Saturday, June 30, 2007


You know, if it weren't for other people, I probably wouldn't give a shit about anything. Why do you torture me so?

Actually, I'm only half-serious (or half-joking, take your pick).

I've noticed for a long time now that people (and I mean "people" generally, my friends, co-workers, etc.) seem to be much better at recognizing my faults than they are at recognizing their own. They certainly talk about mine (to me) more than I would consider polite to talk about theirs...

Queens of the Stone Age would sound a lot better with different production. As it is, I hear a lot of good ideas and no emotion. They should listen to Burning Brides.

I saw two movies on TV this week. The first, Deep Blue Sea, sucked. The scene where Samuel L. Jackson's character gets snatched by the shark during his "pep talk" was pretty cool, though. The second, The Weather Man, with Nicolas Cage and Michael Caine had some good ideas, but ended up being kinda sappy. When Cage's character had the bow and arrow aimed at the guy who "stole his wife" he should have pointed and shot his father.

I've been sucked into the plot of Lost. Severe disappointment must be on the horizon...

Forget about Oscar Wilde's comment about America, Japan is a country based on "decadence". When people look at a living creature and say, "doesn't that look yummy?", well...

Speaking of Japan, people all over the country (including me) received their "summer bonuses" (about 2-3 months salary) today, for doing nothing...

Friday, June 29, 2007

No Laughing Matter

A few weeks ago I posted this story about Patrick Knight, a death row inmate in Texas. Knight was collecting jokes with the purpose of selecting the best one to be his final statement before being executed.

Patrick Knight was executed this past Tuesday (June 26). The following is from this AP story:

Condemned prisoner Patrick Knight was executed Tuesday evening for the deaths of an Amarillo-area couple without delivering on a promise to tell a joke in his final statement.

Patrick Knight has been soliciting jokes in the mail and on a Web site, sometimes receiving as many as 20 a day, saying his humor was intended to raise the spirits of other inmates. He said he received as many as 1,300 proposals.

But when the moment came, Knight thanked God for his friends and asked for help for innocent men on death row. He named several he said were innocent. His voice shaking and nearly in tears, he said, "Not all of us are innocent, but those are."

After expressing love to some friends, he said, "I said I was going to tell a joke. Death has set me free. That's the biggest joke. I deserve this."

"And the other joke is that I am not Patrick Bryan Knight and y'all can't stop this execution now. Go ahead, I'm finished."

Nine minutes later at 6:21 p.m. CDT, he was pronounced dead.

Prison spokeswoman Michelle Lyons disputed Knight's mistaken identity claim.

"We fingerprint them when they come over," she said.

Randall County Sheriff Joel Richardson, who watched Knight die, said the joke plan seemed to be a ploy by Knight to draw attention to himself.

"Despite all the hype about his joke, it turns out he's not much of a comedian," he said. "He's simply an executed cold-blooded killer."

I wasn't going to write anything by way of comment on this, but...

"[...] I am not Patrick Bryan Knight and y'all can't stop this execution now. Go ahead, I'm finished." It seems quite possible to me that this is more than just a simple "mistaken identity claim". Patrick Knight had been on death row for 16 years. Who among us could honestly say "I'm the same person I was 16 years ago"? Was the person executed this past Tuesday in fact a "cold-blooded killer"? The only one who knows the answer to that question is Patrick Knight. It's too late to ask him now.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


My good friend Glenn over at Bigezbear has tagged me with a Thinking Blogger Award. Gaze in wonder and awe:

I'm not really into this "tagging" and "meme" stuff, so my initial impulse was to jump on a plane to New Orleans and give Glenn a nice, warm Nova Scotia bitchslap (heehee, just kidding, buddy!). But then I thought about it and decided to take it as the compliment I'm sure he meant it to be. Thank you, Glenn.

The rules of the Thinking Blogger Award are fairly simple. First you have to post the rules. Here they are:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,

3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).


Now I have to name 5 blogs I read that "make me think". Here they are (alphabetically):

So far as I know, the shadowy and mysterious Codename V doesn't know me from a hole in the wall. In fact, I can't even properly "tag" her because the has "comments" turned off. Too bad, because she's got some interesting things to say about music and movies and other stuff.

Daniel, the Guy in the Desert writes on a wide variety of topics, from the personal to the political. I've never had a problem hanging out with gay men in the "real" world, and he and Glenn have shown me that things are no different online. NOTE: Daniel says his blog is for "mature readers". I don't think he'd mind if mentioned that some of the (non-pornographic) images on his site might not be safe for work.

Emarie, the disaffected housewife, is an online friend who seems to be too busy to post much these days, but when she does write it's always thoughtful and (generally) humorous. Emarie, get yourself a-bloggin'!

Discovering my friend Maliha's blog, Lightness of Being..., has been one of my most positive (and eye-opening) experiences. Maliha is a young Muslim woman living in the US. She quite literally writes about everything (and fiction, too), and she writes it very well. She tagged me once. I'm only too happy to return the favor! ;-)

Last, but not least, is UK blogger Shit Sandwich. A veritable font of (proper!) English usage, music, and BBC programming, Shit's site is (as you may have already guessed) irreverent, but also informed and intelligent. Leave a comment and you'll be heartily welcomed by Shit and his regular readers.

I guess all that's left is to give everyone above the "good news" that they've been tagged!

In a Foul Mood

Sunday morning I woke up with some kind of kink or pinched nerve or some damned thing in my right shoulder. Sunday afternoon I went bowling with my daughter. Sunday night it felt like someone had stabbed me in the shoulder. Yesterday (Monday) morning I could barely move without screaming in agony. I was not happy. I had to cancel my morning classes. I'd never bailed on a university class before, so now I was even more unhappy. I had another class and a meeting in the afternoon, both of which I really couldn't cancel. I was extremely unhappy. End of term is rapidly approaching, so taking time off to nurse a bad shoulder is not really an option. I'm unhappy today. I suspect I'll be unhappy tomorrow...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

At the Novelty Shop

This is what I thought: for the most banal event to become an adventure, you must (and this is enough) begin to recount it. This is what fools people: a man is always a teller of tales, he lives surrounded by his stories and the stories of others, he sees everything that happens to him through them; and he tries to live his own life as if he were telling a story. But you have to choose: live or tell.

--Jean Paul Sartre, Nausea (Trans. Lloyd Alexander. New York: New Directions Publishing, 1964. p. 56)

Sigh... this is the kind of crap that passes through my mind these days whenever I sit down to "blog". Although I'm essentially an existentialist myself [yes, yes, I know already!], I think Sartre was a bit of a whiny wanker. I mean, look at the title of the book I took the above quote from. Nausea. Nausea? Was he gut-punched or something? Well, yeah, but only "figuratively". Personally I've never had too much trouble telling the difference between myself and a rock on the ground (although I'll have to concede that others may have more difficulty), but if I were gut-punched (literally or figuratively), I somehow doubt that "nausea" would be the first word to spring to my lips to describe the attendant emerging sensations. More likely I would utter something involving the words "puke" or "barf". But that's just me.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Monday, June 18, 2007

"Unspeakable horrors from outer space paralyze the living and resurrect the dead!"

Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown... the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here...


The Ruler: Plan 9? Ah, yes. Plan 9 deals with the resurrection of the dead.


Tanna: Eros, do we *have* to kill them?
Eros: Yes.
Tanna: It seems such a waste.
Eros: Well, wouldn't it be better to kill a few now than, with their meddling, permit them to destroy the entire universe?


Paula Trent: ...A flying saucer? You mean the kind from up there?
Jeff Trent: Yeah, either that or its counterpart.


Air Force Captain: Visits? That would indicate visitors.


Colonel Tom Edwards: This is the most fantastic story I've ever heard.
Jeff Trent: And every word of it's true, too.
Colonel Tom Edwards: That's the fantastic part of it.


Eros: You do not need guns.
Jeff Trent: Maybe we think we do.

Colonel Tom Edwards: You speak of Solaranite. But just what is it?
Eros: Take a can of your gasoline. Say this can of gasoline is the sun. Now, you spread a thin line of it to a ball, representing the earth. Now, the gasoline represents the sunlight, the sun particles. Here we saturate the ball with the gasoline, the sunlight. Then we put a flame to the ball. The flame will speedily travel around the earth, back along the line of gasoline to the can, or the sun itself. It will explode this source and spread to every place that gasoline, our sunlight, touches. Explode the sunlight here, gentlemen, you explode the universe. Explode the sunlight here and a chain reaction will occur direct to the sun itself and to all the planets that sunlight touches, to every planet in the universe. This is why you must be stopped. This is why any means must be used to stop you. In a friendly manner or as (it seems) you want it.
Lieutenant John Harper: He's mad.
Tanna: Mad? Is it mad that you destroy other people to save yourselves? You have done this. Is it mad that one country must destroy another to save themselves? You have also done this. How then is it "mad" that one planet must destroy another who threatens the very existence-...
Eros: [shoves her roughly aside] That's enough.
[to the humans]
Eros: In my land, women are for advancing the race, not for fighting man's battles.


Jeff Trent: Modern women. They've been like that all down through the ages. Especially in a spot like this.


Can you prove that it didn't happen? [...] Perhaps, on your way home, someone will pass you in the dark, and you will never know it... for they will be from outer space.

[From Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)]

Saturday, June 16, 2007

On a Roll...

Heh, as I write this, I'm on the first page of Google results for "who is satan and where does he live?"

I cackle in your general direction...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Resistance Is Futile

"Daddy, I made these pictures for you. Here."

"Wow, thank you, sweetie, they're beautiful!"


Friday Skiving Off Work Video(s): The Dolls, Then & Now

Punks? Drag queens? Punks in drag? The Stones in drag? I can't remember for certain when I first heard about The New York Dolls. Probably reading Creem or Circus... I dunno. I do remember the odd looks I got as I plopped a copy of their debut album down on the counter of the local record shop in my small hometown in Nova Scotia, back in 1973. (I was only 15, so I was still a bit sensitive about what other people thought.) And the music! "Punk" before I knew what it meant. Like "punk-Stones" or something. Sloppier than the Stones, but not as tight (if that makes any sense to you). Out of control. Incredible.

Check out this great live performance of the Dolls' "signature" tune, "Personality Crisis". Check the threads on the bass player!

Here's another great live perfomance from the old 70's show Rock Concert. Here, the band gives their audacious, jaw-dropping rendition of "Stranded in the Jungle" from their (all too) aptly named second album, Too Much Too Soon. This must be seen to be believed.

In 2004 David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain put a band together and called it the New York Dolls. They released an album in 2006, One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This. Johnny Thunders and Arthur Kane are missed dearly, but this album is really quite good. Here's a fun, irreverant number from the album, "Dance Like a Monkey". Enjoy!

Now please have a beer and... you know, have fun!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Great Google-y Moogley!

To date, my all-time favorite search-term-that-brought-somebody-here:
hot excited videos from english movies featuring women.

I'm so proud... and I know my Dad would be proud, too... not sure about Mom...

Quote(s) of the Week

Truth is simply a compliment paid to sentences seen to be paying their way.
--Richard Rorty, New York Times Magazine, 1990

(1) [An ironist] has radical and continuing doubts about the final vocabulary she currently uses, because she has been impressed by other vocabularies, vocabularies taken as final by people or books she has encountered; (2) she realizes that argument phrased in her present vocabulary can neither underwrite nor dissolve these doubts; (3) insofar as she philosophizes about her situation, she does not think that her vocabulary is closer to reality than others, that it is in touch with a power not herself.
--Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989, p.73

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"Gay Bomb": Funny, Stupid, Offensive, or All of the Above?

This caught my attention while idly perusing the web today [Via: CathiefromCanada]:

A Berkeley watchdog organization that tracks military spending said it uncovered a strange U.S. military proposal to create a hormone bomb that could purportedly turn enemy soldiers into homosexuals and make them more interested in sex than fighting.

Leaving aside the sheer stupidity of it all for a moment, I wonder who they would trust with this "football"?

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I saw a few peacocks at a park today. Here are some pics. Click to enlarge.

Friday, June 08, 2007

One of these days...

One of these days I'll write a post in which I will, song by song, describe why Exile on Main St. is the greatest album in the history of the world. Until that time you'll just have to accept my very un-humble opinion on the subject (and really, if you'd just listen, you'd hear it anyway...). Dissenting views are welcome, of course, but will be treated with the scorn they deserve.

There's a new album by Richard Thompson, Sweet Warrior. that's really good. No, it's really fucking good.

I'm listening to Pearl Jam's first album, Ten. It's really fucking good, too.

So is the album In the Absence of Truth by Isis, if you like heavy stuff...

I also feel obliged to mention one of the greatest albums ever, Entertainment! by Gang of Four. If you don't know it, um, well, perhaps you should...

Air Sex: It Just Won't Go Away

First there was Air Sex: The Story. Then there was Air Sex: The Video. Now we have Air Sex in America [link via Japan Probe].

Believe me, folks, it's only an ingrained journalistic imperative to "follow through" on a story that keeps me posting about this stupidity. Well, that and the inevitable page hits...

Friday Skiving Off Work Video: Ian Hunter

Here's a great performance of a classic tune by Ian Hunter, "Once Bitten, Twice Shy", featuring the late (and great) Mick Ronson on guitar. (If you remember Mott the Hoople and still dig Ian Hunter, you might want to check out his new album, Shrunken Heads. It's a good 'un.) Please enjoy--it's Kyklops approved!

Now please have a beer and, you know, kinda chill out...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Killing in the Name of...

But what then is capital punishment but the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal's deed, however calculated it may be, can be compared? For there to be equivalence, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life.

Albert Camus, "Reflections on the Guillotine"

I came across this interesting story the other day, about Patrick Knight, an inmate in Texas who's scheduled to be executed on June 26. On August 26, 1991, Knight broke into the home of Walter and Mary Ann Werner, held them captive, and the next day drove them to another location where he shot them, execution-style, and then left their bodies in a ditch. By all accounts, Patrick Knight was (16 years ago, at least) a pretty bad character, but it's not the history of this case that makes Knight interesting...

[...] Knight is accepting jokes mailed to him on Texas' death row or e-mailed to a friend who has a Web site for him. The friend then mails him the jokes.
Knight said the joke he finds the funniest will be his final statement the evening of June 26.

As you can probably imagine, there are many people who are not amused by this.
Randall County Sheriff Joel Richardson thinks the whole idea is anything but cool. As chief deputy at the time of the Werners' killings, Richardson investigated the case and intends to witness Knight's execution. He said the Werners' family has already been through enough, and that Knight's attempt to make a joke at the execution is sick.
"The whole thing is not a joke to anybody here unless it is to him," Richardson said of Knight. "This tells you a little bit about the guy's character, anyway."

Knight himself has the following to say:
"I'm not trying to disrespect the Werners or anything like that," he told The Associated Press from death row. "I'm not trying to say I don't care what's going on. I'm about to die. I'm not going to sit here and whine and cry and moan and everything like that when I'm facing the punishment I've been given.
"I know I'm not innocent," said Knight, who believes his appeals have been exhausted. "They think they're killing me. They think they're punishing me. They've already punished me. I've already had 16 years of punishment. They're releasing me. They're letting me go. That's helping me out. That's the way I look at it."

So, there we have the basic facts, and I suppose one's reaction to them depends, more or less, on one's view of capital punishment.

Personally, I don't think there's anything especially "sick" about Knight's wish to crack a joke just before he's put to death. It's not even strange as far as I'm concerned. Some might think it undignified, I suppose, but really, what can anybody really say is "proper" behavior for a man about to be put to death? I'll tell you what I think. I think the only natural thing to do at the moment of one's murder (for this is what it surely is) is whatever it takes to avoid it. If there's no way to avoid it, well then, what fucking difference does it make what one does?

Having gone through the appeals process we can probably assume that Knight has, on countless occasions, said that he's sorry for what he's done. It's beyond me how expressing it one last time makes his death more dignified, let alone making him a better, or even reformed man. (And if anyone accepts even for a moment that this kind of last-minute expression of sorrow shows that he's been reformed, well then, what the fuck are you killing him for?) Make no mistake about it, what the state of Texas is going to do to Patrick Knight is no less "criminal" than what Knight did to his victims, the Werners.

No, I haven't forgotten about Walter and Mary Ann Werner, and I haven't forgotten that they were murdered (apparently) in cold blood by Patrick Knight. I fail to see, however, how murdering Knight, and calling it "justice", serves the Werners and their family or serves the larger society. Frankly, I'd worry about anyone who took comfort in the death of another person (I don't care who it might be or what he might have done).

Capital punishment is not a rational response to murder, and it places the condemned person into the unnatural position of consenting to be killed. This seems a bit "cruel and unusual" to me. Why don't we just call it what it is--state-sanctioned revenge, and drop all this high talk of "justice"? Patrick Knight may well be a worthless piece of shit, I really couldn't say. But if he wants to crack a joke as he's about to be executed, or dance a jig, or recite the Lord's Prayer, or cry and beg for forgiveness, or fight tooth and nail trying to escape, what's the fucking difference?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Old Faithful

I'm bored and I have nothing to say, which means that it's time to suck someone into clicking here. Yes, this link will give you a better idea about life in Japan than my (or anyone else's, for that matter) words ever could.
Please enjoy!

Y'all come back now, ya hear?

Friday Skiving Off Work Video: The Stones

Regular readers probably figured out a while ago that I'm a Stones fan. It's my blessing and my curse...

Today's video shows the Stones, circa 1995, doing a live performance of one of their classic songs, "Gimme Shelter". I have to tell you right now that I was very happy to have come across this video. The band is in top form (seriously, for any Stones era you'd care to name), and this blues-infused rendition of the song positively smokes. Keith and Ronnie in particular sound really good. Even if you hate the Stones you should really check out the brief female vocal part after the guitar solo. On fire! (I wonder how the Stones keep finding these incredible female vocalists year after year...)

Oh yeah, Jack Nicholson was at the show. He seemed to have had a good time (if that's not an endorsement, I don't know what is...).

Now please have a beer and listen to the Stones again for the first time.