Friday, February 29, 2008

The Fellation Candidate

While I have absolutely no intention of voting for Barack Obama, I have been trying very hard to like the guy. He's the likely Democrat nominee at this point. He doesn't come off as being nasty, the way Hillary Clinton does. If he gets elected President, I don't want to end up being overwhelmed by an Obama version of Bush Derangement Syndrome.

There is a reasonable chance that John McCain could beat Obama based solely on the issues. When people hear Obama flesh out the details of what he means when he says "change", they are going to question him big time. (Major league big time, even.) Nuclear disarmament? When we know that a bunch of third world crazies are stockpiling their own atomic weapons? Yeah, that'll make us safe. His big ideas are all about weakening American security, and beginning a handover of power to the sinister "world community". He has atrocious policy goals, he hangs out with some questionable characters, but on a personal level, I don't think he is the devil incarnate. I do not hate him.

When I see the kind of press this guy gets, though, I start to have second thoughts about his likability. Given that the media is largely in favor of whoever gets nominated by the Democrats, I expected him to get plenty of positive coverage. The reaction that people have been having to Obama is almost otherworldly. He's young! He's dynamic! He's about "change"! He can end war, poverty, and human suffering! A lot of women (and probably a few "men") who have their brains between their thighs love him because he's sexy -- why, they even faint at his rallies, they are so overcome with a hormone rush! Gah! How revolting.

But that's what so many people love about Obama. Image is everything. His hardcore leftist positions won't appeal to a broad range of voters. That is why the focus of his media coverage is purely superficial.

That is also why John McCain and the Republicans need to hammer away at him on the issues. If too many narcissistic righty talk show hosts and pundits go overboard with unsubstantive and irrelevant attacks like "his middle name is Hussein", "he has big ears", "Barack the Magic Negro" or whatever, Obama's victory will be assured.

It would be as shameless as the Left's disgusting fawning over Obama the public image. Don't stoop to their level.

Iron Maiden History Lesson

As Learned Foot at the Kool-Aid Report likes to say, "Iron Maiden can teach us a lot about" all sorts of things. Having earned a degree in History when I was at University, I can tell you that Iron Maiden is often at their best when singing about history. My particular favorite is the song "Alexander the Great", because it is basically a college-level exam set to heavy metal music. By the time you get to college, you learn that history is not simply names, dates, and places. The data are important, but it is the details behind the sequence of events that tell the true story of the human experience.

The first two verses of Maiden's "Alexander" are primarily a timeline of Alexander's life up to the conquest of the Persian Empire. In a college history exam, you often begin with a section of matching or fill-in-the-blank questions, or perhaps some questions requiring short, simple one-or-two sentence answers. The first two verses are the answer key!

The real meat of the test, the part which your professor weighs most heavily when determining your grade, and the section which should take more time for you to complete, consists of one or two essay questions at the end. It's not going to be something like "Who did Alexander defeat at Arbela, and when?" It's going to be a more thoughtful question like, "Please give a detailed analysis of Alexander's long-term impact on world history." Iron Maiden neatly sums up the answer in the lines,

His culture was a western way of life
He paved the way for Christianity
.
Brilliant! Alexander's empire may have been carved up by his successors following his early demise, but the several chunks of it made it easier for the Romans to conquer in the following centuries. Thus did roughly half of Alexander's former empire unite with northern Africa, southern Europe, and western Europe. Christianity blossomed in a Roman province, and eventually expanded within the boundaries of the Roman Empire. Christian beliefs made their way to western Europe, and influenced the course of world history for the last two millennia. That's a bit more than you can reasonably fit into a single verse of a song with long guitar solos, but somewhat skeletal as far as meeting the requirements of an essay questions answer.

For those who don't like to read the book, but prefer to watch the TV show while listening to the song, this is for you:


And if you enjoy reading people call one another "Idiot" and "Moron" while arguing about whether Macedonians were Greek, feel free to peruse the video's comment section.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Great Mohair Man

Here's a song that I loved when it was first released, but which I found confusing because I had a bit of trouble understanding some of the lyrics:



The chorus at the end of the first verse, when I first heard it, sounded like "Geezer Butler, he's my friend, always winning in the end". i thought it was rather sweet of these guys to write a song in honor of Black Sabbath's pioneering heavy metal bassist and lyricist. Ozzy Osbourne had gotten attention over the years by singing someone else's lyrics for far too long; now let's give credit where credit is due. All hail the great Geezer Butler! Damn right.

Of course, the first several times I heard "The Hunter" by GTR, I was listening to a crappy mono radio in a garage while lifting weights, so my brain was not exactly tuned for listening comprehension. For several weeks, I had myself convinced that GTR was actually singing about Geezer Butler.

Then I bought the cassette tape of the album, read the actual lyrics, and cried. Not outwardly, of course. It was not that big of a deal.

Something else that wasn't such a big deal, at the time, was this bit:

Just take a lesson from the great Mohammed, he said...he said...
Pick up a rifle, you must be strong...
Those lines would raise more than a few hackles if written nowadays, but back in the pre-bin Laden days, it was simply a cross-cultural reference by an educated westerner. No, the thing that bugged me about the Mohammed reference -- and still does -- is that, after reading the lyrics, I still do not think it sounds like vocalist Max Bacon is singing about Mohammed.

It sounds like he is singing about someone called "the great mohair man". Every time I encounter the word "mohair", I remember an episode of All In the Family that had something to do with a mohair coat, and Archie Bunker's classic line, "Do you know how many moes died to make this coat?"

Add to the fact that, in the video for the song, Steve Howe is grinning through his impressively rock star-ish long hair when Bacon sings the line, and I have this impression of Howe as the "Great Mohair Man" indelibly imprinted in my brain. What are mohair coats made of? Why, Steve Howe's hair, of course!

I also considered the possibility that the line is actually "just take a lesson from the great Moe haired man". But none of the performers in the video bears much of a resemblance to the slap-happy boss of the Three Stooges.

What this world need is more songs about Geezer Butler and Moe Howard.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Greg Valentine's Day!

Yes, it's that time again! It's February 14th, the one day each year when this blog takes a time out from the hustle and bustle of current events to sit back and reflect on the life and career of perhaps the greatest Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion of all time, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine.

Unfortunately, Mr. Valentine's career has taken a downturn in his old age:



Yep, I would say that a guy who has performed in front of sell out crowds at huge arenas all over the world has seriously hit the skids when he's reduced to sneaking into backyards and beating up kids.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Rainbow Rising, Romney Falling

The other day the Nihilist in the Pantaloons of Golf composed a witty little ditty in honor of Mitty...um, I mean a song parody about Hugh Hewitt's unbending devotion to Mitt Romney's presidential aspirations, and Hugh's reaction in the wake of Romney's withdrawal. Being a man of excellent musical tastes, Nihilist set his lyrics to the tune of Rainbow's magnum opus "Stargazer" from the album Rainbow Rising. He linked to a site that gives the lyrics to the song.

Pffft.

Nihilist isn't big on visual aids. His post is missing something:

There you go! Now everyone can sing along.

Monday, February 11, 2008

News Flash: Newspaper Editor Denigrates Blogosphere!

This column is so dripping with elitism that I'm not sure I can fisk it properly. It's laughable, really. The Psychosis-Gazette writer focuses on blogs that deal with literary criticism, since that is his area of expertise, but really, you could apply his attitude towards any area of concentration:

A book review in the Post-Gazette and other newspapers is the product of several people, from me, the editor who selects the book and its reviewer, to the critic to several editors who read the review and point out problems and errors in reasoning, fact and language.

Then we publish it. If mistakes persist, we correct them in print. Bloggers have no responsibility or obligation, except their own personal integrity, to do any of the above.

The newspaper book page is therefore an "authority," backed by several levels. Authority, however, is not a core value of the Internet mentality, Siegel writes. Just being alive and having access to a computer are enough to qualify one to write a blog.

A high priesthood writes the sacred text to be presented as gospel to the unwashed masses! The writer doesn't question our right to free speech; he just questions our qualifications to craft our own opinions and share our thoughts openly with anyone who cares to know. We need his ilk to tell us what to think, and just shut up about any conclusions we might happen to reach on our own. After all, most of us are unpaid independent free thinkers. God forbid we should compete with the moneyed editorial interests.
Some of us still read books, write letters, shop at real stores and make up our own minds about art, film, drama or music.
So he's suggesting that blogs are telling people what to think? Isn't that what newspapers are for? A thought's not fit to think unless it's printed in ink, after all.

He isn't exactly telling us to shut up, but when you see this kind of opinion expressed in an establishment newspaper, it is not hard to foresee a day when the free expression that we exercise in the online world will fall subject to some sort of government regulations, thanks to the powerful lobby of the oppressive journalistic class.

New Enemies

Yes, enemies, not opponents. If you disagree, then you haven't been paying attention to the rhetoric.

The local commies have endorsed candidates for local offices, including two that cross over into my jurisdiction. We will be up against one of these folks in the Fall:

In the 18th Congressional District, Monroeville businessman Steve O'Donnell won the party organization's support for the right to challenge the incumbent, Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair. Mr. O'Donnell had 115 votes, followed by Brien Wall, an Upper St. Clair businessman, with 81; Beth Hafer, of Mt. Lebanon, who works for the consulting firm operated by her mother, former state Treasurer Barbara Hafer, 51; Penn Hills school board member Erin Vecchio, 49; and Iraq war veteran Wayne Dudding, 28.

The 18th District has a Democratic registration advantage but bucked a Democratic congressional tide two years ago in easily turning aside a challenge from Democrat Chad Kluko.

Notably missing from the candidates' names is the fishmonger, who dropped out a few weeks ago. I still won't buy his fish.

I will reserve judgment on the Democrat candidate until after the primary decides who it is going to be. As for incumbent Tim Murphy, well, he's considered to be something of a moderate by local conservatives. He's still better than anyone the opposition can put up. Plus, he has that whole "the-left-hates-him-enough-to-protest-at-his-office-so-how-can-I-not-like-him" thing going for him. I can't wait to see how they are going to attack him when the campaign heats up.

The other local race:
In the only other contested county race, Pittsburgh Councilman Dan Deasy won the endorsement in the 27th Legislative District with 74 votes, over Ryan Douglass, 22; and John Paul Jones, 8. The seat was opened with the retirement of veteran Rep. Tom Petrone.
Petrone's retirement is a little surprising. Democrats have such a hold on this district that he could have easily been reelected until age 100 if he were to live that long. In all likelihood, whoever gets the Democrat nomination is going to be his replacement. The only candidate I was aware of until now was John Paul Jones, for my wife signed his petition when he was going door-to-door recently. I countered by signing a Republican petition for the same office. I will sign just about any petition handed to me -- if the petitioner is a Republican in my jurisdiction -- because it makes me feel like I've participated in the process. Whether or not I vote for the person later is another matter entirely. It's a secret ballot, and I'll vote for whoever I want to.

You can guarantee that my vote is not going to a Democrat candidate, endorsed or not.

Minnesota Comes To Pittsburgh

Having made use of the Birmingham Bridge from time to time over the last twenty years, I am not surprised that it's going to be closed for a while due to crumbling infrastructure issues.

I blame Tim Pawlenty.

What She Said

Ruth Ann Dailey hits the nail on the head. Frankly, I always thought that "compassionate conservatism" sounded like "communism" with a few extra syllables.

George W. Bush, like most mainstream Republicans, tends to be too center-of-right for me. I probably wouldn't be too fond of the guy if the insane leftist establishment didn't hate him so much. The more they hate him, the more I love him.

I almost hope they hate McCain as much since it'll make me like the guy enough to feel good about voting for him in November.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Not The Best Way To Get Chicks

On the bus ride home yesterday, I had a most interesting conversation with a fellow Pork Authority patron. We swapped stories about how we met our wives. As a teenager, he took notice of a girl whose sister he had just dated. He asked his ex's permission to go out with her sister, and she did not object. So he asked the sister, she said yes, and they've been together for over 30 years. In my case, I slowly became acquainted with a shy, withdrawn co-worker, soon becoming her best friend, lover, and eventually life partner. Neither of us achieved "husband" status by starting out with a cheap pickup line.

My pal nudged me and gestured towards an attractive brunette who looked to be about twenty years old. At first glance, he said, he thought she looked uncannily like his sister, and almost addressed her as such. I told him that it was a good thing that he didn't go up and hug her and plant a kiss on her cheek. It would be awkward for him to excuse himself by explaining that "you look like my sister". On the other hand, it would be an original way for a guy to meet women. Walk over, give a woman a hug and kiss her cheek, then pull back and apologize. "I'm sorry, but you look like my sister." What an effective ice breaker!

I recalled a former professional colleague who was notorious for hitting on every single woman in the workplace with the line: "You remind me of someone I used to know." Cheesy? Yes. But it must have worked, because he kept on using it.

My bus pal correctly surmised that telling a girl "you look like my sister" would not be a particularly effective pickup line. But it is funny. So funny, in fact, that I have been subject to random attacks of the giggles since the end of my bus ride yesterday.

I would love to see someone try using that line. Go out, find an attractive female, look her up and down, make eye contact, and tell her that she looks like your sister. Get it on video. Whatever her reaction, it belongs on YouTube.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Who Is Zach Suchin?

My post from yesterday received a link from a Mitt Romney themed blog. Actually, it's more like a bot in blog form. Every post at that site is an "interesting post" and a "great post". Gee, thanks. But why does this bot think my name is Zach Suchin? I do not believe I have ever heard that name before.

I have heard of Zecharia Sitchin. But he's not me, either. If only I were someone else, whoever would I be? Zach Suchin or Zecharia Sitchin? I certainly wouldn't be me.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Self-Defeating Con Job

Good morning and welcome to Super Tuesday! This is the day of caucuses and primaries that could make or break the few remaining Republican and Democrat presidential candidates.

Unless, of course, you live here in Pennsylvania, or some other state that isn't going to fire up them newfangled ee-lectronic voting contraptions until after the Spring thaw. Still -- it may go neck-and-neck right up to the conventions late in the Summer.

At the moment, I am not concerned with which Democrat gets nominated. Those of us on the Republican side seem destined to be stuck with either John "Colonel Tigh" McCain or Mitt Romney as our candidate. After Florida, Tigh seems to have the momentum going for him -- so say the polls.

Establishment conservatives are doing everything in their power to rein in the McCain surge:

Working to extend the GOP battle as well, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigned across the country yesterday, branding Mr. McCain, who seized the front-runner's mantle with victories in three successive primaries, as a threat to the conservative future of the Republican Party.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum campaigned alongside Mr. Romney, buttressing his assault on the Arizona senator, who has strayed from conservative orthodoxy on issues including immigration and campaign finance. Mr. Santorum told The Associated Press that conservatives "must vote for Mitt Romney. Because Mitt Romney is the only person in this race that can stop John McCain and the elite in the party, who don't as much care about those issues that a lot of folks in Georgia care about." Mr. Santorum also taped automated phone calls touting Mr. Romney to GOP voters across the nation.

Influential talk-show hosts, including Rush Limbaugh and Hugh Hewitt, also pressed the conservative resistance to the McCain momentum.

But the Romney strategy was complicated by the continued presence of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who was also competing for conservative votes while training much of his campaign rhetoric at Mr. Romney rather than the front-runner.

Limbaugh, Hewitt and Santorum (yes, he still wields influence) are heavy hitters in the Republican all-star lineup. Or should I say...in the conservative all-star lineup. These guys are ready to sell the Republican Party down the river if McCain gets nominated because he's not conservative enough. You could say the same thing about Mitt Romney. Sure, he has been saying all the right things on the campaign trail. But he has come to many of his positions rather late in the game. Who's to say he won't flip-flop back to his previous positions on abortion and socialized medicine, among other issues?

A big part of the problem is that too many influential establishment conservatives think of themselves as conservatives first, Republicans a distant second. That's fine most of the time; you want to get the ideas out there and convince people of the rightness of your way of thinking. Political philosophy transcends party registration -- some of the time. When it comes time to make a difference by exercising their right to vote, the philosophical conservatives don't always push the Republican lever. Remember the 2006 elections? Remember how the Democrats took control of Congress because moderate-to-conservative Democrats beat wishy-washy Republicans in swing areas? The conservatives triumphed over the Republicans. I hope they are happy with what they achieved that year.

Too much emphasis is placed on "conservatism" over party loyalty. Those establishment types are trying to destroy the party, whether they realize it or not. John McCain is not the alternative; he's on our side, whether they like it or not. Hillary and/or Obama is/are the alternative. Would you vote for either of those two over Colonel Tigh? Think long and hard about it.

I want to finish with a couple of points:
  • I am not fond of the term conservative. It suggests a certain degree of stodginess, of adherence to a strict system of beliefs and behaviors, and, if one strays from those ways, one is brutally shunned by the aforementioned conservative establishment. I much prefer to call myself a Right-Winger, for no reason other than that it scares complete idiots.
  • If establishment cons really cared about voting for the most conservative candidate, they would support Ron Paul. The only area where I strongly disagree with Ron Paul is on the war. He makes some good points about the way we entered into the war, but realistically, nearly everyone had been calling for Saddam's head for years. It was inevitable that we were going to do more than just drop bombs in Iraq. On just about everything else, Paul is dead right -- and clearly conservative. If conservative means adherence to the principals under which this country was founded; if it means cutting back and reducing the growth of the central government, thereby restoring the powers reserved to the states by the federal constitution; and if it means governing according to the oath of office, rather than pandering to special interests or the will of the mob, then Ron Paul is the ONLY conservative in this race.
You don't see the establishment cons rushing out to throw their support behind Ron Paul, though. We're going to get stuck with either Romney or Tigh, and we'd better be happy with what we get, or we are going to end up with Leftists running all three branches of the federal government.