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A right-winger who likes French cinema!

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I'm back! [Nov. 6th, 2004|02:23 am]
A right-winger who likes French cinema!
[mood |blahblah]
[music |"No Phone" -- Cake]

Hello once again to my legion of devoted fans!
(sound of crickets chirping....)
Hello?
(more crickets chirping....)
Oh, I forgot. It's just me in here.
Well, hello, me. I'm back. I'm happy to report that I have finally, finally found a job and sort of managed to land on my feet down in Florida. It's not a great job, and it doesn't have anything to do with movies, and the place I'm living, well....Well, it feels like the world's largest retirement community for New Yorkers. Apparently, New York ships all of its old people to Florida to die.
It's better than some places I've lived, though. I'll give it that.
Anyways, I'm doing better in some ways. I'm not dead, but I pretty much felt that way for several months. It was rough. I had a major fallout with my Dad, who took it upon himself to tell me he thought I was a failure at a time when I had just gotten divorced and was going through one of the lowest periods in my entire life. Wait a go, Dad. Thanks for being there for me. Asshole.
I did finally get divorced, however. So I'm kind of glad that's finally over. Not QUITE as depressed as I was, although the depression never really goes away for me.
So at any rate, I'll be doing updates again. I don't know how often, but I'm hoping to check in at least several times a week. I know you're all just waiting with bated breath. All zero of you. Heh, heh. Well, like I said, I do this mostly for myself, so I don't care if anyone reads it.
I'll say this. I can barely bring myself to go to the movies anymore. I invested so much of my life into that, only to get nothing in return. It just breaks my heart to go to the theater.
Oh, well. One day at a time, I guess.
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Fuck you, Livejournal! [Jul. 25th, 2004|02:28 am]
A right-winger who likes French cinema!
[mood |angryangry]
[music |"Mama Said Knock You Out" -- LL Cool J]

FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK. I just finished writing a looooooooong piece, and when I tried to post it, not only did LJ not do it, it deleted all my text. Fuck you, LJ! Since I've got nothing better to do, I might as well try to reproduce it.
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Time to be scared [Jul. 24th, 2004|07:01 am]
A right-winger who likes French cinema!
[mood |scaredscared]
[music |"Dirty Work Goin' On" -- Little Joe Blue]

You know how, every so often, the government pops up and says that they think there might be a major terrorist attack brewing, because they’re starting to pick up more “chatter?” And you’re like, “come on, can’t you do better than that?”
Well, check out this terrifying story from the Washington Times.
The story describes how terrorists are apparently engaging in “dry runs” for airplane hijackings across the U.S. Airplane pilots, flight attendants, passengers, and undercover air marshals all describe a series of bizarre incidents in recent months involving strange behavior by groups of Middle Eastern men on airplane flights. Your first instinct, when you hear this, is to dismiss it as paranoia; they’re just overreacting because some Middle Eastern guy was rude to a stewardess, right?
Not quite. Some of the behavior described is pretty damning, like a guy who locked himself into a bathroom and was caught trying to cut through the wall to the cockpit. Or guys who try to flush out any hidden air marshals onboard by pretending to rush down the aisle towards the cockpit, then suddenly stopping.
Or guys using telephoto lenses to take detailed photos of the exit doors. Or a guy sitting in an airport with binoculars, taking down the tail numbers of planes. It’s kind of hard to write this stuff off as just a big misunderstanding. One air marshal told the paper that these are probably attempts to probe airline security in preparation for an attack.
This is a lot more substantial than just “increased chatter.” You can officially start being terrified now.
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Poor Andrew Sullivan [Jul. 24th, 2004|03:43 am]
A right-winger who likes French cinema!
[mood |blahblah]
[music |"If The Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me" -- Jimmy Buffett]

While I'm on the subject of politics, I might as well note that I've been disappointed in Andrew Sullivan's blog recently. Andrew has really been letting his disappointment over the Bush administration's unfortunate views on homosexuality cloud his political judgment.
Of course, Andrew is gay, so gay rights issues have a special urgency with him. And I sympathize with his disappointment, because I share many of his views on gay rights.
But as far as the election goes, well, you know the old saying: "He may be a son-of-a-bitch, but he's our son-of-a-bitch." By which I mean, for all of Bush's failings, he's the only candidate I think is capable of seriously handling the terror war, the most important political issue of our lives.
At least, that's my judgment right now, since Kerry hasn't really discussed the issue other than to offer some vague bullshit about "rebuilding fractured alliances." To paraphrase something I read the other day, alliances are nice, but I really want a leader whose foremost concern is to blow the bad guys into meaty chunks and put Osama Bin Laden's head on a pike on the White House lawn. If Kerry feels that way, he sure as hell has hasn't made any attempt to express it. On the other hand, if Kerry did express those kinds of feelings -- if he made a major effort to outflank Bush on national security, and I believed he was serious -- I might actually hold my nose and vote for the man. But I'm not counting on it.
Andrew, on the other hand, seems to think it's a real possibility. I always pick up this weird tone when he's writing about Kerry, like he's really, really, really, really hoping that Kerry will suddenly reveal himself to be a hardliner on national security. That way, Andrew can breathe a sigh of relief and vote for a candidate that doesn't seem to think gay people are icky.
If Kerry's record is any indication, that's a distant dream. But if Andrew keeps wishing for it hard enough, he threatens to develop a case of CSD (Clinton Supporter's Disease), where you mentally transform a candidate into the person you want him to be, ignoring that the reality falls far, far short. (For a harrowing account of one man's battle with the crippling effects of CSD, read George Stephanopolous's All Too Human.)
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Political Interlude [Jul. 23rd, 2004|09:58 pm]
A right-winger who likes French cinema!
[mood |blahblah]
[music |"The Fightin' Side of Me" -- Merle Haggard]

I don't really like to talk about politics too much in this space, because that's not the reason I started this blog -- I started it as a personal journal, not a political diary.
But you know, sometimes I can't help myself. For example, if you need more convincing that the media is dead-set on making sure that Bush loses the election, take a look at this story in Slate. No big deal, just a review of the way the media has covered the release of the 9/11 commission's report.
But notice Josh Foer's parenthetical comment here: "Much of the content of the report had been dribbled out in leaks over the last week and many of its findings (such as the lack of evidence for a link between Iraq and al-Qaida) had been foreshadowed in earlier interim reports."
Uh, Josh, did you read the report? Take a look at this story from The Weekly Standard. Or how about this story from National Review Online. Yes, they're both right-winger sites, but both of these stories are basically just redactions of info that either appeared in the commission report or showed up in "mainstream" news sources. Read through this and tell me, uh, where's this "lack of evidence for a link between Iraq and al-Quaida?" And do you think there's any chance that the media will go back and point out that, uh, we were wrong?
Of course, what Foer and other media types really mean is that there's no evidence that Iraq collaborated with al-Quaida in the 9/11 attacks. This is a straw man that has been repeatedly demolished by liberals, but to my knowledge, it's a claim that's never been made by either the Bush administration or its defenders. But the distinction that has been repeatedly been blurred by media types who'd like to damage Bush's credibility.
The case that Bush and his supporters have always argued is this: At the minimum, Al-Quaida and Iraq have had significant contacts and discussions regarding cooperation on shared goals. This proves that Saddam Hussein's government will collaborate with terrorists and, while he may not be guilty of assisting al-Quaida in attacks against the U.S., he can't be trusted to avoid doing so in the future. Combined with the now-discredited-but-then-universally-believed-even-by-critics-of-Bush charge that Hussein harbored large stockpiles of chemical weapons, which he could have conceivably passed on to bin Laden's network, this was a pretty good argument for getting rid of Saddam Hussein. And that's without mentioning Iraq's proven, totally undisputed links to terrorist groups other than al-Quaida. No, it's not a "slam-dunk" argument, but it's a good one, a convincing one, and you can see why Bush's opponents would so dearly like to see it discredited.
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My life...boring...zzzzzzzzz... [Jul. 23rd, 2004|06:26 am]
A right-winger who likes French cinema!
[mood |crushedcrushed]
[music |"Slow Rollin' Low" -- Waylon Jennings]

By the way, my big plan to get smashed and do cold calling didn't pan out -- I got so conusmed in reading the stories I'd missed in Slate that I didn't get enough drinking done. To compound the error, I didn't sleep a wink last night, just sat up reading. Now I'm exhausted, and I'm bitter after reading Slate's online diary from someone who has a job in movies writing ad copy for movies. Just to make me feel all the worse about my unemployment.
Did I mention USC called me the other day to bitch me out about the $60,000 I owe them? I had to resist the urge to tell them that if I'd known what good all that debt would do me, I'd have saved the money and gone to school to learn auto mechanics. At least I'd have a chance in Hell of having some sort of decent job when I graduated.
I've been spending most of my time obsessing over suicide, yet again. I mean shit, other than my worthless parents, who the fuck would care? One problem: I can't by a gun. I applied for a credit card but it never arrived, and my old credit card got cancelled. And I have about a hundred bucks to my name. Shit just comes pouring down all over, you know?
Ah, fuck it. I'm going to eat some junk food and have a few beers and go to bed. Maybe I'll be lucky and I won't wake up.

"Lord I wanted to be something you could depend on
Lordy Lord woe is me, ain't nobody would care
I got a-slow rollin' low, forgot the words to my song
Ain't that just like a fool, wanna ride on the train when the trains is all gone."

-- Waylon Jennings
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Slate has never heard of a Hemi? [Jul. 22nd, 2004|07:03 pm]
A right-winger who likes French cinema!
[mood |surprisedsurprised]
[music |"Lack of Communication" -- Ratt]

Boy, I had a major "red America/blue America" moment today. I came across this article in Slate intended to explain to Slate's readers what a "Hemi" engine is -- you know, because of those commercials with the scuzzy rednecks who ask the guy in the truck, "that thing got a Hemi?" The article's author candidly admitted that he was initially puzzled by the ads, because he'd never heard of a "Hemi."
Wait -- stop the presses. This guy has never heard of a Hemi?
Okay, I can understand that not everybody in America has heard of a Hemi. But, you know, I trust the writers of Slate to be fairly well-rounded, knowledgable folks, so it was something of a shock to me to realize that there are places in America where you can be well-rounded and knowledgable and have no freakin' idea what a Hemi is.
A Hemi, by the way, is basically an engine with a hemispherical combustion chamber. Chrysler wasn't the only carmaker to build a Hemi engine -- Ford once made a Hemi, for example -- but Chrysler and its Dodge brand are virtually synonomous with the term "Hemi" because they were the company that achieved the greatest success with the concept -- first in the '50s, when Hemi-powered Chryslers terrorized racetracks, and later, in the '60s, when the company introduced the legendary 426 Hemi. A 426 would put out well over 400 horsepower straight from the factory, and it is generally considered to be the ultimate bad-ass muscle car engine. That's the subtext of the phrase, "yeah, it's got a Hemi" -- it means, watch out, baby, this car can blow your doors off.
I grew up in Alabama, where all of this stuff was just common knowledge, especially for gearhead kids like yours truly. But where I come from, even guys who weren't particularly into cars generally understood that "Hemi" meant "kick-ass engine." So when I heard that Dodge was coming out with a new Hemi, and when I saw the commercial with the rednecks, nobody had to explain anything to me. (The "new Hemi" is a new design that is only vaguely related to the old 426, but with 345 horsepower, it's still nothing to sneeze at. For those of you not up to speed on horsepower values, a "sporty" car typically has between 200-300 horsepower; unless you're driving something like a Mazda Miata or a Caterham Super Seven, 300 horsepower is generally considered the minimum for a "serious" performance engine.)
So seeing this piece in Slate was something of an eye-opener: We're really divided in this country, aren't we? I mean, man, it's like we're on different planets sometimes. I consider myself a fairly well-rounded guy -- I mean, in film school, I knew all about all the directors we studied, even the ones whose names I couldn't pronounce who came from countries I couldn't spell. But I have no doubt there's probably some Hemi-like issue for me out there somewhere: something that is just considered common knowledge in one part of the country that I'm completely ignorant about. Weird.
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Innovative Job Seaching Strategies [Jul. 21st, 2004|04:05 pm]
A right-winger who likes French cinema!
[mood |depresseddepressed]
[music |"Cocaine Carolina" -- Johnny Cash]

Man, I gotta get a job. I'm at the end of my rope here, and I'm gonna have to something I absolutely hate: Cold calling people and asking them to hire me. Yeah, yeah, it's supposed to the be the seond-best way to find a job, right after "person contacts and introductions." But I am a painfully, painfully shy person, and the prospect of cold calling literally causes me to become physically ill.
Part of it, I guess, is due to my natural shyness, but there's probably more to it than that. One, I used to be a newspaper reporter, and calling strangers was part of my daily job. I hated hated hated hated that like you can't believe, it was the most stressful, painful job I've ever had -- and I include the three summers I worked doing grounds maintenance on a golf course, when I had to spend hours every day doing hard physical labor in the scorching heat. No, compared to being a reporter, working on a golf course was a breeze. For the two years I worked as a reporter, I spent every single weekend getting as drunk as humanly possible, because it was the only way I had to relieve the stress.
So I hit upon a way to successfully get through this cold calling stuff: I got a couple of bottles of hard stuff, and starting tomorrow morning, I'm going to get up and get completely shitfaced, then I'm going to start calling. I spent today compiling a list of names and phone numbers to work off of.
That probably sounds like the most insane thing you've ever heard of, but I don't have any better ideas. If I don't do it, I'll literally be too scared to even pick up the phone.
I might update tomorrow and let my millions of adoring fans know how it went.
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More Israel stuff [Jul. 21st, 2004|03:44 pm]
A right-winger who likes French cinema!
[mood |pessimisticpessimistic]
[music |"Lay Down Beside Me" -- Don Williams]

Another story from Reuters about Israel's security barrier. Nothing new here -- Palestinians want Israel to tear down the wall so that they can continue to safely massacre Israelis. Oh, that's not what they ACTUALLY say -- instead, it's something about how the wall is an "illegal land grab" of territory they want for a future state.
Now, I'm all for the creation of an independent Palestinian state -- that's the main reason I think Israel's plan to build this wall and pull out of the occupied territories is such a great idea: It will force the Palestinians to put up or shut up. Sealed off from Israel, they won't be able to waste their time indulging in childish, psychotic rage. They'll have no choice but to do the heavy lifting to establish some sort of functional government that would have to come to terms with the existence of the Israel. Oh, I'm sure they'll continue to bitch and moan about the "Zionist entity," but once they're forced to live in the real world, I think the Palestinians will find terrorism far less attractive.
But that's not why I linked to this story. The real reason: One of the contributing reporters has one of the coolest names ever: "Opheera McDoom." That would be a kick-ass name for an online avatar for something like Everquest or Ultima Online.
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More ISP woes [Jul. 20th, 2004|09:24 pm]
A right-winger who likes French cinema!
[mood |blahblah]
[music |"Act Naturally" -- Buck Owens]

Got Internet access, but it's a little sketchy. Probably going to move to another provider. Anyhow, wanna know why the World Court can just got to Hell? This story from Reuters about a U.N. vote on Israel's security barrier mentions in passing that the World Court issued an "advisory opinion" on the barrier and that, ahem "a section of the court ruling had suggested that under the U.N. Charter, a state had the right to defend itself against an attack from another state but not, for example, from a suicide bomber."
A state has no right to defend itself from suicide bombers. To their credit, the general assembly disagreed, but only after intense negotiations with Arab states. Cause, you know, there are so many legitimate reasons to tolerate suicide bombings. I've often wondered if those "Arab states" would have such a cavalier attitude towards terrorism if they were regularly assaulted by Christian or Jewish fundamentalist suicide bombers. How would they feel if someone crashed a few airliners into Mecca?
And don't even start with that bullshit about how "America and Israel have all the B-52s and F-16s, blah blah." Last time I checked, the U.S. government doesn't just sit around on its ass while letting insane billionaires organize private militias to attack other countries.
Go to Hell, U.N.
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