About Rex
Name: Rex Stetson
Occupation: Masked Avenger Type
Base of Operations: Washington, DC
E-Mail: rexstetson@yahoo.com
 Rex's Archive
07/20/2003 - 07/27/2003
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08/01/2004 - 08/08/2004
08/29/2004 - 09/05/2004
 Other Blogs of Interest
The Young Curmudgeon
Notes from the Lounge
Reason Hit and Run
The Anal Philosopher
Justice Junction
Perverted Justice
Mr. X
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Friday, September 26, 2003

AFF Happy Hour Not Make Rex Feel Too Happy Next Day

I attended the AFF Happy Hour last night, and had a great time hanging out with all the libertarian scenesters. But now I am essentially too hung over to blog. I am really serious here, readers. Ow. My head hurts. I feel so sick to my stomach. I have sweats and chills. This is one of those "I'll never drink ever again"/freshman-year-of-college-and-you-haven't-learned-to-pace-yourself-yet kinda hangovers. One of those "Why God Why?" kinda hangovers. I Still, I dragged myself into work rather than calling in sick. I never call in sick- because as my Grandma used to say: "Never waste a sick day being sick".
Still, I haven't had a nasty hangover like this in years.

Not since that performance of Handel's Messiah...That one was pretty horrible. The hangover, not the performance. Actually, I'm not a big fan of Handel's Messiah either, since you asked. It's a over-long, and way too damn repetitive. You know there's a lot of good stuff in the Bible, especially in that Jesusy part toward the back. I mean, it's not like the Bible, or even the story of Jesus, is a "thin" plot without memorable characters or dialogue or interesting themes. You'd think Handel could have incorporated more than just 26 lines or whatever (repeated like 60 times each) for 3 hours!

The music itself was okay. Not great, but a little catchy. Remember this one?:

Ha-llelujah!
Ha-llelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Ha-Ley-ay-Lu-Yah!
(Lather, rinse, repeat)

The modern day equivalent to Handel is definitely KC and The Sunshine Band- the kings of kinda-catchy-music with repetition-based lyrics. Their 70's-era funk hits were songs like Shake Your Booty:

Shake Shake Shake
Shake Shake Shake
Shake Your Booty!

That's the whole song- repeated for like 3 or 4 minutes.

Also from KC:

That's The Way (Uh-huh! Uh-huh!) I Like It!(Uh-huh!Uh-huh!)
( that's the whole song too, I think)

Get Down Tonight! (Most if not all of the song)

Boogie Shoes! - Their most complex, nuanced work:
I wanna put on
My My My My My Boogie Shoes
and Boogie With You!

They had like 4 or 5 pretty big hits, using maybe 12 words total! That at least deserves some kind of special award for word economy or something. My point is that Handel was only slightly less stingy than KC, which makes sitting through The Messiah like sitting through an elaborately arranged version of "99,999 Bottles of Beer On The Wall" with orchestra and full choir. I guess Handel knocked out the whole composition in three weeks, which is supposedly a shockingly short timespan that we are all supposd to be impressed by- because he worked so dilligently as if Divinely Insipred!~ooh!!
Big Deal. That works out to what, like a week of writing for an hour of music. The words were taken from a page of favorite bible verses compiled by a friend- there you go. Half done. If my calculations are correct:

34560 min (24 days) of writing, 180 min of music.
That's 192 minutes, or 3.2 hours of writing for each minute of music.
Assuming he didn't sleep for three weeks. I suspect the real writing time was no more than 2 hours per minute. I further suspect that KC and the Sunshine Band will probably work for about 6 hours on the music for one of their three-minute songs. I can't prove any of this, of course.

Actually, maybe the modern day equivalent of Handel's Messiah would more appropriately be Jesus Christ Superstar- by that no-talent hack Andrew Lloyd Webber. A shitty gospel-based musical based on brilliant source material, with one halfway catchy song.

Of course, maybe I'm thinking of Godspell- which is basically the same thing except that (I shit thee not) Jesus is a Mime wearing a Superman T-shirt and a Magician's Top Hat over an Enormous Afro, and the Apostles are even wierder that that, if you can imagine.

Whatever- they're both pretty bad.

Apologies to KC and The Band for the Handel comparison.
Apologies also to the good people of America's Future Foundation. I did not intend to disparage your fine Happy Hours in any way.
While I'm at it, Apologies also to bloggers Julian Sanchez, Gene Healy, and Brooke Oberwetter, whom I drunkenly harrassed at AFF last night- about Vigilantism in the UK, my frustration with The Judiciary Act of 1925, and Something Else I Can't Remember Now, respectively.

Rest assured, I am being punished for my sins.

Posted by Rex @ 11:23 AM

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Rex Supports Iraqi Toy Drive And So Should You

Chief Wiggles, a blogging American soldier currently working on the Iraqi reconstruction efforts, has organized a toy drive for Iraqi kids. These poor kids have so little due to the bad luck of being stuck in a war, it seems like a golden opportunity to show them how nice Americans can be, when we're not dropping bombs on them.

People always talk about how our enemies in the Middle East indoctrinate their children to hate America and the West. Well, here's an opportunity to shape the next generation's attitudes. Supposedly the whole point of this war is to build a prosperous democracy that is friendly to the west. Getting the lights and power back on, making the streets safe, and putting some basic democratic machinery in place are obviously important. But in 10 or 20 years, these Iraqi kids will be voting and making policy. They have seen how fearsome we can be to our enemies. Let them see how nicely we treat our friends, and we can build an Iraq that has a warm, positive feeling about America. These kids will remember how American soldiers made their lives better, the way kids in Europe during WWII fondly remember American soldiers passing out chocolate bars, etc.

Guidelines for toy submissions recommend avoiding war toys or gun toys, or any violent action heroes etc. These kids have seen enough war, and it'd be sad (not to mention counterproductive) if they get shot by an American soldier for whipping out a SuperSoaker too quickly. Scantily-clad Barbie dolls
are also discouraged, lest we offend Muslim sensibilities.

Submission guidelines and the mailing address for the toys are available on Chief Wiggles' blog.

You can run out to a Dollar Store and load up a pretty good-size box of toys for $10 or $20 bucks. Toys are generally lightweight, but if you want to save on shipping throw in a coloring book and ship it at the cheaper Book Rate.

Personally, I think it would be smart to send the kids little toy American planes and even the George W. Bush Action Figure, so they are positively disposed rather than afraid of these things. But I will defer to the judgement of those who know the situation better. I plan on running out and buying a bunch of watercolors and crayons and coloring books (preferably superhero-related) and maybe even a few non-violent-looking action figures, if I can afford it. I can't even afford the kickass new Justice League figures for myself, but I want to fill my box with the best America has to offer.

I wonder if a "Captain America" figure is considered a "war toy"?

Posted by Rex @ 11:45 AM

Monday, September 22, 2003

Rex Survives Hurricane Isabel And Lives To Blog About It!

Well, the dreaded Hurricane Isabel has come and gone, having cut a swath of destruction laying waste to much of the Eastern seaboard- obliterating nearly everything in its path. I thought I would relay my own hurricane story- a stirring tale of the triumph of the human spirit, of the struggle of man against nature.

First of all, kudos to the vigilant weather teams for their round the clock coverage in the days and weeks leading up to Isabel- without which the devastation would no doubt have been incalculably worse.

I heeded their warnings, of course- living in a basement apartment in Northwest DC, I was not too worried about high winds blowing down my building ( although who knows!) but I was especially concerned about the flash flooding that was predicted. I devised no fewer than three distinct flooding contingency plans to protect my possessions, based on various levels of potential flooding. A few inches of water means stack irreplacable items on top of plastic storage bins, a foot of water would have these items up on kitchen counters and furniture hoisted up on the plastic bins. A few feet of water would mean stacking the furniture on the kitchen counters and placing valuables on top of the furniture. And then fashioning a crude life raft from the plastic bins and using snow shovels to paddle ourselves to my emergency fallback position with my family out in the no man's land of suburban DC.

But what If I lost power, or Heaven forbid, water? What then? Well, I bought some tea light candles and a couple of gallons of drinking water, and verified that I had at least one working flashlight and some extra batteries on hand. I also invested in a can of Split Pea Soup ( which I hadn't had for a while and I remember seeming kind of tasty at the time) and a can of Corned Beef Hash. If Isabel spared me, i figured that these would be practical items to have anyway- candles give the joint atmosphere, and DC tap water is foul tasting.

Well, Wednesday night, the DC emergency planners met in the Dr. Strangelove-esque war room, and started issuing executive orders and whatnot- no curfews yet or the summary executions that inevitably follow. Apparently the logistics of the whole hurricane thing were just a real hassle, so they decided that just to be on the safe side, they would just shut down the city and the Federal Government for two days, turn off the Metro, giving just about everyone except linemen the next two days off work. Also, I think they might have preemptively declared the whole tri-state area a disaster area just in case the part of the government that usually does that was either wiped out by the hurricane, or was closed. My God, this must be serious, I thought.

Thursday I slept in- better catch some sleep while I can- might be the last chance for a while. Mrs. Stetson and I also made sure to use up the perishable food as a precaution- much baking and cooking of food was done to fight the cabin fever. We could lose the cooking gas at any time! Must stockpile food! Scones and Banana Bread and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches were prepared- hopefully these would be enough to carry us through.

We also drank a lot of wine, and vanilla stoli and cokes- to calm our nerves as the rain fell and the wind blew. We kept waiting and waiting, tuning in to the emergency broadcasts for updated hurricane info. Did you know that if you take a picture of a hurricane from the right angle in space it looks really huge and menacing? Well, that's the photo they kept showing....not very encouraging.

Just when we thought we were as prepared as possible-DC Mayor Anthony Williams threw us another curveball. Apparently lighting candles during a power cut is discouraged- during previous emergencies, some DC residents have inadvertantly ( I assume) burned their houses down. Batteries and flashlights are suggested as an alternative. What to do? Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice. Taking my life in my hands, I hold with those who favor fire- I hang onto the candles- I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. Luckily Mayor Williams provided phone numbers to call to report power outages, or request dry ice to be delivered to your door. Now there's a decent public service. Dry Ice is pretty fun to play with, and I am certain that it would definitely provide enough entertainment to take the edge off of not being able to watch TV.

Thursday night, the rain and wind came and went without incident. We stared Isabel in the eye that night, and She blinked. No doubt intimitated by our preparedness decided to focus her efforts elsewhere. Thankfully my home was spared, although many others weren't so lucky. Some people who live on the river had flooding, and some people out in the suburbs lost power. A few trees fell over pretty much everywhere.

Unfortunately, there wasn't much to do Friday except watch TV. I tried to survey the damage in my neighborhood, which was confined to a tree branch that fell on a car (again, miraculously unharmed!) and a section of fence that had fallen over (although vandals do that, but I wil give the Isabel the benefit of the doubt). I guess the flooding and stuff was confined to places that required taking the train- and the train wasn't running normally yet friday, so I said screw surveying the devastation. I decided to survey the vast wasteland of television instead.

I was lucky. But not everybody was. Supposedly one person in DC died in a "hurricane related traffic accident". No data is available on how many people die every day in DC from "regular" traffic accidents. Since crime was down due to the hurricane, Isabel might even have prevented one or two shooting deaths, however, so I suspect that at worst it's probably a wash.

For an excellent post-hurricane analysis, readers are encouraged to visit The Young Curmudgeon.

Posted by Rex @ 10:49 AM

REX STETSON: ARMCHAIR VIGILANTE character name and distinctive likeness thereof: TM & © 2003 Armchair Vigilantism, Inc. All Rights Reserved.