Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Some newses

First on the agenda, apparently a pediatrician at a medical office called Christian Medical Services in Bakersfield, CA, has refused to treat a young child because her mother had a tattoo*. I guess I'm screwed if I ever find myself desperately in need of care while in Bakersfield with only this guy around. Also I guess he's a terrible person who should be mauled to death by zombie Hippocrates.

Also, remember a few weeks ago when I discussed the situation in Sri Lanka? Apparently today saw the attacking by the Tamil Tigers of a helicopter containing diplomats from the US, Germany, and Italy. The Tigers have apologized, blaming the Sri Lankan government for placing the diplomats in harm's way. Seriously. I'm not sure if I think they have a good point or if I think they're just less ballsy than other terrorists who are up and shouting about all the ridiculous shit they've pulled within minutes of pulling it.

Speaking of whom and which, the Taliban have taken credit for a suicide bombing in Afghanistan that had Cheney as the target. Cheney was completely unhurt, but several soldiers were killed. I sense an allegory here.

*Linked to by Pharyngula

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Holy shit.

Sasquatch 2007 lineup announced.

Björk is going to be there.


Saturday, February 17, 2007


This post is about metal bands.

Two bands that I enjoy more and more every time I listen to them, yet often forget about almost completely for months at a time, are Megadeth and Angra. This is, however, one of the few things the two bands have in common.

Megadeth are the oft-overlooked counterpart to Metallica as far as iconic bands of the bay area thrash scene in the 80s. For some reason, Metallica were the ones who got all the notoriety in the long run. But the fact is, I can't think of many standards by which Metallica are anywhere near as good a band as Megadeth. Now, this is not to say that it surprises me that Metallica are the more noticed band despite being the lesser; indeed, such things are quite predictable as far as music, or pretty much anything else goes. It's just a statement of fact: Megadeth could kick Metallica's ass on just about any matter, with the exception of average song length.
One of the reasons I think I enjoy Megadeth so much is, believe it or not, the vocals. Dave Mustaine is renowned for not being a very good singer, and many are put off by him. But! for me, singers like Mustaine make a positive point to me: even I could be a singer in a metal band*. Also, Mustaine is one of the few vocalists in metal -- or really, at all -- whose lyrics catch my attention and interest me. Clever, occasionally punny, and more than your average "kill die rock" of thrash lyrics.

Angra are a band I've known about for years, but only come to truly appreciate with time**. They are, by all means, one of the smoothest power metal bands I've ever enjoyed. Their sound is intricate and innovative, and their music always leaves you feeling good. They are at once mellow and rocking, and have gotten steadily better at being so over the years. They blend modern and classic metal and rock sounds as masterfully as any band I've ever heard.

*The same goes for Kai Hansen of Helloween/Gamma Ray, Matti of Skepticism, and Geddy Lee of Rush. It should be noted, however, that Dani Filth's vocals give me no such consolation because I just hate him and his stupid band.
**This is always a sign to me that a band is truly good. I tend to have much more respect for aquired musical tastes than music that is immediately good, as the latter's appeal doesn't usually last as long.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Brief Defense

Many people just regard Valentine's Day as a bullshit holidy created by greedy greeting card moguls, or as a pounding into our heads of the reasons we should be in monogamous relationships and aren't right in the head if we don't engage in romantic love. These are valid arguments, but I would like to celebrate the day by playing devil's advocate a little.

Regarding the first point, as far as evil corporate industries go, I can't really think of a more benign one than the greeting card industry. They just want people with no creativity to be able to show their love! I mean, it's true that much worse industries (ie diamonds) have gotten on board, but as terrible as they are no one accuses them of thinking up holidays just to make more money. Let Hallmark have its day, I think we'll still be able to make it through as a society.

As far as the idea that Valentine's Day enforces the need for validation through romantic relationships, I think that it is not necessary to treat the holidy as such. Personally -- and I'm sure this is the case for most of you as well -- I grew up being expected to give valentines to everyone, for example, in my class. This is a pretty awesome message: you should love everyone. If you focus more love on your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/civil partner, that's ok, but the idea remains the same: a day to show your love. If you think of the day that way (and don't use it as an excuse to withhold love on other days), it ends up looking like a pretty bitchin' holiday, says I.


Monday, February 12, 2007


Banjos are probably my favorite instrument right now. I can't stop listening to them. It makes me want to play one. I love how strongly they can emote. Here are some youtubes of banjo playing that have been making me feel assorted things.

Steve Martin in the 70s (this one made me cry a little actually)
The Dubliners play "Farewell to Carlingford" (one of my favorite singers who also plays the banjo, Luke Kelly, and one of my favorite banjo players, Barney McKenna)
Earl Scruggs and other banjo players(FIVE BANJOS! Also more Steve Martin)

They help me deal with stress.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Dirtiest Thing Is Your Soul

Florida theater advertises "The Hoohaa Monologues"

Where do these people come from? How do they survive and reproduce? Why do people pay attention to them?

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Sunday, February 04, 2007


Today was the 59th anniversary of the creation of the sovereign state of Sri Lanka, known previously as Ceylon under British colonial rule. Today, like most other days in Sri Lanka, there is much in the news of those who seek to form another sovereign state on the South Asian island. "Those" would be the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who seek to create the state of Tamil Eelam in the Sri Lankan north to be a homeland for the native Tamil language group, seperate from the Sri Lankan Sinhalese language group. There are of course a number of ways to see this struggle -- as an instance of an Indo-Aryan language group oppressing a Dravidian group, as violent renegades creating terror, as just another far-off dispute out of western reckoning -- but in any case I'd like to think that on American independence day we would have thoughts on struggles for freedom on our own soil, so I feel that it is prudent to give the story of the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankans a little air today.*

Not too far from East India, in the People's Republic of China, it was the 55th birthday of Li Yinhe, a sociologist and sexologist who devotes much study to the sexual norms of the nation, a topic with just as much resonance in our own American home front. And while we are back on these familiar shores, it was also both the 1st anniversary of the death of, and the would-be 86th birthday of second-wave American feminist Betty Friedan, who studied gender roles in our own society decades ago.

And here in Bellingham, it was the 22nd birthday of your noble blogger Mike. I celebrated by pondering social issues abroad and at home, and by being with some of my very favorite people in the world. Today was a very good birthday, and perhaps will even go down with the previously mentioned historical events as a revolution, a triumph of good times over the oppression of bummed-outness and the formation of the new state of 22 Year Old Mike-istan.

*The 4th of February has actually been historically a prolific day for revolutions, reform movements, and the like. In 1861, six states first formed the Confederate States of America. In 1969, Yasser Arafat first took the reigns of the PLO. The SLA kidnapped Paty Hearst in 1974. Hugo Chavez staged a coup d'etat in Venezuala in 1992, and was elected president of the nation exactly seven years later. And, in 2000, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia became Serbia and Montenegro, a country that would be further revised in identity six years later (though for once not on this day) as the seperate states of Serbia and Montenegro.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

1944-2007; 62 Years of Hell have been Risen

Rest in peace Molly Ivins.

"... All of us civil libertarians, of course, are obliged, solemnly obliged to defend the right of any nincompoop to stand up and spew whatever vicious drivel he wants to."

"Have a good time while you're fighting for freedom. First of all, we don't always win and it might be the only fun you'll ever have. And second of all, it's a better way to live."