Friday, January 26, 2007

Van Halen with DLR: Yes, it might just happen

The staff here at Meet the Stress, inc. are all confirmed sieg heilers, heel-clickers, and goose-steppers for Van Halen. And by Van Halen, we are referring to the classic line-up of Eddie Van Halen, Brother Alex, Michael Anthony, and most important - Diamond David Lee Fucking Roth (ie, God).

According to this unassailable logic, Van Halen officially reached oblivion and room temperature on April 1, 1985 when Roth was booted and replaced with the devil - Sammy Hagar (aka "Bette Midler drag act", "Squinty McZubaz", "Fatty Pajamaman"). Sure, there had always been some infighting between DL-fing-R and the Halen bros. But this raises a much greater question: Why argue with God? (aka DLR)

Of course, any and all future variations on this Roth-less theme - up to and including the terrible flirtation with Gary Cherone - should also be viewed as non-canonical, blasphemous, heretical, and contrary to all natural law.

On this note, I'm proud to announce a possible long-awaited resurrection:
Billboard: "Van Halen Reuniting with Roth for Tour"

Now some cautionary notes. I covered my bases in the title: "Yes, it just might happen". Several big variables and obstacles to overcome:

A.) First and foremost, David Lee Roth and his overwhelming ego. Of course, when you're God, this goes with the territory. When DLR told Moses "Tell them 'I am' has sent you" the connotation here is that nothing exists without the supreme will of DLR, right? The VH bros just gotta deal.

B.) Michael Anthony DOA. On September 8th 2006, Eddie VH announced that Anthony was out, and that his 15 year old son Wolfgang was VH's new bassist. We all love Mike and his Jack Bass, but really - crucial VH member, or expendable? You know the answer. But it's gottta be pretty insulting to be replaced with a 15 yo punk.

C.) Three on one. Lil' Wolfie is going to be the VH bros' sock puppet. So that's Alex, Eddie, and Wolfie vs. God. This certainly could be a recipe for disaster.

D.) This is really 15 years too late. As much as we appreciate God and all his wisdom, DLR has always been pretty pretty thin on-top - and getting thinner.

...and Eddie's new corpse look doesn't sweeten the offer:

But to this I say we've seen worse - and it wasn't that bad. We saw DLR solo at Bumbershoot 2004 and he fucking ruled. We saw an overweight VH cover-band last week in Portland, and they fucking ruled. If they can all get-it-together, and if DLR can be magnanimous and benevolent with his ego (big if), it just might work.

There is always hope. There is some glue left to keep them together. This time, we must look-to and trust-in Benjamin Franklin & his clone army for some much-needed hope glue:

There are only a few shows that I've ever paid over $50 to see. Iron Maiden with Rob Halford (worth every penny). Slayer, Black Sabbath, Priest, and Iron Maiden (easily every penny). This show I am willing to spend anything. I'd say one Benji is my limit, but I'd be lying.

In leu of this exciting news, I've planted the Van Halen torch (upper-right) - claiming this blogland for VH. But more importantly - when all the variables, obstacles, and egos are tossed-aside, our friends at will ignite their VH torch - and every other torch linked to it.

So there it is: Save-up your shekels, & pray daily to DLR that Benjamin Franklin's clone-army hope-glue brings it all home.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Conservative Information Black-Hole (Busted!)

Alternative title: "Why conservatives reside in terminal idiocy"

In a previous entry I decried conservative websites for dubious citation jobs. In particular I targeted Orbusmax - a local conservative news-service (of sorts):

"Because he's always using other right-wingnuts as sources, Orbusmax is a prime offender for being right-wing recycle-bin/ echo-chamber."

Here's a prime example. Orbusmax' bold headline right now reads:
"Report: Gulf States Prepared to Back US Military Strike on Iran"

Clicking on the link does not bring you to a credible source: For example, no report from Gulf State ambassador(s); no minutes from a Gulf State coalition meeting; no Gulf State leader(s) statements, letters, documents, etc. No, clicking on this only sends us to orbusmax' favorite go-to conservative weblog Little Green Footballs, who gives us this entry:
"Report: Gulf States Prepared to Back US Military Strike on Iran"

Information, sources, and citations become even more chimerical from here. Little Green Footballs gives us a segment of a "...paper, written by GRC program director, Dr. Christian Koch," but gives us no link to that paper. This segment also fails to present any actual credible Gulf State sources (listed above).

Again, there is still no link to this phantom "paper" or any report, but LGFootballs does give us this:

A new paper issued by an influential Dubai think tank suggests that Gulf states may be prepared to
back a US military strike on Iran

This hyperlink sends us to - wait for it - yet another weblog. This Alice rabbit-hole is run by the ultra-conservative NY daily, The Daily Sun. And it get's better (or worse). The article posted on this blog is again titled:

"Report: Gulf States Prepared to back US Military Strikes on Iran"
(still waiting for the actual link to an actual report)

This weblog article - posted by online editor Daniel Freedman - seems to be the final resting place for this weblog circle-jerk. But like all the others, Freedman again makes reference to "...paper, written by GRC program director, Dr. Christian Koch," but again fails to provide any verifiable links to that paper. Freedman's article includes the same segment as LGFootballs. But again, no citation, no report, no link.

Freedman makes reference to a speech given by Bush's Under Seceretary of State Nicholas Burns to the GRC where Burns said:

"The Middle East isn't a region to be dominated by Iran. The Gulf isn't a body of water to be controlled by Iran. That's why we've seen the United States station two carrier battle groups in the region,"

But there is no reference here to any Gulf States backing this US move. Again, no credible sources - no report from Gulf State ambassador(s); no minutes for a Gulf State coalition meeting; no Gulf State leader(s) statements, letters, documents, etc - are given to verify this claim.

Taken together: A supposed online news-service cites a conservative blog that cites another conservative blog that cites NOTHING.

Unfortunatly, many people reading an alarmist & determinitive headline about Gulf States backing US military strikes on Iran will accept it at face-value. Many will show up to the water-cooler tomorrow with a "Guess what I heard?". Many others will lovingly send mass emails to friends/family with the headline, linking back our friend

All this undoubtedly improves the advertising revenue for Orbusmax & his circle-jerk blog friends. But we live in country where the president is actively suppressing information and then actively declassifying only parts of documents that support his schemes.

In this context, the propegation of pseudo-information is a detriment to our democratic survival as a country, and the Soviet-caliber propagandists using this tactic should be cast into the same asheap of history.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Belated Passage: Alfred Hamilton 1920-2004

Last weekend's Portland road-trip tribulation presented a few new stories for the ages: A new nickname; A profane jager-induced rage at a Van Halen cover-band playing Haggar; A "No-athon"; Chasing Mariah around with a DLR residue-laced hand.

But one segment stuck-out in my mind from the return trip. I've made note of this road-side display on several previous I-5 trips, but like many items in my life, that note had been repeatedly filed deep into my ADD-adled archives. This time I kept thinking about it afterwards - clearly a lifetime of exposure to this I-5 landmark had pushed aside all other higher brain functions.

For I-5 travelling Warsh-ingtonians, the Uncle Sam billboard between Chehalis & Centralia has become both an unsightly attraction & the purest form of 1st Amendment use. I'm normally hit with a combo-punch of both descriptions - inducing a nervous chuckle.

Again, this exposure pushed me deep into thought about the who's, what's, & why's behind Chehalis' beloved/hated Uncle Sam. The initial searches for all things Uncle Sam were incredibly fruitless - "Washington" and "Uncle Sam" led google into empty pastures. But after several deep caches, I finally found a name and obituary:

Alfred Hamilton, 1920-2004:
He Put Conservative Views on Billboard

Photo: Hamilton and Billboard - 1972
(Note: Answers that spawn more questions - Who the hell is Bill Caruth?)

As you can see, Hamilton's death hit the AP and was quickly carried nationwide:
New York Times: "Highway's Message Board Now Without a Messenger"
San Fran Chronicle: "Washington State Loses a Unique Free-speech Icon"

And what a surprise! Our dear wingnuts at the Freerepublic also picked it up:
"Owner of I-5's 'Uncle Sam' Billboard Dies at 84"
(w/ 50+ fun posts of Freeper commentary)

The best resource as always is the one closest to ground zero. I went through the Chehalis Chronicle archives & found (and paid for) a total gem of an obituary. From this, I've been able to piece-together a biographical sketch of sorts for this free-speech anti-hero:

Born: March 31, 1920, in Chehalis to parents Frank and Edith Hamilton.

Attended the one-room Valley School and later studied at what is now Washington State University - never graduating.

From daughter Sherryl Zurek:

"If he graduated, he would have been drafted. He quit early so he could get a deferment, and he farmed instead of going into the service."
(Wow, a draft-dodger - and dodged WWII no less!)

Married Ruth Knoles in 1942.
He raised sheep, then started raising turkeys, producing as many as 20,000 to 30,000 a year on the land just north of Midway Meats and west of Interstate 5. Hamilton became interested in real estate, building and leasing the Ribeye restaurant and McDonald's on the land left him by his father
(Turner, Tyler, Anna & I used to swear by the Ribeye's "Irish Nacho" goodness)

He originally built the sign in 1971 at the instigation of his wife, who found that the state was spending more money on welfare than on schools.

(See? That damned Eve made me do it)

In 1971, then-state Attorney General Slade Gorton filed a lawsuit against Hamilton for his billboard under the Scenic Vista Act.

(An interesting 1st Amendment case - you can read the lawsuit resolution in it's entirety here):

Tom Bradshaw, pastor of Chehalis First Christian Church, gives us this Al Hamilton profile:

"He stood about 6-3 or 6-4, and weighed 200 pounds or so. He gave you the feeling he was the kind of man you wouldn't want to mess with."
(Amen, brother)

I also managed to hunt down a few select photos of Uncle Al's sayings. Most NW excursionists are familiar with the subject matter: an endless tirade against all things Liberal, Commie, Red, Pinko & Blue - and every hue in-between. Again, either making us giggle or stressing our over-caffienated AVM's (usually both).

Tyler and the other Evergreen State College Alumni reminded me of this Al Hamilton gold - Later used by Evergreen as an actual postcard sold in their gift-shop. I still think they should make a T-shirt of this one - I'd wear it:

Here's one that found Herr Hamilton at odds with the Bush admin. A tirade here against all those who oppose America-as-birth-right:

The close 2004 gubernatorial election between Gregoire/Rossi made us all pretty tense. Apparently, Al was so tense he skipped the ladder:

And of course the Iraq War would weigh heavily on the mind of a WWII draft-dodger - evoking this grevience against all us quagmire/civil-war protesters. We also see what might be our final view of Chehalis' favorite bristled curmudgeon.

(Unintentional comedy: I would stay seated and support the UW in Pullman's Martin stadium - let alone the gates of hell.)

From the various articles, several other Al-isms were recorded - all in caps of course. Tongue-depresser handy? Good, your going to need it:




(editor's note: WHAT?)



But with all the blathering bravado, Al's friend and turkey business partner George Duby gives us this all-important crux:

"Even though we disagreed on many things, I think it made our friendship stronger."

And quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, Duby adds:

"It is always better to be a thorn in the side of your friend than an echo." (Don't I know!)

And fear not, road-side attractioneer: Al's death in 2004 - apparently of Alzheimers & Cancer - did not silence Uncle Sam. The Hamilton fam is stepping-in and accepting the curmudgeon torch. Testimonial: new anti-immigrant script up last weekend (all caps) for your drive-by viewing pleasure.

Here's the near-to-exact map-quest:
1360 Rush Rd. Chehalis, WA 98532-8728

If you can, please don't just pass it by. Pull over, take a photo, and then post it here - a living shrine to Washington's favorite free-speech rebel.

Afterwards, drop by the Ribeye for some Irish Nachos. Leave a tater-skin behind for Al.

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Lawton, Mark. "'Uncle Sam' Billboard Owner Dies."
Chehalis Chronicle 10 Nov. 2004, local ed.