Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chest Pains My Ass

No doubt there are any number of wingnut blogs excoriating liberals for being "happy" about Rush Limbaugh's recent hospitalization for chest pains. Well, I for one won't be a hypocrite: Why should I regret it if the devil gets what is coming to him? I can't think of a single reason. Limbaugh is rotten excuse for a human being, a Philistine boor, a charlatan and huckster who pollutes the waters of discourse with verbal toxic refuse and exploits the fears and resentments of his audience for personal gain.

Did anyone else notice the exquisite irony of Limbaugh's chest pains occurring at a resort in Hawaii? The right implied that Barack Obama's Hawaiian boyhood was evidence of Obama's foreignness. Cokie Roberts even took Obama to task here ("I know Hawaii is a state") giving the idiotic advice that he should vacation in Myrtle Beach instead of visiting his family. El Rushbo himself has in the past found the Aloha State to be a rather sinister place (see 1:38 in here), the epicenter of the massive conspiracy to cover up the truth about Obama's birth in some other country. No wonder the place gave him a heart attack!

Citizen K. has been to Hawaii and plans to go again this winter. It's beautiful, filled with unimaginable scenic wonders and delightful people. If that makes it foreign and exotic (in Roberts' unforgettably breathless phrase), then export whatever it is to the mainland...


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday Funnies & Arts








As always, click to enlarge...

Blogging while settling in for the Seahawks-Packers "game." The Pack is plays for a playoff spot, the Seahawks for pride, a quality that they have demonstrated much of this season. Anyway, who wants to play for pride?...

911? 911? My husband won't eat the dinner I made for him...

!!! At his age, I'd be bragging about it!...

The Vatican reconciles with The Simpsons...

The party of Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay laments the tenor of the debate in the United States Senate. Orrin Hatch finds fault not in the complete degradation of political discourse invented by that unholy duo and perfected by the Bush-Cheney Administration, but in ethics rules and the internet:
Both parties have become very polarized. A lot of that is because of the stupid ethics rules. We can’t get together at various events. A lot of people complain about taking foreign trips, which are really critical for us to understand foreign policy. The Internet is constantly badgering everybody. In the process, it’s gotten pretty doggone partisan, both ways. It’s bad.
Um, right. Meanwhile, Olympia Snowe, the Wicked Witch of the Northeast whose gutless refusal to support her constituents best interests and desires helped ensured a completely partisan split on the health care bill, puts it this way:
You have got this divide, this polarization in America.People become risk-averse, politically risk-averse. There is no incentive to reach across the divide and appeal to a broader inclination. It looks like pragmatism is a political cop-out; compromise is certainly viewed that way.
In some ways, you have to credit her bald honesty, which comes down to this: I don't care what the people of Maine want or think. I'm afraid that Senate hard-liners like Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint will view me as a compromiser, and that's what matters most to me...

Green Bay 14, Seattle 0, end of first quarter...

The five best lawyer quotes of 2009. (Thanks, Editilla!)...

Matt Hasselbeck picked off at the Packers goal line...

Elder Music: Toes Up 2009...

Have yourself a Merry Cajun Christmas...


The 'Hawks have now had seven penalties called against them in the first 21 minutes of the game...

We ate the damn stew and he belched and belched and belched and belched...

Packers score on a 56-yard run. 21-3. Enough already...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dum-de-dum-dum, with Sleigh Bells

First, the splint came off today! Woo-hoo! My wrist is stiff and weak, and I have another four months of rehab ahead of me, but the doc says that everything looks good...

At this stage of my life, I'm down to about four Christmas shows and movies. I still enjoy A Charlie Brown Christmas despite the heavy-handed Christianity, and the Vince Guaraldi soundtrack has become a holiday staple. I wouldn't miss Holiday Inn for the world, one of only two films featuring both Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. (Astaire must be the only actor who could make Der Bingle seem tentative and clumsy.) Great Irving Berlin songs and a witty script expertly disguise the miniscule plot, and the finale is surely the best closing of any Christmas film ever. Then there's Remember the Night, a pre-war confection baked to near perfection by Preston Sturges' script, Fred MacMurray's preternatural cool, and Barbara Stanwyck's bustle and energy. It also features this jewel of a moment, in which Sterling Holloway sings "The End of a Perfect Day:"




Sentimental hogwash, Mr. Potter might call it, but after all this is a sentimental time of year.

The last can't-miss holiday program is the Dragnet Christmas show, first filmed in 1953 and later to somewhat better effect in 1967, with a much more square and worried Joe Friday replacing his soft-spoken counterpart of fourteen years earlier. Anyway, Friday and Gannon are working the day watch out of Robbery on Christmas Eve when a Catholic priest calls them with bad news: Someone has stolen a statue of the baby Jesus from his church's Nativity display. The statue has little monetary value, but it's the only baby Jesus that the parishioners have known for over thirty years, and the priest would like it back. Friday and Gannon warn the priest that they don't have much time, but that they'll do what they can.

For the rest of the show, they interview the usual eccentrics, persuade their captain ("skipper") to let them stay on the case ("Since when does the price determine a case," or something like that), arrest a suspect who turns out to be innocent, and finally return empty-handed to the priest. At that moment, a little boy, one of the "devout Mexicans" who attend the mission church, enters the church pulling a wagon with the statue in it. It seems that he had prayed all year for a red wagon for Christmas, and when he got one, he took the statue for a ride. Why did he get the wagon on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas day? Watch the show to find out.

The charm of the show lies in its hearkening back to an earlier day when Mass was said daily -- including twice in the morning -- and when down-and-outers could live quietly in a seedy hotel instead of under a bridge. And when price didn't necessarily determine a case. There's also some good hard-boiled writing:

"I'm sorry to get you out here on a holiday."
"We cash our checks, Father."

"I hope he's not in trouble."
"So do we."

He looked like a man who had had his troubles at bargain basement rates.

Then there's the great laugh-if-you-must closing line, not at all hard-boiled:
"These people are poor."
"Are they, Father?"
You can watch the 1967 version here. Most of the 1953 version is below; one scene appears to be missing. Notice that much of the cast appears in both renderings, including the priest, who reminds one a bit of a Latin lover in the initial account. The '53 show also features Billy Chapin, who later appeared as the older brother in The Night of the Hunter. Barry Williams, who portrayed Greg Brady on The Brady Bunch, had the part in 1967.






Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What Happens When You Let Blue Dogs Into Your House

Politico reports that Alabama Democrat Parker Griffith has switched parties and will run for reelection to the House as a Republican. For the most part -- actually, for all of the part -- this is good riddance to bad rubbish: Griffith opposed every major Democratic party initiative and planned to oppose Nancy Pelosi's reelection as Speaker of the House. What's irritating about this is that the first-term Congressman accepted $1.2 million from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2008. It was o.k. for him to take the party's money and organizational skills, then bolt the first chance he got. Once again, we see why it's pointless to recruit conservative "Democrats" to run for office. They're useless when it comes to voting for anything important, boast about their independence from the party, and preen about their so-called principles.

Griffith believes that Pelosi is "divisive." In point of fact, she's not. The right wing has been after her since her elevation to Speaker, making all sorts of nonsensical ravings from the get-go (there's even a children's book). Pelosi is simply doing her job; that's what angers the right and drives them to divisiveness...


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Funnies & Arts









As always, click to enlarge...

This country has been constipated by health care reform for over sixty years, going back to the Truman administration. After six decades of straining, the Senate has now dropped this little pebble and has the temerity to point to it with pride and say "Look what I've done." It's a scandal that frauds like Holy Joe Lieberman can in the name of principle gut reforms that command a majority. And that someone like Ben Nelson -- a DINO if there ever was one -- can assume the power to deny half of Americans their constitutional rights...don't get me started. What we're likely to wind up with is still better than nothing, but that's about it...

The only man to pinch-hit for Ted Williams looks back on his career...

Letters to Santa written by Shakespeare characters...


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Funnies & Arts







As always, click to enlarge...

Offbeat magazine's top 40 New Orleans CDs of 2009 here...

Atul Gawande writes in the New Yorker that experimentation and pilot programs may be the best way to curb health care costs...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weekly Address: Learning from History to Reform Wall Street



The President explains that while he continues to focus on jobs, it is also profoundly important to address the problems that created this economic mess in the first place. He commends the House of Representatives for passing reforms to our financial system, including a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency, and blasts Republican Leaders and financial industry lobbyists for their joint "pep rally" to defeat it...

In this excerpt from The Year Before the Flood, Ned Sublette arrives in the Crescent City to the sounds of NOLA hiphop...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday Funnies & Arts












Editilla Explodellas: How can the New Orleans Times-Picayune/NOLA.com cover the Army Corps of Engineering and take their (massive) advertising dollars at the same time? And maintain journalistic integrity? Good questions...


We double dog dare you! Dems call GOP bluff and sign on to public option...

A Christmas Tale (2008). Superb film about a troubled French family gathering for what may be their final Christmas together. Sublimely acted and directed, this honest, penetrating study of complex family dynamics never veers off course on its way to the shattering final scene between the mother and the estranged son. Not to be missed. In French, with subtitles...

The trailer doesn't do the film justice, but here it is:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Afghanistan

As near as I can tell, the president proposes to offer 18 months of training to Afghanistan armed forces, after which American troops will begin to draw down. Whether you support this or not depends, I suppose, on whether you buy the argument that Al Qaeda requires a presence in Afghanistan to plot further attacks on the west. Personally, I'm skeptical.

I did appreciate the president's tone. He was somber and intricate, eschewing the "with us or against us" rhetoric of his predecessor. Indeed, he actually addressed the American people as adults capable of reasoned analysis. Although the idea is fraught with contradictions, I agree with his decision to establish as deadline for troop presence. Yes, it's true that battle conditions won't respect deadlines. One must also ask that if the surge is so critical to American interests, what's the point of a deadline? If our interests haven't been served in 18 months, won't they still be there and require the troop surge?

Good questions. Good questions that are trumped by my suspicion that, without a deadline, the military will continually seek to escalate an open-ended commitment. It seems to me that Obama is saying this: We'll try it your way for a year-and-a-half. But if it doesn't work, don't expect me to be on board indefinitely.

I don't like the idea of propping up a corrupt regime with American blood and treasure. The surest way for Afghanistan to keep the Taliban from returning to power is to establish an honest government. I also don't like the idea of American troops killing and inflicting damage on innocent Afghanis, something that is bound to happen with greater frequency by sending more troops. This is guaranteed to elevate the Taliban.

Finally, I'm skeptical that this prevents Al Qaeda from doing anything. Planning for 9/11 happened in Europe, not Afghanistan. Most of the perpetrators were Saudis. Al Qaeda appears ensconced in the Pashtun, a murky border area encompassing parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Their presence there has little to do with the Taliban.

I don't know what the answer is. I'm pretty sure that it's not to send more troops into what looks like a no-win situation...


Offbeat reviews new releases from Paul Sanchez, Bonerama, and other NOLA notables here...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Incident Report

This morning at the hand therapist, I learned how to massage the scar tissue from the surgery, which I have to do 3-4 times daily. I also found out that it will be a couple of weeks before I can begin movement exercises with my wrist. Apparently, it will be close to a year before I regain complete mobility, and there's a good chance that that the hand will always seem slightly askew.

I got home to a communication from the insurance company. They require a complete "incident report" in order to "determine if some other party may be responsible for paying the bills." Alarms have gone off. Will they attempt to duck payment? I called for help answering one of the questions; the representative indicated that this was all pro forma. I hope so, because there's no way that this was anyone's fault...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We're having ten people over:
  • three children
  • one fiancee
  • three friends of children
  • one boss
  • one friend
  • one boy friend of friend
Oh, and a turkey and four NFL teams.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Update

The doc removed the temporary splint yesterday and sent me to a hand specialist. She created a custom removable splint molded to my arm. This allows freedom of movement in my elbow, plus I can wash my hands and drive. The hand specialist also gave me a set of exercises that I'm supposed to do on the hour: make a fist, touch my thumb with each finger, and spread my fingers. It's a start.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Funnies & Arts














As always, click to enlarge...

Big bird. And I mean big...

Blue heart in Donegal...


Numbers, Thanksgiving week...