Friday, December 23, 2011

"The Wild Holiday Goose"

Dal Carver, owner of the Wild Goose Cafe in Ashland, Oregon, and an extraordinarily gifted piano and keyboard player, and I, a ne'er-do-well folkie, came up with the idea for this album in 2005 or so. In October. With the help of a mindblowingly great group of musicians and recording people (Tom Freeman), it was finished in six weeks. We sold a thousand or so, gave all the profits to local schools for art programs. Bonus: I only sing one song on it. You're welcome.

No lie: this is a really great album. Try "Jingle Bells" first and you'll understand.

  The Wild Holiday Goose by Little Thom

I'll get all the track info soon.

And why someone in Germany is selling one I do not know.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sailing From Sydney to Hobart, Tasmania

I mentioned the other day that I may be going on a sailing trip. Well, the details have been worked out, and tomorrow or Thursday (Australia time) I'll be headed to Hobart, Tasmania, on a 38-foot sailboat. Skipper: Craig. Crew: Me. (Home, gnawing fingernails on walls, ceiling: Christine.)

Short story shorter: Craig, friend of Christine's who lives in Hobart, bought a sailboat on the internet a few months ago. It's here in Sydney, so he flew up last Thursday to get it ready and sail it back home. I had expressed interest in tagging along when I first heard about this some months ago, but Craig said he had had a close friend going back with him, and said no. I forgot about it. On Thursday, when Craig got here, he said that his friend had backed out. There ya go. 

It's take up to two weeks. Highlight of the trip: the Bass Strait.

I'll be out of internet and phone range for much or all of that time. Hobart is way down there: Nothing but open water between us and Antarctica. I will of course have much to post here when I return.

The route is the same as taken in a what is a very famous race here, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, held every year stating Boxing Day.

Did I mention I've never sailed before? (I have been on the sea, as I said in that other post.)

Here's the boat (second one out). Best I could do for now:

Here's Craig showing Christine around, up on the bow:

Skipper Craig and Christine on the Southern Ocean.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Stephen Colbert's Super PAC

Stephen Colbert - he of of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report - is doing something extraordinary to American politics, through the forming of his Super PAC, "Making a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow." It is not often that you get to witness someone of Colbert's stature pull off a stunt like this: using a law (or in this case Supreme Court rulings) to highlight the absurdity of said law. The whole thing is downright Mark Twainian.

To get a proper idea of what Colbert is doing, look at it this way: If the U.S. Supreme Court made a ruling that said it was perfectly legal for really rich people to designate their homes as foreign countries - thereby making them off-limits to U.S. police organizations - Colbert would right now have a mansion next to the White House with a 24-hour-a-day, Las Vegas-themed, gangster/biker party going on, complete with drug-fueled machine-gun target practice contests, strippers in every window, and dogfights in the front yard. And possibly live kitten barbecues on the veranda.

And there would be nothing the cops could do, because Congress made it legal for really rich people - and Stephen Colbert is definitely one of those - to designate their homes as foreign countries. (Colbert's would probably be called "Colbertistanistan.")

Except Colbert wouldn't be doing because he's a rich asshole - he'd be doing it to show how horribly unDemocratic and morally perverse the Supreme Court ruling was. And that's exactly what he's doing here.

The Supreme Court ruling Colbert is lampooning is actually two recent rulings, and they concern one thing: the role money plays in political campaigns in the U.S. In this case by the way of the "Super PAC."

What's a Super PAC? It's a brand new kind of "political action committee" (see last link for more on them), an organization that raises and spends money on advertising for or against candidates for public office. If you want to spend money on political candidates - apart from contributions directly to a candidate or a political party (these have their own rules) - it has to go through a PAC. It's the law. PACs have been around for a while,  but they used to have restrictions: Corporations, unions, and individuals used to have strict limits on how much money they could give to PACs; and PACs were only allowed to spend so much money. Why? Because it was believed that allowing extremely wealthy corporations, unions, or individuals to spend enormous amounts of money on political advertising gave them an unfair advantage over us regular schmoes who don't have yacht-loads of cash to spend on such things - which isn't exactly rocket science.

As of the Summer of 2010, those restrictions are gone. Thanks to those recent Supreme Court rulings. (Well, some restrictions remain, but many are gone.) What effect did it have? 84 Super PACs were quickly formed, and, over the course of only a couple months, they spent $65,326,957 on the 2010 midterm elections. $65,326,957. That's four times as much as was spent on the 2006 midterms, and while election spending has been rising for a long time, that was a very unprecedented jump. (How much did you spend on the 2010 elections? Did it have the effect you wanted? And read this, about the current election cycle, which is just getting started. Or don't.)

Stephen Colbert looked at all of this and thought it was just nuts. Which it of course is. And he decided he was going to show just how nuts it was. How? By forming his own Super PAC. And he did it. Stephen Colbert can now hold the equivalent of drug-fueled machine-gun target practice contests, with strippers in the windows and dogfights on the lawn - right in the middle of the American political election process, and there's not a damn thing anyone can do about it. (He'll probably spare the kittens. He seems like a nice guy.)

An excerpt from Colbert's viictory speech after getting the okay for the Super PAC from the FEC:
Sixty days ago today, on this very spot, a young man petitioned the FEC for permission to form a super PAC, to raise unlimited monies and use those monies to determine the winners of the 2012 elections. Moments ago, the Federal Election Commission made their ruling. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m sorry to say … We won!
"Sorry to say" is exactly right.

It's going to be a very interesting 2012 election year. Maybe some of it will be the good kind of interesting - thanks to Stephen Colbert.

All 2012 Super PACs.

Making a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fukushima Much Worse Than Previously Thought

In other words - of course they were lying:
The Fukushima nuclear disaster released twice as much of a radioactive substance into the atmosphere as Japanese authorities estimated, reaching 40 percent of the total from Chernobyl, a preliminary report says.
The estimate of much higher levels of radioactive cesium-137 comes from a worldwide network of sensors. Study author Andreas Stohl of the Norwegian Institute for Air Research says the Japanese government estimate came only from data in Japan, and that would have missed emissions blown out to sea. 
The study did not consider health implications of the radiation. Cesium-137 is dangerous because it can last for decades in the environment, releasing cancer-causing radiation.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

High School Teacher Faces Fines For Registering Students to Vote

Things that make me want to bite a moving train Number Googelty-million:
The teacher who heads up New Smyrna Beach High School's student government association could face thousands of dollars in fines. Her transgression? Helping students register to vote. 
Prepping 17-year-olds for the privileges and responsibilities of voting in a democracy is nothing new for civics teachers, but when Jill Cicciarelli organized a drive at the start of the school year to get students pre-registered, she ran afoul of Florida's new and controversial election law. 
Among other things, the new rules require that third parties who sign up new voters register with the state and that they submit applications within 48 hours. The law also reduces the time for early voting from 14 days to eight and requires voters who want to give a new address at the polls to use a provisional ballot.

Northern Lights Visible in Southern U.S.

Of course this happens after I move to the Southern Hemisphere:
A baffling solar storm pulled colorful northern lights unusually far south, surprising space weather experts. 
TV stations in Georgia and Kentucky reported people calling about the sky show Monday night. And NASA posted a photo from Huntsville, Ala. Southerners normally don't get to see the vibrant red and green aurora borealis.

They even saw them in Texas! I saw a green curtain effect aurora in Alaska when I worked there in the 1980s - but in the Lower 48? Never. Lucky.

MSNBC has a few shots that people sent in. One, from Wisconsin:

Sunday, October 09, 2011

The Electric Bonsai Band

Good gads, I was just persuing Twitter when Will Wheaton - yes, the kid in Star Trek: The Next Generation, who is a funny and sharp dude - made a comment about becoming his father. That blasted me back to seeing The Electric Bonsai Band - not electric, not a bad - in, where? Portland, Oregon? so many years ago, maybe even the 80s. My god he was good. Fast, smart, scary smart, and just as funny as hell.

I am so happy to have found him (Andrew Ratshin) on Napster. Please go, listen. "I am My Dad" is so good - although it is much better live.

Ratshin also played in Uncle Bonsai.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Drug War, Explained

The Los Angeles Times today:
As a student of history and a retired deputy chief of police with the Los Angeles Police Department, I can attest that the damage that came from the prohibition of alcohol pales in comparison to the harm wrought by drug prohibition. In the last 40 years drug money has fueled the growth of violent street gangs in Los Angeles, from two (Bloods and Crips) with a membership of less than 50 people before the drug war to 20,000 gangs with a membership of about 1 million across the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Justice. These gangs serve as the distributors, collection agents and enforcers for the Mexican cartels that the Justice Department says occupy more than 1,000 U.S. cities.
Sabet, a former advisor to the White House drug policy advisor, ignores these prohibition-created harms, making no mention of the nearly 50,000 people killed in Mexico over the last five years as cartels have battled it out to control drug routes, territories and enforce collections. When one cartel leader is arrested or killed, it makes no impact on the drug trade and only serves to create more violence, as lower-level traffickers fight for the newly open top spot. 
U.S. law enforcement officials report that as much as 70% of cartel profits come from marijuana alone. There's no question that ending today's prohibition on drugs -- starting with marijuana -- would do more to hurt the cartels than any level of law enforcement skill or dedication ever can. 
Much more at Glenn Greenwald's place.

This subject is another of the vital sources of cynicism in the U.S. today. We are so far from being able to even talk with some sense about this issue, much less act on it, that it's hard to not come to thee conclusion that common sense is actually a wrong force in this world, that's how fucked up it is.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

1 in 3 American Vets Sees Iraq, Afghan Wars as Wastes

WASHINGTON (AP) -- One in three U.S. veterans of the post-9/11 military believes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not worth fighting, and a majority think that after 10 years of combat America should be focusing less on foreign affairs and more on its own problems, according to an opinion survey released Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Widget for My CD, "Bottomfeeders"

Buying LT songs just got easier, and only 99 cents a pop.

 My favorite on this is probably "Sigh." Although Bob Evoniuk's National Reso-Phonic guitar on "You Can Use My Bathtub" is something to behold, too.

If you're not with CDBaby, they have links to many more digital music sites, including iTunes and Rhapsody.

Posted Without Comment


Friday, September 16, 2011

Criminals Ask Judge For Help Attacking Victims

The question is, will they get it:
The Metropolitan police are seeking a court order under the Official Secrets Act to make Guardian reporters disclose their confidential sources about the phone-hacking scandal. In an unprecedented legal attack on journalists' sources, Scotland Yard officers claim the act, which has special powers usually aimed at espionage, could have been breached in July when reporters Amelia Hill and Nick Davies revealed the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone. They are demanding source information be handed over.
This is some really sick business. The Guardian exposed these bastards' links to the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, and now they want use espionage law to cripple them. Just horrible.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Peg the One-Footed Cockatoo

Wild, one-footed cocky that comes to visit several times a week, on a chair on the veranda. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Playing "The Shack" on Saturday, September 3

The Shack is a very cool Northern Beaches venue. You're even encouraged to bring your own snacks and drinks:

The bio:

Little Thom sings wickedly funny songs about medical procedures, bikinis, an obscene dog, whiskey, and whether or not life is really all it's cracked up to be. And some other stuff. He has written hundreds of songs in his three-decade-long career, and has released three recordings, the latest of which, Bottomfeeders, contains no hits whatsoever, including the tender, "I Can't Wait (To Do a Tracheotomy)."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Federal Agents Raid Gibson Guitar Co.

It's about the wood they're using, apparently:

Federal agents swooped in on Gibson Guitar Wednesday, raiding factories and offices in Memphis and Nashville, seizing several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. The Feds are keeping mum, but in a statement yesterday Gibson's chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, defended his company's manufacturing policies, accusing the Justice Department of bullying the company. "The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier," he said, suggesting the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to make the company cry uncle.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Email From a Fan in Thailand

Just noticed an email in ye olde email receptacle. I thought it was spam, naturally, but turns out it wasn't:
Dear Little Thom,

Hi. This is Kiattisak from Thailand. I found one of your songs 'Inside Joke' from a podcast of The Word Nerds, and liked it very much. I bought the song from iTunes Store last year, so it's been a while but I can sing along only roughly. May I ask you for its lyrics, please?

Best Wishes,
Kiattisak is in Thailand, singing along with one of my songs, if unintelligibly at the moment, possibly right now. Take that, Bob Dylan!

Oh, wait...

Thank you Kiattisak. (And yes, I sent him the lyrics.)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

8 Deployments, 1 Suicide

Good god in heaven:

A soldier's widow says his fellow Army Rangers wouldn't do anything to help him before he took his own life - after eight deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Army found Staff Sgt. Jared Hagemann's body at a training area of Joint Base Lewis McChord a few weeks ago.
Ashley says her husband Jared tried to come to grips with what he'd seen and done on his eight deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"And there's no way that any God would forgive him - that he was going to hell," says Ashley. "He couldn't live with that any more."
This coming on the heels of the news that that U.S. Army set a record for the most suicides in one month in July. 

Saturday, August 06, 2011

I Miss Michael Hedges

Went to an open mike last night (at the Terrey Hills Tavern). A guy there played Michael Hedges style guitar, and quite well, surprisingly. I saw Hedges two or three times, at the Oregon Country Fair, in the early 1990s. I have never seen anybody glow the way Michael Hedges did when he played. Just unbelievable power, palpable, incandescent joy in his performances. (And when I first saw him I said, "He does this standing up? No way!") Such a rotten loss when he went, in such an awful way.

This is my favorite song of his:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Basement Gig

I played The Basement last night, opening solo set before three local bands. It was all very exciting, and it got my stomach bouncing a few times in the days leading up to the show, but, well, I was great. What can I say? I mean, for me, it's all about getting people wrapped up in a story or a laugh...before they notice how badly I play the guitar and sing. And that ain't easy! But I did it last night, from right out of the gate, and it was a damn good feeling. They liked me. They really liked me.

The Basement is truly a nice place. It's located in Circular Quay, very close the the famous Harbour Bride and Sydney Opera House. For all the hype about it, and everyone I've talked to has heard of the club - it has a bit of legendary status here - it is a very warm and altogether unintimidating room. It seats around 120, at tables, with service, and claims room for another 150 standing, but it's hard to picture than many people in this little space. The stage is small, only a foot high, tables surround it very intimately - you could easily be sitting at a table and be only six feet or so from a performer - there is wood everywhere, there is nowhere in the place where you couldn't see, and feel basically pretty close to, the stage, so, again, it's just a hell of a nice place. It is billed primarily as a jazz club, but they go way outside of that, too. Just a few of the acts that have played there:
Bill Evans
Dizzy Gillespie
Herbie Hancock
Johnny Rawls
Muddy Waters
Kinky Friedman
Ralph McTell
Taj Mahal
Bruce Cockburn
Daniel Lanois
Todd Rungren
Niel Diamond
Loudon Wainwright III

I mean, come on. Herbie Freaking Hancock played here! And Niel Diamond! And Prince! Holy crap! And my own personal hero - Loudon! And now me! Holy even more crap!

And they recorded last night's show, so fingers crossed that that comes out alright.

I took some photos. And the vivacious and whimsical Christine, who came to the show even though she has a bronchial crapitis thing going on - thank you, sweetness - took some photos, too, and some video as well.

This is the green room, as it were. It's full of gear, and the walls and ceiling are lined with posters and signatures and graffiti. (Click to enlarge):

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Vancouver Hockey Riots 2011

Someone was inside with a video camera:

* I can't believe I had hockey "rights" up there for a week. Idiot.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Robin Williamson: "For Mr. Thomas"

"I HOLD your photo to the mirror upside down."

You just do not hear enough about Robin Williamson these days, years. Here's his and his partner Bina's page. That site directs you here to find old albums, including the one this song is from, 1981's Songs of Love and Parting:

Originally released on the Irish Claddagh label in 1981, 'Songs Of Love And Parting' was Robin's first solo album after the amicable demise of the Merry Band. All songs were written by Robin (with a few traditional tunes thrown in for good measure!) and are now regarded by many as his finest compositions.

The album contains the classics 'For Mr Thomas' (a tribute to the Welsh Bard), which was later covered by Van Morrison, 'Fare Thee Well Sweet Mally' and 'Flower Of The Briar'.

"For Mr. Thomas":

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Oh, Seve Has Left Us

I first blogged about Seve Ballesteros being diagnosed with brain cancer shortly after it was reported in October 2008. I've updated those posts several times, and now the story has sadly come to an end.

Seve Ballesteros, the charismatic Spanish golfer who won the Masters twice and the British Open three times and helped propel Europe’s rise in the Ryder Cup competition with the United States, died early Saturday at his home in northern Spain, where his struggle with brain cancer had gained wide attention in the sports world. He was 54.

The story resonated with me for a few reasons: I remembered watching him as a kid with my dad, and how calm and cool and smiling he was—a sportsman who actually deserved his fame; I was playing golf a little at the time the news came out; and, most importantly to myself, my sister Nancy had died of the very same disease four years earlier. She was just 42, and I spent a lot of the eighteen months she lasted after diagnosis with her, and hers and our family, so I actually know a lot more about this particular form of cancer than I'd like.

Anyway, Seve kept a great spirit throughout this, as the times he spoke publicly or sent messages to his fans show, and he lasted much longer than the disease usually allows. And I'm just sad he's gone. Much warmth and condolences to his family and his many, many friends.

So long, Seve Ballesteros.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Atlas Shrugged II

Oh good god this is funny.

From Second City.

"TRAINS!" just might become the new "WOLVERINES!"

Thursday, April 28, 2011

One American on Trump and the "Long Form"

This needs to be watched, carefully, by a really lot of people.

An excerpt:

It was during my viewing of this video [Trump’s remarks in New Hampshire] that I began to cry. I thought of my ancestors, both direct and collective, who had fought and died so that I might be treated as an American. I then thought of this fetid, smug, hate-filled, wealthy white man taking credit for the release and yet still not being satisfied. It does not matter how long we’ve been in these United States. We will never be American.

So, tears in my eyes, pain in my heart and rage in my soul, I composed this video message. More than written text, it comes close to expressing my full pain at witnessing a white man who was handed everything call the President of the United States (and me) a nigger.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Go Ahead and Say It"

It's been years since I posted this song. One of my very favorites.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Is This a Game of *Risk*?

So weird:

At sea, news reports said six NATO warships started patrolling off Libya’s coast Wednesday to enforce a United Nations arms embargo, but Germany, which has opposed military intervention in the Libya crisis, said it was withdrawing four of its ships in the Mediterranean from NATO command. To offset the impact of its action on other NATO allies, Germany said it would send 300 more troops to Afghanistan to help operate surveillance aircraft, German officials said.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Six Ways Fukushima is Not Chernobyl

One list here; my list here:

1. The Chernobyl disaster took place in the Ukraine, in what was then the USSR. The Fukushima disaster is taking place in Japan, a much more densely populated country than the Ukraine.

2. The Fukushima plant's reactors have containment units, Chernobyl's didn't. (If containment units at Fukushima fail, please see "Five Ways Fukushima is Not Chernobyl.")

3. There wasn't a major catastrophe already happening in the region around Chernobyl.

4. Fukushima is on an ocean. Chernobyl wasn't.

5. Everybody already knew long before the Chernobyl accident that the people running the plant there dangerously skirted safety rules.

6. Fukushima starts with "F." Chernobyl starts with "C." Other words that start with "F" include fuckedfuuu-huuuu-ck!FAIL, and four-year-olds.


Monday, March 14, 2011

The Message From Fukushima

News agencies have been bantering about the real message that should be learned from Japan's ailing nuke plants. Here it is: Nuclear energy would be awesome…if there were no such thing as earthquakes. Or tsunamis. Or humans.

Air pressure inside the No.2 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, located 250 kilometres north of Tokyo, rose suddenly when the air flow gauge was accidentally turned off, its operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Japan's Nuclear Plant

I'm just going to say that calling this Japan's Chernobyl has to be overblown. The USSR's nuke plants were nowhere near as safe as plants in Japan (and in many other countries) today.

But, that said, this guy knows a bit more about it than I do:

“The electrical grid is down. The emergency diesel generators have been damaged. The multi-reactor Fukushima atomic power plant is now relying on battery power, which will only last around eight hours. The danger is, the very thermally hot reactor cores at the plant must be continuously cooled for 24 to 48 hours. Without any electricity, the pumps won’t be able to pump water through the hot reactor cores to cool them. Once electricity is lost, the irradiated nuclear fuel could begin to melt down. If the containment systems fail, a catastrophic radioactivity release to the environment could occur.”

Are we supposed to believe that they can't pretty easily get replacement generators in there? Why?


Maddow: Michigan GOP bill would allow takeover of local governments

The sick part about this: they'll still have people who believe them when they call themselves the party of "small government."


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Governor Walker: "In my heart I know I am funny."

I finally found Walker's equal from the movies:

The moment beginning at 5:34 pretty much sums up where Scott Walker is going to be one day. Hopefully one day soon.


Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Proper Way For Americans to Think

Professional political-religious-asshole Mike Huckabee was on a radio show yesterday talking about how African President Obama is, because it's what professional political-religious-assholes do. In the course of the conversation he said this:

. thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American ... his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours

"Ours." Our way of viewing the world, history, liberty, truth - all that jazz. Because, you see, there is only one proper way for YOU, American, to think. And Mike Huckabee knows it. Exceptional.


Friday, February 25, 2011


Every time someone buys one of my songs, someone in hell kicks Mussolini in the nuts. 


Friday, February 18, 2011

Killing Peaceful Protestors in Bahrain

You don't have to watch this—I actually don't recommend it—but news of it has to be seen all over the world. Just suicide-inducing awful.


Joe Klein Thinks "Freedom of Assembly" is Anti-Democratic

Good god, what an idiot:

I mean, Isn't it, well, a bit ironic that the protesters in Madison, blocking the state senate chamber, are chanting "Freedom, Democracy, Union" while trying to prevent a vote?

No, it's not ironic, you clown. It's democracy. It's protest. It's in the constitution for god's sake. And it's protest of a lying governor.

Honestly, Joe Klein has been wriiting about politics for decades. How can he be this dense?


Obama Administration Does Good Thing

Political Carnival:

The Obama administration rescinded most of a federal regulation Friday designed to protect health workers who refuse to provide care they find objectionable on personal or religious grounds.

The Health and Human Services Department eliminated nearly the entire rule put into effect by the administration of President George W. Bush during his final days in office that was widely interpreted as allowing such workers to opt out of a broad range of medical services, such as providing the emergency contraceptive Plan B, treating gay men and lesbians and prescribing birth control to single women.


Milwaukee Archbishop: "Respect the Legitimate Rights of Workers"

Hell yes, Archbishop Listecki:

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki on Wednesday said in a letter to lawmakers that workers should not be "marginalized," in a reference to Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to limit the rights of public employee unions.

He said in the letter there is a "moral obligation each of us has to respect the legitimate rights of workers.”

Go Wisconson workers.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Changing Middle East -> U.S.

Via that other blog:

It just occurred to me: If a good chunk of the Middle East makes a dramatic move toward democracy over the next few months or years, the U.S. is going to have to change dramatically, too.

Just saying.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Good god in heaven just listen to the sound of this first. Close your eyes and listen to the first seven seconds. Listen to the announcer shout the name, and go speechless, and listen to what they mean when they say a crowd "explodes." This is a moment that explains why there is such a thing as "sport."


Thursday, February 03, 2011

My Personal Quest for a New Australian Word

From my American-Aussie blog, Little Australia:
So I'm in a local mall the other day when I asked Christine if we were going to the "newsie," short for newsagent—a shop that sells newspapers, magazines, candies, fishing licenses (so I found out) and assorted sundries.

She looked at me like I had just said something really stupid. In Bulgarian.

"It's a newsagent, it's not a "newsie." She said it just like that, all snotty.

I was sure I'd heard her call it a newsie, and told her so. She insisted I had not.

We go into the not-newsie, and the clerk says the woman who just left had left something behind. I went and found a woman who I thought I'd seen in the shop and asked her, "Were you just in the newsie?" It just slipped out.

She looked at me like I was stupid, and Bulgarian, and said, "Do you mean the newsagent?"

Christine has told anyone who will listen about this minor event, every time while pointing and laughing at yours truly.

Now here's the thing: Australians shorten everything, either by adding an "ie," a "y," or an "o." A fisherman is a "fisho." Chewing gum is "chewie." A mosquito is a "mozzie." A present is a "prezzy." A car registration is a "rego" (soft g, just like in registration). If something is expensive it's "exy." A freaking fireman is a "firie," for god's sake. They shorten, in short, everything.

But not "newsagent." The one Australian word I decide to use on my own, that I take out for a little linguistic test run—no no no no no. Not that one. Wrong.

"If it was going too be shortened," said Christine's sister, Shannon, "it'd be news-o, not news-ie." Everyone agreed with her.

There's a rule, apparently, in Australia, regarding the shortening of words, and whether you shorten it with an "o" or "ie." Everyone, apparently, knows this rule. And so I have been informed that not only did I shorten a word that is one of the only words in the entire English language that is not under any circumstances to be shortened, I shortened it in a way that it would not be done if it were to be done at all. I was wrong, and I was wrong wrongly.

Well, enough is enough.

I will henceforth be using the word "newsie" whenever I approach, enter, mill about in, leave, or just think about a newsagent. I will speak about "newsies" to my friends, to relatives overseas, to strangers that I meet on the street. "Do you know where the nearest newsie is? Is that a good newsie? Does the newsie have chewie? Is the chewie exy at the newsie? Have you ever been spanked in a newsie? I have. Delicious good fun, being spanked in a newsie..."

I will shout "newsie!" into the windows of sleeping children, so as to infiltrate their dreams with this brand new word.

I will hire small airplanes to drag banners through the sky saying, "Get the latest news—at the newsie—you bastards!"

I will write letters to the editor of every newspaper in the country, and I will mention "newsies" in said letters at least fifteen times each, even if it makes no sense at all to do so. I will newsie the freaking newsie out of all the newsiest newsies in newsie-dom.

I will use the word "newsie" so often that Australians will start using the word themselves, thinking that it's a perfectly natural word, that they've been using it all their lives, never knowing that it was me, it was me that planted that word in their minds, in their language, in their country.

This is my personal quest for one simple and perfectly sensible short word: "newsie."

Monday, January 31, 2011

Mohammed's Radio

I hear it louder than ever these days.

You've been up all night listening for his drum

Hoping that the righteous might just might just might just come

I heard the General whisper to his aide-de-camp

"Be watchful for Mohammed's lamp"


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Shooting in the Streets

A tweet from Cairo:

I am hearing more gunfire outside tonight. Neighborhood watch told me last night they shoot sometimes to keep people alert


Friday, January 28, 2011



Good Egypt Twitter feed here, so I've heard.


Obama Can't Back Democratic Forces in Egypt?

The fact that a Dem president cannot just come out and call Mubarak a dictator who should be overthrown is just so incredibly depressing. I understand that Mubarak is "our son-of-a-bitch," but good god, if Dem president can't do this, what hope do we have for any president ever truly promoting democratic government around the world?

None. That's fucking depressing.

Mubarak is speaking now. And saying nothing.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tea Party News Brief

Via Maddow, if this isn't the strangest thing you've ever seen you've eaten way too much acid.


I am too confused to speak. Honestly.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cancer News

The disease that we all know way too well may have just gotten a small kick in the teeth:
British scientists have discovered a "rogue gene" which helps cancer spread around the body and say blocking it with the right kind of drugs could stop many types of the disease in their tracks.

Researchers from the University of East Anglia said their findings could lead within a decade to the development of new medicines to halt a critical late stage of the disease known as metastasis, when cancer cells spread to other parts of the body.

The culprit gene, called WWP2, is an enzymic bonding agent found inside cancer cells, the researchers explained in their study, published in the journal Oncogene Monday.

It attacks and breaks down a naturally-occurring protein in the body which normally prevents cancer cells from spreading.

In tests in the laboratory, the UEA team found that by blocking WWP2, levels of the natural inhibitor protein were boosted and the cancer cells remained dormant.
If there's anything more perfectly sickening and terrifying than how bits of our own bodies can attack us—and travel around to attack us again and again—I don't know what it is. Nor do I want to know.