Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Incoming: Homecoming

Two things I neglected to mention in the post about the Masters of Horror episode: The first is that this weekend is a Showtime free preview weekend, so even if you don't regularly get Showtime on your cable or satellite system, you can tune in for free this Friday and check it out.

Secondly, addressing those of you out there who might disagree with the idea that there's been a sea change in the mood of the country, check out this map.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Preview Review

Speaking of film reviews... I got a chance before I flew out to see an advance copy of an episode of Showtime's Masters of Horror series, and I want to recommend it to all fans of the horror genre, fans of black comedy and fans of evil, right-wing turds in high places getting their just comeuppance.

The episode is called Homecoming; it is directed by Joe Dante (The Howling, Gremlins, Amazon Women On the Moon) and written by Sam Hamm (Never Cry Wolf, Batman, Batman Returns). The storyline involves soldiers from the war in Iraq returning to life and coming back to America as the undead with a specific and perhaps not entirely predictable mission. I hesitate to give away any more than that, but urge all of you who get Showtime to watch it when it airs this Friday, December 2nd.

The thing that struck me the most about this little vignette is how much the national mood has changed in the past year. Had this particular episode aired a year or even six months ago, I don't think it would have been very well received at all. Not only would the fringe, radical wingnuts have screamed and howled about their (actually pretty dead-on) representation as heartless, Machiavellian spinmeisters willing to sacrifice anything and anyone to continue their stranglehold on power, but the corporate (or "mainstream") press at the time would have echoed their protestations. The public at large probably would have agreed. But now, now that the numbers have changed, now that the American people have grown tired of the Preznit Who Cried Wolf and the Little Administration That Couldn't, I have a feeling that this episode will be accepted quite well in the living rooms of the heartland. The conventional wisdom has changed so much and so fast that people in Ohio and Michigan and Colorado and Missouri will nod their heads in grim, knowing amusement (and disgust) at the thinly-disguised members of the current cabal in DC carrying out their evil machinations. They will understand and agree with the point being made by the people who created this episode. This is now the conventional wisdom; it's a sea change made in an incredibly short time, and try as they might, those previously-mentioned turds in high places can't change it back.

Sure, it's cartoonish, but it makes a hell of a point. And the time is right -- finally! -- for that point to echo and resonate among the masses of television viewers for whom politics is something they only think about once every four years, if then.

That by itself was reason enough to enjoy watching that episode. I urge all of you to check it out if you can. Again, that's Homecoming on Masters of Horror, Friday night, December 2nd, on Showtime.

On the Road Again (In Review...)

I'm writing this tonight from a hotel in Herndon, VA, just outside of our nation's capital, where I'm holed up for the next few days. I'm here with a couple of colleagues on business, not on holiday, unfortunately, so won't have much of a chance to check out the Smithsonian or haunt the halls of Congress. I've already been into the city limits for dinner earlier this evening, seen the Washington Monument, the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, the Capitol, and the FBI headquarters. I saw the White House and raised an appropriate finger to its current occupant.

Anyway, I tell you this not so much to brag, but just to let those of you who still check this site with some regularity know that the posting will probably be sparse (again!) this week. I may have some time in the evenings to jot down a few lines, but my time here is mostly taken up with work. My apologies. One of these days I'll get back to writing long, drawn-out, syntactically-tortured rants of a decidedly leftish flavor, but at the moment I'm a bit preoccupied.

While you're all busy searching for something else to do, allow me to suggest a movie or two for your viewing pleasure:

Walk the Line, with Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. Oscar all over this one, probably multiple awards for Witherspoon and Phoenix. He may not look or sound just like Johnny Cash -- hell, who does? Who could? -- but he makes you believe despite that. One hell of a good film.

Good Night and Good Luck, with David Strathairn and George Clooney. The guy who plays Joe McCarthy steals the show. Excellent and timely examination of an era in American life that people today could learn much from, and should always keep in mind.

Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic! This one is for those who are not just NOT easily offended, but who actively seek out the type of humor that makes you actively cringe and look around to see if anyone is looking at you laughing. Funny, but Jesus fucking Christ!

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, with Robert Downey, Jr. ,Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan. I went into this one with not very high expectations, but was astounded at how funny it was. I laughed harder watching this than I did the Sarah Silverman movie. An absolute fucking riot, and I don't care if it made sense or not. Funnier than hell. Funnier than shit. Funnier than any curse word you and a Navy full of sailors can come up with. Just damn funny. If you don't go see this one, you missed a good one.

Okay, must make some phone calls now...

Despite All My Rage...

Now this is pretty funny (even though it is a week old...).

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Wednesday Vacation Blogging: New York City

Up to my ears in alligators lately, but that doesn't mean I can't waste a few minutes here posting pictures from my recent trip to the City That Never Sleeps, So Nice They Named It Twice, New York, New York.

New York rules.

Mrs. G and I took a brief trip to the Center of the Universe a few weeks back, celebrated Halloween and her birthday there, and just generally behaved like tourists from Nebraska let loose on the big city for the first time ever. It was delightful. I'm putting these up with apologies to Bob Geiger, Marissa Cox, Mike Roney, Marti Burki, John Crimmings and everyone else I know who lives in the area and who I neglected to get in touch with while I was there. Sorry. Next time, I promise.

Fresh air! Times Square!

Times Square times two.

Marching in the Halloween parade in Greenwich Village.

More Halloween marchers.

I joined the cast of Monty Python's Spamalot for some medieval hijinks.

New Yorkers are bullish on Wall Street.

You can get anything you want in New York. Anything. If you can't find it there, it doesn't exist.

On Sunday, they closed down 7th Avenue for a street fair.

The Empire State Building.

The Chrysler Building.

This bridge is available for sale to any one of the 34% of Americans who still think George Bush is doing a good job.

I'll take Manhattan.

Better make it a double. (And don't forget one for the King of Zembla!)

This used to stand for something, way back in the 19th and 20th Centuries. With luck, it will again some day... but probably not for another three years, at least.

"No Fricken pictures!" Photographs are not allowed inside the Frick Museum. Oops.

Buildings. I shoot buildings. You got a problem with that?

The Albanian community is huge in New York.

Looking south from the observation deck of the Empire State building.

Fall foliage in Central Park.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Photo Phun

Just some pictures I've had sitting on my desktop for a while...

Hot and Cool Links

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Fire In the Preznit's Pants!

Marianne Means has a very good piece up today about Preznit Mendacity's latest attack on those of us who would call him on the canards that were bandied about in the lead-up to his favoritest little war with Iraq. This pathetic attempt by the Partisan in Chief (not to mention his Boss) to finger-point and play the blame game (as Scotty McLyin' might put it) is so transparent as to be invisible; the mess in Mesopotamia is everybody's fault but his, he tells us, most especially the Democrats'. Fortunately, fewer and fewer people are buying his particular brand of bullshit these days. His support has dwindled and threatens to continue to drop until all that's left are the high corporate muckety-mucks whose fortunes are directly tied to his policies of continuing to rob the poor to feed the rich, and the Limbaugh-Savage-Hannity-listening True Believers out there who are apparently just too damn dumb to tell black from white, and who will continue to insist that, as one hate-mailer to me put it, "Bush is GREAT, GREAT, GREAT!!!!!" regardless of all the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Here's just a bit from Ms. Means' column:

(Bush's) attempt to fight back by smearing critics as unpatriotic is in itself unpatriotic. We still have free speech. The push for war came from him, not Congress. His critics were hoodwinked but they didn't give the invasion orders.

To further debase his counterattack, he threw in another pitch for a constitutional amendment to ban desecration of the flag. This is an embarrassing attempt to hold on to right-wing conservatives, whom the polls say are the only supporters he has left.

Wrapping himself in the flag is an offensive, crude gimmick that signals political desperation. If Congress is fooled by that meaningless distraction, its members are dumber than we think. And we think they are pretty dumb.

Read it all, and weep. Or, better yet, do something about it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

No Moss Gathered

One of the many reasons I haven't posted much lately is that not only have I been busy at work, but also busy in my outside life as well. For instance, Sunday night and last night I found myself spending a few hours inside the Giants Ballpark To Be Named Later watching a band of a certain ancient and now rather rare vintage. Yes, I admit it -- I'm a Rolling Stones fan, and have been most of my life. So when they come out to play, I spend the money and time to watch.

Of course I realize that it's been many years since they were vital and cutting edge. They haven't released a really good album since Tattoo You in 1981 (though the new one, A Bigger Bang, is not bad), and haven't put out a truly great album since 1972's Exile On Main Street. They long ago sold out, in terms of letting their music be used to advertise products and having major corporations sponsor their tours. Mick Jagger has been knighted. They're all freakin' 60 years old, give or take a few decades -- except for Keith Richards, whose age is measured in geologic time -- and should, by all rights, be long retired and living in the south of France enjoying games of dominoes and bouncing grandchildren on their knees.

But you know what? They haven't lost it yet. Most, if not all, of their contemporaries have gone by the wayside -- The Beatles are long gone, Led Zeppelin (which didn't even form until the Stones were already well-established as the Greatest Rock and Roll Band Ever) couldn't survive the death of drummer John Bonham, The Who is now just Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey and an assortment of sidemen, The Kinks have been MIA for years... the only other artist of that era who is still consistently producing material and touring is Bob Dylan, and he's just one guy, not an entire band. Plus, while his recorded work is still high-caliber, his voice in concert is shot.

The Stones have survived -- and thrived, even -- calamities that would have long since destroyed a lesser group of musicians. Back in the early, early days, they were Brian Jones' band. Brian, good-looking and ultra-talented musically -- that's him tootling soprano saxophone on the Beatles' Baby, You're A Rich Man -- was the focal point of the group before Mick (and, to a lesser extent, Keith) asserted himself. A tragic figure, he left the band over differences in direction and personality conflicts, and died of aquatic misadventure not long after. The Stones rolled on, though, replacing him with Mick Taylor. After a good, near-ten year run with them, Taylor decided he had better things to do and split, never to be heard from again. Ron Wood, late of Rod Stewart and Faces, joined up, and is still considered the new guy. Original bassist Bill Wyman long ago decided he'd had enough of touring and retired to marry some very, very young women.

Through all of this and more (drug arrests in England and Canada; Keith getting his blood changed to escape heroin addiction more than once; Altamont), they have just kept on rocking. As I mentioned above, it's been some time since they put out a truly great album; but there was a period back in the late '60s and early '70s when they created a run of five albums that could all arguably be called the greatest ever, and that still stand the test of time. Starting with Beggar's Banquet and going through Let It Bleed, Get Yer Ya-Yas Out, Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main Street, they produced some of the greatest rock songs ever recorded. So when they decide they want to go on the road and play some of those songs, I sure as hell will spend the money to listen.

Thus it was that some 60,000 of my closest friends and I enjoyed the two shows Sunday and Tuesday nights at the Ballpark Formerly Known As Pac Bell/SBC. The music was loud and the song selection was good (how could it not be?). Every show, it seems, there's a nice surprise for me. Sunday night it was Live With Me, All Down the Line and Sweet Virginia. Last night it was As Tears Go By and a blistering Midnight Rambler. Not to mention Tumbling Dice, Honky Tonk Women, Sympathy for the Devil, Jumpin' Jack Flash, You Can't Always Get What You Want, Brown Sugar and Satisfaction.

At one point, Keith took the mike and did a couple of his solo numbers. I remember thinking, as his wizened visage filled the huge video screen and the shot went from color to black and white, that if someone driving up 280 into the city were to glance over and not know what was going on at the ballpark, he or she might think that it had been converted into a drive-in theater that was showing Bride of Frankenstein.

My pal Marty took some pictures while he was there; here are his Sunday night pictures, and here are his Tuesday night pictures. The picture at the top of this post is from Tuesday night.

Friday, November 11, 2005

A Veteran's Letter to a Chickenhawk

Bob Geiger, US Navy Veteran and proprietor of the Yellow Dog Blog, has written a powerful open letter to our miserable (and rabidly partisan) Chickenhawk in Chief, Preznit Bring 'Em On, outlining his feelings about the Great Pretender's commitment to the military and true level of patriotism. On this Veteran's Day, when we find ourselves embroiled in a war of choice, an unnecessary, immoral and illegal engagement of preemptive carnage, it is important to remember the sacrifices that Veterans have made for this country in the past. It is just as important to recognize that those sacrifices are being cheapened and undercut by this administration's flippant disregard for the lives of its present-day soldiers, sending them off to be wounded and killed, and to kill and maim others for nothing more than a crock full of bald-faced lies, wrong-headed assumptions and no-bid crony contracts.

Here's some of what Bob has to say to Flightsuit AWOL:

It is now an indisputable matter of fact that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and no immediate way of attaining that capability. That didn't stop you, Vice President Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and anyone else you could get in front of a camera from lying about that contention which, at the very least, you had evidence to suggest might not be true. But then, we saw how much you listened to Ambassador Joe Wilson when he tried to set you straight, didn't we?

There was also no link between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda and no connection between Iraq and the events of September 11, both of which you misled us about originally and continue to imply, in a despicable attempt to bolster your presidency to a nation that is now collectively seeing the truth.

As a Veteran, I resent this, I resent your administration and I most certainly resent you.


Because of all of this, I "celebrate" Veterans Day by thinking of 2,057 Americans who, because of you, will never hug their spouses or parents again and will never see their kids grow up. I think of the 100,000 Iraqis you have killed by using the honorable intentions and service of those on active duty in such a dishonest and horrible way. I think of the 15,000 brave men and women who will exist for the rest of their lives minus a limb and those who will forever carry the mental images of war because of your personal agenda —an agenda that had nothing whatsoever to do with national security.

And, because of the budget cuts that your administration has visited on returning Veterans of the Iraq war, many of them cannot get desperately-needed treatment, which is the icing on the cake of your five-year display of bad faith toward those who have served.

There's more. Pay your respects to a genuine Veteran and read it all.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Wednesday Vacation Blogging: Prague

Time once again to post some pictures from the European vacation. This week I'm revisiting the most beautiful city I've ever seen: Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. As always, click on the picture for a larger version

Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral and the Vltava River.

The north entrance to Old Town Square, with the Clock Tower on the left and the Church of Our Lady before Tyn straight ahead.

The Charles Bridge.

Just one of the many fascinating buildings in Old Town Square.

Detail of ironwork at St. Vitus Cathedral.

The Fred & Ginger Building.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle The Church of Our Lady before Tyn at sunset.

The Church of Our Lady before Tyn from another angle.

When I go on vacation, I take pictures of buildings. Lots and lots of buildings.

Absinthe is legal in the Czech Republic. I ended up wishing that it wasn't.

Maybe it's because this is where I started drinking the Absinthe. This is an actual human skeleton greeting bar and restaurant patrons as they enter this establishment.

Public art is huge in Prague.

Museums are also quite popular and plentiful.

Outside, one corner of St. Vitus Cathedral.

Inside St. Vitus.

The Tomb of the Unknown Saint, or something very much like it.

Due to zoning restrictions, the Hokey-Pokey is not allowed within Prague city limits.

Shops full of Russian and former Soviet goods, like these nesting dolls, are very popular.

The cathedral at sunset.

California Smackdown

The votes have been counted here in the Golden State, and, in an unprecedented result, all of the initiatives on the ballot in California's special election have been defeated. This is a resounding bitch-slap for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who lobbied hard for Props 74, 75, 76 and 77, and I, for one, couldn't be happier about it. Arnold, who campaigned last year during the recall election (another unnecessary exercise in electoral manipulation, orchestrated largely by evil and cynical Republican operatives) as a bipartisan moderate, immediately took a sharp turn right once he got into office, and has lost a whole lot of support from all but the most rabid right-wingers in the past year. His choice of groups to pick fights with was curious, to say the least -- nurses, teachers, firefighters and cops. While that may have played well enough with his wealthy corporate backers, you don't win many friends among the hoi polloi that way. So it isn't really much of a surprise that the Terminator's proposals were themselves terminated. Good on Californians for seeing through his bullshit.

Though I did hold out some slim hopes that Props 79 and 80 -- dealing with drug discounts and electricity regulation, respectively -- might have passed, I recognized that the mood of the voters was to just vote no on everything. They were demonstrating their displeasure at the idea of an unnecessary special election in the first place, I believe. What they were essentially saying was what The Editors at The Poor Man put so succinctly a few weeks back: "Fuck a whole bunch of Arnold Schwarzenegger... He seriously needs to eat a bowl of dicks."

The voters in California have just buggered the Governator mightily and handed him a spoon.

And in other signs that 2006 and 2008 might be pony time for Democrats around the country, both gubernatorial races (New Jersey and Virginia) went our way. While this is but a modest victory for those of us who want Republicans out of power everywhere, it is a start, and could signal the beginning of the end for the evil Roveian empire. Perhaps this time next year we'll be crowing about regaining control of one or both branches of Congress, in a national bitch-slap of Preznit Torquemada and His Flying Weasel Circus.

We can only hope.

Fewer kittens were killed in this election than in many elections past, thankfully, and no kittens were harmed in the creation of this post. Let's keep the kittens safe in 2006 and 2008.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Here a Threat, There a Threat, Everywhere a Threat, Threat

Jill over at Brilliant at Breakfast has a great post up today recalling all those dark, jingoistic quotes of yesteryear that led us into the glorious defense of our freedom and democracy busting out all over-fest bloody, ongoing debacle in Iraq. It's worth a visit to see exactly what the architects of this charnelpalooza were saying a few short years ago to justify our invading a sovereign nation that had no means of attacking us, just to remind yourself of how quickly the story changed. Remember, while you're at it, that old saw about those who forget the past and the condemnation they suffer as a result.

Torturing Syntax, Meaning, and People

Shorter Bush: "We don't torture people, and we need every available means necessary to extract information from evil-doers, so if you put limits on what we can do, we won't be able to torture, which we don't do anyway, but if we did, it would be for a good reason. So let us torture people, because we promise we won't."

The fact that this is even on the table is simply appalling. The Senate got it right, when they voted 90-9 to include the McCain amendment in the defense budget (big thumbs down to the 9 who voted against it), but the Dick Cheney as Edgar Bergen administration threatens to veto the budget if it passes with the amendment intact. Today, Preznit Someone Else's Hand Up His Ass spoke at a news conference with Panamanian President Martin Torrijos and tried to make the case -- again -- that the rules no longer apply when it comes to the War on Terror. They're doing such a bang-up job of fighting that war that, as of today, when the Pentagon announced that five additional suspects at Guantanamo will face charges, they have charged a total of nine people -- out of some 500 detainees -- with criminal offenses.


Out of 500.

Maybe they need to have the handcuffs taken off their interrogators, so that they can use "whatever means necessary" to extract some real information and charge more people. Oh wait -- that already hasn't worked.

Why can't we get these evil bastards out of office NOW? What they are asking for, and what they have already done, runs so counter to the ideals of the United States and the guarantees of our Constitution as to be no less than treason. They are liars and scoundrels and criminals, traitors to America, the whole lot of them, no ifs ands or buts about it.

It's enough to make a reasonable person scream, throw up his hands, then go curl up in a dark corner and rock, rock, rock until numb.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Still the Hand That Moves the Puppet

It would appear that many of us have been wrong about how best to proceed with ending our long national nightmare by bringing down the Bush maladministration. While some of us have been holding out hope (admittedly futile) that somehow, some way the people of America would wake up and raise enough of a hue and cry about Preznit Peeance, Freeance's high crimes and misdemeanors that our elected officials would have no choice but to institute impeachment proceedings, perhaps what we should have been working towards all along is, rather, the impeachment of the Puppetmaster, the Edgar Bergen to Bush's Charlie McCarthy (or, perhaps more accurately, Bush's Mortimer J. Snerd), Evil Dick Cheney.

"Gawrsh, presidentin' is hard work! A-hyuck!"

While Jingo McCodpiece has been flailing away like a man drowning in mid-air, slip-sliding into ratings oblivion and shown to be an overmatched pretender on the international stage, the man with his hand up the ass of the Head of State has been increasingly exposed to be the one running the show all along. And what a show he's running! Sidestepping even his own purported boss's security people, Evil Dick's aides have been pushing for the freedom to torture for both the military and the CIA. Cheney and, to a lesser extent, Rumsfeld have been the ones doing all the heavy lifting behind the scenes -- certainly they are the primary architects of the Iraq war, and must bear responsibility for the direction of the majority of the policy decisions made by this maladministration -- and it seems more than likely that poor clueless Condimelda and her husband have been left in the dark about a lot of it.

So if that's true, why bother going after Preznit If I Only Had A Brain? The one ace he's had up his sleeve up till now has been Karl Rove, and who knows how much longer Turd Blossom will stick around, whether he wants to or not? (The guess here is that his expiration date is not much past the first of the year, but that's pure speculation on my part, so take it with however many grains of salt as you wish.) Preznit Snerd is proving himself more and more to be both ineffective and ineffectual, inept and overmatched. Social Security reform is dead. He can't get a Free Trade agreement off the ground in South America. Iraq is a disaster. His closest subordinates and Congressional water-carriers are being targeted with indictments. Nobody trusts him to do anything right, especially after the Katrina debacle. So why bother with the figurehead when you can sink the ship out from under it? I say we start a movement to impeach Cheney, and get rid of the real power behind (and cancer within) the presidency.

As they used to say about Nixon, "Dick Cheney before he Dicks you!"

Oops, too late... how about: "Let's all get together and knock Dick in the dirt!"

Impeach Cheney NOW.

Speaking of Halloween...

My friend Al sent me this, and I can't imagine a more accurate brief description of the current maladministration than this. Can we send all of these bad actors down the Yellow Brick Road for good?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

23rd Post, 5th Sentence

Here at The Generik Brand, I'm still playing catch-up from my vacation last week, otherwise I would have risen to this challenge from my good friend and colleague Scaramouche much sooner. This particular meme is almost like a chain letter among blogs, and, like Scaramouche, I'm not usually fond of such things; but this I found intriguing. Here are the basics:

1. Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Post the fifth sentence (or closest to it).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same thing.

Okay, fine, my 23rd post wasn't all that long ago, really. I have to go back all the way to January 10th of this year. The post was about right-wing tool commentator Armstrong Williams getting paid taxpayer dollars to shill for the Bush program No Child Left Behind, and following the instructions (especially that part about "or closest to it," as the real fifth sentence read "Anybody?"), the fifth sentence of the post went as follows:

It would appear now that not only must we distrust the official word coming from the White House (which many of us did anyway), but the many and varied pundits who happily toe the administration line are suspect as well.

It's funny -- I was inclined at first to say that nothing has changed since then, but that's not really true, is it? In the interim, the Preznit's numbers have plummeted, the Republican party has been hit by scandals and indictments galore, and both the Democrats and the corporate media seem to have found a few traces of spinal fluid and intestinal fortitude along the way. It makes you wonder how this incident -- along with the other paid-to-shill reporters and the Jim-Jeff Gannon-Guckert flap -- might play out in the national press if they were to occur today. Bush's one-time seeming invincibility and Teflon-like facade has crumbled, and you have to think that he would not be able to get away with such sleaze again.

Which makes it more likely that he won't be able to get away with such sleaze in the future, which is definitely a plus for our side.

Now, the last part of this challenge is to name five more people to carry on the chain letter meme; so I name Shystee, TrogWatch, Da Blog's Da Thang, occasional fish, and Yep, another Goddamned blog. (I would have named Dyerama, but it appears that he's in the process of leaving California for Washington, so I don't want to give him any more to do than he already has on hand.) Have at it.

Friday, November 04, 2005

A Blog Revived

Back before I created this blog last year -- even before I was just one of many contributors to a group blog that's now defunct -- my good friend JW was writing up a storm on a site he created called TrogWatch. It was always interesting, insightful and current, and was an inspiration to me. I seriously credit JW's TrogWatch with being one of the reasons that I started blogging in the first place, rather than just sending out email rants and missives, as I had been doing before that.

Unfortunately, due to life circumstances that involved JW moving, switching jobs and weathering hurricanes (among other things), TrogWatch began to lag behind, and then fell into complete disuse altogether. It had been idle for nearly a year, but now a "new" proprietor (who claims to have won the site from JW in a game of Texas Hold 'Em), one Tyler Godot (I've been waiting forever for that guy!), has reopened the doors and promises to give the place a good airing-out, dusting and clean-up, and says he will carry on where JW left off. It's the Lazarus Blog! Tyler Godot has already made a few new posts, and says he will be busy cleaning up the links and such in the coming weeks. This is great news! I welcome having TrogWatch back among the living, and look forward to checking it out again on a regular basis. You should too!

FEMA Fashion: The Scariest Halloween Costume

Monday in Manhattan: Mrs. Generik and I, being tourists in New York, were quite interested in seeing and participating in the big Halloween parade in Greenwich Village that goes on every year. Being the political sort that I am, and given that the theme of the parade was "Phoenix Rising" and dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, I figured that the scariest costume I could come up with would be a play on former FEMA director and Fashion God Michael Brown. Little did I know how prescient that choice would turn out to be...

To start, I glued the word "FEMA" and a box of brownie mix to a hard hat...

...along with three horse's asses, in a nod both to the International Arabian Horse Association and to the quality of the man I was portraying (Brownie himself, of course, represented the fourth Horse's Ass of the Apocalypse).

A white shirt and tie, rubber chest waders and a bright red-orange safety vest with "FEMA" on it almost completed the costume...

...along with a sign quoting the Preznit's own praise for Brownie: "Doin' a heckuva job."

Speaking of the Preznit, I met up with The Boss along the route. He gave me the big thumbs-up for the work I'd done. I reminded him that I'm still on the payroll, and asked when I could expect my Medal of Freedom. "Soon," he told me. "Right after Scooter and Turd Blossom get theirs."

Taking the subway back to the hotel, I put the fear of the lord into more than one late-night rider who was afraid I was there to help mitigate some disaster.

***Update: If you click on any picture in this post -- or any picture in any post on this site -- you will get a larger, more detailed version, suitable for framing or whatever your heart desires.***
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