December 31, 2003

Pining for the Fjords

This is an EX-BLOG.

E's only pining!

You know what to do. (Update, 10-6-2009: link adjusted.)

Five years later update! I didn't bother paying to renew the domain name "" linked above. Oopsie! I did manage to upload the archives for that year's blog (2004) to one of my computers. So the posts are... somewhere. Gee I hope not on the computer I gave away three years ago. You can tell I care. Anyway... In the meantime, go to the main Spleenville page for the latest blog.

-- Andrea Harris, September, 2008.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2003


It occurs to me that I have better things to do.

There's more to life than books, but not much more

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:17 AM | Comments (0)

December 29, 2003


Back to Trebuchet MS. I was getting a headache reading my own blog.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:57 PM | Comments (0)

How to piss me off

Email me with your self-righteous fuckheadery. Example: I just received this from one Mark D. Firestone, who seems to think I give a shit what he thinks:

Meryl - Re: "Anger, yes. Misplaced? Perhaps not." - My two cents are as follows:

There are plenty of organizations in the world that are infinitely more deserving of my charity dollars than any that is currently collecting for Iran. The anger is NOT misplaced when millions of Iran's citizens openly support the mullahs' anti-Semitism and stupidity. It is unconscionable that ANY Jewish - American group would collect for Iran in the face of their religious leaders' stance on accepting aid from the "Zionist Regime". I AM in a position to donate money to charity, and my next charitable contribution will go to any charity I can find that does not support any victim of the recent earthquake in Bam, Iran. When you dig your grave, you can damn well lie in it by yourself. In case Andrea and Michelle are hard of hearing that is not just NO to aid to Iran, but an unequivocal FUCK NO!

Mark D. Firestone - California

Blah blah fucking blustering blah. Note to MISTER Mark D. Firestone of California:


No, I'm not hard of "hearing," I just... wait for it... DISAGREE with your self-righteous chest-pounding garbage. To put it mildly. Gee, I guess it's time to dig up that clichéd-yet-true statement, "If we become like them then the terrorists have won."

No, I'm not going to open comments; I'm not really interested in what anyone has to say on this subject anymore. And I would appreciate it if MISTER Mark D. Firestone, California, did not email me ANY FURTHER.*

Taking a cue from the very fine comments of Gary Farber to this post of Michele's, I will give Laurence and Meryl the benefit of the doubt in that they were posting in the heat of anger, and NOT ONCE did I say that their anger was unjustified, considering things like this are being done by terrorists. What I said was that their anger was, in this instance, misplaced. The target of their rage (again, JUSTIFIABLE RAGE) should be the leaders of Iran, not the hapless people under their rule who may or may not be Jewhaters and terrorist supporters but certainly are, at least in Bam, victims of a natural disaster and therefore at minimum due the sympathy of fellow human beings worldwide who are just as mortal and just as vulnerable to the ravages of nature. But fuck me if some people haven't decided to use this for their own aggrandizement. Thank you, once again, human race.

*The fucking jerk asshole just sent me another forward. It's some sort of letter to the San Francisco Chronicle, but I'm not reproducing it here. Hey, babycakes, I'm not your goddamn shoulder to cry on/punching bag/audience/publicity venue. Taking me off your goddamn mailing list -- I don't know who you are and don't want to be on it. Leave me the fuck alone.

I'm a tad pissed, yes precious. That's why the name of the site is SPLEENVILLE. Goddammit, my dinner is getting cold while I type this. You do NOT interfere with my food.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)


Oh never mind.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 08:00 PM | Comments (0)

I'm dining in tonight

It looks like I've made myself a nice mess of Can O'Worms Stew. I need something to wash it down with. Does anyone have any gin?

Ladies and gentlemen,
Take my advice:
Pull down your pants
And slide on the ice.

-- Major Sydney Freedman

Posted by Andrea Harris at 06:31 PM | Comments (0)

Christmas is over

Hence the change. Say it to yourselves: "change is good." Don't say it seven times in the mirror, though.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 02:19 AM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2003

Recipe for disaster

Misplaced Anger Pie


Half a cup of misfortune.
Two cups of justifiable outrage.
One cup of blind partisanship.
Three tablespoons of schadenfreude.
A teaspoon of spite, or enough to curdle the mix
Break two or more heads against each other; mix the brains in with the other ingredients until the mixture is lumpy.
Pour into pie shell made of burnt floppy disks. Cook for several weeks, months, or years over low heat (however long it takes), turn up during the last hour of cooking to five-thousand degrees until crust is blackened.
Eat, until ulcers occur. Repeat until all dinner guests are dead or have fled the table.

Update: the pie goes down faster if you wash it down with a big glass of You Can't Possibly Understand juice.

SERIOUS INTERVAL: it's late, so this will be short. In reponse to Meryl's paean to the wonders of Not Understanding what it's like to be Jewish and faced with this situation, maybe she should ask Pejman how he feels, and see if she can "understand" his position as an American-Iranian-Jew. See, maybe I can't "understand" what Jews go through, not being Jewish myself. But, you know, by that criterion I can't understand what it means to be Chinese, or Yanomamo, or male, or a victim (yet) of a suicide bomber, or anything but Andrea Harris. This is an absurd attitude, which assumes that since no one can truly know 100% the experience of someone else then you can't possibly have anything to say about that other person's experience. If people were truly this way, we'd have no novels, no poems, no marriages, no.... anything.

But this is already getting longer than I wanted it to be. Let me finish: when I say that Laurence's (and, I guess, Meryl's) anger is "misplaced," I mean just that. Denying aid to the victims of the Bam earthquake does very little against members of Hizbollah or any other Iran-sponsored terrorist group, unless by some silver-lining happenstance one or more of the key members of such groups perished in the rubble. And it hurts the mullahs that run that country with an iron fist not at all; quite the contrary -- if any of them should happen to hear of any such reaction to their decree they will probably only feel more truculently righteous in their hatred. As for demanding that the victimized and oppressed people of Iran prove they deserve your regard by "rising up" against their government; well, that's easy for someone on the outside to say. Then again, that would take "understanding."

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:05 PM | Comments (11)

Car nostalgia

One unique facet of life in these United States is the Huge-ass Car I Once Owned story. Mine was a '79 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon. (Mine was not anywhere near the mint condition of the one pictured -- I paid $300.00 for mine, and twice as much to insure it and get it tagged.) Unlike the model in this picture, I had the two-door version,* and those doors each weighed a ton; by the time I got it the driver's side door had a broken hinge, and had a tendency to swing slowly open in traffic. One day I pulled into the yard of the hovel I rented a room in, and I heard a dull "clank." I got out and looked under the car; sure enough, the muffler as well as the entire exhaust pipe had fallen off.

I drove it like that for about four months.

It was a car to inspire fear in the mean streets of Miami. Suddenly all the demises-by-auto I used to envision for myself -- such as the one where my flimsy econocart was squished between a tomato-red Camaro driven by a smoove Cuban youth in Raybans and a white Ford Bronco piloted by a distracted suburban mom trying to calm her hysterical brood, and I had to spend eight hours listening to the same salsa tune playing over and over from the Camaro's jammed cd-player as the rescue crew tried to pry me out of the tangle of vehicular rubble with the Jaws of Life -- vanished in the humidity as I watched shiny ego-machines shudder away from my path on the Airport Expressway. Despite its age it had a pretty powerful engine (it also got about ten miles to the gallon, but hey, at least I wasn't taking the bus). And for the first few months I owned it, the a/c worked, the power window on the driver's side still opened, and it had a cassette player I spent $400 to get the door fixed, and (eventually) replaced the muffler and exhaust pipe. I also got the brakes replaces once.

Well, the end came: first the windows stuck, then the a/c failed. Summer came, and I had had enough of sweltering. I sold it to the junkman for sixty bucks. I think I'm about ready for another one.

*This is a correction; I posted this rather late, and I was tired; or my brain refused to let me take in the details of a vehicle painted such a hideous brown color, and I thought the link went to a picture of the two-door model.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 08:16 PM | Comments (6)

Site news

I have updated the site to Movable Type version 2.65.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 05:55 PM | Comments (0)

Shout out

Hey, where'd Dipnut go? (By the way, this post is the source of my idea that his real name was "Tom Perry.")

Hey, dude, whoever you are -- are you out there?

Posted by Andrea Harris at 05:21 PM | Comments (5)

December 26, 2003

The Grinch '03

A gift for you this Boxing Day: "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" has been updated for 2003. (More quality posting here later, folks. I've had a bit of a headache, been playing around with the site and almost chmod'ed it out of existence, etc.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 07:18 PM | Comments (0)

December 24, 2003

The Year in Quotes

Provided by Tim Blair. Twelve months, twelve posts. Read them all -- bask in the memories.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 06:48 AM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2003

Sex and the Sinner

As concerns the issue of non-marital sex, this argument con and this argument pro both strike me as almost completely silly. Dipnut* pretty much lays waste to the "conservative" argument; a rambling, turgid (and only part one, oy) paean to wishful thinking about human nature by Jennifer Morse. It is interesting how god-'n'-family conservatives have co-opted the liberal spiel about human nature being essentially good (and that's why it's "against nature" to fornicate like a rabbit in heat). The basis for Ms. (Mrs.? Miss?) Morse's ideas about marriage is the extremely progressive idea that human beings are naturally monogamous. Well, Here is a true conservative of the old school who was under no illusions about the realities of the human animal. Of men and women this rather famous, pre-Vatican II, Roman Catholic Dead White Male said:

"...[Women] are instinctively, when uncorrupt, monogamous. Men are not..... No good pretending. Men just ain't, not by their animal nature. Monogamy (though it has long been fundamental to our inherited ideas) is for us men a piece of 'revealed' ethic, according to faith and not to the flesh."

The writer is J.R.R. Tolkien, the source is a letter he wrote to his son -- letter number 43 in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, and despite the fact that I'm not Catholic I really haven't been able to find anything in his observations that doesn't dovetail with life as it seems to be for the majority of human beings. He also knew in 1941 what many popular magazines, with great labor, release as a blockbuster "New Study Finds!" story every couple of years or so.

But coming at us from the other side of the ring is studly William Baude. William knows your name, and he knows your star sign, and he knows just the right words to say this night to set you at ease and make you feel special all at once (not too slick, not too icky-sweet, with just the right combination of compliments and witty side observations on the other people standing around the bar), and he really wants to, you know, get to know you. That way, see, you and he won't be afraid of each other or sex or of having that bad dream where Father Coughlin and your first grade teacher (scary old Mrs. Phelps) and your weeping mother and the cute boy from next door that you had a crush on in high school and Shaun Cassidy all burst in on you while you were having sex with Mr. Roper from Three's Company.

Baude's theory (a theory I haven't heard bounced around since Elvis was alive, but then I don't get out much) is that having sex before marriage is not only not bad, it's not even just plain okay, it's more moral than what he charmingly describes as "presexual marriage." In other words, it's a duty. Observe:

I think it's generally unwise for people (particularly people who view monogamy as generally desirable and divorce as generally undesirable) to get married before they've begun having some sort of sexual relations. Sex is important to marital compatibility (even Ms. Morse says so), and it would be bad to be stuck married to somebody whose views about the purpose and details of sex were drastically different from one's own.

Furthermore, sex is a very important way of gaining knowledge about somebody ("Carnal knowledge," as we call it. "Not of the flesh, but through the flesh.") Sex (at least good sex) is a form of reading, and when something resembling eternal commitment is at stake, it's hardly wise to leave this chapter unperused.

I wonder if he is the kind of reader who reads the ends of books first just to see if he wants to read them all the way through. (Link to this one via Instapundit. Fill in your own pun.)

*Forgot to change this.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:53 PM | Comments (8)

December 22, 2003

Late-breaking news

Late to break over my head, anyway -- John "Akatsukami" Braue is back posting at his Rat's Nest blog. Ooooh... (rubs hands in anticipation...)

Update, MUCH later: guess who else has been back for a while and I just found out. (Link to Myria via Moira.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 08:36 PM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2003

Sitemeter sucks

Can I just say how much I fucking hate Sitemeter and all the blogs its slow-loading little graphic/stats-measuring thingie prevents from opening properly? Die, Sitemeter, die.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:48 PM | Comments (14)

Allegory versus Fiction

People. This is a public service announcement. Please read carefully. In order to prevent the administrator of this website from inflicting further ire upon well-meaning but (grinds teeth) mistaken persons who keep (Grrrr!) missing the point whenever she expresses criticism of those who insist upon calling the fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings an "allegory" when they mean, well, a work of fiction, please first memorize these definitions:

al·le·go·ry: The representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures, or events in narrative, dramatic, or pictorial form.

fic·tion: An imaginative creation or a pretense that does not represent actuality but has been invented.

And then read this essay, Faith and Fantasy: Tolkien the Catholic, The Lord of the Rings, and Peter Jackson's films, which is so far the best-written and clearest explanation of what Tolkien's work really means in the context of his religious beliefs, and most important, why the book he wrote is not and never will be an allegory.

(Link to the essay via a reader who is probably shaking singed fingertips and muttering "Damn? What the hell did I do?" My apologies, binkley.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 08:25 PM | Comments (5)

Talking Turkey

What my father used to call the "Peanut Gallery" is still trying to push the lie that Bush was lifting about a plastic turkey when he went to visit the troops in Iraq over Thanksgiving. Indefatigable dumbass Greg Easterbrook does them one better -- he not only repeats the lie that the turkey in question was plastic, he claims that it was brought over to Iraq as some sort of sinister political prop. I swear to god; here is the complete entry (in case Easterbrook or his editors try to deep six these words -- and I've also saved it as a screen capture, haha):

AND ABOUT THAT FAKE TURKEY: The "decorative turkey" in George W. Bush's hands in the Thanksgiving pictures from Baghdad should in fact make people angry. Hundreds of American dead, thousands of Iraqi dead, and the White House is staging phony photos on Iraqi soil? The occupation of Iraq may be justified, but White House use of the war as a political prop is becoming unseemly. And think: somebody had to fly a fake turkey to Iraq. Voters are not stupid; this sort of thing may backfire on Bush.

Good lord. Every single untruth about the event and then some is included therein. I'm surprised he didn't start babbling (or whatever is the word for the keyboard-using equivalent) about Bush forcing the men to bow down and worship his evil Turkey Gods. By the way, this post is dated December 10th. I skimmed the subsequent posts; there is no indication that Easterbrook has read any of the news articles that put paid to the plastic turkey/staged photo op myth. Loser.

(Via a commenter to this Tim Blair post.)

Update: Oooh. Now I've done it. BTW, I wouldn't describe my reaction as "disappointed." I've not expected much out of Easterbrook for quite some time.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:36 AM | Comments (12)

December 20, 2003

My head, it hurts

Oh my god. Lord of the Rings is a "pagan fantasy world"? Kill me now -- I can't take it any more. In the Corner Stanley Kurtz says this in an aside in a post about the possible decline of Christmas observation in an increasingly secular world. I look forward to all the Tolkien admirers on NRO tearing Kurtz a new one for this -- probably in vain, since it was just an aside.

(Link via open book.)

Update: well, here's Kurtz's reaction to emails containing, among other things, complaints about this -- but unfortunately they were from stupid (okay, less informed) people saying "it's a catholic (sic) allegory." And Kurtz just reiterates his shtick: LOTR has a "pagan veneer." Asshead. LOTR has a Christian veneer. See, unlike members of some other religions Christians (or at least, Christians like Tolkien) don't dismiss the time pre-Crucifixion as a to-be-ignored "time of ignorance." Instead, they are forever trying to see signs of God's presence in the pre-Christian past; some go so far as to call the other sacrificial cults (that involved Christ-like deities who became human and were slain, etc.) and so on of pre-Christian times evidence of the "foreshadowing" of the Incarnation. Is it so strange to think that Tolkien looked at his imaginary past through a Christian outlook, and certainly did not mean for all the pagan-like cultish behavior that has sprung up among his fans (and which I am guessing are the real source of Kurtz's "pagan veneer" remarks) to be the result of reading his story? Oh whatever -- I am beginning to think it is no use.

PS: I went ahead and opened comments -- I need you to berate me for my nasty, druggie, uterus-having ways.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:36 PM | Comments (11)

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

What the fuck? Did everyone take a Pissy Pill today? I go out and have a good time, I come back and I get a ration of shit. The only experience I have had close to this is coming home from my first U2 concert ever (1985, the Unforgettable Fire tour) and getting to observe the contrast between my mood and the usual surly, petty crap from my dysfunctional family.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:23 PM | Comments (0)

The Scouring of the Thing

Colby Cosh has a brief commentary on the matter of leaving the chapter "The Scouring of the Shire" out of the Lord of the Rings movies. (This really should be no spoiler to anyone anymore.) Colby agrees with this person that it should have been left in the movie.

[THE FOLLOWING CONTENT DOES NOT REFER TO COLBY COSH IN ANY WAY]* You know, I wouldn't blame Jackson for telling people who say things like this** to raise their own dough, hire their own camera crew and actors, and filming the goddamn book to their own purist demands. Be that as it may, while it would have been nice to see every single word and scene in the books filmed intact (I do think that so far -- haven't seen part 3 yet -- the best moments in the films are the ones that are straight out of the original text, there's a thrill to them that the other scenes lack), I acknowledge that it would have taken more money than god has, not to mention infinite patience on the part of studios and moviegoers, to endure the ten-movie (each five hours long) marathon that would no doubt result. Or something like that -- I don't know. By the way, I'm not interested in arguments to the contrary; if you think it's so important that the book be "done right, unlike the way that hack Jackson did it" then you do it.

By the way, Tolkien originally started writing because he wanted to read stories he enjoyed reading, and he had noticed that there was a dearth of that type of thing about in his day. He didn't just sit and whine and complain about the inadequacy of the fiction that other authors put out. After a point complaints become redundant, and you start to look as if you are simply engaging in mental masturbation instead of doing anything useful about whatever irritates you. Of course, I understand that movie-making is more expensive than writing a book, but with the price of video cameras dropping every day... I wonder if one day people making their own movies will do to the vast Hollywood machine what blogs seem to be starting to do to the vast news media machine... (See Jeff Jarvis for more on that subject.)

But to continue, before I finally succeed in prying myself away from my computer so I can catch the bus to the movie theater, the writer that this woman (whose post Colby referenced) cites got one significant detail wrong that makes me suspect his purist credentials. This Ian Rowan states, after the Shire had been scoured:

The ruffians are driven out after a proper application of the citizen militia, and Samwise returns to his wife and daughter.

Uh. Samwise did no such thing after the thugs had been ejected from the Shire. Samwise was unmarried. What Samwise did was get married, after finding out that Rosie Cotton had been unhappy at his leaving the Shire. Samwise returned to his wife and daughter after seeing Frodo off at the Grey Havens, in the final chapter "The Grey Havens." Really, all it would have taken was for Mr. Rowan to reach behind him to his bookshelf where I assume that his copy of the novel has its place of honor. Or so I assume. Don't mess with a real Tolkien fan. [END PART ONE OF NON-COLBY COSH CONTENT]*

And yes, Colby, I have read the Appendices, and I knew that the cute hobbit names in the book were "Anglicizations" of their "real" names.

[PART TWO OF NON-COLBY COSH CONTENT]* (And you know, I haven't even touched upon Claire Wolf's end spiel about this movie being "...swords and sorcery amount to nothing more than sound and fury; an army of special effects and dazzling cinematic visions, desperately in search of a greater meaning." In other words: "this movie didn't tell me what I wanted to be told or relieve me of some possibly unrelated mental baggage so on some level it failed." Whatever. There are so many problems I have with that attitude that I don't have time right now to list them all. One day I may sit down and do so, but not today.) [END PART TWO OF NON-COLBY COSH CONTENT.]*


*Jesus. I get back home, after being lifted and transported by the viewing of Peter Jackson's great achievement, in no small part because I was finally rid of stupid fears like I would get hit by a truck or have a meteor land on me before I got to see it, and that it would suck donkey balls or something instead of being the amazing work of art that it is, and I get dragged right back down to fucking earth. Thanks, human race.

**This is not meant to be directed at the authors of this post linked here particularly, but if the shoe fits that isn't my fault. YMMV.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 10:58 AM | Comments (12)

Lord of the Right Wing?

You must -- no really, you must -- take a gander at this laughably bad LOTR rip-off, a flash animation by, done in crappy sub-Hanna-Barbera style. Oh yea, I'm so convinced by this compendium of ancient clichés to vote against "Gollum Dubya Bush."

Via Tim Blair.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:00 AM | Comments (1)

December 18, 2003

Pity Party for One Dictator

I must say that I find all the fuss over the supposed humiliation of ex-mass-murdering-fascist-dictator Saddam Hussein because his ENT exam was shown on tv to be quite curious. In all my years of having doctors peer at my uvula with the aid of tongue depressors I had no idea that I was undergoing something that should only be spoken of in whispers, and that the very memory of having my throat and teeth examined should now bring a blush of crimson shame to my face. As I said in the comment section of the above-linked post, you would think that Hussein had been stripped naked and displayed in a public square in Baghdad.

But I can identify this ostentatious display of compassion on the part of Cardinal Martino and others: I believe it has to do with something the Christians call "pride." Remember that? "I'm better than you," these caretakers of Hussein's human dignity are saying. "I'm so full of love for humanity that I even refuse to feel anything but pity and sorrow for mass murderers! Beat that, Americans/Righties/Warmongers/Whatever!"

I also find this concern over Hussein's sensibilities amusing in a culture which seems to have othewise consigned human dignity to the landfill. Suddenly the same "liberal," "progressive" forces that want to have sex ed in kindergarten and are up in a fuss because some woman in Texas got arrested for selling a dildo also seem to be behind this new prudery concerning a ruthless fascist dictator's feelings. Can you spell "hypocrites"? I knew you could.

Update: Lee Harris (no relation) on moral instinct versus moral imagination. Via Instapundit.

Second update - I just can't get enough: Hey, compassion junkies, is this better? (Via Damian Penny.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 06:52 AM | Comments (8)

Blatant Blegging Bash

It's that time of year again! I've updated the Paypal code (I noticed it didn't have a working email address anymore). Help keep Spleenville going; hit that tip jar! (There are alternatives on the page if you are having some sort of feud with Paypal. I think my Amazon wish list is working; other people have had trouble with theirs.)

Hey, if Andrew Sullivan can do it, why not me? I'm almost as good-looking! I've just gone and dyed my hair too.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 05:51 AM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2003

Too Old To Rock and Roll

...but too young to die? We'll see about that: visit Boomer Deathwatch. Sample:

"Boomers have gotten our way since we arrived in this world, and the onset of gray hair, bifocals, and arthritis is not going to moderate our unswerving self-indulgence. We are the same people, after all, who forced the lowering of the drinking age when we were young, so we could drink, and forced it back up when we got older, so our kids couldn't."

A sidebar notes those stars in the Boomer (Aquarian) skies who are no longer with us. Who do you think is next? (Via Kathy Shaidle.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:44 PM | Comments (0)

Shoot Moose and Squirrel

I just remembered this: how much I really hated the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon characters. I have been told by their multitudes of fans that they were so funny, see, 'cos the jokes on the show had all kinds of adult witticisms that sailed right over the heads of kids -- except, of course, the knowing, oh-so-hip Kool Kidz who loved the show when they were wee precocious things. Do I sound bitter? Please, just the memory of the high-pitched croaky whine that was the squirrel character's voice is so annoying, especially when I haven't been able to [TANGENT] get that freaking "9 to 5" Dolly Parton song out of my head for three effing days. [/TANGENT] Yes, it's too annoying to even swear about.

Anyway, I remember getting all the "jokes" on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, and thinking they were pretty lame. It's not as if I was a snob kid who would only watch PBS: I glommed onto crappy kandy-kolored fare like The Monkees (please, please stay in my head, drown out Dolly and the squawking 80s saxophones -- "hey hey we're the Monkees, and people say we Monkee around..." Yeah. Mike Nesmith (sp? It's been years) was my favorite. Sure Davey was cute and all, but Mike had that special I dunno something.

Where was I? Oh yeah. I think I hated all the "hip, knowing, really-about-grownup-stuff, we're just writing cartoons to pay off our ranch homes and wood-paneled hifi systems" children's programming. I think I could see through the pretense, and instead of it making me feel all special and part of the "grown up" crowd, just made me feel like throwing things. I didn't mind being treated like a child; I hated being treated as if I should not want to be one. And -- at least The Monkees was demented in an innocent sort of way, even if the show's creators were just trying to pay off their ranch homes and snazzy hifi systems.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:48 AM | Comments (23)

Getting Tolkien Wrong Again

Via Kathy Shaidle comes this rather unoriginal article on the Christian faith underlying Lord of the Rings. The writer gets a few things wrong.

First, the character of Gandalf is not, as the writer (one Kevin Miller) states, "clearly a Christ figure." There is nothing so clear about the "resurrection" of Gandalf -- in fact, it is more correct to state (and one could find this out from simply reading Tolkien's own commentary on the book, available in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien) that Gandalf is clearly an angelic messenger and aide -- mostly as a morale-builder -- to "free men and creatures everywhere" in the war against "the Shadow" -- aka, Sauron (who, by the way, is not meant to represent Satan but only one of his lieutenants). Jesus wasn't, according to what I was taught in church in my "long ago youth," a mere angel.

Then Mr. Miller goes off into a slight tangent where he outlines what I presume are some of the objections Christians might have to seeing the film: "How can one reconcile the scenes of violence, destruction and occult-like practices with the above information about Tolkien's faith? How could the love of Christ spawn such a monstrosity? Perhaps, you may be thinking, reading all that pagan mythology from the Middle Ages seriously messed with Tolkien's head, co-opting his faith rather than the other way around."

Excuse me for not entirely understanding what Miller is talking about here -- the only "pagan mythology from the Middle Ages" that I am aware of Tolkien being much involved with is Beowulf -- and he came to the conclusion in studying it that that poem was in fact a Christian rewriting and/or composing of a work with pagan characters that was yet meant to resonate with Christian listeners.* (Somewhat like his own work.) Again, this information is available with a little bit of research; in fact, it is easier to get one's hands on a copy of "The Monsters and the Critics" than it was before the movies came out -- I had to borrow it from the community college library.

But I suppose this is meant to be a bit of parental reassurance rather than a serious scholarly treatise on the man and his work. Miller has read the thumbnail bio of Tolkien that just about every writer on this subject has had time to peruse for the last three years, and seems to at least have a better idea of the plot and characters than many movie reviewers, though he makes the theme sound like Christianity Lite: "If you're good enough, and merciful enough, then doggone it, Jesus will love you!" Actually, he seems mostly to have gotten his ideas from the films; that's the feeling I get anyway. (Perhaps that is where his misconception of Gandalf as the Messiah comes from -- all that white light and stars and the makeover when he "returns.")

It would have been nice, though, if he had done more than (it seems) skim the book. The films, while excellent adaptations of the novel, are not really the best source for understanding its author's religious beliefs.

*Disclosure: I wrote a paper a couple of years back for a Medieval Humanities class on the Christian themes in Beowulf, so I am not just talking out of my behind. I may scrounge up the paper and put it online one of these days; it was all right, though not one of my best.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:17 AM | Comments (15)

December 15, 2003

From the That Wasn't Funny Dept.:

Well. Refusing to laugh at Jessica Lynch, now that she has gone on to fame and fortune, instead of -- what? committing suicide? -- means you have no sense of humor, are too stuck up, or are blinded by one's hegemonical warmongering need to be a hater, or anyway something that means you are uncool and won't be invited to all the Kool Kidz bong parties. (See the comments to Jarvis' post.) Score.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 08:08 PM | Comments (0)

Good morning, not-Vietnam

I feel like my weekend was too short. Note to self: next time you decide to go to the mall via the slooowww buses they have here, start earlier. There is something inexpressibly dreary about taking the last bus home in the dark. (Yes, I have done my budget, and unless I get an unexpected Paypal windfall from a rich fan, I won't be getting another car this month.)

Anyway, concerned reader Darth Monkeybone, who really needs to get his own blog so he can "fisk" things himself, hinty hinty -- look Ma! free blogs! -- sent a couple of items this way, begging me to tear apart Michael Moore's newest ungrateful whinge, as well as Ted Rall's latest poop-smears, but doing so would necessitate my actually looking upon and reading their works, and since 'tis the season to be jolly I think I'll pass, thank you. Instead I'd like to point you all to Peeve Farm, and this hilarious entry about an excursion into San Fran with a snotty French college student whose every utterance, meant to make him Stand Out From the American Sheeple, is a well-burnished Eurolefty cliché. Brian Tiemann is kind of a left-coast Lileks, right down the the Mac-ophilia, and since Lileks is doing the "I'm-on-holiday" thing I think I'll be reading Peeve Farm more often.

PS: oh wait! I should have known James would not be able to keep still after yesterday's news -- there's a whole entry with lots o' words (& the best Saddam Photoshop ever) on today's Bleat. I'm gonna save it -- he's not doing archives this month.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 06:22 AM | Comments (1)

December 14, 2003


Okay, okay, due to popular demand (okay, due to the plea of one of my six readers) I have put this blog back in weblog format, instead of single entry format. Anyway, I find that I come across too many things to just put in one blog post. The restriction to post just one entry per day (or, well, no more than) intimidated me so that I had to force myself to write anything. Also, I have decided that you all suck, you lazy readers you, you are addicted to the index page, you wouldn't click on the "previous" link if your dying mother begged you to. Let's see if you've got the balls to scroll down. {Insane glare.}

Hem. Anyway, I'll post more soon. Maybe short little entries as I come across things. Maybe big long entries that I won't even bother to put in the "extended entries" box. Who knows. Stay tuned...

By the way, the "donate" link isn't broken. It leads to something. Hinty hinty. Xmas and all that. (Well, if Treacher can beg, why can't I? After all, Treacher is my hero!)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:50 PM | Comments (8)

An early Christmas present

Saddam Hussein has been captured. He was, appropriately hiding in a six-foot-deep hole in the ground. He looks like Bad Santa. Oh happy day. More links to reactions around the blogs:

Viking Pundit.
A small victory.
Tim Blair.
Jeff Jarvis.

You should read the entries previous to and after the links as well. And they have links as well -- especially Jeff Jarvis, who has links to many Iraqi blogger reactions.

And if that wasn't enough happiness for one day, I also found out that iowahawk finally drank the Koolaid and got his very own blog! Hooray! (Iowahawk's comments have leavened many comment threads on LGF, Tim Blair, and elsewhere with wit and intelligence. Hey that's a pretty good writeup on just one cup of coffee...)

Me? It's raining and chilly but I have this sudden urge to get out of the house. Laters.

Update: The word from Omar in Iraq:

It's the justice day.
I'm speechless.
I'm crying.
The tyrants' hour has finally came. I went down to the streets to share the joy with my brothers. This is our day, the day of all the oppressed and good people on earth.
Tears of joy filled the eyes of all the people.
Saddam, the coward, hides in a hole, shaking in fear from being captured.
Not a single bullet was fired, without any resistance, God, he was even cooperative! The mighty tyrant, who exploited all our country's fortune for his personal protection, surrenders like the cowered I expected him to be.
Yes, he should be prosecuted in Iraq. We will not allow anything else.

(Via Cold Fury.) I had to post this to Andrew Olmsted's* faint praise of Hesiod's cynical commentary on how this capture will allow Ba'athist terrorists to say they are now "fighting for freedom" or some such nonsense. Okay, Hesiod, I guess we should have left Saddam in his little hole, with maybe a stern lecture. Asshole. (No link to Hesiod; you can get to his spew from Olmsted's* site it you want.)

I've opened comments. Have a party.

*Spelling corrected.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 11:51 AM | Comments (12)

December 11, 2003

Is there anything left?

To call "treason," that is. I ask that in all seriousness. I mean, what else could this statement:

And I would say to the Europeans, I pledge to you as the American president that we’ll consult with you first. You get the right of first refusal on the security concerns that we have. We’ll bring you in.

by Wesley Clark -- who, I might add, is a general in the United States military -- be but treasonous in attitude if not intention? And I thought Clinton's Europandering was bad. Wait for the "Clark didn't really mean it that way" ass-covering to start soon, if it hasn't already. There was a time when the thought of consulting foreign governments in matters of our own security would not have crossed through the minds of someone who was vying for the presidency, much less been allowed to pass though their lips into the open air. Times such as the date of the founding of our country. But loyalty and the idea of the welfare of the citizens of one's own country coming first are so outdated, right? Good-bye Democratic Party, it was nice knowing you. (Via exit zero and


In other news -- I know I had promised a daily post. Well I don't live for you people! I'll blog whenever I want! (Wild-eyed stare.) Heh. Actually, it's been a case not of having nothing to say, but having too much, and having it jam up in my head whenever I have tried to write. For instance: did you know that there was a pro-coalition, anti-terrorism rally in Baghdad yesterday? It appears that the media (the professional media, that is) didn't. Actually, I am sure that they knew quite well what is going on -- blogger bigwigs like Glenn Reynolds and Jeff Jarvis have been promoting the hell out of it, and news media organs haven't ignored these guys in the past. (Jarvis works for the media -- I used to read his things in TV Guide -- for godssakes.) So I am sure that the downplaying and almost-total-ignoring of this event was deliberate. The news people seem to have decided that being reporters on the scene isn't enough: they want power to influence world events too. And they seem to have decided that they want to influence world events in a way that makes for lots of great dramatic news (explosions! dead bodies! people suffering!) instead of boring stuff like Iraqis wanting to have a normal life under a non-totalitarian government. What a surprise.

They are shameless: I opened my city's paper today, looking for Iraq stories, and I found this heart-wrencher (registration required, use "laexaminer" twice) about a dog that had to be put to sleep because of a regulation against having dogs in a US army encampment. Of course it was a terrible story; the law certainly sounds like it was written (and enforced) to please some martinet somewhere -- though I can think of a dozen reasons why there might also be good reasons for having such a regulation. (Animal-born diseases, the possibility of distraction caused by an animal underfoot, and the danger of a dog-bite leading to a lawsuit are three that come to mind.) All the same, a sad tale -- and yet, I wonder why that story was one they chose to report. There was no possibility of saving the animal: the dog was already dead at the time of the story's writing. I can only suppose that the purpose of writing this up was to show that our military is run by cold, cruel people who won't even save the life of a helpless dog (if you didn't know, life generally sucks for dogs in Arab countries; let's just say Mohammed was by all accounts a cat person), and to destroy yet another few molecules of morale. I know that reading the story left me depressed -- even though the dog at least had some people (the soldiers who adopted it) show it some kindness before it died, something that many dogs don't get.

Then there is this column, by a Gulf War I veteran and author named "Joel Turnipseed." (I wonder if he is any relation to that Tom Turnipseed weirdo who writes for The column is all about how we shouldn't worship heroes in wartime. Now there is nothing wrong with cautionary advice when it comes to deciding who is a hero or not; after all, this is an age where it is considered "brave" of entertainers with a gajillion fans to make a pouty sad face and say "war is bad!" on teevee. But that isn't what Turnipseed is getting at. He's another of the morale-destroyers, and I can't help thinking what a soul-smothering suck in person he must be after reading these words of wisdom:

Why are we so desperate for heroes, anyway? The ancient Greeks, who taught us the term, found the word inseparable from tragedy, intertwined with disaster by hubris: A hero was someone they feared as often as they praised.

Leaving aside the almost total misunderstanding he has of ancient Greek attitudes, what exactly is he trying to accomplish with his rambling and unfocused maunderings? All it communicates to me is that, like many faux-hip cynics, the only person "desperate for heroes" to worship is Mr. Turnipseed.


One thing the pro-news people couldn't seem to quit babbling about was the refusal of the coalition to let France, Germany, Russia, and Canada play our reindeer games in the rebuilding of Iraq. The notion that the people who had spent blood and money on Iraq get to be the ones who decide who gets to profit off the rebuilding of that country seems to have come as a shock to the above-mentioned foreign bodies as well as many of the media squeakers. Of course, the idea that one would have to have cast-iron balls to go up to someone you've stabbed in the back (such as France et al re the US in Iraq) and expect to be treated like bestest friends does not seem to have occurred to the wounded parties. What's that faint whiny sound? It's the smallest violin in the world, boys, and it's playing just for you.

More later, possibly. I'll open comments on this one for a while. Get your digs in while you can!

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:04 PM | Comments (8)

December 09, 2003

A case of the Mondays

Since this was a particularly annoying Monday, I don't have much to say tonight. But there is one thing I forgot to mention in my post from the weekend, and that is what greeted my eyes as I came back from my errands (click for larger pic):

I took the picture this morning, but it looked just the same then as it did Saturday. Apparently some bimbo, driving god knows what, had managed to crash into the mail kiosk. I can't quite figure out how she managed, because if you will take a look at the next photo (again, click for a larger one):

-- you can see that there is a rather high concrete rise from the parking lot to the walkway. I can only suppose that she was trying to pilot a Uhaul truck, or perhaps a small yacht, and backed into the thing. It must have made the most godawful noise; I'm glad I wasn't there to hear it, as my nerves are not what they used to be.

Anyway, the upshot is, I have no idea where my mail is going. The girl at the manager's office said to call the post office on Hiawassee Road.

Oh well. Here is another piccie for you all to enjoy (clicky clicky for larger):

Weekend after next, come hell or high water, I know what I am going to go to the theater to see. I do need something to cheer me up; nothing like a long, incomprehensible, boring movie filled with characters nobody can possibly care about to make me feel better about myself. Oh wait, I'm not going to go see Seabiscuit; that was the bad dream. Seriously, why do people who have no appetite (apparently) for heroic fantasy movies go see them, only to complain that they were bored and felt as if they were being tortured? It's not as if ROTK is something new no one had ever done before; it is the last part of a three part movie. If you didn't like parts one and two, you aren't going to suddenly like part three, especially since the characters you didn't care about in the first two movies are also in the third movie. But then again, this person preferred, among other fare (like Peter Pan, a story I have always found to be creepy in the extreme), Gone With the Wind, a film I have never been able to watch more than five minutes of before changing channels.

By the way, I'd also like to see Master and Commander, and I plan to rent out that pirate thing that the Elf was in. That's about it for me and movies.

PS: yes, I know that the grammar in this entry sucks, but I don't care, I'm tired and posting anything at all tonight was like swimming through cold molasses.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 12:19 AM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2003

That Cute Furry Woodland Creature Has Fangs

Forget my previous entry.* John Cole is furious at Dennis Kucinich, and after viewing the ad in question, so am I. Did you know that Bush is sending soldiers to die just so he and his oilbuddies can make lots of money? This claim has been making the rounds of sites like (or whatever the hell it is called, that forum full of conspiracy nuts that I refuse to link directly to), but I didn't think that anyone actually in government would dare give that idea credence. I underestimated what some Democratic Party candidates will do to scrape up a vote or two. The senator Ohio state representative seems to have decided to go for that crucial Screaming Moonbat vote, which seems to be confined to the arty districts of a few major cities on the west coast.

Kucinich, whose web page builds him up to be the political equivalent of Barney the Purple Dinosaur, shows us the fist inside the velveteen glove. I'm disgusted but not surprised; I always knew that hippy freako peace addicts who spout infantile spew like this were rotten at the core. The only comforting thing I can think of is that he will have lost any chance of getting anywhere near the presidency with this little stunt; I hope he enjoys his teensy percentage. Sometimes I think the idea that absolute power corrupts absolutely is not quite right; rather it seems to be the desire for power that corrupts -- and also often makes one stupid.

PS: oh, let's leave comments open and see what happens. I'm bored tonight.

*Actually, don't forget my previous entry. Lots of good stuff there too! You are growing sleeepy... you will read my entire blog one entry at a time...

Posted by Andrea Harris at 06:28 PM | Comments (8)

Life's Mad Pageant, etc.

I had to run around town yesterday, which in my present carless state (hinty hinty) means utilizing Orlando's fine public transportation system. The result is I am still feeling pretty wiped out, though I think that has partly to do with the fact that I think I have a sinus infection. (Unless it is that Deadly Killer Flu that is going around, yay.) Anyway, I had wanted to do at least a daily post thing on le Blog, but that isn't working out. Could it be, as this person sneers, that <SCREAM>Warbloggers</SCREAM> haven't had much to say lately because we (the Collective! You will be assimilated!) are afraid to "admit" the War Is a Failure™? Shyeah, right, you wish. (Dig Dipnut's replies in the comments and then this post.)

Apropos of this, I think that the thing that hurts antis the most re the Turkey Incident is the fact that this was how Bush was received by the troops in Iraq. For those too lazy to link, here's a sample:

Soldiers were hollering, cheering, and a lot of them were crying. There was not a dry eye at my table. When he stepped up to the cheering, I could clearly see tears running down his cheeks. It was the most surreal moment I've had in years. Not since my wedding and Aaron being born. Here was this man, our President, came all the way around the world, spending 17 hours on an airplane and landing in the most dangerous airport in the world, where a plane was shot out of the sky not six days before.

Dang. I happened to catch that scene on the teevee Evening Snooze. I know that if I was an anti I'd want to stab myself at the sight of all those soldiers cheering like mad, as opposed to the polite but cool (come on, let's admit it) reception Senator Clinton received.

Anyway, today is Pearl Harbor Day. Charles Austin has a new post up about it that you should read; Michele wonders if September 11th will be remembered the same way -- or forgotten the same way. All I can say is it would be nice if the band of psychos that currently have control of the Muslim world* could be dissuaded from their current course with less force 'n' violence than we had to use on the Japanese.

*This "band of psychos" is to be understood to consist of a small subset of the main bulk of Muslims who are, we are told, gentle, peace-loving, flower-gathering, pretty-thing-making, hobbitlike creatures or at least they are human just like you and me! I say this in a no-doubt futile effort to stave off the inevitable "Muslims Love Their Children Too" pop hit song by Sting or someone like that. Allah forbid.

Update: and here's an interview with someone who was at Pearl Harbor on that day, courtesy of the Lakeland Ledger.

Second Update: here's another commentary on Pearl Harbor/September 11th by Vicki of Liquid Courage.

PS: now, shitty as I feel, I think I'm going to have to walk to the store for some stronger cold medicine. Laters.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)

December 04, 2003

Why I don't bother with the "official" news anymore

A new post, a new category. Hey, Christmas comes but once a year. And so does Thanksgiving. Say, have you heard the one about the fake turkey? Looks like Bush really is Hitler then!

Jesuschrist I have just one thing to say to the highly paid and Very Important Guardians of the Press:

Oh for god's sake who gives a shit will you people get a fucking life already?

Thank you.

By the way, I had the same attitude towards the people obsessed with Bill Clinton's penis and all the places it had been during the Hugest Absolute Hugest Oh No Presidents Have Ever Had Illicit Sex In the White House Before We Are Shocked Yes Shocked Scandal Ever. So you can think about something else to snark at me about. Try being a little original maybe.

And last of all, no I was not jaded about the perambulations of Billy's willy because I am all blasé about adultery; I was irritated that there were so many other worse things the Great He was up to than playing hide-the-cigar with Monica. But people went ahead and wasted valuable time trying to get him to admit "is" meant "is" when they could have been investigating more important things. Oh well, all babies have to eat, and newspapers have to sell. Whatever.

(Via a small victory.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at 06:51 PM | Comments (0)

December 03, 2003

Slow-Boiled Amphibians and Other Strange Behavior

Erm. I was always under the impression that Taiwan was a defacto independent country that most of the world (including the US) didn't recognize "officially" because they were afraid of and/or greedy for trade with Big Red China. When did this change? (Yes, I am surprised that anyone is really taking seriously -- from the point of view of what the mainland Chinese want rather than as a threat against a sovereign nation -- the usual blusterings from said large country's government over Taiwan's "bid for independance.")

In other news... I have no other news at the moment. Except that I am still carless and broke. But I went for my drug test today (my boss drove me) which was the one remaining thing I had left to do before they could start processing me to add me to their payroll. I am hoping for a little bit of a raise. Also: I'll be tweaking the site just a bit more, but I guess this look will be it for the month.

Posted by Andrea Harris at 09:32 PM | Comments (0)