Tuesday, November 29, 2005

New Favorite Sam Photo

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

And keep in mind this photo took forever to load, thanks to the combined incompetence of Yahoo and Photobucket.

As I have said before, the internet will never replace the television or the telephone. And when it comes to looking at pictures, the net will probably never replace the old-fashioned photo album either.

Open Letter to Yahoo Mail

Dear Yahoo Mail:

Fuck you very much,
Brendan Skwire

Monday, November 28, 2005

Li'l Markie

My brother's son Elliott was born on Wednesday, November 26. He's a beautiful baby (although at the same time, Kate Auerhahn is correct: they all look like Gorbachev).

Ray said he wasn't going to be posting as much since the kid was born, but I think being home a lot more has only fed the blogging beast.

Ray has set up a site dedicated to little Elliott. Good photos, but as I've told him, I don't like the narration by Elliott. In my opinion, it's a bit cutesy, and besides if Elliott was really writing, he'd probably write, "Cold. So cold. Hungry. Cold. Where am I? Where the FUCK am I? Hungry. Can't see shit, it's so damn bright. what the fuck is going on? GODDAMNIT, it's noisy!"

Also, it reminds me too much of Li'l Markie. I searched all over for the MP3, and finally found it at WFMU. Scroll down and select "Diary of an Unborn Child". The sequel, "Story of An Alcoholic Father", is also rather good.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Link Wray Died

Net Complaints and New Sam

Before you scroll down to the latest shots, please be aware of how much effort it took to get them here. Yahoo is REALLY making my life difficult for the past two days, refusing to display photos, but allowing me to save them to photobucket anyway.

There is a reason the internet will never replace the television and the telephone as a medium of communication. The television ALWAYS works. The telephone ALWAYS works (even if the power has gone out in the case of phones with cords). Compare to any web browser, from the mentally retarded Internet Explorer (itself a giant leap past the neaderthal netscape) to the infinitely versatile and powerful Firefox, which on a daily basis have trouble accessing accounts, connecting to urls, or just plain not working. When was the last time you turned on your TV and got the message "We're having troyble accessing your account. If the problem persists, please call your local affiliate"? Heck, I'm going to have to copy this ENTIRE post to a word processing file before I post, since it's a toss-up as to whether or not blogger will actually publish.

Anyway, at the moment, I can't even get into my email.
Here are some new Sam photos.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

More to come as yahoo gets back on its feet....

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Open Letter to KYW

I am writing to express my anger with WKYW for participating in the shutdown of Club Kama Sutra, a private club for adults that was harming no one (for the record, I am not a member of Club Kama Sutra).

In the service of titilating your viewers in a naked attempt (pardon the pun) to get higher ratings, you broke a story that pretty much anyone who lives in Philadelphia and reads the City Paper has known about for years (City Paper covered the club in February 2004). Some scoop.

Did your story serve the common good? No: Kama Sutra was a private club, not a brothel. Was it news? No: everyone knew about it. This was a stunt on the part of KYW, just like your decision to have Larry Mendte interview former NBC-10 reporter Sharon Reed while she
was nude
. Unfortunately, this stunt just cost a Philadelphia business owner a lot of money in legal fees, court battles with L&I, and may have shut down a business that was providing revenue to our cash strapped city. Way to go, KYW news team!

It is none of WKYW's business what consenting adults choose to do with other consenting adults within the confines of a private club. Considering all the other problems plaguing Philadelphia (immediately coming to mind are drastic cuts to LIHEAP; the once-again soaring murder rate; another looming SEPTA strike; the Goihman case; the ethics bill; the impact of the Iraq war on the PA national guard; the ease with which terrorists could attack the city's practically unsecured railways and chemical/fuel plants), this story was frivolous and inane.

I'm sure that MANY of your reporters, like all adults, engage in behaviors that harm no one but which they would prefer to keep private. But since you are in the business of exposing the private lives of adults, I encourage you to follow up with an investigative report into the sex habits of reporter Todd Quinones. Is it true that he enjoys wearing diapers and sucking on pacifiers while receiving sexy spankings? I mean, not that he does do that sort of thing, but people are curious.

Inquiring minds want to know about more about the private perversions of the rutting randy reporters at KYW.

Brendan Skwire

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Same but different

[We'll see if blogger will have anythign to do with half of the post.]

I'm a regular visitor to daily Kos, but lately I have been dropping by the conservative Red State as well.

Both have a large audience and many many posters, so many posters that you find yourself filtering which ones are useful and which are just bloviating.

There are some great pieces at both sites occasionally. Kos of course has a great voice and writes well. People at dailykos like Pastordan are OK, Bonddad is good. I love Cindy Sheehan's pieces. At Red State, which i haven't been visiting as long, there's some good stuff by Mike Krempasky, who's not associated with the site so much anymore. I'm sure there are others, but as I say, i'm not as familiar with Red State as I am with kos.

I do know one thing for sure however: both sites are loaded with hysterical bloviaters.

here's one from Red State; you don't have to read it all.

And what to my wondering eyes did appear? In the next paragraph, the Times reports that Senator Lindsey Graham of SC, where I currently reside and where I voted for Graham in the last election, has "negotiated a compromise" on his bill restricting access to US courts by Guantanamo detainees. A compromise? May I ask why the GOP still feels the need to seek a compromise? Especially on the heels of the new rhetoric, so long in coming, from the White House? And just what is this "compromise" to the stance I had only recently applauded Sen. Graham for taking? I'm sorry I asked

...and so on.

Here's one from kos:
I see that Bush has declared war - again. This time he's declared war on those who question his reasons for his first declaration of war - against Iraq. So Bush has moved on - again. No talk about the WMD's , the insurgents, Osma bin Laden anymore. We're on to a new target. That would be those who disagree with any decisions he made in that other war.
Is it just me or have we moved into Alice in Wonderlandville? And, of cousrse, the neocons have gotten themselves first class tickets to this new war and even have their cheerleaders all picked out. The National Review Warriors - nice twist on the name don't you think? Then there's the Rush Rovers - guess who on that team?
I would shake my head at the insanity, but it's been spun clean off over the last 5 years.

Not to put a damper on someone's political advocacy, but it gets to the point where all you want to say is SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP.
Great. You have an opinion. Yup, you sure are outraged. Yup, that's some pretty great outrage you have there. May I interest you and the dorkus from Red State in a steel cage match?

Gah. Off to drinking liberally...

the depression again

I was doing well, but the depression began creeping up last night. I don't even know what it's from at this point. No appetite, don't want to socialize with anyone.

A few weeks ago, I discovered a cat had broken into the house through the basement window and pissed somewhere. I can smell the ammonia, and my allergies are kicking in. I think I know why people kill the damn things.

I should be in a pretty stellar mood these days, but I am again in Shotgun City.

Sam is coming down from Friday the 18 through the 27th, but I am thinking of cancelling the whole thing. It's such a short time, and every time he visits I'm miserable for two weeks afterwards.

Sometimes I just want to call the whole thing off, set up an automatic payment system and forget about the whole thing. How long do you think it would take of no communication for Sam to be out of my head, especially if I didn't have the payment reminder every month? A year? Two years? Five, before he became a distant memory?

This shit simply can't go on like this, it simply can't go on. Sell the house, move to Mexico, start over.

That's not gonna happen. I'm gonna trudge north in a little over a year, and hang around in miserable, tiny, frozen Burlington, while I wait for Melissa to inevitably tell me she's moving with Sam to Toronto, and she hopes that won't be a problem.

Am I being paranoid about that? I guess so, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

No politics?

Blogger doesn't want me to post politics it seems.

My past three political posts have all gotten the response "The blog you were looking for cannot be found."

On the other hand everythign else publishes OK.

Day 3

Day three of The blog you were looking for was not found. The blog you were looking for was not found. The blog you were looking for was not found. The blog you were looking for was not found. The blog you were looking for was not found. The blog you were looking for was not found. The blog you were looking for was not found. The blog you were looking for was not found. The blog you were looking for was not found.
On the other hand, blogger only seems to ject my political posts.
My day 3 post went out ok.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Open Letter to Blogger

Here is a simple, step-by-step description of the past two days.
1. log into blogger.
2. go to dashboard.
3. select "create"
4. begin writing post.
5. publish post
6. message appears "the blog you are searching for does not exist."
6.5. Open new window; ascertain that blog does in fact still exist.
7. go back to blogger, and click back arrow.
8. begin swearing because all my hard work has been erased.

Please fix whatever is causing this. Losing entries sucks. i going to post this problem on my blog today (if blogger lets me) so everyone else will know about this too.
So folks, pardon me if my Boycott Target never appeared. Blogger lost it, because Blogger has a glitch.

Oh and my piece on homebrewing? Also lost, because blogger can't seem to find it's own blogs.

It's really not cool that I have to copy and paste every entry into a word file just in case blogger forgets where its own ass is.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
George W. Bush returns from an afternoon of miming in the park. Observers said the President did a great rendition of "man caught in shrinking box."

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Jimmy Martin

Pictures to be posted later, but here's a thoughtful piece about Jimmy Martin, the King of Bluegrass.

I do not agree entirely with some of the writer's premises, but I have been drinking beers and I'm in condition toa rgue my point.

But I will, later on this week. I promise.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veterans' Day

Here in Philly, we have parades for Thanksgiving, for New Years, and I think even for Easter.

We do not, to the best of my knowledge, have a citywide Veterans' Day Parade, although we do sell cars and furniture in their memory and honor. To me, that's shameful.

My grandfather immigrated here from Switzerland and went back to Europe to fight the Nazis in World War 2.

My Uncle Willy immigrated here from Germany just before the war broke out, and immediately enlisted. He drove a tank. For the first year he was paid less than the rest of his platoon, because "you're just a German." He had to complain to his CO to get what he deserved.

None of my family went to Korea or Vietnam.
My best friend Tim's dad went to Viet Nam.
My ex-girlfriend Melissa Watterworth's dad went to Korea.
In high school, I knew a guy named Ted: his cousin was a homeless vet. He'd lost his mind in Viet Nam, and would stand for hours pushing his hands on telephone poles as if he was trying to prevent them from falling.

So Happy Veterans' Day. Let's rage against those who put our soldiers in harms way for no good reason.

An Open Letter to Joseph Biden (D-MBNA)

Senator Joseph Biden
201 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Biden:

It is my understanding that you have decided to run for president in 2008. As a longstanding member of the Democratic Party, it is my responsibility to tell you that not only will I not support your candidacy, I will give significant contributions of money, time, and get out the vote efforts to anyone who opposes you. I base this decision on two major foundations, although there are several other reasons I could list as well: your foolish vote to authorize Bush to begin a war in Iraq; and your strong support of the Bankruptcy Bill.

You, Mr. Biden, are a man who cannot be trusted to do the right thing. We Democrats want to win in 2008, and you are not the man to bring us there. Every single letter you send me with a business-reply envelope will be returned stuffed with my junk mail. Any calls your campaign staff makes to my house will be dealt with as rudely as possible. If I see your signs in my neighborhood, I will tear them down or otherwise deface them. As soon as you announce your intention to run, I will be reminding my neighbors of your voting history.

Perhaps MBNA can give you enough money to run a campaign, but I doubt you can win an election with only their Board of Directors voting for you (backed, perhaps, by the last four people in America who still believe the war is worthwhile). You will not get one red cent out of me, and I will encourage my neighbors to turn their backs on you as well. On the off-chance that you get the nomination, I will not vote for President at all.

So what do you think of that, Mr. Biden? As someone who plans on voting in 2008, I expect a prompt and full response.


Brendan Skwire

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
[Biden is the grinning bag of shit on the left. The grinning pile of shit on the right is Chuck Hagel. Hat tip to T-Bogg, who is awesome and from whence I lifted the photo.]

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

White Phosphorus Used as a Munition in Fallujah

And while I'm on the subject of Joe Biden, let's keep in mind that he voted for this war, which has produced the following atrocity.

I normally avoid "what he said" blogs, but this is too important.
This is my brother's blog, Philly Bits.

Earlier this week, Italian TV aired a documentary alleging the US Army had used white phosphorus as a munition during the siege of Fallujah, which the DOD promptly denied.

While white phosporus is used to light up the sky during night-time raids, it is banned by the Geneva as a weapon against civilians. It is easy to understand why: it pretty much everything within a tenth of a mile of the explosion. It literally melts the flesh right off the bone, and worse, is very difficult to put out because, like nickel, it reacts to air.

It came out today, at Daily Kos, that the DOD lied: in fact, the Army's own publication, Field Artillery Magazine details the use of white phosphorous on Fallujah, which as we all know was a dense urban area with a largely civilian population.

Click on the photo of the baby, below, to go to Ray's blog which has a lot more information regarding what I believe may be a war crime. I apologize for the graphic picture, but then you might as well see what your tax dollars are paying for in Iraq.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
[Yes, this IS a baby]

Friday, November 04, 2005

Another Letter to Richard Cohen

This is a long one.

After reading Richard Cohen's latest steaming offering, I think I have finally grasped why it is he
is so wrong on so many issues: the man is heavily burdened with denying his complicity in the Iraq mess that he has turned to drugs or alcohol, and possibly both. How else to explain the feverish and incoherent tone of this morning's column, "A War Without Winners", in which Cohen suggests that Bashir Assad, the London-trained ophthamologist who was placed on the throne after his brother Basil, the true heir, died in a car crash, personally assasinated former Lebanese PM Rafiq Harriri.

The dictator there, Bashar Assad, is under great pressure to produce the killer or killers of Rafiq Hariri, a former Lebanese prime minister. Trouble is, some of the culprits might be in Assad's own family -- if not the president himself.

Now, far be it for me to defend a dictatorship like Syria's, but the concept of Bashar Assad sneaking into Beirut unnoticed; detonating a remote controlled bomb; and then sneaking back out of the country unnoticed seem about as unlikely as George Bush personally leading a covert reconnaisance mission in Iraq.

Is the Hariri assasination something Assad could have ordered? Obviously. But to suggest that Assad personally blew up Hariri is ludicrous. But then Mr. Cohen is no stranger to the world of the ludicrous: every day he offers a new fantasy, a new imaginary scenario in which hippos can fly, Ariel Sharon is a folk hero, and Richard Cohen is as blameless as a mewling kitten. Would sir like a little more bourbon
with his Froot Loops?

Mr. Cohen offers a litany of ways the war has gone wrong, all of which the antiwar crowd pointed out were likely THREE YEARS AGO, without ever once referring to his own complicity in hyping the war, which he did EVERY SINGLE DAY until the war began, when he tucked his tail between his legs like the miserable cur he is.

Richard closes with this particular bit of brilliance: "One could almost forgive President Bush for waging war under false or mistaken pretenses had a better, more democratic Middle East come out of it." Oh look, it's almost 9:00 AM, better have a double brandy before heading to the Post.

I will quote extensively from the marvelous digby's Hullabaloo blog, because he/she answers this particularly odious hypothesis far better than I do:

The success of Bush/Iraq depended, with absolute
certainty, that just about everything the neocons
predicted would, in fact actually, happen. An unbiased
study of the full range of opinions and research on
foreign affairs -one not skewed to the right and the
far right, one not skewed towards naive optimism -
would make it abundantly clear that at best, less than
1/3 of the neocons' predictions about the course of
the war could ever possibly come true. That fact,
based on a genuine understanding of
uncertainty,exponentially increased the odds that the
alternative scenario, an unmitigated disaster, would
[Emphasis mine, bfs]

The actual odds of success were closer to
.00000000000000005% than 5%. That was patently obvious
to anyone who was doing research that wasn't

Bush/Iraq should never have been taken seriously,
anymore than Curtis Lemay's suggestion to use nuclear
bombs in Vietnam or during the Missile Crisis should
have been taken seriously. The problem was that not
only did Bush take Wolfowitz seriously. So did the
media and the liberal hawks. Had they been laughed off
the stage - as those opposed to the gutting of Social
Security have laughed Bush off the stage - the chances
of a Bush/Iraq war would have fallen close to zero.

But the idea was taken seriously by people far more
influential than you [people such as Richard Cohen,
. And that gave them the opening to make their
fallacious case. What disturbs me is that you don't
seem to recognize what the mistake was:

Not all arguments are worth the status of intellectual
consideration. Bush/Iraq was one of them, even though
a former John Hopkins professor like Wolfowitz and the
president of the United States thought otherwise.

Bush/Iraq was no more realistic than the arguments for
a UFO behind the Hale/Bopp comet and it should have
been treated accordingly. Again, not recognizing that
immediately was your mistake and that is what you need
to come to grips with. Not the morality of the war,
but the extent to which you and so many of your
colleagues were bamboozled and provided Bush with an
opening to tap into American mythologies.

And that Mr. Cohen is why you need to cap your pen and retire. You helped serve up the lies that got us where we are and now you pretend you have no reponsibility for them. It's not your dad that keeps haunting you: it's the DTs.

Brendan Skwire

Letter to Richard Cohen

Richard Cohen's latest column, an ode to the jolly, cuddly, peace-loving farmer/war criminal Ariel Sharon, is so disgusting, so disingenuous, and so filled with distortions, lies, and whitewash, I find it impossible to actually finish reading it.

Cohen desperately needs to retire: he has been on the wrong side of everything for the past five years at least, and this is no different.

Honestly, I don't know how much further he can sink. I fully expect to open the Post next week and see Cohen defending John Wayne Gacey and extolling the graceful art of child prnography; defending spousal abuse in "certain cases"; and arguing in favor of nun-stabbing.

Richard: it is time to leave the punditry. You certainly have a healthy retirement package from the Post: use it. Go fishing. Hang out with your wife (if she can stand to hear you pontificate). If you must do a column, maybe something about gardening.
Anything but the offensive drivel that you vomit onto your word processor.
Brendan Skwire

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Wisconsin State Quarter

I love the state quarters.
Some, like the Connecticut quarter are works of art.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Others, like the Florida quarter, look like no one really gave a shit when they designed it.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

And then there is the Wisconsin quarter, which brings a smile to my face.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

I see a large man in a plaid shirt riding a cow, carrying a wheel of cheese on his back, thrusting a large cornstalk toward the sky like a lance, and crying "Forward! Forward!" The cow stands there, chewing its cud.

OK, so its been a slow day.

Arctic Wildlife Refuge

For a long time, I have been against drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, for all the well-known reasons: it's our last true wilderness; there's not that much oil; the oil won't be online any time soon, etc.

But I have changed my mind. From recent articles in the New York Times, the AP, and science journals all over the world, the arctic is melting due to global warming. Alaskans are losing their homes as the tundra turns to mud. Caribou migration patterns, if they have not already been affected, will soon change. Animals will die out. As the earth warms, more methane will be released into the atmosphere, worsening the problem. There is, at this point, nothing to be done about it.

So what the fuck is the point of not drilling there? It's already a fucking mess, thanks to political intractibility on the part of the very same oil companies that want to drill there and their bought-out enablers in the Congressand the White House. I mean, if someone's already pissed all over your new carpet, what's the point of getting mad if he wipes his ass on it too? It's ruined either way.

So go ahead America, go ahead Republicans! Fulfill your dreams of squeezing just a couple more bucks out of an industry that grows more obsolete by the day. Fuckers.

Comedy Gold

How Bush Visit Became the Siege of Howard U.

It was Soul Food Thursday at Howard University last week, and many students were looking forward to their favorite meal: fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens and cornbread. At lunchtime, however, students discovered that much of the campus had been locked down and that the school's cafeteria was off limits.

Apparently, many of them did not know that President Bush and first lady Laura Bush had arrived for a "youth summit" at the Blackburn Center, where the dining hall is located. Stomachs began to growl, tempers flared, and, eventually, a student protest ensued....

During the protest, dozens of students locked arms around a flagpole in the Quadrangle, a designated forbidden zone at the center of the campus, and refused to move despite warnings from campus security that Secret Service rooftop snipers might open fire on them...

What might have been a public relations coup for Bush -- a visit to a historically black college to show concern for at-risk youths -- ended up as another Katrina-like moment, with the president appearing spaced-out, waving and smiling for television cameras while students were trying to break through campus security to get to the cordoned-off cafeteria...

The Republican Party is trying hard to win over black voters before the midterm elections, and Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele needs the support of black Democrats in his bid to become the first black Republican in the U.S. Senate since Howard alumnus Edward Brooke of Massachusetts (1967-1979). So one thing Bush didn't want was a ruckus during a visit to Howard.

All he had to do was drop in on Soul Food Thursday, be seen sharing a wing and some collard greens with students -- and score one for the GOP.

But the visit went from bad to worse. On a day when the U.S. Senate passed a resolution paying tribute to civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who died last week, campus security guards were telling students that if they wanted to eat they'd have to come back when the president and first lady were gone, then go to a service door at the rear of the dining hall and ask for a chicken plate to go. Never mind that a student meal plan at Howard can cost as much as $2,500 a semester.

Howard is not some hotbed of political activism....

To set off a student protest at this school, you'd have to be politically tone-deaf in the extreme, out of touch and flying blind. And yet, Bush did it.

God help us in Iraq.

Mr. Milloy,

As someone who loathes Mr. Bush, may I just compliment you on writing one of the most hilarious pieces I have read in a long time, and I say this at the expense of Mr. Bush and his hamhanded moves to make nice to African Americans.

Mr. Bush has become little more than a hapless muppet. The image of him waving and smiling like the empty suit he is as Secret Service members threaten to shoot students is like something out of Vonnegut. The relegation to the service door for take out food is OVER THE TOP: Howard University, the historically black college, sending its students to the back of the bus. "The president appearing spaced-out, waving and smiling for television cameras..." Brings a whole new meaning to Whitey's on the Moon, doesn't it?

Could you please email Fred Hiatt at your paper's editorial page and tell him to stop defending Mr. Bush? Could you explain to him that, no really, nobody likes the man anymore, stop licking his shoes?

I am going to forward your piece to everyone I know.
Thanks a million.

Brendan Skwire