Apocalypse Now Redux

Good God.

Of the hundreds of photos from Abu Ghraib obtained by the Washington Post, only a representative handful was ever released. When a reporter on the original Abu Ghraib story visited my journalism class at Princeton, he showed us some of the pictures that were never released to the public. Among many sickening sights, I was struck by a folder that contained pictures of the head from a decapitated cat. The head had been stuck on a soda bottle and given a cigarette as if it were the effigy of a disposable, death-dealing culture.
So, basically, Lord of the Flies meets Apocalypse Now. This is what Cheney and Rummy and the rest turned the military into. This is what institutionalized moral rot leads to. Swell.

Mind you, the rest of that linked post leads to a completely different kind of crazy.

The lesson here is that if we can use our bodies however we want, in times of crisis the government will do so as well.
Yeah, because torture didn't exist before BSDM sexuality went 'mainstream'. It was only those dirty perverts who introduced it to the rest of us.

I can only quote Nick Danger (or am I?) when I read things like that:

The Great Prince issues commands, founds states, vests families with fiefs. Inferior people should not be employed.

A History of Song in Pictures

I've a rash of photos of me slapped up on Facebook in the last couple of days, which has of course prompted the usual flip through the entire album. Just for fun I'm going to see if I can figure out what songs I was singing in any of them that feature the lyrics behind me on the screen.

1,2 - you can't see the words, but those are obviously from the One Night in Bangkok on-stage chess match.

3 - See You Again by Miley

21 - no way to tell... going from memory I'd guess Aenima

22 - the same night as 21... I'm almost sure that's Ever Fallen in Love by the Buzzcocks

30-33 - can't see what's on the screen, but it's Fairytale of New York

35 - no way to tell

36-39 - more Fairytale with Kate Awesome

43 - Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac

50-54 - the first crack at Fairytale with Mizz Awesome

58 - A Little Respect by Erasure

60 - doesn't look like the song had started yet

117 - no screen visible, but that had to be Mac the Knife

121 - yeesh. No idea what song that was, but I must have returned to my home under a bridge somewhere afterwards

122 - sigh. I miss Di. Or at least, I miss being that close to someone. Maybe both.

133 - Go With the Flow by Queens of the Stone Age

137 - Jane Says by Jane's Addiction. Had this as my profile pic on FB for a while

Needles and Haystacks

I still strongly believe that there are sane conservatives in America, that they aren't all Beck/Malkin/Bachmann-esque loons.

The problem is actually spotting evidence of one in the wild. Take, for instance, Jim Manzi's latest. The article seems quite solid, as Manzi expresses concern over the government's 'finessing' of the Chrysler bankruptcy, but then down in the comments (as commentators wonder what the difference is between the US government using its power and influence to cut a good deal for itself, and Walmart doing the same) Manzi exposes his inner black helicopter watcher:

This sounds flippant, but I mean it literally: if Walmat had private armies, I would be very concerned about it. The key issue here, in my view, is the actor with control over large-scale military power “negotiating” with private economic actors.
For reals! Manzi's concern is that, if the government doesn't get its way with Chrysler's creditors, it will send in the army to, umm, shoot up the place or something.

If that post were a comedy sketch, Graham Chapman would have to end it early.

Tales of Staggering Idiocy!

Poker-themed edition...

A couple of days ago I'm in an online nine-player single table sit 'n' go. Four people are left, top three finish in the money. The short stack has checked out; either he lost his connection or simply gave up, and he now no longer had enough chips to even meet the big blind.

Let me stress this. In two hands, the short stack will be forced all-in on the big blind and will probably be eliminated. Barring some bizarre series of miracle hands for the absentee short stack, the other three of us are guaranteed a profit if we do nothing more than sit there.

The player running 3rd chooses that hand to push back against the chip leader, and eventually raises all-in after the turn with nothing more than two over cards (KQ off). Needless to say the chip leader has a real hand (which is why he'd raised pre-flop, bet the flop and bet the turn...), called, and the idiot was eliminated on the bubble.

Two overs. Not even some kind of semi-bluff draw for an inside straight. Just two overs.

I mean, I guess if you're playing to lose money for tax purposes, it makes some sort of sense.

Oh, Right, *That's* Why

While at the pharmacist today waiting for a prescription to be filled I flipped through the new Entertainment Weekly and reminded myself of why Owen Glieberman should be pistol-whipped, or at least never allowed to write, or even talk, about any movie ever again.

(My original contempt for Gliebermen was born when he gave O Brother Where Art Thou? a 'F' grade, and described it as misanthropic.

O Brother.


What a fucking tool.)

Anyway, in the latest issue, he reviews Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (which, granted, you'd think would be punishment enough for anybody), calls it "cheesy, tacky, and gimmicky" after spending a third of the review telling us how much he dislikes Matthew McConaughey, presumably due to jealousy and/or closeted lust (I'm not sure what else to make of a line like "But even if you've tired of the star's oily cocoa-butter narcissism" other than to think Glieberman spends more time staring at paparazzi shots of McConaughey on the beach than is healthy for anyone)... and then gives it a B-.

What a fucking tool.

I assumed that would be the worst film review I'd read today. I was wrong. But it wasn't even infuriatingly bad like a Glieberman review, it was just weak. Ioz's "oh look at me being clever and pushing your buttons" routine doesn't even rise to the level of annoying... it's just juvenile and sad.