Wednesday, May 31, 2006

File Under "Disgraceful Yak"

I have no problem with the thought of families crying during the screening of this film. What I find disgraceful is the White House USE of those families for the sake of placing a "sympathetic news story" out into the media.

Posted by FleshPresser at 12:27 PM /

What Backlash?

As predicted here earlier, The Dixie Chicks' new album, Taking The Long Way, debuted at #1 on Billboard's Top 200. They become the first female group to have three albums debut in the top slot. Sales, which were expected to be between 300,000 and 400,000, exceeded even optimistic predictions by topiing over a half-million copies in the first week alone.

Those other albums of theirs that made their debut at #1 did so before Natalie made her remarks about President Bush and the Iraq war. Taking The Long Way did it after she made her remarks.

So, to all of those saying that the Dixie Chicks are digging their own graves by speaking their minds and voicing their opinions (gasp - God forbid), I ask you - where's the backlash of which you speak?

You want more proof? Wait until tickets for the tour go on sale to the general public. Watch how fast they sell out the entire tour. I've already got mine.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 11:43 AM /

An Inconvenient Statistic

This past weekend, the top of the box office belonged to X-Men: The Last Stand. It made over $122 million dollars during the four-day Memorial Day weekend, averaging a little over $33,000 per screen. Very impressive numbers, to be sure.

So what film averaged nearly $92,000 per screen? Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

I'm not posting this to make any conclusions. I'm not hear to blow the trumpet for Al Gore, or to posit that somehow Al Gore's film beat up on the X-Men in any way, shape or form.

This is all I'm saying - An Inconvenient Truth ran on four screens this Memorial Day weekend. Two in New York and two in Los Angeles. It's total box office thus far is almost a half-million dollars.

I don't know about the West Coast, but here on the East Coast, this was probably one of the nicest Memorial Day weekends we've experienced in a long time, in terms of weather.

Despite that, this film ran to what had to be sold-out houses throughout the weekend in order for it to pull numbers like this. Certainly, one could argue that the audience was concentrated, because of the small number of screens, and that it wouldn't have had such a high average if the film ran on more screens.

Still, it will be interesting to me to see how the film does as it opens wider. I know for a fact that I wouldn't want to go listen to Al Gore talk about global warming on a Memorial Day weekend... and I AGREE with Al Gore. But at a minimum, hundreds of thousands of people this past weekend did just that.

I will offer this simple thought tangentially related - I'm curious why the issue of the environment and energy has to be seen through a partisan lens? I don't know if Al Gore is running for President again in 2008, and I'm probably in the minority of Democrats when I say that I hope he doesn't.

But can't we all agree that environmental issues are important ones? The stewardship of this world that we live in is a worthy cause, regardless of political affiliation? That it's simply a matter of time before we evolve past the notion of a fossil-fuel driven economy, and the sooner we tackle the problem, the less enormous it will be to solve? Forget the geopolitical ramifications of whether we get our oil from the Middle East, or if somehow we were magically to receive it all from Alaska. Wouldn't it be a hell of a lot easier if we simply didn't NEED to get it? Regardless of its location, it will run out eventually, and so why would we be so selfish as to think "well, it's not going to happen in my lifetime, so why should I worry about it...." It affects each and every one of us... regardless of which side of the aisle we sit.

There are so many debates which polarize us. I just don't understand why this should be one of them.

We'll continue to follow the progress of An Inconvenient Truth as it opens wider in the next few weeks.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 10:58 AM /

Interpreting The Cost

It is sometimes staggering to think about the amount of money that is funnelled through our United States government. It is truly hard to put any kind of perspective on the costs associated with policy within our government.

I recently ran across a running total of the Cost of War in Iraq. There's nothing fancy about this calculator, really. It simply is set to reach $315 billion on September 30, 2006 - the end of fiscal year 2006. The figure is reached according to Congressional appropriations, and is recalculated as further appropriations or other information is put into effect.

As of today, the cost of the war in Iraq had reached $284,520,412,865 - that's when I checked it last... but check it for yourself... the little sucker moves pretty quick.

Yesterday, we commemorated Memorial Day, and paid tribute to the human cost of war. Today, let's put aside whether you approve of the war in Iraq or disapprove of it, and simply look at the cost, relative to some other places where the money might be otherwise put to use.

For the same $284 billion dollars, we could:

Looking at the REAL reasons we went into Iraq, is the cost worth giving up ANY of these initiatives? Unfortunately, we'll never know.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 12:03 AM /

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I Wonder If THEY Know They're Conservative?

On the heels of The Dixie Chicks' new album, Taking The Long Way, poised to make it's debut at number one on the charts, having sold between 300,000 and 400,000 copies in its first week, The National Review has taken the time to define for all of us what makes a good conservative song.

The conservative magazine has compiled a list of what they believe to be the Top 50 conservative rock songs of all time. Go visit them if you want the full list, along with their out-of-context explanations. I'm not going to list them all here.

All I'm wondering is how some of these artists will respond to having penned "conservative rock songs." Among the so-called "right-wingin'-rockers":

#43 - Wonderful, by Everclear
#34 - Godzilla, by Blue Oyster Cult
#33 - You Can't Always Get What You Want, by The Rolling Stones
#31 - Small Town, by John Mellencamp
#23 - Brick, by Ben Folds Five
#18 - Cult of Personality, by Living Colour
#8 - Bodies, by The Sex Pistols
#6 - Gloria, by U2

Am I missing something here? Last time I checked, U2 and The Rolling Stones were not the epitome of conservatism? Isn't this the same Mick Jagger that sings on his latest album, "How come you're so wrong, my sweet neo-con?" Maybe they're confusing Bono with former Republican Rep. Sonny Bono - quite the "rocker" in his own right...ahem.

Go ahead and take a look at the full list, and let me know your thoughts.

In the coming days, as an antidote and counter-attack, we here at PTF will be compiling a list of the Top Liberal Country Songs Of All Time - so if you have songs you'd like to see on the list, let us know. Turn about is fair play, after all.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 12:03 AM /

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

Memorial Day should always mean something to us... but when we are a country at war, it should mean even more. Particularly when the American people were lied to about the reasons behind that war. Particularly when the soldiers being sent to fight that war are not being taken care of while they're in the midst of battle, nor when they return home.

So, here are a few thoughts to contemplate on this Memorial Day, as our President hypocritically calls for a "day of prayer for permanent peace."

* Take a look at the list of those brave individuals who gave their lives in the bravest manner - because their Commander-In-Chief called them into battle, and they answered the call selflessly, whether they agreed with the rationale or not;

* In particular, take a moment to remember individuals like Spec. Edward W. Brabazon, a young man who was allowed to join the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, despite the fact that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder from the age of 10. Despite his mental illnesses, he was asked to serve in the Middle East, and he did. Three months into his second deployment, he shot himself in the head and died;

* If you're in Chicago, consider joining the VVAW (Vietnam Veterans Against The War) at the corner of Wacker and Wabash at 11:00AM for their Memorial Day Ceremony;

* In San Diego, join the San Diego Veterans For Peace at Live Oak Park from 10:00AM until 6:00PM;

* In Philadelphia, join the VAIW (Veterans Against The Iraq War), as they present their tribute to Iraqi vets, A Sea of Tombstones, at Arlington North - 5th and Market Streets. VAIW "honors the warriors; not the war" and deserve our respect;

There are many similar events taking place across the country. Let your voice be heard - respectfully, peacefully, and in support of our troops.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 5:20 AM /

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Sunday Funnies

As my regular feature, I've posted the weekly "The Week That Was" - but as this weekend also marks the semi-official beginning of the summer, I thought I needed an extra boost.

My friend over at ModFab has listed his Bugs Bunny Top Ten, and it seemed to hit the spot as I went back and looked at them again. Although it's hard to argue with "What's Opera, Doc?"..... personal favorite remains "Rabbitt of Seville"...

Go check out his list, and regardless of what your favorite is, grab your Sunday coffee, sit back, and enjoy!!

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Posted by FleshPresser at 1:40 AM /

The Week That Was - May 28, 2006

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Posted by FleshPresser at 12:57 AM /

Saturday, May 27, 2006

On This Memorial Day Weekend...

...which would you rather hear?

Or maybe we could hear this?

IMAGINE... how different his legacy might be???

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Posted by FleshPresser at 11:37 PM /

Friday, May 26, 2006

FLESH, INK. FRIDAY - Leroy Roper

This week, we find ourselves delving into the work of Leroy Roper, an artist who paints backgrounds, produces fantastical works of art through the medium of bodypainting, and then photographs his work. Leroy is a self-taught artist and photographer, and his work focuses predominantly on strong, empowered women.

Leroy maintains that his work is comprised of three parts - the background, the bodypainting, and the photography - and to remove any portion is to disassemble the art that has been created.

In addition to his own individual artistry, Roper has worked as an airbrush artist in Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July, as well as other films.

Roper's work takes us from an everyday reality into a heightened fantasy world, full of striking images and creatures we could only hope to encounter in this world. Take a few moments to peruse his gallery, and enjoy his artistry.

Previously on FLESH, INK. FRIDAY: Joel Hernandez / Filippo Ioco / Agnieszka Glinska / EMBODY / Bernd Rantscheff / Barbara Ingenhaag / Images from Burning Man / Anton ten Dam / Pashur / Earth Henna / Wilderness Bodypainting / Carolyn Roper / The Australian Museum / Jodee Lenaine Smith / Fredi Schmid / Vladimir Valenta / Anthony Chiappin and Andrew Dunbar / Rich Diltz / Flesh and Color

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Posted by FleshPresser at 10:37 AM /

Beware May 25, 2006

Beware everyone, for on the 25th of May, a comet fragment is scheduled to strike the Earth, causing tsunamis that will destroy us all.... oh wait a minute... it's May 26th. Umm... never mind.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 12:16 AM /

Thursday, May 25, 2006

How Many Times Can A "Man Of God" Break The Ninth Commandment Before God Gets Pissed?

PTF rarely likes to give any attention to Pat Robertson, but occasionally, his stories are so ridiculous that even we can't be swayed to look the other way.

The latest? It appears that in addition to predicting hurricanes and tsunamis, telling American cities not to pray to God if their city is struck by a natural disaster, praying for the death of Supreme Court justices, and calling for the assassination of Hugo Chavez, Pat Robertson is able to leg press 2,000 pounds, thanks to the power of his God-given energy shakes.

Forget the fact that the world record for a competitive leg press belongs to Dan Kendra, who lifted 1,335 pounds. Kendra required the use of a leg press machine modified significantly to hold the weight required for this world record. Forget the fact that the capillaries in Dan Kendra's eyes burst as he set the world record leg press.

Alas, with Pat Robertson, all things are possible.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 10:45 PM /

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Snipping The Flesh

Sorry for the late post today, but I've been going through recovery for most of the day. Today, I had the bullets removed from my gun. I became all juice, and no seeds.

In short, I had a vasectomy.

There are several reasons I'm posting about the experience. First, it IS flesh-related, right? Second, not everyone gets a vasectomy every day, and so it might be informative to others curious or considering the same thing. And perhaps most importantly, I've always felt that we shroud certain parts of our physicality in a "shhhh.... don't talk about it" kind of mentality, which I think is wrong.

As regular readers may know, I am married and Mrs. Fleshpresser and I recently welcomed our second child into this world. Both of our children are beautiful, healthy, and amazing creatures. We have a boy and a girl - a matched set, you might say. So, we have done the procreation that we intend to do.

My wife has pumped her body full of hormones and chemicals in the form of contraceptives for dozens of years. She has also gone through two C-Sections in order to bring our children into the world.

This is - literally - the least I could do to repay her for all of that.

For those unaware, here's the short background on vasectomies. Testicles produce sperm. The sperm is carried via the vas deferens into the urethra, where it is released into semen.

This would be your "cock"-ed and loaded scenario.

A vasectomy, then, simply cuts the vas deferens in two, and cauterizes the ends. Easy, right?

Well, actually, for all of the "folklore" associated with a surgery performed on the most private of a man's private areas, it really wasn't all that bad. I had a "no-scalpel" version performed, which essentially means that they make a puncture in the scrotum, rather than an incision.

I'm here to tell you - it really wasn't a big deal at all. They shot me up with a really wonderful valium-like drug that took effect immediately and had me babbling about all sorts of nonsense during the procedure. They shoot the scrotal area with LOTS of novacaine, and I literally wasn't aware when the procedure began, nor when it was finally over. It took all of about ten minutes to complete, and I walked out shortly thereafter.

OK.... so I've spent most of the day on the couch with a bag of frozen corn on my balls. But the soreness hasn't been nearly as bad as I anticipated it might be.

In a week or so, I have to provide the dreaded "samples" - to ensure that no sperm remains. Thankfully, these samples can be "produced" at home, rather in the office, which makes it slightly more bearable.

So, what do I thik about it now, post-procedure? I guess I'm feeling old. I went through my teen years and twenties avoiding pregnancy, and sweating through more than a few anxious moments. After my wife and I were married for several years, we both hoped that we had been good enough to our bodies that we hadn't wrecked our chances of a pregnancy. And of course, it is inevitable to feel that split-second, knee-jerk reaction of virility once the pregnancy has been confirmed.

It feels like a milestone has been passed now. That "threat" or "promise" of pregnancy will no longer be something I concern myself with - for better or worse.

I've been assured that I'll remain the medicore lover that I've always been, so at least nothing has changed there. Just a few of the consequences.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 11:47 PM /

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Apologist's Homeland

Seems like the "Nation" of Apologists is getting smaller and smaller everyday. Not only has Bush's approval ratings dipped into that psychologically damaging arena of the 20s, but his overall support across the country is eroding before his very eyes.

While an earlier New York Times/CBS News poll pegged the President's approval rating at 31%, the Wall Street Journal/Harris poll numbers cement him in the cellar. While some may tag the New York Times and CBS as members of the "liberal media," the same can hardly be said for The Wall Street Journal and the Harris Poll.

A recent state-by-state poll conducted by Survey USA shows that Bush has support over 50% in only three states - Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. Total electoral votes for these three states? Twelve. Seems a little shy of 270, eh?

What's more telling are some of the states that Bush is losing... big time. As an example, Bush won Missouri in 2004. Today his approval rating in the state sits at 29%. The electoral-rich state of Ohio, which was the tipping point during the last election? Bush's approval rating is a sagging 32%. What about all those southern states that helped to re-elect Bush? Arkansas? 32%. Kentucky? 34%. North Carolina? 35%. South Carolina? 35%. Hell, he's only got an approval rating of 42% in his home state of Texas!

A few more interesting stats about the Harris Poll - 39% of Republicans stated that they believe the country to be on the "wrong track." 53% of those who would label themselves as "conservative" rate Bush's overall job performance as negative.

Now, if we could only figure out a way to relocate that 29% to Bushlandia, and the rest of us could take care of Reality.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 6:30 PM /

Monday, May 22, 2006

Time For The Chicks To Hatch!

At long last, the time has come... The Dixie Chicks' brilliant new album will officially be released tomorrow. In the meantime, you can preview the ENTIRE ALBUM before you can get it in the stores. Beyond the fact that I love their politics as well as their music, it would be a crime for you to not take a listen and see what you think - I think it's easily their fullest, most thoughtful, and most musically sophisticated album to date. Even if you're not a fan of country music... ESPECIALLY if you're not a fan of most country music... you've got to give this one a try. Free to listen... then go buy the album tomorrow. But for today, open up your media player, and minimize it at your desk at work and give it a listen.

Need more convincing? They'll be on Letterman tonight performing, and if you're one of the dozen or so who watch Medium, you can listen for "Lullaby," a new song from the album, on tonight's season finale.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 1:23 AM /

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Week That Was - May 21, 2006

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Posted by FleshPresser at 1:52 AM /

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Feeling Relieved Now?

This past Wednesday, President Bush signed into a law a series of tax cuts totalling 70 billion dollars. The signing took place on the South Lawn at a table - there was a small banner on the table which read "Tax Relief For All Americans."

It seems as though the Bush Administration hasn't learned it's lesson from the disastrous "Mission Accomplished" banner they hung in critical error.

"Tax Relief For All Americans." Let's take a closer look at this, shall we? Since 2001, President Bush has cut taxes to the tune of $929 billion dollars. At the same time, the defense budget alone has increased to $493 billion dollars. Meanwhile, the US Deficit has swelled to an inconceivable $8.4 TRILLION dollars.

Now swing back to the economy that Bush inherited - an estimated $5.6 TRILLION dollar SURPLUS.

Any time you hear a Republican purporting to be a "fiscal conservative," you have my permission to laugh hysterically in their face before tapping them gently on the head with a sledgehammer.

Let's not even get into the argument of how well the money we've spent in Iraq has served us. Let's just stipulate, for the sake of argument, that the Iraq war was the most jusitfied war this country has ever fought (and you Apologists can explain THAT one to the parents and loved ones of the 2,450 US soldiers who have died in Iraq this far).

Why isn't the country being asked to sacrifice equally for the expenses of this country? President Bush has not vetoed a single bill that involved spending money. The budget has ballooned under Bush, let alone all of the pork tucked neatly away in the midst of all the "Emergency Appropriations Bills." In the midst of all this spending, Bush has determined that it's best for none of us to pitch in and help to pay for all of this, right?

Wrong. He's actually suggested that it's not appropriate for the RICHEST in this country to pay for his mistakes, and to saddle the burden on the middle and lower classes, in addition to strapping our future generations with a lifetime of slow growth and debilitating debt.

Let's look at who "benefits" under this "Tax Relief For ALL Americans":
Under the just passed Republican tax deal ...

If you make less than $10,000/year, you will save $0 in taxes annually.
If you make $10,000-20,000/year, you will save $3 in taxes annually.
If you make $20,000-30,000/year, you will save $10 in taxes annually.
If you make $30,000-$40,000/year, you will save $17 in taxes annually.
If you make $40,000-50,000/year, you will save $47 in taxes annually.
If you make $50,000-75,000/year, you will save $112 in taxes annually.
If you make $75,000-100,000/year, you will save $406 in taxes annually.
If you make $100,000-200,000/year, you will save $1,395 in taxes annually.
If you make $200,000-500,000/year, you will save $4,527 in taxes annually.
If you make $500,000-1 million/year, you will save $5,656 in taxes annually.
If you make more than $1million/year, you will save $42,766 in taxes annually.

Less than 3.5 percent of U.S. taxpayers fall into the category of making $200,000 a year or more.
These figures, of course, come from the Tax Policy Center.

Someone looking at these figures superficially might simply think, "Well, of course. The more you make, the bigger your relief will be, right?" Wrong.

Do some simple math. Divide the relief by the income, and you come up with the REAL story. In the $40,000-50,000 range, as an example, the tax relief is approximately .0012% of the income. If you're in the $75,000-100,000 range, it jumps up to .0055% of your income. $200,000-$500,000 gets about .023% of their income. Those earning over a million get .043% of their income.

Don't let anyone fool you into thinking that there is ANYTHING "equitable" about ANY tax relief that comes from the Republicans.

Just to add fuel to the fire, Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert said on the floor of Congress that if you make $40,000 a year, you don't pay any taxes. Don't believe me? Listen to him speak the words for yourself.

Anyone out there making $40,000 who wants to refute that point and clear up Hastert's misconception?

So, even though President Bush vowed to veto any bill that raised taxes, you've got to wonder how he can make this happen, right?

Well, as it turns out, the bill he signed this week actually DOES raise taxes on a segment of the American population... teenagers. An enterprising teen putting money away in various investments for college tuition will now be taxed at the same rate as their parents, rather than at their own rate. In most cases, the legislation raising taxes will more than TRIPLE taxes on those teens.

So, that seems fair. The multimillionaire gets a $43,000 tax cut. The average American will save enough to buy a half a tank of gas. If you make $40,000 a year, you're not even paying taxes, so what should YOU care? And the teenager saving for college has their taxes tripled.

"Tax Relief For All Americans." Mission Accomplished.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 9:20 PM /

Friday, May 19, 2006

FLESH, INK. FRIDAY - Joel Hernandez

For this week's installment of FLESH, INK. FRIDAY, we travel to Sacramento, CA - home to Joel Hernandez and Art And Armour. Hernandez is an artist, a photographer, and an armor smith, creating artistically-designed battle-ready armor.

From Joel's website:
Joel likes to compare the act of creating his art with that of an archeologist uncovering the artwork of a lost civilization. “It’s about finding something of beauty and uncovering it with your brush stroke by stroke. It’s already there within, we just hide it in our everyday self.”

What draws Joel Hernandez to body art? It comes from very classical roots, yet this art is a new direction in the world of artists, with plenty of room for exploration. “It’s fun and inspiring as well. It creates not only artwork, but real human joy. I like that idea of spreading beauty and happiness to the universe, one painting at a time.”

Please take some time to explore Joel's gallery - his black light work is both imaginative and seductive.

Previously on FLESH, INK. FRIDAY: Filippo Ioco / Agnieszka Glinska / EMBODY / Bernd Rantscheff / Barbara Ingenhaag / Images from Burning Man / Anton ten Dam / Pashur / Earth Henna / Wilderness Bodypainting / Carolyn Roper / The Australian Museum / Jodee Lenaine Smith / Fredi Schmid / Vladimir Valenta / Anthony Chiappin and Andrew Dunbar / Rich Diltz / Flesh and Color

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Posted by FleshPresser at 3:57 PM /

Thursday, May 18, 2006

And Now We Pause For These Messages...

Posted by FleshPresser at 11:42 PM /

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Tell Of Two Georges

This is simply too perfect.

One George could never tell a lie. The other George could never tell the truth.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 11:49 PM /

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Pressin' The Diebold Screen

Today is Primary Election day in Pennsylvania, and so even though there weren't a whole lot of sexy races on the ballot, I did my civic duty and went to vote today.

OK.. there were two reasons I went to vote "primarily" today. The first one just feels good... today was the first vote I was able to cast on the road to putting Rick Santorum out of office. Granted, the vote was for Bob Casey, which doesn't feel great. But it was a BIG vote against Rick Santorum, which I loved.

The second reason I went was out of curiosity. Our local area has been assimilated updated to new electronic voting machines. Diebold... ask for it by name. Of course, the specter of Diebold is enough to make me cynical toward these new machines.

Beyond the potential for rigging and scams, however, is a simple idea.. and I'll just throw it out there for whomever to pick it up and create. Why can a voting booth not operate in the same way as an ATM... use the touch screen, make your selections, the selections are recorded, and the machine then spits out a damned piece of paper as a record of my vote?? Why would that be so difficult?

The answer, I'm sure, is that it wouldn't be difficult at all. The answer, I'm afraid, is that the people behind the decisions fear that a paper record would spoil all their fun.

On a lighter note, the touch screen does make it far simpler to cast a write-in ballot, so I'll let you know if I won any races tomorrow.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 10:38 AM /

Monday, May 15, 2006

Farewell, West Wing: Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc

Last night packed a tremendous amount of must-see TV into a single night, with the Dixie Chicks appearing on 60 Minutes, the Survivor Season Finale, and the West Wing Series Finale, it was impossible to watch it all - thank God for TiVo.

Although I am a fierce supporter of The Dixie Chicks, and regular readers of PTF know that I believe there is no finer reality TV show than Survivor, there are few places where my passion for politics and pop culture intersect as they do with The West Wing.

As an artist, I have always been a big fan of Aaron Sorkin, who creates some of the most intelligent and well-written television I've ever had the privilege to view. Thomas Schlamme created a visceral visual style to the show which was energetic and captivating. As a political junkie, I've always been a big fan of the Bartlett Administration - face it... if you're anywhere close to being a Democrat or even a centrist, how many times have you sat back and wished that Jed Bartlett were the actual President, only to be shocked back to reality by the hollow leadership we currently find in The White House?

And I'll admit it - I slowly drifted away as Sorkin and Schlamme handed over the helm to John Wells, opting instead for viewing the earlier seasons over and over again on Bravo.

It was the tragic death of John Spencer that shocked me back into regular viewing of the show. It was widely reported that even though ratings had slipped, The West Wing was going to continue on, with Arnold Vinnick taking over behind the desk of the Oval Office. Once Spencer died, however, those responsible took it as a sign that it was time to call it quits, and ended the series with Matt Santos winning the election, fearing the death of McGarry and the Santos loss would be too much for West Wing fans to endure at the end of the series.

Maybe neither of these is actually true, though. Maybe it was simply time. A two-term President serves for eight years. The series ran from 1999-2006. While a new Administration begins with pomp and circumstance, full of hope and new ideals, it typically limps to a conclusion, particularly in the case of a two-term presidency. The West Wing earned nine Emmys in its first season, and won Best Drama awards for four straight years. It's last seasons, however, saw a lack of the same energy and vitality that it once had, and last night's final episode, while not being brilliant, did what it had to do in bringing things to a fitting end. No pomp and circumstance, but it left with its head held high.

I still believe that even the sub-par seasons of The West Wing eclipse 90% of everything else produced for television. And the series will stand the test of time, no doubt. Where else can you find such an amazing array of talent, even beyond the initial casting? Beyond the inaugural regulars, The West Wing has been graced by the likes of Alan Alda, Jimmy Smits, John Goodman, Matthew Perry, Kristin Chenowith, Mary Louise Parker, Oliver Platt, Janeane Garofalo, Tim Matheson, Timothy Busfield, Mark Harmon, Christian Slater, Ron Silver, Karl Malden, John Amos, Anna Deveare Smith, Lily Tomlin, Marlee Matlin, Glenn Close ... and those are just the names I could conjure in thinking about it for a few minutes. There are dozens more I know I'm leaving out. Name me another show on television with that kind of star power?

So thank you to Sorkin, Schlamme, and Wells. Thank you Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Bradley Whitford, Allison Janney, Janel Maloney, Dule Hill, Richard Schiff. Thank you John Spencer.

Of course, now that The West Wing has concluded, we'll have to hold our collective breath and pray that Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip will measure up to the likes of Sports Night and The West Wing. It's got Sorkin behind it. It's got Bradley Whitford, Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, Timothy Busfield, and Judd Hirsch behind it, lest we forget Daily Show newcomer and little brother of Rob Corddry, Nate Corddry (will he be the next TDS breakout, following in the footsteps of Carrell and Colbert?). And it's got NBC banking heavily on it, which can be a good thing in these situations.

We'll see. In the meantime, farewell, West Wing. See you on Bravo.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 11:49 PM /