Katrina and the Waves

OK, sorry but I’ve actually been hoping for some TV news organization to make that crummiest of puns, and so far they haven’t given in to the urge (although admittedly I haven’t watched much of the coverage). Surely The Daily Show will be back to do it. Anyway here are some choice Flickr postings to check out:

Various scenes from Louisiana and Alabama
Pictures from above the eye
Deserted New Orleans before the storm

Update: The Times (UK) succumbed to punnery!

Weekend Update

I had a marvelous time Saturday running errands with Katherine. We went to Target and Barnes & Noble and bought more than we probably should have. I went to Target to get a portable CD player, but Katherine got hooked on a quest for some elusive, magical pants. Ordinarily the women’s department is not the kind of place I generally enjoy visiting, but Target makes the job so much more amusing by virtue of its wide selection of cartoon-emblazoned underwear. Am I the only person that thinks putting Bert and Ernie on panties is just a little disturbing?

At Barnes & Noble I picked up the new Steve Martin paperback, The Pleasure of My Company. I finished his last book, Shopgirl, recently and I highly recommend it. The movie will be out soon, starring Martin, Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman. Hopefully it will do the book justice. It would seem a fairly unfilmable story given that there’s only the slightest quantity of dialogue to be found in the book. Perhaps it will be tone-poem-esque in its delivery. That would rock. It would make a great silent film.

Superflux played a gig that night at Arkansas Blast, a car stereo competition. It’s amazing to me how many people will put more money into their cars than their residences; and it’s doubly amazing to me what people consider fashionable and attractive in their modes of dress. I don’t say that to be snotty; God knows my fashion sense is just a couple rungs above Bob from Tom the Dancing Bug, but some people truly believe that Def Leppard are paragons of fashion.

Cintra Wilson Goes to Washington

The Queen of Literate Snark, Cintra Wilson, has a lengthy piece in Salon about her recent embed in the White House Press Corps. There are many fine quotations, but this was my favorite, attributed to an anonymous conservative reporter on the topic of slippery Press Secretary Scott McClellan:

“You get frustrated, and you think it’s like nailing mercury to a wall, and then you realize that it’s not because Scott is so masterfully evasive, but because the White House declines to provide any mercury, or a wall.”

I have to contrast this to another quotation, this one from Helen Thomas:

“The press has a duty to find out the truth…if we fall down on the job, the people suffer. [The Bush administration] doesn’t think the people have a right to know, but we know they do. You can’t have a democracy without an informed people.”

Given the characterization of McClellan from someone within his own party, I’d say democracy is either dead or just extremely sleepy.

Brief Thoughts on Iraq

Some things that have been running around in my head this week:

  • The map of Iraq was drawn by the British, who probably had no idea what they were doing in terms of the ethnic/religious population divisions of the region.
  • Often the only type of leader who can make a country like that work is either a strong, unifying leader (Marshal Tito of the former Yugoslavia) or a completely brutal dictator (Saddam Hussein).
  • Can democracy be brought to such an artificial state of warring religious factions? The only way democracy (or any style of government) works is if everyone agrees on it, and agrees to put aside their differences in the name of a common goal. Right now I don’t think the people of Iraq have a common goal. Otherwise there wouldn’t be people running around shooting ice salesmen because Mohammed didn’t have ice in his time.
  • Is it possible that people like Saddam Hussein and The Taliban are the only people who can successfully maintain order in such divided nations?

An old friend of mine from high school, Allen Harris, has been recently deployed to Iraq. Previously he was stationed in Alaska. He’s gone from frozen hell to burning hell. He writes:

It’s usually about 110 degrees by 1000 every morning, hitting a high of about 120 by afternoon. That doesn’t count the heat radiating back of the desert floor, making it feel like about 130-135. It sucks. I can’t say which is worse, they both suck about as equally, just on the opposite ends of the spectrum. You don’t want to be outside for very long at -60F, and you don’t want to be outside for very long at 120F. We try not to do much in the afternoon unless we have to. Where we are going next, further north, is about 5-7 degrees cooler, not as sandy and open, and hopefully starting to hit the cool months.

Note to self: No longer will I complain about the Arkansas weather.

Official Declaration of Vacation

I bought my tickets. Now it’s for real. In September I’m flying to California for vacation. I’ll land in San Francisco and be guided about by my friend Erika who works north of the city in the wine country. Then I’ll rent a car and drive down the coast to LA to meet up with my cousin David and hopefully my friends Tracy and Mary. I’m hoping to catch Chris Poland at The Baked Potato on Thursday the 22nd and Jon Brion at Largo on Friday the 23rd. Other than that I have no real goals other than to be some place else and find interesting pictures to take.

Noah Baumbach Update

Periodically I check in on Noah to see what the writer/director of one of my alltime favorite movies is up to. Lately it looks like like his website is down, but I did find this amusing piece he wrote for The New Yorker. I’m not sure of the context, but I’m assuming he’s comparing Tom Cruise to an overeager (and yet statistically knowledgeable) canine. Funny stuff. Rewire the pronouns and add lots of scratching and it probably sounds a lot like Zoe‘s inner monlogue.

A Reprieve

When I first saw that M&M’s were tied into the latest Star Wars marketing onslaught, I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was a little dumb, actually. Not quite as dumb as Darth Vader hawking Cheez-Its, but still kinda goofy.

Until I tried the dark chocolate M&M’s with peanuts.


Over the last few months I’ve bought many, many bags of them. Now my neighborhood Kroger is out. These are a limited-time deal as far as I know. I was saddened until today when I discovered a cache tucked away at the Kroger in North Little Rock on Pike. I bought eight bags. I sold two to Shane. I am the pusherman. Hopefully the people at M&M’s will make this thing a permanent offering.

Shedding the Unreality

In what will hopefully become a trend of unlikely, paradigm-shifting headlines, this article entitled US scales back expectations on gains during Iraq transition, is making its way around the news sites. It says, among other things:

”What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground,” said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. ”We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we’re in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning.”

The cracks are showing; the administration can’t keep up its sunny exterior much longer. Jon Stewart and The Daily Show have been keen to point out that the rhetoric from the administration is changing quietly from the “War on Terror” to the “Global Struggle Against Extremism.” Odd thing to see them employing the kind of euphemistic language that conservatives tend to rail against. He’s not “crippled,” he’s “differently abled” – this isn’t a war, it’s now a struggle. Perhaps as old soldiers don’t die, they just fade away, the Bush administration is hoping Iraq will fade from the public consciousness.

Here’s hoping we can instead continue in our struggle to shed the unreality.


New ploggage here. A motley assortment from the last month or two. Mostly Minolta, some Motorola. There are a couple of pictures from last weekend’s trip to scenic Pottsboro, Texas, where we played at the Highport Marina and Resort. It was a long trip, the weather was hot, and setup was exhausting. The show went fairly well, though. Since I had Jeff and soundman Richard in the car, I didn’t have the freedom to stop and take pictures at the peculiar things we drove by (the town of Fink, Texas, for example, or the stretched-limo-style 70’s van in somebody’s yard). I did get some pictures of a freaky bird swarm and a Napoleon Dynamite display at a gas station.