Thursday, June 30, 2005

Freddie Ljungberg

Freddie Ljungberg, of Arsenal, is one of my fave soccer players. He is also the international model for Calvin Klein Underwear.

Ljungberg and Arsenal start their season in seven weeks! Go Arsenal!

Dick Mac Recommends:

Arsenal - 501 Goals
Arsenal FC

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Thirty Lines To Make You Smile (or Frown)

1. A couple I know divorced over religious differences. He thought he was God and she didn't agree.

2. I don't suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it.

3. I work hard because millions of millionaires depend on me!

4. Some people are alive only because it's illegal to kill them.

5. I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

6. Don't take life too seriously -- no one gets out alive.

7. You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me.

8. Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

9. Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.

10. I'm not a complete idiot -- some parts are missing.

11. Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.

12. NyQuil, the stuffy, sneezy, why-the-heck-is-the-room-spinning medicine.

13. God must love stupid people. He made so many.

14. The gene pool could use a little deepening.

15. Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.

16. Ever stop to think, and forget to start again?

17. Being "over the hill" is much better than being under it!

18. Wrinkled Was Not One of the Things I Wanted to Be When I Grew up.

19. Procrastinate Now!

20. I Have a Degree in Liberal Arts. Do You Want Fries With That?

21. A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

22. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance.

23. Stupidity is not a handicap. Park elsewhere!

24. They call it PMS because MadCow Disease was already taken.

25. He who dies with the most toys is dead.

26. A picture is worth a thousand words, but it uses up three thousand times the RAM.

27. Ham and eggs. A day's work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig.

28. The trouble with life is there's no background music.

29. The original point and click interface was a Smith and Wesson.

30. I smile because I don't know what the hell is going on.

Thanks to Dave for sending this along!

Dick Mac Recommends:

Powaqqatsi - Life in Transformation
Godfrey Reggio

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Turn Blue

Lyrics by Iggy Pop and Walter Lacey
Music by David Bowie and Warren Peace

(all information and lyrics reprinted without permission)

See a black Eldorado
Aw, rolling along down below my window
That black girl in the back looks pretty good
Christ! She's beautiful
You know how soft she is
I don't know what it feels like
I'm so far away from her

Jesus, this is Iggy

You, you might as well come with me
Then you ride, you ride
There's talk, and I don't wanna talk

Oh Momma: I shot myself down
Oh Momma: I shot myself down
Oh Momma: I shot myself down
Oh Momma
Oh Momma
Did I tell you?
I shot myself down
And they're stepping on our hearts (stepping on our hearts)
Stepping on our hearts
I don't know why
They're stepping on our hearts (stepping on our hearts)
Stepping on our hearts
Damn, I don't know why
They're stepping on our hearts
Stepping on our hearts
Stepping on our hearts
Stepping on our hearts
Stepping on our hearts
Stepping on our hearts
Can't you see?
Stepping on our hearts

How come the blacks
How come they come to you so good?
They get off on you so sexually

If you wanna make it . . .
Young man gotta make somebody come
Come out of you black
Come out of you black, black and strong
Black, black and strong
Black and strong

Jesus it's cold in this room

You know I never, I never told you about this
But there's one guy, somebody I really love
He's never around
He's always taking take things that could be alright, that could be nice
And makes them so ugly, so damned ugly
And we put out the lights on them
We make it dark, we put out the lights!
On them

It's idiots like you that screw me up
I know there's nothing to you
And I don't know why I treat you so kind
Come down and dance with me, dance with me
You got nobody left but me
Accept me
Don't reject me
Don't forget me

Momma: what color will the lights be?
Will they turn blue on me?
Momma: what color will the lights be?
(Will they turn blue on me?) Will they turn blue on me?
Momma (will they turn blue on me)

I shot myself up
Oh Momma I shot myself (up, up, up, up, up, up) Momma
I shot myself up [up, up, up, up, up] Momma

I shot myself up
Down up down, my Momma
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh Momma

I didn't know what I was doing
I didn't mean to
But I did
Momma I shot myself


Originally released by RCA (September 1977) on Iggy Pop's album Lust For Life

Produced by David Bowie

Iggy Pop lead vocals
Hunt Sales drums, vocals
Tony Sales bass, vocals
Carlos Alomar guitars, vocals
Ricky Gardiner guitars, vocals
David Bowie piano, vocals

Dick Mac Recommends:

Lust for Life
Iggy Pop

Monday, June 27, 2005

Poor Oprah!

How humiliating!

This experience must be right up there with losing your job, having your wife lose her job, falling behind on your mortgage payments, feeding your children from food pantries, collecting a meager unemployment benefit (on which you will owe taxes), working odd-jobs for cash to try and get ahead, becoming homeless, living out of your car, moving to a family services shelter, being told you are not yet qualified for welfare or food stamps or subsidized housing, turning to day labor, being told by the government that they will give you work, being bused scores of miles to stock shelves at Wal-Mart or wash dishes at Dick Clark's Family Restaurant for minimum wage, then listening to the horror stories of your wife and children trying to survive in a run-down motel designated a shelter by the local government.

Oprah must have had a terrible day like that in Paris on June 14, 2005. Which experience led her close friend, Gayle King, to say to the media:
"Oprah describes it herself as one of the most humiliating moments of her life."

What did the evil Parisians do to Ms. Winfrey? My goodness! Since Ms. Winfrey pretends to be so socially aware and politically astute, the French must have done something remarkably untoward. What could they have done? Stupie Bush better send in the Marines, because we can't have one of our multi-millionaires abused by the French!

Poor Oprah!

The humiliating experience Ms. Winfrey suffered, one that ranks with having no health care for your children, attempting to terminate a pregnancy, or begging money from your family, is heinous. It crushed her very being, I'm certain.

Believe it or not, Hermes, the exclusive boutique chain that sells medium-quality products splashed with logos, had the audacity to refuse her entry to their boutique at Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore after the store had closed and while they were preparing the space for a private party scheduled for later that evening.

Can you imagine a greater humiliation than being refused entry to a retail outlet after it has closed for the day?

Though Ms. Winfrey hasn't accused Hermes of racism, her friend suggests
If it had been Celine Dion or Britney Spears or Barbra Streisand, there is no way they would not be let in that store.

Well, all of those women are world-renown (for better or worse) entertainers whose reputations proceed them everywhere in the world. Ms. Winfrey is an American daytime talk show host. Europeans probably couldn't be bothered with her: she is dull!

So, according to her friend, Ms. Winfrey really IS saying she was refused entry because she is a black woman.

As an American black woman I am certain she has experienced this sort of racism. America is rife with the insidiousness of corporate racism. The French aren't without their problems of racism, but they are more sophisticated than Americans, and anyone who has spent any time in Paris knows that there is more integration in Paris establishments than in any American city, including New York and Los Angeles.

Ms. Winfrey needs to frame it as racism, because she can't accept that nobody in Paris has a clue who she is, nor do they care two-merdes about daytime talk show hacks from the United States (I am surprised Americans care about them, but that's a different post).

Rich people and stars often get exclusive access to boutiques. It's not uncommon. Generally, however, they make arrangements.

Did Ms. Winfrey call the store earlier in the day to confirm an appointment? Anyone with a lot of money and a modicum of fame can call any boutique anywhere in the world and say they need an hour to shop after closing. If you are spending, and you give management a heads-up, you will be accommodated. If you waltz around the world acting as if you should be catered to at every moment, most service industry people will ignore you. Just ask Madonna or Naomi Campbell! They have both acted-out at high-end boutiques after arriving after-hours and being refused admittance. You act like an ass and you get treated like an ass, no matter how rich and famous you are. It takes little effort to be accommodated in a big city anywhere in the world.

Hell, I'm not wealthy and Sak's Fifth Avenue's flagship store in Midtown Manhattan stayed open almost an hour for me and my wife (then my fiancee) to shop. Why? We were pleasant, friendly, grateful and spending! They let us shop as the lights were dimmed and the doors locked and they were really nice to us. They showed us a secret exit and they treated us with the dignity we treated them.

I would have loved to have been a fly on the door when Ms. Winfrey started acting all indignant and asinine and demanding service.

But, then . . . wait! According to a story at The Bosh
A reader tells that Oprah was in the limo and a representative came to the door and did not identify the client as Oprah, she was never spotted and never mentioned.

"The limo driver said an American journalist wanted to come in the store to shop. The store had been closed for 45 minutes and the security policy is no one is to enter the store after hours. . . .

Journalist!?!? Hah! Yeah, me too: journalist! Winfrey is a hack! On top of that, the Hermes staff didn't even know it was the famous and important journalistic giant: Oprah Winfrey!

This is not an incident of racism, it's an incident of famous person stupidity. This is a confusion created by the over-inflated ego of an ass!

There is no controversy here! Oprah Winfrey is an ass! That's the whole story!

By the way, Ms. Winfrey: now that you are boycotting Hermes, maybe you can send 10% of your $225,000,000 earnings from 2004 to a homeless shelter or a food pantry.

Oh, I forget, you're rich and an ass! Never mind! Keep your money. You deserve to be miserable for the rest of your life with it.


E online! article at Yahoo!

Dick Mac Recommends:

Behind the Gates
Setha Low

Friday, June 24, 2005

John and Timothy Rigas

John Rigas, the former CEO of Adelphia Communications, was convicted of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from the company and defrauding shareholders by hiding debt. His sentence was 15 years out of a possible 215 years to which he was legally entitled. His son, Timothy, was also convicted and he was sentenced to twenty years.

My friends at The Rabbi Report expressed my concerns succinctly:

"So let me get this straight...two rich, white guys who defrauded a publically-traded company out of hundreds of millions of dollars, thereby bankrupting it, received 15 and 20 years, while prisons are full of black and Latino men and women doing 20-to-life for low-level drug deals?"

Our drug laws throughout the nation, but especially in New York, are too severe, while the corporate laws in all fifty states are embarrassingly lax.

Corporate criminals live for a couple years in federal prisons that are slightly more pleasant than the summer camps we were sent to, and inner-city single mothers who need a few extra bucks to make ends meet are sentenced for the rest of their lives to high-security penitentiaries, their children are taken away from them, and if they get out alive they can never get a decent job because of a low-level drug conviction that is deemed a felony.

What kind of nation has this become?

I know the corporate fundamentalists, and their apologists the born-again Christians, will explain that drugs are destroying the soul of America; but corporate thieves are stealing the soul of America and branded heroes of free enterprise.

The Rigas family is an embarrassment to freedom, patriotism, and liberty. The judicial system that gives them such lenient sentences is YOUR justice system. It reflects who YOU are. Only YOU can change the laws. Start by calling your elected officials and telling them you want harsher penalties for corporate thieves, and softer sentences for low-level drug offenders.

I have called all my elected officials and told them I want the laws changed.

We are each responsible for this. Do you have a shred of decency? Do you have the balls or ovaries to call the government and express dissent? If you won't call and demand change, who will?

See The Rabbi Report article here.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Lessons from Deregulation
Alfred E. Kahn

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Flag-Burning Amendment

I do not think the burning of flags is an effective communications tool. I think it's silly, it says nothing, it is meaningless. Because the flag represents so many disparate things, burning it in anger over one issue only makes you look like an ass when you try to explain that you aren't against the other things it represents.

Still, people burn flags to make some point or another; and though I do not agree with them, I think they should have the right to express themselves this way. That's what free speech is about, that is its beauty.

We have a bit of a flag-fetish in America. At some point, our greatness stopped being expressed by our national pride and our overall democratic sophistication, and came to be represented by a piece of cloth dyed and stitched in a particular manner.

I've never understood the flag-fetish, except to surmise that people don't want to look at the real issues that make a nation great (like liberty, freedom, development, infrastructure, employment, health, education, and all those other inconveniences), they would rather just glorify a symbol and pretend everything else is just fine. If the flag is flying high then we needn't worry about twenty million children without health care.

Americans can't be bothered with thoughtful analysis. Thinking was first co-opted by television, and now more frighteningly, by fundamentalists pretending they are Christians and presenting biblical fairy tales as actual facts. Why think when you can just knee-jerk react? Symbolism is very helpful when you don't want to think.

One of this week's topics in the House of Representatives is a proposed Constitutional amendment (H.J. Res 10.) that would criminalize desecration of the United States flag, and reads rather simply:
"The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."

As with all amendments, it must be approved by two-thirds of the Senate and two-thirds of the House, then it must be codified into law by 38 states within seven years.

I think amendments about symbolism are a bad idea, especially when you consider that an actual amendment of substance, the Equal Rights Amendment, failed to meet this criteria, and taxpaying American women are not guaranteed equal protection under a single national law. A bit of an embarrassment for thinking people.

Similar flag-fetish amendments have passed in the House, but none have ever passed in the Senate. However, now that the corporate fundamentalists have a clear Senate majority (and 65 definite votes of 67 needed), the amendment might actually pass Congress and go to the states.

The same states that refused to grant women equal protection under the law will probably provide more dignity to dyed and stitched fabric than they do to their mothers, daughters, wives, and sisters. This is in keeping with the stupidity of the wrong-wing.

Why work for real change when you can just wave a flag and accuse your dissenters of being unpatriotic?

The passage of this amendment would be a mistake. It would divert what few resources the corporate fundamentalists have left remaining in the government away from the needy and into political witch hunts where those who desecrate a flag in protest of globalization or war will be imprisoned, and those who affix a cross or POW-MIA or a picture of an aborted fetus to the same flag will be left to desecrate as they choose.

The billionaire corporate fundamentalists have raped our treasury for their own profit, and now they want us to spend tax dollars protecting dyed and stitched fabric instead of providing food, shelter, and medical care to American children.

Man! Priorities are really screwed-up, and it isn't the liberals screwing things up.

Passage of this amendment is a bad idea. Please contact your representative and beg him or her to oppose H.J. Res 10.


Find your Representative in the House.

Find your Senators.

Dick Mac Recommends:

What's the Matter with Kansas?
Thomas Frank

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Who's On Word?

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: Thanks. I'm setting up an office in my den, and I'm thinking about buying a computer.


COSTELLO: No, the names Lou.

ABBOTT: Your computer?

COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.


COSTELLO: I told you, my names Lou.

ABBOTT: What about Windows?

COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?

ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with windows?

COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look in the windows?

ABBOTT: Wallpaper.

COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT: Software for windows?

COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What have you got?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT: I just did.

COSTELLO: You just did what?

ABBOTT: Recommend something.

COSTELLO: You recommended something?


COSTELLO: For my office?


COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!

ABBOTT: I recommend office with windows.

COSTELLO: I already have an office and it has windows! OK, lets just say, I'm sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?


COSTELLO: What word?

ABBOTT: Word in Office.

COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.

ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?

ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue "W."

COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue "w" if you don't start with some straight answers. OK, forget that. Can I watch movies on the Internet?

ABBOTT: Yes, you want Real One.

COSTELLO: Maybe a real one, maybe a cartoon. What I watch is none of your business. Just tell me what I need!

ABBOTT: Real One.

COSTELLO: If its a long movie I also want to see reel 2, 3 and 4. Can I watch them?

ABBOTT: Of course.

COSTELLO: Great, with what?

ABBOTT: Real One.

COSTELLO; OK, I'm at my computer and I want to watch a movie. What do I do?

ABBOTT: You click the blue "1."

COSTELLO: I click the blue one what?

ABBOTT: The blue "1."

COSTELLO: Is that different from the blue "W"?

ABBOTT: The blue 1 is Real One and the blue W is Word.

COSTELLO: What word?

ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO: But there's three words in "office for windows"!

ABBOTT: No, just one. but its the most popular Word in the world.


ABBOTT: Yes, but to be fair, there aren't many other Words left. It Pretty much wiped out all the other Words.

COSTELLO: And that word is real one?

ABBOTT: Real One has nothing to do with Word. Real One isn't even Part of Office.

COSTELLO: Stop! Don't start that again. What about financial bookkeeping you have anything I can track my money with?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?

ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.

COSTELLO: What's bundled to my computer?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?

ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.

COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?

ABBOTT: One copy.

COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?

ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy money.

COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?


(later that same day)

COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off??

ABBOTT: Click on "START"..........

Thanks to BobO for sending this along.

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Abbott & Costello Show

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Downing Street Memo

The wrong-wing and the corporate fundamentalists are remarkably consistent: they lie perpetually. They never stop, and when presented with facts that prove they are lying they say: "So what!"

The Downing Street memo is being ignored by the perpetrators of this century's greatest scandal: the leader of the free world lying to his constituency to grab the natural resources of another land.

It never ceases to amaze me that the stupies pretend the Downing Street Memo is irrelevant and that the corporate fundamentalists should just continue their plan of eliminating democracy, republicanism, capitalism and liberty.

The Downing Street Memo site
. . . is intended as a resource for anyone who wants to understand the meaning and context of these documents as they relate to the Bush administration's case for war.

On the site, a so-called conservative writes:
I wish it was possible on a wider scale to have calm, intelligent discussions about the important issues. The conflict in Iraq is very painful to all of us. My son is serving in Iraq at the present time and I trust he will come hope safely.

I am heartened that idiots who vote for the wrong-wing and support Bush are sending their children to die for Bush's oil futures ('cause they ain't dying for our Republic or liberty or justice for anyone)! I hope your son returns alive; but as long as parents like you send their babies to die in Iraq, the war will continue. When the war ends, however it ends, no good will come of it for American taxpayers.

Go ahead, stupies, keep voting like you have a millionaire's wallet. Just keep my family out of your immoral wars! Send your children to be slaughtered, but not mine!

Dick Mac Recommends:

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Craig Unger

Monday, June 20, 2005


As stated at its site: "PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail-in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard."

I like these:

I have not sent a secret to PostSecret. But I might.

Will you?

Visit PostSecret

Dick Mac Recommends:

Johnny Rivers
Johnny Rivers

Friday, June 17, 2005

A True Hero: Jose LeGrand

OK, I can't say much about this because I start to cry.

This guy, Jose LeGrand, his wife and two kids are driving the Pulaski Skyway, in New Jersey. He notices a car ahead driving erratically. As he passes to get away from the situation, he sees only a little girl strapped into the passenger seat, and the car speeding out of control. Something has happened to the driver and the little girl is screaming. He pulls in front of it, risks the lives of his family, allows the runaway car to ram him, and brings the car to a stop. He gets out of his car to put the runaway car in park but a bus is barreling down on him. He jumps back in his car and speeds away. The runaway car, unnavigated, follows behind as the bus swerves and misses them all by ten feet. A second time he allows the runaway car to plow into his rear-end and he gets out and puts that car in park. The police arrive and everybody is saved.

Jose LeGrand deserves a medal and a new home and a trip around the world and a gazillion dollars.

Here is a man who deserves all the best in life!

He's a hero!

Skyway Hero Tells His Tale
(reprinted here without permission)
On the Pulaski Skyway, a hero was born on Memorial Day as a speeding, out-of-control car carried an 8-year-old girl to nearly certain death.

"Alright, my name is Peter Oliver. I work...1 and 9 North, Pulaski Skyway, it's a Mercedes Benz, he over, he keeps riding against the walls," Oliver said on his call to 911.

Joseph Balagot, 43, of Union, was dying of a heart attack. His 8-year-old daughter, Reiko, was frantic in the front passenger seat, and their car was barreling northbound up the Skyway at speeds approaching 55 miles an hour.

Trailing behind was New Yorker Jose LeGrand and his wife Maria with their children, thinking they were following a drunk driver.

"I told her I'm going to try to get around the car in case he does crash. As I'm pulling alongside parallel to him, that's when I noticed a 7- or 8-year-old girl in the passenger seat strapped in, screaming frantically with a cell phone," LeGrand said.

That would be Reiko, being brought to her mother's home in Jersey City after a weekend with her father.

Maria also phoned 911.

"I was hysterical. I was saying, 'Please, get someone here quick. There's a little girl in the car and I think she's going to be hit by a car,' and I was crying and I said, 'Please, hurry up, hurry up,'" Maria said.

Then Jose did something that most likely saved little Reiko's life. He pulled ahead with his two children inside.

"I'm about five or six cars in front of him, and that's when it dawned on me. We basically got a runaway car with a little girl in it, and that's when it kind of hit me and I said, 'My God, what is this little girl going to do with the vehicle now?' And that's when I told my wife we're going to have to try to stop this vehicle," Jose said.

LeGrand told his family to hang on, and in a split second, he used his 1995 Ford Expedition to stop a Mercedes Benz, letting it hit his rear bumper.

"I basically, as soon as I let him hit me in the back, I threw my car into neutral and let him push for a couple of seconds, then I threw my car into low and slowly braked my vehicle until we came to a complete stop," LeGrand said.

Then he told 911 the following: "There's a disabled car, a man just had a heart attack. There's a little girl in the car, there's traffic everywhere. I had to get in front of him to slow him down. I've got to get a cop car. I've got to get an ambulance."

"Calm down, we'll get you everything you need," the 911 operator replied.

"I'm afraid they're going to plow into him, and he has a little girl in the front," LeGrand told the operator.

They had just come around a big bend on the Pulaski Skyway, successfully stopping a speeding car, but now they worried about being rear-ended by other traffic.

Still, LeGrand jumped out to find out what had really happened.

"At that moment, my wife screams out there's a bus coming behind us doing probably 70 miles an hour in our lane," LeGrand said. "I turned around and said, 'Oh my God, the bus is coming."

"At that point, my main concern now was to get my vehicle out of the way with my family," Maria LeGrand said. "So, I immediately ran inside the truck and Jose was running alongside and he said, 'Maria, I'm going to move the car.'"

"I ran back to my car, threw my car into drive and floored it as much as I could," Jose LeGrand said, and said he was thinking, 'Oh my God, we're going to die.'"

"At that point, my wife is still looking out the back of our truck and screaming, 'We're not going to make it, that the bus is definitely going to plow into all of us.' I just closed my eyes and then the next thing the bus moved," LeGrand said.

"At the last second, all I remember was seeing this blur go past me in the right lane. It missed us by almost 10, 15 feet at the most," Maria said.

LeGrand had never been able to put the damaged car in park the first time, so as he got out of his SUV after his narrow escape with that speeding bus, they faced death again.

"I turn back and I yell to my wife, 'My God, the car is coming at us again,' because I never got a chance to put the car into park. I jump into the truck, threw it back in drive, and basically had to let him hit me all over again," LeGrand said.

"There's no doubt in my mind that he saved a girl's life. Without his action, she probably would have perished on the Skyway," Maria LeGrand said.

Kearny police officer Leroy Bibbs was the first uniformed officer to arrive on the scene, preceded by off-duty Jersey City cops, all in awe of LeGrand, a hospital executive who lives in Inwood and works in Brooklyn.

The damage to his bumper was minimal, and a hitching post stopped the smaller car.

So what would possess LeGrand to risk his family to save another?

"I think one of the reasons that I did that was due to the fact that I had my kids in the car, and seeing that poor girl in the other vehicle with no one steering the car at 55 miles an hour, I just couldn't let that car continue to go on like that," LeGrand said.

The Skyway is not a road to be taken lightly, according to Bibbs.

"I think it's one of the most dangerous roads in New Jersey, if not the country," Bibbs said. "I never go on the skyway unless I have to."

And how does a six-year-old girl see her father and mother after a harrowing ride on this most dangerous of roads?

She described her dad in one word: "Hero."

Hero On The Skyway Tells His Tale to

Dick Mac Recommends:

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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Wrong-Wing is Wrong Again: Schiavo Autopsy

The wrong-wingers enjoyed an orgy of bloodlust over the tragic passing of Terry Schiavo back in March, 2005.

Elected representatives from stupie states were jerking-off microphones as quickly as they could wipe the slime off their hands from the last microphone they'd gotten off.

Fundamentalist ministers were accusing Schiavo's bedraggled, long-suffering husband of being a murderer. Not one of these so-called christians ever mentioned the pain of losing his wife or the difficulty of letting-go of someone you love.

Schiavo's parents jumped aboard the bandwagon and begged America to save their daughter, whom they insisted was in a recoverable state. Was it their minister who told them that? Their lawyers? Because no reputable doctors ever would!

The corporate fundamentalists, all the way to Stupie Bush himself, had a magnificent media frenzy that convinced American stupies throughout the South that evil liberals were lying again and trying to murder this poor, innocent girl.

Funny, that! It seems the liberals don't lie about this stuff, but the corporate fundamentalists always do. They lie about death and murder and war and sex more than any other collection of idiots Americans must suffer.

Yup! The wrong-wingers were lying. Just like they always lie. They lie about taxes and education and health care and personal responsibility and the role of government and the regulation of industry and the need to go to war. They lie about all of it, all the time; and now science (evil liberal science) proves that they all lied about Terry Schiavo.

They lie for one reason: profit. They cloak themselves in the flag and the christus and demand that they are telling the truth as they lie through their teeth and they never apologize or admit their lies. Ever. They whip the stupies into a frenzy and collect donations for their own profit. Some stupies even tithe to these evil scum!

The wrong-wing is perpetually wrong. They are always wrong. They constantly lie and now they will lie about this new evidence in the Schiavo case. They will say that man cannot override God's will and that God told them to save Terry Schiavo (probably in the same conversation he told them to invade Iraq). They will lie to prove they are not liars.

The autopsy released Wednesday on Terri Schiavo backed her husband's contention that she was in a persistent vegetative state, finding she was severely and irreversibly brain-damaged and blind as well. It also found no evidence that she was strangled or otherwise abused before she collapsed.
Optimum Online article from AP

The autopsy showed that Schiavo's brain had shrunk to about half the normal size for a woman her age and that it bore signs of severe damage.

"This damage was irreversible, and no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons," said Pinellas-Pasco County Medical Examiner Dr. Jon Thogmartin, who led the autopsy team. He also said she was blind, because the "vision centers of her brain were dead."

George Felos, attorney for Michael Schiavo, said the findings back up their contentions made "for years and years" that Terri Schiavo had no hope of recovery. He said Michael Schiavo plans to release autopsy photographs of her shrunken brain.

"Mr. Schiavo has received so much criticism throughout this case that I'm certain there's a part of him that was pleased to hear these results and the hard science behind them," Felos said.
Associated Press article at Yahoo!

As thinking people knew from the preponderance of evidence presented by medical doctors and a loving husband, this women had no hope of recovery and keeping her alive in this state served no purpose except as a political sideshow for a load of wrong-wing buffoons who needed her as entertainment for the American stupies.

I hope all the wrong-wingers had a real treat with it.

As a thinking person, I found the behavior of the wrong-wingers to be disgusting, deplorable, wholly unAmerican, unChristian, and as always: WRONG!

I hope all the asses who fought against the desires of Terri Schiavo's husband are begging God for forgiveness; but, more likely, they are drinking and consuming their way to the next fundamentalist orgy of media manipulation when they can say they are right because God says so and the liberals are wrong because we use science and analysis to prove our points, instead of listening to the voices they hear.

Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Problem Of Pain
by C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Wrong Wing is Making a Final Thrust to Kill PBS & NPR

People for the American Way has issued a call to arms to all those who remember when America was great, not just powerful.

Between the 1930s and the 1980s, America became the greatest nation in the world. We fed the hungry and clothed the naked and housed the homeless and taught the illiterate. We promoted dialog and creativity and dignity. Everyone was given a voice at all times. We were a great nation.

After the Reagan Reaction, the wrong-wing, cloaking themselves in the flag and the christus, convinced the stupies that it was against there best interest to protect workers, promote free-thought, educate children, and help the needy. That what the stupies really needed was unlimited credit, deregulated industry, and to pay more taxes (just declare bankruptcy, when it's convenient, because the liberals will always pay the way of the stupid). The stupies bought it all, so they pay more taxes for less services. They get less for more and don't even realize it (well, they're stupid)!

That is all fine: stupies deserve this.

Thinking people, however, do not deserve this; but, the current American president and the corporate fundamentalists who back him want to keep more tax dollars for themselves by eliminating all funding for public broadcasting.

This is very sad. America has been well-served by public broadcasting. It's demise is a sin, because it is being destroyed by avarice. Stupies won't get a tax break when public broadcasting vanishes, but the rich will get more tax dollars given to subsidize their affluent lives.

PBS and NPR changed the world and put America on the map, competing with the other great societies of Western civilization, by becoming houses of intellectual insight and thoughtful analysis. The stupies never got it (well, they are stupid), and they have always resented Sesame Street and All Things Considered, because those shows promote open-mindedness and acceptance -- even of stupid people.

We must try to save public broadcasting. Please take action by contacting your elected officials in Washington, or simply going to the PFAW site.

Click here to go to the People For The American Way website and send a message to your elected officials begging them to save public broadcasting.

Who needs Elmo and Big Bird when you can get KKKarl Rove and Stupie Bush for a few billion more?

Let's turn the stupies back to their pew and leave journalism to those who actually use their God-given brains.

Save PBS and NPR.

Dick Mac Recommends:

What's the Matter with Kansas?
Thomas Frank

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Child Star Tragedies and the Rape of a Justice System

When Buffy was found in the gutter, her body ravaged by more drugs than the coroner had ever seen in one person's body, I heard my first lesson about the tragedy of child stars. How many of them lead miserable adult lives because they hadn't time to mature and learn to live life.

This doesn't happen to all child stars, of course, but it happens a lot.

Michael Jackson has been a scary adult. His elective disfigurement and his whispery voice and his near-infintile behavior are really unpleasant. Though he has done enormous good for many, many children, he has always creeped me out.

When the Boston Sex Scandal hit the press in the late 1970s, I learned my first lessons about trial by media. The D.A. needed a re-election campaign boost and he arrested a bunch of men, many homosexuals, some teachers, all with some connection to kids. He issued press release after press conference after press release and his efforts to convict these men (most of whom were strangers to one another)as a sex-ring failed.

Whenever a prosecutor calls a piece of scum in the media to leak details of a case, I know the prosecutor has no case; and I know that member of the media is a piece of scum.

Yesterday, a jury of his peers, acquitted Michael Jackson of ten counts related to abuse of a child. This is a victory for the American justice system.

I hope that you will consider the actions of the scum at CourtTV who enabled this case by leaking every tidbit the prosecutor handed them in hopes of furthering their own careers. These people are an embarrassment to American journalism and an impediment to jurisprudence.

If you have CourtTV on your cable box, please consider blocking it and letting your satellite or cable-provider know you do not want that crap beamed into your house.

More often than not, American justice will prevail when the wheels are allowed to turn without grease and pressure from opportunists attempting to hijack our Constitution for their own profit.

Congratulations Michael Jackson!

(And shame on you CourtTV!)

Dick Mac Recommends:

Michael Jackson

Monday, June 13, 2005

American Taliban

"I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good...Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty, we are called by God to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism."

"Our goal must be simple. We must have a Christian nation built on God's law, on the ten Commandments. No apologies."

"I don't think Christians should use birth control. You consummate your marriage as often as you like -- and if you have babies, you have babies."

"When I, or people like me, are running the country, you'd better flee, because we will find you, we will try you, and we'll execute you. I mean every word of it. I will make it part of my mission to see to it that they are tried and executed."

"There is going to be war, [and Christians may be called to] take up the sword to overthrow the tyrannical regime that oppresses them."

Randall Terry
(Operation Rescue)

Now, that, my friends is lovely, just lovely, isn't it!?!?!?! Is this what Christ taught us?

Intolerance and hatred are the ways of the American christian/corporate fundamentalist. They claim the opposite, of course, and blame thinking people for persecuting their stupidity. They say that only God can judge; but they constantly judge those different from them. They are so blinded by bigotry, and unable to wipe the jaysus from their eyes, that they think men like Randall Terry are good people carrying Christ's message of hope!

These people are bad people. They preach violence and terror. They forget that previously to 9-11-2001 all terrorism perpetrated on US soil was by American fundamentalists: Oklahoma City, The Olympics, bombings of gay bars and health clinics, and the killings of medical doctors were all crimes committed by US citizens stoned out of their mind on American fundamentalism, a movement that preaches death for those that disagree.

How do they retain their power? The Republican Party (which is anti-Republic and should now be called the Empire Party) accepts money from these ghouls and changes laws to empower them. On top of that, the Democratic Party (which hardly supports democracy and should be called the Banking Party), stands-by afraid to speak-out against them because they don't want to lose their power by alienating the zombies who vote Republican.

Read this and many other lovely quotes from the American fundamentalist movement at the American Taliban site.

I leave you with this message of love from Dr. Bailey Smith, a christian minister preaching real evangelism:
"With all due respect to those dear people, my friend, God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew."

Spread the word and speak out against these bad, unAmerican people.

Thanks to Diane for sending this along.

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Separation of Church and State
by Forrest Church

Friday, June 10, 2005

New Jersey Assemblyman Wants NHL Team To Change Monicker

Assemblyman Craig Stanley (Baptist-Irvington), in an effort to insert his religious fears and obsessions into the lives of all New Jersey citizens, is demanding that the New Jersey Devils NHL franchise change their nickname and mascot before moving into their new facility at Newark.

The NHL barely exists anymore. The billionaires fought with the millionaires over pennies and shut down the sport. ESPN announced that every truck-pull, billiards match, darts competition, body-building contest, and cheerleading exhibition inserted into the NHL time slots attracted more viewers than every single hockey game ever aired by them!

So, this might actually be a moot point. There may be no need to change the Devils' name, because there may be no NHL; but that's not really the point.

I get the whole movement behind removing aboriginal imagery from sports. Redskins, Chiefs, Redmen, Braves, Indians, and others are as bad as naming your team Niggers, Kikes, Wops, or Krauts. The social movement that begs the elimination of racist names is a noble movement. Ted Turner and the other owners of teams using those names will rot in hell for it.

But this notion that to use a completely fabricated notion, a fairy tale like the devil, is somehow detrimental to society is absurd.

Craig Stanley is an elected official from one of the most decrepit, dangerous areas of New Jersey. Just look at these Irvington statistics compared to the national average. I think he might find more important issues to address than the fairy-tale monicker of a team from a barely-existent sports league.

This is typical phony christian bull! If you wave enough flags of hysteria and idiocy, the people are whipped into a fervor. This helps them ignore the real problems like a savage economy, workers rights, dignity and justice for all, and hypocritical christians ruining our once-great nation.

You can contact Craig Stanley at his site: Assemblyman Craig A. Stanley (D)

He will only respond to New Jersey citizens, so I hope you will contact him if you live in the Garden State.

An excellent piece at The People's Republic of Seabrook

Leaning Toward The Dark Side's view

Here is the Associated Press report:
Devils Not Wild About Proposal To Change Name
Some Feel Image Is Satanic

POSTED: 2:08 pm EDT May 29, 2005
UPDATED: 2:21 pm EDT May 29, 2005

TRENTON, N.J. -- What chance do the New Jersey Devils give a proposal that would rename the pro hockey franchise as something a little less demonic?

Think hell freezing over.

"I can assure you the Devils name will never change, and I think there are more important things to be thinking about than something that will never happen," team CEO Lou Lamoriello said. "It's who we are and what we want to be."

The devil imagery is precisely the problem for Assemblyman Craig Stanley, who takes issue with a satanic symbol representing the state's National Hockey League team.

The Essex County Democrat is leading the charge to retire the name 'Devils' after 23 years and three Stanley Cup championships and replace it with a name chosen in a statewide competition.

"This is an age where symbolism is very important," said Stanley, whose resolution to rename the team is to be introduced in the Assembly next month. "With the team coming to a new city, Newark, I thought it was a good time to do it."

Stanley's legislative district includes Irvington and parts of Newark, where the Devils are scheduled to move into a $310 million, 18,000-seat downtown arena in September 2007. The team currently plays in the Continental Airlines Arena at the Meadowlands sports complex in East Rutherford.

Stanley said he is enthusiastic about having the arena and the team in Newark, but cool to its name and mascot.

"I've always cringed when people say they're going to see the Devils," said Stanley, a deacon at Newark's Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church. "The merchandise, the paraphernalia is based on the actual demonic devil. Personally, it causes a little bit of an issue with me."

According to Weird N.J., a travel guide to the state's most offbeat attractions, the hockey team is named for the mythical Jersey Devil, not the Christian symbol of the antichrist.

Legend has it that the Jersey Devil -- with bat-like wings, a forked tail and oversized claws -- terrorized Pine Barrens dwellers in the 18th-century after being born the 13th child to poor South Jerseyans and morphing into a dinosaur-like beast.

The team's mascot is no beast, though. It's a 7-foot-tall, red, cartoonish figure with horns and a goatee.

The NHL's Devils acquired their name in a 1982 fan contest after a group of New Jersey investors brought the team east from Colorado, said Lamoriello. There is no chance that the name will change anytime soon, he said.

Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey also thinks the name should stay as is.

A name change would just complicate things for the team, said the acting governor, an avid sports fan.

The Devils wouldn't be the first New Jersey team to adopt a more politically correct moniker.

Athletic teams at Montclair State were dubbed the Indians till 1989, when the school changed the name to the Redtail Hawks, now the Red Hawks, out of sensitivity to Native Americans, said university spokesman Bob Quarteroni.

Stanford, once the Indians, are now the Cardinals. Marquette has gone from being the Warriors to the Golden Eagles to the Gold. And, the former St. John's Redmen are now the Red Storm.

But two Major League Baseball teams, the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians, have not succumbed to pressure to change their names.

The Washington Redskins of the National Football League deflected a challenge two years ago to their name and feather-wearing mascot, arguing successfully in federal court that neither violated federal trademark law by disparaging American Indians. The Redskins started out as the Boston Braves, but were renamed to honor an early head coach who was an American Indian.

Some Indian leaders are still pressing the case against the 'Skins.

Stanley concedes his proposal received a less-than-enthusiastic reception from Devils brass.

"He's hell-bent on keeping the Devils name," Stanley said of team owner Jeff Vanderbeek, whom he spoke to by phone last week.

"I say, 'They're not playing hockey,"' he said, referring to the ongoing labor dispute that canceled the entire 2004-2005 season. "Why not do something fun and rename the team?"

© 2005 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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The Devil Wears Prada
Lauren Weisberger

Edited on December 24, 2006 to fix links and add labels.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Saudi Arabia Considering a Ban on Women Drivers

I know that corporate fundamentalists and their apologists will deny that Saudi Arabia is our greatest ally in the Arab world; but the Saudis enjoy closer ties with the USA and US corporations than any other Arab nation.

For years, Saudi Arabia has done our bidding in the region and we have done their bidding in the fossil fuels industry. It is a symbiotic relationship.

It is also deeply immoral.

The majority of anti-American terrorists and almost all of the money funding anti-American terrorism, is funneled out of Saudi Arabia. Those who committed the atrocities at the World Trade Center were Saudis, and they were funded by Saudis. The binLaden family is one of the ruling families of Saudi Arabia, and one of their sons, with family money, is the primary source of cash for terrorism throughout the free world.

Yet, the current American president is seen holding hands (yes, holding hands) with the monarch of Saudi Arabia, Henry Kissinger and his Washington, D.C., firm represent the interests of the binLaden family, and our military is steered away from capturing Osama binLaden so as to not upset the powers-that-be in the House of Saud.

OK, so you think all of that is a bunch of liberal pablum created to prop up some conspiracy theory and I am just a liberal nutcase with an axe to grind against the true majority in America.

If you dismiss all of my other statements, you are hard-pressed to deny that Saudi Arabia is our closest, wealthiest, and most powerful ally in the Arab world. No matter how much you disagree with me, you gotta give me that!

Now, the matter at hand:

The idiots who run Saudi Arabia, ever fearful of progress and modernization, are considering a permanent ban on all woman drivers. It seems an actual thinking person in that hideous nation's legislature put forth the notion that some women should be allowed to drive. Now they want to kick him off the council!

This entire issue is in direct conflict with our American ideals of equality and justice for all. And although I do not think we should take any action against a sovereign nation (ha ha ha), we should implement an economic boycott until those idiots give women a modicum of rights.

Will the corporate fundamentalists running the American White House confront the religious fundamentalists running Saudi Arabia? Is the current American president even capable of standing-up to Saudi Arabia and pointing out that all human beings, regardless of sex, should enjoy the same rights as all other human beings?

Unlikely, I know. There is too much money to be made with the love affair between the House of Bush and the House of Saud. We will continue using American tax dollars to placate Saudi Arabia, we will allow them to gouge American consumers with immoral gasoline prices, we will never prosecute or persecute them for their crimes against American citizens and business, and we watch while the current American regime overlooks the bad politics of another theocratic government.

Wake-up America! If our closest allies are getting away with treating women this way, how can we look at ourselves in the mirror?

Saudi Arabia Mulls Ban on Women Drivers

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Stories Like This Show Why Taxpayers Are Against Rent Control

Rent Control was a very good idea, but like many good ideas it was exploited by avaricious people of privilege; and those it was intended to help are hurt by the backlash.

Cyndi Lauper, whom I thought I liked, has shown her true colors as a greedy, self-serving millionaire out to get everything she wants, irrespective of who is hurt by her actions.

Lauper is demanding that the courts lower her rent from $3,250 to $508, because she says the apartment she rents with her husband was protected by rent control laws. She says that since the apartment was sublet to her for many years at an incorrect rent, the original rent-controlled price should be applied.

Lauper and her husband already have a deal at $3,250 for their Upper West Side apartment.

A lower court agreed and stipulated that Lauper's rent should be $989 a month. This is an amazing victory! But this isn't good enough for the money-grubbing star. She wants more! She wants to pay less than minimum wage earning families in the slums, and she expects the taxpayers to absorb the cost of the circus, er, court, in which she wants to fight her battles.

What scum!

There is a remarkable (and immoral) real estate market in New York City and for a rich-bitch like Lauper and her wealthy husband to make a mockery of the rent control laws is a sin.

Screw Cyndi Lauper and her tedious husband David Thornton! They should be ashamed of themselves.

I encourage everyone to stop purchasing their products. They clearly have plenty of money already and don't know how to use it properly anyhow!

They want to mess with American ideals like fairness, then hit them where it counts: in their bulging wallets.

I joined the Cyndi Lauper website forums and posted this question to the lout:
I love living in New York and I wonder if Cyndi has ever written about living in the greatest city in the world, the benefits of being so near so much, the amazing fun offered by the diverse cultures, and the luck of being a millionaire with a famous husband and suing to live in a rent-controlled apartment?

New York rent-control was intended to keep housing affordable for poor people. When millionaires take advantage of the laws, it ruins things for the neediest. What's it like to be a millionaire mooching off the neediest in the greatest city in the world?

Of course her apologists came rushing to the fore; but their arguments were embarrassing. Defending Lauper and Thornton in this case is untenable. They are greedy.

Cyndi Lauper for Cheap Rent - Yahoo! News

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

"Hey! Isn't that Dad up on that billboard?"

Reuters reports that the City of Oakland, California, has taken to publishing the pictures of convicted johns (customers of prostitutes) on billboards, in hopes of deterring other purchasers of these services from participating in the economy.

Obviously oblivious to the fact that shaming techniques never deter anyone, City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, actually referred to the campaign as an "idea [that] came out of just thinking about new ideas, doing something to deal with this increasing problem, especially with the exploitation of underage women. . . . "

A new idea? Has this elected official never read American history or European history? Has he not learned from his education? At no time during the development of Western civilization has public humiliation ever deterred crime; and this has been true one hundred percent of the time!

And an elected official talking about the exploitation of underage women should take a look at his Nikes, and his trips to Cancun and other exploitative resorts, and all the Nestle products in his kitchen before he boasts about saving underage women! I would love to know how much of Mr. De La Fuente's wardrobe was made in sweatshops! I would guess 99%, just like all other reactionary Americans. These reactionaries want to take the moral high ground with everybody's money but their own!

If we use Mr. De La Fuente's son as an example of the father's commitment to eradicating the exploitation of women, let's discuss the lessons he teaches in his home about the dignity and respect of women. Associated Press reports that De La Fuente, Jr., appeared in court on Sunday, June 5, 2005, to answer charges that he raped a 15-year-old woman and a 21-year old woman. These new charges on top of allegations that he beat his girlfriend in Newark, NJ, in 2001. Nice!

De La Fuente, Sr., should take his moral lessons about the exploitation of women back to his own home before he pretends he can force his christian morals on the rest of us!

Now we get to the issue of prostitution! Americans are the biggest hypocrites when it comes to prostitution. Mary Magdelene (about whom there is no actual proof that she was a prostitute) is revered as one of Jesus Christ's closest disciples, is branded a prostitute, and treated as a saint sitting very near the hand of God. Heaven forbid, however that anyone not directly connected to the Savior should turn to prostitution as a means of support!

De La Fuente's exploitation of prostitution as an election tactic is reprehensible. The only way to protect prostitutes and the exploitation of sex workers is to legitimize the industry and provide worker protection.

But, no! Americans go along exploiting these already exploited workers, pretending to want to help them, while swinging some moral high hand in the face of common sense.

Wake-up America! We must stop forcing our individual morality on others and return to what made America once-great: worker protection. Stop exploiting prostitution and start protecting sex workers!

Back to the billboards: why only johns on billboards? Why not corporate criminals who raid our economic system of hundreds of millions of dollars and walk-away unmolested? How about those suspected of election fraud? Why stop at johns?

To wrap-up about the senior De La Fuente's hypocrisy: here is a man who prides himself on a career of defending workers' rights; but when it comes to the most exploited workers in America, he wants them punished, not protected.


"Hey! Isn't that Dad up on that billboard?"

Son of Oakland City Council President due in court today

More gruesome details of this highly moral family.

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Monday, June 06, 2005

Reeves Gabrels

"Fuck You, I [Heart] Tin Machine!"

So reads the t-shirt I could never lay my hands on.

Tin Machine was the remnants of the mid-70s Iggy Pop band, without Iggy Pop and Carlos Alomar. David Bowie on Vocals, Hunt Sales on Drums, Tony Sales on Bass, and Reeves Gabrels on Guitar.

I can't tell the story of Reeves Gabrels without telling the story of David Bowie's 1980s career. I had been a David Bowie fan for a long time. I followed his career, attended his tours, and bought all his records. He could do no wrong in my eyes.

Then the mid-1980s happened. David Bowie became the bleach-blond, squeaky-clean poster boy pop star of the Reagan era. He was everything our brave new world began to crave: he is white, has good looks and talent, he's rich, totally corporate, and willing to smile for the cameras irrespective of how crap things might be. Bowie had made another leap! He'd gone from counter-culture superstar to mainstream rock god. It was a remarkable transformation. I enjoyed every minute of it! 1983 was an exciting time to be a Bowie fan. Sadly, 1984 followed, then 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988 . . .

Two tedious pop albums were released and Bowie seemed to be everything Reaganomics promised: a hollow shell of himself with all glitz on the outside and a total lack of substance inside. He was the embodiment of the American dream. Bowie openly admitted his dissatisfaction with the corporate status of his fame and promised one final greatest hits tour before retiring (again).

The Reeves Gabrels chapter of Bowie's career follows a story something like this:

During his Glass Spider Tour, Bowie received a cassette tape from one of his publicity assistants, Sara Terry. The tape was of her guitar-playing boyfriend, and she thought Bowie might like it.

When the tour ended, Bowie listened to the tape and loved it! From his home in Switzerland, he began recommending Gabrels to anyone who would listen and Reeves' career took a new turn.

When David Bowie finally tired of being David Bowie, he formed Tin Machine with Reeves and the Sales brothers.

Enough now about David Bowie.

I knew nothing about Reeves Gabrels when Tin Machine formed in 1989, even though I was a denizen of Boston punk clubs, and I saw The Dark more than once, I knew nothing of him. I didn't love The Dark and didn't hate them. They were another local band and they seemed more aloof than most. I basically ignored them.

I was confused by the first Tin Machine release. It was good, but I was surprised by it. This didn't sound like David Bowie, at all. That was OK, but it really sounded like this was Reeves Gabrels' band, and Bowie was the singer. I never stopped thinking that way. To this day I think of Tin Machine as Reeves' band, because his guitar defines the band's sound. Completely!

I loved Tin Machine!

When Tin Machine disbanded, I assumed Reeves would go the way of other guitarists who've worked with Bowie. He would have steady work, but the limelight would elude him. Mick Ronson, Earl Slick, Carlos Alomar . . . it happened to all of them.

When Bowie returned to a solo career, I was shocked that Reeves became his guitarist. This made no sense to me! Gabrels' guitar was the sound of "Amazing," "Baby Universal," "Baby Can Dance," and "Under The God," not ""Heroes"," "Changes," "Young Americans," and "Stay"! This made no sense to me!

I thought both of them made a very poor choice. Reeves is not a pop guitarist, and David Bowie writes spectacular pop songs! I never liked the bands. I resented Gabrels butchering of famous Bowie guitar licks, and I watched Bowie sneer at him onstage more than once when Reeves would intentionally alter guitar parts that Bowie's fans were waiting to hear.

I became a pariah among Bowie fans because of my disdain for Reeves' guitar in Bowie's band. Reeves' sycophants attacked me for my criticism, rooting their attack in their supposed friendships with the guitarist. If Reeves has as many friends as these people say he has, then he is the most popular guitarist in the history of modern music! Of course, these were all people who learned to adore Reeves, not because of his talent, but because he was Bowie's guitarist and he waved to them once or said hello at a stage door. I stopped caring that people disagreed with me about Reeves. My criticism was always the same: Reeves is a brilliant guitarist whose work is unparalleled; but he is a terrible choice of guitarists for Bowie's pop band.

So be it!

When Reeves and Bowie parted company, the rumors flew about drug abuse and bad business decisions and a lack of funds flowing down from the top. The standard stories you hear when a band dissolves. All or none of the rumors might have been true; chances are that some part of all the rumors were accurate.

I paid no attention to Gabrels after he and Bowie parted ways. The only contact I have had with his post-Bowie work are the steady stream of emails I get from one of my web page reviews of a Bowie show where I criticize Gabrels' work. One email was a personal attack on me and was signed "Reeves Gabrels"! I assumed it was one of the many sycophants that follow the guitarist's career, and not the guitarist himself!

In March, 2005, I received this email:
Hi there,
I work with On Target Media Group. We are doing the internet marketing for the new Reeves Gabrels album, Bowie's long time guitar player. It would be great if you wanted to review or otherwise post the album on your site. If you are interested please e-mail us with your address so we can get a promo copy out to you.
Thanks a lot in advance
All the best,

I thought it odd that I would receive this, because my post-Tin Machine comments about Gabrels have not been positive, nor do I think they have been unkind.

I decided to give Gabrels' new record a listen.

Rockonica, by Reeves Gabrels
Produced by Reeves Gabrels and John X. Volaitis

Sign From God starts the CD and features Reeves' distorted vocals over a predictable music track that could as easily be Marilyn Manson as any other band, if Manson made a record with Lol Creme and Don Was.

Leper follows and is a disjointed and listenable song. Hints of Ozzy and the early-70s Captain Beyond release, with just a tad of Mick Ronson cock-rock thrown in bring a smile to my lips. The recording tricks used to distort the vocal track are present in Leper, too, and don't add anything to the overall sound. I might love this song if it was played faster. Three minutes in, and I'm surprised the song is continuing. This is a perfect three-minute song and should have ended without additional minute and a half of repeating chorus and guitar finesse.

Underneath is a 7:44 tune whose only drawback is its length. I like this song! The vocals are discernible, there is a melody, the cutesy production tricks actually work. There's almost a Southern rock sound to it, in that Lynyrd Skynyrd vein, and I like the line "When your number's up, your number's up. . . ." Unfortunately, at the four minute mark, we are treated to a guitar jam that might work in concert, but has no place on a studio recording. Now the vocal over-production kicks-in and the song begins to sound like the previous two. But wait, in the style of British rock cum American blues, the song breaks into a bluesy sequence of impressive guitar work that would make Stevie Ray Vaughn blue with envy (if he wasn't already blue with death). I can almost feel a bong in my grip.

Anywhere (She Is) starts with a pensive, thoughtful guitar treatment instantly invaded by over-produced vocals that seem a direct lift from David Bowie's "Seven Years In Tibet." This ten-and-a-half minute opus would benefit from the work of a bitter, constipated editor and a remix production by The Residents. So far, Gabrels' brilliant guitar work is being drowned-out by tedious production work and I am having difficulty getting through this 10:30 cut. Half-way through, the production quality shifts and Reeves plays a neo-psychedelic riff that competes successfully with post-Syd Pink Floyd. This should be two songs! Maybe three! It now breaks into a folk vocal and heavily-treated acoustic guitar. Even the sophomoric production tricks can't ruin the third part of this song! You'd almost expect Bruce Springsteen to be singing background vocals!

The Conversation offers a bluesy backbeat, but over-treated vocals diminish the "song" quality of the cut. With this title, I want to hear the words, not suffer them! Unfortunately, the only line I can discern is "I have nothing left to say." It sounds like an Alice Cooper song from "School's Out," which is not a bad critique, but I could never remember the title!

Continue harkens back to Reeves' days in a local music scene and combines a Dead Kennedys tempo with a pop sound that would be a good song if not for the vocal treatments. If Gabrels cannot sing, then get a friggin' singer! Still, this song is a highlight of the CD that has me tapping my foot, shaking my head, and rocking in my seat.

13th Hour with its Led Zepplin-esque riff is melodic and pleasing to the ear. At only 2:27, this is the song Reeves should have made a ten-minute opus. Brilliant lead guitar, crystal clear production, and a unified sound from three different guitarists. This is a wonderful song.

Tunnel is a straight-forward rock song with a nice variety of Reeves' guitar tricks. "I'm sorry that you hate the life you lead. . . . " is a wonderful line! I could imagine this song on the radio, back in the days when they played rock on the radio. This song is a keeper, too!

Uphill Both Ways offers a tense, driving intro with murky production. The song kicks into wonderful lead guitar and the treatment of Gabrels vocal track works. Gabrels has not tried to insert too many of his guitar tricks, so the cut remains unified in its disjointedness. A better producer would have made this a better song.

The final cut Long Day clocks-in at 8:33. It is a plodding song that features many of Reeves' axe-murdering techniques: some cute, some impressive, some grinding, some wailing, some amusing, some dull. As the final cut, it returns me to the beginning of the album and leaves me begging the questions: why not get a singer?

Gabrels has made a guitar record in the vein of an electronica record. A brilliant idea! Layer, after carefully conceived layer of music laid atop one another in an attempt to create a lush, if sometimes discordant, landscape of guitars. Electronica releases require very steep production values, which are more easily attained with synthetic music than with guitars. "Rockonica" fails to reach the "onica" production values to which it aspires.

In many ways, Gabrels is the guitarist who has melded many of the most famous guitar styles that preceded him. He can sound like Steve Hunter, Dick Wagner, Mick Ronson, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, Peter Gabriel, and Jimi Hendrix at any moment or all at once!

When I rate all the songs individually on a 1-5 scale, then average the count, I get 3.5. That makes this record worth listening to again; and worth owning. Add Rockonica to your collection.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Reeves Gabrels