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Contrary to popular belief, I am in fact still around. Just haven’t been posting much lately. Expect that to change as the presidential campaign heats up!
Fed up with the astroturf-funding multibillionaire Koch Brothers? Check this out:
I’ve always viewed New York as the classic “nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there”…but part of me wants to move there just so I could vote for Anthony Weiner in the 2012 election:
Okay, yeah, once again I’ve been terribly negligent about updating this blog. Frankly, I had hoped that the need for this blog would go away after the shrub left office. I thought I’d feel better about things once the grown-ups were back in charge.
But where to start?
Dick Cheney’s All-Torture, All-The Time Tour?
The Obama White House’s insistence that we just accept that we don’t torture anymore so we should just move forward?
The whole same-sex marriage issue?
The screams of “Socialism!” from the far right in response to just about everything that Obama proposes?
The murder of Dr. Tiller?
So many things worthy of comment, I hardly know where to begin…
Okay, I’d written this whole thing about how the wingnuts who want to teabag the White House really ought to consult UrbanDictionary.com before they embarrass themselves further, and pointing out the logical failings behind this supposed grass-roots protest, but really, David Shuster did a much better job last night on Countdown, so I’ll just let him say it:
Over at Huffington Post, John Cusack has a very nice blog post, told almost entirely in video clips, about the need for war crimes trials against Bush administration officials who participated in decisions to torture prisoners. Check it out.
Note: title changed because the blog post cited is not so much something to read as it is something to watch and think about…
No, wait. Stop laughing.
Yes, I really did go to a gun show. No, I was not forced at gunpoint by someone else.
See, here’s the thing: I’ve been wanting to get some pictures of guns for a painting I’m thinking about. Sure, I could go to Google images for photos, but (a) that’s taking someone else’s work and (b) one can’t be assured of finding exactly what one wants that way.
Anyway, I was driving down one of the main streets in town here yesterday when I saw a sign for a gun show.
So I went in.
Well, no. That’s not exactly true. First I did a quick wardrobe check to make sure I wasn’t wearing anything that would get me shot in such a venue. I wear a lot of snarky t-shirts when I’m not trying to dress like a grown-up, and some of them are pretty political (I know, what are the odds?) and would not go over well with the gun show crowd. But as luck would have it, I was wearing an over-sized denim shirt, which I figured would be unobjectionable. If I were anywhere but Colorado, my Birkenstocks might have been a problem, but here, even some Republicans wear them – though most Republicans don’t, to my knowledge, wear blue toenail polish…
I decided that I was probably safe.
It was…how shall I say this…interesting. From, kind of, a sociological perspective, I guess.
You know that 28% that still apparently approves of George Bush, no matter what he does? Well, I found them. They’re all at gun shows, apparently. And they all loves them some John McCain, too:
I do not like guns. Guns were intended for one purpose: killing someone or something. This is something that makes me exceedingly uncomfortable.
I do not own a gun, though for several years I was in possession of one that was foisted on me by my father when my parents left Los Angeles to move to Colorado. They moved away about one year after the 1992 riots, and my dad didn’t like leaving his little girl unprotected in the big city. I accepted the gun from him because it increased his peace of mind, knowing that I had it. It stayed at the back of the top shelf of my closet, behind lots of other stuff, for the entire time I had it, so I wouldn’t have to look at it. When I left California, I gave the gun back to my dad, and I am happy to say that I have no idea what he did with it after that.
Guns creep me out.
So you can probably imagine how I felt as I wandered around the gun show, trying not to look like a liberal.
It was a little weird.
Of course, everyone wanted to sell me a gun. Or ammo. Or various army-surplus paraphenalia, like ammo cans and MREs. Or medals or ribbons or badges from some war or another. Some with Nazi insignia. Really.
Obviously, I couldn’t just wander around the place taking pictures, even though that was what I desperately wanted to do. I think the, um, merchants would have rustled me out the doors right quick if I had done so, and I doubt my camera would have survived the experience.
After wandering around the floor once, I decided to go with the honest approach.
“Um, hi, I’m an artist, and I’m trying to get some pictures of some guns for a painting I want to do. Do you mind if I take pictures of your display?”
This was met with one of three responses:
- “Yes, absolutely. Go right ahead.” Sometimes followed by, “Do you need to see different angles of the gun(s)?” or “Is there a particular type of gun you want a picture of?” These were the people who were gun enthusiasts. They were all about the second amendment, they were proud of their collections, and they were happy to have someone take an interest in the craftmanship of the different styles of guns.
- “Um, I guess that would be okay. Just of the guns? But, please not of the people looking at the displays or anything.” Okay, I could respect that – and did. They didn’t know who I was, or what sort of art I was talking about, after all, and certainly I could understand their concern that their customers might not be wild about being photographed looking at weapons. Plus, of course, someone taking pictures at a gun show looks out of place. This is not a place where cameras are much in evidence. So, I kept it low key.
- “No, I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to take pictures in here. I think that’s the rules of the convention place.” Really? I didn’t see any signs to that effect. And hey, why do all your guns have tags that say Not Legal in California, anyway?
Anyway, I took pictures where I could, and, as they say, got the hell out of Dodge.
But not before an earnest man in his mid-forties pressed an “Obama and the 2nd Amendment” flyer and a McCain/Palin sticker into my hands. “Really,” he said, “Make sure you read this. It’s important.”
I tossed the flyer. Second amendment concerns are WAY far down on my list of worries when it comes to presidential candidates, frankly.
But I’m still trying to come up with a good use for the McCain/Palin ’08 sticker….
I’ve been working on a post about our potential next VP, but in the mean time, there’s this:
Zack de la Rocha and the rest of the boys from Rage Against the Machine give an impromptu, a cappella performance in St. Paul. There is something inspiring about getting a big crowd of people to chant in unison, “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!” (h/t to Crooks and Liars for the video clip)
Everywhere you looked on Monday, someone was trying to sell you something with Barack Obama’s name or picture on it.
One of my favorites (as I noted in one of my posts on Monday) was the guy who was selling Barack Obama watches “guaranteed to be more accurate than George Bush.” I pointed out to the guy selling them that this was hardly difficult, as even a stopped watch is right two times a day, which would still be more accurate than our beloved alleged president. He just kind of looked at me funny.
Besides the usual junk one would expect at this sort of event, I saw the following items offered for sale:
A Barack Obama action figure:
Obama in a Bottle:
And Obama or Denver shot glasses, beer steins, mouse pads, towels, bottle openers, keyrings, and/or plush donkeys:
I have a fondness for the ridiculous, so naturally I couldn’t resist picking up a few things that struck me as truly silly:
The Obama breath mints were nice…
But I have to admit I like the playing cards better. Both the aces and kings show Obama:
The rest of the cards show other people, including politicians:
…news (and fake news) people:
…and of course, these two jokers:
Before you ask: no, I didn’t buy one of those famously accurate Obama watches. I stopped wearing a watch when I left my old law firm and no longer had to justify my existence in six-minute increments.
I did, however, buy one of those plush donkeys with a Denver 2008 t-shirt on it, though. But it was a gift. For my baby nephew. And if he’s a very good little boy, he might even get to play with it some day.
…because the police were doing everything they could to keep the protesters away from the people the protesters wanted to communicate their opinions to.
It was not for lack of trying on my part. Over the course of the day, I basically walked a grid through the downtown area near the Pepsi Center and the Convention Center. But I didn’t see any large groups of protesters at all.
I saw a few people who looked like they planned to take part in some sort of protest. These people were mostly wearing Birkenstocks or Chuck Taylors, snarky political t-shirts, and backpacks, and spent a lot of time shaking their heads (in disgust, I assume) at all the police in riot gear everywhere you looked.
Actually, that’s also probably a pretty good description of how I looked yesterday.
Maybe they were all bloggers…though now that I think about it, aren’t political bloggers often protesting various government actions?
I did see a few small groups attempting to protest. First, a few women who were apparently in Code Pink, looking like they were waiting for a few more of their friends before getting started:
There were the die-hard Hillary supporters who apparently were hoping for some sort of coup at the convention:
Then, of course, there were the people who claimed to be disaffected Hillary supporters planning to vote for McCain:
But I’m always a sucker for the religious nutcases who insist that I am going to burn in hell for being a liberal:
They protest, as is their first amendment right. I mock them, as is my first amendment right.
Just got back from seeing War, Inc. for a second time. It finally opened in a city that was less than a day’s drive from Redstatesville, so this evening I grabbed a friend who I knew wanted to see it and off we went.
I liked the movie the first time I saw it (my original review of it can be read here), but if anything, it was actually better on the second viewing. For one thing, I could watch for the things that went by too quickly to really catch the first time through. But there were also some more subtle nuances that I just missed the first time I saw it. Scenes that brought up memories of other movies (or specific styles/types of movies) I’ve seen over the years, which added new layers to the film. It makes me wonder what else I’ll see the next time I watch it.
Nearly as entertaining as watching the film a second time was watching the way my friend reacted to it. The friend in question is…well, he’s an interesting guy, one with an…interesting past (about which I know only a little, though I probably know more than most) and some…interesting friends. Let’s just say that he probably identified a little too well with one of the characters in the movie (I’m not saying which one), and leave it at that. At any rate, there were several points during the film where I thought he was going to fall out of his chair from laughing so hard, and he spent most of the drive back to Redstatesville raving about what a great movie it was and speculating on where he might be able to pick up one of the movie posters to frame and hang in his apartment.
I’m not entirely sure whether I should be amused or disturbed by my friend’s reaction. He occasionally reads this blog, though – or says he does, anyway – so I think that’s all I will say on the topic of his reaction to the film.
As for you, my dear non-existent readers, do try to catch this movie if it is showing anywhere within a reasonable driving distance from where you live.
It’s late here in Redstatesville, and I’m tired, so I think I’ll end here.
Update: I made a minor, non-substantive change to the wording. Sorry for the repeat post, RSS readers.