Sunday, June 21, 2009

Truest statement of the week

Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock took the crown at the weekend box office in North America for the first time in 10 years with her latest romantic comedy, according to preliminary sales data issued Saturday.

-- Dean Goodman and Jackie Frank on Bullock's The Proposal, "Sandra Bullock finally has top film at box office" (Reuters).

A note to our readers

Hey --

A very late Sunday.

We've got other illustrations still loading but after hours and hours, we're not waiting any longer. At one point, we even took a four hour nap thinking the illustrations would have loaded. They did not.

Along with Dallas, here's who helped with the writing:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
Ann who's filling in for Ruth at Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
and Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends.

And here's who helped with the illustrations:

Betty's three kids,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts
and C.I.

We thank everyone.


This is the summer read edition, our fifth one.

The June 26, 2005 edition was our first summer read. Those who worked on that edition were:

Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava of The Third Estate Sunday Review;
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Kat of Kat's Korner;
and C.I. of The Common Ills

You can also be sure Dallas worked on it as well. The short story content was:

A Fractured Life (the Wally Lamb style book) K-Boy Tries To Get Back Home (a horrific parable) The Gleeful Boy (the Sue Miller type read) Summer poetry: "Filling the Well" Peek (the summer page turner) Kooky Cokie Roberts offers up advice

and rounding out that summer read edition:

Five Books, Five Minutes, Editorial: Mainstream Press Do Your Homework on the pre-invasion bombings and TV Review OC: The arm pit of body wash operettas

The June 4, 2006 edition was our second summer read. Working on that edition (along with Dallas) were:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim;
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man;
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review;
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills);
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix;
Mike of Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz;
and Wally of The Daily Jot.

The fiction offered:

Song of the War Hawks Super Laura?
Once upon a time there were plenty of Baby Dumbasses
Sherman's Story
From a diary found in the Mayflower Hotel
The ones we never know
TV: TESR Investigates

June 24, 2007 was our third edition. Along with Dallas, the following helped:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
and Wally of The Daily Jot

And we produced:

TV: Hidden Yawns
Base Is Hell
The Tired Tryst
The Asbury Park Murder
Creation Theory
Samantha Power Between Her Knees
Cut The Fat! Newt Takes It Off!

June 22, 2008 was our fourth edition and along with Dallas, the following worked on it:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,

And our summer reads included:

TV: Breaking what?
New York Times, Early Edition
The non-whistle blower
Bee-bees and cockle bugs

And this week, we offer the fifth summer read.

So here's what we have this week:

Truest statement of the week -- Yea, Sandra! We could have done a roundtable on this and would have if it weren't the summer read edition. The illustration is by Isaiah. I (Jim) believe he was working in water colors but that may be markers.

Editorial: It's not over -- The Iraq War is not over. It may be difficult for you to believe, the press and the president certainly seem to want you to think otherwise, however, it's not over.

TV: Fiction -- Narratives overtake facts on programs allgedly attempting to inform us.

The curse -- This is the story with twists. The illustration is by Betty's kids with Wally and Isaiah's help.

Hey there! Marilyn Monroe is using Twitter. -- We've wanted to do a Twitter thing with Monroe for some time. This was written quickly and we already had the illustration from a piece back in 2005.

Clooney's Dark Secrets -- Wally and Betty's kids did this illustration and Isaiah helped on eyebrows and skull.

Summer reads -- We're still waiting for just one comic cover to upload. That's why you don't get it in this article. This is an overview of things you could be reading.

The Dumb Ass Hour every Saturday morning -- An awful hour of public radio inspires a story. Illustration by Kat and Betty's children.

The wedding day -- Betty's kids did this illustration with some help from Isaiah.

The house -- An illustration was done for this by Betty's kids and Kat and it will not upload.

The literary ranter -- Regarding illustration, the same issues as above.

Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Kat, Betty, Wally, Cedric, Rebecca, Stan and Marcia wrote this and we thank them for it.

With the short stories we attempted to go for different voices. Did we succeed? We're not sure. The issues with Flickr soured our enthusiasm. And then some.

And that's the edition. See you next weekend.

-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: It's not over


You read that right: Iraq.

Not "Iran." Iraq.

The Iraq War.


The illegal war that fell off the press radar last week. On Monday, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown finally announced an inquiry into the Iraq War. It wouldn't be public, he said, it couldn't be.

And that should have been the big story of the week. Even before the pushback began forcing Gordo to step away from his must-all-be-behind-closed-doors talking point.

Gordon was being called out by the House of Lords, by the military, by the press. It was a very big story.

And it just got bigger.

Today Jamie Doward, Gaby Hinsliff and Mark Townsend (The Observer) report on a January 31, 2003 memo ("almost two months before the invasion") which is a "record of a meeting between President Bush and Tony Blair before the invasion of Iraq, outlining their intention to go to war without a second United Nations resolution".

The two War Hawks were admitting that WMD might not be found and that they needed other ways to force the war with Iraq.

WMDs might not exist and they needed other ways to force the war with Iraq?

But WMDs was the lie that justified the illegal war. It was the lie that insisted war must take place.

Yet two months before the start of the Iraq War, Bush and Blair were preparing ways to ram through the illegal war without the WMD excuse.

Sam Coates (Times of London) explains:

Paraphrasing the President's comments at the meeting, Sir David noted: "The start date for the military campaign was now pencilled in for March 10. This was when the bombing would begin."
The memo also suggested that Mr Blair and Mr Bush contemplated other scenarios that might trigger a second UN resolution, legitimising military action in case UN weapons inspectors failed to find WMD.
Mr Bush told Mr Blair that they had developed plans to draw Iraq into combat by flying "U2 reconnaissance aircraft painted in UN colours over Iraq with fighter cover". If Saddam Hussein fired at the planes, it would put the Iraqi leader in breach of UN resolutions.
In public at this time, Mr Blair was justifying plans for an invasion on the grounds that Iraq might have weapons of mass destruction.

But you didn't cover this, did you? You insta-experts, you Minute Rice heads. Rushing off to the Iran story -- to report on, blog about a country you knew nothing about and players you'd never heard of before. Repeating the lines that would be used to argue a war. Dropping all conditionals because you just knew, from peering into your Twittering crystal ball, that the election was rigged. You knew nothing and you delivered nothing.

Democracy Now! repeatedly wasted time on Iran.

It never once explored the inquiry and what it could mean for Englad, for the United States and for Iraq. Never once last week.

While you were snoozing, Iraq saw a bombing on Saturday with the largest death toll of the year: 80 (over 200 wounded and the death toll might climb).

While you were snoozing, the US traded two prisoners -- said to be responsible for the death of 5 American soldiers -- to secure the release of 5 British hostages. Didn't work out quite the way they planned. Two of the five British hostages have surfaced . . . dead.

A lot's gone on and, if you don't pay attention, you're easily hyped. For example, if no more deaths of US service members are announced for the month (if), the toll would be eight. And you can be sure the press would launch another wave of Operation Happy Talk. And if you don't pay attention, you won't grasp the reality that eight means two for every week in the month.

If you don't pay attention, you can pretend no one was hurt by those deaths.

If you don't pay attention, you can pretend the Iraq War is over.

TV: Fiction

Fiction of the boob tube

Fiction of the papers

Fiction of the image

and the image makers

The words to Joni Mitchell and Larry Klein's "Fiction" (first available on her Dog Eat Dog album) kept running through our heads last week.

It wasn't just the so-called alternative media's non-stop repetition of big media's talking points on Iran, although that was certainly something. But if you could listen beneath the steady drum beat of war with Iran, you could pick up other disturbing fictions.

Though our world doesn't begin with Barack Obama, the bulk of All Things Media Big and Small appears to think it does, so let's start with him.

As Third noted last week, Barack Obama's White House exhibited very real homophobia in filing a brief. But if you depended on Democracy Now! to inform you, you were probably scratching your head throughout the week.

For example, June 17th, Amy Goodman 'informed,' "Obama is making the announcement at a time when he is facing growing anger among gay supporters over his administration's recent decision to file a legal brief supporting the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. During the presidential campaign, Obama called for repealing the Defense of Marriage Act as well as the military's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy." People were angry about the brief? That it was filed? The following day, Goodman was informing Democracy Now! viewers, "Several prominent gay rights activists have criticized the President in recent days for failing to live up to campaign promises. Last week, the administration filed a legal brief supporting the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. On Wednesday, however, Obama said he would work to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act." Based on what Goodman had presented that day and the day prior (and nothing on Monday or Tuesday), DN! viewers might assume the problem was a brief was filed in support of DOMA and Barack had just declared he would overturn it so all was fine and dandy.

Never in her coverage did Amy Goodman inform her audience that the brief in defense of DOMA had compared same-sex relations to incest and pedophilia. Why were people outraged by that brief? Because of those comparisons. When the government compares gay and lesbian relationships to incest or pedophilia, it's usually considered news . . . unless you're working for the man. And these days it's very difficult to find any one in the media that isn't working to defend the status quo.

"President Obama's promise to work to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, Wednesday came one week after his administration filed a controversial legal brief supporting DOMA, an action which greatly disappointed activists fighting for marriage equality," Goodman declared Friday and, in quoting a letter to Barack, would finally tell her audience some of what was in the brief. "In a strongly worded letter to President Obama on Monday, Joe Solmonese, the president of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, said, quote, 'I cannot overstate the pain that we feel as human beings and as families when we read an argument, presented in federal court, implying that our own marriages have no more constitutional standing than incestuous ones'."

Having finally gotten close to the truth -- close, still not dispensing it -- Goodman didn't call her guest Cleve Jones on a false and ahistorical comparison: "Well, it feels like Clinton all over again. You know, Bill Clinton gave wonderful speeches and told of his vision of a country, a vision that he claimed included us, and what we got out of that was the Defense of Marriage Act and 'don't ask, don't tell'." Maybe she thought it would be addressed in the next segment?

That was when Nathanial Frank was asked to provide the history of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and he declared, "Well, Bill Clinton made a rather glib promise during his campaign for the presidency in 1991 and 1992, in which he said he would lift this ban by the stroke of a pen. And he had spoken to some friends and aides, including David Mixner, who continues to be a prominent gay activist, who said that this would be something that would be important to the gay community, among other issues including HIV. And Clinton underestimated the resistance that he would face among social conservatives, particularly the religious right, as well as members of the military. And so, after quite a battle with Sam Nunn in the Congress, who was very against this, and Clinton and General Colin Powell and other members of the military, the compromise was agreed to that says that you can serve if you conceal your sexual identity and remain celibate twenty-four/seven."

We dispute Frank's use of the term "glib" and think he did a very poor -- damn poor -- job speaking because those who don't know the back story may think, by Frank's badly worded jumble, that Bill Clinton and Colin Powell were on the same side. That was not the case. In fact, Powell promised/threatened Clinton that the proposal of allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military would be buried.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell was not what Bill Clinton set out to do. It was what he could do when he was confronted with not only Nunn and Powell but with a reactionary mainstream media still nervous about mentioning AIDS unless it was pediatric AIDS. It was a very different time. Don't Ask, Don't Tell deserves to be called out today and in his final interview as president with Rolling Stone, Bill Clinton listed it as one of his disappointments. In 1993, with the attacks and the homophobia across the board, pushing through Don't Ask, Don't Tell still outraged a huge number of Americans. It was a step forward for its time. It was not the final step nor was it intended to be.

Bill Clinton, not noted on the program last week, expended a huge amount of political capital on this issue. He didn't run from it, he didn't hide it, he didn't act as though gays and lesbians were something to be ashamed of.

By contrast, as the pressure mounted and mounted all last week, Barack was forced to hold a for-show signing of a memo which did what Hillary's already done as Secretary of State -- extended some rights and benefits (only a small amount) to same-sex partners of federal employees. During that signing, Barack never used the word "gay" or "lesbian." That signing took place during Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. And who bothered to hold him accountable? Not one damn media outlet.

He wanted applause for issuing a minor policy change (which expires whenever he leaves office) that supposedly affirmed his support for gay and lesbian issues but he could never say the words "gay" or "lesbian."

It would have been nice if Amy Goodman could have pointed that out; however, give her credit for addressing the subject when the bulk of Pacifica Radio acted as if it hadn't happened. That was especially disgusting when the silence took place on KPFA which serves the San Francisco Bay Area.

Goodman can get credit for something else: Thursday's broadcast where her audience was informed that I.F. Stone was a Socialist. From the transcript:

D.D. GUTTENPLAN: The day of June 18th, which is--so it's almost twenty years, June 18th, 1989. I think the reason is because it's easy for the right, if everyone on the left is either under the influence of a foreign power or a slave to some kind of ideology that they can discredit. And the thing about Stone is that it's not that he didn't have an ideology. He had an ideology. He was a socialist all his life, it was very clear. But he was independent. He was an independent radical. He always said he was a Jeffersonian Marxist, and he believed that Jefferson and the free press was just as important as Marx.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain, a Jeffersonian Marxist.

D.D. GUTTENPLAN: Well, Jefferson said, "If I had the choice between a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I'd much rather have newspapers without a government," that he believed that you needed to have independent scrutiny of power and that the press -- in those days, there wasn't media; it was just the press -- but the press was the only thing that could supply that. And Stone believed that all his life, so that whenever he would go to eastern European countries, he would always report on the presence or absence of a free press, usually the absence of a free press, and he would always say that no matter what you might hear in radical circles in the US, this country is not free until it has a free press, these countries won’t be free until they have a free press. But he was also a Marxist in his view of, you know, economic relations, how power works, how economic power influenced politics.

That I.F. Stone was a Socialist is neither a state secret nor surprising. Yet despite CounterSpin dropping their two guest segments to stick with D.D. Guttenplan for the half-hour, they never got around to informing their audience of that.

Quota Queen Janine Jackson informed, doing an intro (Quota Queens sit passively by while the men handle the interviews, don't you know), that Stone was "a man of the left," "leftist" and a "progressive." Steve Rendall went with "progressive" as well. You could form a pretty solid drinking game if you took a sip every time Stone was called a "progressive."

But never did "Socialist" come up.

It was all very laughable.

CounterSpin provided D.D. Guttenplan stating Stone "did say that you needed to be -- you needed to be honest about what your engagements were, what your political commitments were" but no one on the program can utter the word "Socialist"?

Rendall and Guttenplan were doing their best to act surprised that the right-wing might distort I.F. Stone (accuse him falsely of being a Kremlin spy) but they're the ones acting guilty and as if they have something to hide when "radical" (Guttenplan's word of choice) and "liberal" and "progressive" are used to describe a Socialist.

Guttenplan blathered on about how "there's a tradition that goes back" in the US and that people like I.F. Stone "form this country's history" and, while we don't disagree, we find it rather sad that Socialist is treated as a dirty word by CounterSpin. Who's hiding the history? Talk about "fiction of the image and the image makers."

As if to prove that point, Quota Queen Janine Jackson was on the defensive Friday, insisting, "One of the reasons some people think media sexism is largely a thing of the past is that they only look for certain kinds like demeaning treatment of women politicians." Now we could present you with a list of the number of times in the last 18 months that CounterSpin has found media racism aimed at politicians -- at a male politician, Barack Obama -- so we laughed as Janine tried to lie her way out of her own silence over the sexism aimed at Hillary, at Cynthia and, yes, as Sarah. We laughed and we thought about providing you with that list but Janine senses it. And, yeah, it's coming.

So instead, right now, we'll just note that Democracy Now! and FAIR's CounterSpin both engaged in misinformation last week because, to each, narrative outweighed actual facts and information.

The curse


He said he would call the next day. That was May 28th.

Of course he did not call.

If he'd called, Jill would have something else to do.

At first, she called him.

"Hey, Erik, it's Jill. Just calling to see how you're doing. Call me."

"Hey, Erik, Jill here. Maybe you lost my number -- oh wait, you have caller i.d. Well call me. You know you left your Coldplay t-shirt here, right?"

"Erik, it's Jill. I see some woman's leaving comments about a quote 'great night' on your MySpace page. So I'll assume you're not missing or in a hospital. You said you'd call. Remember. I still have your Coldplay t-shirt. Remember."

She never heard from him.

And not only did he ignore her voice mail messages, he refused to approve the comments she attempted to leave to his MySpace page. He was acting as if she didn't exist.

Jill existed.

As Erik would soon learn.

That's what she told everyone.

She figured it would get back to him. In fact, she knew it would.

Two days later, Erik pulled into a Citgo for a cola, came back out and saw he had a flat tire.

He'd run over shards of broken glass.

He changed the tire himself, cursing the whole time.

No sooner had he hopped in the car and got back on the freeway then he "gas" light came on. Speeding down the off ramp, he squealed to a stop at a pump and was in such a state and such a hurry, he misplaced his credit card after paying.

"I'm sure it's in my wallet, I'm sure it's in my wallet," he told himself as he got back on the freeway.

Rushing to a meeting, he bumped into a small kid with a cup of water which, naturally, landed right on his crotch.

He dashed into the men's room, even aimed the hand blower at his crotch, but could do nothing to remove the wet spot. Untucking his shirt, he went to meet his client and hoped he would look casual and not slobbish.

Of course, the card wasn't in his wallet. He used another to pay for the meal and tried not to show how dejected he was from the client's underwhelming reaction to his pitch.

Back at the office, he took a call and, deep in thought, chewed on a pen.

As he hung up, Troy approached laughing.

"You got ink all over your mouth!"

He did. He wiped it off and told Troy all about his day, about how nothing was working out.

"This Jill, you think she's a witch?"

"She's -- she's okay," he said still rubbing ink off his face. "She's humpable. Once."

"No, a witch. You think she could have put a hex on you?"

Troy was a Twilight freak, actually weaning off Twilight and slowly hitting Ann Rice. Erik did not take him seriously. No one did, which was why Erik kept getting promoted and Troy was still entry-level.

Erik went clubbing, putting it all of his mind, scored, bedded down and did the three a.m. crawl home.

"How's it going?" Troy aske and then seemed disappointed that nothing strange had happened for a few days.

"It'll come back. That's how it works. When you least suspect it and all."

Whistling, Troy sauntered off while Erik shook his head.

He was scratching later.

Scratching his crotch.

With no relief in sight.


He went to the pharmacy and bumped into an old girlfriend . . . with her new husband. Who made a point to declare loudly, as they walked away, that she sure dated some losers back in the day, especially public lice boy.

That attracted a lot of stares.

Troy laughed at the story the next day and suggested Erik just manscape the problem away: "Can't live where there's no hair."

Sounded easy enough but he didn't shave. He used a depilatory all around and all over his hangdown.

And he caked it on and left it on too long causing a nasty and severe burn.

He had to step very carefully when dressed and stayed nude and ice packed when at home.

Troy, of course, found the whole thing hilarious and telling.

"Told you that witch was just laying low."

And she was or had been.

Bit by bit, over the next week, one thing after another went wrong.

His car overheated and by the time he pulled over to the side of the road, he already had a busted engine head. He chipped a tooth on a spare rib. He caught a nasty cold and then the cough syrup in his laptop bag leaked, leaked through the bag, leaked onto his pants, high on the legs, and he didn't notice until people were pointing and wondering why his pee stains were orange? His apartment was broken into (grabbed the flat screen TV and the PC). His stylist used the wrong number clipper on the top of his head necessitating that he take his hair down to a severe flat top. And, despite having been pierced two years ago, his left nipple ring got infected. Tony shook his head throughout and frequently laughed. But it wasn't until the boss told him he had two weeks to shape up or else that Erik finally got worried.

"What I do?"

"Only thing you can do," Tony said. "Go find that witch and apologize. Ask her to take the hex off."

So he went in search of Jill and finally tracked her down twelve hours later at the Hemlock Tavern.

She looked over as he rushed up to her.

"Jill, I'm so sorry for any pain I caused you, I should have called you back and I regret not doing so," Erik babbled not stopping for breath in what ended up being a three minute stream of words which circled around a theme of apology.

Jill waived away a few men as she allowed Erik to submerse himself in his apology.

"So do you forgive me?" Erik asked coming up for air.

Jill shrugged, nodded and accepted a drink from the man sitting at the bar next to her.

Erik waited for something more but Jill appeared done with him.

"So do you forgive me?" asked Erik, his voice rising several octives with each word.

"Yeah, sure," Jill said looking at him over her shoulder before turning away from him.

"So you'll take off the curse?"

Jill spun around on her chair.

"What are you talking about?"

"The curse you put on me, the hex. You said I would learn that you 'existed,' I got the message. So take off your curse."

"I didn't put any curse on you! I joined the gym and lost 25 pounds, thank you very much. That was my revenge."

Shaking her head, Jill spun back around towards the bar.

Erik stood there puzzled for about thirty seconds.

Then it hit him.

He had created the 'hex'. He was the one behind the 'curse.'

Things had started going badly and he turned it into something worse. He probably invited the bulk of the troubles with his own fears.

"We are our worst enemies," he told himself as he hopped into his car.

And it was true, he told himself, the human mind was powerful enough to invest itself in any belief and to prod it along.

As he continued driving, he relaxed for the first time in weeks.

"You will run into the truck. You will run into the truck."

Before a burning, tapered candle, Troy repeated the chant.

Hey there! Marilyn Monroe is using Twitter.

Marilyn Monroe

waiting still for Jack. He's not still ticked off is he?
7:19 p.m. August 4, 1962 from web

smiling. Jack was much nicer. Also complaining about everything. I told him, "A career is wonderful, but you can't curl up with it on a cold night." He told me, "You can't curl up with anything born in Southampton either." Zing.
3:02 p.m. August 3, 1962 from web

Awful fight with Jack. Reminded him of how he once said he could solve the problem between US & Cuba with just his mouth and how he added wasn't no Cuban cigar he'd wrapped it around. Jack insisted he never said that. Then he said he might have said it but he was only joking. I reminded him of all the times he'd made similar comments, flipping through my diary for dates and times. Jack asked what the hell I was doing writing all that down? I said I needed to be sure to remember because he's such a liar that he's always denying he ever said anything. Jack laughed and said, "So I'm a bad boy. You gonna spank?" I said, "Admit you said it." He screamed for me to destroy my diaries. I hung up on him while he was screaming in the phone. Men.
11:21 a.m. August 1, 1962 from web

Clooney's Dark Secrets

George Clooney was eating the ass of another 20-year-old male, wishing it were a 14-year-old but aware of how missing 14-year-old boys had nearly gotten him in trouble a few years back. 20-year-olds? Who cared? They were adults. Maybe they'd gone off to find themselves, maybe they'd joined a cult, the merchant marines, who knew?

He was lucky.

Lucky to be considered a star despite starring in one bomb after another. Lucky to be considered hot even with all that gray body hair. Lucky to be employable even though he was still giving the same performance he'd given for the last 23 years. Lucky to have an agent still working on his own coming out process and not too interested in the details of the Clooney's own life. Lucky to be the son of a beauty pageant queen and a numbat.

And lucky to be a mutant diurnal. Life would be so much more difficult if he were nocturnal, just look at how the press hounded Nick Jonas.

Nothing like the taste of termites and, so sue him, the Clooney loved it best packed in an anal cavity. Savory snack.

It required a lot of work. He'd have to locate the vessel, of course.

And the marination process could take days so he'd usually lure a 20-year-old male back to his place a week or two ahead of his planned snack.

"Daddy wants to show you his Ocean's 11."

That was his general pick up line.

The greyer he got, the more box office flops he had, the less that line worked.

So he had to put a little more enthusiasm into his pick ups and what was once accomplished in a wink, nod and crook of his finger now might take 45 minutes to seal the deal.

Well Tony Randall warned him life was never easy for an aging Hollywood stud. So true. So true.

Once he got the young males back to his lair, it wasn't too difficult to get them into the sling. He'd use a ball gag quickly, pack them with termites and some lemon sours to cut the sweetness. Let them stew for a week to nine days, and then go to town.

After his expandable tongue finished devouring every last termite, he didn't have to kill the men. He didn't have to.

He got the expandable tongue from his numbat father. But his killing instinct came from his beauty queen mother. After killing them, he'd toss the corpses into the pig stye out back and allow his pot-bellied pig to feed on the evidence.

And no one was any wiser.


Summer reads

Summertime and the heat is rising. If you're looking for reading material to carry to the beach, lake or community pool -- something a little more complex than The New York Times and a lot more complex than The Nation, we recommend the following.

Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman #32, on sale now. Gail Simone, Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan have Princess Diana in a face off with Genocide, a creature who is actually the negative Princess Diana. Battling with herself leads to battles within herself:

I can feel it. The loss of control. Touching something primal and ancient. Something levels beneath the training in diplomacy, in manners, and all trappings of civilzation. We're leaving that behind. Somewhere on that plane, we are connected. And while it may be true that I live as an American . . . and I work as a Washingtonian . . . I will always dream -- as a themysciran. And this is my nightmare.

And while Diana battles in DC and above it, Zeus is about to be stabbed in the back and Ares is preparing to reign.

No Hero

Also on sale now is the fourth issue of Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp's No Hero which finds Ben Chisholm, aka Red Glare, attempting to convince Josh things will be fine. But something's gone wrong in the process of turning Josh into a superhero: "Supposed to be superhuman. Not this. Castrated."

Ben attempts to convince him that everything, including his skin, will grow back. But by the time they're being shot at, it appears Josh is missing much more than his crotch region and his brain.

Soulfire: New World Order has just kicked off with J.T. Krull, Francisco Herrera, Leonardo Olea and Josh Reed joining forces to handle the debut issue about life in 2212 when magic is afoot.

As a species, people might think we have come so far over the centuries, from crawling on the ground and living in caves to conquering the mysteries of space and time itself. Man has dissected every facet of this world -- physically, psychologically, atomically -- in the hopes of unlocking some elusive secret that lies at the very core of our being. But what most fail to understand is that this quest has only taken us further and further away from the answer buried within our souls. If only the world could step back and clear their minds, they would see that the truth is actually quite simple. It's magic.

And this is the story of Cruz and his sister. And the Blackwater Inc like mercenaries of Dragon Riders. And Gabriel's Voice. And magic.

All Girl Comics

The other current debut is All Girl Comics which finds Kris Simon, Kat Cahill and Seth Damoose teaming up to create a new team of super heroes: Dee Rail, Blacklight, Rebound, Tempest, Editor Girl, Fetish and Bomb Queen. Issue one belongs to Bomb Queen who starts off the issue dropping a bomb on her male lover who can't get it up due to a condition which hit Chicago first: The Flaccid Flu. As she investigates, Bomb Queen becomes more enraged, "How dare some needle-dick punk use my city as a base to castrate the entire male populace!" The issue ends with her having Frankie, the teenager who developed The Flacid Flu, on all fours, face down on her bed as she grabs a paddle and tells him, "But for now . . . You're all mine."

Infinite Horizon

Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto offer up the fourth issue of Infinite Horizon which is a retelling of Homer's Odyssey taking place in the near future. The Captain, his leg wrongly set, is addicted to medication and has little desire to hang on, let alone return home.

Home slipped further away. . . It was a year before I even went to town. I was convinced that my family was better off without a cripple. Fortunato waited for me to break out of it. He was patient, but everyone's got a breaking point.

And upcoming?

Tuesday MASTER OF WAR: Blackwater USA's Erik Prince and the Business of War by Suzanne Simons is published. You can read an excerpt from the hardcover book here. The book is based upon Simons' interviews with Prince and various Blackwater employees, research Simons did in Afghanistan and the Middle East, government contacts, employees' families and much more.


Wednesday Detective Comics launches their Batwoman series this week. This is a retooling of the golden age Batwoman and she's gay. And in the closet. About being a super hero, about being gay.

The Dumb Ass Hour every Saturday morning

Creep Welch was back to her usual wasting of public broadcasting time, offering 'conventional wisdom' as fact. It was hilarious to listen to her bumper music and shout outs to the NAACP (after wrongly calling them the ACLU) and her moaning with a guest that California's electorate was "too White" when Creep Welch was White herself, when in fact, every guest that Creep had on for the hour was White.

Kris Welch

Bray McGovern, ex-CIA agent, CIA apologist, and Barack Obama's sexual plaything, was, well braying. Bray insisted that by not releasing the torture photos, Obama was ensuring the photos would be released. "I'm not sure they give a hoot," Bray said with fingers pressed to his temples as he mind read Barack.

Ending his seance, Bray explained that of course the torture photos will come out but "the court will take the flack, he won't have to take the flack."

Bray was gasping for air at this point and Creep tossed him a hand towel he could use as a cum rag. Panting and in need of a nap, Bray gasped, "Obama really expects a lot from us."

Apparently including racism because Bray was referring to the Japanese as "Japs."

Bray also made time to rip into Eric Holder, the Attorney General. He likened the African-American to Colin Powell and stated, "They made it and now they're going to trim their sails politically" to ensure they stay on top. But isn't Holder Barry's attorney general? Was Bray braying that Obama didn't bring Holder into his multi-dimensional chess game? Doesn't Holder do what Obama tells him?

Earlier Creep Welch had referred to the "mythic" times in Iran and she certainly provided myths and lies via guest Kaveh Ehsani who declared, "What Kahmenei said yesterday -- which is -- has basically broken a pact and has brought about a fundamental transformation in the polity of the Islamic Republic is that he openly and unambiguously took sides. He said that, 'This is -- Ahmadinejad is my man, I am, you know, I am -- my position is close to him.' And acknowledging that 40 million people had voted and the fact that obviously the majority of the population realizes that these elections and these elections have been fraudulent. He took an opinion against popular opinion, basically saying that 'I don't care about popular opinion, what really matters is my own position and what I am saying.' So this is the end of the kind of relative pluralism of the Iranian Republic as we know it."

[Reality at WSWS and Times of India.]

Truth would be someone informing Creep Welch that after forty years and counting on KPFA, her voice has deepened and it was probably never cute for her to try to make points in a little girl voice; however, today it is as creepy as Bette Davis' character singing in Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?

Just as Creepy as Welch allowing a guest to say "Japs" on air without calling it out.

The ghosts of thousands of Japanese-Americans who were interned during WWII are rising all over California and will haunt Creep Welch until her dying day.

The wedding day

White folding chairs were set up in the backyard, people moved with a flurry of activity around tables. Diana looked out the bedroom window onto the scene.

"It's beautiful," she told her sister Shonna who sat before the mirror fixing her make up.

"Much better than the last two times, I'm sure," Shonna replied laughing.

Before Diana could reply, their mother, Karen, walked into the room with a border collie trailing behind her. The dog hops on the bed while Karen walks over towards her daughters.

Shonna, "Any words of advice?"

Karen plants a hand on each of Shonna's shoulders and declares, "First time, I had advice. Second time, I struggled to find something to say. This time, you're on your own."

"Thanks, Mom."

Karen moves over to Diana and puts an arm around her younger daughter and declares, "You and I are the lucky ones."

"Mother!" Shonna exclaims shocked.

"It's true," Karen insists. "Better to be widowed than divorced."

Shonna stops fixing her make up and turns to glare at her mother.

"Diana knows what I mean," insists Karen. "There's no shame in being a widow."

"Way to go, Mom," Shonna says shaking her head, "you've managed to insult both your daughters."

Karen looks over at Diana for support but notices that Diana is purposefully avoiding looking at her and instead focuses on calling the dog over.

"What? I didn't mean anything," insists Karen.

Shonna rolls her eyes and returns to fixing her make up while Diana bends down to pet the dog.

The dog looks around and then walks over to Shonna irritating Karen.

"You're going to get dog hair all over your wedding dress!" snaps Karen.

"It's okay, Mom," Diana says, still not looking at her mother.

The dog rears back and places his front paws in Shonna's lap. She fluffs his hair while her mother stands groaning and tsk-tsking. Then the dog sneezes.

"That's it!"

Karen grabs the dog by the collar and pulls it across the room. She pushed it out into the hall with her foot and then closes the door.

"Isn't it good luck if a dog sneezes on your wedding day? Or is that a cat?" Diana wonders.

"Regardless," says Karen lighting a cigarette, "I doubt if it's good luck for the dog to sneeze on the bride."

Karen notices how both of her daughters are ignoring her. She takes a puff and waits for one of them to say something. She takes another puff. Nothing.

"I'll go check on your kids," she says to Shonna and walks out of the room.

"It's got to be the new medication," Diana whispers.

The house

This morning I dreamed of this beautiful giant home, my new home, with 30 foot ceilings, stucco, pale yellow walls, sprawling rooms -- it was fantastic.

I walked through it assessing and planning decorations.

I came upon a blocked room, but I didn't realize at first it was blocked.

I didn't realize there was another room.

The doorway appeared solid, but I noticed 5 doors that had been stacked against each other (they were unhinged). I moved the doors to reveal a dining room.

I knew it was a dining room because there was a long table with a couple of chairs and other odds and ends in the room.

At this point, I didn't feel alone.

I felt a presence in the house.

I stepped out of the room and felt a strong wind that seemed to be coming from the windows pick me up -- I began to fly around the house.

Initially I enjoyed being left and held against the ceiling.

I remember looking at the floor 30 feet down and wondering what to do when the wind ceased?

At that point, my alarm went off with the radio playing 'N Sync or the Backstreet Boys and the dream was over.

The literary ranter

What part to give?

The part that is unwanted?

Elude the want!

Hell, do not ask me what the above words are, I found them in my paper napkin -- I think. I am sure they were a revelation of some kind, yet today, as I read them, they mean nothing but a preface for your future meanings.

I will never find another like you.

Not that I am looking or anything . . .

Hell! Hell! Hell!

I had such a humiliating evening in class. A horrible class mate gave the most outraging perfect presentation. I am damned.

She did it.


But I did not let her get away with here display of structure and power.

So when she said the magic words "any questions?" I reacted like the snake I am. And so totally confused her with my confusing but "brilliant" questions, she was puzzled!

You know how serious I can appear at playing school, how intense, on the verge of beating somebody out for a word. Oh.

She deserved it.

All my viciousness.

Her name is Annie, by the way.

She's a scientist of the worst kind.

She was so drunk with the power of her knowing from the lectern, that we were left silent, speechless, in awe, overwhelmed, terrorized, there went out hopes for A's.

So I had to do it!

She is such an anal person, so centered in gossip instead of literature. All they care about is the historic-bibliographical approach.

Get a life better than mine, I say!

Why so much emphasis on what other people say about writers?

Who flicking cares?

May do, yet many also do not.

So when she went on to analyze Dryden with the security of a physician with a scalpel, with only one aim -- hers -- I had to do something.

I defended the stupid Dryden -- a writer nevertheless -- and told her off.

Many forms and shapes of new hungers

will high step

into your kitchen,

in silent rebellion

while washing knives of sterling silver.


This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report (with us in spirit), Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights. Illustration is the movie poster for The Hurt Locker.

Hurt Locker

"Iraq snapshot" and "Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. covers two Congressional hearing (first snapshot it's at length, second only notes it briefly).

"I Hate The War" -- Wally says C.I. was half asleep when this was started, jolted up right in the middle and managed to finish it. This was the most requested highlight of the week.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "CIA Diva" -- Isaiah takes on Panetta.

"Senator Burris is cleared" -- if this weren't the fiction issue, we'd be covering the topic Betty is in this post.

"Snacks in the Kitchen" -- Trina reminds that one of the issues about being on a budget it grasping that you are on a budget.

"newsmaker of the week: gordon brown," "that wacky gordon brown," "gordon brown, not smart enough to stage an inquiry...," "thoughts on gordon brown & the iraq non-inquiry" and
"Joan Walsh Hurts The Cause" -- first four are Rebecca contiuing her Gordo Brown coverage. The fifth is C.I. filling in for Rebecca.

"Bully Boy is NOT on Vacation" -- Isaiah dips into the archives to note 2005 and the vacationing Bully Boy.

"My BFF Kevin Zeese," "He didn't do s**t" and "Stop LYING John R. MacArthur" -- Kat on Kevy, Marcia on Barack and Stan on John. Community takes on the see-no,speak-no lying crowd.

"The Proposal" -- Stan telling you to go see The Proposal.

"Idiot of the week: Laura Flanders" -- Laura Flanders wins idiot of the week! Yea, you go, Laura!

"Why I HATE BIll Fletcher Jr and his enablers," "Dr. Alan Berkman," "Melissa and Tammy Lynn," "Waking up" and "Panetta crossed the line" -- Ann continues filling in for Ruth.

"Troy Davis" -- Mike covers Dalia Hashad's return to Law & Disorder.

"Celebrity in need of rehab" and "THIS JUST IN! THE DROOP!" -- Try to make him go to rehab, he says no, no, no. But he needs it, yes, yes, yes.

"Corrente Racism Sarah-Style" and "Corrente's Sarah is an idiot" -- Marcia and Stan take on a dumb ass.

"Yeah, it does matter" -- Elaine takes on another dumb ass.

"Anne Frank" -- Betty shares this story and it's a good one.

"Torture, not you know what," "Sick of David Letterman" and "Pacifica Radio has problems with single-payer" -- Kat, Marcia and Stan. There's a connecting thread. Can you find it?

"THIS JUST IN! HOMOPHOBE IN CHIEF!" and "BARRY O THE HOMOPHOBE" -- Barry the big homophobe.
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