Tuesday, July 27, 2004


I had to pick up A Light In the Attic for a gift. The only copy available was an anniversary edition, with a bonus cd of Shel Silverstein reading a few poems.  This bumped the price up to $22.  I swallowed hard and took it to the counter.

The clerk picked up the book opened it, closed it, reopened it, paged through it, then finally came to the cd, which was attached to the back board.

I though she was being overly conscientious, checking to be sure the cd was there before ringing up the sale.  I was wrong.  The clerk wanted to give me a lecture.

She look at me. She tapped the cd with a fingernail.  "If you come to return this book, this cd must be included." She tapped it again, harder this time.  "Do you understand?" she asked.

"I hadn't planned on returning the book," I said.  "I'm buying it because I want it."

"Nonetheless," she said, "if this cd is not in this jacket, the return will not be accepted." She tapped it once more, for emphasis, and as she did, I could swear I could see a hairline crack spreading across the cd from under her fingernail.  She quickly snapped the book shut and rang up my purchase. 

I took the bag, opened the book, and inspected the cd. As I thought, it was cracked in two.

The clerk was ringing up the next customer.  "Excuse me," I said.  "I'd like to return this book."

"Why is that?" the clerk said. "You just bought it." She rolled her eyes for the benefit of the customers waiting in line. A few of the them looked exasperated.  I was obviously some kind of nut, holding everyone up.  

"The cd is defective," I said.

"It can't be defective, it's in a protective jacket," she said.

"I don't think they work, if they're broken in two," I said.

She inspected the cd.

"I believe you broke it," I said.  "I don't think you are supposed to bang on them with fingernails."

"I'll have to get you another," she said.

"Please do," I said.  "And no need to apologize."

While I was waiting I walked over to the customer service kiosk.

"Excuse me," I said.  "Do you have any books by David Rees?"

"I'd have to look that up," the girl said.

"Could you?" I asked.

She fussed with the computer for a second, then looked up. "We have one book by Dan Reeves," she said.  "His autobiography.  I hear it's very inspirational. Would you be interested in that?"

I spotted my aggresive clerk striding back to the checkout counter.

"I'll have to get back to you," I told the customer service girl.

I caught up to the clerk just as she slammed the new copy down on the counter in front of me.

I checked to make sure the cd was intact.  "This one looks OK," I said.  "Have a nice day.''






Oh, excuse me.  I didn't realize anyone was listening.  You see, I've been thinking about a career in public service, and I've been practicing my lines.


Monday, July 19, 2004

From Paris 1919:
During Wilson's presidency, the United States intervened repeatedly in Mexico to get the sort of government it wanted.  ...He was taken aback when the Mexicans failed to see the landing of American troops, and American threats, in the same light.
The Mexican adventure also showed Wilson's propensity, perhaps unconscious, to ignore the truth.  When he sent troops to Mexico for the first time, he told Congress that it was in response to repeated provocations and insults to the United States and its citizens from General Victoriano Huerta, the man who started the Mexican revolution. Huerta in fact had taken great care to avoid provocations.  (9-10)
Next Lesson:  The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution  


Thursday, July 15, 2004


As I was leaving the matinee showing of Spiderman 2 this weekend, I fell in with a crowd who had apparently just seen Fahrenheit 9/11. I'm usually not an eavesdropper, but I couldn't help myself. This was obviously a knowledgeable group.

"I love how the whole traditional five act structure was turned upside-down, then sideways for a while," one said.

"I found it very ...." said another.

(I missed a word there. He said either galling or Gallic, I wasn't sure.)

"Speaking of the French," said the third, "I definitely saw references to mid-period Renior, both in the narrative arc and in the cinematography."

(I still wasn't sure.)

"I wonder about the script," chimed in another. "Don't you think that cast of characters they came up with with just a bit over the top? I had a real problem suspending my disbelief."

They began to talk over each other and I could only catch disjointed fragments.

"Not so much Renoir, as classic Truffaut."

"That's how he is. He makes everything up."

"The Depardieu part, obviously."

"The characters I had no problem with, it was the acting I didn't buy. Couldn't they get a better actor to play the narrator, that Moore guy?"

"Shall we stop for wine and cheese?"


All the way home I was bothered by the comment about the acting. I began to do a little investigating on the web and that is how I stumbled on one of the vastest of the vast conspiracy theories yet promulgated.

The story goes like this:

After the original release of Roger and Me certain higher-ups in government and industry perceived Moore as a genuine threat to their way of doing business. They resolved to buy Moore off. This proved to be a simple matter. As is well known, Moore is a liar and a schemer with no principles. He went for the quick buck without a backwards look.

It was an easy matter to create a new name (with supporting documents). Moore was also convinced to shave and join a gym. Once he was presentable, he was rewarded with a job writing promotional copy for a large pharmaceutical conglomerate. Moore now makes $60,000 a year, lives in a tidy suburban home, drives a Buick, and votes Republican.

Once the real Michael Moore was taken care of, certain interests (from both business and government, and crossing party lines) decided that a faux Michael Moore could be very useful in keeping the masses entertained so they could continue going about their business undisturbed.

The actual intellectual impetus for this is rumored to be The Trilateral Commission, the funding is said to come from The Bilderbergers.

No matter.

Some say the current Michael Moore is an animatronic creation, crafted in secret by The Disney Company.(Remember, Michael Eisner was a Hollywood liberal before he got in bed with Jeb Bush down in the swampland.) Others say he has been played by a series of increasingly corpulent actors in the employ of the CIA, and or ICM.

The problem is that the Frankenstein-like experiment has gone off the rails. "Michael Moore" is out of control. Now, (according to my web sources) the long experiment will be ended.

How this will be accomplished is anybody's guess.

Is there a real actor, a rogue employee, who will have to be subjected to a Ludovico-like technique in order to reemerge as a happy-go-lucky director of teen comedies?

Or maybe it's just a matter of disconnecting a few circuits and returning that animatronic hulk to its previous employ as a member of The Country Bear Review (now conveniently on hiatus at Disneyworld).

I'll be staying on this story.


Wednesday, July 14, 2004


Apparently the horseshit the Republicans have been serving up so faithfully isn't going over very well these days, so they've come up with something to make it a little more palatable.


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