We were relieved today

We were relieved today to finally receive our package of goodies from Taiwan. Jessica’s sister had brought them back from Taiwan and mailed them last week from Phoenix. Why did it take a whole week to get here?
Anyway, apart from all the snacks inside, I got a stack of Beatmania Game Music CDs along with the first volume in the Hsiao-hsien Hou DVD box set. This one contains The Boys from Fengkuei (1983), A Summer at Grandpa’s (1984), A Time to Live and a Time to Die (1985), and Dust in the Wind (1986).
My buddy William is to thank for picking these up for me (I paid him, of course). In fact, he liked the look of the set so much that he picked one up himself, and is slowly getting into watching them. Me, I’m waiting until I finish Cowboy Bebop.

Cowboy Bebop’s Andy and

Cowboy Bebop’s Andy and George “Five-Gallon Head” Bush:
Separated at Birth?

More Cowboy Bebop Precog?
A few days ago I posted about the Cowboy Bebop episode with its portrayal of the Space Shuttle Columbia and a re-entry that nearly destroys the ship. Well, last night I watched another episode that had strange parallels with today.
Called “Cowboy Funk” (Session #22), the story features a mad bomber, Mr. Teddy Bomber, who has been setting off bombs in various high rises. The episode opens on one of these, looking like a combination of the World Trade Center and Malaysia’s Petronas Towers (it has a connecting structure halfway up). Spike catches the bomber before he is allowed to detonate the bombs (disguised as teddy bears), but before he can handcuff him, another bounty hunter called “Andy” appears and screws the whole thing up, thinking that Spike is the bomber, and letting the culprit go free. The scene culminates in the connecting structure exploding and falling to the city below, creating a dust cloud not unlike the WTC aftermath.
As Andy is written, he’s a big dope, a brainless, righteous faux-cowboy who creates disaster wherever he goes. Sound familiar to the phony Kennebunkport cowboy set on destroying the world? Ya think? Later we see that Andy is actually a spoiled rich kid who lives on a large yacht, and Faye Valentine meets him for dinner.

FAYE: Um… So why are you a bounty hunter? If you’re so rich, uh, I mean if you have so much comfort in your life…
ANDY: Why, Let’s see… BECAUSE it suits me. That feeling a cowboy gets when he corners a bull.
Andy laughs heartily. Faye forces laughter.
FAYE: Oh… but you don’t have to go after such a dangerous bounty, do you?
ANDY: Yes! I don’t worry about things like that! Once I set my mind on something, I can see NOTHING else!

Sounds like our single-minded monkey king, no doubt. Purely a coincidence, but there’s further parallels. Spike and Andy get so wrapped up in their jealous hatred of each other that they lose track of the bomber, allowing him to explode several more devices. Sound a bit like the U.S.’s foreign policy? Just where is Osama “Wanted Dead or Alive” bin Laden, O Crawford Cowboy? (Trouble with this comparison is that Spike Siegel is our hero and not in any way like Hussain!)
And the bomber’s philosophy? Pure Ted Kaczynski: “I wanted to give a warning against all the unnecessary waste created by capitalism lacking philosophy. Planets that needlessly get colonized. Media that needlessly get circulated. And buildings that are needlessly tall to symbolize all of this! And by destroying them, I wanted to raise the question of how a true pioneer should be.”
This is one of the funniest episodes so far, in a series that can swing from sentimental to absurd, episode by episode.
Andy image by way of Bebopdabebop.
Chimpy McCokespoon image by way of George W. Bush: Smirking Arrogance

Laughter is sweet, sweet medicine.

Laughter is sweet, sweet medicine. Thanks to the folks over at Buzzflash for drawing attention to the fact that Ari “Eraserhead” Fleischer got laughed out of his White House briefing today, when the enormity of his lies got too much even for the usual docile reporters. Responding to a question about press reports about the bribes Bush is giving various nations to get a security council vote, Ari indignantly said, “I haven’t seen the story. And you already have the answer, about what this will be decided on. But think about the implications of what you’re saying. You’re saying that the leaders of other nations are buyable. And that is not an acceptable proposition. ” (I am shocked, shocked to find that bribery goes on here! to paraphrase Casablanca.)
That’s when the press started busting a gut, and Ari scuttled out of the room. Click on the link below to go read a bit more and to watch the Real Video footage (fast forward to the last 3 minutes, though).
Ari Gets Laughed Out of the White House Briefing Room

Say goodbye to your loved

Say goodbye to your loved ones.
Yes, I know, another cheerful, optimistic message from me. But this is what my friend’s cousin did the other day when he got shipped out to Iraq. Like the story below, he too went through school on an Army grant, and now has been called up (of course, that’s the risk, but still). He called his dad from Kuwait and said “We’re setting up base here. We’re going to go into Iraq soon, and I am going to die.”
Bush always says he sleeps well at night, and I don’t doubt it.

I’m going to do it–you

I’m going to do it–you should do it too. (For all the good it will do).

MoveOn.org: Virtual March on Washington Headquarters On February 26th, every Senate office will receive a call every minute from a constituent, as they receive a simultaneous flood of faxes and e-mail. Hundreds of thousands of people from across the country will send the collective message: Don’t Attack Iraq. Every Senate switchboard will be lit up throughout the day with our message — a powerful reminder of the breadth and depth of opposition to a war in Iraq. And on that day, “antiwar rooms” in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles will highlight the day’s progress for the national media, while local media can visit the “antiwar room” online to monitor this constituent march throughout the day.

Where will it all end?

Where will it all end?
Based on this report, the world’s complete annihilation. Why was this story only published in a Scottish newspaper? Found by way of Unknown News

US plans total war against North Korea
WHILE the White House continues its public war of words with North Korea, a battle plan is already being laid in secret by military strategists at the Pentagon.
Until now leader Kim Jong Il’s increasingly flamboyant and frightening game of international brinkmanship has only attracted condemnation from the Bush administration.
But behind the scenes, American strategists are now weighing up the option of a pre-emptive military strike against North Korea as the rogue Stalinist state forges ahead with its plans to build a nuclear arsenal – threatening not only a “domino effect” of nuclear proliferation in east Asia but also a strike against the very heart of America.
It is a terrifying scenario, with likely casualties running to one million during the first day of an attack on North Korea – most falling victim to the long-range artillery trained on its southern neighbour.

Six degrees of fascism. The

Six degrees of fascism. The war on our liberty and our freedoms has hit home today, in a way, with two events that just sicken and disgust me and that have happened to people that I know.
First off is my sister-in-law and her husband in Arizona, who, when they came back to LAX and before getting their connecting flight to Phoenix, were asked to keep their luggage unlocked so it could be searched later. That’s bad as it is, but when they got home their luggage had a “checked” sticker on the outside and inside a white paper that said that if anything was damaged that it was not the company’s responsibility, nor the airport’s. It’s a staggering loss of privacy that not even the most police-state of countries asks you to do. Sure, security should be able to look through your bags with you in attendance, but this is 100% wrong. Who knows how this will be abused in the future–planting evidence, perhaps?
Secondly, the brother of one of the crewmembers I worked with last week just got called up to go lay his life down for oil and imperialism. The guy was just now working on a law career when some sort of G.I. assistance aid thingy that saw him through college and which he signed back when we were a democracy and at peace has come back to haunt him. He ships out next week. His mother was distraught, and over the phone began to speak her mind about the Monkey King in the most heated of terms. He told her “Mom, don’t say those things. The phone is tapped.” Why did he know? Because the guys who enlisted him told him (I guess so he couldn’t plan over the phone an escape to Canada).
It’s getting really scary here, folks.

We were hit by an

We were hit by an earthquake this morning at about 4:45 a.m. or so. It caused my framed Gerry Mulligan poster in our bedroom to detach itself and crash to the floor, scaring the bejeesus out of me. But that was all. In fact, I didn’t know it was an earthquake until I checked Yahoo near lunchtime. I had assumed that the nail or the hook attaching the frame to the wall was just cheap.
Anyway, there’s just so much evil going on, I don’t know where to start. First there’s the GOP jihad against White House Press Corps Truthteller Helen Thomas, one of the few who have any cajones left and who stands up to Fleischer. There’s the boiling oil war in Columbia coming soon, and what the hell are we doing in the Philippines? I get a headache just thinking about it all.
Thank goodness, then, for Cowboy Bebop, of which I had watched two-thirds. I will have more comments on it soon, but tonight’s episode, Wild Horses was creepy in a way the makers didn’t intend, and I’m sure that fans will note in the future.
The plot features Spike returning to earth to get his space-hopper fixed, and he returns to Doohan, the mechanic who helped design it in the first place. While there, Spike catches a glimpse (hidden from us) of Doohan’s hobby, restoring a famous spacecraft.
Much later, Spike rejoins his crew and sets out to catch some space pirates for the bounty on their heads. They wound his space-hopper and leave Spike to burn up re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. Doohan decides to come to his rescue and brings his restored spacecraft out of the hanger.
It’s the space shuttle. And not only that, it’s the Columbia.
Doohan and assistant rescue Spike and barely make it back home, with the shuttle in dire straits as well: “The heat panels have nearly all come off! I’m too young to die!” etc.
It certainly gave the episode a strange weight to it. One wonders if Cartoon Network will drop the episode (not that I think they should, but they have censored a lot of CB for America’s gentle viewers.)

Donald Rumsfeld, you hypocrite! Not

Donald Rumsfeld, you hypocrite! Not only were you happy to meet and sell weapons to Saddam when he was our friend, but you helped secure the deal that allowed North Korea to build nuclear reactors! Well done, macho man.

Rumsfeld was on ABB board during nuclear deal with North Korea
February 21, 2003 6:07 PM
Donald Rumsfeld, the US secretary of defense, was on the board of technology giant ABB when it won a deal to supply North Korea with two nuclear power plants.