Monday, June 25, 2007

Sunglasses At Night

Hey, if anyone's wondering about whatever became of Corey Hart, I found him. He's now playing outfield for the Milwaukee Brewers, but he's not wearing his sunglasses tonight.

A Case of the Mondays

Yeah, I just want everyone to know that I'm still here, but I just haven't been in the mood for writing lately. And if you're not in the mood, there's just not much to write about. I feel like I've been stuck with a bad case of the Mondays for the past month or so now. So, I'll hope that you all with stick with me and keep checking in.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

All I Did Was Listen To The Fates

Today's random song lyric from a random song off of my iPod is courtesy of Was(not Was).

"All I did was listen to the Fates
I blew up the United States
Now little bits of Texas
Are floating up in space
I blew up the United States"

How 'Bout Some New Boobs?

Okay, seriously, there's no need to go obsessively checking to see if Pam Anderson showed some nipple on Conan. My God, just do a Google Image search -- you'll probably find a couple of hundred photos of Ms. Anderson with no clothes on. Hell, she's been in Playboy about 60 times.

Really, aren't there more important things to do? Why doesn't someone check for me to see if Emily Deschanel's ever let a nipple slip out on TV. That would be some damn useful information.

What I'm Listening To, Again

It's time for another edition of What I'm Listening to. For those new to this Thursday regular posting, it's simply the first 15 songs to pop up when I do the iPod shuffle. So, without further ado...

1. "Live It Up" by Juliana Hatfield. Have I told you guys before about how much I lust after Ms. Hatfield?

2. "Four Seasons in One Day" from Crowded House's Woodface. Good group. Good album. Good song. I'm still holding out hope that the group's reunion tour will find a way to include Houston.

3. "Wave A White Flag (Honky Tonk Demo)" from Elvis Costello's My Aim Is True (Bonus Disk). Costello's catalogue was redone and reissued by Rhino Records over the past several years. One thing that they did was to include a bonus disc with every CD that including live performances, rough cuts, etc., of songs from the original album or of which he was working on at the time. This is one such song. Touches on the country sound he would go for the in the early-80s.

4. "This Nearly Was Mine" off of Lindsey Buckingham's underrated Out of The Cradle. It's a soft little guitar instrumental with no vocal.

5. "Man or Animal" from Audioslave's Out of Exile. Talk about a jarring transition. Going from the softness of Buckingham to the hard distorted guitars of Audioslave and Chris Cornell's wailing and yelling.

6. "Walking Down Your Street" by The Bangles. Hey, on what radio station are you going to get this kind of diversity? And I know that Susanna Hoffs was supposed to be the sexy one, but I always had this thing for the bassist Michael Steele.

7. "Gimme The Car" from the Violent Femmes. Ah yeah, a little party music for the office.

8. "Universal Heart-Beat" by Juliana Hatfield off of Only Everything. Have I told you guys how much I lust after this lady? "Beauty can be sad/You're proof of that/When the damage is done/You're damaged goods." This was supposed to be the song off of the album that was going to make her a huge star. It didn't. But I always loved the video where she's a deranged exercise instructor.

9. "Janey Don't Lose Your Heart" from Bruce Springsteen's Tracks, Disc 3. I guess my iPod shuffle has a contractual obligation to not play anything from Born To Run. This is an okay song, but again, listening to it, it's easy to understand why this never made one of the albums.

10. "Vega-Tables" by Brian Wilson off of Smile. Man, I would've really like to have heard this CD done by The Beach Boys. This is the album that Wilson went nuts making. It wasn't released until about 3 years ago, with Wilson and some friends on vocals. It's a really, really good work, but The Beach Boy harmonies are missing, and it's just not the same as was it could've been.

11. "Gnik Nue" off of The Beatles' Love -- that's the new CD in conjunction with the Cirque de Soule Vegas show. In the show, and on the CD, it leads into George Harrison's "Something," and in the show, "Something" is a very magical, hypnotizing adventure.

12. "Magical Mystery Tour" off of The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour. Didn't this just pop up on my shuffle a couple of weeks ago. Where's "Revolution?"

13. "Man On The Corner" off of Genesis' Abacab. Way back in college, for one of my TV courses, we had to do a short 3-5 minute piece. I did a music video-thing to this song. I got an "A."

14. "Pressure" by Billy Joel off of The Nylon Curtain. I've always liked this song.

15. "I've Got A Feeling" off of The Beatles' Let It Be...Naked. Okay, I like The Beatles, but really, shouldn't my shuffle not give me three Beatles songs out of the last five?

Anyway, until I repeat this process next week.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Airing of the Grievances

In today's Airing of the Grievances, I hit on several topics that are pissing me off...

Number one involves the Harris County Commissioner's Court -- for those of you not from Texas, let's just say that Commissioner's Court is a great place to go if you're a crook.

There aren't many toll roads in Houston, and most kind of wrap around the edge of the city. But the city is full of traffic, and traffic jams. In attempt to alleviate traffic problems on the western edge of the city, the county built what is known as the Westpark Tollway. This was meant to decrease traffic on the two freeways serving the west side, as well as providing for eased traffic congestion on the surface streets.

Well, apparently, it's been so successful that the Commissioner's Court has decided to double the price of the tolls on the tollway to keep cars off of the tollway: "The Westpark Tollway has become so congested during rush hour that top county officials voted today to double fees during rush hour in an effort to reduce the number of cars on the road and get traffic moving."

So, let me see if I understand this. To decrease the traffic on a road that was meant to decrease traffic on the freeways, the County wants people to stop using the tollway and get on the freeway. Or, get back on one of the many surface streets with long waits at stop lights and people turning in and out of businesses.


But what really bugs me is the arrogance of the Commissioners: "County Commissioner Steve Radack said those who cannot afford the rush hour fees should use alternate roads. 'Let them go down Richmond Road,' he said."

Once again, one of the reasons behind the toll road was to decrease traffic on the surface street that is Richmond. So, not only does the County not want people on the toll road, it wants them all on Richmond if they can't budget the money for the price increase. This in turn makes traffic on Richmond -- which isn't a road that the County has to cover maintenance costs for (it's under Houston's jurisdiction) -- busier and increases the time of motorist going to work.

It seems like the geniuses behind the toll road should've considered that people might use their road, and that this might cause some congestion. But the members of the Commissioner's Court aren't exactly the brightest minds.

Number two involves Hillary Clinton. I've got nothing against the woman. And I'm a big fan of her husband. And I think she's been treated unfairly by the right-wing nut jobs. And though I disagree with some of her positions, I'll probably vote for her if she's the Democratic nominee. But damn it, choosing something from Celine Dion as her campaign song doesn't inspire lots of confidence.

And that's all I can take, I can't take no more.

Just Have Your Party On TV

Well, here's today's random lyric from the random song that popped up on my iPod shuffle.

"Well now you see what you want to be. Just have your party on TV. Cause the man from Mars won't eat up bars where the TV's on."

Blondie, "Rapture."

Monday, June 18, 2007

Ballpark Tour: Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati, Ohio

Well, I spent the weekend in Cincinnati, where I saw the Cincinnati Reds host the Texas Rangers on Saturday night. Great American Ballpark, home of the Reds, was ballpark number 19 on my ballpark tour.

Here are few photos from the stadium.

This is the main entrance to the stadium. The doors under the "Great American Ballpark" sign lead right to home plate. The outside of the stadium looks very nice. I just love this stark, bright white look.

The ballpark has steamboat theme. It's on the Ohio River, after all. This is shot from the walkway behind center field.

This fat bastard is The Clown. This is the location of my seats. Great seats, behind home plate.

This is Ken Griffey, Jr. just about to touch home plate after hitting career home run number 581. He hit number 580 earlier in the game.

The Reds Win! The Reds Win! The team hasn't done that much this season.

We Had Joy, We Had Fun

Well, today's random lyric from a random song doesn't come from a song on my iPod -- thank God. Instead, this awful lyric from this awful song got stuck in my head today because of this blog posting from my favorite blog, By Ken Levine. Mr. Levine decides to list what he considers to be the worst songs of all time, and damn it, one of the songs has been stuck in my head all fucking day, so I'm hoping to pass it on to you.

So, without further ado...

From Mr. Terry Jacks: "We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun."

You're welcome.

Ladies and Gentlemen: The World's Stupidest Man (Not Named George W. Bush)

You know, I like naked women. And I like strip clubs. But, if I were on an unpaid suspension from a job that pays me millions of dollars of year, and from which I might never be allowed to work at again, partly because of actions which have happened when I've been in a strip club, I don't think that I would go to strip clubs.

But I'm not Pacman Jones. Yep, that's right, Pacman's been going to see the nude women again. This time, he went to one in Atlanta -- he's hit Las Vegas and New York. I wonder if he's been to any of the fabulous places we have here in Houston -- he's been here several times when his employer, the Tennessee Titans have come into play the Texans.

And, as happened when he visited the nudie establishment in Las Vegas, there was a shooting involving a member of Pacman's posse.

I don't know, if I were Pacman, I'd stay away from the strip clubs for awhile, or at least get a new entourage.

Then again, I'm not Pacman.

Friday, June 15, 2007

On The Road Again

Well, The Clown's off to Cincinnati, Ohio this weekend. This is stop number 19 on my ballpark tour. I'll report in later.

What I'm Listening To, Again

So, before turning, here are the first fifteen songs I heard today on my iPod, thanks to the shuffle feature.

1. “Bwana” from Lindsey Buckingham’s first solo album Law & Order. It sounds kind of like an early version of “Holiday Road.”

2. “So Like A Rose” from Garbage’s third album Beautiful Garbage. It’s a slow, mournful song, dark like most Garbage, but there’s not the bouncing music of the previous work.

3. “I Would Die 4 U” from Prince. I like Prince. I really like Prince. But really, what’s the deal with the spelling? Spell the damn words already.

4. “Love Stinks” from J. Geils Band. Yeah, yeah, I know, everyone likes “Centerfold” better, but I think this is my favorite J. Geils song.

5. “I Want to Vanish” from Elvis Costello. Elvis doing a ballad. I like Elvis, but I really like it better when the guy’s rocking.

6. “Walk On” from U2’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Yeah, I know Bono’s stuck on himself. But this band’s still cranking good tunes after 20 years. The Stones stopped being relevant in the early-80s, just before hitting the 20 year mark. And The Beatles didn’t make it to 20. The Kinks were a shell. But U2’s still pulling it off.

7. “Slide Away” from Oasis’s first album Definitely Maybe. Distorted, jangling guitars. The Gallagher brothers trying to sing on tune. This isn’t the band’s best song. But damn it, I like this band, and I did like the work on this album.

8. “Come Back” from Pearl Jam’s latest. Eddie Vedder was supposed to be angry, and this whole album was supposed to rock. Well, most of it did, but for this song.

9. “Meatplow” by Stone Temple Pilot. Sample lyric: “Takes more than a breakdown to slow us down.” And, do you know what, I think that it took about three trips to rehab by lead singer Scott Weiland for this band to slow down and disappear.

10. “If It’s Love” by Squeeze. I never really got into this band, but I have the greatest hits because I do like a few songs on it.

11. “Scar Tissue” from the white rock rappers Red Hot Chili Peppers.

12. “Table for One” from Juliana Hatfield. I think you guys know how I feel about Juliana Hatfield. She feels lonely in this song. Like she’s in a lot of pain. I’ll be glad to help her ease her pain.

13. “Mary Lou” from Springsteen’s Tracks. Listening to the song, it’s easy to see why this never made one of his albums.

14. “I Did It.” Dave Matthews and the band tend to get on my nerves. DMB and the fans are so damn serious. And I know that this song, and this album were not favorites of the DMBers. So that’s probably why I like it.

15. “I’m The Only One” from The Go-Go’s last original album Talk Show. Yeah, I know there were three compilations and an album of original material a couple of years ago, but this is what I consider the last album. I think The Go-Go’s should be in the Rock-and-Roll Hall-of-Fame.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

You Tease, And You Flirt

Tonight's random lyric from a random song heard today on my iPod.

"Theres a smart young woman on a light blue screen
Who comes into my house every night.
And she takes all the red, yellow, orange and green
And she turns them into black and white."

Elvis Costello, "Green Shirt."

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Like It Or Not

Wherein, I continue with my trend of wasting a post by quoting a random lyric from a random song that pops up from the shuffle feature of my iPod.

"Like it or not. You have done it this time. Like it or not, I've had enough."

That's Phil and the boys from post Peter Gabriel Genesis. "Like It Or Not," from Abacab.

You Want Bada Bing, I'll Give You Bada Bing

Okay, I'm writing today because I'm sick of hearing about The Sopranos and how much the series finale sucked. I never watched the show. I never cared about the show. And I'm sick of being barraged by people bitching about the show. Hell, ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike In The Morning show has been nothing but non-stop Sopranos. They're even asking their guests to comment on the show.


And I want to do two things. First, I give you this link to By Ken Levine wherein the Emmy Award winning Mr. Levine reminds all of you about how bad the ending could've been if it'd been a network show.

Plus, I've been hearing about how finale endings always suck. And there's been lots of references to Seinfeld in that discussion. But I want to remind everyone that the finales don't always suck.

I can still remember the ending to the Mary Tyler Moore show in which everyone but Ted Baxter is fired, and the whole casts hugs one another and shuffles out the door while embracing as a group, then Mary Tyler Moore sticks her head back in the door and turns off of the lights.

Then there was the ending of St. Elsewhere where it's revealed at the very end that the whole series was part of the imagination of the autistic child of one of the series regulars.

But the best series ending of all time was that of Newhart. Not only was it the funniest ending of all time, but still one of the most surprising, with a great twist that I'm sure no one saw coming -- one that I know I never saw coming. And that's where Bob Newhart awakes in bed with Suzanne Pleshette, who was his co-star in his previous series, The Bob Newhart Show, and tells her all about this dream he had where he ran an inn in New England and the crazy brothers Larry and Darryl and Darryl.

That's all that I wanted to say. Not every series ending stinks.

And please, enough with The Sopranos already.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Magneto and Titanium Man

"Then it occurred to me, you couldn't be bad. Magneto was mad. Titanium, too. And the Crimson Dynamo, just couldn't fight it no more. You were the law."

Okay, I quoted Lennon last week, so thought I'd quote some McCartney. I think I got that lyric right. But fuck it, it's close enough. And no one's reading anyway.

Just wanted to say that I'm still here. Just haven't really seen anything that I wanted to rant and snark on.

A Mighty Wind: Yet Again

Yeah, this is news that you always want to hear during hurricane season -- the hurricane tracking satellite could fail at anytime. And there probably won't be a replacement for it until 2016.

But then again, I'm in the Bible Belt. I don't need no science, I just need The God-Fearers to pray the storms away.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Noboby Told Me There'd Be Days Like These

I just wanted to start with an apology. I know that I haven't been doing much of the writing lately. I know that most of you have probably got around to tuning me out, to not even coming over to check up.

I can't say that I blame you. What's the use of checking constantly on a blog that no longer posts daily. And you know what, that's always a problem that I've had with various versions of The ClownVision Chronicles. I always start out like fire, then fade away slowly, and slowly as time passes.

I promise, I'm trying not to let this happen this time.

But you guys (and women) have read this blog. You know that I write in this pissed off, sarcastic, mocking tone. And it's a hard tone in which to write, especially when you're not in the mood for it.

And lately, I haven't been in the mood.

So, apologies again, but I'm going to lose my space here on the innertubes and whine about my life for a bit. What's the use of having a blog if I can't write about what I want to write.

And this is what I feel like writing about today.

When I was growing up, I just didn't think life was going to be this way. That is me growing up to be a little piss-ant of a staff attorney (for those not in the know, staff attorneys are just about the lowest rung of employee at a major law firm. There's not much respect offered. There's no chance at partnership. And even most of the paralegals think that they're better than you are. And God forbid you work for a large firm where the brand new attorneys think that they're better than you, though you've been practicing law for 14 years -- though, for the most part, my particular office of my employer is fine). Or my growing up to be alone and having to deal with a suicidal father. Or many of the other things in my life about which I'm unhappy.

My therapist says that I shouldn't dwell on the things that make me unhappy -- yeah, I'm seeing a shrink, so that should give you some idea of how pathetic that I've become. But she also told me that sometimes it's good to write things down. To lay out the problems and try and find solutions.

I don't know how to find solutions to a suicidal father. Do any of you? And I'm a shy person at heart, so that doesn't make ending the loneliness thing any easier either. And I'm having no luck at all with the whole novel writing thing. Hell, I even had an agent at one point, but he was so shitty that I ended up firing up him.

I just wanted to write something to explain why there hasn't been much here lately. I hope that I haven't scared off everybody. I do know that my therapist is right in that I generally feel better when I write things. And hopefully, if any of you still read, I can find some positives in that somebody out there's still reading my work.

I promise, really promise, that I'll try and return to my old ways soon. Who knows, I know how some of my readers are with strip clubs, so maybe I'll write something about the mayor wanting to shut down the strip clubs because he wants to save the self-esteem of the girls involved (though, from personal experience with two friends who do this kind of work, they don't have any self-esteem problems, I'm the one with self-esteem problems).

So, I'll end with the title of the post, something from one of John Lennon's last songs:

"Nobody told me there'd be days like these. Strange days indeed. Most peculiar, momma, roll."

Thursday, June 7, 2007

She Definitely Ain't The Man In Black

You know, I don't agree with the Reverend Al Sharpton much. But he's right about this whole Paris Hilton thing. The girl only serves three days of a 43-day sentence because of some illness that they won't tell anyone about.

Who else gets this kind of treatment. I don't think it's as big a race thing as the Reverend Al. But I do think it's a big economic thing, like that Hilton Hotel money buying Paris some special treatment.

Come on. Who else would be let out of jail because they're ill? Isn't that why jails have doctors and medical wards? Sure, maybe it's not the posh medical treatment to which Ms. Hilton is accustomed, but tough shit.

After all, what's the saying: don't do the crime if you can't pay the time? I don't remember a saying about do the crime if you can pay off the time. But maybe that's just me.

What I'm Listening To, Again

Well, it's time for another edition of what I'm listening to...or what happens when I hit the "shuffle feature on my iPod." So, here are the first 15 songs that I heard today.

1. "Damn It Feels Good to be a Gangsta" by the Geto Boys. Damn, it makes me want to go demolish a fax machine.

2. "Shoot to Thrill" by AC/DC off of Back In Black. Damn, it makes me want to go to a strip club.

3. "Ride a Black Swan" by Zwan off of Mary Star of the Sea. This was Billy Corgan's band after he broke up the Smashing Pumpkins. They were so successful that he's putting back the Pumpkins. Still, it's a decent song.

4. "Send Money" by Juliana Hatfield off of Made In China, her last album, which I think was last year. Like I said, I don't know why she never hit it big. She was poised to make the leap, and it just never happened. It has one of my favorite lyrics: "Save yourself. If you want to pray for me, tell God to send lots of money."

5. "Like A Hurricane" by Neil Young and Crazy Horse. I got this off of the greatest hits album. I think Young's an acquired taste. I don't think as many people like him as say they like him. They think they're supposed to like him. I like him.

6. "The Fool on the Hill" by The Beatles off of The Magical Mystery Tour. One of the McCartney contributions. It's okay, but it's definitely not one of my favorites.

7. "Baby What A Big Surprise" by Chicago. This is a power ballad supreme. What can I say, I like Chicago.

8. "Fernando" by ABBA. Well, what little is left of my street cred just flew out the window. But come on, I dare you. Try not to sing along and tap your feet.

9. "Make Your Own Kind of Music" by Mama Cass Elliot. Okay, Desmond's down in the hatch and he's working out on the bike when he hears an explosion. Yeah, this is the song they were playing at the start of season 2 of Lost.

10. "Don't Let Me Down" by The Beatles off of Let It Be...Naked. A Lennon tune that Phil Spector left off of the original version of Let It Be. Paul restored it to the album when he and George Martin retooled the thing in 2003.

11. "Beautiful Night" by Paul McCartney off of Flaming Pie. Standard McCartney song off of one of his better albums. It's playing along like a ballad then there's the tempo change and it's a rocker. I like McCartney and I like this song.

12. "Gypsy" by Luscious Jackson off of Electric Honey. This leads to the question: whatever happened to Luscious Jackson?

13. "Believe Me Natalie" by The Killers off of Hot Fuzz. I really liked this album. This song is a good one, but it's definitely not the best thing on it.

14. "My Sister" by the Juliana Hatfield Three off of Become What You Are. This is the first Juliana Hatfield song that I ever remember hearing, and I was going in school in Sacramento at the time. Jangling, distorted guitars with her innocent sounding voice. I was hooked.

15. "Where It's At" by Beck off of Odelay. I know it's cool to like Beck. But I think he's just okay. Some of his stuff is good. Some of it sounds like he's trying to hard. This one, though, I really like.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Monday Musings... Kind Of

I just wanted to point out a few things for tonight...

Ken Levine's one of my favorite bloggers -- you'll find a link to his blog over to the right. He's a comedy writer, and he's written for some of the biggest, best regarded sitcoms in television history: Mash, Cheers, Frasier, The Simpsons, and many others.

Today, he tells the story of a Cheers episode that he wrote featuring Johnny Carson. I only bring this up because I was a huge Carson fan, and though I like Letterman and Conan, there shows just aren't the same. Carson had great timing and lived for the monologue -- you could tell that he liked talking his guests, but you could see it in his eyes that he lived for the monologue and the good joke. What makes this story so good is that Carson comes off as a great, classy guy. It just seems like I'm always reading about some star who, in real life, is the world's biggest jerk. I'm glad that this wasn't so with Carson.

And the other link is some of my nasty cross promotion. Go on over to the Press and check out how I graded the Astros after the first third of the season.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Color Me Skeptical

You know, I would think that the media would be getting tired of be played as suckers by the Bush Administration -- well, except for the Fox News Channel which seems to exist for no other reason than to give Bush Co. a blow job. But seeing as how this whole blow-up JFK thing is being played, I guess not.

What is this, a Die Hard movie or something? Blow-up a gas pumping station that's not even on airport property, and the explosion's going to travel up the pipes and blow-up the airport.

Just how fucking stupid do I look? I'm just not buying it. Just not buying it.

Casey At The Bat, Continued

So, Adam Everett's had a couple of hits this weekend, including a home run, and he's gotten his average up to nearly .220.

So, does this mean that Jesus Ortiz is going to be writing another of his stupid ass stories on how Everett's learned how to hit?

Seeking An Explanation

Okay, could someone please tell me just what the fuck it is that Jesus Ortiz is trying to get at in this column? I've read it several times, and I still don't get the point. He starts off with how Craig Biggio is the only reason that anyone comes to watch the Astros. Then he says that some of the players think that Biggio should be resting a bit more. Then he says that Biggio's not the team's problem. Then he spends the rest of the Astros portion of the column talking about how the team should trade Brad Lidge to the Philadelphia Phillies. What this has to do with the so-called central thesis of Ortiz's column -- that Biggio should be looking in the mirror -- I can't fucking figure out.

So please, will someone please explain this to me, for I'm confused.

Instant Karma's Gonna Get You

As many of my readers know, I'm not much of a fan of Roger Clemens. I don't trust him in the clutch. I want to know why he seemingly gets a free pass when it comes to the steroids controversy. I think what he did to Mike Piazza is wrong.

And, I've just got to say, that I think Clemens having suffered a groin injury during a minor league game that will prevent him from starting for the Yankees against the Chicago White Sox tomorrow night is proof of karma.

That Clemens wasn't a trustworthy big game pitcher was confirmed for me when Joe Torre refused to schedule Clemens for one of the games against the Red Sox this weekend. And karma's come to kick him and the Yankees in the ass.

An Easy Solution to an Outspoken Problem

Okay, I don't watch the news as much as I should -- though I'd still argue that I'm better informed about the world than anyone who watches the Fox News Channel -- so I missed this little event when it happened.

Apparently, talk show loudmouth Laura Ingraham was appearing on CNN to speak about the immigration issue. (And, I'm guessing here, but Ingraham, being a talk show host, and a conservative, is probably against allowing any foreigners into this country unless they're white.) CNN host John Roberts introduced her as "outspoken," and Ms. Ingraham took exception.

I didn't know that "outspoken" was an offensive term. I really do have to pay more attention.

But my main point is this: you know, CNN, if you didn't allow these nutjobs to appear on your network, you wouldn't have to worry about these problems. You're supposed to be a news network. So report news. If you and MSNBC would just let the nutjobs congregate over at FNC, then it would be safe enough for the rest of us to watch, and I bet that your ratings would increase.

Trust me on this. The people who watch the Fox News Channel are never gonna switch over to the liberal CNN or the liberal Headline News, or the liberal MSNBC. No matter what kind of nutjobs you put on.

Why do you think the fastest growing show in cable news is Keith Olbermann's Countdown? It's because he keeps the nutjobs off his show. You won't find Ann Coulter or Ingraham or Rush or any of those nutjobs on his show. And The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are getting high ratings because they make fun of these "outspoken" idiots.

So, if you don't want them to get pissed off at you for calling them "outspoken," then just don't have them as a guest.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Book Review: The Yiddish Policemen's Union

Michael Chabon has created some interesting worlds with his past several works. The Pulitzer Prize winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay recreates New York City from a period of the 1930s to the 1950s. It goes from the Depression to the McCarthy era with characters that create a “Superman-esque” comic book character. And his children’s novel Summerland takes place in a magical world in the Northwest U.S., and in a fictional universe where massive battles are decided by baseball.

But Chabon’s latest work goes where he’s never before gone, he goes full-bore science fiction in that he creates an alternate reality. It’s a world where Israel does not exist. Where the U.S. had to drop the atomic bomb on Berlin to end World War II. A world where there have been several revolutions in Russia.

The world in which Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union takes place is Alaska in the present time. It’s a homeland for the Jewish race. A U.S. territory established in the late-1940s, upon the exposure of the Holocaust. The Jews are given a portion of the state, which they share with the Indians. There are no massive oil revenues flowing into the state. And millions and millions of Jews from the world over have moved to Alaska, most settling in the city of Sitka, which hosted a World’s Fair in the 1970s.

Only the time has arrived for what is known as The Reversion. The United States, under the leadership of an evangelical president, is reclaiming Alaska from the Jews. The place is becoming Christianized, and the Jews are being forced out, being forced to find other places in the world in which to live.

One night, Detective Meyer Landsman is awakened by the managers of his flophouse apartment. There’s a dead man in one of the rooms. A brief investigation reveals that the man was murdered. He gets his partner, his half-Indian, half-Jewish cousin in on the matter, then his ex-wife, and his new supervisor becomes involved.

Landsman is told to disappear the case before the Feds take over in a matter of months. But Landsman cannot do that. He’s got to investigate. And he uncovers a potential Messiah, a terrorist plot involving Jewish commandos in the Middle East, and a cover-up by the U.S. government, a cover-up based on the evangelical president working to put the Jews in charge of the Middle East so that the final pieces needed for the Second Coming can fall into place.

Chabon’s good with creating believable characters. Not even the minor, bit players ring false. And he creates a world of chaos and worry as the millions of inhabitants wonder about what was it to become of their lives.

The mystery aspect of the novel disappoints. The pieces are there. And they all fit. But it feels somewhat secondary to the story. An atheistic Jew trying to come to grips with his place in the world, and attempting to find redemption in a world in which he feels that he does not belong.

I like this book. I really do. Chabon is a fantastic writer. He never uses a wrong word, or has his characters expressing a false emotion. The characters act as they do because it’s what they would do if they actually existed in the world in which they exist. And his alternate universe is believable. It’s like your reading a part historical novel, and part sociological treatise. Alaska has always been a Jewish homeland.

But while I liked this book. I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to like it. And as I reading, I REALLY wanted to like it. The mystery storyline just ultimately disappoints me, and it somehow seems all anticlimactic. Anyone who’s seen a Robert Redford 1970-era thriller will understand the ending, and where Chabon’s going with it, but while the ending of The Three Days of the Condor ends the only way that it can end, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union’s ending feels as if it ends only because it’s at a certain page point, a point that was predetermined in advance of Chabon starting work on the book.

But I’m bothered by trifles. This book would be a triumph with any other writer. And it’s still a pretty damn good novel as far as I’m concerned. So those of you who’ve never read Michael Chabon might not have my problems.

I’m still recommending the book, just don’t go expecting another Kavalier & Clay. It’s kind of like Wes Anderson making Bottle Rocket and Rushmore then following up with The Royal Tenenbaums. It’s a very good movie, just not as good as the first two. And this book is very good, it’s just not as good as its predecessors.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Me and My Big Mouth

Damn it, I was only joking about the whole Happy Hurricane Season thing.

I don't think that this is funny.