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July 29, 2007

And for the record...

If you want to find more of my cutting insights into the state of the nation, check me and my fine friends out at

Posted by shamanic
2:25 AM

July 16, 2007



Posted by shamanic
2:56 PM

July 14, 2007

Newshoggers store now open

As you know, I've been writing for Newshoggers for a while now, and I think it's going really well. Yesterday I got on one of my occasional graphics binges and built a cafe press store for the Hog. Here's one design:

Posted by shamanic
11:58 AM

July 11, 2007

I {heart} McClatchy


Posted by shamanic
12:20 PM

June 28, 2007

Media Annoyance of the Day

Posted by shamanic
11:58 PM

June 6, 2007

Music and Movies

I went on a music-buying splurge on iTunes a couple of weekends ago when I saw that Rufus Wainwright's new album Release the Stars had come out.

Wow dude, he's got the voice of a god. Not a Jeff Buckley god, but a god nonetheless. His voice is so pure, and his songwriting style produces sweeping, cabaret-inspired tunes.

Only tangentially related, I also watched the documentary Paragraph 175 the other night, where a half-dozen homosexual survivors of Nazi concentration camps were interviewed about their experiences before, during, and after the war. Being part of this group whose history, when it's written, is almost always tragedy makes for an interesting understanding of the human race. Still, I'm thankful for efforts like Paragraph 175 (and The Pink Triangle by Richard Plant) to at least preserve this part of gay, and human, history.

Which brings us back to way-out Rufus Wainwright, with his crooner's voice and playful love songs to men. I'll take today over yesterday, thanks very much, while being grateful for the scholarship that exists.

(originally posted at Newshoggers)

Posted by shamanic
11:34 AM

May 24, 2007

New "Multiple Choice Mitt" Gear in the Simianbrain Store

Check out the store for handsome new "Multiple Choice Mitt" gear, which is not afraid to ask the timeless question: "What do you want me to believe today?"

Posted by shamanic
1:24 PM

May 18, 2007

The Imperial Party

(This entry was originally posted at Newshoggers, and reprinted here because I'm selfish like that sometimes.)

Reading many, many accounts of the US Attorneys blow-up, James Comey's testimony about the bedside visit to John Ashcroft, John Yoo's torture memos, the Republican candidate debate in South Carolina, and Dick Cheney's fervent notion that the President is above the law, I keep having visions of Richard Nixon and wondering whether the Imperial temperament is simply part of the GOP.

I keep coming back to Ronald Reagan (and to a far lesser degree, George H.W. Bush). Did Reagan's administration abuse the system of American democracy? I think that Iran-Contra and the various Latin American wars that we bulked up or participated in during the Reagan era show without a doubt that he did. I'm not convinced that he did so with anything like the zeal or philosophical emphasis on unlimited executive power that Nixon and Bush Jr. rely on, but there was certainly an element in Reagan's governance that stressed the executive's right to engage in warfare (in one form or another) as it wished.

But he was the great communicator, disarming his ideological opposites with charm and wit, while Nixon and Bush are the great obfuscators, the marvelous dodgers, the guys who say "screw you" when confronted with anything not to their liking. Is that the difference? Could Bush have governed as a benevolent dictator if only he'd been less absorbed by partisan hatreds and the demonizing of his fellow citizens?

More importantly, does the GOP believe, as a core philosophy, that Republican presidents are entitled to unlimited power in pursuing all enemies, foreign and domestic? If so, this needs to be addressed in the open and called what it is: a tendency towards tyranny.

I know of no Democrat who supposes that the President is above the law. But apparently it's common for Republicans to believe that laws, when they hinder the good intentions of a Republican president, are trifles to be brushed off. The co-equal branches of government are to be scorned. The will of the people, embodied in all three, is to be ignored if it can't be manipulated.

Is this Republicanism? If so, we need to see it for what it is, and stamp it out with all the vigor that can be marshaled by a free people.

Posted by shamanic
5:39 PM

May 15, 2007

Buddy Wakefield in Atlanta

Well, I'll be out of town it turns out, but Buddy Wakefield will still be in Atlanta at the Masquerade on Saturday June 2, opening for Sage Francis.

Here's a badly lit YouTube video of Buddy performing "Human the Death Dance", which is also the name of Sage Francis' new record. Buddy is on Sage's Strange Famous Records, and this piece is pretty amazing. If your mom didn't book tickets for you to fly to Denver that weekend, you should go see this show.

Posted by shamanic
3:26 PM

First Anniversary of Home Ownership

One year ago today, I bought my house. I'm still not fully unpacked, still haven't finished painting, still haven't made the yard into the little piece of awesome I dream of, and the list goes on. Ah, the joys of home ownership.

As I suspected, with this house I will never run out of projects. Happy Anniversary to me.

Posted by shamanic
3:09 PM

May 12, 2007


I'm off to the Lake Eden Arts Festival, LEAF, in Western North Carolina. There's a bad-ass money Slam featuring some of the best talent in the United States.

I'm sad that so many of the Google ads on the side are for things related to a certain blond rightazon. Hopefully those entries scroll off soon.

Have a great weekend! Happy Mothers Day!

Posted by shamanic
8:19 AM

May 9, 2007

By the way Google...

We know you're trying to develop artificial intelligence. Oh yes, we know...

Posted by shamanic
11:32 PM

Google Adsense & An Update

So it turns out that Simianbrain continues to get a fair amount of traffic, sometimes several hundred hits a day, even when I don't update it. That's the magic of search engines, I guess.

I've added Google AdSense ads along the side. Who knows, maybe one day I can get a check from them or something. They're "contextual" ads, so maybe you'll see things worth looking at and maybe you won't. But they're there.

I'm still here too, by the way. Battling allergies as always. Last weekend I bought a Neti Pot, which is sort of a cross between a tea pot and a genie's bottle. The basic idea is you put warm salted water in it, stick the spout in your nostril, tilt your head just so, and the water pours through one nostril and out the other. It's pretty much the coolest damn thing I've run across in a long time, and it's made my sinuses comfortable in a way I didn't know they could be.

I didn't really know what else to try. I found myself snorting Flonase, taking Claritin, and often taking benedryl at night. I can't say my reactivity is decreased using the Neti Pot, but I'm certainly more comfortable.

I'm also in the process of recording my first spoken word record (this is a big part of the urgency with the allergy treatment). Still writing at Newshog, but still not vastly occupied by current events. We're still in Iraq. We're still being led by the same boy king. Congress makes me happier. The media makes me annoyed. Not much has changed. I'm having a rough time churning out columns on it all.

So there we are. Still here. Still alive. Still suffering and joyous.

Posted by shamanic
11:28 PM

March 27, 2007

Tony Snow

This really sucks. I hope his doctors get it and kill it dead enough that it can never come back.

He's 51. This really sucks.

I suppose the upside of Snow's and Elizabeth Edwards' experience with cancer is that they are public figures dealing with this publicly, and we all get to learn from their examples. It's a special kind of bravery and generosity that lets a person do that, I think, and I'm grateful to both of them. But it sucks, and I hate it for them and their families.

Good luck Tony. Your politics are awful, but I'm behind you 100% as you enter the ring for round two with this.

Posted by shamanic
10:31 AM

March 23, 2007


The bulk of my politics writing will now appear at Cernig's Newshog, a great politics blog hosted by a fooking Scot currently residing in Texas.

Cernig and I have worked together in the past, and he's a really remarkable blogger with a great eye for stories. He'll listen to a routine press conference and catch the one detail that blows the lid off of the latest policy discussion. I'm looking forward to having deadlines and a sounding board, and I think that Cernig is looking forward to having my verging-on-mental-illness faith in the ideals and aptitude of America to broaden the vision at Newshog.

I won't be doing a lot of cross posting, because if you need to read it twice you can always just scroll up and start over. Simianbrain will not be devoid of politics, but will change in ways that I haven't really thought through so well. There's plenty of stuff in my cluttered head, so having multiple places to put it all doesn't seem like a bad idea.

Some of my work will still occasionally, as always, appear at Shakespeare's Sister as well. The incisive wit over there is simply good blogging, and you should definitely read today's entry, from Shakes, "Citizen Asshole".

I am carving out my own little niche as a freelance blogger, which is like being a freelance writer but it pays a lot less. Like, nothing. Which continues the theme I first started when I began writing poetry at the age of 5. At this rate, I'll be among the most published writers in the country, dutifully working my day job to pay the bills.

Posted by shamanic
12:10 PM


"An odd point of view to say the least."

Typing loudly from Atlanta, GA, since 2003.
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And for the record...
Newshoggers store now open
I {heart} McClatchy
Media Annoyance of the Day
Music and Movies
New "Multiple Choice Mitt" Gear in the Simianbrain Store
The Imperial Party
Buddy Wakefield in Atlanta
First Anniversary of Home Ownership

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