 3]
Imagine it pouring, it's raining down on us,
Mosh pits outside the oval office
Someone's trying to tell us something, maybe this is God just saying
we're responsible for this monster, this coward, that we have empowered
This is Bin Laden, look at his head nodding,
How could we allow something like this, without pumping our fist
Now this is our, final hour
Let me be the voice, and your strength, and your choice
Let me simplify the rhyme, just to amplify the noise
Try to amplify it, times it, and multiply it by six
Teen million people are equal of this high pitch
Maybe we can reach Al Qaeda through my speech
Let the President answer on high anarchy
Strap him with an AK-47, let him go
Fight his own war, let him impress daddy that way
No more blood for oil, we got our own battles to fight on our soil
No more psychological warfare to trick us to think that we ain't loyal
If we don't serve our own country we're patronizing a hero
Look in his eyes, it's all lies, the stars and stripes
They've been swiped, washed out and wiped,
And replaced with his own face, mosh now or die
If I get sniped tonight, you'll know why, because I told you to fight


And as we proceed, to mosh through this desert storm, in these closing statements, if they should argue, let us beg to differ, as we set aside our differences, and assemble our own army, to disarm this weapon of mass destruction that we call our president, for the present, and mosh for the future of our next generation, to speak and be heard, Mr. President, Mr. Senator... [can you guys hear us?]
Who knew he had it in him?

Monday, October 25, 2004

Thanks to my reviews on - where I'm currently ranked 8345, and climbing - I've been offered a free copy of Ernesto Quiñonez' new book, Chango's Fire by his publisher's marketing department. As Amazon has firmly established itself as THE online bookstore, it's reviews have become more and more influential, with some places even selling mailing lists for their Top 1000 Reviewers for marketing efforts!

I was kind of surprised at the offer as my review of his first novel, Bodega Dreams, wasn't exactly glowing and Publisher's Weekly's review of Chango suggests it has many of the same flaws.

Nevertheless, I'll give it a fair read, hoping for the best. Certainly won't help that it's a hardcover and I hate reading hardcovers.

If you haven't already - and I KNOW most of you haven't! - check out my reviews and give me some more "helpful" votes to boost my reviewer rank and get me some more free books to review! Be sure to check out my very first review, and still one of my favorites, for the movie SLAM. ;-)

Also, backtrack a couple of entries and hit me with some suggestions for my National Novel Writing Month challenge. If I go with your suggestion, maybe I'll cast you as one of the characters in the story!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Friday, October 22, 2004

November is right around the corner, and that means it's time for another National Novel Writing Month! While I came up something less than short in my first attempt last year, it did serve as a helpful exercise in getting me away from thinking in verse and moving back towards fiction. It was also a good reality check on time management and another lesson in how bad I am at it.

I'm ready to give it another try this year, though, and will actually come up with a sensible schedule to get me through it. I don't have the luxury of setting aside an hour or two for writing every day but I can definitely recapture some of the time I waste online reading other peoples' blogs, fantasy football updates, comic book reviews and political coverage. The latter, something I've been accused of indulging in too much lately, will be a welcome break after a year of following it all so rabidly.

The biggest challenge in writing a novel in a month is my bad habit of editing on the fly instead of going with the flow. Over the years, I've written some really tight first chapters! Letting the words come out without tweaking them is the hardest thing for me. The one time I managed to pull it off, I wrote a 40-page screenplay in one weekend. Of course, that was 10 years ago! Actually, the 10-year anniversary of that first draft - it grew to 110 pages after the third revision and remains the only work of significant length that I've ever completed! - is November 27th, the last Saturday of this year's NaNoWriMo! A sign, perhaps?

Of course, what to write is an equally big challenge. Last year, I tried to pull off a fantasy novel but got bogged down in creating the details of the world it took place in, researching Taino history and learning a lot of good stuff in the process, but not getting much actual writing done. If I wrote 5,000 words in total, it was a lot.

So I have a week to settle on a story. Suggestions, as always, are welcome. Especially ones issued as a challenge! (No research required, though, please!)

Also welcome, would be anything from my recently updated Wish List. Hook a struggling writer with a wife and two kids up!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Something familiar about the fall of Fidel Castro?

Castro stumbled as he descended steps and fell on his side following a speech before graduates of an art school in Santa Clara, 280km east of Havana. The audience gasped and was stunned into silence.

But he quickly got up with the help of bodyguards and, sitting on a chair, hastened to assure the audience he remained in control.

"Please excuse me for having fallen," said Castro, who was clad in his trademark olive uniform.

"Just so no one speculates, I may have a fracture in my knee and maybe one in my arm," he continued. "But I remain in one piece. Trust that I'll do everything possible to recover as soon as possible, but, as you can see, even if I have to get casts, I can continue my work."

Google. Star Pulse. IMDB. Google... Ah, yes! Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me!

Mustafa: "Hello up there! I seem to have fallen down a cliff. I'm still alive, but I'm very badly injured. I think my legs might be broken but I'll try to stand up...[CRACK]..."
PS: While the Clemens/Red Sox angle would have been interesting, the Cardinals will make for a better series. Plus, after the Yankee heartbreak - theirs, not mine! - it was nice to watch a team celebrate a big victory in front of their own fans. PREDICTION: Red Sox in 7; the curse is lifted.
Hey Yankee fans? You like apples?

How do you like these apples?

(With thanks to Phil West.)

I thought I'd feel at least a twinge of sympathy for the Yankees, as I always do for the losing team in big games, but seeing A-Rod pick his nose while watching the Red Sox celebrate their improbably lopsided victory kept the feeling at bay. Fuck 'em!

Appropriate that their two big free agent pitchers - Brown and Vazquez - blew it for them in the end. At some point, no matter how much money you have, you run out of things to buy. Quality things, at least. And lacking any prospects of note in their farm system, dark days lie ahead for the Bronx Bombers. 1981 all over again?

Now, who does Steinbrenner fire first?

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Life is all about knowing when to compromise and I think I've found mine w/r/t my vote for President thanks to a timely email from Dan Cantor of the fledgling Working Families Party here in New York:

In New York, the WFP’s main goals are to get a solid vote for Kerry-Edwards on our line (Row E), and to help our priority candidates win. We ask your help in both.

In the Presidential [election], votes for Kerry-Edwards on Row E/WFP are worth JUST AS MUCH as a vote on the Democratic line, but carry an extra message. Long-time WFP voters know this, but there are many new people on our listserv (40,000 now), so it’s worth a moment to remind people how "fusion" voting works.

Kerry is running on 2 lines: Democrat and Working Families

Bush also has 2 lines: Republican and Conservative

If you are reading this message, you are probably planning to vote for Kerry. Doing so under the banner of the WFP will signal that you want Kerry and the Democrats to lean a little more to the progressive side on all sorts of issues.

A good showing on our line strengthens the WFP in state and local politics. If decision-makers perceive the WFP as growing, then better decisions will get made on issues like healthcare, job creation, school funding, tax policy, and crime.

PLEASE consider casting your vote for Kerry-Edwards on ROW E-WORKING FAMILIES, as well as the rest of the WFP ticket. It’s the “Good Housekeeping” seal of approval for politicians, and the more votes we gather, the more we can hold these same officials accountable.

A note to progressive bloggers: If you can get this (or a similar) message out to your New York readers, we’d be enormously grateful. It’s a constructive approach to 3rd Party politics, and deserves to be better known.
I like the WFP a lot, following them from a distance since late last year when I realized I couldn't switch my party affiliation from "None" to "Democrat" in time to vote for Kucinich in the primaries. I've been monitoring how they handle themselves during this election cycle and been mostly impressed with their straightforward, pragmatic approach to building their base from the left while selectively endorsing solid Democrats that support their ideals.

It also helped to dig up this little ditty I wrote a while back to remind me of how I felt about things before my disappointment with Kerry as the "Anybody But Bush" sweepstakes winner began clouding my judgement:

or, how I came to appreciate the lesser in "lesser of two evils."

10. Because you'd like to see him elected legitimately this time.

9. Because women have too much control over their own bodies.

8. Because affirmative action is reverse racism and slavery was a long time ago.

7. Because you are a CEO or other high-ranking corporate executive.

6. Because you're single with no kids and drive an SUV.

5. Because you can afford your own health insurance, have significant money in the stock market and/or send your kids to parochial school.

4. Because those uncivilized Arabs need a Starbucks, Wal-Mart and McDonald's on every corner.

3. Because the Pentagon is strapped for cash.

2. Because Corporate America has the people's best interests at heart.

1. Because it will take at least another four years to find those weapons of mass destruction Saddam used against us on 9/11.
So there it is. Kerry/Edwards gets my vote, the WFP gets another voice in the mix and I get to sleep a bit easier on November 2nd. On November 3rd, the real work begins.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Cheering for the underdog is an underappreciated passion. It's easy to cheer for the favorite, to expect victory, and be disappointed but not diminished in defeat. Easy, but ultimately boring, if you ask me.

There's something special about defying inevitability, though. Even the possibility of that kind of defiance gets me juiced.

As a Mets and Jets (and XFL!) fan, I know all too much about being the perennial underdog and the inevitability of defeat. If the Yankees lose to the Red Sox, their fans can justifiably look forward to next year. Like they did last year when they lost to the Marlins. Or the year before when the Angels knocked them out in the League Championship. Or the year before when the Diamondbacks beat them. And so on...

When it comes to the Yankees, there is no bigger favorite in sports to root against. The NFL has parity; the NBA no longer has Jordan; and the NHL is only worth mentioning because they're sitting it out this season.

"We are not the cowboys anymore — we are just the idiots this year," says Boston's Yeti-lookalike, Johnny Damon. "Cowboy Up!" was one of my favorite slogans ever, political incorrectness aside, and while the Red Sox don't exactly qualify for the David role opposite the Yankees' Goliath, they are definitely the underdog, battling both history and their own self-consciousness. No different from the sense of entitlement many superstars feel, be an underdog long enough and you start believing the hype.

Interestingly, though, while being an underdog can suck, being a fan of one doesn't have to. When the Mets' season falls apart mere days after the trading deadline, it's not quite as disappointing when you're used to dramatic failures. Mets fans expect the worst and appreciate the best. When the Jets start the season 5-0, it's reason for enthusiastic celebration because you know a 5-game losing streak could be waiting right around the corner. Jets fans have had their hearts broken too many times before and know that it's best to simply live in the moment.

Tony Brown posted an article from the NY Times entitled Maybe Red Sox Fans Enjoy Their Pain which offers an interesting theory about fans like me:

People who root for losers also quickly learn how to explain and adjust to failure, skills that psychologists say are emotionally protective...

This ability to consider multiple and combined reasons for failure - of spreading blame, if appropriate - can be especially helpful to people who blame themselves for things they have very little control over. It's a strategy that comes in very handy in other areas of personal life, said Dr. David Zald, a psychologist at Vanderbilt University. For instance, it can help any parent explain to a 7-year-old why her soccer team just lost by five goals.

Finally, supporting a losing team gives fans a psychological trump card. The long-denied supporters of teams like the Chicago White Sox, the Los Angeles Kings, the Colorado Rockies - the list is too long print, but you know who you are - know that one day, their team will almost certainly win it all, and the magnificence of that coming victory grows in the imagination with every blown save, every fumble, every mind-boggling collapse.

They know, too, that the fantasies of this deliverance are so cherished that the championship itself, if and when it happens, may somehow fall short.

The party will end, the curse vanish, and there will be no more heroic striving toward a paradise not yet found, but therefore not yet lost.
While I'm not sure how I'll handle the five goal loss with my kids - I'm as likely to be the parent getting into a fight with the coach - I totally agree with the idea that the "ability to consider multiple and combined reasons for failure" is an invaluable ability to have, if sometimes aggravating to others who lack it.

It can also be an obstacle, though, as the article's conclusion alludes to: "...and there will be no more heroic striving toward a paradise not yet found, but therefore not yet lost."

I've been accused of having a fear of success before, with financial gain typically the definition of success. I don't like playing the corporate game beyond the minimum effort required to survive. It's much deeper than not liking to wear suits or not wanting to kiss someone's ass now and then, though. It's an understanding that success defined financially is ultimately a black hole and, in that regard, I'd rather have never loved than loved and lost.

It's like the short story, The Rocking Horse Winner:

Although they lived in style, they felt always an anxiety in the house. There was never enough money. The mother had a small income, and the father had a small income, but not nearly enough for the social position which they had to keep up. The father went into town to some office. But though he had good prospects, these prospects never materialised. There was always the grinding sense of the shortage of money, though the style was always kept up.

At last the mother said: "I will see if I can't make something." But she did not know where to begin. She racked her brains, and tried this thing and the other, but could not find anything successful. The failure made deep lines come into her face. Her children were growing up, they would have to go to school. There must be more money, there must be more money. The father, who was always very handsome and expensive in his tastes, seemed as if he never would be able to do anything worth doing. And the mother, who had a great belief in herself, did not succeed any better, and her tastes were just as expensive.

And so the house came to be haunted by the unspoken phrase: There must be more money! There must be more money! The children could hear it all the time though nobody said it aloud. They heard it at Christmas, when the expensive and splendid toys filled the nursery. Behind the shining modern rocking-horse, behind the smart doll's house, a voice would start whispering: "There must be more money! There must be more money!" And the children would stop playing, to listen for a moment. They would look into each other's eyes, to see if they had all heard. And each one saw in the eyes of the other two that they too had heard. "There must be more money! There must be more money!"

...Yet nobody ever said it aloud. The whisper was everywhere, and therefore no one spoke it. Just as no one ever says: "We are breathing!" in spite of the fact that breath is coming and going all the time.
I hear those whispers everyday, some days louder than others. I'm not sure if they're real or in my head, though; if my fear of the worst holds too much power over my hope for the best.

So I cheer for the underdog, comfortable in the knowledge that while the worst is likely, there's nowhere to go but up.

[NOTE: I'm not sure how this ended up going where it went, and not even sure it makes any sense, but what I meant to say initially was "Go Red Sox!"]

Monday, October 18, 2004

Christmas came early for the Gonzalez kids this weekend as family and friends came through with toys o'plenty. So much so, I had to do some pruning of their existing stash lest they overrun anymore of the apartment. Annoying noise-making toys and a bagful of stuffed animals were the primary victims of the purge. Only two Elmos remain: the bi-lingual plush and the "Mr. Potato Head" knock-off.

Reluctant as I am to credit anyone with giving the "best" gift, especially in this case, I have to admit that Isaac's Clap & Laugh Microphone Set ranks in the Top 5 ever. It's a microphone and stand with a speaker in the base that has two pedals, one for a laugh track and one for applause. We set it up last night and Isaac broke it in with a couple of performances of kiddie standards - complete with some hammy chatter with his "audience" - which led me to hit the computer for some MP3s to play some of his favorites for a sing-along. He shied away from his [Harder to] "Breathe song" and offered some random backup on This Love before hitting his stride with his favorite, Drift Away. Lean Back and My Love Is Like... Wo closed out the pop portion of his set, and we switched to some Sesame Street and more kiddie standards. In all, it was about a 30 minute performance that left my cheeks sore from smiling so hard.

Of course, there was virtually no clothing in the mix - no one wants to give the "boring" gifts - so we'll be taking a trip to Old Navy to stock up this week as the weather has officially become post-autumnal.

PS: Only the Jets came through for me this weekend, with the Red Sox going for maximum drama, the Cards giving in to the Clemens angle and fantasy football making reality appealing again.

PPS: D&D was the right game at the right place at the right time. My Tiefling Rogue came through big with a well-timed tanglefoot bag, neutralizing the main bad guy and setting him up for the kill. The session ended with him about to palm a couple of gems from the treasure... If this means anything to you, you were either there, or are a big geek. In four cases, both. ;-)

Friday, October 15, 2004

Late-Friday Randomness...

Assuming this cold we're all fighting doesn't ruin things, tomorrow's birthday party for the kids should be fun. We're expecting 12 kids altogether, the most by far to be in our place at one time. Never mind the 20 or so adults accompanying them!

Isaac was sick as a dog for his first birthday party and he and India have both been coughing with runny noses for the past few days. They're two handfuls normally, and sick kids become cranky kids, so this morning was a nightmare getting them out of the house without Salomé. Plus, I feel like crap - low energy, tight sinuses, sneezing. And on such a beautiful day!

Yesterday's political commentary got some interesting responses here and a bunch more on my LiveJournal, where I cross-posted it. Some people didn't seem to realize I was writing out of frustration and one even tried to take me to task for my comments with some half-assed, presumptuous nonsense that almost got me to break out the flamethrower. If there's one thing I'll never apologize for, it's my standards for something I'm passionate about, whether they be high (politicians) or low (Team America: World Police).

Senators and House Representatives make $158,100/year, paid for by my/our/your taxes, so fuck yeah I hold them to a higher standard!

I'm taking Sou's advice, though, and taking a break from political debates for a bit. I get too worked up and it taints my mood for everything else. Whatever's going to happen on November 2nd has already been determined so it's a kicking a dead horse anyway. I'm going to recharge and get myself ready for the next round starting on November 3rd. No matter who wins, it's only the beginning of a long struggle to get back to something even resembling sanity.

It's been more than a month since I played some Dungeons & Dragons and I'm really looking forward to the escape from reality tonight. New DM, new campaign, new character.

Out of the blue, Salomé decided she wants to get dressed up for Halloween this year and already has her costume picked out. The same woman who, the only other time she's dressed up since we've been together, and then by force, wore all black and called herself negativity! I haven't the slightest idea what I want to be and haven't liked anything I've come across yet. I guess I could always put on a suit, blacken my eyes, drool and call myself Corporate Drone. Other suggestions welcome...

Red Sox will take the next three games in Boston. St. Louis will finish up their sweep of the Astros. Jets will go 5-0, beating San Fran 38-17. Three of my fantasy football teams will win.

That is all.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

It's one thing to believe Kerry is the right choice for President, but it's a whole 'nother ballgame to see him as the lesser of two evils and vote for him anyway.

Back in 2000, I recognized Bush for the hand puppet that he was/is and was adamantly against the idea that Gore was the lesser of two evils, villifying anyone that supported Nader instead or simply didn't bother to vote when they knew they were in a swing state. Gore ran a terrible campaign, much worse than Kerry's, underestimating both Bush and his level of support (and, in retrospect, his electoral vs. popular vote strategy) and, controversies aside, when all was said and done, he lost. Even worse, he quit the fight before it was done.

For all the outrage Fahrenheit 9/11 engendered, the most galling moment for me was watching Gore silence members of the House attempting to register a protest over the certification of the election results on the basis of disenfranchised voters in their districts because they lacked a co-signature from a Senator. ANY SENATOR!

And now, four years later, with our world a very different place post-9/11 and Bush & Cos. wrongheaded plans fully in action, a half-assed alternative like Kerry - who simply disagrees with many of Bush's methods, but not his fundamental objectives - isn't the answer because he will be set up to fail. The next four years are going to suck, no matter who is President. If Kerry pulls off the victory in the bottom of the ninth, it'll be all for naught as the job ahead is daunting for the people who screwed it up, even moreso for someone looking only to tweak it here and there.

It's like deciding to cut back to a pack a day once you've discovered you have lung cancer. It's too late!

A Kerry victory guarantees a relative status quo with a more palatable veneer. The Republicans are expected to maintain their hold on both the House and Senate this election - where are the rallying cries of support for change at the state and local levels? - and will make it impossible for Kerry to accomplish anything of real importance. In 2008, he will then get his hat handed to him by McCain or Giuliani.

So yes, even though my original statement of "Democrats deserve another four years of Bush." was specifically in reference to "Democrats" and meant as a snarky I told you so for nominating Kerry, after some frustrated thinking over lunch, I've come to the conclusion that AMERICA needs another four years of Bush.

While Kerry is definitely better than Bush, that's a no-brainer (no pun intended!), he's not better enough to risk status quo. The same way an addict needs to truly hit rockbottom to kick their habit, this country needs a swift kick in the head to turn off the TV and jar it back to its senses.

Bush/Cheney is the team to deliver that kick and complaining about how much it's going to hurt is at least four years too late. Twelve years, if you believe Ross Perot had tapped into something in '92 that was squandered during the Clinton years.

In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but in its effects.
--J. William Fulbright

A country which proposes to make use of modern war as an instrument of policy must possess a highly centralized, all-powerful executive, hence the absurdity of talking about the defense of democracy by force of arms. A democracy which makes or effectively prepares for modern scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic.
--Aldous Huxley
NOTE: This started as a response to Dyanna's post in response to my previous entry, but it started getting longer than I intended so I posted it here instead.
It's distractions like this that led to a knucklehead like John Kerry getting the Democratic nod to face-off against Bush in what should by all rights be a turkey shoot of an election. Assuming turkey shoot means the same thing as shooting fish in a barrel, of course.

I couldn't care less if Bush was wired up for the debate or not and dwelling on it serves no purpose at all. If he was wired, it simply confirms him as the know-nothing dimwit most Democrats believe he is, aka the same dimwit they derided in 2000 that beat them. BUT, it would also serve to excuse his awkward, exasperated performance in that first debate as understandable.

The proverbial double-edged sword.


"Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve." --George Bernard Shaw

Democrats deserve another four years of Bush.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Pumpkin Seeds: Same Old Song Edition

1. If circumstance dictates action, then overindulging on video games and fantasy sports is the married man's equivalent of late nights and loose women.

2. I'm George Bailey-tired but there's no Mr. Potter to tempt me, no Uncle Billy to screw me, and no Bedford Falls to reassure me.

3. There's millions of stories about people moving to the "big city" to pursue their dreams, but very few about the reverse commute -- and even then, it's usually a homecoming as opposed to a journey into the unknown.

4. Life in New York City is like running on a treadmill: You'll stay in shape, but you won't actually go anywhere, and one misstep will put you on your ass.

5. I'd rather be poor than average.

6. "How?" is more productive but "Why?" is always more compelling.

7. "It's not always rainbows and butterflies / It's compromise that moves us along..." - Maroon 5

Thursday, October 7, 2004

Pumpkin Seeds: Nouns I Don't Get Edition

1. Gwyneth Paltrow. Dime a dozen white girl with zero personality and limited acting ability.

2. Neil Gaiman. Just another imaginative writer lacking in fundamental skills. Much ado about nothing.

3. Beyoncé. Destiny's Child had one good song - Independent Women - before she went solo, and her own album is a testament to the power of good production over talent. Did Jay-Z threaten everyone in the media?

4. Jay Leno. He's as hit or miss as the wannabes on Last Comic Standing and yet dominates late night.

5. Men. Specifically the ones who believe whistling/catcalling/leering at a woman from their car/window/perch on the corner is somehow appealing.

6. Women. Specifically the ones who seemingly bathe in perfume before getting on the train, and then proceed to apply layers of makeup on their way to work, transforming before my eyes into corporate clowns.

7. Budweiser, Coors, et al. Most major domestic brews are cold piss-water with obscene marketing budgets.

8. Diet Soda. Artificial sweeteners taste nasty and will likely be found to cause cancer 10 years from now.

(8a.)Diet Soda with a Value Meal. The 119 calories you save are irrelevant compared to that fat-magnet Whopper you wolfed down.

9. Yankee fans. Actually, I get them, I just don't like most of them! Especially at PM rush hour during the playoffs.

10. Bush or Kerry fans. No matter your political leanings or party allegiance, how can anyone actually claim to like or admire either of these scumbags?

11. Gay Republicans. And black ones. And Latino ones. And middle-income ones. And lower-income ones...

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

The Forgotten is nothing like The Sixth Sense and to suggest otherwise is reductionism at it's worst.

If anything, the most appropriate [reductionist] synopysis, and quite possibly the studio pitch, would be to say that it's like Ransom crossed with the X-Files, with a strong female lead. Of course, that probably wouldn't sell very many tickets as an ad campaign! Unlike the Sixth Sense, though, the ill-conceived trailers for The Forgotten, while incredibly effective as attention-getters, leave very little room for any mystery regarding what's actually going on. You know pretty quickly that there can only be one explanation, but it doesn't ruin the movie as it's much more about the journey than the final destination.

I'm not going to spoil anything here, but I will say that the broadside car crash and people getting abruptly snatched into the air remains startlingly effective even though you know they're coming. And reviewers that complained about the "cop-out" ending are either cripplingly cynical, or just really hate kids.

Strip away the spooky X-Files wrapping and, at it's core, The Forgotten is a really well-made Lifetime TV-movie about the bond between a parent and a child; in particular, that between a mother and a child. What makes it work, though - and yes, it does work - lifting it beyond anything Lifetime could ever hope to produce, is Julianne Moore, who ably carries the movie on her freckled shoulders. The X-Files wrapping keeps it from being written off as a chick flick.

Moore's tentacled anguish over losing her son - complex and well-acted, never approaching Mel Gibson's Ransom histrionics - and the realization that someone/thing is messing with her head trying to make her forget him, makes the movie's more extraordinary elements both believable and more exciting. The explanation, all the more effective for it's being offered rather matter-of-factly, puts it more along the lines of The Village than Sixth Sense, with the story revolving around a philosophical question as opposed to a simple gotcha! twist.

Novel concept that!

Random trivia: The Forgotten's writer, Gerald Di Pego, also wrote the teleplay for The Death of the Incredible Hulk, as well as Phenomenon, which had the tagline: "Some things in life just can't be explained."

Monday, October 4, 2004

Happy 2nd Birthday, India! :-)

India D. Gonzalez, B:10/04/2002

India D. Gonzalez, B:10/04/2002

Friday, October 1, 2004

Some of the best political commentary online, from an admitted conservative no less, is coming from one Maureen O'Keefe Aptowicz's zeitgeist column at Funny, honest and intelligent, she skewers Kerry with the best of them but generally offers equal-time in her critiques, able to admit that her guy isn't exactly the brightest bulb in the house.

Anyway, while I don't think Bush won over any of the 'undecideds' (who are these dolts? Should they even be allowed to vote?), he didn't screw up royally and cost himself support. I suspect Kerry will pick up 3% in the polls, since the media consensus seems to be that Kerry 'won.' I can't wait for next week's VP contest!

P.S. to Kerry... you misled the American public with what you claimed was the Pottery Barn slogan. You said it was "If you break it, you fix it." Huh?

As any mother who ever navigated a glassware display with a rambunctious toddler knows, the slogan is "If you break it, you bought it." Just settin' the record straight...
"Wait a second," slam-scene-aware readers are asking themselves. "O'Keefe Aptowicz? As in Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz?"

Yes, indeed! "The visionary, the writer" from Cristin's wonderful Mother poem. While she may suffer from bad judgement, politically-speaking, she's an entertaining writer with a refreshingly honest take on the presidential campaign.