A letter I sent to the Atlanta Urinal-Constipation. Let’s see if it gets printed…

Dear Editors,

Even aside from Richard Clarke’s damaging charges against the Bush administration, even aside from Condi Rice’s fear of testifying under oath, I find one pertinent fact that troubles me a great deal.

Everyone agrees that the summer of 2001 saw a level of terrorist “chatter” of unprecedented levels, strongly indicating that a catastrophic attack was in the making. Indeed, President Bush himself received a page-and-a-half briefing on August 6, 2001, “advising him that Osama bin Laden was capable of a major strike against the US, and that the plot could include the hijacking of an American airplane.”

So what was Bush’s response? He went on vacation. He took August off. He took the longest presidential vacation in HISTORY.

This is the man who now claims to have been at battle stations like Clinton had been during the (foiled) Millenium attacks? This is the “war president” who claims he took the terrorist threat seriously?

Bush has been on vacation a long time. A vacation from reason and responsibility.

Falling for the wonder of WONDERFALLS

Okay, watched Wonderfalls, the new Tim Minear-(exec)produced show on Fox. Turned out, it wasn’t what I thought it was gonna be.


The basic notion is that this young lady is talked at by inanimate objects which guide her to help others or somesuch. The advance preview I saw looked like it was going to be a visual treat (and not just because of the lead, though she certainly contributes greatly). I thought we were in Amelie-land, some Northern Exposure, sweet whimsy and magic realism…

I was wrong. That’s exactly what it is. And more.

It’s sweet and whimsical and magical realist and a visual treat and it’s also one of the most smart-ass shows to come along in a while. It’s genuinely (and hysterically) snarky. This show would give Touched By An Angel the fiercest possible wedgie.

The Los Angeles Times on Wonderfalls:

“…the writing is smart, not merely clever…TV is, almost by nature, a medium of constant disappointment: of good performance flattened by bad lighting, decent scripts killed by bad acting, high production values made to look shallow by ridiculous scripts. We are accustomed to these things from television, which because of its short production schedules and budgetary constraints and the need to sell soap is defined by compromise. But everything clicks here…Dhavernas makes the show work so well, you can’t imagine it working without her; she can throw a little boy up against a wall in rage and not lose your affection. “

The SF Chronicle:

it should be noted that the writing on “Wonderfalls” is superb and reaffirms one’s belief that smart people can actually get work produced in Hollywood. Created by Bryan Fuller (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine/Voyager,” Showtime’s witty “Dead Like Me”) and Todd Holland (“Malcolm in the Middle”), “Wonderfalls” will instead be best known for the talking trinkets. And that’s fine, too, because they say and do funny things and, truth be told, just seem more authentically interesting than God does in “Joan of Arcadia.”

There is a mood in “Wonderfalls” that evokes the best of multilayered television series, from “Northern Exposure” to the good years of “Ally McBeal, ” straight through, naturally, to “Malcolm in the Middle.” But despite being peopled with well-drawn characters and smart, audaciously careening scripts that induce bursts of laughter, “Wonderfalls” gives us television’s — at least network television’s — coolest female.

Yeah, there are some tough cops and sassy wives, there are hip ensemble players and the two funniest and most dangerous moms ever — Jane Kaczmarek on “Malcolm” and Jessica Walter on “Arrested Development” — but Dhavernas (pronounced “da-verna”), imbibes slacker-coolness like nobody else. She may be developing a young crush on Mr. Nice Bartender, but she’s independent and, as much as she can love anything, loving that freedom. Freedom to sulk, mostly. But at least she doesn’t suffer fools kindly, or flirtatiously, like most female characters on TV. She’s dropped out of society. She’s doing retail — and not very well. She’s living in a trailer. She knocks back more drinks than anyone else in prime time, and she’s not going to apologize for the fact that she’s bored with life.

If that’s not a brazenly drawn bit of prime-time heroine, what is? In a Buffy-less world (hell, even a Carrie-less world), Jaye is a godsend. And yes, there is the distinct possibility that the best freshman drama of the year may suffer the similar fate of past Fox series that also fell under that moniker – – cancellation.

But this is the risk that savvy viewers always run with Fox series. The fate of “Arrested Development” is still up in the air, having failed in its underhanded, documentary-styled genius to woo much of the country. That doesn’t mean it’s any less stupendous, now, does it?

Same with “Wonderfalls.” Maybe the country won’t swoon over the whimsical, endearing travails of Jaye, sent scurrying on missions of kindness she doesn’t really want to undertake by inanimate animals that talk to her, making her feel deeply insane. Maybe the country will miss, then, Jaye’s inherent sweetness and other valuable traits of her humanity, focusing instead on her rolling eyes and searingly obvious distaste for tourists, and, perhaps, the rest of the human race. That’s their problem.

Quoting Jaye — whatever. Yes, maybe the underlying intellectual vibes of “Wonderfalls” will go unfelt, or an appreciation for a snappy 45 minutes of televised illuminism will be lost on some people. But not on you, right? You suffered through September, October, November, December, January and February. This is your time to love TV.

I like it. You might too.


A joke I found:

President Bush was at a meeting and found himself interrupted by a member of the audience who continually shouted: “I vote for the Democrats!”

After a while Bush lost patience and asked : “Well, why do you vote for the Democrats?”

“Why,” the shouting gentleman replied, “My father was a Democrat and my grandfather was a Democrat, and so I am too!”

“Then tell me,” said Bush, “if your father was a fool and your grandfather was a fool, what then?”

“Well, then I’d most likely have voted for Bush!”

Of course, we know this isn’t a true story, because the secret service wouldn’t have let a Democrat within five hundred yards of a Bush event.

They Must Have Been Unpatriotic UnAmerican Terrorist Loving Liberals Who Hate Freedom

From Salon:

The president’s ballyhooed surprise trip to Baghdad on Thanksgiving, widely admired as a cunning political move at the time, just gets more disturbing the more you know about it. A U.S. soldier back from Iraq gave an interview to Intervention Magazine about what went on the day before the president came to town:”Stationed in the area of the Baghdad Airport at the time of President Bush’s Thanksgiving 2003 visit to the troops there, [the soldier] recounts that on the day before the president’s visit, the troops were given a questionnaire that asked them whether they ‘supported the president.’ Those who did not declare their support with sufficient enthusiasm were not permitted to take part in the Thanksgiving meal, and had to make do with MREs (meals ready to eat, referred to by the soldiers as ‘meals refused by Ethiopians’) in their quarters.”

The “pre-screening” of U.S. soldiers was also reported in Stars and Stripes, although the military paper said the soldiers were screened for security reasons. This is also the same dinner, recall, in which Bush proudly raised a too-good-to-be-true “trophy turkey” for his photo-op.


This Friday at 9 pm, we get the debut of the new show Wonderfalls on Fox. This is what Matt Roush at TV Guide has to say about it:

check out Jaye of Niagara Falls, the snarky slacker heroine of Fox’s Wonderfalls (Fridays, 9 pm/ET), a delightful comedy-fantasy series about a young woman with too much education (a philosophy degree) and too little ambition (a job in a souvenir shop). Played with sarcastic bite by Caroline Dhavernas, Jaye learns to “Surrender to Destiny” — the watchword of a local mystical legend — when inanimate objects like wax lions, brass monkeys and stuffed bears begin talking to her, urging her to help others and ultimately herself. She fears she’s crazy. I think she’s great. Ironic and romantic, Wonderfalls is a true original. Surrender to its charms.

Sounds promising, huh? Add to that the fact its Executive Producer is none other than Tim Minear, right hand man to Joss Whedon, steady worker on Buffy, writer of the absolute best Angel eps ever, and co-God on Firefly, and it sounds really promising.

Give it a watch. Hey, if it’s all that, you’ll either be with it from the start, or you’ll have the chance to enjoy its wonders till Fox cancels it out of the dumb-fuckedness of its executive head (see also: Firefly).

HILARIOUS. And true.

I have no idea who wrote this. I wish I did. Actually, I wish I had.

Thousands of formerly ardent Christians filed for divorce this morning, as others raped their children and household pets, after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that gay people are citizens too.

“My marriage is over,” spoke one upset Christian as he dry-humped the fender of a parked car. “My marriage isn’t worth anything,” he insisted. “I feel no connection to my wife and children and I just want to do whatever I please, when it pleases me to do it.” With that he turned to a passing elderly woman and shouted for her to reveal her “tits.”

This same scene is being repeated over and over again, on every street in every city and town in America. Once devoted parents and spouses, America’s Christians are denouncing any bonds between themselves and their families as they embark on a binge of sex, drugs and socialism.

“We warned you that this would happen,” insisted one anti-human rights activist. “We told you that gay citizens enjoying equal rights would destroy marriage, the family and even Christianity itself. And now it’s happened,” he said. “You should have listened to us. If you had, I wouldn’t of had to have sex with three different strange men in a public restroom this morning.”

The fallout from today’s decision is enormous and far reaching. So big is the change that swept America this morning that it may be days before a true accounting of the damage is complete. As things stand, one unconfirmed report has Bob Jones Jr., of Bob Jones University, defecating on his bible upon hearing the news, while other witnesses have come forward to report that they had seen Pat Robertson, former leader of the Christian Coalition and the host of the 700 club, enjoying sex with a chair.

Congress was quick to pass an appropriations bill funding the thousands of new orphanages needed to care for the abandoned children. It is hoped that this is only a temporary measure and that Christians will yet accept the financial responsibility for their families, even if they no longer love them and insist on masturbating in public.

Putting Our Money Where Our Brains Are

From: Eli Pariser, MoveOn PAC
Sent: Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Subject: Urgent: Kerry Needs Our Support

It’s now clear that John Kerry will be our Democratic nominee. That’s why today marks one of the most important points in the race to defeat George Bush.

Tomorrow, President Bush will begin airing the first of his campaign ads. He’s amassed a campaign fund of more than $100 million to use for this purpose. Now that the nominee’s known, the Bush campaign and allied groups will “go nuclear,” saturating the air waves in swing states with ads intended to frame the contest early.

Senator Kerry is coming off a long and hard primary fight during which much of his money has been spent. But as the media focus on him and he steps into the role of the Democratic nominee, he also has an opportunity to frame the choice before voters. The big question is whether Kerry will have the resources in this key moment to powerfully respond to the Republican attacks and present his positive vision for our country.

Together, we can answer this question. If you’ve been holding off on contributing to a Presidential campaign, now’s the time to jump in. We have a Democratic nominee, and he needs our support today. Please join us in contributing $5, $50, or $500 today to the Kerry campaign at:

This couldn’t be more important, folks. Gov. Bush adds more than half a million bucks a day to his war chest, and Kerry was at -5 million as of Super Tuesday. His donations have naturally picked up since it became clear he’s the nominee, but there’s no way in hell he’s going to catch up with Bush, so every little bit counts.

Bush can raise money like that because he’s the candidate of the rich and corporate. Kerry is our candidate, you know, us Americans who aren’t making billions off Iraq. So we need to buff up the meager strength in the political process we get from our votes, and the most immediate way to do that is to send cash.

At this point, $5 to Kerry is a better investment in your kids’ future than $5 in a savings account for them, for a world full of reasons.

The more the better. I’m broke, but I’m gonna donate. You do the same.

From a John Kerry speech

If Kerry can keep this up, he’s definitely the man for the job:

“We cannot let the strongest armed forces in the world be weakened. America’s greatest military strength has always been the courageous, talented men and women whose love of country and devotion to service lead them to attempt and achieve the impossible everyday. We must resolve that America’s leaders will never let them down.

“Yet we hear reports that – in dangerous parts of Iraq – our helicopters are flying missions without the best available anti-missile systems.

“At the same time, un-armored Humvees are falling victim to road-side bombs and small-arms fire.  The Bush Administration waited through month after month of ambushes and only acted to start manufacturing armored door kits three months ago.

“The Army’s 428th Transportation Company, headquartered in Jefferson City, Missouri, shipped out to Iraq two weeks ago.  They had to ask local businesses to donate the steel to armor their vehicles. When the Bush Administration heard about this, their response wasn’t `never again.’ It was `good idea’ – they emailed instructions to other units letting them know how they could use homemade armor to protect their own Humvees from attacks. I believe our soldiers deserve better.

“Even more shocking, tens of thousands of other troops arrived in Iraq to find that – with danger around every corner – there wasn’t enough body armor to protect them. Many of their families on the homefront – mothers and fathers, husbands and wives and children – were forced to raise the money to buy it for them.  They went to their neighbors for donations – and dipped into their savings to give their sons and daughters the equipment to save their lives – which the Army should be providing. Last month, a young newlywed in Virginia even gave her husband body armor for Valentine’s Day as he prepared to ship out to Iraq.

“Families should be sending pictures and care packages to Iraq – and the Department of Defense should be sending the body armor. Today, I call on President Bush to support a law now in Congress to reimburse each and every family who had to buy the body armor this Administration failed to provide. This month, I will also be introducing a Military Family Bill of Rights to prevent anything like this from ever happening again.

“What we face isn’t a question of the budget; it’s a question of priorities and values. This Administration has given billions to Halliburton and requested 82 million dollars to protect Iraq’s 36 miles of coast line. But they call this basic body armor a `non-priority’ item.

Our Glorious Leader

This is the full text of an open letter to Gov. George W. Bush from A.R. Torres. a 9/11 widow:

March 5, 2004

Dear President Bush:

My husband, Luis Eduardo Torres, was at his second day of work at Cantor Fitzgerald when he was killed on Sept. 11. He jumped from the 105th floor of the North Tower. Most of his upper body was recovered, identifiable only through dental records. I was seven months pregnant at the time.

It is with him in mind that I’m writing to you, to question your disturbing reelection ad campaign. Yesterday I saw the three ads you’re now running all over the country, specifically on cable stations in the “swing states,” where you feel you need to come out fighting strong. It was the “Safer, Stronger” ad that shocked me the most. At the commercial’s midpoint, the words, “Then … a day of tragedy” dramatically appear on the somber black screen. And the centerpiece: an image of ground zero, the hulking remains of a tower, alongside a human corpse, carried out by several firefighters. Both the tower and the human are draped in American flags.

The flags were intended to honor ground zero and the remains of the dead, but here they are merely props, used to add a powerful patriotic punch to your message. The tower and the corpse are two hideously broken and disfigured things behind and under the flag, and your image — with your red tie, white shirt, and blue suit, standing in front of thick strong white columns — serves as another, symbolic, flag.

That image of ground zero, and the body shrouded with the flag, reminded me of the sulfur from the few pathetic remnants of my husband’s last day: his Cantor ID, Debitchek Meal Card and subway Metrocard.

I thought I’d finished dealing with the gruesome aspects of his dead body, but it came back to me during your commercial. I had a thought I’d never had before: Was every corpse draped in an American flag as it emerged from ground zero, or was it just an honor bestowed upon the uniformed workers? What if that was my husband’s body, now serving as a “spokesman” for your campaign?

I canceled my toddler’s afternoon activities so I could do research. I could hear my voice quake as I called the medical examiner and the mayor’s office. Initially, uniformed personnel were the only ones wrapped in the flag, I learned — but it became standard practice to cover all the dead in that way.

In effect, then, Mr. Bush, you’ve paraded all our 9/11 dead out as the official mascots of your reelection campaign. You use them to show our nation that you can protect us against what we should all fear the most — being an anonymous corpse in another attack.

But these sleights of image and crafty juxtapositions are the only true demonstrations of your leadership abilities. I have no doubt that you need to use this because that’s all you really have to show. After all, on that tragic day you didn’t actually lead the nation: according to the work of the “Jersey girls” — the four 9/11 widows who fought to have an independent commission investigate the tragedy — your first reaction to the plane hitting the North Tower was to blame the pilot. And you continued your activities — reading stories to a group of young schoolchildren. And as you try to impress our nation with your role during and after 9/11 in these ads, you refuse to talk meaningfully to the independent commission about the specifics of your role prior to 9/11 and how much you knew about a potential large-scale al-Qaida plot.

I didn’t think that co-opting 9/11 with such disregard for those of us who have been affected by this tragedy would anger me so much. No doubt John Kerry will use 9/11 to help make strong his own candidacy — and that, too, is of concern. But so many 9/11 families are sick at your use of our sadness … I can’t imagine it being any worse than where you have already led us.

Where’s the KABOOM? There’s supposed to be an earth-shattering KABOOM.

A great read from Mark Morford @ SF Gate:

I have been waiting patiently.

I have been staring with great anticipation out the window of my flat here in the heart of San Francisco, sighing heavily, waiting for the riots and the plagues and the screaming monkeys and the blistering rain of inescapable hellfire. I have my camera all ready and everything.

There has been nothing. I see only some lovely trees and a stunning blue sky and my neighbor walking by with her pair of matching chow chows as a pained-looking woman struggles to parallel park her SUV. Same old, same old.

And this is San Francisco, gay-marriage HQ, Sodom-and-Gomorrahville, debauchery central. We are supposed to be careening off the nice, safe road of social acceptability right now, welcoming chaos, exploding into a fiery hellmist of our own sick godless depravity and dropping off the disgusted planet any minute now.

Where is my raging apocalypse?

Click the quoted text to go and read the rest, yea and verily, yea.

One More Stake in the Heart

Oh well. UPN has opted to pass on possibly picking Angel up after its premature cancelation by the shit-heels at WB. There are still some options on the table — like TNT, I believe — but it’s really looking like next year will be the first year in nine years that we won’t have a Joss Whedon show on the air.

I say again: fuckers.

Well, at least Firefly lives on, on the big screen with the big bucks no less.

And hey, I’ll have more time to read, always a good thing.


Every so often, I see a flicker of light through the black clouds of the mass human soul…

Lisa de Moraes in her column in The Washington Post on Peter Jackson:

And, you have to admit, even 43 million viewers would be an incredible accomplishment for a four-hour broadcast that was monopolized by a fat, rumpled, dreary little man — given that most people watch the Academy Awards to spend quality time gazing on beautiful, slender, glamorous and, at least superficially, interesting movie stars.

Then again.

Cutting to the heart of the matter

Tom Tomorrow’s thoughts on Nader really hit the target:

Nader’s critique is, essentially, that there is a cancer on the body politic–and he’s right about that. The problem in the year 2004 is that the body politic is also suffering from multiple wounds and blunt force trauma, we’re in the emergency room and it’s a damn mess and there’s blood everywhere and the doctors are working furiously but it’s anybody’s guess how things are gonna turn out. We are in triage, and we have to deal with the immediate problems, or the long-term ones won’t matter anyway.



Universal Gives Serenity the Green Light
Source: Variety
Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Universal Pictures has greenlit Serenity, the feature film based on Joss Whedon’s Fox TV series Firefly, which was canceled in late 2002 after just 11 episodes.

Deals are in place for Whedon to direct and for the original cast of the TV show to reprise their roles. The film, budgeted in the mid-eight figures, is scheduled for a June start and should be ready for a 2005 release.

Whedon said the film will be released under the title Serenity to give it some distance from the TV version. He said he went out of his way while writing the project to make sure that it is accessible to audiences who never tuned into the series. The movie is set about six months after the TV show left off, and centers on two passengers on board the ship who attract trouble to the crew.

The studio has closed a deal with Nathan Fillion to return as Capt. Malcolm Reynolds. Other original cast members Gina Torres, Morena Baccarin, Jewel Staite, Adam Baldwin, Sean Maher and Summer Glau are also in place.

“Ballad of Serenity
Composed by Joss Whedon
Performed by Sonny Rhodes
(Click image above to hear song)

Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don’t care, I’m still free
You can’t take the sky from me

Take me out to the black
Tell them I ain’t coming back
Burn the land and boil the sea
You can’t take the sky from me

There’s no place I can be
Since I found Serenity
But you can’t take the sky from me

How to kick George Lucas in the gnards.

Well, as we all know, George Lucas is a tool. As such, he’s insisted not only on tooling around with his flashy new crappy movies in the Star Wars series, he’s repeatedly re-tooled the original good ones (as well as Return of the Jedi).

He’s repeatedly said the hell with those of us who made the series successful in the first place, most of whom really would prefer him to keep his ham-fisted attempts at revision to himself, and has no respect for the folks like John Dykstra who created at-the-time cutting edge special effects to make his vision come to the life, but now are having their historical and wonderful work relegated to Lucas’s circular file for eternity.

I will never release the original versions, quoth George. Not even alongside my new “better” versions.

And now, apparently Frank “Shawshank Redemption” Darabont turned in a marvelous script for the fourth Indiana Jones flick, a script that Spielberg and Ford really like…and Lucas said nah. It’s not up to his standards, doesn’t hold a candle to Episode 1: The Fucking Mess, Espisode 2: Attack of the Crap, or even the classic Howard the Duck.

Well, fuck ‘im.

The original Star Wars trilogy is due on DVD this year. The bastardized CGI versions, not the actual beloved originals. Han doesn’t shoot first. And Lucas will make a billion dollars off them anyway because the fans will buy them even if they want the real ones.

Don’t. Do. It.

If you buy this set, you give Lucas no incentive to provide the originals. You do your part in screwing over Dykstra and his team as their effects are replaced with digital effects that don’t even look as good as the original effects did. And you do your part in giving old George a far more comfy retirement than he really deserves.

Know what you should do? Download the originals on BitTorrent or Kazaa or Limewire or one of those bootlegging services. They’re out there, and they’re rips of actual laser-disk versions, so they’re even digital and widescreen. And they’re bits of history Lucas promises never to let us get our hands on, so you’re not even taking money from his pocket since he doesn’t intend to sell them. Download them, burn ’em onto disk, watch ’em. Share them with your kids, so they can see what George Lucas once had in him (or what his collaborators like Lawrence Kasdan and Irwin Kirshner had in them). And don’t buy the DVDs.

Who knows, if enough fans take this route, maybe the old bastard will ultimately cave in to market forces and give us the originals.

Download the real things.

Don’t buy the damaged versions.

Enjoy Star Wars and kick Lucas in the fiduciary gnards.

It’ll be all good.

Oh My! Misleading Info From The Bush Admininstration?

From Salon:

Students writing term papers or journalists doing Google-reporting have learned by now not to believe everything they read on the Internet. Just like good old hard copy reference materials, it’s best to check the source. One would hope for credibility from sites administered by the U.S. government. But not when it comes to an official bio of the president found on the State Department Web site, it turns out.

The Boston Globe points out that the State Department has, since 2001, featured an embellished account of Bush’s National Guard service on the Internet. The site “credits him with almost six years in the F-102’s cockpit — two years on active duty flying the plane and nearly four more years of part-time service as an F-102 pilot. The websites of at least five American embassies — those in Germany, Italy, Pakistan, Vietnam, and South Korea — use the identical language, even though Bush spent barely two years flying the airplane.”

The Globe quotes Dan Bartlett, White House communications director, admitting the bio is wrong: “It does not reflect the facts of his service. It will be corrected.”