“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Saturday, December 30, 2006

television available in northern New Mexico when the hotel's satellite dish is covered by a foot of snow:

1. Weather reports telling you what you already know: that you aren't getting out of here today

2. Cartoons hosted by the ''Slumber Party Girls" and aimed at tweens

3. The public execution of Saddam Hussein

I think I'll go build a freaking snowman.


Friday, December 29, 2006

No other time / No other place / No day but today

(Santa Fe) The S. O. and I were midway through our pub crawl through the plaza area last night when it started snowing. We were sitting on the balcony of the Ore House overlooking a picturesque holiday plaza (really: the balcony, heated by massive electric heaters and encased in plastic was actually quite hot). At the time, it was just flurries; we finished our bloodies and Irish coffees and proceeded on to Swig. Swig was eerily empty. The Thursday night DJ had been unable to make it from Taos, and we sat alone in the high-tech dance club, toasting our week of wedding planning success under the techno music and hi-def videos of deep sea life.

After we finally finished our martinis and sake concoctions we stumbled out into a nighttime winter wonderland. We trudged back to our hotel, abominable snow people in scarfs and duck boots, covered in snow. My mountain girlfriend pointed out the powdery snow, so different from the ice and slush we have received lately in Amarillo.

This morning we woke to the news that I-4O was closed from Albuquerque to Tucumcari and that a thousand vehicles were stranded along that stretch. We called the front desk to reserve our room for another night and settled in to watch Rent, for as long as the hotels' satellite held out.


(I'll post photos when I get to a faster internet connection.)

He was not devoured by wolves

With all the Gerald Ford worshipping going on, especially by Shrub for providing a break from his utter failure as a functional human being, here is a classic SNL skit from the past.

-Prodigal Son

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Dick the Conservative Duck: Christmastian Warrior

Blogger issues kept me from putting this up in a timely fashion, so it is late to the point of being irrelevant. I'm posting it none-the-less...

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Christmas Story

In the spirit of Christmas....drink something!!!

Happy Hoho....a great film!!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Fallen Art

kos has a post about youtube videos, and one commenter put up this link.

Clicking on it at random, I watched spellbound as the most realistic computer animation rolled by.

IMO, have a look at an amazing Iraq allegory. Which one is Cheney?


-Prodigal Son

Sunday, December 17, 2006

a tale of two cities

Nobody sneeze, redux:

Amarillo, Texas, the "Missile Mother," according to the Amarillo Globe-News, 17 December, 2006: Pantex gives families merry Christmas

. . . According to the rest of the global media, the United Press International, and the Project on Government Oversight:

Nuclear warhead with 100 times the destructive power of Little Boy almost detonated accidentally in 2005 near Amarillo, Texas


Friday, December 15, 2006

Camp Latrine Sunshine 12/15/06

Today is unlike all other days. Wonder of wonders, it is sweetness and light. As in passing out of deep shadows the darkness has lifted and the world is seen anew in the brilliance of the dawning sun.

Reborn, tremble to the glorious music of war! Weep as a child welcomes her
brother home from distant battle. In that moment, the great wheeling of the universe, the rise and fall of civilizations, the lives and deaths of countless human beings that were and yet will be -- all have existed only for that single happy embrace.

Praise to the great god Mars, you reveal another of your mysteries to our unworthy eyes. Innocent youth you must enlist in your grand campaigns, while your ancient duties were conscripted, not volunteered. Today’s eager patriot was born from yesterday’s reluctant soldier, and now no mercy shall be shown, no quarter given.

Such glad stories come from war. Triumphant progress and joyful endings are our true inheritance. How wonderful it is to have suddenly discovered this, to have one's attitude completely altered, to find unquestioning respect for the right media and the right government, with complete faith in what they tell us is good and true. All this made possible thanks to the kind and gentle people at the reorientation center and GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceuticals.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Reichstag Burning

The Amarillo Globe-News can only be applauded for providing ever greater access for associates and permanent members of the loony bin to the public forum, not that the AGN has failed to perform such a laudable service in the past, but that their campaign to unloose the straightjackets and empty the padded cells, unleashing the certified “cannot play with scissors” and “imagines he is a newspaper publisher” upon the Panhandle is now in full swing.

The latest spastic heaves are paranoid-schizophrenic rants about
leftists in our universities poisoning young minds and liberals destroying our freedoms. What makes these Cold War ramblings so laughably detached from reality is that we must believe these long, vast leftist conspiracies have succeeded in tearing down the country. The fact that it is Republicans and the Bush administration tearing down the country seems to have gotten missed during someone’s sodium-pentothal nappy time.

We need no lengthy exegesis about the assaults on our liberty by the Right. Most of us have noted, in passing, everything from the attempted academic pogroms and the fundamentalist’s attacks on religious liberty to the open breach of law and violation of constitutional rights. What these demented souls are sharing with us, besides their Valium-laced pudding on a plastic spoon, is their weltanschauung that a political party that tortures its enemies, keeps them in secret prisons, holds citizens without due process, and openly violates the nation’s constitutional laws, has in fact nothing to do with these crimes.

Instead, just as the “communists” burned down the Reichstag the “liberals” have ruined America. It is the liberals who have corrupted American citizens. It is the liberals who treat the Constitution as “toilet paper.”

And why shouldn’t the lunatics convince their fellow twittering nuthatches to believe? The men who have perpetrated these crimes, the leaders who consider the Constitution a “damn piece of paper” and mere tinder for their fires, can not -- will not -- be impeached, be held culpable, be found accountable, or even referenced as a footnote in an appendix on brush cutting in the early 21st century. No matter the reality, our local disengaged opinion makers will continue to luxuriate in the snuggly narcosis that is the worship of George W. Bush.

Must we refute every crayon scribbled letter claiming the moon is made of cheese or the Earth is flat, challenge each gibbering twit dribbling vanilla on his bib and mice jumping out his pajamas? The genteel once visited Bedlam to gawk and stare when these madmen were under lock and key. Now the inmates run the asylum and the AGN has become the Elwood Park of newspapers: the demented camp out on their pages and rational folk are discouraged. It beggars the imagination.

Pudding anyone?

Post Script

Few would claim that criticism of the Amarillo Globe-News is a direct assault upon the Fourth Estate or the First Amendment (yes Dave, you vehemently disagree), or that taking issue with Pat Robertson is to object to Christianity or to be anti-God (yes Haynes, you'll argue with that). So why is it unremarkable that Republicans must see even the mildest rebuke against their President, this time from
Kofi Annan, as anti-American, as America bashing, even when it is made in appeal to American traditions and values?

L'État, c'est moi. Republicans make no distinction between their monarch and the state. Here is their grand delusion, the complete and total identification of nation with self and party. Let us counter pose Louis’ “I am the state” with George’s “I am the decider,” detested frog with admired warhorse, absolutist with unitary executive, and Sun King with Moon Calf. His flatterers and courtiers, narcissists all, howl at the slights and injuries against their august Lord and persons. Oh what pricks must be suffered.

Nobody Sneeze . . .

An interesting article about Pantex has popped up in the LA Times. . .

Safety issues probed at Texas nuclear plant
The Department of Energy announces its Pantex inquiry, sparked by reports of long hours and poor conditions.

I could not find it mentioned anywhere this am in the Globe-Republican although it is still early.

Us Gen-Xer's were the last to practice "duck and cover" drills in school, safely protected . . . by hiding under a wooden desk . . . as a nuclear fireball rolled through town, while we were under . . . a WOODEN desk.

Will there be new drills for our kids? Only it won't be 'cause the reds might push the button down, but because someone might be tired from working an 84 hour week?!

There are great people working at Pantex. I hope things get shaped up. Good thing Pantex was privatized. Corporations are ever so much more efficient and they would NEVER compromise safety to boost profitablity.

-Prodigal Son

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The War on Christmas Comes But Once A Year

Is it just me, or does it not feel very War on Christmassy this year?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Schadenfreude, Thy Name is Tinsley

It is the season of brotherly love, so in the spirit of Christmas absolutely do not take any joy from the fact that the obnoxious cartoon character Mallard Fillmore's "creator" Bruce Tunsley was busted for a DUI

Will we see another Ted Kennedy comparison?

Holy crap, I did not know his full name was Hoosier Edward Bruce Tinsley. I mean that just SCREAMS out an asskicking in high school.

-Prodigal Son

PS: Here is a funny from the Daily Show's America Book that hits the nail on the head.

Friday, December 08, 2006

meanwhile, texas remains a scary, scary place

Especially if you like your civil liberties.

Scott Henson uncovers a Plainview prosecutor who wants to rifle through young girls' and boys' MySpace pages in hopes of finding Vandals and Visigoths. Okay, just vandals. And maybe some goths. The ugly slippery slope is detailed at Grits for Breakfast.

And, at Capitol Annex, Vince Liebowitz finds that a HB129 prefiled for the upcoming State Lege session will make frivolous lawsuits against bloggers frighteningly easy.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

there we go again

I'm probably insane for writing this post. Believe me, I debated; but in the end what's life all about, if not being misinterpreted by friend and misrepresented by enem--, um, "foe"?

And as I've said, we're here to critique all of the Amarillo media, not just the Johnster and the Davester and the Virgilster. We're equal-opportunity assholes.

So, I write this post in that spirit, but I'll try to be gentle.

The editor's column in last week's Amarillo Independent contained the bombshell that the Independent had begun a collaboration with NewsChannel 10. We'd like to congratulate George for this partnership, and-- if that's the sort of success the Indy wants-- we'll try to be happy for them.

But it's kind of like trying to be happy for your poor, doomed friend while she says "I do" with some abusive, cheating powderkeg of a husband.

When we first dared to criticize the Independent, George lectured us that we "really don’t understand why [they] felt Amarillo needed another news voice."

Actually, we strongly feel that Amarillo needs other voices of all kinds. That's why we do what we do. And why we all had high hopes for the Independent when it first came out. But how, exactly, is a weekly that collaborates with established media going to be an alternative voice? How will the paper maintain an "Independent Attitude" on stories reported under the tutelage of an old-school local television station that retains the power to edit stories to their own satisfaction?

It's hard to imagine that NewsChannel 10's "take" on stories will forever and always match the manner in which the story would be presented if the Independent were independent. George doesn't seem worried, though. He cite's Kari King's "news judgment". And why does George think King has such good judgment? That's easy -- because she reported about the Indy:

Part of what drew me, as publisher, to NewsChannel 10 was King’s news judgment. She alone, six long months ago, decided it was worth letting the community know the Indy was launched. And hers was the only TV news outlet that thought our findings on problems with charity care were important enough to report when we broke the story in early October.

Hell, the Amarillo Globe-News put us on the front freaking page. And we think their news judgment sucks. We think their news judgment sucks because they put us on the front page. That's what independence looks like.

In the end, the Independent's loss of independence is my biggest concern. This deal looks painfully similar to their midterm endorsements. This partnership, along with the endorsements, creates the perception that all you have to do to receive favorable treatment from the Independent is give them some attention. If the Independent learned tomorrow of unethical behavior on the part of NewsChannel 10 reporters, would the paper print what they learned?

I won't use the offending word, but once again it looks like the Indy is repeating the habitual sins of the mainstream media. A healthy media doesn't create stories in wink-wink-nudge-nudge backroom deals. Good reporters should be willing to stab their enemies and friends in the back.

You know, like PTS does.

But I'll show that I have learned something from the endorsements kerfluffle. Let me state categorically that I didn't write this post because I "think [I] know what was going on in [their] heads at The Amarillo Independent."

Far from it. I haven't a clue what the Independent is thinking.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

the kids aren't so alright, Strauss and Howe

Pulling into my apartment complex, I saw a Jeep covered with snowboarding bumper stickers and a "Kill Your TV' sticker. That particular sticker is also stuck to the television welded to the wall of my classroom, and it always provokes clueless commentary: "Why would you kill your TV, Mr. Sir?" The kids just don't get it. Which is odd. We discussed Life & Stuff at the last Drinking Liberally, and I-- and I think most of my peers-- consider ourselves to be largely post-television. I mean, there's Battlestar Galactica, 24, and The Daily Show, but there's also Netflixed DVDs, TiVo and BitTorrent. As for sitting and drooling and watching whatever the network gods deign to stream into the cathode-ray tube-- not so much.

My kids-- the vaunted Millennial Generation-- they're different. Amazingly, after half a century, they are once again the bogeyman from the nineteen-fifties, the kid from the original Willie Wonka movie who sits and watches the teevee for hours on end with his mouth hanging open. Not even video games, for god's sake. The freakin' television.

It reminds me of a strange anomaly I noticed when I first started teaching in 2001. The kids all seemed to be listening to Led Zep and Jimi Hendrix. When Franz Ferdinand and The Killers hit a couple of years later, some of them listened, but it was still retro; they still didn't have their own music. Some kids prefer hip-hop or norteño, but those forms have sounded exactly the same since, respectively, 1979 and the eighteenth century. Strauss and Howe are right about one thing, anyway; the Millenials ain't rebellious, not at all.

S&H find that to be a happy and reassuring fact. But America was founded on rebellion and has ever and always been lurchingly propelled forward so. And I keep coming back to this: my generation, the cynical Generation X or unlucky 13th generation sadly dismissed as a lost cause by most generational theorists, has become in contemporary pop sociology the First American Generation to be Poorer (Economically) Than Their Parents. But we at least had, in our poverty, our own (cyber) culture, our own (alternative) music. Beyond our postmodernism and post-Baby Boomerism and post-capitalism has come what was, in retrospect, inevitable: the First American Generation to be Culturally Poorer Than Their Parents.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Camp Latrine 12/01/06

Our valiant uncivil aeronaut has taken time off yanking his joystick to stroke his needle tipped pen against another compliant page to gush streams



of ecstatic prose over his chance to fly in a real World War II bomber.

He pays tribute to the B-17 and the crews that flew in her and the devastation they wrought against Germany throughout the war.

How fitting this homage should come just as the war in Iraq has now surpassed the number of days America committed to World War II. Perhaps now the false analogy, the struggle between democracy and tyranny invoked by the Right, always erecting its ugly little head to stifle debate, shall finally go limp.

But there is a hint of fuselage envy in Mr. Camp’s singular column. He admires the B-17 which, after all, is a sleek, elegant craft, while he has always failed to mention the plane in which his long boring patrols took place. The clue he offers bluntly points to the boxy PB4Y, a variant more commonly known as the B-24 Liberator. The Liberator was a respectable craft; whence this adolescent coyness?

As if to answer on cue our last inquisitive critique in which it was speculated that urine and its untimely release somehow played a role in Van Camp’s outlook upon the world, Van Camp obligingly, if obliquely, reveals a deep, dark secret. He tells us he was a tail gunner in that secret plane, and then ten paragraphs later, reminded by the B-17 urinal he is sitting by, notes there was a similar arrangement on his plane and that “every drop found its way to the tail turret window.”

Here for your analysis is a wartime humiliation: a young man, fixed at the posterior end of a flying tube for ten hours a day, and the wartime action he gets is golden showers. There is no Purple Heart, no medal for fifty-two flights for being piddled on by twelve of your crewmates.

No wonder Van Camp is pissed.