Milestones & miscellany

A couple of milestones worth mentioning:

I started this blog on June 22, 2002, so today is the second day of my sixth year of this. (The archives from my old blogspot site seem to be bloggered. I'm going to try to get them back up, or transferred over to here, or something.)

Also the odometer at the bottom of this page tells me I've passed the 2 million visitor mark since August of 2004. Big Round Numbers are cool.

* * * * * * * * *

Whenever I'm asked if there isn't anything I like about President Bush, I usually respond by commending him for signing the "No Call List" legislation. Maybe it wasn't his idea and he didn't fight to ensure its passage, but he signed it into law without botching it up, and for that I am grateful.

I'm tempted to add a second check in the plus column for Bush's violation of protocol in not addressing Pope Benedict as "your holiness." With all due respect, I think it exceeds all respect due to refer to anyone by that title. And if Benedict in any way felt slighted by not hearing this title from the lips of someone who is, A) not Catholic, and B) the American president, then it's pretty clear it's not a title he would deserve. Given A and B, Bush's respectful address of "Sir" seems appropriate.

And in any case, it's easy to imagine this scene playing out much worse (Goes into Jon Stewart Bush-crouch): "I'm gonna call you 'Benny' …" (and to the Cardinals present) "… and I'm gonna call you guys 'The Jets' …"

That would have been inappropriate.

* * * * * * * * *

"The flesh is weak," I heard someone say the other day. And like many people who say this, what he really meant was "the flesh is strong."

The quote is from Matthew's Gospel, something Jesus said to his sleeping disciples in Gethsemane, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Jesus was talking about the way our weakness sometimes prevents us from doing the right thing. The strong-flesh usurpers of the phrase almost always use it in reference to our inability to prevent ourselves from doing the wrong thing. I guess that's how it looks if you think of faith as being mainly about Stuff You Shouldn't Do.

The Neoplatonists and Cartesians have had a field day with Jesus' choice of words. Makes me wish he'd put it differently, something like, "Your mouth said you'd stay awake but your eyes tell me you're sleeping," though I suppose even that would've gotten twisted into some abstraction about a mouth/eye dualism.

* * * * * * * * *

• A rough count shows I've seen only 22 of PopMatters' "50 DVDs Every Film Fan Should Own." The next best thing to watching the movies in a list like that is sitting around and arguing about what they left out and what you'd cut from the list to make room for it.

• Seymour Hersh profiles and interviews Gen. Antonio Taguba. We seem to have created a system that has no room for good men.

• The Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) revisits the story of Delmarva's deadly driveways as part of an impressive special report — "The Deadliness Below" — on the WMD off of our coasts. How much is out there? No one seems to know.

• Fear-mongering, flag-waving, laager-mentality xenophobia, focus-grouped buzzword Newspeak … it's all there in one tidy package at Family Security Matters: The National Security Resource for American Families.

  • hapax

    Hey! Stop picking on the Neoplatonists! There aren’t many of us left anymore.
    You should treat us as a protected species, like the panda bears. (except for the webcams on our sex lives. That would be icky.)

  • Jeff

    Maybe it wasn’t his idea and he didn’t fight to ensure its passage, but he signed it into law without botching it up, and for that I am grateful. (Emphasis mine)
    Not really. There are so many loop-holes as to make it meaningless; and now, spammers will be able to run up our cell-phone charges, in spite of a “cell-phone Do Not Call List”.

  • Drak Pope

    Not really. There are so many loop-holes as to make it meaningless; and now, spammers will be able to run up our cell-phone charges, in spite of a “cell-phone Do Not Call List”.
    Hey, dude, come on! Give the guy a break. If you were George Bush I bet you couldn’t do a better job.

  • Jeff

    If you were George Bush I bet you couldn’t do a better job.
    If I were George Bush, I’d send Cheney and Rove to Gitmo, then hang myself.

  • Steve

    I’d like to personally thank Slacktivist for starting this blog in my honor. That was obviously his intention as he started it on the second day of my thirty-third year.
    If you prefer to not start a blog, you can do what my other fans do in my honor around my birthday, which is get a tan or go on vacation.

  • Drak Pope

    If I were George Bush, I’d send Cheney and Rove to Gitmo, then hang myself.
    Nice try. But where are you going to find the rope, huh? Bet you didn’t think of that, did ya? Huh?

  • Steve

    Its a sad commentary on our times, that when you see a name like “Family Security Matters”…which is such an innocuous name that no one can argue with, that there then is mostly likely a hidden agenda behind the group.
    BTW, I just went to their site and clicked on “Our Allies”, and it brought up a page that said “Object not found!”
    Hmmmm….can websites perform Freudian slips?

  • Drocket

    *Nice try. But where are you going to find the rope, huh? Bet you didn’t think of that, did ya? Huh?*
    If rope is unavailable, all you have to do is locate the nearest pretzel. If it turns out that pretzels are unavailable (if the Secret Service has banned them from White House premises for security reasons…), then you could try chewing gum and walking at the same time. If all else fails, just try to calculate the square root of pi – it’ll take them weeks to get all the blood out of the drapes after your head explodes.
    Killing yourself when you’re Bush really isn’t that hard.

  • Dahne

    From the Taguba profile:
    Nevertheless, Rumsfeld, in his appearances before the Senate and the House Armed Services Committees on May 7th, claimed to have had no idea of the extensive abuse. “It breaks our hearts that in fact someone didn’t say, ‘Wait, look, this is terrible. We need to do something,’ ” Rumsfeld told the congressmen. “I wish we had known more, sooner, and been able to tell you more sooner, but we didn’t.”
    I’m impressed. It’s not often you find somebody who you can hear lying through his fucking teeth in print.

  • Jesurgislac

    You should treat us as a protected species, like the panda bears. (except for the webcams on our sex lives. That would be icky.)
    Hapax, I’m suddenly seeing you as a panda bear.
    Hmm… how do you manage the keyboard with those big paws?

  • Mike Timonin

    Hapax, net cam monitoring of your sex life can be quite profitable. Or so I hear. You know, from people who do that sort of thing…

  • sakthi

    My belated wishes for your sixth blogiversary..If I got a chance to address Mr.Bush,perhaps I would like to address him as the Hitler hiding behind someone’s mask…
    car insurance comparison

  • Salamanda

    Re: Family Security Matters
    I took a look at the sight and when “FSM gear” and “FSM Contributing Editor” caught my eye, my first thought was:
    “Flying Spaghetti Monster? Really?”
    A little slow on context? Yeah, perhaps.

  • Salamanda

    *at the site
    A little slow on other matters as well, it seems. Can I blame Monday morning?

  • Fraser

    VHS is hardly dead (Hell, there’s a thriving used laser-disc market.). I have 350 tapes and it still makes more sense to use my old VCR than to spend money on a DVD recorder. But eventually, I admit …
    I’m pessimistic, however, that DVD will get as long a run, given that the corporate world has a vested interest in pushing everything to a new format (much more profitable, as one executive admitted, because it pressures everyone to replace all their old stuff)/.

  • the opoponax

    there is not a “thriving laser disc market”.
    there are a few diehard collectors trading on eBay.
    laser discs are no longer manufactured by any video distribution company i’m aware of (including obscure ones like Criterion Collection, Kino Video, and Anchor Bay), and the few rental places that ever stocked them have liquidated their inventory.
    even 5-6 years ago, Kim’s Video, which is the big niche market rental store here in New York, was selling off their laserdiscs (of which they had a formidable inventory) for like $2 a pop, i.e. at a massive loss. which wouldn’t be the case if there had at the time been a “thriving market” for them. and that was 5 years ago, when i think there might have actually been companies still manufacturing older catalogue titles in that format.
    i’m not even sure companies are manufacturing laserdisc players anymore.
    laserdisc has at this point gone the way of the 8-track, like it or not.

  • the opoponax

    also, Fraser, DVD players cost like $30. considering that new films are no longer being released on VHS, i would say that at this point it’s probably worth it, if only just so that you can rent movies that have come out since 2002 or so… holding on to your VHS player isn’t going to stem the tide, it’s just going to prevent you from being able to see new stuff.
    of course, i totally agree with you about the way corporate america is forcing us to constantly replace everything for a new format. i just don’t think that one guy holding tight to his older technology is going to change anything.

  • Jeff

    considering that new films are no longer being released on VHS, i would say that at this point it’s probably worth it
    I use VHS for “time-shifting”: recording at one time and watching later. I tried a DVR and couldn’t get it to work, so went back to tried and true. I might try again some day, especially when I’m forced to digital, but it works for now.
    I do have a DVD Player, for Netflix and other movies. Definitely needed.

  • inge

    Fraser: I’m pessimistic, however, that DVD will get as long a run, given that the corporate world has a vested interest in pushing everything to a new format
    I should probably thank them for that, because if I didn’t strongly suspect that, too (and if I weren’t too lazy to learn about copying and saving to a new format), I’d go into serious shopping-and-hoarding mode and would run out of shelf space in a year or so.

  • Jason

    A rough count shows I’ve seen only 22 of PopMatters’ “50 DVDs Every Film Fan Should Own.”
    Seen: 35; Own: 31. I won’t argue about what’s on and what’s off, but it seems to me that any list that containing a Kenneth Anger compliation is too cool by half. That being said, I heartily endorse They Shoot Pictures’s Top 1,000 of all time, which agregates hundreds of Top-”N” lists.
    there is not a “thriving laser disc market”
    I just sold an LD yesterday for $35. :-)

  • JessicaR

    And I’d love the Criterion LD of The Fisher King with director’s commentary and extras, the studio’s dvd release has nothin’ bah! And yeah on principle my blood runs cold at any group with the words “Family” “Concerned” “America” “Truth” “Christian” “Moral” “Values” or “Parents” “Freedom” in the titles.

  • jojo

    I, for one, am really glad you started your blog and hope you are there ten years from now.

  • LM

    “Concerned” “America” “Truth” “Christian” “Moral” “Values” or “Parents” “Freedom” in the titles.
    Heh. Like the seemingly innocent sounding “Concerned Christians” cult out of Denver?

  • Alison Wear

    I found another way to avoid telemarketers. Get a vonage phone. Then your number isn’t listed in “the book”. I think the “Do Not Call” list is good legislation, though. Peace.

  • Mnemosyne

    Killing yourself when you’re Bush really isn’t that hard.
    I dunno — the guy is constantly covered in bumps and bruises and yet has supposedly never suffered a serious injury. I’m starting to think he’s one of the leads in Final Destination.

  • Jesurgislac

    If you’re really drunk, when you fall over you’re less likely to incur serious damage, because your muscles are relaxed. So I’ve heard. (From friends who got much drunker than I ever did on a regular basis.)
    Not that I’d ever imply Bush has fallen off the wagon, but if he has, he probably didn’t suffer much worse than light bruises.

  • Geds

    Jessica, LM:
    A friend of mine hooked me up with the American Decency Association the other day. They’re a real barrel of laughs.
    They’ve decided to boycott Wrigley because they’ve got a new commercial that ends with the implication that two women are about to start making out.
    “Eclipse Fusion Gum, a Wrigley product, advertises with a strong allusion to lesbianism on television. Wrigley is more concerned about appealing to the homosexual/lesbian consumer than it is about offending millions of Bible believing Christians.”
    Unless I’m mistaken, Wrigly is appealing to the “posessing of a sense of humor” consumer and the “average American guy who likes to watch two chicks making out” consumer just as much if not more than “the homosexual/lesbian consumer.”
    I’d go buy a whole case of the stuff just to spite the out of touch morons over there if it weren’t for the fact that spearamint/melon gum sounds exceedingly gross to me.