Monday, February 20, 2006

God Bless America

Kind of appropriate for President's Day, isn't it? Today, we celebrate the two most beyond-reproach Commander-in-Chiefs in our country's history.

Anyway, this story:

Holocaust Denier Sentenced

And this band's concert reminded me how great we have it here. In case you are too lazy to read the story - a British History professor, who (among other comments) stated he thought that most Jews in Nazi Concentration Camps died of disease, and not gassing, was sentenced to 3 years in jail for voicing this opinion.

Of course, it doesn't matter how the Jewish prisoners died, they shouldn't have been there in the first place. He also stated that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz. I thought historians were generally fact based people? Nut job, for sure, but most academic types seem to be.

He's now recanted some of what he's said, but it's too late for him - he was sentenced for a speech he made in 1989!! It's pretty unsettling to think that someone can be thrown in jail for their words.

Of course the news organizations had to point out that he was a "right wing" historian. It's news to me that there are right and left wings to history, but it isn't news to me that the people who revel in this kind of categorization conveniently forget to mention that the Nazis were a left wing organization. It's right there in the name: National Socialist Party. They were the kind of party that would have, oh, I don't know...thrown someone in jail for saying something they disagreed with.

As for the concert I went to last night...I guess now I know a little bit how Michael Moore would feel at a Toby Keith concert. The only difference being, I was listening to good music. Asylum Street Spankers, the Austin-based band, was kind of a Squirrel Nut Zippers meets Barenaked Ladies meets bluegrass hootenanny, at a MoveOn (.org, I won't give them the honor of being hyper-linked in my blog) fund-raiser. If you know me, not generally the kind of folks I hang with. Of course, the music kicked ass, in between all the Bush-bashing. It was nice to be able to enjoy the music, and not have to agree with their ideology.
It's also nice to know that they can say those things without facing prosecution. Whenever some bleeding-heart lefty ends up in office, I can also make fun of him (or her) without similar retribution.

I'll leave you with a great President's Day related quote from my favorite little liberal author (and voice talent from The Incredibles), Sarah Vowell:

From The Partly-Cloudy Patriot

"I glance at the kid with envy. He's at that first, great, artsy-craftsy age when Americans learn about Abraham Lincoln. How many of us drew his beard in crayon? We built models of his boyhood cabin with Elmer's glue and toothpicks. We memorized the Gettysburg Address, reciting its ten sentences in stovepipe hats stapled out of black construction paper. The teachers taught us to like Washington and to respect Jefferson. But Lincoln - him they taught us to love.

Happy President's Day!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

In Case You Missed It

I'm a night I didn't.

Hawks 114 - Lakers 110

Laugh at me if you want, but I'm excited about the Atlanta Hawks. It's a weird excitement, though. I'm not excited about this season, but future seasons.

Granted, this team has 3 more wins by this All-Star Break than they had all of last year. That's a big step forward, but still a long way to go. The exciting part is that the oldest player of any import for the Hawks is Al Harrington, at the ripe old age of 25, and he's due to be traded. This team is young, and will only get better.

I know, it's hard when a friend comes out of the Hawks closet, but don't worry, I'm still the same guy. Truth is, I've always felt this way. I just stopped expressing it in 1994. That year, the Hawks made the move to put themselves on the path to mediocrity, where they made several wrong turns and ended up in WorstTeamInTheLeagueLand. They traded 'Nique, one of my first sports heroes. Not only did they trade him, they traded him while they had the best record in the Eastern Conference - for Danny Manning - a one-hit wonder with bad knees. Smart.

I have a good feeling about this young bunch, though. They play their asses off every night, and play a fun brand of ball. I know, it's fashionable for crackers, like me, to say we don't care about the NBA. The truth is, I just stopped caring because my team was always toast before the season began.

The local sports intelligentsia seem to think the Thrashers are going to overtake the Hawks in relative popularity in this town. No way. Southerners just won't ever get hockey as much as they do hoops. They won't ever forget the glory days of the 1980's, when 'Nique went toe-to-toe with Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. If they see those days coming back, the Thrashers won't have a chance. Of course, both are way behind the Braves, Falcons, and Dawgs for most - so it all might just be the equivalent of being the valedictorian of Night School.

UPDATE: My car is now leaking oil. Don't know if it's related to my towing incident, or just a coincidence. I just hope this additional distress from the most expensive free parking spot ever!

Monday, February 13, 2006

A Piece of Advice...

Pay to park in Midtown. If not, don't plan on staying very long. Otherwise, you get a nice little trip to A-Tow at 3 in the morning.

That was my Friday night. A cold, rainy jaunt to the ghet-to. And remember, you can't spell "ghetto" without "tow". It would be spelled wrong, but it would sound the same. Those who have been there know of what I speak. I'm still struggling to figure out where this mythical "No Parking" sign was that got me towed off 15th St., and cost me $105. Seriously, how much does it really cost you to tow my car? 10 bucks maybe? What a racket.

Still, totally my fault. If I wasn't such a skinflint about parking, I would have shelled out $7 to park the Green Machine in a covered deck all night.

It's funny how life seems to mirror other people's sometimes. After reading her blog, I've come to the conclusion that Jamie might be the female version of me. In the past few years, she's been unemployed, forced to live with her parents, obsessed with losing weight, and had her car unnecessarily towed...all while drinking to excess a bit too often. Sound familiar, old friends?

On the bright side, I did catch an unbelievable show at The Earl on Friday. Her name is Anna Kramer - and she is a Guitar Goddess. A bit of country, alt-country, old school rock, and a little blues, in pixie form. Seriously, she's like 5'1". I just wanted to put her in my pocket...but not in a perverted way. Her height was only accentuated by the fact that her bass player is around 6'5". Check her out, though, if she is playing nearby. The band, as a whole, was very tight.

Thanks to her, I know now how chicks feel when they go crazy over guys because they're great musicians. She was attractive enough, but her ability to wield a mean axe just took her to another level.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I Don't Love U2

Can I say that? It's the day after the Grammys, and I just have to say I think the voters are getting a little lazy. U2? Are they really still that relevant? Sure...they sell out arenas all over the world, but so do the Rolling Stones, and I don't see them cleaning up at the Grammys. Do we really have to give them a Grammy everytime they come out with an album? Is the NARAS just too afraid to tell them that they will never be as good as The Joshua Tree again?

I guess it's been on my mind for a while. They are just one of those bands I never got in to. We even had a two part Sunday School class on "The Spirituality of U2", and I really tried to take it seriously. It just seemed like a weak attempt at getting apathetic young adults to church that day.

I guess I can't get too upset, in the grand scheme of things, U2 (a rock band with actual instruments) winning alot of Grammys is far better than if Gwen Stefani won for Hollaback Gurl. You're right, you ain't no Hollaback Gurl...because you're married, in your mid-30's, pregnant, and white. You can only be 2 of those 4 things and still maintain your hollaback-ness.
Luckily for her, the Academy had the unbelievably bad idea of coming up with the new category of Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. This will not only keep Nelly and Ludacris working, but basically give Gwen and Linkin Park a chance at some hardware everytime they release an album.

I can honestly say I've only been relatively satisfied with the outcome of this award ceremony twice in my entire 2003 when the soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou? won Album of the Year, and in 2004 when Coldplay's Clocks won Record of the Year (or maybe Song? What's the difference?), and Outkast's Speakerboxx/The Love Below won Album...although I felt like Stankonia and Aquemini were better. So sad that it's pissed me off every other year...

On the bright side, John Legend's Ordinary People got plenty of love. I'm not an R&B fan, but if the genre made more songs like that, I would be. Poor John, though, he won Best New Artist, and that's pretty much a death nell for your career.
I guess I'm preaching to the choir with most of you. We all pretty much know that the best albums are never nominated for these awards, and may only have a snowball's chance at winning in their particular genre. Which means my only moment of joy can come when The White Stripes or Allison Krauss win (take that, New Country). I love music, and these people supposedly do too, but I really wonder sometimes.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006 full of eight-ball...

I have a crazy neighbor. And when I mean crazy, I don't mean like wacky Mr. Roper or Steve Urkel. I mean, borderline restraining order scary.

She seemed harmless enough when I moved in...until speaking to her for 5 seconds when she revealed that the people in my apartment complex were siphoning gas, dealing drugs, and knocking over her plants ( the most egregious offense in her eyes, I think). For the record, I haven't seen a shred of evidence proving any of this happens in my little complex.

She already scared off one of my neighbors by constantly calling the cops on them for stuff they didn't do. When they still lived there, I would often see her peering through a crack in her door at me while I was trying to get into my apartment. Yeesh.

I don't think she works, or owns a car...but she is married. Her husband has that defeated, senile look about him. I guess that's the only way you can look in his situation. I also think he's extremely hard of hearing, or at least he's pulling off a good acting job.

The frightening part is...she likes me. She even gave me a Christmas card in which she said "I hope you never move". I'm afraid if I try she might go Single White Female meets Misery on me! Luckily she's old, slow, and fat, so I should be able to fend her off. She thinks I'm a wonderful neighbor, even though I've never spoken more than 5 times.

Anyway, the point of this is that she managed to add to the craziness this morning by posting a note on her door (one of her favorite things to do). I'm paraphrasing, but it said something to this effect:

"I do not have an eight ball . I do not even know what an eight ball is
Do not knock on our door. All we have here is the Holy Spirit."

Picture this all in crazy old lady handwriting...and you get the idea.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Like many of you with desk jobs, I spend alot of time eading news on-line in an attempt to avoid work. It's sad, but we all know it happens. Anyway, just wanted to post a few items (and two websites) that caught my eye this past week:

Bill Gates Pledges $900 Million to fight tuberculosis

I hope they start with my neighbor. I've learned my apartment has very thin walls, even in the shower. Apparently, I have Doc Holliday living next door to me. I can hear this guy in his morning ritual of hacking up a lung in the shower. I know we all get a little clogged, but this guy sounds like he injects a gallon of maple syrup into his resperatory system before he goes to bed. Luckily, the walls haven't caused me to hear him gettin' it on with anyone. Or worse, telling them he's their Huckleberry...

Reason #2346 that Al Gore has gone crazy

Nice research, Al.

I don't care how you feel about W., but is anyone regretting Gore's loss in hindsight? He's like that person you date, and seems pretty normal. Things are never too good, never too bad, and it doesn't really end that well. Later, you find out, they've either gone crazy, ended up in jail, had an illegitimate child, gone gay/lesbian, or all of the above.

The best part about this story is the quotes from the befuddled Canadians, wondering what the big deal is. It's nice to know they don't go as insane as we do about politics...well, except French Canadians.

John Kerry thinks he's smarter than you

Because, based on his stats, you probably didn't graduate high school. Did he really think anyone was going to buy this? Again, you may not like W., but the Democrats clearly had their heads up their asses in '04. So many potential candidates, and this is the guy the come up with. The only decision as bad was when the GOP picked Bob Dole as their guy in '96.

And now, for some fun websites:


If you like sports, and you like humor, this is the place for you. And if you are sick of how ESPN beats storylines into the ground, these guys are your kindred spirits.

Chuck Norris doesn't sleep. He waits.

I'm sure many of you have already seen this. I think we have to send Conan O'Brien a thank you card for propelling Chuck Norris to the fore of dumb-ass comedy.

Off to see Son Volt in Athens tonight, sure to be a zombie tomorrow morning as I return to my no-sleep cycle.