Saturday, May 31, 2003

Left has no love lost
for Hillary C.
-- surprise!
Who are her funders?

Onion still funny;
for the latest reason why,
click on this link here.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Chronic deficits
result from tax-cut package;
Bushites shelve report

Here's a haiku my friend Brad came up with the other night, inspired by my telling him about the book of Rumsfeld poetry:

I said bomb Iraq
Halliburton wins contract
High fives all around

And here's another one that came to me the next day, with an added twist:

Iraqi head of
Information Ministry
still has no talk show

Friday, May 23, 2003

Harper's magazine has a nice little bit in the Readings section of their latest issue (June 2003). Titled "The Waste Land," it consists of "poems" composed by Hart Seely from statements by Donald Rumsfeld. It says they appear in Pieces of Intelligence, published this month by the Free Press (normally a very conservative publisher, by the way).

Here is one, called "Clarity":

I think what you'll find,
I think what you'll find is,
Whatever it is we do substantively,
There will be near-perfect clarity
As to what it is.

And it will be known,
And it will be known to the Congress,
And it will be known to you,
Probably before we decide it,
But it will be known.

-- February 28, 2003, Department of Defense news briefing

Beautiful, no?

Just the other day I came across another delectable quotable from the nation's poet lariat. I read it in an AP report in the NY Times, but you can still find it here on the Guardian's Web site, in a piece titled "Senate Scraps Low-Yield Nuke Weapons Ban."

The latest poem in the Secretary's oeuvre was composed at a news conference on Tuesday, May 20, as he sought to stress the difference between researching weapons and building them:

" 'It is a study. It is nothing more and nothing less,' he said. 'And it is not pursuing. And it is not developing. It is not building. It is not manufacturing. And it's not deploying. And it is not using.' ''

My God, the man is a genius!

I have long been a fan, if you can call it that, of Rumsfeld's oracular style, having even managed to work one or two of them into my comments on Czech grammar in the class I taught this past semester at NYU.

If the Iraqi Minister of Information can have his own Web site, why can't Donny R?

Here's an interesting bit I found on a blog operated by a guy named Lance Brown, who says he's running for president in 2008. I just found the site, so I can't tell yet if he means it seriously or not, but apart from his own blog, he also operates a site called PNAC Info: Exposing the Project for a New American Century.

The PNAC Info site is a must for those of us who are following the Bush administration's empire-building efforts (it just occurs to me now: isn't it funny how Bush and his team in the past so often shied away from "nation-building," but now they're charging full steam ahead on the empire-building route?).

Anyway, the piece I wish to refer you to is not about PNAC at all. It is the May 17, 2003, entry on Lance Brown's blog, titled "The Nader 2004 'threat,' and those poor, pitiful Democrats."

In it, Brown explains why he thinks Nader shouldn't run in 2004 -- not because Nader would be a spoiler, as some claim he was in Gore's run against Dubya, but because he's proven he can't win. Here's the meat of it:

"I don't think Nader should run, but it has nothing to do with the 'spoiler' potential. I don't think he should run because I think he's proven that he's unelectable, and without some revolutionary new gimmick or campaign plan he's likely to get even less votes than he did last time. I think that would be the case even without the spoiler worry, which will be much more acute this next time around. The simple truth is that Americans have had plenty of time to get to know Ralph Nader -- he probably has almost 100% name recognition -- and have decided that no way do they want him to be president. He's likely to suffer a similar fate as Harry Browne, who ran for a second time in 2000 with virtually the same method and message as in 1996, and got a lot less votes the second time around. You can't try to sell people something they didn't buy the first time, without making any major changes to it, and expect to get a better response."

Hear, hear.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Well, I've looked into the possibility of adding a Comments feature to my blog, but the current software on this site does not support it, so I'd have to add the feature with some other software slapped on top, and that is beyond my capabilities at the moment. Of course if you have something to say, you can always e-mail me using the link at left that says "E-mail Stickfinger."

Today I just want to point out that the U.S. has successfully seized control of Iraq's oil, and done so with the "blessing" of the U.N. Security Council. The issue is due to be voted on in the SC as I write this, but barring a natural catastrophe, "The oil revenues will be controlled by the United States and Britain, but the management of the new Development Fund for Iraq, which will hold these funds in the Central Bank of Iraq, will be monitored by an advisory board with representation from international financial institutions and the United Nations, which can hire auditors to examine accounts."

The above quote comes from an article in today's NY Times titled "U.S. Wins Support to End Sanctions Imposed on Iraq," by Felicity Barringer. Read it here.

As to be expected, there is no mention of any Iraqi input into, not to mention control over, the second-largest oil reserves in the world. Good thing this war wasn't fought for oil.

For a handy summary of the major issues involved, check out this page from the Web site of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

On the Eastern Euro lit front, the following news comes to me via Boris Fishman, who has assembled an anthology that he says "is best described as a book of original and selected short fiction about Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union after the collapse of communism."

The book, due out in October from Justin, Charles & Co. in Boston, is called Wild East: Stories From the Last Frontier, and here's who's in it:

Arthur Phillips (writing about Czechoslovakia)
Gary Shteyngart (Russia)
Aleksandar Hemon (Ukraine)
Paul Greenberg (Bosnia/Paris)
John Beckman (Poland)
Charlotte Hobson (Russia)
Wendell Steavenson (Georgia)
Vladimir Sorokin (Russia)
Tom Bissell (Uzbekistan)
Josip Novakovich (Croatia/Cleveland)
Thomas De Waal (Chechnya)
Miljenko Jergovic (Bosnia)

And remember: You read it at Stickfinger first.

Monday, May 19, 2003

And I suppose I would be remiss not to blog this article from yesterday's New York Times about . . . bloggers in New York City: "A New York State of Blog." (I saw a woman reading it yesterday on the L train.)

I really find it hard to believe what a mess our government, the Bush administration, is making of Iraq. But every now and then, an individual comes along whose sheer idiocy rises above the background noise of general ridiculousness. General Jay Garner is one such man.

I just read in today's New York Times that at one point -- the article doesn't specify when, and I hadn't heard about it till now -- "Mr. Garner chastised reporters for dwelling on the shortcomings of the Iraq postwar efforts, saying, "We ought to look in a mirror and get proud, and stick out our chests and suck in our bellies and say, 'Damn, we're Americans!' " "

Absolutely incredible. Thank God that guy's gone.

(By the way, in the same article, Donald Rumsfeld refers to the man who replaced Jay Garner, L. Paul Bremer III, as "Jerry." What is that all about? Looked around a little and found out that that's also how Bush referred to him when he announced Bremer's appointment. I don't know what anyone else thinks, but sounds like some stupid frat-boy nickname to me.)

Saturday, May 17, 2003

And just in case you missed it, the New York Times this week ran an article about the World's Dullest Blog, which can be found here. Says it gets about 85,000 page views a month. So he's still a ways behind me, eh?

Well. Been a while. My blogging -- and this is a good thing -- fell by the wayside in the face of the *paid* work I was doing. So this spring I translated a short story, a play, and a screenplay. I'm pretty happy about that. Now that the screenplay is done, though . . . well, I don't know.

Anyway, here's something for you. A little on the late side, but still. My nomination for Funniest Sentence Published in English in 2002:

The sentence appeared in a review of Ready, Steady, Go! The Smashing Rise and Giddy Fall of Swinging London, by Shawn Levy, in the Fall 2002 issue of Book Forum. The review was written by Geoff Dyer and (hooray!) is online. Here it is.

The sentence I am nominating is the last sentence of the review. It makes no sense unless you get the whole graf, though. The envelope, please:

"That is not the only occasion when the intervening Atlantic puts a strain on the book. Levy aspires to an argot appropriate to his subject, but his attempts to get on friendly terms with an alien idiom sometimes result in a weird hybrid. My favorite example comes when Levy discusses Ray Davies's 'Dedicated Follower of Fashion.' The song 'reached number four in the charts in early 1966, and surely some of the people who put it there were the very sorts out of whom the song was taking the piss.' How quaint, in a book about the 1960s, to find an author coming out with the sort of English up with which Winston Churchill claimed he would not put."