"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."


This is good shit. You can't beat combining the delivery of car-talk with a sharp populist/progressive message:

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I For One Welcome Our Korean Overlords (or, "so long Kofi")

Hot on the heels of N. Korea's nuke test, South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon is set to assume the leadership of the one world government United Nations.

Many observers with more knowledge than I about Korea have suggested these two events are not unrelated. The UN remains without its own nuclear stockpile. Will MAD prevail? Only time can tell.

In seriousness, this probably won't really mean a whole lot. The UN is in need of much more serious overhaul than Mr. Moon can bring. It will take a lot more than a new Sec. General to get us back on the road to global consensus.

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Cleaning House

We've been cleaining house up here in Westhaven. Kelly made the call and put in new living room carpet while I was in NYC. It was old and the house used to be more filt-oriented than it is now, so the replacement was much needed. The new stuff is cheap (5-year plan calls for hardwood) but it's clean and springy, and even more importantly it meant removing all the stuff that was in there and then not putting all of it back. Space is nice. It's a very zen place now: fresh paint job, one couch, Franklin stove, area rug, turntables/sterio and a TV. All grown up, it feels.

Last night I did a final unpack and clean of my room -- been living with boxes from Brooklyn for too long. For the first time since 2003 I don't have a storage locker or a bunch of stuff stashed with friends. It's a nice feeling, having a solid home base.

So in addition to cleaning and getting rid of boxes, I hung up stuff on the walls, did a little closet organizing, started a bookshelf. My next big move is building a bed. Right now I'm sleeping on a full mattress on top of a queen box, which looks a little funny and isn't the most comfortable. My feet hang off the edge a bit and there's no under-bed storage.

The plan is to loft something up and do it all custom like I had back in High School. I'm looking forward to it.

I suspect the building of the bed will be a psychological milestone of sorts (obvious implications, you pervs), as it will be a strong foot-plant and a permanent mark on the purple room where I live. We'll see how it all pans out, but at a minimum I'll enjoy having something bespoke to sleep on.

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War Snark

Two of the things I love about this medium, especially as it relates to politics, is that it infuses humanity and personality into the process, and that it is a decidedly literary form. This means there's a pretty low bar for entry, lots of room for expression, and the things you say stick around. It's a good blend.

On those notes, two links. First, a lovely bit of flash-powered parody:

War of the Words is the story of the so-called "warbloggers":

Theirs is a story of courage, determination, and above all, typing. They are the conservative bloggers, pundits, and commentators whose loud and prolific support of Republican foreign policy goals helped change the course of American history in ways that will be felt for many years to come.

They are the men and women--mostly men--who have come to be known as the 101st Fighting Keyboarders. And now, at last, their story can be told.

It's humorous faux-Ken Burns stylings belies the fact that what's going on here is quite unprecidented: shameless propagandists, shills, and plain old idiots with megaphones (that's you, Jarvis) are being held accountable for the things they said at a historically important time. This isn't talk radio or your Sons of the South underground newsletter, and so much the better.

Secondly, a recent scientific study showed the civilian death toll in Iraq as a result of the war to be over half a million. Of course this caused the warbloggers to collapse and begin speaking in tongues. Lindsay Byerstein has a delightful takedown of the responses. My fave:

8. Sure the study's methodology is standard for public health resesarch. But don't forget that public health is a leftwing plot.

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A Democratic House?

Chris Bowers has some numbers over on MyDD.com (which is now my go-to politics page) which seem to suggest that the Dems are poised to take the House of Representatives this November.

If this prospect excites you, the time is now to donate, volunteer, send out emails, and talk it up with your friends and family. I think putting a check on the Bush administration is VERY important. Among other things, it will mean much less of a chance of bombing Iran. But we've got to bring it on home.

If this isn't exciting, or you're cynical about the possibilities here, stay tuned. While it's true that there are massive institutional problems with our political system, this is still step one towards: universal health care, reversing global warming, keeping the internet free and open, ending the imperial occupation of Iraq, developing alternatives to fossil fuels, and any number of other important things that require (at a minimum) that the Federal Government not be pushing in the wrong direction.

I'll be blogging more about what might be done soon.

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SmartyPants Test

This is a test of SmartyPants module, which should (like my old WordPress blog) convert two minuses into dashes -- allowing me to make my much-beloved paranthetical insertions like this -- as well as doing "curly quotes" and other such punctuation...

Yep. Works. Also added tags.

This may be nerd-prejudice talking, but in my years of experience, if you want to publish yourself online, you should become HTML literate in the basics like bold, blockquote, link, etc. These basic tools plus smart ASCII conversion like SmartyPants or even wiki-like Textile (which does bulleted lists, etc) are going to continue outperforming javascript-based markup toolbars for some time, and will be much more portable.

All that changes if/when Google releases the toolbar they use in Gmail and their web 2.0 office apps for public consumption, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

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BattleStar Season Three Premiere

Just peeped the season premiere of BattleStar Galactica. Holy motherfucking shit. These people are dropping bombs. I suggest you start watching.

The series has been something I enjoyed from the start because it innovates and pushes the envelope on both stylistic and substantive levels. There's been no other "dark, sexy, science fiction" on television that I can recall -- the only thing that really comes close at all is Ridley Scott's Blade Runner -- but this season the production values seem to be up even a notch further.

I deeply enjoy and appreciate the intelligence with which this piece of culture is crafted, and that which it grants the audience. In addition to being dark and sexy, it's also very smart. This is not TV for morons -- which I think, by the way, means that it is what most people really want; which is to say, high quality shit.

It's on the level of a feature film, their technique: the way in which they utilize jump-cuts and cinematic camera angles, how they'll play with narrative time. For instance, the producers feel free to intersperse scenes that were never aired in the "previously on BattleStar Galactica," and have made a practice of including quick flashes of the episode-to-come in the opening credits. That's stylish.

And then there's the richness of the settings, costuming, etc; the willingless to be frankly sexual, or ugly, or to juxtapose music with action. The attention to minor details, small shots and gestures. The commitment of tha actors and their work is tremendous: British actor Jamie Bamber (aka Lee "Apollo" Odama) not only rocks a great standard american accent, but also put on about 45 pounds for this season. Who the fuck does that for TV, let alone a season?

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So the conventional TV season is starting up (I watched Lost and BattleStar Galactica last time around) which means I'm firing up my bittorrent. I'm curious how early I'll be able to get stuff here on the west coast. Depending on torrent speed, maybe close to real-time!

So, to that end, I'll be firing back up my torrentfeed (which will also pick up torrents for new episodes of The Wire and other HBO shows I dig, plus the odd film). I'll also be posting some sort of essay defending the morality of this behavior, since a buch of squares and duped-teenagers seem to thing that this is somehow theft.

Anyway, that and a new site design, and hopefully some Rebel Unicorn info this weekend.

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Made it

Made it home... I got up from Andrew and TK's couch about 18 hours ago (4am eastern) to get on the subway to get on a plane to fly back to Cali to rent a car and drive 300 more miles north. Luckily for (Tylenol PM) me, I was able to get about 4 hours of sleep on the plane.

It's good to be back. Lots still to digest.

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I'm beat. I got another low-sleep night ahead of me (4:30am date with the A-train) and a flight back to Cali and a drive up to Humboldt. I'm hoping I don't get sick.

Turns out running a wedding really takes a lot out of you. I am tired, I am weary, I could sleep for hundred years.

Got a lot of exciting things coming on in the next weeks... need to get back on top of my cycle here, and quick.

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