Friday, July 30, 2004

sports=bad arts=good

Roger Ebert's review of The Village is hilarious! I can't wait to see it! It sounds so freakin' dumb! I already thought that director was way too stuck in having the Big Plot Twist. He's such a one trick pony. And he's so pretentious about it. He is to directing what Davis Blaine is to magic. But I love David Blaine, too.

The News and Review has an editorial about the arena today, and I think they went too far. They're losing their sense of judgement on this issue. I have to admit that I may be heading towards the center a little bit about the arena. Voison's column about the economics of having a sports team swayed me a bit. I could actually see that it might be true that the Maloofs are not really making much money on the Kings. That doesn't mean I want to hand them a spangly new arena, but I would maybe agree for some public funds to do it on the cheap in North Natomas.

Anyway, first thing off the news and review refer to arco as "serviceable". And I have been saying this all along, too. But, according to Voison, it's the second oldest arena still in use in the country and more importantly, she said the Maloofs tried to see if it could just be remodeled and were told that this wasn't possible. So I guess this is their bad for building it cheaply, but because I wasn't paying attention around the time Arco was built, I don't know why that decision was made so I can't really comment on that. Then they talk about how a riverfront site is being considered and make a snide comment about a "monotlithic structure blocking our view". But this is before they've seen any plans for it (those plans don't exist yet, but I'm sure some architect's sketches will have to be made before the vote happens if the city does decide to go for a riverfront site). I guess what bothers me about this editorial is its frantic tone. It doesn't present a logical argument or counter-proposal, it just hurls vitriole in every direction. This bothers me for the same reason that a lot of the programming on Air America (mostly Randi Rhodes) bothers me. I like to think I think about things in a nuanced and analytical way, and I don't like this kind of black-and-white, evil-and-good thinking. It stirs things up and makes good copy, but I can't stand when liberals resort to the same kind of looseness with the facts that conservatives use to deceive people.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Michael was telling me that Al Sharpton's speech last night at the DNC was great, so I read it online, which doesn't have the same effect without the rousing oratory, but still, it's really good.  My favorite part was when he was talking about the ever-changing justifications for the war in iraq and he said, " If I told you tonight, Let's leave the Fleet Center, we're in danger, and when you get outside, you ask me, Reverend Al, What is the danger? and I say, It don't matter. We just needed some fresh air, I have misled you and we were misled. "

There were multiple articles about the arena plan yesterday in the Bee, as usual.  I have really been mystified by the Bee's anti-arena stance.  The Bee seems sooo corporate and they have a really inappropriate relationship with their "partner" channel 10, and channel 10 is a whore for the kings, so given the coziness of this triad, I don't get it.  But I'm glad for it.  There was an article in the metro section about how the city will need funds from the county to float any plan, but the county is saying not so fast.  Sac county was thinking of implementing a rental car tax, and the city wants to use that for the arena.  Problem is, Sac county has a huge budget shortfall and was going to use that money to pay for, like, dumb stuff like cops and park services.   Then Graswich had the scoop that the Maloofs stormed out of the meeting because they wanted a Nov. 2 vote, but that Councilman Ray Tretheway was going to be the deciding vote to keep it off the ballot so soon (good job, Ray).   By the way, if you approve of Councilman Dave Jone's strong opposition to public funding, drop him a line at and tell him to keep up the good work. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Benjamin Harrison-the dubya of his time?

I conducted my interview of the Con last night, and it will be up as soon as I can transcribe it. Mike and Heather made me a delicious birthday dinner last night, and I want to post the recipe for Mike's bruschetta as soon as I get it from him.

This morning over coffee I was talking to the Croatian woman I work with and she told me that she saw Fahrenheit 9/11 last night and that although she isn't yet a citizen it has inspired her to investigate her rights and see if she is eligible to vote. I told her that she should do that, but that even if she can't vote it's ok because we live in a democratic state, and all of California's electoral votes will go to Kerry anyway. She knew nothing of the electoral college (she's not a very political person so that just shows again how cool Fahrenheit is), and I tried to explain it to her. She was perplexed and asked why we would have such a stupid system. I couldn't come up with any historical justifications, so I decided to do a little research, and here's what I could gather from the confusing mess that is our election system (by the way, if you want to read the whole document I got this from it's at: , it was written by the deputy director of the federal election commission)

Our founding fathers had a problem when trying to design a system to elect the president because the citizens were very suspicious of the central government, long-distance communication was difficult,there were no political parties, and it was considered ungentlemanly for a man to actively campaign for an office (are you getting the impression that this system might be outdated yet?). The man who wrote this pdf claimed that the f.f.s rejected the idea of a direct election not because the founding fathers doubted the intelligence of the average voter (I'm not so sure about this), but because they feared that the uninformed voters would just elect whatever candidate was from their state. By the fifth presidential election, there was already a problem with this system. Political parties had been formed, and the Democratic and Republican parties cast an equal number of votes for Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. It took 36 votes by the House of Representatives to resolve this, so the president was really not chosen by the people at all in this case, but by the legislators. This led to the 12th amendment to the constitution, but not to the abolition of the electoral college, probably because methods of communication were still rudimentary and, according to this author, because of lessons learned from the dangerous populism of the French Revolution. You know, honestly, I am trying to read this document and glean more information from it, but the electoral system is so fucking confusing that I can't.

Anyway, a couple of more interesting facts: In 1888, Banjamin Harrison lost the popular election by 110,000 votes, but won in the electoral college. The document I got this info from was written before the 2000 election, so the author repeatedly asserts that there hasn't been a problem like this in more than a century.

Also, this system is inherently unfair because the number of electors in a given state is based on the number of representatives in the house (which is based on the population of the state) plus the 2 members in the senate. So, because every single state has 2 in the senate, the votes from rural states count more. A vote from someone in Florida (or California) carries a third as much weight as a vote from someone in Alaska!


benjamin harrison
Originally uploaded by becklerg.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

looks, it's richie ross, the human gecko!

It took me a good thirty minutes to figure out how to do this, so hopefully this entry will be accompanied by a photo.
Originally uploaded by becklerg.

the joy of court-ordered giving back

This article in Sunday's Bee made me laugh:
It's his criminal sentence, for Christ's sake! It doesn't exactly make him mother Teresa.

So back to yammering about the arena, that Marcus Breton article said exactly what I was thinking but that no one has come out to say so far, that the Maloofs must be turning the screws on the city council behind the scenes. They didn't get to be billionaires by being nice guys. It's very plausible that they present this goofy, affable public persona and then turn around and tell the mayor and the council off the record that if they lose the Kings none of them will get re-elected. That's why, in retrospect, Steve Cohn's move to at least float the idea that they pay for half seems pretty gutsy. Who the fuck do they think they are storming out of a city council meeting?

And who is this shady Richie Ross character? How can he work for the Maloofs, the mayor, and some of the city council at the same time? Aren't the Maloofs and the city council supposedly representing opposing interests in this arena issue? I'm sure the Maloofs would ask the city to pay for the entire arena project if they could, which should be at odds with the view of the city. Richie Ross seems to "consult" for just about everyone, from Cruz Bustamante to Gary Condit. I can't seem to find a picture of him so that I can give him the evil eye at the city council meeting, but I did find an interesting article from last summer that details how he was accused of "extreme lobbying" when he said an Assemblywoman was "dead, in my eyes" when she wouldn't vote for a measure he was supporting. He also serves a dual role as campaign manager and lobbyist for powerful interests. So I wonder if he is instrumental in getting a candidate elected do you think the candidate would feel obligated to give more consideration to the interests he represents? Nah, probably not.

Monday, July 26, 2004

dirty thirty

Well my freak nasty party was a (a)rousing success.  Pardon my weak and confusing pun, or is that even a pun?  I don't know, now that I'm in my thirties I get confused alot.  What were we talking about?  Oh yeah, the party.  It was crunked-up fun for all, unfortunately I passed out before Margaux riverdanced, which everyone cannot stop raving about.  I also missed Michael initiating that classic "descending the stairs" party trick, where you pull the couch out from the wall and walk behind it while crouching lower and lower so that it totally looks like you're going down stairs!  I missed some of this fun due to the fact that I had consumed an entire bottle of champagne and a few glasses of sizzurp and had taken some crazy pill that my sister gave me that is for kids with ADD.  You're never too old to try something new, right?
My only dissapointment of the night came when I busted out my killer dj set that I had been fantasizing would set the room on fire and I pretty much cleared the dance floor.  Alec later said this may have been because not all of my friends were prepared to hear the words "pussy" and "sack" booming from the speakers, but what could be more freak nasty than the classic Khia song "my neck, my back"?  Anyway, Margaux and Vince did a great job djing after I flopped.
Here's an interesting link to waste time with:
this guy goes through  statements from some famous criminal cases and points out how people give away the fact that they are lying. 

I have more to say about the crap that's going on with the arena, but I'm sick of the subject right now, so if you're interested, just check out Marcus Breton's editorial in the sacbee from Sunday.  That guy is cool.

Also, my first interview will hopefully be in here soon, after I interview my first subject, the lovely bride-to-be Heather Conway.

Friday, July 23, 2004

soul explosion in my pants

last night i went to the bomb soul explosion at the crest.  i wanted to see allan anthony, but he cancelled.  i did catch anthony hamilton (he of the song "comin' from where i'm from).  anthony took the stage in full timberlake gear, meaning trucker hat and designer blazer with jeans.  i think he is jermaine dupri's protege, and it's funny cuz he did look a little bit troll-like just like j.d.  i don't like his voice that much but it was cool because he was a good performer and seemed to be happy to be there.  the sold-out crowd was hyped and as people clapped and sang along, i thought about the city council meeting and how discouraging it had been and how sad it is that the people that should vote (the artists, the creative people, the poor people), rarely do vote because they're busy doing other things.  like living to have fun and not just to make money.

just to let you know it appears from my informal survey at the crest last night that newsy hats are out (thank you jesus)  and boobs are in.  or rather, boobs are so in that they're out, as in, hello here are my entire breasts i dare you to try not to stare at them.  i know what you're thinking.  do boobs ever really go out of style?  much like the little black dress, they don't. however the current style seems to be the plunging to the waist neckline a la j.lo in that versace dress. 

graswich in the flesh!

OK, first, can someone please tell me if the city council voted to put the arena measure on the ballot in November or not?  Because I just read the Bee article online and it's so confusing I can't tell what the fuck they decided...It says they passed an "intent" motion 8-1, with an intent to take it up on August 5th.  I can't believe that the city council is so cowardly that they all jumped ship (except for Dave Jones) when a majority seemed dead set against putting it on the ballot so soon.
So I went to the city council meeting last night.  I walked up to where a group of people had gathered.  There was a podium with all the local news people in front of it.  As I approached a really crappy sign was thrust into my hand (which made me rue the fact that I had pussed out on making my "get the Maloofs off welfare" sign), and a Southern gentleman in susupenders glad-handed me and urged me in an oily southern drawl to get into the group behind the podium.  Councilman Dave Jones (the stronges opponent of the public funding for the arena) was about the speak and they wanted all the supporters to get behind him and give the impression of a large crowd.  As he spoke,  a red-faced guy wearing a Kings polo shirt that I would bet five bucks had arrived at city hall transported by either an Escalade or a Dodge Ram rudely yelled and tried to interrupt Dave Jones.  He and I proceeded to get in a heated argument.  I asked him if he lived downtown and he stammered "uh, I live in the, uh, greater Sacramento area" (read: Granite Bay), and then he said that downtown was a "wasteland" I fired back "my neighborhood is not a wasteland".  Of course, I don't want to make myself sound too cool, so I should note that my face began to twitch uncontrollably as we were arguing because it made me so nervous.
Inside, I spotted many local celebrities, Voison was there, hulking-Neanderthal Maloof was there, short, pugnacious Maloof was there (I can't keep the Maloofs straight, all playboy billionares look alike to me), and I can't tell you how thrilled I was to see local gadfly scribe R.E. Graswich there.  Was he wearing a wacky Hawaiian shirt you ask?  If you have to ask that, you don't know Graswich.  I was a bit surprised to see that many of the local news ladies dress really slutty, like anklet and platforms slutty, and I noticed neanderthal maloof checking one news hottie out. 
After various other snore-inducing business, Heather Fargo launched into the arena issue, and I have to admit it, she's good  After all here hare-brained revitalization schemes I had assumed she was an idiot, but she's not.  She's a very relaxed and somewhat witty speaker.  After her shpiel, she practically had me ready to vote for an arena.  Until Steve Cohn started poking holes in her plan, that is.  Their financial estimates are a joke.
Steve Cohn pointed out that the rebuilding of the 2000 spaces provides no net new  parking for and 18,000 seat arena.  The mayor didn't see this as a problem.
The mayor mentioned that the public (a large majority of which were against the arena) would be restricted to 2 minutes.  Dave Jones pointed out that the proponents (who, keep in mind, were a small minority) had no such restriction and asked if they could also be restricted to 2 minutes.  The mayor looked confused, said "no", and moved on.
The 7th and K site seems unfeasible, so other sites were mentioned.  Among them 3rd and R, which due to the fact that I am soon moving to 10th and U, and I decidedly not thrilled about.  The idea of looking out my window and seeing a huge arena looming is surreal.  What would happen to my neighborhood?  Will I be sandwiched between an Applebees and a Pottery Barn?  Will I come home to find out that my bedroom has been converted to a luxury loft? Will I be forced to pay a valet to park my car in front of my house? 
Anyway, I snuck out after two hours to catch the end of the Bomb Soul Explosion at the Crest (more about that later), and found out about the vote.  Apparently the NBA commisioner scared everyone into voting yes by saying that the Maloofs could move the team if we don't build a new arena.  They voted that the Maloofs should pay for half, which those crybabies are upset about, so nobody is happy with this plan.  Not the developers, not the  public, not the owners.
So August 5th is the next meeting, and I urge everyone to try to attend.  We should make signs and try to get on the news. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

setting up...

I've been toying with the idea of a blog for a while now.  Some of my friends set them up and I find them to be supremely amusing time-wasters.  I didn't want to start a blog where I complain about my job (although maybe sometimes I will).  So my primary idea for my blog is to interview some of my friends.  Cuz my friends are funny and smart.  And also because I'm not that good at asking people about themselves (probably because I'm always blathering on about myself), so sometimes I've known people awhile and don't know some of their background information.  I hope to include pictures if I can figure it out.  That's it.  First interview coming soon if the subject agrees...