Monday, July 27, 2009

Bunch of reviews. Books 39, 45 and 46.

I think I need to give up pretense and admit what I know to be true:

I'm never gonna write the reviews I've fallen behind on. Mostly because I don't feel like it. Plus, it's been a while since I've read them, and none of them made that great an impression on me. So I'm going to be writing very short blurbs until I catch up, at which point maybe I can get back to the full reviews.


39. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

Loved it. Really funny, insightful, and I just love Hornby's style. Rob, much like Bridget Jones, is sort of a guide on what Not To Do to Keep a Healthy Relationship. He's a perfectly ordinary, selfish guy still stuck in his 20s, realizing that he needs to change and grow up in order to leave the rut he's dug himself into that he pretends he likes so much. The music talk is way above my head, but that shouldn't stop you. The songs themselves don't matter as much as the idea behind them, and Hornby is great at making the connections. The supporting characters are perfect, particularly the horrible music snobs that seem eerily familiar. I loved it.

45. The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub

Hmmm. It was just OK. Had the usual King staples: the lonely but surprisingly strong young boy. Absent/evil fathers. The mentally challenged sidekick. The batshit insane minion to the batshit evil villain. The quest. The Dark Tower connections. The beautiful, useless mother. Fun plot, but nothing extraordinary. Basically, Jack goes on this quest to save his mother. He can "switch" between our world and a parallel one called the "Territories", where his mother has a "twin" who is the Queen of this kingdom. She needs to be saved or the evil Morgan something bad. It's a fun book, but the writing is honestly kind of clunky and long-winded at times. It gets kind of repetitive in that Jack never gets a break and you know he'll face a new horror in ten pages, but you known he won't die. It's an OK book. Nothing that outstanding.

46. Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy
Awful, overlong, unnecessary piece of crap book. Just painfully awful. It's 1500 pages of descriptions of guns and 20-second battles as an elite group of anti-terrorist soldiers train, then are called into action, they win, they come out alive and go back to training. There's a massively stupid and overarching plot regarding a deadly virus about to be released upon the world, but you know that absolutely nothing will come out of it. I don't know who the audience for this thing might be, or why the hell it has to be so damn long. I skipped about half the pages, to be honest. I'm not at all interested in descriptions of training sequences or weapons, nor do I want to read about 15 equally boring missions that you KNOW will turn out perfectly for the good guys. You know what it is? It's like reading a 1500 page detailed walkthrough of a videogame, only you never get to play it. It's horrible, long, tedious and just stupid. The dialogue is just PAINFUL, and none of the characters are interesting. Everyone in the background is a robot spouting off really horrible lines. There's 15 subplots that no one cares about. It's just awful. Don't read it. Really makes me wonder who the hell is a fan of Tom Clancy, and who can get through his monstrosities. Did I say it was AWFUL? I need to say it again.

Guilty Pleasure Sunday

To end this week on a high note, let us forget about stupid politics and the even stupider politicians who play them.

....Yeah if you still think this is any kind of a professional or serious blogs your momma clearly raised a fool.

And let us start on what might just turn out to be a weekly feature:

The Sunday Guilty Pleasure

In which I post a video or a photo or...something about something I happen to like that I probably shouldn't. Of course taste is subjective and who dictates taste etc, etc, let's dispense with the bullcrap and let's do this for funsies.

This week, because I haven't been able to get this damned song out of my head:

Kelly Clarkson. Specifically, this "My Life Would Suck Without You" song.

Here is a video (not THE video because I got tired of looking for it. And by that I mean I looked at two videos on youtube and this was the sane one)

Why this is Guilty:
-It's Kelly Clarkson.
-She's an American Idol winner.
-It's happy-dappy bubblegum pop music.
-It has the word "suck" in the title. That just ain't right.
-It's really kind of a silly song.
-it probably means that I am a monster with no taste in music who probably eats children and kicks puppies and should be made deaf.

Why this is a Pleasure:
-I kind of LOVE Kelly Clarkson. I know she's a product of one of the worst shows in television history. But...she's just kind of kickass. She's gorgeous, and refuses to get into that whole Hollywood weightloss bullshit. She's not that polished little doll. She's...damn, she seems like a real person. She's comfortable with who she is. She seems like she'd be an awesome chick to hang out with. I am not deathly in love with her (don't have her albums, etc), but I've honestly loved a couple of her songs and I am completely happy that she's been successful. The pop music business needs kickass girls like her who can actually sing and are good role models.
-Admit it: she has quite an amazing voice. It's always been strong, and passionate and she actually looks like she's trying.
-This is a quote regarding her new album cover: "They've obviously photoshopped the dickens out of me, but I don't care, whoever she is she looks GREAT!". I love this girl.
-This is a freakin' FUN song. Silly lyrics and all, it makes me dance in my chair like a fool and I want to learn the lyrics so I can sing it at the top of my lungs. In other words, it makes me turn into a 15 year old.
-It's just FUN song. It's not genius, it won't make history, it probably makes the music snobs cry (actually that's another plus). It's just fun and girly and she has no shame in using the word 'suck' in the title. That takes guts.
-I really really like this chick.

So, there you go. Have at me. Go ahead. I'm not afraid of yous.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Our Royal Clown, ladies and gentlemen.

From the New York Times.

Need I say more?

An update, sorta.

I've already said how I felt about today's events in the previous entries.

An update:

"President" sits on his jeep at the border for hours.

Lots of stories coming out now about what's going on. I'm too amused at this fucking circus to write about it coherently. It's beyond ridiculous.

Seriously. He's just sitting there in his car, talking on the phone, occasionally asking people for a revolution or some fucking ridiculous thing. It's just...laughable. Until of course, it inevitably turns violent at which point he'll doubtless place the blame on everyone but himself.

Oh, yeah. I wasn't going to write anymore. Just gonna drink my juice.

Yep. We're surrounded by assholes.

So today will be fun.

Zelaya is on his way to the Honduras/Nicaragua border. He just gave a press conference in the middle of the highway saying that he's on his way.

The armed forces and police are guarding the border.

There's a mob (don't know how large) standing on the Honduran side, demanding that the border be opened.

Micheletti has ordered a 12pm-6am curfew for places around the border.


The US Department of State has asked Zelaya not to try and come into the country.

And now there's a national broadcast. Let's listen in.

Aha. Just announcing the curfew again. Tegucigalpa has it 12-4:30am.

So. Raise your hand if you think there is any chance that this will end well?

Yeah. Didn't think so.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"Stubborn as a mule" doesn't even begin to cover it.

Deposed Honduran leader prepares risky return

So. Your biggest allies are telling you that to return now is to ask for trouble.

You KNOW there will be trouble.

Yet you vow to return, at the head of a mob, forcing your way into what still is a sovereign border? And you...expect to just be let in. And then what? March on into Tegucigalpa completely unopposed.

Very smart. Very peaceful. Very reasonable.

Except, you know, the complete opposite of that.

Now really. Anyone. Tell me how these are the actions of a reasonable man. Tell me what Zelaya expects will happen if he acts against the advice of...everyone. Anyone. Please. Because it is completely beyond me at this point. I can only stare at the screen, jaw hanging wide open.

I give up. I give up on trying to understand any of these people. I'm going to go beat my head against the wall now.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009



What the hell do these people want?!

Mr Micheletti: accept the proposal. There is no WAY they're going to let you get away with this. Give it up. It's FOUR months and with it you completely avoid any bloodshed, any financial repercussions, any of the complete chaos that is going to happen if you don't accept. For the love of everything holy take the proposal. What else do you expect? Honduras CAN'T survive without international help. Do you WANT Zelaya to come marching in here and remove you by force? What do you want? What do you expect will happen?

Mr Zelaya: Come to your senses and don't try to force your way back in here. You've already got the world on your side. You have a proposal. You are looking better than anyone else in here, but the second you start threatening a forceful return you destroy any chance that you're going to return here peacefully and unobstructed. Please reasonable.

It just makes me so incredibly angry. That Honduras, that the people, the POOR people that these two men claim to be fighting for are going to get royally screwed because they can't come to a peaceful agreement. Why go to the talks at all if you're not ready to give in a single inch on your positions? Why build up the animosity towards you?

So now we're standing on what could be the brink of a civil war, because these two gigantic egos can't come to an agreement. My God. It's FOUR MONTHS. Just because you can't accept that you were wrong doesn't mean that we should all get screwed over.

I feel so incredibly helpless right now. I am so angry I'm crying. It's so unbelievably frustrating to watch this ridiculous back-and-forth from two parties that completely refuse to stand down. But most of my anger right now is focused on Micheletti. Yes I understand that it's almost admitting defeat. But what would you rather have? War? An embargo? To have your people starve and panic because you can't accept the only peaceful solution to come your way?

OK. I better stop before I start crying from sheer frustration again. I've never been this angry before. Damn all these politicians.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Book #44: "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" by Helen Fielding

Pff. I knew it couldn't last. The crazy, endearing sillyness of Bridget Jones' Diary is almost completely gone from this frustrating sequel. Worse, the whole thing felt unnecessary, written only because people loved Bridget so much and they just wanted some more. But all the heart is gone out of it.

It's still mildly enjoyable, I guess. On the one hand, Bridget is still the same crazy, paranoid, self-doubting geek from the first book. Her parents are still insane, her friends are still giving her bad advice that she's still taking. On the other hand...well, see everything I just said. It's the exact same ingredients that made the original so much fun, but with a second serving the whole quirky soup gets a little exhausting. On top of that there's the frustration when you realize that Bridget didn't learn a damned thing from her trials and tribulations in the first book. She has Mark Darcy, who she spent an entire book learning loved her for who she was and didn't want her to change. But within a few pages she turns into a paranoid idiot again, terrified when a woman at Mark's work even comes close to him. And poor Mark is left completely bewildered when Bridget goes into freak-out mode, trying so hard to be the perfect woman for Mark that she ends up making him think she hates him. She spent the whole of the last book learning that her friends might not be the best people to take relationship advice from, but in this book the advice gets even worse and Bridget keeps listening to them. And so, Bridget goes from someone who's just slightly confused to someone who just might be an idiot.

The plot feels clunky and forced. Fielding keeps throwing Bridget into increasingly dumber situations, and like in any cliched romantic comedy, you know that something (stupid) will drive Bridget and Mark apart. The whole thing just gets annoying and cliched, and where the first book made me go "Oh, Bridget..." a lot, this one was more of a "Dammit, Bridget. Stop being an idiot". And don't even get me started on the whole stupid Thailand trip. It's cringeworthy.

There are still some funny scenes, and some very cute allusions to "Persuasion", my favorite Austen book. Bridget's parents are still just as hilarious as they were before, and their scenes with Bridget are some of the best in the book. But unfortunately the weaknesses of the first book just get augmented here. Mark is never completely fleshed out, so you never really get a hold of what his character is like. Though I suppose that that's sort of the point. Bridget's silly paranoia becomes irritating, and she's made a little dumber and clueless here. The whole thing is sadly predictable, just your cliched romantic comedy.

So, to conclude, this was just flat out disappointing. Funny and a harmless, easy read, but definitely a step down from the original. Too bad.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Book #43: 'Ender's Game' by Orson Scott Card

If there's one thing I've learned after having read 44 books for this challenge, it's to not be so judgmental about books before even having cracked them open. Sure, I still know that Twilight is a steaming pile of cow crap without needing to read it, so there's no fear that I'll completely do away with shunning books I think I'll hate. BUt I think I've become a little less gung-ho about it. I've broken my "never-read-a-book-about-lawyers" rule with Grisham, and was glad, I've broken my "never-read-a-Clancy-book" and regretted it (more on that in another review) and with Ender's Game I've broken my (admittedly stupid) rule on never reading books set in space.

I'm glad I did. This was nothing at all like I was expecting. It was smart, dark, gripping and damn exciting to read. And it was just very, very good. And really hard to review.

It's set sometime in the future. Families are only allowed to have two children, and Ender is special in that he's a third child. He is recruited by the army to go into space-fighter training at the age of 6, which is standard procedure I suppose. He's thrown into a military school that seems to be run by largely absent adults. The older children handle and train the younger ones as they learn how to fight in space battles in preparation for joining the war against the enemies of humanity. The army knows that Ender is special, and he's put into increasingly more brutal and cruel tests to prepare him to become the greatest commander humanity has ever known. At the age of 11.

The idea of throwing children into very adult situations runs throughout the book, and its jarring all the way through. It's like Lord of the Flies, only that in Ender's world the adults pit the children against each other so that they can carry out their plans. It's heartbreaking in that Ender is manipulated into being almost completely alone; exhausted physically, emotionally and mentally, and then you remember that this is a six year old KID, and everything becomes even more powerful.

The setting is also perfectly drawn out. The school and its technology seem incredibly advanced for the time that this book was written. There's personal computers, virtual reality games and even a type of internet. The simulated battles are expertly described and not sunk in technobabble. Watching Ender beat the obstacles the adults place in his way is specially cool, as is the bizarre computer game he has to play. And the way that it ties in to the ending of the book is really bizarre and kind of terrifying.

It's just really, really gripping. Ender as a character grabs you immediately--the sad, lonely underdog who gets thrown into extraordinary circumstances. By having children as the protagonists the story becomes more bizarre and disturbing, the adults acting like gods playing around with little people and manipulating their destinies.

My only complaint with the book are the scenes with Ender's siblings. They're good characters but just don't seem to fit in with Ender's story, particularly because they almost never come into contact with him (his brother never does). Their subplot is just a little distracting, and just made me impatient for the story to return to Ender.

But other than that, this is just a solid book. It's dark, original and really addictive. The ending is seriously weird and surprising, so I highly recommend not spoiling it for yourself before you read it. Don't be like me and dismiss just because it's Sci-Fi. That's a really dumb thing to do.


I heard that there were several sequels to this. But that they weren't very good. I don't know HOW they could be. Anyone read them?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Movies I've Watched: There Will Be Blood

Yes, I am a little late to that game. I always am with these big Oscar movies. The main reason is that they rarely ever make it to Honduran theaters. And when they do, I usually can't be bothered to go to a theater. Or to the video story. Because I am a lazy bum and have no car. Or much money. So I wait until one of the movie channels plays them. At least then I can get them after all the hoopla surrounding them has gone away and I can watch them in peace, knowing that all the pretentious discussion is in the past.

And oh boy I can only imagine the high levels of Hipster Debate that were achieved by talking about this movie.

As for me, I...I don't think I liked it. I mean, it was an impressive movie with some amazing performances, but two things kept me from really enjoying it. First let me just say that I really do love all sorts of movies. Happy, sad, depressing, ridiculous, I don't have a set of requirements for what makes a good movie in my mind. But I'm not a big fan of bleakness. And this was one of the bleakest films I have ever seen in my life. It was soul crushing. There was nothing in it that wasn't depressing. I suppose that was sort of the point, but movies like these just make me want to change the channel and watch some Spongebob Squarepants.

So the bleakness was one. The other was the "music". It wasn't even music. It was one note of a violin held shriekingly for 5 minutes, digging into my brain with its maddening monotony as I begged for something to change. I had to mute the tv a couple of times because I just couldn't take it anymore. And then the shrieking violin would change for the repeated banging of a drum in the same monotonous manner like that leaking faucet that keeps you awake all night. It was just horrible. It's what I imagine the soundtrack of a nightmare would be. I'm not trying to be poetic here, it was just that awful. I'm really freakin sensitive when it comes to sounds (whistling is the art of satan) and I really couldn't take the music in this movie for very long. I am so glad I never saw this in the theater--it probably would have led me to murder. And it was just really distracting from the rest of the movie. I felt like the action itself was tense enough, adding the extra tension with the music just seemed like overkill to me.

But, wow, the performances. Just wow. I heard rants and raves about Daniel Day Lewis, but nothing ever came close to just how freakin magnificent he is in this movie. Everything from the way he spoke to how he moved was just so perfect and meticulous and it just completely blew me away. He was terrifying. There is nothing better than when a character just seems to pop out of the screen at you out of the sheer presence of the actor. Not many people have done that, but this is the second time DDL has done it in my mind. The other was Gangs of New York, but he was far better in this.

And I'm surprised that I heard so little about Paul Dano's performance back when everyone was talking about this movie. Because, damn. He was just so good. Magnetic and powerful, with those big sad eyes of his. I hope he gets a lot more work in the future. He's so good.

So overall, a good movie, but very weird. Bleak. Violent. Technically impressive. More impressive, bizarre work from PT Anderson. Magnolia is still my favorite movie of his, and I wish that this movie had had a little bit more insight into the characters, like Magnolia did. Anyway, it made me think, and look at this huge rant it made me write.

Though I have to confess I decided to write it because a) I'm sick of writing about the situation in Honduras (still the same! still scary! politicians still suck!) and b) I'm putting off the review for Ender's Game because I have no idea how to write it. I hate reviewing classics.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cannonball Reading List

To be Read (probably not in this order):

47. The Godfather
48. The Godfather Returns
49. Black House
50. The Fiery Cross (don't wanna finish it but ugh)
51. The First Man in Rome
52. Gormenghast
53. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
54. The Lovely Bones
55. The Kite Runner
56. In Cold Blood
57. Under the Tuscan Sun
58-61. Chronicles of Narnia
62-67. Hitchhiker Series

I have until November. I don't think I'll make it to 100. I'll be happy with 80.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

He is not a martyr. Two good articles.

Great Article on the Washington Post

"The army exiled Zelaya in consultation with civilian leaders to avoid precisely the sort of violence seen when Zelaya tried to return. He forced the country and its institutions against the wall, and for that he should take his medicine. "


And in more Hugo Chavez is a megalomaniac and a crazy idiot news:

From the Wall Street Journal

"Mr. Chávez even suggested that Honduras's military should stage a countercoup to restore Mr. Zelaya. "Let's see how long the 'blind obedience' of the Honduran troops lasts," Mr. Chávez said in a rambling news conference.

Mr. Chávez's comments are sure to raise anxiety in Honduras that Mr. Zelaya may try to return to the country again. But it will also likely solidify support for the interim government among Hondurans who resent Mr. Chávez's repeated intervention in their country. Mr. Chávez's call to Honduran soldiers is likely to fall on deaf ears for the same reason."

Indeed. Who's going to listen to that wacko? Not to mention the fact that Zelaya's messing around with military command was the last straw as far as many people are concerned.

And just...what the hell is Chavez doing? He's just completely insane at this point.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday mornings make me a mean person.

How wonderful to be Manuel Zelaya!

Flying to a different country every day, looking like a bum in your cowboy hat and unwashed hair. That's the life! I wonder whose money he's using? Isn't he supposed to be "one of the people"? If that were true, shouldn't he be riding a mule or a donkey or just walking from country to country?

BAM. Our "President", ladies n gents.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Book #41: Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones has issues. She thinks she's overweight at 130 lbs. She obsesses about every single thing she does, wondering what Cosmo would say. She drinks too much, smokes too much, hates her job and and has bad luck with men. Most of these issues would easily go away if she just stopped reading fashion magazines, collecting self-help books that constantly contradict themselves and most importantly, stop listening to her clueless friends.

And still I can't help but love her a little. Bear with me. I know that I shouldn't like this book. I know that Bridget is insane and this book gave rise to a thousand other confessional diary-type imitators and that Chick Lit should be derided and ignored. But you know what? This book grew on me, and it was so damn funny and lighthearted that I just ended up loving the hell out of it. And it's because Bridget is so damn likable and could easily be someone I know, and even sometimes, myself. Bridget has moments of crippling insecurity, where, because she's a little bit different and doesn't look out for every single thing she says she ends up looking like a weirdo. Bridget just wants to fit in and be a perfectly poised lady while not realizing that people like her because she is different. Particularly men. So to me, it seems that Fielding is setting her up as an example of what not to do. And it's great.

So the whole thing is a sort of modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Bridget meets Mark Darcy (*snort*) at a party given by her mother, and they dislike each other immediately. Bridget eventually starts having an affair with her boss, who used to know Darcy and fuels Bridget's dislike for him. And you probably know the rest of the story. Fielding cleverly inserts all these cute little Austen references, and the plot keeps moving along nicely, if predictably.

But it's really the character of Bridget that sells the book, and how well Fielding writes her. She's that clueless girl in high school who got drunk and never quite knew what she was talking about. There are some scenes, written by "drunk Bridget" that are just hilariously funny as the words start slurring and blending together. Bridget's mother is everyone's nightmare and she's just so perfectly insane that she steals every single scene she's in. I only wish Mark Darcy were better developed, but he's as much a mystery to us as he is to Bridget, and the rest of the characters more than make up for it.

I would almost say that this book is like "High Fidelity" for girls. A book on what NOT to do in relationships. I'm not saying it's nearly as good or insightful as Nick Hornby's book, or that this is what all women are like. Just that it's got that same brand of British humor and both main characters are both perfect examples of how to screw up your relationship.

And it's just really freakin' funny. It's silly and lighthearted and shouldn't be taken too seriously. Bridget's particular insecurities may not be something that we all relate to, but I think that we can all relate to her being insecure because she's a little bit different. And in the end, it's just a hell of a lot of fun to read.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Not much to report, but there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. Might.

The Costa Rican President has offered to hold a mediation between Zelaya and Micheletti. Both parties have agreed to at least show up, though Micheletti has said that Zelaya's re-institution is out of the question. But at least they'll be talking?

Curfew is supposed to end tomorrow. Let's hope it does.

Our new Foreign Minister has embarrassed himself and our country. I won't repeat what he said, I'm sure you can find that out easily enough. I don't know how he hasn't been fired yet.

Am going to venture outside the neighborhood tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be able to get around.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

March for Democracy

I would just like to point out that the gigantic march going on right now is NOT a pro-Micheletti march. I'm sure that there ARE Micheletti supporters there, but I know for a fact that many of them aren't too happy with him. They just want this to end. It's a peaceful march calling for a peaceful solution to this problem.

And it is a HUGE crowd. They're calculating something around 50,000 people. Right on.

Oh, and on a managerial note: I've set moderation on comments. Because I can.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I think this sums up the situation quite nicely:

Yes, mom, I am a SERIOUS blogger. Swearsies.

Durr, blogger cuts off the image. But just click on it to see the whole thing.

Lies upon lies.

Whee, new week. Things are still up in the air.

But really, the most disgusting and enraging part of the aftermath of yesterday's events is how Zelaya is using the death of a young man completely to his advantage. He shows up on TV, crying and denouncing that Micheletti's government is using tyranny and violence to repress the people who support him.

Listen, anyone dying in this story is a terrible tragedy. But please, Mr. Zelaya, stop acting like you yourself didn't incite the violent acts that these people committed yesterday. You were the one who was all "Rah rah fight for me!" and who despite warnings coming at you from every side, you still decided to try and enter the country. Again, Micheletti's refusal to let the plane in and militarize the airport was a bad one, but Zelaya knew perfectly well that his supporters were at the last of their patience. You KNEW that tempers were volatile. You were actually ASKING people to fight to clear the runway at the airport. And you dare to call yourself blameless in this?

And I would like to tell the world: don't believe, for one second, that Zelaya's supporters are not violent or have no violent intentions. It was them who decided to confront a contingent of SOLDIERS to try and storm the premises of the airport. It is THEM who go through the streets in face masks and carrying sticks and broken pipes. Open your eyes, people, and realize that these are some of the most violent people in the country, and that one simply does NOT go on a 'peaceful' march carrying sticks and stones to taunt soldiers with.

I've been watching the local news, and stories are emerging today from people calling in--teachers, workers--who were threatened by their unions to join the march yesterday or they would be fired. Now I have no doubt that some of Micheletti's supporters also used that 'strategy', but my point is to simply show that Zelaya's supporters are just as violent and underhanded as anyone else.

No one is blameless in this situation. And that Zelaya (and a LOT of the international media) has the gall to present himself as a martyr and a hero is just completely enraging to me.

And of course, because the last thing the teacher's unions here want to do is work, they're calling a general strike until Zelaya returns. Because really, what better way to show that you are working for the betterment of the country than by refusing to give CLASSES TO SCHOOLCHILDREN who bear none of the blame?

Everything about this is completely disgusting.

***UPDATE 7:16pm***

And really, how completely embarrassing that this man is sitting there next to these serious Presidents in his stupid cotton shirt and his straw hat pretending that he's a cowboy? He looks like a complete clown, and it's beyond embarrassing. I love how each of those hats costs thousands of dollars,! he's a man of the people! look at him! won't even wear a suit! MUST PRETEND TO BE HUMBLE.

What. A. CLOWN.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Good night.

Ick. What a day.

So Zelaya didn't land, he took himself over to Managua, but I think he's in El Salvador right now. He gave a press conference but I was too disgusted and sick of the sight of his face to watch. Besides, he probably lied the entire way through it, there were probably some tears and 'woe is me' and generally made an embarrassment out of himself.

We'll see what happens. People are going back to work, the national University is taking up classes again (after almost two months of teachers striking because of--you guessed it!- something that was started by Manuel Zelaya).

But I can breathe again. Sort of.


Good God.

So after a group of people tried to break through the military surrounding the airport and storm the runway; after a reported two people were killed, Zelaya is STILL insisting that he wants to return.

His plane is overflying the city--we can hear it going around the airport. He's talking to TeleSur (the pro-Chavez network), saying how they won't let him down and that if the people had cleared the runway, he could've landed. So, after TWO PEOPLE have died, you are urging them to TRY AND DO THE SAME THING AGAIN? And you have the gall to say that you are coming in peace? that you want your people to be peaceful?! Really? You are almost LITERALLY urging them to try and storm the runway again, and yet you claim you want them to be peaceful?


And TeleSur is egging him on, telling he's a victim, that he should still try to return.

OK people, even if Micheletti not letting him in is a TERRIBLE idea, Zelaya has thrown aside the advice of the international community, the church, his OWN DAMN PEOPLE to not return to the country and he is STILL trying to come in? He is still urging the protesters to confront the military and storm the airport? really? is that REALLY the way that he wants to return? after a bloodbath?

Again--GET YOUR HEAD ON STRAIGHT. Leave! Go to El Salvador! Have some TALKS, for God's sake, and stop panicking the hell out of your people. Jesus. This is complete insanity.

I can still hear A plane going around. Don't know if it's THE plane. No one is saying if he's left for good or not. Good lord.

But really, Zelaya is an irresponsible, thoughtless man. Unbelievable. I do hope that the international community looks at what Zelaya could have occasioned and don't hold him as blameless as they have before. He was calling for civil unrest! Micheletti was wrong, but Zelaya was just as wrong. Unbelievable.

**EDIT 6:06pm**

Zelaya has landed in Managua? ok...I thought it was El Salvador, where all his buddies are. But who knows.

**EDIT 6:15pm***

Heh. Now the curfew is being moved from 10pm to...6:30pm. 15 minutes from now. Zelaya's supporters have JUST begun to disband, but come ON. Most of these people live MILES away from the airport. Micheletti makes a mistake again. Clearly they just want to put some of these people in jail. No other reason.

*headdesk headdesk HEADDESK*

CNN Reports on what's going down today.

So. Acting against everything that is logical, prudent, advisable, safe and smart, our genius of an ex-President is on his way to Honduras right now.

Really. Return to Honduras...for what? You know you're going to be arrested. Or at least they will TRY to arrest you. You KNOW it's going to unleash crazyness amongst the population.'re still coming? Really? What earthly good do you think that'll do? You expect everything to go back to normal because you're here? ARE YOU DELUSIONAL?

And acting against everything that is logical, prudent, advisable, safe and smart, our genius of a current President has decided that the best thing he can do is issue an order to keep Zelaya's plane from landing.

Really. Keep a plane. From landing. Really? After all the time you've spent saying that Zelaya is perfectly welcome to return as long as he knows that he will be arrested when he lands? Really? You're going to close down and militarize the airport and...what? Keep a 747 from landing with your magical powers of persuasion? ARE YOU DELUSIONAL?

I am, at the moment, nothing but completely disgusted and appalled at the way these two men are acting. It's ridiculous, stupid and monumentally dangerous. No, why think things through and give way to compromise? Budge a little bit? No, let's just go and do the most impulsive, irresponsible thing we can do--we are the power! no one can stop us! screw anyone who gets in our way!

I am so embarrassed for my country right now. A gigantic mess is about to start because the people in power are too narrow-minded to see the world beyond them. Wonderful.

I'm just gonna go outside and scrub the yard very angrily so I can vent some of my frustration.


Oooh, how great. Now there's a big 'peaceful' march of Zelaya's supporters headed for the airport. I love how these 'peaceful' people are carrying sticks and broken pipes and wearing bandannas across their mouths. That really inspires confidence. Like Zelaya asked them to do. I bet they're gonna see the soldiers and just give them flowers and candy and all will be peachy.

***EDIT at 12:30pm local time***
Huh. So now we're hearing information that Zelaya has landed in El Salvador, after saying that it was the best move to prevent a violent confrontation. And that he's asking for a commission from the new government to go over there to 'negotiate'.

I hope it's true, if only because it might keep the people from going insane at the airport. Yow. That is a lot of people they're showing on TV.

And on the purely political front, this is a very savvy move from Zelaya. He'll look like a martyr and a peaceful man and thus gain more international support. Smart. And it'll make Micheletti look terrible. Very smart.

No official information yet, but it seems like it's true.

***EDIT AT 1:23pm***

Now they're saying that Z is still flying somewhere. Micheletti's people are saying that he's going to El Salvador. Telesur is reporting that he's coming here.

I am going to take a shower and ignore all these stupid rumors for a while until we have some actual information. Ugh.

***EDIT 1:45pm***

No new information, but I was thinking. Here's why Micheletti's move is particularly stupid:

Micheletti has been saying that if Zelaya does come back he will be immediately placed under arrest. If he had held to that ground as Zelaya flew here and Zelaya decided to change his course to El Salvador, Zelaya would have looked like a coward for fleeing his arrest.

As it is, though, Micheletti has given Zelaya a perfectly good excuse for not coming to Honduras as he has said he would. By giving the order that Z's plane would not land, M is looking TERRIBLE to the international community. If Z does decide to El Salvador, he can have the higher ground by simply saying that M is a liar and is abusing his power. This will give Z even more leverage internationally and it will make M look even worse than he does now. Z can call for a peaceful dispersion of his people, which will make him (and them) look peaceful and rational, which in turn might make people HERE turn to Z's side again. Politically speaking, going to El Salvador where all his supporters wait would be the smartest move Z can make at this point.

And it REALLY doesn't help that the government has now done one of the 'national broadcasts' where they take over every TV and radio station to broadcast their signal. This isn't rare, mind, Zelaya was particularly fond of the broadcasts. But by keeping the people uninformed (or at least UNILATERALLY informed), M is looking worse and worse. Which is exactly what Z wants. Very, very bad move.

***EDIT at 4:39pm***

Seems like Zelaya is on his way here. Supposedly he called in to Telesur about half an hour ago saying he was 20 minutes away. Some people have broken the fence and walked into the airport's runway and there was a small clash with the soldiers. Some wounded. Not sure about that but I'll check it out.

Still no one knows anything. I think the only thing I can do right now (another all-encompassing broadcast is happening right now) is um...look out the front yard of my house and look out for any landing aircraft...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

taking a break after this.

Here's an interesting piece:

Miami Herald report.

A chronology of the events that led up to the events last Sunday.

And now:

After Insulza himself said that the time wasn't right for Zelaya to come back to Honduras, he has announced that he will come back tomorrow.

The OAS is in session right now to figure out what happens. Honduras chose to withdraw from the organization, but of course the OAS can't recognize an action from what they still consider an illegal government. And...if Honduras IS kicked out of the OAS doesn't that mean they're throwing out Zelaya as well, since they consider him the President of the country still? Hmm.

If he does come back tomorrow, it'll only end in disaster.

And me? I'm done for the day. I want one day and night where I'm not stressed out and wondering if the country will fall to pieces tomorrow. So I'm avoiding news until the latest possible time tonight. I just need a break.

So no comment responses, no more posts for today. I'm gonna watch bad movies and maybe have a couple of drinks and do nothing. Things keep going back and forth anyway that the constant speculation does nothing at all. I'll write when I have something concrete to report.

I am so taking a break after this.

Very interesting article in the Miami Herald. They interview a military attorney.

''The people who did this have no intention of reversing what they did,'' Insulza said. ``Unfortunately, conditions to not exist for Zelaya's return.''

At least this rules out Zelaya arriving into the country by force?

''We know there was a crime there,'' said Inestroza, the top legal advisor for the Honduran armed forces. ``In the moment that we took him out of the country, in the way that he was taken out, there is a crime. Because of the circumstances of the moment this crime occurred, there is going to be a justification and cause for acquittal that will protect us.''

Yow. First time I've heard someone admit to doing something wrong. And then, this:

So when the powers of state united in demanding his ouster, the military put a pajama-clad Zelaya on a plane and sent him to Costa Rica. The rationale: Had Zelaya been jailed, throngs of loyal followers would have erupted into chaos and demanded his release with violence, Inestroza said.

I think we all know that this, sadly, would have been the likely outcome of keeping him here to be arrested. Heh, not even likely. It WOULD have gone down in flames. But again, DO the ends justify the means?

U.S. State Department lawyers are studying whether the action should be legally considered a military coup, even though the person who was constitutionally next in line took power.

That's the big complication here, I think. Micheletti has been wise (for his own benefit, I'm sure, but still) to keep his government within the rule of law--so FAR. Of course things would be easier if we could just fast forward to the November elections and see if Micheletti keeps to his word.


So now we're waiting to hear what the OAS does about us. How this will affect our miserabl excuse for an economy is still to be seen.

OK I'm gonna take a break from the news all day. I am so stressed out I can barely sleep. Ugh. I'm exhausted.

I want a burger and fireworks. Americans get to have all the fun. Happy Birthday, USA!

Friday, July 3, 2009

This will never freakin' end

LA Times article on what happened today.

So Insulza's visit did nothing at all. Why did he come at all if all he was going to do was keep pushing the issue and not give an inch?

Here we were, hoping that he would start a dialogue, but it seems like that wasn't his plan.

This is so damn depressing.


Honduras and the US: what I think is going on.

I recently read that the US is the only American country that is still having open diplomatic relations with Honduras. A lot of people are condemning that stand, both inside and outside the US. But I think these people are largely unaware of the relationship that exists between these two countries. I've noticed that Zelaya, unlike Hugo Chavez, has wisely kept quiet on the Americans' position. He isn't calling for the removal of the ambassador (who, by the way, is keeping Zelaya's wife and youngest son in his home in the meantine) like he is calling for the removal of others.

I think all sides are doing the wise thing. Honduras, like it or not, largely depends on the United States for its survival. The US is our main trading partner and military relations have been peaceful since the 80s (though MILITARY relations are cutoff at the moment). I read somewhere that Llorens (the US embassador here) even tried to broker a peaceful solution to the matter of the vote on Sunday, but I'll need to find that article. So really, I think that all three parties here (the new government, Zelaya and the US government) know that for the US to take a decisive, unbreakable stand in this matter would be a death toll for Honduras. As much as Zelaya is calling for insurrection and halfheartedly embracing Chavism, he knows that Honduras can't survive without the help of the US. I've noticed that the more Zelaya has been seen with the members of the ALBA community, the more the tide is beginning to turn against him. The simple truth is that as eager as world leaders were to condemn the ousting of Zelaya, no one seems very keen on standing on the side of Venezuela and Cuba these days. And if Zelaya keeps entrenching himself on that side of the line, he's going to start losing more and more support throughout the world. Particularly from the Americans, who have borne the brunt of Chavez' insults and mad ravings for the past few years. And as much as Zelaya claims that he wants a revolution and is seen embracing Chavism, and as much help as Chavez claims he is willing to give us, the truth is that Venezuela will NEVER be as big and important an ally to have as the US. Venezuela can afford to reject the US and its aid: we simply cannot. And EVERYONE here knows that. No matter what side people are on, the one consensus seems to be that no one wants Chavez to intervene here. And that is a big check against Zelaya.

And now Zelaya is saying that if the November elections go forth as the new government has said they would, that whoever was chosen would not be a legitimate President. That, it seems to me, is digging your own grave a little deeper. You spend the last week ranting and raving about how all you wanted to do was to let the people voice their opinion, and now you want to deny us the one chance we have to make this right? He is setting himself up against the ONE THING that has let the international media not see this as a full-blown military coup? Really?

I don't know what Zelaya wants at this point. I think he's starting to see that returning at the head of a bunch of supporters and trying to reinstall himself as President is looking like a more and more distant possibility. I hear that he's postponing his return date for the third time this week. I think that finally, we're starting to see some dialogue and the international community is looking (critically and fairly) at both sides of the question. As much as the OAS is saying "Bring him back or else!" I highly doubt that the meeting that is supposed to take place between the new government and the OAS President today is going to come down to that one simple issue. A lot depends on that meeting today, We'll see what happens.

I wonder what Zelaya is aiming for now. As marches against him get bigger and bigger and as his group of supporters here gets smaller and smaller (and more and more violent), I think he's seeing that he can't be the big winner here. The bad thing is that he might get more desperate, and that could lead to more of the stupid and rash decisions that led him to where he is now. And that would be good for no one.

I'll update when I know more of the OAS meeting.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

An article: maybe a way out? And a plea for silence.

LA Times article

1) Huh.
2) I find the comparison to Pinochet not only stupid but...kind of insulting to the people of Chile, considering what they went through when Pinochet came to power.
3) I don't like that he's using the lowering of the crime rate to promote the curfew. That just doesn't seem right. The curfew is already putting people on edge, and I don't want it to extend any longer than the government has said it will.
4) "Fabulous"? Not quite. It's not TERRIBLE, but it's not all peachy-keen either.
5) Early elections. Huh. I'll need to think about this one a bit, but my gut reaction is: maybe a good idea, but don't know if it would work. I doubt Zelaya will accept.
6) as someone pointed out to me just now: It's interesting that the OAS is condemning this for violation the democratic charter of the organization when only a couple of weeks ago they wanted to let Cuba back into the group. Amusing, much?

It's bizarre how quiet the city is. I have a really great view of one of the busiest roads in the city, and the only times I've ever seen it that empty is really late at night/after midnight.

And, to end with a non-Honduras related plea to the American media:

I know you sort of feel like you have to, and I know it touched a whole lot of people. And I'm not just saying this because of what's happening here. I'd say this even if this wasn't going on.

So please, for the love of God and his angels and his prophets and the name of EVERYTHING THAT IS HOLY IN THE UNIVERSE:


I'm looking at you CNN Headline News. Fucking STOP it.

Though, at least it seems to be keeping that hag Nancy Grace quiet on anything else. Eeeugh.


Article on the Washington Post

Last link of the day because I am exhausted.

Situation normal: still the same mess.

This is such a mess, and I am sick to death of it already.

A good account by The Guardian of where things stand now.

How's it going to end? Zelaya keeps vowing to return on Saturday. The new government says he will be arrested. International organizations can't talk to the new government. There are big marches for either side going on (though not any right now as far as I know) and all there rumors going around and ENOUGH.

What a hellish week. Blergh.

A CNN article.

"My sense is that the international community will keep cranking up the pressure and I really doubt that the new authorities in Honduras will be willing or able to ... remain as a pariah state for even seven months until the new government takes over," Casas-Zamora said on CNN's "American Morning."

But for a settlement to work, Zelaya has to convince those now in power in Honduras that he is willing to meet them halfway.

"The institutions in Honduras need reassurance as well that Zelaya will respect their authority," said McCoy. "There's a lot to do for reconciliation. It's a deeply divided country."

From This CNN article.

I am glad that the media is acknowledging that rash actions are not the way out. Dialogue is the best thing that can happen at this point. Support or reject what has happened, I think things have moved too far for ultimatums and for a complete reversal of what happened. Whether I agree with that or not, it's just not feasible or advisable. I like that this article suggests that a middle-ground is needed. I wholeheartedly agree.

And to new readers: Please remember that I am not anywhere near a political expert. I'm a 25-year-old art teacher trying to come to terms with the situation my country is going through. My opinions are just that--opinions. And please keep the name of this blog in mind.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Books #40 and #42: "Voyager" and "Drums of Autumn" by Diana Gabaldon

I'm going to take a break from the woeful Honduras news (there's nothing happening right now anyway) and try to get back into the normal flow of things on this 'ere blog. So I'm going to try and catch up on my book reviews. As you can see on the list to the right, I'm almost at the halfway point. Woo-to-the-Hoo!

Voyager and Drums of Autumn are parts 3 and 4 of Gabaldon's Outlander series.

Voyager starts out telling us what happened to Jamie Fraser right after he sent his wife Claire back to her own time. He fought at Culloden, was imprisoned, release to work for an aristocrat, let go, moved to Edinburgh. It's been twenty years since he last saw Claire, who is back in the 1960s trying to find her way back to him with the help of her daughter Brianna and her loverboy Roger. Claire goes back, finds Jamie, everyone rejoices for a bit before they start getting into trouble again.

Really, if I were Jamie I'd be a little more concerned over how every time he's starting to settle down, up comes trouble to get him back into things again. In no time at all, Jamie's nephew Ian gets kidnapped and taken to the American colonies, so of course Jamie and Claire have to go after him and get to adventurin'.

While all this fun stuff is happening, Brianna is back in the 20th century being a complete whiny bore with her bore of a lover Roger. They are boring. Really boring. I never cared about anything that happened to them. Brianna whines, she pouts, she throws stupid temper tantrums. Roger stands around not understanding her but somehow loving her and they spend an inordinate amount of hours wanting (but not actually doing it) to have sex with each other. It's beyond me how Gabaldon could think that foisting these insufferable characters on us was a good idea.

Anyway, the actual historical parts are as great as ever. We have the usual amount of near-deaths, attacks, sicknesses, blood everywhere, sex scenes, etc. And the best part is that they go on a ship across the atlantic, so you can probably guess what happens to them. Yes, they get attacked by pirates. Of course they do. It's great.

Drums of Autumn starts out in South Carolina, 1750-something. Gabaldon, as usual, provides a huge and impressive amount of research to recreated the world of the American colonies. It's fun and interesting, like Last of the Mohicans without all the war. Jamie's giving a piece of land in the mountains and off they go to colonize. It kind of drags, as nothing exciting happens for a while, but I liked reading about pioneers and starting out their lives, etc.

And then, Brianna. Ugh. She somehow finds a notice from 1760-something saying that Claire and Jamie have died. So she decides that the best thing to do is to travel through the stones, on her own, completely unprepared and try to find her parents. Because she is a moron. Roger finds out and follows her later. Again, Brianna is completely frustrating. She seems to go through the whole thing like it's a game instead of actual reality, thinking that her 20th-century views and conventions will somehow work in the 18th century. I guess we're supposed to like her for her independence, but she's nothing but irritating. When she gets into trouble for not thinking anything through, I admit I felt a sort of perverse pleasure. I can't help it, I just really hate the character. We never connect to her and Roger. Everything seems glossed over and fake and uninteresting. I did love the introduction of John William Grey, a rich and gay british soldier who's madly in love with Jamie. He's a great character.

This is the book where things sort of start going downhill, series-wise. There's very little of the excitement that was so prevalent in the first three books. The pace slows down considerably in "Drums", and I'm sorry to say that as of the first part of "The Fiery Cross" (Book 5), things haven't gotten back to normal.

New day, things still the same.

OAS has given 72 hours for Zelaya to be re-instituted.
Who in their right mind thinks that this is the peaceful, rational solution to solving this problem? Really, OAS? REALLY? That's your solution. An ultimatum? REALLY?

The city is going back to normal. There is no general strike. There is no public transport strike. There are no giant marches in favor of Zelaya. Is ANYONE at the OAS or the UN actually looking at the situation from the point of view of the people of Honduras?

Here's what it comes down to: To a large majority of people inside Honduras, the method of removal was wrong, but the fact that he is gone from power is right. I don't like these "the end justifies the means" situations, and that has me, and many people, conflicted.

And how do we (as peaceful citizens of a democratic country) come to terms with that? How does the international community work with that sentiment?

THAT is the main question here, I think. But really, issuing ultimatums and causing nerves and tension on an already exhausted population is not the way to go about it. We are being treated like unruly, ignorant school children. We have the right to decide for ourselves how to resolve this. We have the ability. We have the reasoning, the intelligence. The fact that we are being told "Take him back--or ELSE!" without looking at the population's view of the situation is offensive, belittling and infuriating.

And before anyone jumps to conclusions: I am NOT saying that the International community should mind its own business or stay the hell away. I am saying that they NEED to take the actual PEOPLE into consideration. Wasn't that what Zelaya claimed he was doing? Giving the people a voice? Let us have it. Please look at the entire picture. That's all we want.

Expectations for tomorrow, and another article.

Oof, another tense, but ultimately peaceful day.

On the schedule for tomorrow:

-The new government is (finally) sending a committee to speak for "the other side" in Washington.
-There has been talk of a protest/march/strike by Zelaya's supporters, but they are just rumors. Won't know how true they are until tomorrow.
-Things will be pretty tense tomorrow, what with Zelaya claiming that he's absolutely going to return to Honduras on Thursday. Now...I don't think it will happen. He hasn't responded yet to the news that arrest warrants have gone up against him. But it IS encouraging that Washington and some other parties seem to be looking for actual dialogue on the matter, striving for a peaceful solution.
-Zelaya's claims could be, as usual, just talk. The hope is that he will see that returning so soon, after one day of talks, is irrational and will not help matters. He HAS to be aware of the sentiments of the Honduran people. As narrow as his views seem to be, he can't be wholly ignorant of the amount of dissent that has gone up against him here. Maybe that will make him pause and think.

That's it for today. I'll just link to yet another great article by the Wall Street Journal:

Ousted Honduran President Wins U.N. Backing--
Thousands of Demonstrators Support Sunday's Coup Against Zelaya, but the Exiled Leader Plans a Showdown in Capital

It's good, thorough and above all, fair. To both sides.