Tuesday, October 19, 2010

You say Muq-TAY-da, I say Muq-TAH-da

You say al-SAY-dr
I say al-SAH-dr
al SAY-dr

Wait, hold the phone. What the fedayeen is going on in Iraq? Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Mahdi Army, is once again aligned with Iraqi president Nouri al-Maliki. Yes, this is the same Iranian funded, trained and abetted group who've wrought havoc since 2003. Death squads. Kidnappings. Car bombings. I.E.D.s. Killing coalition troops. You know what they say about friends like that...

I'm aware that the ongoing war against the global caliphate is a "fluid" affair, but some aspects are entirely unpalatable. There were no pacts with the Waffen SS or kamikazes during the last world war; why they're required in this one confounds me. Total war, total victory.

When our chum al-Sadr returns from Qom, he should be wisked aboard a C-17, flown to Andrews and escorted to Arlington. He can then visit the graves of  every last American soldier he's slain. That's to say, if he's able to properly locate them. Just how reprehensibly heartless are we to those watching our walls? Between this and the treatment afforded our returning wounded, it should be our National Shame. As an aside, if this is how government directs healthcare, I want no part of ObamaCare.

"The Ninth Gate" didn't receive nearly the acclaim it deserves. I'm no Polanski connoisseur, but this gumshoe noir-meets-"The Omen" offering is one of my favorites. It makes me ponder a sequel, as is my way. "The Tenth Gate", perhaps? Horrid. Without further ado, I now bring you the 10 worst sequel titles of all-time (with a little embellishment for good measure):

10. "Grumpier Old Men"
9. "Ishtar II: The Reckoning"
8. "Speed 2: Cruise Control"
7. "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde"
6. "Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever: 2: The Reckoning"
5. "The Reckoning. From Justin to Kelly"
4. "2 Fast 2 Furious"
3. "Feardotcom: Layer 2" (this one's for the OSI model afficianados)
2. "Plan 10 From Outer Space"
1. "I Still Maintain That I'm Well Aware of Your Actions and Their Subsequent Consequences Last Summer"

Speaking of gumshoes, is there a program on television any finer than HBO's "Bored To Death"? It is brilliance in Brooklyn, and the rapports between Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis are equal parts wackiness and warmth. Unlikely friendships can also be the best, after all, and not many shows leave you laughing hysterically one moment and tearing up the next.

As for the rest of my Sunday evenings, the dialog in "Boardwalk Empire" is daring and the cast superb. Just south of the border, Kenny Powers' redemption continues to unfold - and implode - in "Eastbound and Down". My only lament is the absence of "Rome". I can't help but wonder what horizons await Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo.

Word of The Week: Gluttony
glut-ton-y:[gluht-n-ee] - noun
Origin: 1175-1225; ME glotonie, glutonie
Definition: Drinking an entire ramiken of crème brulée before placing it in the refrigerator to cool
I was reading the April 12th New York Post (don't ask) and came across a little blurb by correspondent S.A. Miller. In it, Hillary Clinton referred to a new U.S. policy regarding the restriction of use of atomic weapons against non-nuclear states who are in compliance with the NN-PT. Isn't that like being the only gunfighter at a knife fight, getting stabbed and then trudging off in defeat? Don't get me wrong, there's something to be said for stoic, Gary Cooper-esque restraint (especially when it comes to thermonuclear weapons), but not at the expense of one's life. Why remove the deterrent?

If there's a better pitcher than Cliff Lee right now, my name is Oliver Perez. It's astounding to think that without the bullpen meltdown in Game 1, the Rangers could be on the verge of sweeping the team whose name shall never be mentioned here, ever. It's another long winter in Queens, but if Texas G.M. Jon Daniels' mom has any say about it, spring may come a little sooner than expected.

In other pan-Islamic news, Hamas has kindly given their approval for the Ground Zero mosque (the church and temple near the Ka'aba must have met some construction delays). Osama bin Laden is not only alive, he's comfortable. One can only hope that The Great Satan has special operations well underway inside Pakistan, in conjunction with the ongoing missile and drone strikes. It does make me wonder, however: how did the people whose federation represented the innate and eternal liberty of mankind come to embody its ultimate personification of evil?

Past is indeed prologue. In fact, cassette tapes are the new vinyl. I'd recently retrieved mine from my old garage and I've had a blast giving them a listen. You would have thought I'd asked the stupefied Target employee for a Beta player, though.

It amazes me how quickly and clearly musical the memories return. The black tape with a torn label? I instantly remembered it was Erasure's "Chorus" album. The white one with faded writing, "Rock Around The Clock" by Telex. I even found a collection old demos I'd written, recorded and will gladly share here. With enough cajoling, of course.