Cost of the War in Iraq
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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Why Romney will be the Republican nominee

I haven't posted in nearly a year, and it seems really stupid to re-enter the blogging fray this way. But all of the pundits are completely wrong about Mitt Romney. There is no horse race. Mitt Romney will definitely win the Republican nomination, and here is why:

Despite the 24-hour coffin coverage at President Reagan's funeral, Mitt Romney somehow managed to steal Ronald Reagan's hair.

The few remaining Republican voters, now accustomed to accepting outright lies from members of their party, will not care what Romney believes, since he doesn't either. Romney already has the only asset he needs to win... the Glorious Gipper's mesmerizing toupee.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Maize Goddess

Funky Goddess

Bizarre Cleveland Skyline

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Wrote this a While Ago

November 17, 2006

Dear Mr. Krauthammer:

I am writing to you because I feel your views are influential in conservative circles. I am concerned that your recent commentary, “Why Iraq is Crumbling” is far too eager to place the blame for the failure of our Iraq policies on the Iraqis themselves.

With the exception of Ahmed Chalabi, and other exiles the Bush administration paid for the intelligence it wanted to hear, there was little homegrown resistance to the brutal tyranny of Saddam Hussein. We had our opportunity to assist a homegrown revolution in Iraq during the first Gulf War, and we sat back and watched Saddam Hussein destroy it; using weapons we sold him.

Many argue that invading Iraq in the first place was a mistake, and I am inclined to agree. During our own Revolutionary War, France did not invade us to free us from the British, and they did not occupy us afterward. However, we are obligated to clean up the mess that we have created in Iraq. An essential part of that cleanup is acknowledging our own stupidity, and learning from it.

First, it was stupid to invade Iraq over the objections of the United Nations. This robbed us of almost all international legitimacy from the outset. If we wanted to stage a “revolution” to depose Saddam, we should have taken a page from Teddy Roosevelt’s book and extended diplomatic recognition to an independent Kurdistan. We could have easily given security assurances to Turkey, and bought lots of oil cheaply from the Kurds. They also would have encouraged us to establish military bases there, thus giving us our democratic toehold in the Middle East and a way out of Saudi Arabia. We would have been able to take the moral high ground by giving the world’s largest homeless minority its own country, and possibly provoke Saddam into attacking us at the same time. Or, we could have gotten real intelligence on what WMDs were and weren’t in Iraq.

Instead, we marched in and conquered Iraq. The Iraqi army surrendered faster than any country in history, even France. In other words, they largely didn’t fight us, reasonably expecting to be given the reins of authority once Saddam and his cronies were toast. Instead, we disbanded them, BUT LET THEM KEEP THEIR GUNS. That is so monumentally stupid that it merits the bolded capital letters I have assigned it.

Then there were all the other massive blunders, like the looting, “bring it on,” Abu Ghraib (which you conveniently neglected to mention), our Whack-a-Mole approach to fighting insurgents, and so forth. Additionally, having men with guns come to your home and tell you to dip your fingers in some purple ink does not a republic make.

Your entire attitude that the Iraqis are incapable of self-government smacks of colonial arrogance. This is the same arrogance Britain exhibited when it first forged these battling tribes into one country. On that note, how is Czechoslovakia doing these days?

I think Senator Biden might be on the right track with his 3 state solution, provided that the Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds can agree to share the oil wealth and treat each other with respect. I hope it is still possible for them to create some kind of loose Iraqi confederation that gives each party enough of what it wants.

But the current truth is that we have not really given the Iraqi people security, an actual functioning republic, or even the illusion of security, and it is fundamentally dishonest to say otherwise. We have merely turned it into a devil’s playground so that terrorists can fight us “over there.” After nearly four years, we still haven’t rebuilt the schools or restored electricity, but we have spent billions of dollars and destroyed countless lives. I am grossly offended that you now choose to blame our failures on the Iraqi people rather than the idiocy of our policymakers, whom you still support. Our troops deserve better than this, and the Iraqi people deserve better than this. While you certainly have the right to change your mind and suddenly endorse “cutting and running,” I believe you must first apologize for endorsing this misadventure in the first place.

Kevin E. Cleary

Monday, July 10, 2006

In Decision

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Your Source for Gorilla Marketing

Friday, June 09, 2006

Fake Cave Painting

This cave painting was recently found by an archaeological team in Central America. The team is still digging, but have yet to disclose their location while they await independent verification of their carbon dating analyses. They say their first set of results dates the painting and other undisclosed artifacts to approximately 28,000 years ago.
The series of lines on the left-hand side, resembling a bar code, appears to the team to have been inscribed in the rock with a laser, and represents a heretofore unknown written language system.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Where Eagles Loiter

Alien With Pearl Earring Pt. 2

City Scape

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Happy Belated Birthday, Grandpa Frank!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Solving the Nuclear Crisis in Iran

An Open Letter to President Bush

President George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I am compelled to write by the gravity of the circumstances facing our nation and the world. It is imperative that Iran not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons, but a military strike of any kind from the West, particularly the United States or Israel, will merely open another Pandora’s Box. I am writing to propose an unconventional solution to this problem.

The nation of Pakistan is considered to be one of our primary allies in the broader war on terror. A scientist from Pakistan, A.Q. Khan, is also apparently responsible for aiding Iran’s progress in its nuclear ambitions. While the nation of Iran claims that their uranium enrichment programs are intended strictly for civilian use, this argument seems highly dubious at best. It is my sincere hope that diplomacy works this time; but if it does not, I propose we let Pakistan clean up its mess.

Military intervention launched by the United States against Iran will merely inflame more sectarian violence and spawn more hatred against us. It will make the current debacle in Iraq look like a trip to Disneyland by comparison. The initial invasion might be a leisurely stroll to Tehran, but the American people cannot sustain nor stomach another bloody occupation. There is also the issue of our blown credibility because of Iraq. Allowing Israel to strike Iran could potentially be even more catastrophic.

However, if Pakistan were to intervene in Iran, it would have a shaming effect upon Iran, as well as neutralize the current threat they pose. Having the intervention come from another Islamic country would do far more to humiliate Iran’s current regime, and it would also reduce the perception that the West is engaged in a war against Islam. For lack of a better analogy, I would compare it to Tony Soprano “whacking” his own cousin rather than letting an outsider discipline him.

It is obviously not in Pakistan’s interest to have yet another nuclear country at their border, especially an unstable regime like Iran. Additionally, in this scenario, a strike from Pakistan would show the West that they are responsible stewards of nuclear capabilities, and could be rewarded with economic incentives, and likely an agreement like the one we forged with India.

Forging a similar agreement with Pakistan under these conditions would restore the delicate balance of power between India and Pakistan, thus also reducing the potential for an Asian arms race. We should obviously continue all diplomatic efforts until they are exhausted, but we should let Pakistan nominally take the lead in such negotiations. China, Russia, and Europe can be allowed to keep their corrupt gravy trains reaching the proper stations, as long as they form the bulk of the democratization task force that would naturally follow any kind of military intervention in Iran.

Mr. President, in an ideal world, we would not have blown our credibility and international political capital on our ventures in Iraq, and now might have stood a chance to convince the world of the threat posed by Iran. But our seeming failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq will make the burden of proof for us concerning Iran a nearly insurmountable barrier, no matter how many successful elections the Iraqis may hold. Therefore, UN sanctions will be half-hearted at best, and the rest of the West has little incentive to grant us international legitimacy in the worst-case scenario of U.S. military intervention.

If Iran is the threat it seems to be, and your administration claims it is, then the other nations of the world must act to stop them. If the UN Security Council fails to reach such a consensus, and Iran will not desist, then I believe Pakistan, not us, should be the country to lay down the law.

I suggest these things after much careful consideration and deliberation. It is my sincere hope that diplomacy will work with Iran and that the game of brinkmanship we played with Iraq can this time be avoided. In fact, I constantly pray that the situation does not deteriorate to the point where military action is necessary.

But the statements your administration have made regarding Iran seem to mirror those during the build-up to the invasion of Iraq and indicate that another war is likely imminent. Therefore, before it is too late, I felt I should offer this alternative.

Mr. President, I cannot fully describe the moral conflicts with which I have wrestled before deciding to send this letter. While I realize that this letter will probably never actually reach your desk, I still have moral reservations about offering my meager strategic counsel to an administration that endorses almost everything I oppose. This is particularly so because I fear that my suggestions may be misinterpreted as encouraging further bellicosity by your administration, even if from just one constituent. But, politics aside, I am still an American citizen, and felt it was my moral duty to offer this advice. It is my fervent hope that our country employs minds far greater than mine, and that an even better solution will be found to the problems Iran poses.

In closing Mr. President, despite my differences with your administration, I know at heart that this issue weighs heavily upon your soul. I hope at the very least that my proposal will encourage fresh thinking in these matters and that another disastrous course of action can be averted. In the mean time, I will continue to pray desperately for peace. Thank you.

Kevin E. Cleary

Sunday, March 26, 2006

330 KB That Will Change History

Kevin E. Cleary

Under our noses, something totally revolutionary is about to happen. Users of the Firefox internet browser will soon never have to worry about paying for Microsoft Word. A program called ajaxWrite (, must have Firefox 1.5 or better) is about to clear some serious space on our hard drives. They are also, unwittingly or not, about to make some older computers usable again, which means cheaper computers can jump on the Information Superhighway.

According to their Frequently Asked Questions Page, “AJAX is an acronym for Asynchronous Java Script and XML” Translated, that means it’s a computer programming technique that essentially allows them to broadcast an interactive program onto your computer, in this case a beta-test version of Microsoft Word. Think of it as being like Willy Wonka’s machine that sends the candy bar through your TV.

The program is a web-based application that mimics the look-and-feel of Microsoft Word but can import and export several other formats, like WordPerfect, Microsoft Works, and others. The application is only 330KB, which makes it smaller than picture files on many computers. By contrast,’s (Note: I have not downloaded and can’t comment yet on the comparison of features between them. From what I understand, OpenOffice is a full suite of programs rather than just one application) download is about 108 MB, which will take quite a while to download if you’re on dial-up.

You can save the files you write to your computer, although the program could use a “Save your changes before closing?” reminder. It was able to open most of the Word Perfect files I threw at it, and it didn’t even try to reformat my resume’, which had strange fonts and a proprietary template in it...something that has freaked Microsoft Word out in the past many times. It doesn’t seem able to open Adobe PDF files, but neither can Word. It also doesn’t seem able to handle WordPerfect documents with pictures in them, but I’m sure compatibility issues will be worked out in the near future. With its currently limited font selection and still-in-development spell check, ajaxWrite isn’t ready for prime time yet, but it’s going to be huge when it hits.

The possibilities of this astound me. Right now, the potential of this excites me more than the actual product; but the concept and execution of it are revolutionary in and of themselves... and it’s still a beta that works properly! If we could pair this with a domestic $100 laptop, every American could become computer literate within a few years, almost regardless of economic standing. Older computers that have been donated to charity can be resurrected and given internet connections for people with low-incomes. Processing-intensive applications like special effects rendering can be paired with this and distributed computing to make number-crunching a breeze.

But the real winners from this concept will be computer users, especially computer users on a tight or non-existent budget. By sticking it to the Man, and ditching Internet Explorer, users can (insert sarcastic finger quotes) enjoy using Microsoft Word for free. This would enable someone to more practically work on a resume’ (or a novel, essay, freelance piece, etc.) at a library or free computer lab if also armed with a floppy disk, or even a free email account. I certainly could have used this when I didn’t own a working printer.

Yuppies could shed some extra pounds and carry around a small USB drive. Firefox needs to add an extension to their browser that lets people open this application within the browser without having to go to the ajaxWrite website first, like how they have incorporated an optional Google search bar. Being able to quickly write a document within another browser tab will make it that much easier and faster for users to ditch Internet Explorer. And ajaxWrite should get its program ready for the spotlight, because they’re about to take center-stage in a revolution.

A Rambling Diatribe by Kevin E. Cleary

In my mind, military interventions are analogous to a sort of booby-trap. Some we have set up, and others we have stepped into. Like that trap in Raiders of the Lost Ark, we've taken the statue off the pedestal in Iraq, but now we've got to keep that same weight on the pedestal or a giant boulder will crash on us and the Iraqi people. For instance, our troop presence in South Korea acts as a similar pedestal-trap against North Korea. They know that if they knock us off the pedestal there, a giant boulder will roll over North Korea. Through the years, we've placed a number of weights in a number of different booby traps, and in many cases we calculated properly, in others we got rolled by boulders.

In my mind, we miscalculated in Iraq, and now refuse to recalculate. We stormed into Bagdad with a fighting army, but not an overwhelming force. Therefore, we had no one to keep order once we disbanded the Iraqi army, and let them keep their weapons. If we intended to stay in Iraq, why didn't we plan for the post-war? If we didn't plan to stay, why did we disband the army who largely didn't fight us? Right now, I'm not even arguing about the morality of the war, or whether or not it was right to invade. I'm merely questioning the way we have conducted this war from the outset, and the way this administration has run things since then. We sent an underwhelming force into Bagdad using the Clinton-air strike methodology (Shock and Awe! Three weeks to Bagdad... Yay! We made it to Bagdad! ...oh shit we're stuck in Bagdad! Whadda we gonna do now?!), but with boots on the ground as well. Unfortunately, we didn't provide our troops with proper supplies like body armor, and we told our allies to screw themselves before we went into the conflict. We also fired competent translators and managers/planners, etc. because of stupid policies like "don't ask, don't tell," which Clinton, as Commander in Chief, should have had the balls to end, but he didn't.

I understand that there were mitigating circumstances that would have held up the war if we waited for the UN inspectors, such as the Oil for Food bribery scandal, etc. But at the very least, we should have had the patience to sort it out before we went and invaded. I think one of the reasons the insurgency was initially emboldened was that they felt we were vulnerable and were trying to restructure their country without help. Pre-emptive or not, I think we all know that we would have had enough time (remember "gathering threat?") to plan this thing a whole hell of a lot better than we did. He also sold Congress (mostly the Democrats) on voting for the resolution as a gunboat diplomacy tactic, and then attacked them with their votes during the campaign because they were stupid enough to believe him, and/or stupid enough to think that they could believably use that as an excuse after the fact.

Now, we're there to stay. Probably for a generation or more, and we don't really have a choice now that we broke it and bought it. I understand that we can't just pull out now, but the administration still hasn't been honest about its missteps. It's my hope that if the Dems get it together, we might see some real accountability, and some real corrective steps. If not, we'll continue to compound the problem, regardless of who we put in the Oval and the Capitol.

If I were George Bush, (which thankfully I'm not, though the money would be nice... :-) I'd throw the ball in the Democrat's court. I'd say, look, I've got two years left, we're staying, so get your hands dirty and help out. The first thing I'd do is appoint Hillary Clinton to run Iraq. Then, when she quit after six months, after giving up on the mid-term, or being unable to run because of her position, I'd replace her with McCain or someone actually competent from the Dems. That would effectively neutralize any chance she'd have of ever winning the Presidency, and it would make the Democrats also share accountability for events on the ground, which would hopefully improve somewhat. Then, to show I mean business and that I'm really sincere that I want this to work, I'd fire Rumsfeld and humbly ask Colin Powell to come back as SecDef.

Condi stays where she's at, and just for fun, we pull Bolton from the UN and put him in as Press Secretary, thus earning the Daily Show's eternal gratitude. As a bonus, we put Kucinich in Bolton's job as UN ambassador. Chertoff and Brownie each get shot in the face with birdshot on televison by Dick Cheney as a sign of goodwill toward poor people, and Karl Rove gets the bump to official Chief of Staff to satisfy the base. For consistency's sake, Andy Card (current Chief of Staff) gets a Medal of Freedom or some other BS medal like Bush gave Tenet.

If Bush wants to silence his critics, he needs to bring them to the table. Feingold should get appointed to the Supreme Court to replace Stevens, and Bush should take the heat from his base for not completely re-shifting the Court, but not until after the mid-term elections. Cheney should bite the bullet and do regular appearances on the Daily Show from now until the end of the term. If he's not running, he's got nothing to lose. He actually seems to have a decent sense of humor, so it would be a way to improve Republican numbers in the 18-24 demographic that typically leans Dem.

I would also take steps to weaken the Democrats by tapping third party candidates for important posts in the last two years. This takes a chunk out of the progressive wing of the Dems, and will increase the viability of alternative parties overall, but not enough to be an immediate threat to the Republican party, if the Republicans get the trains moving again. I'd start with the Libertarians for certain posts, like perhaps head of Homeland Security. I'd put Greens in charge of environmental policy and possibly HUD.

Then, I’d throw some ideas out there and see what sticks: For instance, we also cut a deal with Mexico to absorb them by 2015 as autonomous state(s) in the Union if the Mexicans vote to join. That way, illegal immigration from Mexico is no longer a problem. To even out the change in the House of Representatives, we admit Puerto Rico and all the US territories, and split Texas into five states. This solves the Social Security crisis and the illegal immigration crisis in one fell swoop. No need to build a stupid wall. We increase the pool of legal workers, and the standard of living evens out across the board, and we’ve got a bunch of consumers eager to catch up with their Northern brothers and sisters. We also buy all of our ports back from China and other countries, and put Mexico in charge of the ports. We offer Canada a chance to join up, and we form a North American Union with the same currency.

In the mean time, we work on getting another statue to keep the booby trap in Iraq at bay. When the Iraqi army went home, we didn’t think about the power vacuum until it was almost too late. We’ve got to get to a point where everyday feels like election days to the Iraqis. Those are the days they seem to feel secure to leave their homes. I honestly don’t know if there’s a faster or better way to do that than we are now, but we should start studying why it seems to work better on election days. Is it that we have more “boots on the ground” on those days? Is it just that men with guns are telling the Iraqis to go dip their fingers in purple ink? Whatever it is, we need to figure it out and replicate the good parts. I think the best way to do that is through honest dialogue, not more bravado. Otherwise, that dangling boulder is going to tip over the precipice and crush us.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Totally unmodified

I took this picture at 2100 Lakeside Ave., Cleveland's largest homeless men's shelter. I did nothing to enhance this picture or change the color; this picture was taken without a flash. Just thought it was odd that everything had a green tinge in the photos, but my eyes somehow color-corrected for this while I was there. -Kev

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Digitally Wrapping Myself in the Flag

Friday, March 17, 2006

Strawberry Way

Friday, March 10, 2006

This one's called, "Suck It, Warhol"

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Beach


From the Bizarre Imagination of Kevin E. Cleary

The Luminens reside in the Owl Nebula, roughly 3,000 light years from Earth. The creatures have 8 tentacles, like the aquatic octopus on Earth and the similarly aquatic Maha’ Drawi of the Pherkad System. Their exact physical composition is unknown, though they seem to exhibit bilateral symmetry. It is believed that they are photosynthetic, and preliminary communication attempts have yet to confirm or deny sentience. The scientific exploration vehicle Asimov arrived within viewing distance sixteen hours ago and their latest tach-cast expressed the crew’s excitement at their historic discovery.

The Luminens are the largest creatures ever encountered by humans or wirri. Of the Luminens observed thus far, all have been roughly twice the size of the Capital Complex, Earth’s largest structure. Dr. Lehar I’diiqwa, the lead xenobiologist aboard the Asimov said that the creatures may be communicating with each other, or may be attempting to communicate with the Asimov itself.

“When we first observed the Luminens, they had formed a of series large, interwoven chains which resembled the roots of a tree or the dendrites in human and wirri brains. Pulses of light flashed like lightning and passed up and down the chains. The chains began to pulse as one for durations of exactly 1.618 seconds, and did so for approximately fifteen minutes. The Luminens then split apart and have not been seen to interact since then. We are very puzzled and are attempting to discern whether the duration is a natural phenomenon, meant to communicate with us, or with each other,” said I’diiqwa.

Human and wirri experts on Earth, Mars, and in the Ta’ozi system believe the Luminens may be attempting to communicate a knowledge of mathematics because 1.618 is a rounded form of the golden ratio, a mathematical constant present in human and wirri mathematics. The discovery of potentially sentient life hasn’t occurred since humans and wirri first made contact nearly two hundred years ago. Continue

Liberty Weathers a Storm

Photoshop Foolery

President's Day

Jesus Enters the Cartoon Fray

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Hunting Penned Quail

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A Solution to NPR's Panhandling

Originally published at
I wrote it, so I didn't have any qualms about republishing my own work on my private blog.
-Kevin E. Cleary
6:03AM EST
Saturday, February 11, 2006 C.E.

Clearly, NPR’s fund raising strategies need to be improved. Apparently, public airwaves were one of the few places Cleveland’s horrible Aggressive Solicitation Law didn’t cover in its prohibitions. As the Operations Manager for a program of a small non-profit, I understand that raising money is hard. But I would like to offer my humble suggestions here to relieve other listeners and to assist NPR’s fund raising efforts.

Much like the technology already exists for the United States to become more energy-independent (ethanol or bio-diesel hybrids, you hear me Detroit?), there already exists a technological solution to NPR’s seemingly rapidly recurring financial doldrums: the V-chip. If you were to effectively implement this tool of censorship, NPR’s pledge drives could disappear, in more ways than one.

Along with the other fabulous gifts NPR provides to donors, like coffee mugs and Driveway Moments anthologies, you should offer a specially modified V-chip. The V-chip will have a timer on it which equates roughly to the amount of money someone has donated. The V-chip will then block donation solicitation programming on NPR for a specified amount of time. Listeners who pony up with some funding get to skip the pledge drives. Free-riders have to endure the guilt-a-thons.

For instance, at the $30.00 level, a loyal listener could be rewarded with a month’s worth of nag-free programming. At the $500.00 level, a loyal listener could be given the gift of a year without pledge drives and their choice of a year without Prairie Home Companion or Tales from Lake Wobegone. If you’d like to reach conservative pockets, you could offer a “Red”-chip for $1000.00 or so that blocks all criticism, constructive or otherwise, of the Bush administration and its policies.

I think this solution works to everyone’s benefit. NPR will gain significantly as more donations flood member stations, loyal listeners will get a pass on the pledge drives, and I will have the satisfaction of helping to keep NPR’s engaging and informative programming on the air. All I ask in return is another fantastic coffee mug and a free lifetime pledge drive pass; or failing that, some free air time to solicit money for The Homeless Grapevine.

An ironic t-shirt I think I could actually sell

Da Napalm Guild

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Stardust in Action

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The White House Hannukah photo Bush, Cheney, and Abramoff don't want you to see

Quantum Quilt

Quantum Nomads

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Don't Tell Tehran

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Mythical Richard

My friend Richard asked me to make a picture of his head on Michelangelo's David and try to match up the skin tone. I ended up cheating and using the color gradient instead. I'm still having trouble matching textures. I've read some instructional material on it, but none of it is much help, and a lot of it is made for later versions of Photoshop. Anyone out there know how to do this?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Nocturnal Guardian

Focus on the Family: I Wish I Knew How to Quit You

An Open Letter to the Powers That Shouldn't Be
Kevin E. Cleary
5:02 AM EST
Saturday, January 21, 2006 C.E.

Dear James Dobson, et al.:

Please sir, don’t make me go see Brokeback Mountain. Your organization and its ilk have gone mad with power and need to be stopped. It is your divisive comments and actions that may force me to burgeon the Box Office.

Sir, please quickly disband your army of ignorant followers and surrender for the good of the nation, possibly even the world. The Culture Wars have exacted their tolls on all of us, and many of us in the reasonable minority think it’s time for your megachurches to take a break. A long break. Longer than my irrational sentences and fragments expressing my irritation that I almost have to fork over my meager earnings (When exactly do the poor and the meek get to inherit the earth?) to Hollywood to help curtail your dangerous agendas.

Sir, many of us have been turning our cheeks for most of this decade and are growing tired of it. You got all three branches of government, Fox News, your President, NASCAR, and several fabulous parting gifts, like Hillary Clinton. You’ve had a good run. You’ve managed to kill the last vestiges of the Great Society, unions, widespread international goodwill toward America, higher wages, universal health coverage, the economy, our civil liberties, and more. Please go back to being entertaining instead of frightening. I promise we’ll make Traficant donate his toupee’ to the effort.

You even got The Passion, so why do we still have to endure your hateful sermons on Brokeback Mount?

First of all, boycotting almost any film is an exercise in futility. It merely adds to the mystique and appeal of the film. Besides, the family values charade has grown tired and repetitive. The shock and indignation you express at the film’s critical acclaim only serve to accelerate and embolden it. The fact that this only angers you further speaks to frightening levels of ignorance from people who claim to be responsible stewards of our country.

I have not yet seen the film in question. It probably deserves the praise it has received, but it is not a film I would normally pay to see. For that matter, I still haven’t seen The English Patient.

But this should be your last fool’s errand. Demanding that Hollywood not love a movie about closeted homosexual cowboys is like asking France to fight a war without capitulating. It is stupid and a waste of time to expect otherwise.

The more scorn you heap on this film, the more it reminds reasonable people that the reason the protagonists in the film are “in the closet” is because of organizations like yours and people like you. Indeed, reasonable people have noticed that you like to stuff all sorts of people and ideas into closets. We are told to “watch what we say” while you pass discriminatory laws and ride roughshod over all opposition.

Sir, you exhaust our tolerance by preaching intolerance and hatred. A yellow ribbon you bought at Wal-Mart or Target doesn’t absolve your efforts to dissolve our civil liberties any more than a bumper sticker makes you an actual Christian.

My entire life I have been made sick by the ways organizations like yours poison the well for people of true faith. Your attempts to make God in your trademarked, corporate, misguided and judgmental image may earn you a place in the hell you would create for the rest of us.

I beg you to please give us back the reins of authority before I am forced to draw a line in the sand. If you persist in trying to make manifest your hypocritical bloviations I will be obligated to spend money I can’t afford on tickets for this movie that I don’t really have any interest in seeing. In fact, I will be forced to purchase every version of this film in its various digital incarnations, up to and including the Director’s Cut. Do you have any idea how much the Director’s Cut of a movie costs?

Since, until this point, I have avoided endangering my immortal soul, I place this burden squarely in your hands. If you care at all about the good of the world, our beleaguered nation, my immortal soul and the souls of countless people who feel the way I do, you will act quickly to disband your forces.

There is still time to repent your licentious greed and acts of persecution. Start off by liquidating your assets and giving them away to actual poor and disenfranchised people. Remember, it is easier for a camel to pass through the Eye of the Needle than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Salvation may yet be attainable for you: send your check or money order to Kevin E. Cleary...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Star-Eyed Lover

Original photo by Mary Mihevic. There is a picture of the Helix Nebula, popularly known as "The Eye of God" which, after some modifications, comprises her eyes. The hardest part of making this was recopying her glasses and placing them back over her new eyes. I thought it was worth the effort, but then again, I'm biased. -kev

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Moses Cleveland Knows What's Up

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Greetings from Indonesia

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Another Year of Dissolved Resolutions

I don't know why, but I'm actually pretty apathetic to the coming year. Perhaps it's the thought that we still have 3 years left of the Bush administration. Perhaps it's because I've realized that the new year really won't affect my daily grind. The sad thing is, I'm actually more excited for the extra second of 2006, than I am for the upcoming year. Maybe it's because I'm a huge geek, but I think it's really cool that we've advanced to the point where our own ability to measure time can be more accurate than that of the Earth's natural calendar (although I suppose that's a relative judgment). I almost always get depressed around the holidays, but New Year's is one of those days that seems to hit-or-miss for me. Rarely do I exhibit the exuberance of my youth for the occasion, but there are many years where I look forward to a "fresh start."

This year I haven't even bothered to make New Year's resolutions. My penchant for focusing on my grand imaginings of the future (this year, I'll quit smoking, this year, I'll lose twenty lbs, this year, I'll publish a novel) has typically held me back from actually accomplishing anything. If anything, I have learned over the past year that changes happen incrementally, and that it takes more than perennial decrees to make them happen. Enacting change involves a lot of mundane details and labor that rarely figures into my well-intended "resolutions." Therefore, this year, I will just keep doing what I have been doing. I will continue to smoke too much, eat poorly, etc. After all, 2005 was going to be the year that I lost a bunch of weight, and I never got around to doing a sit-up.

Instead, I will use this day to look backward and acknowledge that I have made quite a bit of progress by trying to keep myself in the present. I made it through my first semester back at school. I managed to survive for 13 months on less than minimum wage and will continue to do so this year (granted, the job is rewarding in most other respects). I have managed to stay in the good graces of my wonderful fiancee, and I have learned quite a bit along the way. Anyway, gotta go watch Dick Clark's balls drop and kiss my future wife. So, Happy New Year!

This is for my Mom who knows that there is a special place in Hell for Art Modell

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Holy War

Kevin E. Cleary

The right-wing media apparently has very little to talk about as Bush’s legislative agenda crumbles with each indictment and revelation of wrongdoing. They could be discussing the bipolar economy which has resulted from the administration’s tax policies: corporate profits have reached all-time highs while real wages have consistently sunk. They could discuss the intellectual dishonesty of a Congress that has raised its own salary by an average of $3,000 almost every year yet thinks raising the minimum wage would be bad for low-wage earners and small businesses. The right-wing media could discuss the accuracy of the Iraqi casualty count Bush flippantly announced after years of stonewalling. They could talk about the deficits this administration have created which make Reaganomics seem like “the good old days.” Instead, they discuss “The War on Christmas.”

Pundits like Bill O’Reilly insist that phrases like “Happy Holidays” and calling Christmas trees “holiday trees” are the left’s covert assaults on a longstanding Christian tradition. I don’t really know what he fears the end result of this so-called war will be, but I imagine his deluded nightmares involve future celebrants goose-stepping to Winter Wonderland in a shopping mall as they purchase Holiday gifts; or something equally frightening. I say this because it’s the only fear I can imagine that would prompt so much attention to be paid to a non-existent war.

In the interest of putting a stupid controversy to rest, I will now indulge in a somewhat rambling history lesson. First and foremost, December 25 was not the day Jesus was born! This was a pre-existing pagan holiday celebrated by the Romans to commemorate the changing of seasons, particularly Winter Solstice. It was adopted as Christmas as a sort of PR move by the early Christian Church. I was taught this in Catholic school, during several different religious courses throughout my eleven years of Catholic education and indoctrination.

The Roman festival was called Saturnalia. The name comes from the Roman god Saturn, who was said to rule over agriculture. He was the honoree of this festival, as the Romans gave thanks for harvesting the fall crops. The feast typically lasted seven days, was considered the greatest festival of the year, and involved feasting, gift-giving, dancing, home decorating, and relaxing, among other things. I’m sure there were Romans at the time who bemoaned the “Christian War on Saturnalia,” but they’re all dead now. I don’t know if they ever considered naming the holiday Jesusalia, but I do know that would be a lot harder to abbreviate, i.e. X-alia.

Speaking of which, I’ve heard a lot of people complain over the years about the use of “X-mas” to abbreviate the word “Christmas.” While I haven’t heard this complaint in regard to the current War on Christmas, I thought I should address this one as well. Writing “X-mas” is not in fact, taking the “Christ” out of “Christmas,” as many believe. I can understand why this would offend certain people, but their offense is actually ill-informed. The X was a symbol for Christ in the early Church and is still used today; in much the same way that the Pisces fish was an early Christian symbol and can still be seen today, like in that Seinfeld episode where Elaine steals her boyfriend’s “Jesus fish.”

Other traditions, like Christmas trees, also have their roots in earlier pagan religions. While there is some debate as to the earliest origins of Christmas trees, it is known that the Druids saw evergreen trees as symbols of everlasting life because they seemed to live through winter undaunted by the cold. The Romans also cut down evergreens and decorated them for Saturnalia. Mistletoe was a Druid symbol for virility, St. Nick is thought to be the result of a patchwork of mythical gods, like the Greek god Poseidon and the Teutonic Hold Nikar (there is a broad scholarly consensus that St. Nick may never have existed as a person, and instead is an example of Christianized pagan gods), the list goes on and on of Christmas traditions that were actually co-opted pagan traditions.

I mention this to stress the point that Christmas could then be viewed as a conglomeration of various holy days and their traditions. Therefore, saying “Happy Holidays” could be viewed as paying respect to those preceding traditions. Additionally, there is the fact that several other holidays are celebrated around the time of Christmas. Jesus, who was Jewish, would have appreciated being told “Happy Hanukkah!” around this time of year. He probably would have been puzzled by people wishing him a happy birthday several months after his likely actual birthday.

Furthermore, the assertion that secular leftists are somehow Seussian Grinches who hate Christmas and everything about it does not stand up to the facts. Traditionally, the first people to ban celebrating Christmas were Puritan Christians who left England to form the colonies. Assaults on Christmas have usually come from right-wing religious peoples. The protections of free worship for all have seen some of their greatest defenders come from the left.

Since the American celebration of Christmas is marked largely by adulation of capitalism rather than following Jesus’s sage advice anyway (Blessed are the poor and the meek, etc.), I don’t see why Bill O’Reilly and his ilk are complaining about saying “Happy Holidays.” If they don’t want to be inclusive, they can say “Merry Christmas” to everyone they encounter regardless of the person’s religion. If they find the phrase “Happy Holidays” too bland, I suggest an alternative I have been using for several years: “Happy Hannukwanzmas!” This, in the Christmas tradition, incorporates several holidays into one greeting. It includes Hanukkah, Kwanza, and Christmas. In years during which Ramadan also falls near Christmas, I suggest “Happy Ramahanukwanzmas!” I find these alternatives (which again, I devised years ago... ask my friends and family) to be less cumbersome than the one suggested by the Virgin Mobile commercials.

I hope this has been helpful in putting the War on Christmas to rest, so the media can get back to paying attention to the real wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where our soldiers and others are sacrificing their lives. Additionally, there is the War on Civil Liberties in Congress over renewal of the Patriot Act, the growing ranks of impoverished Americans, McCain’s successful War on Torture, the millions of Americans who lack essential health coverage, and many other issues which merit media coverage more than this non-controversy. In the mean time, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanza, or Happy Hannukwanzmas and a jolly New Year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Merry F***in Christmas

Monday, December 12, 2005

Romance novel

Thursday, December 08, 2005

More Time Wasting

Happy 25th Anniversary Mom and Dad!

The whole time I was making this I kept imagining my Mom saying, "What's with all the myrrh?!" and my Dad saying, "Oh, three Wise Guys! Nyuk Nyuk!" Also, I briefly wondered if I'm going to hell for this.


Kevin E. Cleary
10:47 PM December 5, 2005 C.E.

Awaiting judgement of my work of fiction,
and to soothe baited breath
I succumb to nicotine addiction;
Each smoke five minutes’ death.

The weeks tick by like eons,
I see fault lines in every sentence.
My warm hope has filled with freon,
Certain rejection has met acquiescence.

I buy a nice frame for my first denial
which gathers dust in its plastic wrap.
Yet my patience gets no speedy trial,
the judges seem to be taking a nap.

But they’re The New Yorker, I say
to myself. Their rejection letter
is worth the wait. In fact, it may
tell me how my work could be better.

Surely I show promise or potential,
or verbal cleverness at the very least.
To their suggestions, I’ll be deferential
Their words will be manna on which I’ll feast.

I’m sure my work is juvenile,
but I wrote from my heart.
Some lines had to make them smile
and it had a promising start.

Marlboro miles tick by my odometer,
I feel a wrongfully ignored suitor;
When finally appears on my monitor
an e-epistle from my hopeful tutors.

“We regret that we are unable
to use the enclosed material...”
4 months for 2 sentences from this literary chaebol*1 (look it up, bitches*2)
I’ve been spurned like I’m venereal.

“...Thank you for giving us
the opportunity to consider it.”
Why did I wait so long for this bullshit?
Fuck The New Yorker.

*1 chaebol: a Korean word which literally translated means "money clan." They are characterized by their extremely authoritarian management style. I only know what it means because of an online rhyming dictionary.

*2 bitches: the staff of The New Yorker who made me wait almost four months for a 2 sentence rejection email... most definitely not anyone who is reading this, especially online.

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Knight's Tale

(more like a modern blues song than anything)
Kevin E. Cleary
12:22PM EST
August 3, 2005 C.E.

My love for you is extinct
like the dinosaurs
Nothing will revive it
So, you stay on Venus and I'll stay on Mars.

So tired of being your listening ear
Shoulder to cry on
Your love put me in arrears
So quit all your spyin'

on me when I'm with my friends
4AM bitchfests on my cell phone
Our romantic comedy already said "The End."
You ate all my popcorn, the credits rolled.

Church bells ain't ringin' for our wedding
I'm not your knight in shining armor
I smashed all your fancy place settings
Seeds of love won't be sown by this farmer.

I won't be there to plow your barren fields,
Can't reassure your unending doubt
Find another ticket for your 8 course meals
Don't let the cardoor hit you on the way out.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Alien with Pearl Earring

Monday, November 07, 2005

Lights Out

Kevin E. Cleary
11:38 AM EST
August 3, 2005

Lights out for the city on the lake
There's only so much more we can take.

Lack of leadership and crippling corruption
Abandoned storefronts, no decent jobs
Half-assed orange barrel construction
Where are the angry mobs?

One daily paper with a kindergarten readership
glossing over unpleasant realities
and Tabloid News has strip-
mined our brains for carnality.

We're made to fear and blame the poor
as the Corrupt in power steal our last dime
But the money's running dry, lights out, no more
the bamboozled victims may yet draw a line

Tired of being Morlocks toiling
in our broken machines
The cogs won't be silenced by oiling,
We've got to make to make a scene.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I always wondered what I'd look like in a toga...