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Sunday, 17 April 2005
Ratzinger
I'm predicting, for no good reason, that Ratzinger will be made Pope. But a Latin American Pope would be next, if not now.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 9:56 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Good Stuff
Now Playing: "Slave" by the Rolling Stones
Are y'all watching this special on FDR on the History Channel? It's really very good. Lots of blunt talk about his polio and race relations and everything else. Plus, there's some absolutely incredible color footage. Stuff I don't recall ever having seen before (e.g., the 1941 Inaugural).

But the Queen of England's mouth was too small to eat a hot dog? Ha, ha! Yeah, baby, yeah, baby.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 9:45 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Saturday, 16 April 2005
Left of the Dial
I saw the HBO documentary Left of the Dial over at my eldest brother's house tonight and found it very interesting. It's a remarkably candid look at the birth of the Leftist talk radio network Air America ---and is an unflattering portrait of self-important and shrill propagandists who know dick about what they're doing.

From the start, Air America was the undeserving beneficiary of a lot of Big Media coverage and fawning horseshit ---all out of proprotion to its actual reach or appeal. The rationale of the liars and con artists who came up with the idea of a Leftist talk radio network was that it would provide balance to people like Limbaugh and Hannity. But, in reality, it was an investor-funded propaganda arm of the Democratic Party, rather than being the organically market-driven success that conservative talk radio is. Its chief aim was to serve to defeat the incumbency of George W. Bush ---and, at this, it failed miserably.

In time ---sooner rather than later--- the network itself will meet the same fate.

After all, who would willingly listen to the intolerable and shockingly ignorant Randi Rhodes or to the laughably narcissistic pussy Marc Maron? These wankers are inexcusably vile, but the worst part of it is that Air America has provided a venue for Janeane Garofalo's intellectual disintegration ---thus depriving me of one of my favorite crushes.

Damn you all.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 12:02 AM CDT | Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink
Friday, 15 April 2005
The Damnedest Thing I'll Hear All Day
Mood:  surprised
Now Playing: "Use Me Up" by Bill Withers
I'm still not sure that this isn't a spoof, but here goes:

HONOLULU — The only whale-dolphin mix in captivity has given birth to a playful female calf, officials at Sea Life Park Hawaii said Thursday.

The calf was born on Dec. 23 to Kekaimalu, a mix of a false killer whale and an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Park officials said they waited to announce the birth until now because of recent changes in ownership and operations at the park.

The young as-yet unnamed wholphin is one-fourth false killer whale and three-fourths Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Her slick skin is an even blend of a dolphin's light gray and the black coloring of a false killer whale.
What?! I had no idea such a thing was possible. Have you ever heard of such? Tee hee. What a weird notion to wake up to.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 8:56 AM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, 14 April 2005
Crap That Appalls
Mood:  suave
Now Playing: "Winter" by Tori Amos
Brent Bozell notes the widespread public outcry that was made when Jimmy Carter failed to join President Bush and two other former Presidents at the funeral for Pope John Paul II (emphasis mine):

The ongoing news coverage of the pope?s death pleased a lot of Americans ? especially the stirring live coverage of the papal funeral on April 5, when the TV networks did a nice job of mixing silence and expert commentary. The cable networks even respectfully replayed the ceremony in prime time. But in the midst of it all, there were those journalists who had to, just had to, find a way to criticize President Bush.

On April 3, NBC?s "Today" show bizarrely found the makings of civil war after perusing the list of presidents attending the papal funeral. President Jimmy Carter was missing from the list! A snub! Pass it on! Katie Couric began the show by fussing: "the question some people are asking is ?Where's President Carter in all this?? Are the Bushes and the Carters the modern day version of the Hatfields and the McCoys?"
Is this splayed rictus of a she-clown fucking serious? Not only did I not give a good goddamn that the wretched recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize (that was explicitly awarded as a slam against George W. Bush) didn't go with the others, I have no idea why he would have been expected to.

There's not enough of the people I dislike fucking off like they need to.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 10:39 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Thursday, 14 April 2005 10:43 PM CDT
"The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves."
Now Playing: "Big Log" by Robert Plant
Courtesy of Mr. Johnson, here's the latest ---and probably the last--- word on the Giuliana Sgrena incident:

The investigation found the car was about 130 yards from the checkpoint when the soldiers flashed their lights as a warning to stop. But the car kept coming and, at 90 yards, warning shots were fired. At 65 yards, when the car failed to stop, the soldiers used lethal force — a machine gun burst that killed Calipari and wounded Sgrena and the driver.

Senior U.S. military officials say it took only about four seconds from the first warning to the fatal shots, but insist the soldiers acted properly under the current rules of engagement.
Calipari's death was a terrible moment, but it wasn't a matter of Americans maliciously shooting their Italian friend; it was a matter of self-preservation for some young men manning a checkpoint in the middle of the night in Baghdad.

It's important to note that Calipari was himself largely at fault for this. Had he informed the American military of his intentions and the situation beforehand, it is very unlikely that any such shooting would have ever taken place. But he tried to keep it a secret. That's on him. Because, obviously ---and contrary to what the delusional Sgrena has to say about it--- there was no reason to murder a high-profile ex-hostage at the moment of her liberation. Anyone who believes that Sgrena and her pro-terrorist crap is so damaging to our war efforts that we would risk infuriating our allies in Italy by killing her is nuttier than she is.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 7:19 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Dearest Dolores
Mood:  crushed out
Now Playing: "Turn to Stone" by the Electric Light Orchestra
I was quite surprised and pleased to see this story on CNN's website this morning. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass' classsic album Whipped Cream & Other Delights ---and, let's face it, the greatest album cover in the history of popular music--- Shout! Factory Records is releasing a special edition of this classic.

Despite the success of "The Lonely Bull," Alpert and the Tijuana Brass -- originally a collection of Los Angeles session musicians -- didn't have much chart success until "Whipped Cream," which was released in April 1965. The album -- or album cover, featuring a nude Dolores Erickson covered in ersatz whipped cream -- caught the public's fancy, and the rest is history.

"We'll never know exactly what made this album Herb Alpert's big commercial breakthrough -- the music or the LP jacket," writes Richard S. Ginell on Allmusic.com, praising the album for its "eclectic" selections (all of which involved food) and "unique sense of timing."
Ah, yes. Good eatin'.

And, wonderfully, the model who made the famous cover has a website at which she sells autographed copies of it for 50 bucks a pop. Not a bad deal.

Now where's my damned wallet?


Posted by Toby Petzold at 6:40 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Wednesday, 13 April 2005
See You Next Wednesday
On yesterday's Wall Street Journal editorial page, James Taranto wrote of John Kerry's recent comments on voter intimidation in the 2004 Election (emphasis added):

John Kerry, the haughty, French-looking Massachusetts Democrat, who by the way served in Vietnam, showed up yesterday at a Boston event, where he was "using crutches as he recovers from knee surgery," reports the Associated Press. He was also using emotional crutches as he recovers from last year's election:

"Last year too many people were denied their right to vote, too many who tried to vote were intimidated," the Massachusetts senator said at an event sponsored by the state League of Women Voters. . . .

Kerry also cited examples Sunday of how people were duped into not voting.

"Leaflets are handed out saying Democrats vote on Wednesday, Republicans vote on Tuesday. People are told in telephone calls that if you've ever had a parking ticket, you're not allowed to vote," he said.
It's a pretty amazing charge to make, so where did Kerry hear of it?

Why, The Onion! Where else? A week before the election, which was held on Tuesday, 2 November 2004, this satirical newspaper ran a story about a GOP "effort" to turn out the minority vote:

With the knowledge that the minority vote will be crucial in the upcoming presidential election, Republican Party officials are urging blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities to make their presence felt at the polls on Wednesday, Nov. 3.

[...]

"Let's be honest," Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie said. "The Bush camp has been criticized for ignoring the minority vote for some time, especially during the last election. This project is our way of correcting that misperception. The Bush camp is extremely concerned about the black vote, especially in places like Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. This year, on Nov. 3, we'll make a concerted effort to welcome minority voters into our own special camps with open arms."
As you can see, this wicked plot to disenfranchise the voters was seared ---seared--- into Kerry's memory.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 11:16 AM CDT | Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink
Monday, 11 April 2005
Byron York on the Myth of Fahrenheit 9/11
Mood:  cheeky
Now Playing: "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" by the Platters
Be sure to read this excerpt by Byron York from his new book The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. It's just full of pissing-off-old-friend goodness:

[...] I asked Rove what he thought of Michael Moore?s blastingly anti-Bush movie, Fahrenheit 9/11. Had it had an effect on the presidential race?

"It?s an artful piece of propaganda," Rove said.

Was that all? Had he seen the picture?

"I plead guilty to violating the copyright laws of the United States by watching a bootleg DVD," Rove answered with a grin. "I refuse to enrich [Moore]," he added, giving the clear impression that he had a rather low opinion of the filmmaker.

With a little more prodding, Rove said he wasn?t worried about the picture and did not see it playing a substantial role in the election. But he had watched it ? at a time when some others on the White House staff were saying they would not see it. Rove was too careful a man, and his mind too wide-ranging, not to want to judge for himself.
York argues that Fahrenheit 9/11's nationwide success is a myth ---and he backs it up with some interesting numbers:

One key measure studios apply to a picture?s performance is whether it does better or worse than might be expected in any given DMA [i.e., Designated Market Area]. They do that by calculating each DMA?s share of the total North American box office. Los Angeles, for example, accounts for 8.32 percent of the box office for all films, New York for 7.78 percent, and San Francisco for 3.40 percent. If the San Francisco box office for a film accounts for more than 3.40 percent of a film?s total gross, the film is said to have overperformed in San Francisco. If the city accounted for, say, 5.10 percent of a picture?s North American gross, then the film would be said to have overperformed by 50 percent. Studios use those measurements to compare films with one another, and entire film genres with one another. Do action pictures do better in Philadelphia? Romantic comedies in St. Louis? That sort of thing.

Overall,
Fahrenheit 9/11 did extremely well in North America?s top eight markets, according to the numbers compiled by Nielsen EDI. The film actually underperformed slightly in the largest market, Los Angeles, down just under 4 percent from the market?s normal DMA share. (That was probably due to the presence of conservative Orange County, which makes up a significant part of the Los Angeles DMA.) But it overperformed in the next seven largest markets. In New York it overperformed by nearly 43 percent; Fahrenheit 9/11 took in 11.12 percent of its total box office in that city alone. It did even better in San Francisco, overperforming by 73 percent, and did above-normal business in Chicago, Toronto (by 79 percent), Philadelphia, Boston (by 49 percent), and Washington DC (by 62 percent).

Fahrenheit 9/11 also did well in Seattle, Montreal, Ottawa, Portland, Oregon, Monterey, California, and Burlington, Vermont. In all, two things stand out from those numbers. One is that the picture overperformed only in blue states, and even then only in the most urban parts of those blue states. And the second is that it did very well in Canada. Fahrenheit 9/11 consistently overperformed in Canadian cities; without that boffo business, the film?s gross would have been significantly smaller than it was.
Oh, just read the whole thing.




Posted by Toby Petzold at 11:40 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Monday, 11 April 2005 11:42 PM CDT
UN-American
I'm always a little bit fascinated with people who publicly advocate the United Nations. Why would anyone do that when the UN has proved itself time and time again as nothing but a corrupt debating society for the detritus of the world community?

Today, it was a Leftist organization called Code Pink that decided to embarrass itself at the confirmation hearings for John Bolton, President Bush's nominee for the ambassadorship to the UN. Do these morons not know how morally bankrupt this organization is? How is that possible?

Of course, in terms of sheer stupidity, Code Pink must take a back seat to the doltish Senator from California, Barbara Boxer. Is she not able to argue any point that isn't just reactionary emotionalism? She is certainly among the very dimmest bulbs in that august body.

(Thanks to the guys at the Power Line from whom I swiped this picture.)


Posted by Toby Petzold at 6:59 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, 10 April 2005
True Dat
"What is hateful to you, do not do unto others. That is the whole of the law. All else is commentary. Now go and study it."

---Hillel the Elder (c70? BCE - 10?)


Posted by Toby Petzold at 12:33 AM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Sunday, 10 April 2005 12:34 AM CDT
Saturday, 9 April 2005
Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Windsor
I am quite pleased to see that Prince Charles has finally wed the true love of his life. He and Camilla have loved each other a very long time and today was a true testament to the vastly greater power of the commitment between two people than what is expected of mere conventions and legalities. It's an embarrassment that so many of the British people are such vicious 5 year-olds about this true love affair and about Camilla, in particular, but maybe time will heal the wounds that the so-called Queen of Hearts' death left behind.

The British royal family are almost certainly the aloof and elitist snobs that circumstances have crafted them into being. They may, on the whole, very well be terrible company and uninteresting people, save for their wealth and history. But I have never been such a childish mythologizer that I would doubt that they are human beings entitled to a certain measure of dignity ---something that the press in their country is willfully oblivious to.

I thought that Charles and Camilla looked superb today and I am, in the way that all unrepentant Anglophiles are, happy for them as people and as representatives of their culture. They are blessed people ---and alive.

Give the dead their due, but save some good will for the rest, too.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 11:11 PM CDT | Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink
Friday, 8 April 2005
Heavy
The prayers of the Eastern Churches. Their song is vaguely alien, but relatively so. And gathered around like cousins at a family reunion, one favoring another.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 5:19 AM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Sign
I'm interested to see how very many women are playing a role in the reading of these prayers. Is that unusual for women to have such a vocal role in a funeral of this note?


Posted by Toby Petzold at 4:10 AM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
"A Seed of Immortality"
They bury Pope John Paul II today as a "seed of immortality." Beautiful.

And the crowds applaud.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 3:43 AM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Magnificent
These aerial views of the Eternal City and St. Peter's are absolutely stunning. Bravissimo!


Posted by Toby Petzold at 2:55 AM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Good Eatin'
Mood:  amorous
I'm watching Paula Zahn talk to Hanoi Jane on CNN right now and it's impossible to not find them to be a whole lot of deliciosity. What is Fonda? Like 67? She's always been in my Top 20 hottest babes ever, even though her politics are crap. And Paula Zahn? Forty-two, maybe? Fantastic. Not to be the lecherous Larry King about her, but what a lovely lady.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 1:41 AM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Wednesday, 13 April 2005 7:14 PM CDT
Dripping the [Irony]
Now Playing: "Behind Blue Eyes" by the Who
Dig this:

The French government has destroyed 162,000 copies of the EU constitution because the phrase "incoherent text" was printed on a page by mistake.

The copies had been intended for use in town halls and libraries across France.

But they were recalled after the mistake was spotted. It is not known who was responsible for inserting the offending comment.
It were honesty, sirrah.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 1:33 AM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Up for the Funeral
I took a good and very long nap Thursday night and have been up for about an hour now to see the funeral of Pope John Paul II.

Somewhere in my stashes of memorabilia is a photograph of the Pope from where I took it on the floor of St. Peter's Square of him standing at the window of his apartment. That was June of 1987. If I find it, I will scan it in and post it here.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 1:19 AM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Wednesday, 6 April 2005
Revisions and Extensions
Now Playing: "Jet" by Paul McCartney and Wings
Yesterday, US Senator John Cornyn of Texas sought to "clarify" his remarks from Monday:

"I want to make one thing clear," Cornyn said. "I'm not aware of any evidence whatsoever linking recent acts of courthouse violence to the various controversial rulings that have captured the nation's attention in recent years."
Yet that didn't keep him from making that exact same argument the day before in a very unfortunate rhetorical fit of thinking aloud. Monday, on the floor of the United States Senate, Cornyn said:

I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection, but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country -- certainly nothing new; we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that has been on the news. I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in violence, certainly without any justification, but that is a concern I have that I wanted to share.
As I have written elsewhere, I know and like John Cornyn personally. He is a good and decent man ---and those who are criticizing him as some sort of inciter of violence are full of shit.

The worst that can be said of Cornyn's original remarks is that they were literally ignorant. The guy who murdered Judge Lefkow's mom and husband in Chicago (and who later committed suicide) had a personal beef with the judge. And the guy who killed the judge and the others in Atlanta was simply trying to escape his fate. Neither of these acts of violence was ideological. Therefore, they are not indicative of any "building" discontent with this country's judiciary ---just as John Cornyn's lapse of logic in suggesting they are is indicative of who he is as a man and a judge himself.

Compare this to Tom DeLay's very obvious threats of impeachment or removal of judges with whom he disagrees. Was DeLay thinking of Stanley F. Birch, Jr. of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ---a conservative who was appointed to the bench by Bush the Elder? Was DeLay thinking of Pinellas County Circuit Court Judge George Greer ---a Republican and practicing Christian? Birch and Greer did right by the law and right by the wishes of Terri Schindler Schiavo. And the sick fucks who would dare suggest that these judges be impeached or otherwise "removed" because of the resolution of the Schiavo matter need to be ostracized from civil society.

Although I am a conservative on many issues, I hold no brief for Tom DeLay. I think he has well earned his reputation as an asshole. And my advice to the Republican Party is to show this asshole the door. He's the biggest liability they've got. No question.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 11:25 PM CDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Wednesday, 6 April 2005 11:32 PM CDT

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