Monday, June 26, 2006

Drunk on the lawn in a nuclear dawn/our senses finally blurred...

Man, it's good to see friends.

After a two year stint on another continent, Fearless Reporter has come back to us for a two week visit, and bringing his lovely partner K in tow. The girl has some chutzpah to spend two weeks in the US, willingly, with all of Fearless Reporter's friends.

But man, is it good to see him, to reason with him (which is really us angrily, drunkenly agreeing a lot), to find out what's got him going halfway around the world. And to know that when Knucklehead gets me to Haaretz, we've got an additional stop to make.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Horrific. From the Ap wire:

''It's a number,'' White House press secretary Tony Snow told reporters at the White House.''Any president who goes through a time of war feels very deeply the responsibility for sending men and women into harm's way, feels very deeply the pain that the families feel. This president is no different,'' he said.

It may just be a number to Tony Snow, but this illegal and immoral war we were lied into which was supposed to have extremely low casualties and low cost to my grandkids (ie American taxpayers) has now hit 2500. Why2K, a poem I wrote when we crossed 2,000, seems now increasingly irrelevant.

I know this number doesn't include the numbers the Pentagon doesn't care about, including how many Iraqis have been killed, or tortured, how many servicewomen and men from other countries have died, and how many tens of thousands of young Americans have been severely damaged for the rest of their lives. They go off to war soldiers, the Right's best public opinion stirrers, best PR props, and come back veterans, where their benefits and health benefits get cut repeatedly after serving this country. "They fight them over there" so we don't have to pay their health benefits over here. It's absolutely disgusting.

It's very similar to the pro-life stance, really. When its a fetus, abortion is murder, but once that baby is born, cut public school funding, affordable housing, welfare, and foodstamps, take the opportunities away. When a young person is a soldier, calling for an end to the war is an insult to their bravery; when the person returns a veteran, we insult them by cutting health funding and combat benefits. Once they've served their pr purpose, they are no longer useful and are ignored.

You want to show how much you care about the troops? Demand veteran benefits, health benefits and death benefits be returned to decent levels. Make sure they get the proper equiptment and meals in the field. Because the soldier you wave a flag for today is the veteran you will ignore when they ask for help tomorrow.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Proletarian Funkadelic Parliamentarian

What a show! The Coup, led by Boots Riley, put on an incredible show at the Bowery Ballroom tonight. The only downer was the absense of Boots' musical other half, DJ extraordinaire Pam the Funkstress. We missed ya Pam, but Boots held it down in your absense.

The set was dominated by new tracks from the new album, Pick a Bigger Weapon, which you should go buy right now, not just because I said so, but because they're funky righteous organizers who move masses with their words and beats. Thankfully, Boots sprinkled in a couple teases of old tracks for us fogies who've been down for a minute, but he never does "Gunsmoke" or "Me and Jesus the Pimp in a 79 Granada" the whole way through anymore. I was also surprised he didn't do "Captain Sterling's Little Problem" which is probably my favorite track on the album. Set list coming tomorrow.

In lieu of Pam, Boots is touring with a four piece band (guitar/bass/drums, and backup singer/mc Silk-E). Silk-E is a great presence on stage, girl can sing and spit game! The band was a little choppy in October, but sound tight as hell now. The guitarist is awesome at grabbing the energy when its his time, but laying back in the cut to make the track work. The drummer is just filthy, and the bass ties em all together.

What was really great was to see Boots tonight. I think this was his biggest New York crowd and biggest New York venue, and you could tell he was feeling it. I think Epitaph, along with those of us trying to spread the word, has really done a good job of getting this music heard by new folks, because the crowd all seemed to know the new album, and some of the previous album, Party Music, but not so much the older stuff, like "The Shipment" (off Steal This Album, 1998) and the first verse of "Fat Cats, Bigga Fish" (off Genocide and Juice, 1995).

Good news: they're on a ten week tour, part of it with legendary bass virtuoso Les Claypool. They're probably playing near you. Look here and see.

Oh, and the New Yorkers that foolishly missed this show last night? Well, good news for you. They're at Southpaw in Brooklyn tonight, June 9th. Get there, and see the phatness.

What the hell are you waiting for?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Got Melky?

Okay, so normally this blog is about music, poetry, politics, and occasionally my personal life. But today, I'm going to talk about baseball. Why?

Because after a third of the season has passed me by, I finally made it to the Stadium with the help of Schedule 1. Despite have enough injuries to key players to make most folks think they're done, the Yanks are in first place in the AL East. A lot of current Yankees fans may take this for granted, but after growing up in a time when the Mets were New York's team, and the Yankees went from very good but not good enough to win the division to downright awful in the mid 80s through the early 90s, I relish every game and take no division lead for granted. I love the memories of the late 90s dynasty, but also hunger for number 27.

I will also admit that this Yankees team, at times, has been tough for me to root for. Randy Johnson, Gary Sheffield, Jaret Wright? These folks are Yankees? I'm not as hard on A-Rod as the rest of the world is, in part because I think he has guts when he admitted to going to therapy and really appreciated his giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to a children's psychiatric hospital. And I can't fault him for getting the money the market could bear: if Tom Hicks wasn't making hundreds of millions, he wouldn't have agreed to pay A-Rod 25 million a year. But this team has a different feel to it than teams of old. And the injuries have been piling up: 18's foot, Jeter's hand, A-Rod and Giambi with the flu, Sheffield and Matsui's wrists, Bubba Crosby, Shawn Chacon (who i really like as an addition to the team), Tanyon Sturtze, the list goes on.

But in these injuries, you get to see the character of the team, and during this stretch, the Yanks have been on a tear, and have had their best record of the year, and are now in first place. And some of the younger players, like Andy Philips and Melky Cabrera, have really had a chance to play regularly and shine.

Anyway, we were playing the hated Red Sox today; we beat them yesterday in a laugher 13-5. I was tense about this game; Chien-Ming Wang has been having a bit of a sophomore slump, not as reliable as last year having had starts where he's given up 7, 6 and 5 earned runs, and you know the Red Sox were going to be looking for revenge after yesterday. And in spite of the fact that their rookie starter's era was over 12, I just had a feeling this one wasn't going to be as easy.

We were in the upper deck, out by the foul pole in left... Schedule1 turned to me and said "remember when we used to have the good seats?" but since the Soriano trade, we haven't gone after tickets with the same zeal as we used to. These were good seats, mind you, but they weren't tier box mvp 601, either. There was a medium rain that gave us a little pause as we got close to game time. Stopped by US1 and the Court Deli for appropriate provisions and opened up the umbrella i was smart enough to bring with me just in case of rain. Meet schedule 1, we get to the gate, and we're told our liter water bottles were "too big". WHAT?! Mind you, between Schedule1 and I, regular season and playoffs, I'm sure we've been to over 200 games. And not once were we told we couldn't bring in a liter bottle of water. We were both annoyed. tried talking with the security guy, who just was being a jerk about it. Our choices were drink the water outside the stadium, go back to court deli and exchange for smaller water, or... wait, let's try another gate. we walk about 500 feet, try the next gate, and the guy lets us in no problem. The rain stops, and we dry off our seats and settle in for the game. Hopecakes and SR join us, even though they are wearing the hated colors of the enemy. Ah well, no one is perfect.

The game was old school baseball. Bunting to get on base, base stealing, hit and runs to try and eke something out. As I suspected, Red Sox rookie David Pauley looked much more solid than his first outing showed. Though he really seemed to have trouble pitching to lefties. visably so. i'm hoping i can find a split of how he fared lefty vs righty on pitch counts and what not, because it really was pronounced. Anyway, Wang had a high pitch count early, but was able to get some key outs and battle back when necessary. Red Sox took the lead with a solo shot from David Ortiz, I think that's probably his 20th or something off the Yankees. So here's a question. This mammoth guy, dives across the plate, can muscle just about anything out of the park. He's been hit by a pitch fewer times in the last 3.33 years (8) than Derek Jeter has been hit in any of the full seasons in that period (13, 14, 11). Is there a reason pitchers are not backing him off the plate? I'm not saying throw at him, or aim to injure him, but brush him back off the plate a little bit. It's part of the game. I guess they'd rather try their luck with Ortiz, who's really only come on in the last few years, than with Manny, who's a surefire hall of famer, and despite all his manny being manny bullshit and loafing is one of the best righthanded hitters of this generation.

But Wang kept at it, didn't lose his composure. He actually even brushed Manny back, which brought the crowd to his feet. I muttered to Schedule 1 that I didn't think that was intentional, and he agreed, but we still cheered the kid. And who brought us back into the game but Bernie Williams. The only hold-over from the dark ages still on the team. The guy who we love, but who's skills we've seen slowly leave him... he jacked one out of the park, a solo job, to knot the game at one. The Stadium was kvelling for Bernie. End to end Yankee (hopefully). He's really been hanging in there, and been thrust back into the outfield with three and occasionally four of our outfielders sidelined. Did make a bad error on one single, but it managed to not matter.

What I thought was the craziest play in the outfield was Manny trying to stretch a single into a double, and getting down by Johnny Damon. You know, looks like Jesus, Acts Like Judas, throws like Mary Johnny Damon? The guy every Red Sox fan and his brother would tell me that he's a very slight improvement over Bernie in center, but he throws terribly? Yeah, he gunned down Manny. And believe me, I love good taunting fodder. The Yanks/Red Sox games at the Stadium are usually a pretty mixed crowd, so it gives me a chance to heckle everyone. A chance I relish. :-)

In the bottom of the seventh, the Yanks loaded the bases, and Francona brings in Seanez with to get the last out and slam the door. Up comes Giambi. And while I'm not as mean about A-Rod, I also realize the tear Giambi's had recently, and if I had a choice, I'd face A-Rod instead of giving Giambi a chance to blow it open. Even said this to Schedule 1. So they walked Giambi, forcing in a run, and Seanez strikes out A-Rod. But now we've got a lead, and it's getting close to Mo Time.

But Joe doesn't leave in Wang for one batter, or bring in Proctor to face the right and then bring in Myers to face Ortiz; instead, he brings in Farnsworth to face everyone. I'm not so enthused about this idea, with his ERA around 5. But Farnsworth gets Loretta, he strikes out Ortiz... and then he almost proves me right... almost.

If it wasn't for 21 year old rookie Melky Cabrera making the single best defensive play i've ever seen in person. Ramirez ripped the ball. It was headed for Monument Park. But Melky jumped up, got it, brought it back in and held onto it for the final out of the game. It was absolutely unbelievable. So much so, that not only did I get myself a shirt bearing the title of this post, but I woke up knucklehead and made her watch the catch four times before she konked out again.

Take a look for yourself on the Yankees homepage. Look for links titled "Melky robs Ramirez" and so forth.

Mo comes in in the 9th, and it's time to sing some Sinatra very loudly. Congrats Mo on passing Eckersley to be fourth all time in saves. The best reliever ever.

What a game.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

You could look it up...

in this year's national spelling bee, hechsher and knaidel were both in round 8.

For the record, I don't think I've ever seen those spellings of those words.

Thankfully, they didn't use Hanukkah. Remember, it's not pronounced Chanukah, the C is silent in Hanukka.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Defending New York against all attacks.


ABC has the pdf document of DHS's anti-terrorism funding assessment. National monuments? Zero. Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, three of the nations' most important museums, Penn Station, Grand Central, Yankee Stadium, the Chrysler Building, Wall Street, and no national monuments and icons.

And the other kick in the teeth about this program? NEW ORLEANS ALSO LOSES FUNDING. I mean, come on, you heartless bastards. Haven't we already deserted New Orleans enough?


I'm back, dear readers. my apologies for my two week silence. between work craziness and needing time to recover from it, I didn't have the strength to put in the hours to research and blog articles I think you should know about.

But I'm moved back to action, by people who would lay siege to New York City, in real and virtual senses.

First, the hypocrites in Congress are cutting New York City and New York State's anti-terrorism funding. This, to me, is ridiculous. Not because other cities shouldn't be prepared, but because of the fact that New York City is target numero 1. What makes these cuts even more laughable, is not only did New York City lose 80 million dollars in funding, but that Washington DC (target number 2 in my mind) lost over 30 million dollars of funding as well.

Eric Lipton's piece in the times noted the following:

But the emphasis on spending on recurring costs — like overtime — was cited as a factor in the relatively low rating the city's application received, one federal official said.

New York officials were given a one-page tally that explained, in part, how the region's risk-based standing was calculated. The document said the region had no "national monuments or icons," four banking or financial firms with assets of over $8 billion, 28 chemical or hazardous material sites, as well as nearly 7,000 other possible important, high-risk targets, like hospitals or major office buildings, a tally that some city officials said had major omissions or errors.

"It's outrageous that these bean counters don't think the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge are national monuments or icons," said Jordon Barowitz, a spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg.
Never in my life did I think I would be agreeing with a spokesperson of the Bloomberg administration. Well, except for the bars smoking thing. But these cold, calculating, opportunistic manipulative bastards were using us for every punchline, every rallying cry, every response. Ground Zero. This war came ashore September 11th. Holding the 2004 Republican Convention here. All that nonsense. To then have the audacity to claim that no major monuments are here? Ridiculous. And what, pray tell, was their rationale for cutting DC's funding?

I hope Peter King and Vito Fosella burn for this. It's their party, their leadership, their side of the aisle that's gotten us here. They better do something about it.

Now, as one of my heroes would say, as if all that crap wasn't enough:

Soon to be sent out to a million churches and planned to be available in time for Christmas is a new shooter video game called Left Behind: Eternal Forces. And your mission? Invade New York and kill everyone who represents the AntiChrist there. The Antichrist's army is the Global Community Peacekeepers (a not so thinly veiled reference to UN), ambulances have been stripped of their red crosses and instead have 911 on them, and it is up to you to kill them, along with Catholics, non fundamentalist Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, and of course, gays and lesbians (the dna of which spawned the Antichrist's arrival to earth).

Jonathan Hutson has two great pieces, one on the game, and the second on how Rick Warren, megapastor stealth evangelical extraordinaire, is involved in this game and marketting this culture.

Bodies piling up in the streets of New York, murdering diversity while saying "Praise the Lord" and calling the UN tools of the antichrist?! I'll be damned if I let this stand.

People wrapped themselves in New York City, but they really hate us. Or at least, would rather just use us for our tragedy. Well, I'm here to tell ya, Jim: We won't stand for cuts to our funding, wars in our name, or invaders coming to "save" us.

We see G-d in the diversity and love and fighting spirit of the people of our city, and we'll all be damned before we let you take it from us.