Friday, June 24, 2005

Tookong is born

yes, he really looks like this...

my mysterious friend has finally decided to post on his own. No, not "NBB", my old movie reviewer. He not interested in internet no mo'. I'm referring to Tookong, whose missives have always delighted me over the years. I've known Tookong for several earth years, and I can attest to the fact that he's a good Joe.
(His friend Joe is a good Joe too.)

Here are some titles:

"Whatever it was, it came from the sky and it was not happy."
"The brocoli was a facile fool with little sense, but the cheese... she was the very personification of prudence and good judgement"
"The Rainbow Sprinkles Cupcake King sits on his chocolate throne sipping marshmallow wine"
"How do the angels get to sleep when the devil leaves his porch light on?*"
"The reason ducks don't have difficulty with simple arithmetic is because they don't wear socks"
"The Bottlefly family reunion took place on the rotting corpse of a coyote in the bar ditch of lonely country road"
"Sometimes I put jelly on my toast, but then sometimes I don't."
"Oranges that spontaneously explode due to summer heat account for nearly 7% of all field hand fatalities in a given year."*

No, he doesn't generally discuss politics or even Lorna Doone cookies, but if this sort of dadaist whimsy strikes you as your cup of fur,
I encourage you to check out his new cyber-digs.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

images of Saddam


As you might imagine there are an enormous number of photo-edited images of Saddam on the internet-- some are incredibly poisonous in spirit, so much so that they're really not witty as they're (apparently)meant to be, while some are quite clever. I particularly like this one for some reason:


courtesy via "The Eyranian"

courtesy And no, I don't know what they're saying.

One of the more notorious photos of Saddam on the net:


And this one in which he met with Dan Rather prior to their 2003 interview. I imagine that both were taken by official Saddam photographers-- one gets the impression he prefers only on his left side be photographed, or perhaps he preferred to always be in the right side of the frame(?)


Saddam at ten years old.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

good recent posts

1."how you became crazy" (Avedon 5 march):

Oddly, I agree with the idea that journalists seem to be referencing each other rather than doing real reporting and analysis, but I don't think that amounts to news that is driven to a liberal slant. See, it doesn't really matter whether more journalists are liberal or conservative if most of the self-identified partisan conservatives are acting as stooges in a Solomon Asch experiment. They come out every day with their talking points, some of which are masterworks of spin that leave all common sense behind. Someone has taken an obvious, well-understood fact (like that the point in an election is to count the ballots) and turned it on its head to the point that you soon have the entire news media declaring that the sky is not blue (or that trying to count the ballots is "stealing the election").

This can only happen if conservatives are prepared to insist - and never express the slightest doubt - on the "truth" of their talking points. The very uniformity of their group-think gives it a power that makes others lose their grasp on reality; the very ability to consider more than one possibility makes one vulnerable to infection by even the most corrupt meme.

If you're unfamiliar with Asch's famous study, let's take a moment now to remember how this works:

You sign up for a psychology experiment, and on a specified date you and seven others whom you think are also subjects arrive and are seated at a table in a small room. You don't know it at the time, but the others are actually associates of the experimenter, and their behavior has been carefully scripted. You're the only real subject.

The point here is that, unbeknownst to you, the others present are committed to lie consistently until you begin to doubt your own perceptions. And it works.

2.Jonathan Schwarz, 19 April:"how america works"
(regarding Thomas Enders's funeral)
[sometimes a blogger ends up offering us his choicest observations in the comments,as is the case here, although I recommend you read the whole thing-HZ]

"...that's why I've always thought Clinton was a much better imperialist than Bush. He always kept the actual $$$ goal in mind. By contrast, the frothing lunatic wing of the Republican party seems to think the whole point is to stand over the body of your vanquished adversary, screeching.

But it's been like that for a long time. As I like to say, the Democrats and Republicans have generally represented the sane evil people and the insane evil people, respectively. Their long-running argument goes like this:

REPUBLICANS: Let's kill everyone and take their money!
DEMOCRATS: I like the way you're thinking. I really do. But if we keep at least SOME of them alive and working for us, we can make even MORE money in the long run!
REPUBLICANS: You commie!"

3. "double anniversary": (Empire Notes, April 30th)
In which NYU prof Rahul Mahajan discusses the Soviet Union's role in defeating the Nazis, among other things. I must admit I've forgotten if W. made those stupid comments apologizing for Yalta before or after this post, but I read it afterwards and was reminded of how arrogant our present president is. Possibly he learned about WWII from watching movies like Patton, idly daydreaming about when he'd finally get the chance to kill people and be macho just like George C. Scott.

4. Dave Neiwert,"the undertow of totalism": (5.11.2005)

Amy Goodman recently had a fascinating interview with Chris Hedges, author of War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, who discussed the potency and significance of the religious right as a political force:

The most significant work on totalism was pioneered by Erik Erikson, whose work I've discussed previously in a similar context. One of Erikson's chief disciples and descendants is Robert Jay Lifton, who has done some of the most thorough work examing the totalist mindset. Lifton describes it as consisting of eight key themes, notably:

Milieu control

The most basic feature of the thought reform environment, the psychological current upon which all else depends, is the control of human communication. Through this milieu control the totalist environment seeks to establish domain over not only the individual's communication with the outside (all that he sees and hears, reads or writes, experiences, and expresses), but also -- in its penetration of his inner life -- over what we may speak of as his communication with himself. It creates an atmosphere uncomfortably reminiscent of George Orwell's 1984.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Obligatory cat blogging post

for the first (and last) time, I hereby succumb to the crowd of cat bloggers.

image courtesy wherever I stole this from

Of course, if I'm going to cat blog, naturally I have to show you a pic of a cat fiendishly defending a bookshelf because she knows how pissed her owner would be if you surreptitiously filched his book about threesomes or his biography of Delmore Schwartz. Like me, this cat is a champion of literacy. (That's why there are so many pictures on my blog.)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

here's some art, darn it

courtesy Diego Manuel.Com.Ar

The above image is part of my relentless effort to make my wee blog edifying. I'm having problems with my hard drive, plus I'm back in school so it may be a while before I post again.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Comic BookLegal Defense Fund(another free speech T shirt)

from Avedon(who now has comments!):

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Takes Action in GA Case: Counsel for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund have submitted four motions to dismiss the charges against retailer Gordon Lee, owner of Legends in Rome, GA. Last February, the Fund initiated Lee's defense against charges resulting from accidentally distributing Alternative Comics #2, a Free Comic Book Day book from 2004, to a minor. The anthology includes the story "The Salon" by Nick Bertozzi, which contains a segment depicting Picasso in the nude. The Fund has already spent in excess of $20,000 defending this case.

let me add that you can also get a really charming T-shirt directly from the CBLDF, at this link, which helps them out.

CBLDF t shirt with Fancy Froglin by Kochalka:


if you do an image search for "fancy froglin" you'll find some more charming(and yes, mirthful) stuff,some of which my image host might frown upon, alas.

The CBLDF also recently succeeded in rescuing "Ritchie Bush" from an overzealous US customs agency which decided to confiscate the comic satire painting George W. Bush as a spoilt little rich kid a la you-know-who this past fall, ostensibly on the grounds that it constituted copyright infringement.