Happy MyBloodyValentine’s Day


I hate Valentine’s Day. I love Loveless.






Creds: got here in 1962, written for just about everybody, won the Writers Guild Award four times for solo work, sat on the WGAw Board twice, worked on negotiating committees, and was out on the picket lines with my NICK COUNTER SLEEPS WITH THE FISHE$$$ sign. You may have heard my name. I am a Union guy, I am a Guild guy, I am loyal. I fuckin’ LOVE the Guild.

And I voted NO on accepting this deal.

My reasons are good, and they are plentiful; Patric Verrone will be saddened by what I am about to say; long-time friends will shake their heads; but this I say without equivocation…

THEY BEAT US LIKE A YELLOW DOG. IT IS A SHIT DEAL. We finally got a timorous generation that has never had to strike, to get their asses out there, and we had to put up with the usual cowardly spineless babbling horse’s asses who kept mumbling “lessgo bac’ta work” over and over, as if it would make them one iota a better writer. But after months on the line, and them finally bouncing that pus-sucking dipthong Nick Counter, we rushed headlong into a shabby, scabrous, underfed shovelfulla shit clutched to the affections of toss-in-the-towel
summer soldiers trembling before the Awe of the Alliance.

My Guild did what it did in 1988. It trembled and sold us out. It gave away the EXACT co-terminus expiration date with SAG for some bullshit short-line substitute; it got us no more control of our words; it sneak-abandoned the animator and reality beanfield hands before anyone even forced it on them; it made nice so no one would think we were meanies; it let the Alliance play us like the village idiot. The WGAw folded like a Texaco Road Map from back in the day.

And I am ashamed of this Guild, as I was when Shavelson was the prexy, and we wasted our efforts and lost out on technology that we had to strike for THIS time. 17 days of streaming tv!!!????? Geezus, you bleating wimps, why not just turn over your old granny for gang-rape?

You deserve all the opprobrium you get. While this nutty festschrift of demented pleasure at being allowed to go back to work in the rice paddy is filling your cowardly hearts with joy and relief that the grips and the staff at the Ivy and street sweepers won’t be saying nasty shit behind your back, remember this:

You are their bitches. They outslugged you, outthought you, outmaneuvered you; and in the end you ripped off your pants, painted yer asses blue, and said yes sir, may I have another.

Please excuse my temerity. I’m just a sad old man who has fallen among Quislings, Turncoats, Hacks and Cowards.

I must go now to whoops. My gorge has become buoyant.

Respectfully, Yr. Pal, Harlan Ellison

From here.


The Bard Of The Prison Shank

“Prison ain’t so bad. You can make sangria in the terlet. ‘Course it’s shank or be shanked.”

A few minutes ago, while in mid IM conversation with a fellow engineer, I recalled this line from Futurama (the best cartoon of the last 20 years or more). I laughed out loud, and promptly stuck it on my Twitter (a wonderfully pointless web app). The quotation is both informative and pragmatic. It speaks of the life of incarceration as one of harsh conditions, and necessity, but not without it’s simple pleasures. As truth-laden as anything sung by The Man in Black. I don’t mind telling you that my impression of gaol has altered substantially since first hearing Scruffy’s sage words.


It occurs to me that Scruffy hasn’t received the recognition his laconic genius demands. So to part-remedy this I dedicate this post to the noble bard of the prison shanking. Please join with me in saluting Scruffy. Truly a man of the future.


Showing Remorse

camp.jpg When We Torture

After Mr. Hajj was arrested in Afghanistan in December 2001, he was beaten, starved, frozen and subjected to anal searches in public to humiliate him, his lawyers say. The U.S. government initially seems to have confused him with another cameraman, and then offered vague accusations that he had been a financial courier and otherwise assisted extremist groups.

“There is a significant amount of information, both unclassified and classified, which supports continued detention of Sami al-Hajj by U.S. forces,” said Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman, adding that the detainees are humanely treated and “receive exceptional medical care.”

Military officials did acknowledge that Mr. Hajj was not considered a potential suicide bomber and probably would have been released long ago if he had just “come clean” by responding in greater detail to the allegations and showing remorse.

Mr. Hajj’s lawyers contend that he has already responded in great detail to every allegation. One indication that the government doesn’t take its own charges seriously, the lawyers say, is that the U.S. offered Mr. Hajj a deal: immediate freedom if he would spy on Al Jazeera. Mr. Hajj refused.

Most Americans, including myself, originally gave President Bush the benefit of the doubt and assumed that the inmates truly were “the worst of the worst.” But evidence has grown that many are simply the unluckiest of the unluckiest.

Some were aid workers who were kidnapped by armed Afghan groups and sold to the C.I.A. as extremists. One longtime Sudanese aid worker employed by an international charity, Adel Hamad, was just released by the U.S. in December after five years in captivity. A U.S. Army major reviewing his case called it “unconscionable.”

Mr. Hajj began his hunger strike more than a year ago, so twice daily he is strapped down and a tube is wound up his nose and down his throat to his stomach. Sometimes a lubricant is used, and sometimes it isn’t, so his throat and nose have been rubbed raw. Sometimes a tube still bloody from another hunger striker is used, his lawyers say.

“It’s really a regime to make it as painful and difficult as possible,” said one of his lawyers, Zachary Katznelson.

Mr. Hajj cannot bend his knees because of abuse he received soon after his arrest, yet the toilet chair he was prescribed was removed — making it excruciating for him to use the remaining squat toilet. He is allowed a Koran, but his glasses were confiscated so he cannot read it.

All this is inhumane, but also boneheaded. Guantánamo itself does far more damage to American interests than Mr. Hajj could ever do.

To stand against torture and arbitrary detention is not to be squeamish. It is to be civilized.

I don’t know what I find more offensive; the treatment of this accidental captive, or the fact that he would have been released sooner if he had shown some remorse for what he did. But what exactly did he do, apart from being the victim of mistaken identity, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Did they object to his reporting from a stylistic point of view? Are his captors (as well as being barbaric monsters) incredibly demanding aesthetes? Or perhaps he has merely become an inconvenience, a side effect of some failed recruitment drive (it didn’t work out… it never happened… bury the evidence).


Entente Cordiale

Papers reveal Mao’s view of women

There must be a reason why this information is being made public now;

The papers show that Mao’s comments about Chinese women were a recurring theme.

He lamented the dismal state of trade between the two countries but remarked that China had an excess of women.

He suggested sending tens of thousands to the US, but later in the conversation increased his offer to 10 million.

The remark provoked laughter and was clearly meant as a joke, but Mao went on to complain that Chinese women were giving birth to too many children.

If they were sent to the US he said, they would flood the country with disaster.

Mao Zedong; revolutionary, calligrapher, poet, pimp.


The Search Engine Has Been Smoking Old Tennis Shoes

This reminds me of all the bad acid I did in the 60’s. (via metafilter, yo!).


Steve Gerber 1947 – 2008


The co-creator and writer of Howard the Duck died a few days ago. SamuraiFrog has an excellent tribute;

Of course, he’s best known for writing Howard the Duck, and it takes a certain kind of comic book fan (usually an older one) to understand what that means and why it’s a good thing. To anyone who hasn’t read the wonderful comic book, understood its anger and its satire and its disgust over things political and social in the 1970s, it’s just a movie that bombed. Which is wrong. It’s much, much more. Hell, when Marvel started its adults-only Max line, I thought the only reason for it to exist was for Steve Gerber to finally come in and finish Howard the Duck. Which he did. Brilliantly.