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Fasten, fit closely, bind together.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Mal Reporting on Her Junket to The City of Brotherly Love 

Being unemployed and living in a cow-town, I've had a rather excessive amount of free time at my disposal these last couple of weeks. So I took a little vacation ("from what?" is the question my parents keep asking) and went to Philadelphia this past weekend.



Well, ladies and gentlemen, I was not prepared for all the brotherly
love.




I'm certainly not queen of the streets- I can barely drive 5
minutes down the road without getting lost. But even a small-town girl like myself knows a good thing when she finds it, and that good thing is
Philadelphia. It's more manageable than The Big Apple and a great deal more interesting than Beantown. The "L" as I believe it's called is dirt
cheap, and if you're looking for a good time, Philly is the place to be. The f*%king Liberty Bell is there people! So is the spanking new Constitution Center, which will make you feel so patriotic you'll... well I don't know what, but you'll really like America. They have a lot of great
clubs and performance venues (including the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, yeah JMraz), and let's not forget the daily menu.



If you don't like Philly Cheesesteaks (who the f*%k are you anyway?) they have those crazyass soft pretzels, and WATER ICE. I won't get started on that little feat of desert engineering, but let's just say that I'm hooked. Among
their schools they have Temple, for all of you packing weaponry. They have one of the top-ranked hospitals in the country, and their children's hospital was number 1 this year. There are great places to shop, eat, party, and even do all three (Reading Market Terminal). I wouldn't dare say that Philly can compare to NYC in terms of size and intensity, but at least in PA people say they're sorry when they bump into you. And maybe the Bostonians have an up on academics, but you don't know what the hell they're saying when they talk to you.

And so I got to thinking, which big city really wins in the grand
battle? Is it NYC, home of more middle fingers than any other place on
earth? What about Philly with those cheesesteaks? Or does Boston dominate
because of the prevalent speech impediment kindly referred to as an
accent? I like them all for different reasons, but I'm not fooling around
when I say that someday I'll be living in the Philadelphia area and
loving every minute of it.


An additional note... I look forward to reading some posts about Boston
and New York's merits (hint hint). Kirdigga and I are planning a little road trip later this summer to get to the heart of what we love about these places, so make 'em good.
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Thursday, May 27, 2004

Limping through the Lower East Side 



Here is a picture I took of a Verbal Kint look-a-like doing the Walton Shuffle .
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Consulting the Oracle 

There's been a lot of controversy lately surrounding the alleged demise of the Bluff, America's fastest-growing news source. Lots of little birdies have been yapping about the lack of updates and new articles on the site. It's been causing me much anxiety in recent days because I wanna see Billiken becoming even greater than it currently is. So last night, with the controversy weighing heavily upon my mind, I decided to get to the heart of the matter.

In the wee hours of the morning, I wandered out into the courtyard of venerable Carlyle Court, the birthplace of the Billiken child. A thunderstorm above was raining a torrential downpour upon me as I searched for a way to save the Bluff.



Suddenly, a small Billiken emerged from the bushes and greeted me.



Billiken: Hello, Dr. Zwill.

Zwilliken: Wow, a real, live Billiken! I can't believe my eyes. I always thought that you were a mythical creature, but here you stand.

B: Fear not, my child. I've come to help. You, Rico, N-Dot and of course Gotim have done much to educate the public. Your egalitarian meritocracy is to be admired for its fair and balanced stance on issues of the day. However, things have changed quite a bit in the last few weeks. News is breaking all around the globe, yet Billiken has gone untouched for many days at a time.

Z: Yeah, it's tough, Billi. The school year is over and we're all real busy. We're all working a lot and we don't always have internet access at home. Keeping the Bluff updated all the time is harder than it seems.

B: True, true Zwill. But you can't let that stop you. Billiken's possibilities are endless. With you four fools on the case, there's no telling how many hits Billiken can get. Word on the street is that Matt Drudge is starting to worry about you guys. Apparently, his site has received much less traffic in the few months since Billiken was founded.



Z: Wow, that's amazing. I had no idea how many people relied on Billiken to get their day started.

B: Well now you know. And with this knowledge, you must vow to make Billiken all that it can be. Keep the people informed of what's going on in the world. They need you and you need them. And never fear, because I'll always be looking out for you guys.

Z: Thanks a lot Billi. I'll never forget what you said.

B: Do me proud. I know you will.


After the Billiken disappeared into the night, I stood in the rain for a little longer and looked up at Carlyle Court, the center of the Billiken Universe.



At that moment, I realized that, despite infrequent updates or rambling articles, the Billiken's Bluff will live on forever in the hearts and minds of Americans. I realized that the spirit and soul of Billiken is one of free expression and open-mindedness, and that will never change. I realized that the naysayers had deluded me into thinking that Billiken was in grave danger of becoming irrelevant, when in reality, its foundation has never been stronger. Rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated. As long as Billi is looking after us, the Billiken's Bluff has nothing to fear.
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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. 

I was having a fun time at work today. I was Googling Coogi Sweaters, posting digital photographs, and pretending to be Andre 3000 (And in response to Damon Stoudamire, neither Andre 3000, nor I smoke any herbals whatsoever). But as usual the current politic climate (And no I'm not refering to the Global Warming of Friday's release of The Day After Tomorrow) begs to be scrutinized.



John Ashcroft and the good folks at Homeland Security have issued an ominous warning regarding a potential al-Qaida terrorist attack in the upcoming months. They did not raise the terror level warning, but just wanted to let the American people know to know that something is afoot.

Ashcroft and Mueller asked state and local law enforcement and the public for help tracking down seven people thought to be connected to al-Qaida. "All [seven] present a clear and present danger to America. All should be considered armed and dangerous," Ashcroft said. Obviously, if these 7 people pose a serious threat to the nation's security law enforcement officials should be provided with their pictures, and as much information as possible so that they can go about apprehending these individuals. However, I wonder what role Aschcroft would like the public to play in this terrorist-hunt? Is Homeland Security going to place the face's of these 7 people on milk cartons, or better yet Heinz ketchup bottles? Is that the way in which Homeland Security wants the American public to contribute in the fight against terror? I feel like Ashcroft has a slightly different idea of how the average American can chip in, VOTE BUSH!

These ominous warnings return the nation's attention to terrorism at home, and away from terrorism, and blunders abroad. President Bush is banking on the fact that come election time the American public will remember that he is strong on terrorism.

The article on Yahoo-

"Some law enforcement and firefighter union representatives, supporters of Democrat John Kerry (news - web sites) for president, suggested that the timing of the threat report was suspicious because of polls showing a sagging approval rating for President Bush. International Association of Firefighters President Harold Schaitberger told reporters in a conference call that the intelligence has been in the government's hands for weeks. "

I realize that terrorist attacks in the US are a real threat. And I'm sure Ashcroft and co. do have credible information that will help them defend against it. But issuing vague warnings about imminent threats, is not of any help to the American public. Does Aschcroft want to start a witch-hunt having wary American citizen turn in their Arab neighbors who bare a resemblence to one of Stealth-like Seven? Or does he just want to stir up a healthy amount of hysteria, to distract the populace from Bush's political weak spots.

"The president believes it's very important to share information appropriately," McClellan said. "We do that in a number of ways when it comes to looking at the threats we face here in the homeland."

I've always been a citizen of the United States who is fairly agile and has cat-like reflexes. Now that I am armed with the gem of information about a clear and present danger (great film by the way) I will be ready to stop, drop and roll, dodge stray canister of sarin nerve gas, and look at unattended briefcases with a suspicious eye and a raised eyebrow. I will also vote for Bush because he is strong on terrorism and considerate enough to inform the populace about potential threats. WHAT WAIT A SECOND! Scratch that, I got entranced by Ashcroft's Vulcan Mindmeld for a moment. I'm telling you people, do not look the man directly in the eye.

But we here at Billiken want to do our part, so here is the picture of the clear and present dangers, maybe someone in the populace will actually find one of these terrorists.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

After I be droppin the Cosby kids off at the pool........... 

The affable(thanks Larry David)Cliff Huxtable has done did it. Now he ain't no fool, but he knows a knucklehead when he sees one, and apparently most African-Americans is some ignorant peoples.



Last week the venerable Cosby himself was invited down to DC to speak at an NAACP convention honoring the 50 year anniversary of Brown v. Board of Ed. Cosby had been personally contacted and invited by the NAACP legal defense fund in hopes that he could bring some publicity and a few kind words to the celebration. From the onset it was crystal clear that the Hux was in no mood to gloat and glow about his people.

While Cosby's appearance was intended to be symbolic for the advancement of Brown(Bill himself evidently is considered an advancer....yes...an advancer?) he clearly had ideas and agendas of his own. He immediately launched into a feverish and vitriolic diatribe attacking poor and working class blacks in America, touching upon everything from the way their children are named to the amount of US currency they shell out for the latest kicks and gear. "These people are not parenting," Cosby said, "they are buying this for their kids, $500 sneakers- for what???" Now I'm no mathematologist but I'm pretty sure my coke dealer Rashaun isn't rocking a half G on his feet. Not many hoodlums are sporting ColeHaans Billy-Boy. Regardless, Cosby was pissed off, and he persisted.



"They're standing on the corner and they can't speak English. I can't even talk the way these people talk: 'Why you ain't?' 'Where you is?' . . . And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk. . . . Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. . . . You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth!" Damn Clifford, don't hurt'em son!

As a pseudo journalist I have so many hotlines for situations like this that I should have my own 1-800 number. But to drop anything in response to this would be a mistake, because seriously, that sh*t is pretty self-explanatory. Bottom line, Uncle Tom Cosby isn't feeling the current mindstate and livelihood of the lower class African-Americans. And while this all may sound ridiculous, especially given the fact that this man was speaking at a f*%king NAACP convention, it got even worse. Cosby proceeded to call out people who name their kids "weird things like Shaniqua or Ali". I ain't gonna argue with that one Coz, Shaniqua doesn't exactly do it for me either, but how can you argue the merit of a name like Tamika? That name just flat out works.

While many "heads" (for you Bill) in attendance were in shock and awe (for you Dubya), this comes as no surprise to others who have seen Cosby assail ebonics in the past, while toting the rich man's English in his ever-smooth Coogi sweaters.



While I do not condone what he said, I do feel the African-American community should be strong enough to handle comments like this from someone historically respected within the race without getting all up in arms. It is a difference of opinion, and Cosby should not be raked over the coals for what he said, but maybe for how he said it. Cosby said things people do not want to hear, but once again he has always had a different perspective on this type of issue it seems. Some even say the pickle taste better than the cucumber. Huh? What? Huh?

It is no secret that Heathcliff Huxtable, a proud Temple alum and advocate for black colleges has a problem with broken english. Even his Cosby Show featured two well educated and proper(brothas wanna break Cosby off something propa now!) black parents fostering an environment deemed "elite". Cosby has always pushed for what he sees as the betterment of black society through education, wise budgeting and certainly the King's English (in essence, assimilation). While this bizarre episode serves as a reminder that life isn't always smooth sailing, even for Doc Huxtable, it also reminds us that Kids
Say the Darndest Things!!
.
Darndest? Sh*t..... now that's propa! Holla dolla Bill!


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Plexi Got the Hookup 

Over the weekend I received a digital camera as a Graduation gift. Here is some of what developed...



Better clean that mirror.



My friend Esco commented that it's just like me to take pictures of street lights while driving in a car.



He said, "That's typical of you, Gotim, you think are somehow too good to take normal pictures of your friends, portrait style."



Esco continued, "Who wants to see a picture of a street sign all distorted? Is that supposed to be artistic? Looks more autistic to me."



Here you go Esco, a picture clearly showing the Fresh Meadow's epicenter of activity the world famous 192nd St.-



Here is my boy Go, looking absolutely scorching in his Brooks Brothers blazer. But, what's that you say Esco? There still isn't a "human touch" to my photography, well I'll leave you with my grandma's index finger. I had dinner with her on Sunday, and she referred to it as her "pet project". She says it is the longest nail she has ever grown it, and is intrigued to see just how far it will go.




Truth be told, I haven't read the instructions (who reads instructions anyway?) for the camera yet. If I had the proper flash, and focus set, I probably would have produced nice, traditional portrait/landscape shots. Or if I read the instructions, I probably would have realized, that you can't take pictures with a digital camera while traveling at 60 mph in a car.

Regardless, I'm excited about the potential of this camera. It's pocket-sized, and smaller than most of your cell phones. Like the eccentric Michael March (literary critic, self-proclaimed Prague poet laureate, event planner extraordinaire, and Ben Franklin look-alike) once declared, It's going to be sooooooo CREATIVE!!!

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Sunday, May 23, 2004

An Update on Tom, the Verizon Dad 

I was waiting on line outside of RARE , an aptly named lounge in the Meatpacking district. A wispy-haired, middle-aged Caucasian gentleman was talking to two women, flaunting his semi-celebrity-personality. I interjected, drunk and boisterous.



ME: "Oh you're the dude from the Verizon commercial. I posted about you on my website, about a month ago."

VERIZON FATHER: "Yea that's me. That commercial has caused a lot of chatter on the internet." (He proceeded to try and return his conversation to the two women, but I persisted..)

ME: "Yea, I was wondering where the black or Hispanic mother was in the commercial. But she was nowhere to be found. It was just you and two hispanic kids running around, setting up the internet."

VERIZON FATHER: "It was a real successful campaign. There was a lot of buzz about it."

ME: "So are you coming in to see the Show tonight?"

VERIZON FATHER: "No, I actually have to go to meet my wife."

ME: "Is she black? Hispanic?"

VERIZON WHITE: "No, she's white."

ME: "Best of luck to you."

VERIZON FATHER: "And you."

Tom's nuclear family unit, as it exists in the commercial is described on the Verizon website-



"Meet the Elliotts"

Multicultural family of six
-Father, Tom
-Mother, Marta
-Georgia, 17, a socially active daughter who phones friends endlessly
-Raphael, 12, a techno-centric son whose favorite activity is surfing the Web
-Christina, 9, independent, savvy and ready to take on the world
-Oscar, 4, faces typical challenges of a child
-Grandfather, Ralph, makes occasional visits
-Dog, Hambone

If you are so inclined, you can watch the commercial here.

I often find Slate's online magazine has commentary's on stories that I can't find anywhere else. They, like the good folks here at Billiken, found the Elliot commercial newsworthy.

Seth Stevenson writes:

"In the Elliotts campaign, race is 1) an attention-getting gimmick and 2) a way to lend the brand a modern, distinctive vibe. This is a delicate (and slightly duplicitous) balancing act, because No. 1 relies on the fact that a mixed-race family is still sort of a big deal while No. 2 relies on Verizon treating it as no big deal at all."

Be that as it may, there is dog is named Hambone, which you have to respect, no matter who your DSL service provider is.
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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

I Got Seven Mack 11’s, About Eight 38’s Nine 9’s, Ten Mack Tens, 

Kevin Garnett, the NBA's reinging MVP, had some interesting comments after suffering a game 6 loss to the Sacramento Kings, not to mention an Anthony Peeler elbow to the face.



"This is it," he responded. "It's for all the marbles. I'm sitting in the house loading up the pump, I'm loading up the Uzis, I've got a couple of M-16s, couple of nines, couple of joints with some silencers on them, couple of grenades, got a missile launcher. I'm ready for war."



Unless you are a History Channel aficionado you shouldn't have such an extensive knowledge of military artillery. That is, unless you are a hip hop fan. Granted Garnett's comments were insensitive. Soldiers are dying every day in Iraq, but nowhere in the media or in the public's reaction did I hear anyone mention the true inspiration for Garnett's machine gun funk. The uzis that he is talking about aren't from the Gaza Strip or Fallujah. They are from US ghettos real and imagined. They are from East New York, and from Boy in the Hood.

I read through some of the user comments on ESPN.com's SportsNation section.

San Diego: "His comments are ignorant. I live in San Diego and we have many friends on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan, and equating what they do and playing hoop for a living is ridiculous. I'm glad he apologized."

Brent (Charlotte): "I personally find the comments offensive. I am a former Marine. I know what it's like to have to carry an m-16 for survival. I know what it's like to be shot at just because you're an American. Kevin Garnett has absolutely no idea what war is. War doesn't last 48 minutes. You don't walk up to the enemy and shake his had before war. Have Mr Garnett stick to what he's good at, playing basketball and let the real soldiers carrying the real weapons and real ammo do what they're good at, protecting our wonderful country."

Now I respect that Brent was a Marine and knows what it is like to carry an M-16, something I hope I will never have to experience, but let's look at where Garnett was getting the "ammo" for his diatribe.


Notorious BIG/Tupac "Live Freestyle 95'."

I got seven mack 11’s, about eight 38’s
Nine 9’s, ten mack tens, the shits never ends
You can’t touch my riches
Even if you had mc hammer and them 357 bitches
Biggie smalls; the millionare, the mansion, the yacht
The two weed spots, the two hot glocks



That's a lot of artillery, and it's not being used for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The American Media is so focused on the war and political correctness that they can't see where comments like this come from. They either aren't familiar with the motifs that run through hip hop culture or more likely, they choose to tip toe around them.

Let's get some comments going on this one. Come on Billikens!
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Monday, May 17, 2004

And Finally a Post About the Stankiest Man in Show Biz Andre 3000 a.ka. Possum Jenkins a.k.a Johnny Vulture 

I know this has been a long time coming, but I finally have some Andre 3000 news.

Andre 3000 has and The Cartoon Network are hashing out ideas for a half-hour special pegged for Cartoon's "Adult Swim" block. If it is successful they will go ahead with an entire series.
It will be based on the eccentric Andre 3000 and more specifically on his alter ego Johnny Vulture, the silky smooth looking character who plays the bass guitar in the "Hey Ya" video. Andre will release a score of songs to accompany the cartoon.



Andre 3000 is also dabbling in a film career with a role in the upcoming "Get Shorty" sequel, called "Be Cool." . Additionally, he is going to be starrng as Jimi Hendrix in the Hughes Brothers forthcoming biopic about the rock legend.

Good thing Andre 3000 steers clear of drugs and alcohol, becuase he is going to be one busy Possum (Jenkins).





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A Couple of Vietnam Vets on the Offensive 

One story that caught my attention this weekend was a rumor that Senator John McCain could emerge as John Kerry's running mate in the 2004 Presidential Election.



Naturally, McCain, a Republican Senator, is denying this rumor.

"Senator McCain would not have to leave his party," Mr. Kerrey said. "He could remain a Republican, would be given some authority over selection of cabinet people. The only thing he would have to do is say, `I'm not going to appoint any judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade,' " the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, which Mr. McCain has said he opposes.

McCain joining the Kerry ticket would be huge, colossal. A bipartisan ticket is a seldom seen animal (much like the elusive Billiken). McCain could garner Kerry support from Republicans who are dissasitisfied with the Bush Administration, yet unwilling to support an entirely Democratic ticket. This Kerry-McCain ticket, would feature two decorated Vietnam War veterans, McCain a P.O.W., from different parties and regions of the country. McCain could also give some credibility to Kerry, who some claim is soft on terrorism.



While the idea still seems somewhat fair-fetched there are indications it could happen. Kerry and McCain are close friends, and McCain and Bush have had a tenuous relationship ever since Bush attacked him in the 2000 Republican presidential primaries.

Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist who once worked for Mr. Kerry, said such a ticket "would be the political equivalent of the Yankees signing A-Rod," referring to Alex Rodriguez, the team's star third baseman.

I agree that a Kerry-McCain ticket would be tremendous, but I don't agree with Lehane's A-Rod analogy. Boston Red Sox president Larry Lucchino once refered to Steinbrenner's Yankees as 'The Evil Empire'. I like to think of the Bush Administration as something akin to the Steinbrenner's 'Evil Empire'. McCain joining Kerry would be more like if A-Rod had joined the Bo Sox.

To use Boston Red Sox leftfielder, Kevin Millar's phrase, if McCain joins the Kerry ticket, Bush and Cheney better grab their Ten-Gallon hats and "Cowboy Up." Because they will be in for one hell of battle.


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Back on the Block... 

I realize that Billiken readership may decline in the summer months. There are less college dorm high speed internet conncetions. Less AIM away messages to promote the Billiken's wares. However, I still have plenty of time on my hands at my office, so I will keep this site in motion to the ocean (remember, we will not be landlocked!).

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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

***A Billiken's Bluff Exclusive*** Streaking Through Madison Square Garden During the NYU Commencement  

May 11, 2004 11:00AM

The NYU College of Arts And Science Commencement Ceremony at Madison square Garden started quite ordinarily. There were 1,500 graduates present, and an arena filled with their family and friends.

Dean Matthew Santirocco gave the Dean's Welcome, followed by John Sexton's President Address. There was the typical advice, anecdotes and quoting of American icons; Emerson, Twain, and O'Neill. Each graduate then proceeded to the stage, where they had their name read, and shook hands with the faculty. This went smoothly and without incident, until graduate, Shogo Garcia took center stage.



After shaking Dean Santirocco and President Sexton's hands, Garcia de-robed on stage, standing in nothing but birthday suit. This caused a good deal of excitement in the otherwise sedate crowd. Garcia proceed to exit, stage right, running down the steps and behind the stage. He headed for the exit, and might have escaped without facing any repercussions, however he stopped to go back for his graduation cap which he dropped in the stairwell. Here he was apprehended by a security officer, who wrote him up and escorted him out of the Arena.

Afterwards, Mr. Garcia described the event as a, "very liberating experience."

What better place to liberate oneself than at "The World's Most Famous Arena".

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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Come on! They Were Just Going at It Like Rabbits! 

Two themes are starting to emerge from the murk here at the Billiken. The first being the sadistic, violent, sexually-deviant pictures emerging from the US's nation-building endeavor in Iraq. The second is the FCC's crusade on sex as it appears in film, radio, television, and now apparently in Swatch Watch Advertisements



The rabbits in question are part of the new Bunnysutra Swatch Line. Apparently there is a public uproar over the billboard with this Bunnysutra. The billboard with the amorous rabbits is located prominately in Times Square.

"Local 6 News reported that people are outraged at the images, but a Swatch spokesman said the ad is playful and fun."

I should mention that only tourists frequent Times Square. So I don't think it is New Yorkers who are blushing at the bunnies.

Who in their right mind could possibly be outraged by these images. If anything these tourists should be taking notes from the bunnies, so they can expand their sexual repertoire beyond the confines of 'missionary'.

I should also add that as a proud owner of a rabbit, that the ad is pretty accurate. Rabbits most certianly get their freak on.

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Maloney on What the Hell is Wrong with This Country 

Ahh, you just have to love the lessons we learn everyday from our fine government. Lessons like Oh, don’t worry about the silly Geneva Conventions- those guys in Iraq deserve what we do to them. Or Hey, leave my buddy Rumsfeld alone. He’s the “best secretary of defense” Americans could ask for.

WHAT?!

Donald Rumsfeld is either the most oblivious man in the entire universe, or he is the sneakiest one. Isn’t the secretary of defense supposed to, oh I don’t know, DEFEND the United States? Let’s look past the big military intelligence screw up that was September 11th and focus on Abu Ghraib. This is our prison. Rumsfeld has not only been there- he’s met some of the soldiers accused and photographed committing heinous torture. But here we find that abuse has been ongoing, and that Rumsfeld might have known of it for some time.

“These events occurred on my watch," Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "As secretary of defense, I am accountable for them and I take full responsibility... If there's a failure, it's me. It's my failure for not understanding and knowing that there were hundreds [of photographs].”
“I failed to recognize how important it was to elevate a matter of such gravity to the highest levels, including the president and the members of Congress," Rumsfeld said.

The most disturbing thing in all of this (aside from the photographs that continue to be released), is Vice President Cheney’s response to Congress’ desire to question and investigate Rumsfeld. Saturday he climbed out of his cellar long enough to say that he not only supports Rumsfeld, but thinks he is a Sec. of Defense Americans should take pride in. He also not-too-subtly asked Congress to lay off.

Equally appalling is the fact that so many people have no idea what this scandal is all about. As I wandered the halls of my building in a stunned rage, I found that of the 15 people I asked about this scandal, only 2 knew what the hell I was talking about. I can only imagine what the rest of America is like.

At this point, over 275,000 people have signed John Kerry’s petition for the resignation of Rumsfeld, as Bush himself labels the man’s performance “superb.”

What the hell is going in this country?
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Sunday, May 09, 2004

Upon Returning from a Brief Junket in Delaware... 

I was away for the weekend, visiting my better half in Delaware, and I must say I'm a bit disappointed in the lack of participation here at Billiken. I left you guys with a number of provactive posts (Zwill had one too) that I thought would cause some discussion. What do I find? A minimal amount of comments, and no new posts. Disappointing. I'll assume everyone was busy studying for finals, or was out of town for Mothers' Day.

Remember we are in motion to the ocean, and we refuse to be landlocked.
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Thursday, May 06, 2004

John Kerry, Forever in Blue Jeans  



John Kerry's not too busy alienating America to have a little fun. According to a recent Fox News report, Senator Kerry will be holding a set of fundraisers in Los Angeles and New York next month, headlined by Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond and Bette Midler. And as if their starpower wasn't enough, Whoopi Goldberg, John Mellencamp, Sheryl Crow and Robin Williams are all expected to attend as well. It's not yet clear what Kerry's role will be in these events or if he will even be in attendance.

What is clear is that Mr. Kerry can count on a sizable chunk of campaign funds from these shows. Hollywood's love for the Dems is nothing new; Clinton and Gore each held similar fundraisers during their campaigns with similar celebrities in attendance - Babs in particular. Previous events have brought in millions of dollars to those campaigns.

Unfortunately, while they may be key sources of campaign funding, these shows highlight everything that is wrong with the Democratic party. They will be full of rich, bourgeois liberals who get together to pat each other on the back and tell everyone how great they are and how much they've done for their communities. Fuck them. Little, if any, constructive discussion will occur but I'm sure everyone will get in some easy potshots on the mess of an administration that currently occupies the White House.

With each passing day, it becomes more and more evident that John Kerry and the Democrats don't have what it takes to defeat the Republicans. Bush lies on a daily basis about everything from WMDs to economic growth to what he ate for breakfast. But he does in a charming, affable way, so America lets it slide.



Kerry, amazingly enough, tells the truth much of the time. Even his ridiculous statement about voting for and against the $87B war bill was technically true. But Kerry lacks a fundamental necessity that he will need to find if he wants to become president: charisma. Kerry is hostile, combative and generally cold. Bush defeated Gore in 2000 in large part due to the charisma gap between the two. A similar result seems in the cards this year.

It's just baffling to me how inept the Democrats are. They have so many issues to come at Bush with, yet they can't seem to rally anyone outside their base. So many Americans have been alienated by the administration since it came to power, yet many of those folks still won't vote for Kerry. Bush's regime is full of arrogant, ideological bullies who have dictated to America how we should live our lives, yet Kerry can't seem to do anything to stir American outrage.

During the 2000 election, I didn't believe that either candidate was worth voting for. This time around, it's much of the same. At this point, it's pick your poison, choose the lesser of two evils and all the rest of the political cliches. The competence of leadership in 21st century America is as bad as it has been in a long time and I can't blame anyone who's disinterested with this campaign before it's even truly begun.
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At Least We'll be Wearing Surgical Gloves When Shit Hits the Fan 

I know I keep dwelling on this Abu Ghraib scandal, but I just can't believe some of these photographs coming out. I know I posted not even 2 hours ago, and sarcastically commented (as I've been known to do), "that the US isn't running an afterschool program in Iraq, at Abu Ghraib". But, joking about these pictures, definately makes too light of the situation. I read an article on VillageVoice.com by Richard Goldstein that made me look at these photos in a completely different manner.



This is the type of thing you don't even see on OZ. It's graphic, it's sadistic. The male and female soldier are smiling, grinning, over their subjugated prisoners. They are enjoying themselves.

Goldstein writes:

"That's the great perk of war. You can unleash the darkest reaches of your libido. Murdering, mutilating, and raping are all part of the adrenaline rush—and nothing feels better than that forbidden thrill in the name of God and country.

The most distressing thing in those photos from Abu Ghraib was also the least remarked upon. That soldier standing over his prostrate prisoners, holding his thumb up, was wearing surgical gloves. Was he afraid of being contaminated by his victims' blood, feces, semen—or just their humanity? We'll never know. But it's an astonishing symbol of what America is becoming: a nation where suffering is tolerable—even pleasurable—as long as the shit doesn't get on our hands."

It isn't anything to smile or joke about. Something needs to happen.
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Things Fall Apart 

Like The Roots and William Butler Yeats said, "Things Fall Apart." All is not well at the Bush Ranch and the kids are most certianly not ok. It wasn't all that long ago that Bush and the Fantastic Four (Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell, and Cheney) stood united against evil-doers the world over. It looks like they may be breaking up.



Rice had to testify before the 9/11 commission, about what teh Bush administration did to prevent 9/11. Bush is rebuking Rumsfeld for the Abu Ghraib prison debacle. Powell is thinking about not signing up for another 4 years. Cheney is still nowhere to be found. Things are looking Grimm for the Band of Brothers.

What I want to know is how and why these Abu Ghraib pictures got out. The US Military supervisors running these prisons in Iraq really dropped the ball on this one. How are you going to let soldiers bring their digital cameras into the prisons?



I realize that the US army isn't running an after school program over in Iraq. I realize they aren't serving milk and cookies and playing dodgeball with the prisoners. But some of these photos coming out are just plain bizarre. Some real S&M, dregs of the internet type stuff. And even if you do have this type of insanity going on at Abu Ghraib, under no circumstances should you let the pictures get out. Hell, they shouldn't have even allowed cameras in there in the first place.

They have tougher restrictions on cameras at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In high school I tried to take a picture of some Greek vases for a project and was swarmed by security guards telling em to shut my camera off.

But there is some hope for the Bush Administration. Outkast's Big Boi and Andre 3000 have been rumored to be breaking up for years, and yet they were able to come out with the classic, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, which just went Diamond (10 million records sold). If two Atliens can put aside their differences to make a classic album, then I'm sure Bush and the Fantastic Four have one more freedom operation left in them. Operation North Korea Freedom? It doesn't exactly roll off your tongue though, does it?

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