Monday, October 30, 2006

Endorsements and Predictions--or--Brouhaha 2006

by Escutcheon Blot

Reading from afar, as I am wont to do on a daily basis, I have formulated a useful list of endorsements in the various gubernatorial, senatorial, and house-of-representativatorial races next Tuesday, November 7th. Bear in mind I have not seen one commercial, and only know what I can read online(I have no patience for videos). This is by no means an exhaustive, or even informed, list. I expect it, however, to be obeyed.

My first endorsement is for the opponents of all former professional football players:

Lynn Swann (R)-a lightweight bit of obvious tokenism. Ed Rendell is no treat, but Swann is running because he's famous, and the Republican party gave him a pass in the primaries because he was black, and the Steelers had just won the Super Bowl.

Heath Shuler (D)-one of the worst ever quarterbacks this lifelong 'Skins fan had to endure(and we've had lots to endure lately--to hell with firing the coach--let's fire that damn Boy Wonder of an owner!).

and for the noble amateur:

George Allen (R) and James Webb (R-D-whatever)-both (if I recall correctly) race-baiting college players. One is a dumb jerk, the other is a mean jerk. There is an independent in the race who could, by endorsing one of them, ensure the election of the other (her idea: massive new spending on light rail in one of the stingiest states in the union).

Lightweight sons of famous (and often better) fathers. NB: there are no Bushes or Kennedys on this list.

Tom Kean, Jr (R)-nice guy, bit dim, jumped with unseemly haste on the NJSC gay marriage decision. I am sick of the use of gays as punching bags by both parties.

Bob Casey, Jr (D)-a pro-life son of a famously pro-life father who has assured his fellow Pennsylvania Democrats that although he's pro-life, he doesn't really mean it. Professional politician who seems to run for office for lack of anything better to do. Unqualified.

Lincoln Chaffee (R)-unlikeable little nitwit. (Oh yeah, and Carter's son out in Nevada, can't remember his name.)

Self-Righteous Church Boys

Harold Ford (D)-does commercials in front of church pews, apologizes for liking Jesus. Rants against gays like a Trent Lott(vote against him too). Oh yes...thinks that a nuclear Australia is grave risk to national security.

Rick Santorum (R)-certainly better prepared than his opponent, but a little too Falwellesque with his direct line to God. Does get on Hillary's nerves, though(vote against her too).

Ted Strickland (D) and Ken Blackwell (R)-more of same from above.


Bob Corker (R)-should have spoken up loudly and clearly against stupid(if not actually racist)Playboy Bunny ad. To be fair, any ad on that topic would have been construed by some Vanderbilt academic as racist.

Ben Cardin (D)-has let his colleagues, his own campaign employees and his party use outrageous racial innuendo against the only really promising senate candidate in the country. Also clueless career politician; twenty years in Washington is sufficient.

William McKinley complexes.

John Hostettler (R)-who seems to think that it is 1896 and he can run a porch front campaign. I am not a fan of the unseemly lust of the professional politician after his sinecure, but the Hon. Mr. Hostettler shows a little too much noblesse oblige in his re-election attempt. Also another gay-baiting church boy.

Special cases.

Ned Lamont (D)-one Paris Hilton in the Senate is enough. Jay Rockefeller doesn't need the competition.

Robert Menendez (D)-Corrupt Jersey Political Machine Boss.

Ted Kennedy (D)-aside from Chappaquidick, he's now a known Cold-War-Quisling. Andropov in televised debates with Ronald Reagan? Please...dumb too. And an environmentally-threatening largeness of face.

Robert Byrd (D-KKK)-how long does the Senate need a conscience, anyway? Isn't that sort of thing an anachronism?

Nancy Pelosi (D)-wants to put the gavel of the House "in the hands of America's children". No thank you Helen Lovejoy.

Tan Nguyen (R)-a naturalized immigrant himself, countenanced an outrageous attempt to disenfranchise legitimate voters, other foreign-born citizens like himself.

Loretta Sanchez (D)-above's opponent. Won first House race against B-1 Bob Dornan on the strength of illegal immigrant voting(an unproven allegation I am repeating anyway). One is just as bad as the other.

That is the list of my negative endorsements. The list of positive ones is lamentably, far shorter. I am not sure whether this reflects the paucity of honorable characters in politics, or my own misanthropy.

Michael Steele (R-A in scarlet)-(see above) could be a truly great Senator. Also--despite obvious tokenism in the Pennsylvania race--it is not healthy for a multi-racial nation to have one race a seemingly wholly-owned subsidiary of one political party.

Joseph Lieberman (I-D, we'll see)-another obnoxious church(temple)-boy, but seems to realize that the War on Terror is truly about our continued existence. His trust-fund opponent appears not to think it likely.

Conrad Burns (R-cattle caller)-precisely because he is an unlikeable jerk. The Senate needs one. Just one, though. Vote against any of the others I have forgotten.

Nancy Johnson (R)-the only race which actually means anything to me personally. I have met and spoken at length with the Connecticut congresswoman, and found her not only sympathetic, but an enthusiastic booster of the arts, not only officially, but personally(and intelligently--unlike so many dimwit political poseurs--nicely skewered by Camille Paglia recently and regularly).

And finally, for the sake of Euphony, and in consideration of the Reverend Jackson's declining years:

Chris Choccola (R) and Kathleen Harris (R)- for where would Jesse be without being able to rant about 'Draccola and Choccola'?

By my count that leaves the Senate (assuming all other races follow poll predictions) at:

Republicans: 55
Democrats: 39
Independent/Socialist/Will vote with Dems: 2
Vacant: 4

On second thought, vote against a few more Republicans. They shouldn't keep a 55 seat majority after the supercilious demagoguery and lard-lined appropriations of the last few years. I'd like to see the vacant seats hold the balance of power.

Perhaps they could be filled by a new reality show on Fox, American Super-Senator. Just as long as Clay Aiken doesn't get in.

But seriously, remember that not voting is also a vote...against the entire system. This is a point that people forget when politicians are constantly urging them to participate, as they (the pols) have no legitimacy otherwise. An election where only a minority of voters participate isn't truly valid in a democracy. Fortunately, we have a republic. Ha.

Yours in disgruntlement and disaffection,

Escutcheon Blot

P.S. my actual predictions:

Senate: R-52, D-46, I/D-1, S-1 (I think either MD, MT, or NJ will surprise)

House: No idea who will have the nominal majority, but it will be too small to be workable. Hastert will not be speaker.

Governors : Clear Democrat majority--first time since 1994.

Of course there will be some unsurprising November surprise which will then make all of these predictions invalid.

You will visit the Vampire Blog-a-Than at the Film Experience Blog

... it has a lot of stuff, including Edward Copeland's Fright Night post.

Activity planned for Liverputty this week

In case you don't check The House Next Door - you should. It's got lots of great stuff and is usually hopping throughout the week. Today, I posted a profile of Kharis over there which falls in line with my Peter Cushing posts from last year. Be sure to pay it a visit and drop your two cents on what Kharis means to you or relate the first time that you crapped your pants at the site of the mummy.

As for this site: we've got a few posts lined up for this week. First, Escutcheon Blot boldly looks into the tea leaves of his own bias to predict the outcome of the 2006 elections. Then Wagstaff will talk about Halloween costumes. And, if that's not enough, Charles Parsley discusses Steve Reeves and the Italian Sword and Sandal flicks from the 50s and 60s.

So there are lots of reasons to check in this week.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Enchantment of the Seas

She was nine hundred plus feet and had a water displacement too large to comprehend. I'm not sure how many tons she was (the stat sheet isn't in front of me) but I imagine most of it was in the form of various foods and tropical drinks and, perhaps, porters, waiters and servants. Once a week she makes the rounds: depart from Ft. Lauderdale on Monday and arrive to Key West on Tuesday. From there to Cozumel on Wednesday. Open sea day was Thursday. On Friday she sits off Cococay in the Bahamas, (which is under the dominion of Royal Caribbean). Pulling out of Cococay, the Enchantment goes in circles before returning back to Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday.

Royal Caribbean has hired a small army of retired Henny Youngmans to greet guests at the airport, joke with them and get them on the shuttles to the ship. To board the ship, you go through some security, get an ID/Charge Card which is used to pay for everything that isn't free onboard and to exit from or return to the ship. From there, you are free to roam the floating extravaganza at will. Though the Windjammer buffet should not be ignored. As everyone says about cruises, they are floating buffets. I ate my weight in smoked salmon.

After looking over the activities at all the ports, Toe was exited about the dolphin interaction swim where she would be introduced to her new wet friend for an entire afternoon. That was in Cozumel. By the time we got there, we opted for the horseback riding instead.

Key West was mostly spent shopping around and walking around the historic sites. The ship didn't stay long there.

In Cozumel, as mentioned above, Toe and I met our new equine friends for a tour of some Mayan ruins in the jungle. After a hot ride and cold drink, we ran the gauntlet of pushy Mexican merchants. We bought a few souvenirs, we returned to the ship.

Onboard the Enchantment we went to a wine tasting, took some dance and piano lessons, saw some shows, drank various brightly colored beverages, etc. etc. We were paired with two couples (both newlyweds) for supper. By coincidence, both guys were nurses and both ladies were dental hygienists and all four were from the same area of Florida. All of which led to some medically graphic dinner conversations.

At Cococay we pretty much messed around the beach. There was a bit of shopping there and a buffet out on the beach which wasn't particularly appetizing - but it was a lovely island. They were all lovely islands. And the boat was an adult oriented magic kingdom.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Wagstaff's lumber room #2

From Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim, Marlow speaking:

There are times when a man must act as though life were equally sweet in any company. I've known such a time, and, what's more, I shan't now pretend to pull a long face over my necessity, because a good many of that bad company from want of moral -- moral -- what shall I say? -- posture, or from some other equally profound cause, were twice as instructive and twenty times more amusing than the usual respectable thief of commerce you fellows ask to sit at your table without any real necessity -- from habit, from cowardice, from good-nature, from a hundred sneaking and inadequate reasons.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Rope to Hang Them

by Escutcheon Blot

The recent furor over the intemperate, to say the least, speech of sulfuric-smelling Hugo Chavez at the UN and his fellow demagogue, Ahmadenijad's invitation to speak at the Counsel on Foreign Relations has dovetailed nicely (for me, if no one else in the free world) with the election on Sunday of the new Parliament in Angela Merkel's home state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, in which the NPD (National Partei Deutschlands--the neo-nazis) grabbed over 7 percent of the vote, and entered the state parliament...bringing the total of state parliaments here with neo-nazi representation to three. The other two states are both in the old East Germany; Brandenburg and Saxony. The neo-nazis also won a few council seats in Berlin.

At the so-called spitzenrunde, after the results were in, all the leaders of the successful parties (those who got more than 5% of the vote and got into parliament) were invited to a round-table discussion/interview/gloat-fest. The commentators, as is standard practice in Germany, were polite and respectful to the other four parties (the socialists, conservatives, free democrats, and the leftists--former communists--an almost purely Eastern German party). They were uniformly rude and confrontational with the little nazi, never letting him finish a sentence. This is also standard practice.

The NPD party leader, Udo Pastoers, never lost his temper under this treatment, although almost anyone else would have. He's a clever politician, and the intemperate and ill-advisedly shabby treatment of him by the press only served to make him seem to be the reasonable one. His manner also looks almost exactly like a young Hitler (no mustache) down to the hands behind the back, the smug, downward-looking half smile, and the shambling presence when surrounded by his followers, exuding obviously and ominously studied imitation (the media publishes very few pictures of the nazis...this was the most representative I could find). But through the silly overreaction of the media, he looked good...for a nazi anyway.

Hugo Chavez's hallucinogenic tirade on the floor of the UN's General Assembly, and Ahmadenijad's wriggling conference at the CFR (2000 World Zionists?!--who has been counting in the secret meetings at Skull and Bones?) were both condemned by the only US TV news to which I have any access...CNN. I read much condemnation elsewhere on the web. They both had not only what they said (with justice--that was lunacy), but also their right to speak, attacked vociferously from both sides of the partisan aisle, including a ludicrously over-the-top reaction by Congressman Charley Rangel (D-NY).

What everyone seems to be missing in this rush to silence bad men is that fanatics rarely make sense in the long run. The best way to defeat a demagogue, to my way of thinking, is through ridicule. The most effective source of the ridiculous comes from the mouths of the demagogues themselves. Letting these nutcases fully speak their piece cannot but help their enemies (us--the free world--whatever). Neither Chavez or Ahmadenijad came off very well with their chief interlocutors--the MSM. The reaction reminded me of Kim Jong Il's "I'm so ronrey" scena in Team America. A few more speeches like those are exactly what is needed.

Incidentally, the fact that Hugo Chavez received the longest applause of the session, at four minutes, does not necessarily mean that it was the best applause. I've had a lot of experience with audiences and fans...and fanatical fans. Ten or fifteen dedicated clappers can make a lot of noise...and there where far more than that in the diplomatic delegations of Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Myanmar, Sudan, and other obnoxious entities. And if the applause was the warmest for Chavez, then that very clearly illustrates the value of the UN itself.

Give 'em all enough rope to hang themselves with.

Yours, in an increasingly cool, dark, and autumnal northern Europe,

Escutcheon Blot