Six Feet Under Returns June 13th for a Fourth Season on HBO

(Portions of this article appeared in Crapshoot
in June of 2003 in a somewhat different form.)

All the critics hailed the Third Season of Six Feet Under

"It was brilliant," they said --- sure it was, as brilliant as a slug trail shining in the moonlight.

The critics got there too late. They didn't recognize the genius and the magic of the first season and by the time the third season began, the producers had lost the handle and started playing every tired old TV trick they could think of to get it back. At which point the critics finally began to praise the series, perhaps because it had descended to the type of TV they knew -- manipulative formulaic games. The quality level of the third season fell like an angel's turd off the top of the Bank of America building.

Until the last episode of the third season -- when it pulled a Lazarus, sat up from its chalk outline and said, "Huh? What? Where have I been? Well, I'm back now."

Let's go back to the first season when the critics couldn't deal with an easily-paced coming-together of characters and situations. The series took a few weeks to get rolling. But, apparently, the critics didn't understand that this one was just building itself up at its own pace, and couldn't wait, so they decided it was crap, although the first episode featuring Prodigal Son Nate (Peter Krause) banging the woman he'd just met, Brenda (Rachel Griffiths) in the airport restroom as his father (Richard Jenkins) was simultaneously being killed in a car crash on the way to pick him up surely should have been an indication that something other than usual was up.

The critics lumped the Sopranos and Six Feet Under together for a lot of reasons -- both HBO, both Sunday night, both dramas involving families and their outsiderish sources of income, both extraordinary high water marks in television -- but aesthetically, they were always opposites.

With the Sopranos, we knew every step of the way that we were in the hands of a master storyteller using perfectly cast, skilled, experienced actors. Week after week, even with one of the principle actors (Nancy Marchand) dying of cancer, they spun the story and it gripped and held. And we waited for it on Sunday night.

Six Feet Under did something completely opposite, and the opposite of brilliant may also be brilliant, but in another way. Obviously the cast and crew and all concerned were equally skilled -- but in the first year and most of the second, we were often able to feel as if there were no story teller at all, that we were actually watching lives unfold, and that each next bit of reality was still hatching in the cosmic aether, to be stimulated into reality by the momentary dynamics of the event in progress. In other words, the stuff on the screen was just happening.

And that was an amazing thing to achieve. Hard enough for anyone to script, but even more impossible to realize on a set with 10 or 20 techs moving lights and mikes and cables; actors working under blazing lights, and, for example, playing Nate and Brenda as lovers in bed getting after it in intimate and salacious ways despite doing retakes, each time rising above the presence of a macro lens poking in under Rachel Griffiths' left breast. Or to feel that way as actors play mourners responding to seeing a casket and feeling a loss; or son David (Michael C Hall) coming out and coming in to his love life with Keith (Matthew ST Patrick), a black LA cop, and theirs being the most wholesome relationship going on.

Through it all, there was a continuing tension between the characters' daily physical and emotional involvement with death and their total inability to understand what the fact that we all die means in terms of how we might live our lives. Not "denial." Just a failure to appreciate the meaning of the presence of death, even though the recently dead appeared throughout each show, displaying grim existential humor, discussing intimate matters with the living who never seemed to address such subjects in their own lives. And when the newly-dead cadaver being prepared in the basement wasn't talking to the attendant, the father's ghost was chatting up family members from time to time. That was there for all of the first year and well into the second year, that continual presence of death, but in the third season, somehow it got lost.

Somewhere in the second season, this unheard-of act of magic began to slip away. And the people -– producers, writers -- who had been bringing forth this idiosyncratically magical wandering through the lives of people who were involved one way or another in the undertaking business started to notice something was missing, and they did the wrong thing. They tried to grab it, hold it more tightly, mold it, hang onto it ... and the more they did, the more they lost it, the kind of flop sweat where working harder and harder at it only makes it worse. The dead didn't even sit on the opposite embalming table any more to discuss matters of moment with the morticians.

This third season opened to kudos and hurrahs and high hopes, and while some of
the characters still were interesting, especially the daughter Claire (Lauren Ambrose), entering art school and played painfully well in extraordinary performances. But Ms Ambrose, as good as she was, couldn't carry every entire show all by herself, and there were too many episodes where her character was the only living thing in the funeral home.

The character of Ruth the mother (Frances Conroy), devolved from innocence, no longer sweetly naive and newly born into independence through widowhood, to being merely pathetic, desperate and dumb. The Prodigal son and his neurotic hysterically-vegan wife Lisa (Lili Taylor) were given far too many episodes to establish that they were destined to be no more than romantic straw men, a partnership made out of a poor compromise. Finally, Brenda returned, and even though it was way too late -- about four episodes after we all saw that there was no life left in the dynamics, it breathed a bit of life into the little world of Fisher and Sons Funeral Parlor.
But then, in a massive display of desperation, the producers played a thuggishly overt game of manipulative pseudo-suspense -- bringing it all down to second-rate soap-opera.

Rico (Freddy Rodriguez), finally a partner, found his life slipping out of his hands. His wife (Justina Machado), a nurse, got strung out on self-prescribed antidepressants and other drugs stolen from the hospital pharmacy; Claire found out she was with child just bout the same time her boyfriend admitted he had done the deed, or at least, some deed with their mentor; Mother Ruth came onto the larval human who was the company's apprentice; David and Keith broke up again after a phony argument set up with a visit to Keith's parents' home; and finally, last and most loathsome, Nate went nuts after his wife Lisa disappeared on the way to her sister's house and went missing for three weeks. Some people I knew found it gut-wrenching, saying that if one's own wife were missing for all that time, any man would go much crazier than did Nate.

My point of view was somewhat different. I was very clear that if some writers made my own wife disappear for three weeks, I would be infuriated, would seek them out and kill them, painfully, because I couldn't overlook the fact that they had decided "Let's lose Lisa. Let's just manipulate the living crap out of our faithful viewers and keep our plummeting ratings high." Unlike The Sopranos, when the hand of the writer-director-producer appeared, it was not comforting -- it was intrusive.

That's why I had pretty much given up on them, but then, after a bye week to build the ratings, the final episode of season three came on. And the magic was back, at least some of it. The dead walked among the living once again. The living were living their own lives and mirable dictu! Mother Ruth who had been unashamedly enjoying lots of hot sex from a new boyfriend with six former wives to his credit, announced she will marry him, right away. When the children protested, she said what was always been there to be said by anyone in the house -- "Life is too short. I will take my chance at happiness when it comes along."

Finally, someone who lived in that funeral parlor noticed that every one of their cadavers had been a life cut short, whether through violence, accident, or disease. (Perhaps, and if so, it was to their credit, the producers and writers were responding to outrage from cast and/or crew and/or disappointed fans)

Admittedly, my disaffection was the result of the series' decline from a magical excellence which was by all reasoning impossible to achieve -- even though they did it; more impossible to sustain -- and they did that fairly well; and totally impossible to bring back once it's gone, which they managed to do, in a way, just under the wire. Perhaps I was being a spoiled brat to say this magic just didn't happen often enough in the third season, but if so, it was the people who made Six Feet Under who spoiled me.

One more point, to be fair -- the first two seasons, Six Feet Under followed The Sopranos on Sunday night so you had "Wow!" followed by "More Wow!" The third season, it was on its own without the lead-in, without the advantage of following a satisfying drama.

So now we can only hope that in the fourth season, the writers and producers will allow the actors to carry believable stories, without needing to fetch the elements of character and plot from too far away for us to care. Because learning how to live, knowing what to do with one's life while recognizing that death may always be standing in the shadows is the most important thing any of us can do, and every one of us can use all the help, insight, and reflection we can get.

(No, not "now more than ever." It was always there, and the possibility of a sudden end is no more likely today than it was before September 11, 2001, or August 6, 1945 or any other time.)



A flaw in my logic

The comment on yesterday's posting from or on behalf of Xymphora made at least one real point -- that the Iranians wouldn't be particularly fond of having an American army of occupation in Iraq, given that they are part of that "axis-of-evil" the neocons keep finding under the bed. Perhaps not even a depleted, demoralized, exhausted army of occupation, one which has been betrayed at every turn by politically-focused administration officials afraid to send "too many troops" there. To this administration, the real terror is that the voters might send them all packing.

Given that this administration has betrayed the men and women it sent into harm's way at every turn, from cutting medical benefits to extorting re-enlistments under threat of being sent to Iraq, to extending (and thereby violating) the contracts these people signed with the military service, it's amazing we still have anyone over there willing to wear the uniform.

Still, there's nothing wrong with rethinking through other perspectives in terms of the of the Chalabi-suckered-the-neocons-on-behalf-of-Iran theory.

Not that Xymphora's version is necessarily right and mine wrong, but his version is solid enough it MUST be considered. Perhaps my loathing for the neocon know-it-alls who would never consider ANY premise other than their original one led me to leap too quickly on the delightful possibility that the neocons were conned.

I understand the possible lack of desire of the Iranian mullahs to have 130,000 troops and about 50,000 mercenaries at their next door. I certainly understand the desire to finger-point at anyone, in this case, Chalabi, yelling, as these people do at each other in crunch times, "It's all HIS fault."

But I don't understand why these stiff-necked, self-righteous jerks would enjoy being publicly humiliated as the people who got suckered by a bunch of guys they've called "16th century dinosaurs," why they would think it works to their benefit. Because to me, they look like the kind of people who would rather die, rather hang for crimes against humanity, than ever appear foolish in public. And this makes them look like a bunch of bozos who just bought a sack of shit for $200 billion.

Which they did, of course, whether via Chalabi and the Iranians or their own insanity. The problem -- the criminal aspect of it -- is this: they've been paying for it with the deaths and maiming of the men and women in uniform.



Beyond hubris -- it's outright comedy

From The Guardian

An urgent investigation has been launched in Washington into whether Iran played a role in manipulating the US into the Iraq war by passing on bogus intelligence through Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, it emerged yesterday.
Some intelligence officials now believe that Iran used the hawks in the Pentagon and the White House to get rid of a hostile neighbor, and pave the way for a Shia-ruled Iraq.

According to a US intelligence official, the CIA has hard evidence that Mr Chalabi and his intelligence chief, Aras Karim Habib, passed US secrets to Tehran, and that Mr Habib has been a paid Iranian agent for several years, involved in passing intelligence in both directions.

The CIA has asked the FBI to investigate Mr Chalabi's contacts in the Pentagon to discover how the INC acquired sensitive information that ended up in Iranian hands.

The implications are far-reaching. Mr Chalabi and Mr Habib were the channels for much of the intelligence on Iraqi weapons on which Washington built its case for war.

"It's pretty clear that Iranians had us for breakfast, lunch and dinner," said an intelligence source in Washington yesterday. "Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the US for several years through Chalabi."

Goddamn, but ain't justice sometime fun?

Brad Delong, always a source for nifty bits, pieces, and insights commented on it this way:

"When future histories of espionage are written, will the United state's attack on Iraq be classified as the greatest intelligence coup of the century? The Iranian intelligence agencies planting false information and getting the United States to remove their enemy, Saddam Hussein?"

And the Iranians got us to pay for it by gutting our own social programs!

Listen -- I love this country and the Constitution on which it is built.

And unlike most of the rec-room patriots of this administration, I actually raised my right hand in answer to the draft call and swore to defend it.

So it is only natural that I would to take great joy in watching the crumbling facade of an administration I consider to be nothing more than a coup d'fou engineered mob of virulent self-serving smartasses using a man who has been shown to be a lying, vindictive hypocritical sonofabitch as its public face.
It raises the hope that we might someday soon see a return to sanity, reason, justice.

Those people, if I may call them that, have stampeded this country into potential disaster.

And now, they are all just possibly about to be receiving their comeuppance, and oh how sweet.

For those who worry about the ramifications of administration collapse, don't.
The President is a man who has made his way all his life through the largesse of and on the backs of others. He won't be missed.

And as for the behind-the-scenes players -- I truly believe that if Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and the rest of the crew -- Abrams and Feith and Ashcroft and Hambone et al -- all disappeared off the face of the earth tonight, tomorrow morning the United States would still be here.

And there are hundreds of thousands of us, if not more -- those of us whom this pack of sociopathic lemmings have denounced as traitors for daring to disagree with the over-the-cliff-edge course they set -- who would willingly roll up our sleeves and give all we have to form a more perfect union, establish justice, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty.

It may take a lot to settle down. This country is in the throes of a disease which has been intentionally spread by this coven of monsters hiding out in the halls of government.

The disease is paranoia, and it is daily manipulated by this breed for their own benefit. Figure out why the big alert goes up everytime Bush or one of his cronies is under public scrutiny for one crime or another.

And paranoia is defined by the lovely interchange in Richard Rush's film of The Stunt Man.

"The disease is paranoia."
"Is that like a social disease?"
"Yes. You get it from screwing your fellow man."

So we run and shout:
Look out look out look out!!!
Scary people are coming to hurt us!!!

Guess what?
The scary people are running the country, and yes, they're quite willing to hurt all of us.



The ship is leaving the sinking rats

The biggest of the rats -- the one who was most often found scuttling through darkened and dimly lit back corridors -- is playing the game called CYA.

Richard Perle, one of the major players in the mob that created the debacle of death, despair and degradation we know as Operation Iraqi Freedom, is moonwalking away from the mess he helped make, backing up, sliding away in reverse without admitting it like a cat who's losing a fight, or, more properly, a war criminal innocently stating: "Who me? I vass neffer a member of the party."

Just to be clear -- he is no relation to this Saintperle, and I have often thought, not even a close relation to what we like to think of a homo sapiens.

In his statement today, as quoted in an article in the Toronto Star, the man the neocons called "The Prince of Darkness" smiled sweetly and innocently and said:

"I would be the first to acknowledge we allowed the liberation (of Iraq) to subside into an occupation. And I think that was a grave error, and in some ways a continuing error," said Perle, former chair of the influential Defence Policy Board, which advises the Pentagon.

With violent resistance to the U.S.-led occupation showing no signs of ending, Perle said the biggest mistake in post-war policy "was the failure to turn Iraq back to the Iraqis more or less immediately.

"We didn't have to find ourselves in the role of occupier. We could have made the transition that is going to be made at the end of June more or less immediately," he told BBC radio, referring to the U.S. and British plan to transfer political authority in Iraq to an interim government on June 30.

One interpretation of that statement would either be something like: "If you hadn't dumped me because of my grotesquely overt conflicts of interest, you wouldn't be in this mess today."

Another way of interpreting the statement would be Perle saluting the White House and Department of Defense, and shouting: "You threw me out and now it's all yours -- SO LONG SUCKERS!"



Pingvini power

I have a cold and can't think -- fortunately, Tom Tomorrow can and does.

So Tom Tomorrow AND Berke Breathed AND Linux all feature extraordinary penguins as their front men.


Many years ago, I came to the conclusion that life may well be a put-on contest, and if that were so, then the penguins had already won, and the ones we were seeing were ambassadors arriving and waiting in properly chilled zoos to present their bonafides and accept our formal surrender.

I'm glad I spent so many hours with my wife, hand-raising baby penguins, feeding them, cleaning them, and socializing them to humans by playing those silly tickle-tickle boodjie-boodjie games with them. Perhaps there will be more than just fond memories of summer days spent stinking of the herring/krill/half-and-half formula we fed them. Perhaps there will be a State Department job. Some sort of post in the Antarctic Embassy?



Maybe not a conspiracy, but the decapitation video is definitely a Man-Behind-the-Curtain job

On Washington Journal this morning on CSPAN , woman called in and was either a doctor or her husband was a doctor (it was 4AM here in the Pacific time zone). Regardless, her point was valid.

She had watched the entire Nick Berg video both on broadcast and on the internet and said, "He wasn't alive when they cut off his head. There was no blood. Where was the blood?"

Her point: you do a decap on someone, the arterial blood will be everywhere -- blood spraying for a full minute or two as far as 30 feet as the heart exsanguinates the body.

Despite the fact that beheadings are actually quite humane (death is rapid and possibly painless) it's not used in the West because the witnesses can't stand it -- it is truly aesthetically vile -- even more gory than a Mel Gibson fantasy.

So that's the curtain behind which someone or other lurks -- the man was already dead.

And here are some of the questions which arise from that situation:

How did the man in the orange jump suit die?
Who killed him?
And was he even Nick Berg?

Does this mean that even the notorious international terrorist Wowie Zowie Donald Duckowie isn't as heartless and cold as they say?

But since ilmu Shaliya (Islamic law) uses beheading as a regular form of execution in Muslim countries, why would he -- or any of them -- be queasy about it?

So then who are those guys behind the masks who are so squeamish they couldn't handle painting the walls, the ceiling, and themselves with blood?

If this were CSI: Miami and I were David Caruso, I'd be watching the video over the shoulder of the tech guy and asking him to "Give me a closeup on that gold ring... good now can you clean it up... can we get close enough to read that writing on the ring?"

And then my cognitive dissonance antennae go up even farther because of the amazingly convenient timing of the video (smack dab in the middle of the ongoing embarrassment over torture in Abu Ghraib prison, taking some press attention away from that debacle) and because right-wing mouthpieces are calling in everywhere and saying identical phrases, as if reading talking points issued from on high.

"Where's the outrage?" they ask. "Why don't the liberals get outraged by THIS? "It's okay with liberals if their people kill Americans."

They ALL ask that, using the same words, the same phrasing, the same accusations.

Combine that with the character attacks on Nick Berg from government sources as maybe having been a terrorist himself and his connections -- maybe -- to Al Quaeda and Abu Ghraib prison, and then tagging his father as a left-winger because he pointed his finger at George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld ...

Boyohboy do the nasty tickles arise in mind, hearing the faint voice of someone in the CIA or Defense Department or from the White House basement saying, "Well, he was dead already, and it's something they would do if they could so we just decided to let him serve his country one last time and..."

Someone pointed this out to me a long time ago: whether it's asking about LBJ having been involved in the JFK murder or if Bush et al were more than casually connected to the events of September 11, 2001, it's not that we believe THEY actually did it, but that we look at them and know in our hearts they were capable of it, fully capable of doing that sort of thing.

One other question -- since the CIA thought they'd killed him a long time ago, does that mean that Wowie Duckowie some sort of reincarnation of Jason the Unkillable? Has he traded his hockey mask for a ski mask for the sequel?

Jason Goes to Baghdad!

For a more in-depth discussion of ALL the pieces that don't quite fit the govt story, check out this site


At last -- a government that really cares about the kids

In The Little Prince, St. Exupery had the King explain the reason for his popularity, that he never commanded his people to do anything they didn't want to do.

Not a bad policy. And so it is that educators in the UK figured out a way to actually be effective as regards teenage pregnancy and preventing it.

The Observer ran this article last week:

Oral sex lessons to cut
rates of teenage pregnancy

Mark Townsend
Sunday May 9, 2004
The Observer

Encouraging schoolchildren to experiment with oral sex could prove the most effective way of curbing teenage pregnancy rates, a government study has found.

Pupils under 16 who were taught to consider other forms of 'intimacy' such as oral sex were significantly less likely to engage in full intercourse, it was revealed.

Britain's teenage pregnancy rate is the highest in Europe. In 2002 there were 39,286 teen pregnancies recorded. The government has spent more than £60 million to tackle the problem but so far failed to halt the rise.

A sex education course developed by Exeter University trains teachers to talk to teenagers about 'stopping points' before full sex.

Now an unpublished government-backed report reveals that a trial of the course has been a success. Schoolchildren, particularly girls, who received such training developed a 'more mature' response to sex.

The study by the National Foundation for Educational Research found youngsters were 'less likely to be sexually active' than peers who received traditional forms of sex education, dispelling the fears of family campaigners who believe such methods actually arouse the sexual interest of teenagers.

Now the government will recommend the scheme, called A Pause, to schools throughout England and Wales following the success of the trial in 104 schools where sexual intercourse among 16-year-olds fell by up to 20 per cent, according to Dr John Tripp of the Department of Child Health at the University of Exeter, who helped to design the course.

Teachers who sign up to the course are primed to deal with queries from pupils on all kinds of sexual experience. Those behind the course stress the scheme does not suggest teenagers experiment with oral sex. Instead they say A Pause promotes the message that other forms of physical intimacy are safer than full intercourse.

'It teaches people assertiveness skills and that they should be only as intimate as they feel comfortable with,' said Tripp.

A Department for Education and Skills spokesman said the report's verdict would be made available to all schools. 'All teachers respect peer-reviewed material, and this will help influence their decision,' he said.

All together now: "Damn -- born too soon."



If mental health were riches, America would be even deeper in debt

I think we've fallen all the way head and shoulders into rabbit hole of the 'Death to all Fanatics' era.

I received an email today from people I regard as generally fairly intelligent and perceptive. I've edited it a bit for length:

"I'm sure the Muslims see little difference between the terrorists cutting off Berg's head, and the way our soldiers blow the heads off Iraqi civilians with gunfire....

"It looks to me like the terrorists really played to the Muslim audience.

"The Koran recommends three acceptable ways to kill an infidel - with fire, burning oil, or the sword...I suspect this means a lot to a Muslim..."

"The naivete of our leaders is staggering - every speech by Bush or Rumsfeld shows that they still have no idea what the Muslim culture is all about. Yet they seem to know that the fundamentalists cut off the right hand of those who steal, that they kill their own daughters who dishonor the family by getting raped, surely that should give our policy-makers a clue... Surely that would make the administration consider the possibility that Bush and Rumfeld's spin will not cover torture, rape, humiliation and murder, not like paper covers rock, not like the spin of words work here with simple minded Americans. The Iraqis are even more simple, they judge men solely on their actions.

My response:

"The Iraqis are even more simple?" Even more than you are?

Try redacting that first sentence like so:

"I'm sure the CHRISTIANS see little difference between American soldiers and Mercenaries torturing living people who are being held without charges* and Iraqis dragging the dead bodies of American mercenaries thru the streets..."

*(Rummy went there to Abu Ghraib yesterday and had 300 prisoners released immediately, so I guess they weren't REALLY murderers and terrorists after all)

Ok, so I'm being a nitpicking pain in the ass, but ALL Muslims, ALL Jews, ALL Christians? They ALL what? They ALL breathe? They ALL eat? After that, what?

I agree with much of the rest, that the personnel of our coup d'fou in Washington have no idea what things mean to people from cultures which are foreign to them, whether French or Arabic or literate American, but the fact is, there are a lot of different and overlapping cultural groups out there, even in that one country -- Arabs, Iraqis, Kurds, Muslims -- and many many people, regardless of what label they wear, were really disturbed by that beheading. I also agree that spin about the Abu Ghraib pix is not going to do anything.

All this blather about what the Koran sez is nothing but pure crap, and you don't know it for a fact at all, just what someone said about it. Unless you've read it yourself, you're hanging from someone's version of what he or she thinks it might say. And according to those who read it, study it, ponder it -- unless you read it in the original Arabic, as millions of people have, you still can't understand what it says.

Go back to the Bible, and if you actually read it, oh Christians of virtue, you'll learn that ALL Christians believe it is God's will that you should stone your child to death if he or she is disobedient ...

Iraqis who have watched the US forces blow their children and families away with a BLAM and an "Ooops, sorry" don't need some psychotic asshole dispassionately beheading some poor bastard on TV in order to know what's going on. And if you read something like al-Jazeera's website (instead of taking Hannity and Colmes' word for it), you may find those Muslims do not approve of it. Many many many of them consider the saying that "Allah is Great" at that instant to be the rankest of vile blasphemy.

The only people who really seem approve of the beheading video are the people in this administration, who see it saving the plummeting election poll numbers by stimulating a resurgence of the "Death to the Traitors!" hysteria in the lunatic fringe which is their base.

By the way, there are precious few Muslims who actually do cut off hands and such -- perhaps not even as many as there are Christians who will not suffer witches or gays to live ... and we have more than a few of those running around in this part of the enlightened Christian world...

A German philosopher, one who got to see their 20th century wars close up, said:

"The first casualty of war is not truth, but perspective.
Once that's gone, truth, like compassion, reason, and
all the other virtues, wanders around like wounded orphans."
Ente Grillenhaft

There's always the risk that the rabid temper of the times can turn you into just one more common flag waving psycho. Don't let that happen.


How bad was it, Johnny?

There was an unusual plethora of vile events in the past week or two -- the revelations of torture at Abu Graib prison in Baghdad; Don Rumsfeld's bland reaction to it: "Was it torture? Or just abuse?"; the affectless meanderings of Dubya --

(I might as well make it clear right now -- I do not and never will make any claim to being fair and/or objective about that smug aging spoiled brat in the White House or any of his family. So don't give me any crap about it. I don't like him or anyone with any portion of the DNA that contributed to his existence.)

...So...hmm, oh yeah, Dubya's meandering Methodist version of "Allah is Great!" playing out his own version of Joan of Arcadia with guest appearances by God in the form of Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, his Mom, and Condy Rice, i.e.,

"God told me to do it, so I can not have made any mistakes, can't need to apologize for anything, I'm a good boy and my Super-Dad told me so."

...The mind-bogglingly cold conscienceless pathology of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's version of Reality TV in the beheading of Nick Berg who only went there to look for work for his company; the revelations of more and more tortures and abuses in other military custodies...

And that's just stuff in orbit around our Pax Americana policy. The number of atrocities in Africa were taking place in even higher numbers than usual. Africa? You know -- that place south of Europe where American interests are apparently nonexistent.

But there was only one act that stepped so far over the line of decency it actually reached the level of obscene. That was the announcement by the father of the late Jon-Benet Ramsey that he'd become so well known via the murder of his daughter and, apparently, his role (along with that of his wife) in resisting the police investigation for years, that he was going to run for elected office!

This is a man who, along with his wife, should have been executed long ago -- not for the murder that can't be proved -- but for the crime of bonding the teeth of a six-year-old child in order to better trot her out in front of those slightly-pederastic events thay call children's beauty pageants. That should be a capital offense.

And now he's so famous, he's going to stand on the bones of his dead baby in order to be in a position to tell other people what to do.



On things lost and not yet found

Let the president look for his weapons of mass destruction.
I seem to have lost my sense of humor.
I had it not long ago.
It was still around when:
A baby Harp seal walks into a bar and the bartender sez: "what'll you have?"
and the baby Harp seal sez, "Anything but a Canadian Club."

And then there was a rimshot.

And someone said, "How hot WAS it Johnny?"

And something of a metaphysical sort which looked a bit like Daffy Duck walked in, but changed its mind shook its head and turned around and walked out again.

I need it.

I believe, in every group, there's one person who doesn't get the joke. That person becomes a politician.


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