Thursday, March 31, 2005

Prophetic TV

Want to find out how authoritarian, repressive, oppressive, and corrupt a neverending War on Terror can be? Check out the stylish, sexy, and action-charged La Femme Nikita TV series, which ran on USA Network from 1997 to 2001. Pre-9/11, the show was downright prophetic.

The complete first season (22 episodes) was released on DVD two years ago. The second season is now finally available, and the third will be released in June. You may not want to purchase these sets like I am, but I highly recommend renting them (via Netflix or an equivalent).

How to be tactless for fun & profit

In the past two days, I've been lectured by a "libertarian" Republican on an e-list that I'm perhaps "too radical." Here, in part, is what he has written to me:
"Appropriate tact, I suggest, is a far better way to win people over, not shock and alienation. ... Well, good luck with your radical pose. It may not rollback (or smash) the State, but I suspect YOU'LL feel good knowing that you were right and the world was wrong."
OK, if there's one thing I've learned from watching "libertarian" tact and the compromise of Libertarian Party (and Republican) electoral politics over the past 35 years, it's that being tactful doesn't work. Was Sam Adams "tactful"? Or Locke, or Sidney, or Paine, or Jefferson?

I think all lovers of freedom should heed the advice of the late Saul Alinsky, the great Leftist community organizer, who wrote more than 30 years ago (in his classic Rules for Radicals):
"To pander to those who have no stomach for straight language, and insist upon bland, non-controversial sauces, is a waste of time. ... To travel down the sweeter-smelling, peaceful, more socially acceptable, more respectable, indefinite byways, ends in failure to achieve an honest understanding of the issues that we must come to grips with if we are to do the job."
So I ask my e-list friend: what have three decades of your electoral politics and playing footsies with statists contributed to liberty or even to the "rollback" of the State? The answer is: nothing.

We must be LESS tactful and more uncompromising. We must seize the high ground. We must say what we mean and mean what we say.

Let's raise high the black flag! We have nothing to lose but our chains!

Up the rebels!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Why I love the Orwellian Memory Hole

To spare future generations from ever finding me in error, my essay "An Anarchist's Nightstand" has been corrected and archived at We will no longer speak of this unfortunate embarrassment. You can find the corrected version right here.

Thanks, Lew!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Had enough government yet?

Today on the blog, Norman Singleton asks us to "consider these little gems buried in the transportation bill that recently passed the House of Representatives."

The bill, Singleton reveals:
  • authorizes $25 million for grants to states that have a law requiring children ride in child safety seats that meet federal standards.
  • requires the federal government to establish uniform "guidelines" to prevent the use of vehicles designed for between nine and 15 passengers to transport children to and from school events.
  • creates new federal fines and penalties for violating new federal regulations regarding the shipping of household goods.
"So in the land of the free," Singleton concludes, "you cannot take your baby from the hospital, pick up your child and his friends after school, or use professionals to help you move without being subjected to federal regulations."

Hey, friends...had enough government yet?

French,'s all salad dressing to me

In response to my admitting my error in calling Machiavelli's The Prince "a 16th century French classic," Bob Ingraham writes:
"I prefer to read it in its original German anyway."
Jane Shaffer (whose maiden name is Conger) writes:
"Wally, are you sure the French hadn't overrun Italy at the time ... all those countries were constantly crossing each other's borders. Or maybe it was surreptitiously published in France first. I just can't bring myself to believe that a Conger could make a mistake, so I don't think you did. Your subconscious knew something the rest of us just aren't privy to."
Thanks, guys.

I, Nitwit

Ack! Whatta knucklehead I am!

Remarkably, only one person so far has pointed out to me that in my latest essay for -- "An Anarchist's Nightstand" -- I call Machiavelli's The Prince a "16th century French classic."

Of course, Machiavelli was Italian. And The Prince is a 16th century ITALIAN classic.

And I shall now slink under this desk...

An Anarchist's Nightstand

I've always thought you can tell a lot about someone by examining the books stacked -- sometimes permanently -- at their bedside. These are the books they read again and again for comfort and inspiration.

I survey the tomes sitting at my bedside right now in "An Anarchist's Nightstand"... today on

Monday, March 28, 2005

Pro-life politics

Friday, March 25, 2005

Prepare to be enchanted!

I've read more than two dozen novels by Dean Koontz. This one, Life Expectancy, is his latest. It's a suspense thriller about a pastry chef and his family and how they're terrorized for more than three decades by homicidal circus clowns and aerialists. It is also about God, faith, determination, love, and real Evil. Koontz writes:
"We need to laugh at the irrationality of evil, for in doing so we deny evil's power over us, diminish its influence in the world, and tarnish the allure it has for some people."
I just finished reading Life Expectancy. It's a thrill ride of a novel. It's also poignant and funny as hell. I have learned something from every book by Dean Koontz I've read. I've learned more from this one than from any of the others. There is wisdom here. There is one hell of a story here. Read it.


And prepare to be enchanted!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Supporting the troops

A clarion call for sanity

When I lived in Los Angeles, many of my friends and co-workers would sneer at the very mention of the "conservative, reactionary, right-wing" Orange County Register. They much preferred the left-leaning Los Angeles Times.

So I'm delighted to learn that on Sunday the "right-wing" Register, not the so-called "antiwar" Times, became perhaps the first newspaper in a Top 25 market to call for a full U.S. pullout from Iraq.

Marking the second anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq, the Register's editorial declared:
"We opposed this war from the beginning and we believe the United States should withdraw its troops sooner rather than later, under a sensible exit strategy. While some argue that chaos would follow an American withdrawal, it is also true that U.S. troops have become a lightning rod, attracting the very attacks they are working to prevent.

"Saddam Hussein is out of power, which is good. Now it is time to leave Iraq, for better and for worse, to the Iraqis."
I find it amusing that peace and anti-interventionism -- left-wing values when I was a kid in the early 1970s -- have today been generally abandoned by the mainstream Left and taken up by the "Neanderthals of the Right."

Monday, March 21, 2005

The arrogance of Empire

On "liberal" tolerance

Matt Drudge reports today that Playgirl editor-in-chief Michele Zipp has been fired after revealing that she voted Republican last November. In an e-mail to Drudge, Zipp wrote:
"After your coverage of my article about coming out and voting Republican ... [c]riticism from the liberal left ensued. A few days after the onslaught of liberal backlash, I was released from my duties at Playgirl magazine. ... I also received a phone call from a leading official from Playgirl magazine, in which he stated with a laugh, 'I wouldn't have hired you if I knew you were a Republican.' I just wanted to let you know of the fear the liberal left has about a woman with power possessing Republican views."

Saturday, March 19, 2005

A couple of updates

Reviews are starting to trickle in from special advance screenings of the film adaptation of Frank Miller's Sin City, which opens nationwide April 1. My excitement continues to mount! Check out a survey of those early reviews here.

Also, anyone interested in the libertarian novel of the decade, The Black Arrow (reviewed on this blog a few days ago), might enjoy reading a new interview with author Vin Suprynowicz and cover illustrator Scott Bieser. In addition to talking about the novel, both Suprynowicz and Bieser have quite a few valuable things to say about the future of the freedom movement. You can find that interview right here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

"Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair"

Joe Utichi reports via that Quentin Tarantino plans a wide U.S. theatrical release for Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair in the next few months. This is both halves of the Kill Bill saga, Vol. 1 (2003) and Vol. 2 (2004), stitched together into a single, glorious bloodbath, as Tarantino intended originally.

Says Tarantino in the Utichi interview:
"Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair is definitely getting a wide release; actually, that'll probably be the first movie that Miramax, under their new company, will be releasing theatrically, it's the Japanese version, that's why I call it that, you know, it should probably come out in the next few months. It's going to be NC-17 in America. We couldn't do that when Disney owned the place but now Disney's the fuck outta there we can do anything we want! It's gonna be off the hook!"
I heard a few months ago that the "complete" Kill Bill, with extras, might be released on DVD as early as this coming August. A new theatrical release and a new DVD amount to very exciting news for those of us who rank Kill Bill among the greatest action films of all time.

Monday, March 14, 2005

A tale of the resistance

America is at that awkward stage,” Claire Wolfe wrote notoriously a few years ago. “It’s too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.”

In The Black Arrow, newspaper columnist Vin Suprynowicz’s first novel, the year is 2031, and the time to shoot the bastards has finally come. A new U.S. war of secession is being fought, the West distancing itself from the ever-growing despotism of the East. But this “tale of the resistance” (the book’s subtitle) focuses on Gotham, an eastern metropolis where government atrocities are the norm: private daycare centers are raided by jackbooted agents, small businesses are seized without due process, families fall victim to both “freelance” and state criminals due to senseless gun-control laws. Worse yet, the War on Terror continues, but the “terrorists” are now solely the nation’s own citizens, harassed constantly by Homeland Security checkpoints at every corner and often gunned down when determined to be “uncooperative” by the Lightning Squads (aka the Grays).

In Gotham, and in the rest of the still-existing U.S., things are just plain shitty.

But from this muck arises the Black Arrow, a hero to lead a highly-trained group of freedom-fighters -- and, subsequently, the people -- in taking the nation back. Masked, dressed in black, and armed with a compound bow, he exterminates any and all who abuse power, including tax collectors, cops, prosecutors, federal judges, and other assorted politicos and bureaucrats.

How best to describe this compelling novel? Well, take Atlas Shrugged, then substitute the 60-page John Galt speech with digestible “sound bites,” add a dash of rock ‘n roll, plenty of sex, scores of commando raids, fierce samurai action, and lots of resistance strategy, and you’ve got The Black Arrow. At 700 pages, it’s a hefty book (not quite the Randian monster, though), but it never drags. It’s a quick read -- and one I’m sure I’ll return to several more times.

Tom Knapp recently described Suprynowicz’s novel as “The Scarlet Pimpernel on steroids and The Three Musketeers on a methamphetamine rampage to boot.” It’s that, and more. It’s certainly the best action novel I’ve read in several years. And it’s the best libertarian novel I’ve read since Vic Koman’s Kings of the High Frontier.

The Black Arrow, now available in a limited, signed edition, arrives in trade paper in late April. Buy it, for cryin’ out loud.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Fly Jefferson Airplane

Like most now middle-aged children of the '60s, I was introduced to rock 'n roll by the Beatles. But the band whose music served as background to my high school years was Jefferson Airplane. And three decades later, I'm still a diehard Airhead. In fact, I've seen the most recent version of Jefferson Starship perform live (with Paul Kantner, Marty Balin, and Jack Casady aboard) three times since 1995 and plan to attend a local concert (just 15 minutes from my home -- amazing!) next month.

Which brings me to this remarkable DVD, uncovered last night while I browsed through Boo Boo Records in downtown San Luis Obispo. What a treasure!

Fly Jefferson Airplane is a two-hour documentary featuring recent interviews with the classic Airplane roster (Kantner, Balin, Casady, Jorma Kaukonen, Spencer Dryden (RIP) and, of course, Grace Slick). The members reflect on the '60s, the band, its music...and it's all fascinating. But the real meat on this DVD is the wonderful collection of live and televised Airplane performances, most of which I hadn't seen for 35 years and some of which I'd never seen.

  • "It's No Secret," from the Bell Telephone Hour in 1966, featuring Grace's predecessor, Signe Anderson.
  • Two performances from the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival ("Somebody to Love" and "High Flying Bird").
  • Both appearances Airplane made on the old Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967 ("White Rabbit") and 1968 ("Crown of Creation" and "Lather"). The '68 Smothers show was especially controversial because Grace performed in blackface and wore a black leather glove, closing "Crown of Creation" by raising her fist in the Black Power salute (a la Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the just-concluded Olympics in Mexico City).
It's wonderful having all these clips available finally to watch again and again. And the DVD even offers the convenient option of skipping the documentary altogether and just watching all the performance footage. Extras on the DVD include bonus interview material and a nice photo gallery (again, with lots of things I'd never seen before).

For Jefferson Airplane fans, I give Fly Jefferson Airplane FIVE STARS (out of five).

Smashing the Empire one finger at a time

"Don't change before the Empire falls,
You'll laugh so hard you'll crack the walls..."
--Grace Slick, "Greasy Heart" (1968)

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

"Deja Vu All Over Again"

Thanks to Rob Moody for alerting me to this new anti-war song by John Fogerty, from his latest album, which shares the song's title, Deja Vu All Over Again.

Deja Vu All Over Again

Did you hear 'em talking 'bout it on the radio?
Did you try to read the writing on the wall?
Did that voice inside you say, I've heard it all before?
It's like deja vu all over again.

Day by day, I hear the voices risin',
Startin' with a whisper like it did before.
Day by day, we count the dead and dying,
Ship the bodies home while the networks all keep score.

Did you hear 'em talking 'bout it on the radio?
Could your eyes believe the writing on the wall?
Did that voice inside you say, I've heard it all before?
It's like deja vu all over again.

One by one, I see the old ghosts rising,
Stumbling 'cross big muddy, where the light gets dim.
Day after day, another momma's crying,
She's lost her precious child to a war that has no end.

Did you hear 'em talking 'bout it on the radio?
Did you stop to read the writing on the wall?
Did that voice inside you say, I've seen this all before?
It's like deja vu all over again.
It's like deja vu all over again.

"Sin City" update

In watching the new trailer for Sin City, I see that, as reported here earlier, Robert Rodriguez and Sin City creator Frank Miller are officially credited as co-directors -- unprecedented.

But I also see that QUENTIN TARANTINO is credited as a "special guest director"! Am I in heaven or what?

Sin City hits theaters nationwide on April 1.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Kid's short story is called "terrorist threat"

WLEX Channel 18 in Lexington, Kentucky, reports that an 18-year-old kid from George Rogers Clark High School in Clark County was arrested Tuesday for "making terrorist threats."

Cops say they discovered materials at the home of William Poole that outline possible acts of violence aimed at students, teachers, and police.

What were these materials? They were a short story the kid had written for an English class -- about zombies.

"It's a fake story," said Poole. "I made it up. I've been working on one of my short stories, [and] the short story they found was about zombies. Yes, it did say a high school. It was about a high school over ran by zombies."

William faces a second-degree felony terrorist threatening charge. "Anytime you make any threat or possess matter involving a school or function it's a felony in the state of Kentucky," said Winchester Police detective Steven Caudill.

Thursday, a judge raised Poole's bond from $1,000 to $5,000 after prosecutors requested it, citing the seriousness of the charge. Poole's being held at the Clark County Detention Center.

Here's a real scary part of this story, friends:

The kid was turned in to the cops by his grandparents after they'd snooped in his journal.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

U.S. troop deaths in Iraq now top 1,500