Thursday, November 30, 2006

Vilsack is spelled like D-u-k-a-k-i-s

Tom Vilsack is running for President in 2008. Who is he? Well, let me tell you everything I know about him:

He is the governor of the State of Iowa.

Okay, that’s all. He does have one problem. Let me illustrate here.


Which name does not belong? Let’s face it. Those are northern European names. Vilsack is not.

Archie Bunker once said, “I want to vote for a candidate with an American name like “Miller” and that's largely been the choice in my lifetime with the exception of Michael Dukakis.

Good luck, Governor. You’ll probably lose in the primary to some American sounding name like Obama.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Winning the Hearts and minds of the Iraqi People

A US soldier taunts an Iraqi child with clean water.

Monday, November 27, 2006

More Photos from Mexico

The following photos are from the Day of the Dead celebrations. The first one is in Pachuca, but the last three are in the small remote town of Calnali.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Torporindy 500

This is my five hundredth post. It is nothing special.

How was everyone's Thanksgiving (or weekend for the internationals)? Apparently, there was a flu outbreak after my family's Thanksgiving celebration. There were around 22 people there and now 16 are sick with the flu. Four are in the hospital including 2 babies. I am one of the lucky ones thus far, but that is one high percentage. I say if we're all going to get sick like that, then the next year we should go on a cruise. At least we'll have fun before we come down with the norovirus.

Tight End Dallas Clark of the Colts is pissed off because the Madden 07 NFL video game shows him getting roughed up and embarrassed by Eagles defensive Darren Howard. They did not ask for permission or tip him off that his video likeness would be used in the commercial.

Oh, and smack is back in Indianapolis.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Quote of the day--Jamaal Tinsley

"I've tried to be aggressive the last couple of games," Tinsley said. "That's my new approach to the game, being aggressive."

Well, that's a novel thing to try in your 6th year as a pro.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Random Photos of Mexico

I took approximately 500 photos in Mexico. I have a digital camera and I barely know how to use it. Here are a few random shots. I will post some more in a few days.

Christo el Rey in Pachuca

La Mano de Dios

We stopped at this woman's tortilla stand to use the "toilet", which was some sort of hole in the backyard. Oh, and there was a goat standing next to the hole.

Teotihuacan -- The site containing the third and fourth largest pyramids in the world. Truly amazing.

The avenue of the dead. This view is from the moon pyramid.

These cold, fried fish were set out in front of us like peanuts at a restaurant in tepeapulco. I didn't partake.

I didn't like the powerlines in this photo at first, but a friend noted that it is an editorial comment -- Modernity versus the simple life.

I like that.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

We can learn a lot from Borat

Europeans have held a fascination with our country ever since the American Revolution. French aristocrat and social critic Alexis de Tocqueville traveled the United States in the 1830s to study this relatively new nation and its people. His resulting work Democracy in America is still one of the most cited books in the American media. De Tocqueville’s effort has been duplicated by his own countrymen; first by philosopher and feminist Simone de Beauvoir )America Day by Day ) and more recently by philopher and self-appointed American expert, Bernard-Henri Levy's American Vertigo: In the footsteps of de Tocqueville.

Sascha Baron Cohen (aka Ali G, Borat, and Bruno) is certainly no philosopher , but his latest movie Borat should make us take a really long look in the mirror at ourselves. The film is shot in “man in the street” style with Cohen posing as Borat an offensive and racist journalist from Kazakhstan. The film audience is treated to interviews with Americans who either actively or passively participate in the character Borat’s racist comments. The footage is largely from the southern red state region and viewers are treated to suggestions on what to do with homosexuals, college frat boys upset over the fact that we no longer have slaves, and helpful hints on which gun might be best to kill jews.

Borat is a catalyst for a lot of racism in the film. The character’s anti-semitism (Cohen is Jewish) is a recurring theme throughout the movie. While not all of the people he encounters participate in the racism none of them challenge his views. There could be many explanations for this, but most likely they are being polite and non-conforntational (and of course editing the hundreds of hours of video). Nevertheless, the movie sheds some uncomfortable light onto American bigotry and Borat is able to bring that racism out of the parlor and onto the street.

Recommended reading: This Purdue Phd candidate took her class to see the film.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Death Cab for Cutie

There has been an old marketing trend on television that has made a comeback the last few years. Once again it now seems every new show has to have a rip roaring soundtrack with hip tunes that the shows' audience can latch onto and more importantly, buy the television soundtrack that contains the songs. For better or worse one of the shows that have brought back this trend is Fox's "The OC."

I have always wondered whether or not bands embrace a shows' adulation or do so ambivalently. Either way, arguably the biggest recipient of The OC's exposure is the character Seth Cohen's favorite band, Death Cab for Cutie. Death Cab made a stop on its fall tour here in Indianapolis last night at the Murat Theater and being a fan of their work, I attended with Torpor himself.

Getting Torpor to attend wasn't so easy. Little did I know one can't get celebrity gossip in Mexico and Torpor found himself out of the loop. I finally pulled him away from the "E" Channel and the latest issue of People and we were on our way.

Death Cab for Cutie is a four person band from Seattle. For a number of years they were indie darlings who made several albums for independent Barsuk. After the release of their strongest creative work"Transatlanticism" they bolted for major label Atlantic. Their major label debut "Plans" was released last year.

The approximately 2000 seat Murat was essentially sold out for the show save a for very few seats in the balcony. Immediately Torpor and I noticed that the majority of the crowd in attendance hovered around college age. A significant portion of the crowd looked like they were in high school. Save for a hip dad here and there taking his kid to the concert, Torpor and I may have been the only two people in attendance who remember the Regan era by living it and not from 4th period history class.

The back drop of the show was the back and white lighted pattern that make up part of the cover of their latest album. The band took the stage right at nine PM and the first song of the evening was "Marching Bands of Manhattan", the first song off of "Plans." They followed up that song with "New Year", which happens to be the first song off of "Transatlanticism". At this point I began thinking back to their previous albums to guess which first song they would play next. But they threw me for a loop by playing two songs off their CD "The Photo Album" not slated number one on the album: "We Laugh Indoors" and "Why You'd Want to Live Here". All four songs were excellent and the song's sound was amazing. Also I think both Torpor were somewhat taken back by the level of intensity of the band. For a band that has received the worship of fictional upper class kids in Southern California, the band rocked harder than many bands I have seen out at the local amphitheater, even the bands where you have to have a mullet to get into the door. The two songs from "The Photo Album" are found in their live version on the excellent "The John Byrd E.P."

My two favorite songs on "Tranatlanticism" also served as the night's highlight and lowlight. The band played the hardest rocking song on that album, "We Looked Like Giants" in the middle of the show. Although the song is about four minutes long on the CD, the band played around a twelve minute version last night. In mid jam mode a second drum set was brought to the middle of the stage. The lead singer, Benjamin Gibbard, played the second drum in unison with the lead drummer. The last song of the night and encore was "Transatlanticism", which is the title track from their previous CD. The song is a seven minute epic that begins very slow and then builds with intensity. The live version didn't do this build up justice and in fact, sounded very uneven to me. Also there was some weird instrumental special effect that distracted away from the song. Although disappointed it still sounded good but in comparison to the near flawless performance by the band, it served as the only song that didn't match the quality of the recordings on their CD. The band played nearly straight through for a hour and forty-five minutes.

If you haven't every given Death Cab a listen, they are definitely worth checking out. Even if you aren't a Southern California kid driving a Range Rover and reading comic books on the side, they won't disappoint.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Doogie is Gay? What else did I miss while gone?

Well, I found out this morning that Neil Patrick Harris is gay. I mentioned this to a friend and she said, "Oh yeah, you missed a lot while you were in Mexico."

I was not able to escape Britney's divorce though. It was on the front page of a Mexican newspaper receiving top billing over the US election results.

I also learned this morning that Jack Palance died. I guess he was sort of overshadowed by Ed Bradley on Mexican television news.

What the hell?

Is there something else I should know?


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Back home again in Indiana

I am home. I have been gone for most of the past forty days. I am brown; I have facial hair; mysterious bug bites on my legs; and I have lost a few pounds largely due to Mexican water.

I have had little access to the American media. I did see one Colts game. I am sure the waitstaff at that Mexican bar is still seething about having to turn the set away from a tied Pachuca Cruz Azul soccer match. What else did I miss? Births, death, a perfect election, blogs and my below .500 fantasy football team.

I want to thank Brick and The Kid for filling in for me while I was gone. The Indianapolis Monthly wrote about my blog in my absence. I knew this was going to happen as they contacted me some time ago. However, I did not know they were going to portray me as one with a "distaste for Indianapolis" or that my blog was for "misanthropes". They gave an example of my distaste for the city by quoting one of my guest bloggers (and out of context to boot). Oh well, I shouldn't be surprised. I am a subscriber. The "Indianapolis Monthly" doesn't even know where they are half the time. I open it every month to read about some hot new restaurant on 146th street in Hamhellton County. They must not know that Indianapolis ends on 96th.

Anyway, I am home. I may write a bit about Mexico, some politics and whatever else comes to mind on lazy days.

As always, misanthropes are very welcome here.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Torpor Returns!

Torpor is on his way back from Mexico and will be at your service again shortly. This is assuming he makes it through customs. Hopefully he took my advice and decided not to try to sneak in some meat and produce from our neighbor to the South.

Random Thoughts Friday

If the Daniels administration have their way, there will be a new tollway called the Indiana Commerce Connector. How come our State leaders have always thought ripping up farmland and building new highways is the solution of our economic woes? I drive a lot of highways in Indiana and you know what I see off the majority of them: Marathon stations and Dairy Queens.

Why do I feel like when I tell my grandchildren about Indiana's rural past where there was farmland as far as the eye could see I will be met with the same befuddled look I used to give my grandparents when they talked about the Great Depression.

Keep this privatization up. I think a Starbucks symbol on top of the State House would look ripping.

State leaders: want to control suburban growth, build up not out.

Ed Bradley passed after a secret battle with leukemia. I grew up watching 60 minutes and I have always admired his intelligence and charm. May he rest in peace.

In case you are wondering, I am looking at the front of today's Star.

I am watching the Pacers right now. This year every time I see their team on the floor I can't help thinking of that scene from the cinematic masterpiece "Major League". You know the one with the construction workers: "Who are these f*%cking guys".

The Colts are set for a let down this weekend but still take the Bills 27-10. Look for the Colts first 100 year rusher of the season.

Have a good night.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

New Direction or more of the same?

Election Day was Tuesday and the Democratic party made substantial gains. The Democratic party gained 28 seats in the House of Representatives, which gave the Democrats their first majority since 1994. Also the Democrats had six governorships switch to their party and that gave the Democrats the majority of governorships for the first time in 12 years.

There is no way to debate this. Tuesday was clearly a referendum on President Bush. The overwhelming majority of Americans demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the leadership in Washington and his presidency.

I have to wonder which direction the Democrats will go. For the last six years the Republicans in Washington have treated them with such disdain that I wonder if Democrats won't strike back a little. For a supposed "Uniter not a Divider" the leadership under Bush was the most partisan that I have had the chance to observe in my lifetime.

I hope the Democrats do not give in to this temptation. The criticism of the Democratic party is that it is directionless and leadership is lacking. They are now partially in the driver's seat. As a result they should take the opportunity to show that they have a plan for Iraq, that they can control the reckless spending that has gone on for the last six years, and that they can have policies that are both environmentally and socially responsible. They have a chance to show that they can lead this country out of some of the messes created in the past few years.

It is time to turn their cheeks to the partisan behavior of their opponents and show this country that they can and will do things better. If not, then expect another landslide in the next election and not in the Democrats' favor.

Can we keep the hype down just a bit?

The Indianapolis Colts now stand as the only unbeaten team in the NFL. The only previous unbeaten team in week eight, the Chicago Bears, finally lost a game in their schedule of powder puffs and local Pop Warner teams with their defeat by the powerful Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins entered the game with a daunting 1-6 record.

The Colts, however, find themselves for the third year in a row with a road game in New England. The previous week the Colts went to Denver to take on the 6-1 Broncos and their stingy defense. The Colts won that game and followed that up with a defeat of the Patriots who likewise had only one loss on the year.

I don't know what the NFL schedulers have against my beloved Colts but it sure seems like all the "big" and rival games on their schedule never end up at the RCA Dome.

I was actually sad to see the Bears lose. All kidding aside the Bears are a hell of a football team this year and last week was certainly an aberration. But my immediate concern was the Colts. This year with the Bears destroying opponents week to week the Colts had been atop the AFC in relative anonymity. The national media have expected this from the Colts based on their previous success. As a result, their un-blemished record was met with a collective yawn. But now as the NFL's only unbeaten team, expect the hype to begin again.

What concerns me is that our teams in Indiana do not react well to hype. In fact anytime a team from the Hoosier State find themselves as a media darling I know the next thing that will follow: my broken heart when the team fails to attain greatness once again.

So keep it down media, at least the local media. Let the Colts worry about the next game, not the Super Bowl and certainly not about 16-0. Let them creep along and just let them play some damn football. You can quietly dream of a parade down Meridian Street just as me, but let's keep that bottled up inside until after the Super Bowl.

On a final note, Peyton Manning never stops amazing me. He is having his finest season. The stats may not be a gaudy as in the past but there is no question, this season he is a better football player than he has ever previously been.

Have Faith, you're a sore loser

I don't care for country music much, except for the Great Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. I certainly would not find myself watching the Country Music Awards. But the recent controversy that I stumbled upon while reading about the CMA's is pretty disturbing.

In case you haven't heard, there was a controversy during the female vocalist of the year presentation. One of the nominees, Faith Hill, is shown by the coverage awaiting the results just like her other four fellow nominees. Before the announcement of the winner, Faith Hill strikes a pose in a gracious manner after supposedly winning. But the problem is, she didn't win. Former American Idol contestant Carrie Underwood did. After the announcement of Underwood's win you can clearly see Hill yell out "What?" in shock.

You can see the actual video by clicking this link (sorry I am not tech savvy enough to know how to post it to this page).

Faith Hill's camp have spun this off as it was a joke by the singer. But one view of video and Hill's reaction demonstrates that as pure baloney. She is clearly in shock after losing the award.

Come on Faith. Don't try to spin this off. Show something you didn't show at the CMA's: class. Apologize to Ms. Underwood and try to save a little face.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Indianapolis Monthy

The latest issue of Indianapolis Monthly has a feature article on several local blogs. Torpor Indy made the cut of six highlighted in the magazine's November issue. The article is found in the magazine's Circle City Essential Indiana feature, which is on page 44.

The feature makes note of four things you need to know about the blog. These include the blogger, the likely reader, choice words (a quote from the blog), and why bother (the magazine's reasoning why a person should check out the blog). The magazine indicated that the blogger for this site is "a lawyer with a distaste for Indy." It also noted that the likely reader of this blog was a fellow misanthrope.

Those who read this blog with some consistency know that this blog includes commentary about local and national politics but is also, in part, a lifestyle blog about living in Indianapolis. Those who read this blog are also aware that this blog is not mine but is simply in my steward while Torpor is out of the country on business.

With that in mind, I can't speak for Torpor because only he can do that. But before I became involved with this blog as its music editor, I read the blog for several months. Although I consider Torpor a good friend and he and myself have had several discussions about the city where we live, I have followed the blog long enough to have some thoughts about this blog's contents with a certain level of objectivity.

For those who may have decided to check out this blog in search of a forum about the personal hell of living in Indianapolis, I am sorry to say you will be disappointed. Torpor the blog nor Torpor the man have ever held such a disregard for the city that he calls home. If anything the blog has been a celebration of the city that despite of its flaws, is ripe with potential and well positioned to lift itself from its national profile of a second tier city.

If anything could be construed as a distaste of Indy, it could only be commentary about some of the flaws that exist here. But noting a flaw from time to time does not rise to a level of distaste.

From a personal standpoint, I am flattered that the magazine would think enough about a blog that I am associated with to make note of it in its feature. But it is also my opinion that the magazine's characterization of the blogger and the likely reader was simply off the mark.

I will express my gratitude to Indianapolis Monthly for thinking enough about the blog to expose it to its readers. For those who have stumbled upon the site because of the article, hopefully you will visit again. The article got one point right on target, this site does have several links to other Indy blogs. The Indy blogs listed on this site are all worth checking out and hopefully you will give them a look. You may access them at the right side of this web page.
Banner eXTReMe Tracker