The Value of Learning

I was desperately trying to remember the name of this film I saw about five years ago... A very edgy drama about a released mental patient tortured by a constant buzzing sound and the desire to kill. Sounds banal, and it obviously wasn't that memorable if I've forgotten it, but never mind. Pointless story over, I was googling serial killer movie buzzing, and I came across this paper assignment for a New York public school, taught by one 'Ms. Losito'... The paper assignment is, and I'm not kidding, "Serial Killers or Famous People with mental disorders"... Now, maybe I'm going against my own supposed ethic by calling out the absurdity of a random high school teacher's assigment, but fuck it, if I contradict myself, etc... I like the idea of having the option of writing about a crazy murderer, or just a crazy succesful person because, after all, the two groups are at once mutually exclusive and exchangeable! I would have written about OJ Simpson as a kind of friendly meeting point between the two groups.


Interview with Nostradamus Marquis

Nosferatu: Welcome to the first ever intra-Death/Media interview segment. This weekend I had a chance to sit down with Nostradamus Marquis, who recently retired from blogging and then just as shockingly returned with both a new post and long comment on Finnegans Wake. Nostradamus, thank you for being here.

Nostradamus: It’s good to be home, Nosf.

Nosferatu: Why the retirment?

Nostradamus: The blogosphere seemed like it was on the wane. Mulatto Jesus was a nice new site, but Actual Rod hadn’t updated consistently for months, Actual God was still brilliant but rarer than caviar, and though the rise of Al at Delino was enjoyable, something of the spark was gone. Then I read Finnegan’s now infamous Johnston post and realized something fundamental. Though I myself was only bound to Yale by my diploma and my job as a litter-bearer for a certain mercurial professor, I was still interacting for the most part with people deeply enmeshed in the trials and tribulations of undergrad life. Finnegan’s post made me realize, for the first time, that my life in the blogging world was completely fraudulent. It was then that I decided to retire.

Nosferatu: Intersting. Some have speculated it was the influence of a certain woman in your life, a woman who, how shall I put this, despises blogging as an infernal sap on your energy and time. What of this?

Nostradamus: There is no truth to that. Really, it was just realizing the connection between Finnegan’s seriousness as a thinker, and his seriousness as a blogger… Something inimitably dark occurred to me, as my eyes were drenched by the radiant light of Finnegan’s Google Adsense Ads… I had to stop.

Nosferatu: But now you're back?

Nostradamus: Yes. I have recently been thinking a lot about Terri Schiavo again. I can’t escape it, and (many are familiar with this) the thought of Terri is for me the thought blogging. Without it, I can have no fresh experiences of her. My imagination seems to shrivel into a sun-dried raisin with regards to her when I don’t blog… Also this is the worst time ever for Bush and Co, so how could I resist taking my shots with all the rest?

Nosferatu: What about, and this is a touchy subject, the Nosferatu identity?

Nostradamus: Well, as you know, back when I began this enterprise, in the spring of 2005, I would often vary my commenting names, sometimes modulating from Nostradamus to Nosferatu without warning. I intend to continue in this way. After all, our interests are entirely divided, and we each will have fresh and sometimes contradictory things to say.

Nosferatu: That’s for sure. Well, that’s all the time we have. See you in the funny-pages.

Nostradamus: One more thing. Arlo Harshenstein has had his say for the last time. I found his attacks, particularly his attacks on Delino, Hidden Hand, and Lester, to be disgusting and despicable. That kind of behavior will no longer be tolerated.

Nosferatu: I mean it. We have to go. Breaking news... Rosa Parks has passed away. More on this developing story soon.


The events at this blog over the last few months have greatly displeased me.

Then again, our President’s betrayal of his conservative roots and his pitiful, liberal nominees Roberts and Miers have left me distraught. Furious, one might say.

Those who know me know my conservatism was earned during the trying years of undergraduate education while attending a liberal university in New York. Many of my close friends have heard the private chronicle of my pain through those years, but since moving on to bigger and better things I have had adequate time to reflect.

In short, here is my response, generated from months of silent observation, to what (I refuse to dignify him with either of his ridiculous monikers) calls the “Yale Blogosphere”, though I am an obvious example of why such a name is inaccurate:

The only one of you with an occasional ounce of sense is Finnegan. When I learned he was blogging for Reason, I took notice. Though I’m not always in support of some of the radical agendas those folks propound, they have their heads screwed on right, as does Koffler/Finnegan, with his sound support of property rights. How he tolerates that sacrosanct hypocrite Andrew Sullivan, I’ll never understand. Give me Buckley, give me Brooks, for God sake, give me the revolting Paul Begala (a great indirect aid to the conservative cause). His co-contributor Jeremy is insane, another empty articulator of mindless Marxist and Derridean abstractions.

Moving on, I must say that the quality of Delino DeSheilds has greatly diminished since the switch to “delinodeshields.com”. The one moderate voice among them, Eric, has stopped posting long ago. His appreciation for the logical purity of chess mirrors my own love of the Cheney world view. His presence is sorely missed. The Dan/Tom experiment is but another horrific example of the kind of joint-personage all conservatives in their hearts must recoil against. For the true conservative, the individual, not the collective, must be the sovereign unit.

Hidden Hand cannot be taken seriously, on any level.

I am Justice is hopelessly blinkered, idealistic, and absurd.

Salam has so little viable political content it barely merits comment, but I will say that at the very least, I don’t trust it.

The rest of you have a lot of work to do. Mulatto Jesus mixes discarded Actual God material with bland liberal commentary in a way unseen since the hey-day of Nostradamus.

While on the subject, let me remark that I find Nostradamus’s fake retirement and re-emergence as Nosferatu completely stupid and aesthetically bankrupt. He acts as if the idea of alternative identities is in any way original, while any good student of literature knows this has been a commonplace of fiction and drama for centuries.

In a final condemnation, I must say that Lester’s brutal mix of humor and vulgarity is not as brilliant as some of his shocked adherents might wish to believe. In fact, the man is a fraud, little more than a subtle admixture of Hidden Hand and early Dan Berger. His beating the dead horse that is Jason Congdon style of humor, along with his “subtle” use of the Nabokov novel “Pale Fire” is beyond all else over-weaning. Ask yourself: Does such a person really belong? I think, after some reflection, one will realize that the answer is yes. However, where Lester belongs, is uncertain. My suggestion would be the depths of Hell.

This is what I have to say to you. Heed my warnings if you have any faith.


Blog Bloggy Blog

It had to happen, and finally, it has.

Delino and Death/Media got together for a jamboree. More precisely, for a heated battle of “Shout About TV”. It was a night to remember. Team Lucy, Nos(tradamus/feratu), Rich, and Al triumphed in the first battle against hated rivals Team Dan, Actual God, Ariel, and Tom. Key moment was my identifying, after literally three seconds of his back, a clip of David Hasselhoff. I won’t say much more in order not to ruin the game for anyone who hasn’t yet played, but a riotous time was had by all. The second battle was less noteworthy.

In other news, I’ve decided to revive the Nostradamus personality, partly because of popular demand, partly because I’m getting tired of vampire jokes.

No football predictions either of the last two weeks. Beginning next week, I’m going to be predicting against the spread. Watch for key picks.

Deer Tick

Check out this excellent group, Deer Tick. They are out of Providence, RI, and while they are quite young, they have written some outstanding songs already, nevermind my obvious, vampiric sympathies for them. For mp3's click here.


ER Jumps the Shark

Tonight, friends and neighbors, ER has finally jumped the shark. It wasn’t just the “miracle-wake-up-Schiavo-character-who-was-carjacked-while-her-mother-was-raped-and-shot” sub-plot, or the defection of every major original character to “bigger and better things” (at least in the case of George Clooney, who now seems like he has been famous forever, though it was only ER that launched him. The fate of Anthony Edwards has always been entirely independent of ER, thanks to his role in Revenge of the Nerds. Noah Wyle, I fear, is doomed for the scrap heap of history.), no, tonight ER, brainchild of concept-man extraordinaire/freak Michael Crichton, made the irrevocable mistake of adding to its cast…

John Leguizamo!!!

Don’t get me wrong. I am probably the world’s biggest John Leguizamo fan, but seeing his inimitable brand of Latino humor against the hospital backdrop doesn’t work, even for me… Imagine how it will go with the average American!

Then again, maybe the Schiavo sub-plot redeems the show after all.

I’m off to try and find House of Buggin on DVD. Damn that show was good.


Hilarious Video (Funnier than Colbert Report)

Enjoy this hilarious Bush Speech Parody Video that I came across thanks to a helpful friend. You have to wait something like 30 seconds before downloading the file, but trust me, noble friends, it will be well worth it.

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Dan asked, and thus Nosferatu, always looking for fresh victims, responds.

I admire Larry David. I am not among those wasps who are uncomfortable with Jewish comedians, with Judaism more generally. In fact, if anything, I am something of a Judaophile, a true lover of all things Jewish. There is something about David’s unbridled sense of “the intricate story arc” that is constantly delightful. It reminds one of Dickens, of Shakespeare, of English Comedy at its finest, of course transmogrified through the eyes of the Jewish Spike Lee, Woody Allen.

The Seinfeld background (ie that Larry David was a writer of a hit show and has now moved in front of the camera) also gives David’s show that absolutely essential element of “reality” that attention-span-limited, imagination-starved Americans require in their television. In short, Curb is enough a mirror to keep our vain hearts interested. Yet David’s genius lies in his subversion of reality, his frequent use of devises like magical coincidence and unlikely mis-hearings is wonderful and his television comedy should be regarded as a bombastic parallel to the visionary fiction of Garcia-Marquez. The way fiction and celebrity intersect is done far more seamlessly here than in the blighted Extras thanks to the improvised format. The improvisational element in Curb in relation to its plotted story could be seen as an exact analogue to the relationship of improvised lines to chordal structure in Jazz. It is in the deviations lies the unexpected genius, the genius that is not restrained by the flaws of a singular interpretation.

Improvisation brings everyone into a conclusive ensemble. Some improvisers are better than others, and Larry David is surely among our finest, but the pressure of the moment effects each element within the scheme palpably, and produces a unity when guided by the force of David’s vision.

Let this suffice to say what I think of Curb Your Enthusiasm.


When Comedy Fails

I don’t know how many of you are inveterate HBO watchers, but I count myself among those legions of the damned who every Sunday night find themselves leaving the pub early to get home to gaze at the infernal tele. Of course the contempt I have just registered for HBO is merely a sign of my anti-trend trendiness, my hipster-poseur fa├žade, and I in fact deeply love HBO and, in a Homer Simpson-esque fashion, all television, as its radiant glow has bathed my cerebral cortex with distraction since I was just a lad.

Confessions aside, I must confess that I find Ricky Gervais’s new show Extras to be a massive disappointment. Compared with The Office, which many of you may only know via the disgusting American interpretation, Extras is a heap of steaming manure. Trying to move from his unselfconscious, unintentionally-the-brunt-of-every-joke David Brent character into a self-aware-but-pathetic-loser background actor was a terrible decision. Strangely enough, as Gervais still writes what I assume is the bulk of the dialogue, one has the experience of watching the now straight man Gervais encounter version after version of David Brent in Extras, and for fans of The Office the effect is completely dissatisfying. Also gone from the earlier show was the brilliant “mock-umentary” format, which gave Gervais’s Brent character constant opportunity for absurd “commentary” on what was happening. While the same style of humor certainly pervades Extras, which incorporates a “fake” film at the beginning of each episode, these films seem more vehicles to bring mainstream celebrities onto the show (none of them have been funny, most just play versions of Brent or cohort Gareth) than an actually interesting parody of Hollywood trends. A far more successful, if derivative, show was the recently canceled Lisa Kudrow project The Comeback. That show’s use of the mock-umentary form mirrored The Office while also mocking the world of show business supposedly from within. It had the interesting effect of simultaneously lowering Kudrow’s celebrity (Friends lasted 10 years, The Comeback only 1) while proving that she, like and unlike Ricky Gervais, is actually an intelligent and deft parodist and not the one-trick-pony “Phoebe” (Gervais's one trick (Brent) being an intelligent and deft parody). For Kudrow, The Comeback, a show about a fake TV comeback, was in reality a failed comeback for a celebrity who never really left. Extras is in the same vein, but where Kudrow was Brent-like in her total self-absorption, Gervais seems consciously un-Brent-like, much to the detriment of the humor. Where The Office was unbelievably dense, Extras seems full of un-funny fluff. The absence of a true ensemble is also greatly to the show’s detriment.

So, to sum up, Ricky Gervais is a brilliant comedian who, like many others, will probably be forgotten because of his efforts not to get type cast for the rest of his life. Gervais is much like his Extras character, Andy, in his attempt here to be taken seriously, and ironically like Andy his efforts, at least with this show, seem predestined to fail.


Death after Death

The aforementioned death of Death/Media Incarnate Made Real in Text Form was not, as some have suggested, staged. The initial plan of the blog, to expound the inherent connection between the media’s portrayal of Terri Schiavo and the media’s portrayal of people more generally (everyone in media’s unflinching and relentless grasp is essentially in a state of living death. I trace my understanding of this from Schiavo back to Shakespeare’s ideas of character as expressed in The Mousetrap within Hamlet.) has run its course. To continue, I require a metamorphosis, a transformation from my old, prophetic guise into something more confrontational, spectral.

Dragging the life out of the future is not worthwhile. Rather, one should feast on the mordancy of today, draw the energy out of the absurdity brutally, regularly.

The blog will change shape. The past has been but a prelude to the truth to come, the truth that I cannot even foretell.

Nostradamus is dead. Nostradamus lives!



All good things must pass. And so, it is with horror, that I announce: The Death of Death/Media Incarnate!

Basically, I've realized that for the next few months, I have to actually do "real work" for my applications. Blogging has become a cancer on my writing, in many different ways. For this reason, I will need to take an extended Permanent Vegetative State. It's actual permanence will be determined at a time to be named later. And yes, Actual God's failure to update is the chief cause of this, along with that really absurd Finnegan's Wake post mocking that kid for being in DS... That was unspeakably lame. But I digress, and orderly to end where I'd begun... I love Terri Schiavo. I hope Lester will pick up the slack. He is a genius.
In the meantime, I will relocate to, where else, Nova Zembla. There, among my Eskimo bretheren, I will be free to hunt the brutal snake and scald the wicked penguin as before I could not... Never fear, I am bringing several pelts. And a skillful sled-dog, of course. The winter will be unspeakable, but ah! That rainbow up ahead! It shimmers with a name I cannot call up from the depths of my ingratitude. Avaunt! The mystery coils softly, and it will bring no more pain. "Go to the Western Gate Luke Havergall!!!" Upward!


David Brooks on Harriet Miers

David Brooks gives us a wonderful insight into the mind of Miers by quoting some of her "writing" in his latest op-ed piece for the New York Times:
"An organization must also implement programs to fulfill strategies established through its goals and mission. Methods for evaluation of these strategies are a necessity. With the framework of mission, goals, strategies, programs, and methods for evaluation in place, a meaningful budgeting process can begin."

Brooks rightly chastises Miers's style for its "relentless march of vapid abstractions" and summarizes the general theme of her work in the following way: "...she presents no arguments or ideas, except the repetition of the bromide that bad things can be eliminated if people of good will come together to eliminate bad things." Pretty nifty summary of her qualifications for the SCOTUS, right? To quote a favorite expression, Harriet Miers, it seems, cannot write her way out of a paper bag.

Word on the streets is that the Democratic silence about all of this will conintue unabated right through the hearings. Apparently Harry Reid believes that, unqualified and inept as Miers is, she is preferable to one of the "Federalist Society" conservatives (in the mold of those dashing ideologues Scalia and Thomas) that Brooks clearly thirsts for... I'm not sure about this. Better at least to have someone familiar with "the literature" (the Constitution) even if he or she is a flaming ideologue. If Miers is confirmed, we may find ourselves reading transcripts with questions like "So was it your intention in joining this cooperative group to end in a resolution of problems by your good application of methodical ideas?"


Quick Thought on History

This silly argument I got into over at Finnegans Wake inspires me to comment briefly on the matter of history, which as a matter of general course, I don't believe in. Setting aside disbelief for a second, let's just remember that when we think of "Socialism" in post-WW I Germany we generally think of Rosa Luxemburg before we think of Hitler... And that just because a party superficially has the word "socialist" in its name doesn't mean that it adheres in any way to the ideologies of true, egalitarian socialism, which has obviously never been realized on earth and is in all probability impossible due to the indoctrination of property, or the myth of Hegelian progress or whatever your particular ideological poison. If you are interested in condemning Hitler for being a "left-winger" you have your head up your ass.

On another note, while I have sympathy with libertarian social ideals, I find fiscal libtertarianism in large measure morally bankrupt (this mostly stems from the fact that most libertarians I know drive BMW's...)...

I suppose as long as "Tax-cut" and "family values" remain synonymous in the American consciousness, any genuinely progressive social policy will always be underfunded and, ironcially enough, lack the people's "faith"...
On a lighter note, here is a picture of my braided hair which, admittedly, resembles a squirrel.


Let's Not Forget the Important Issues (IIPM)

Steve Bartman, best remembered for disrupting play a few years ago, has subsequently been enormously lauded by those of us subtle enough to realize that one such as him, while initially worthy of scorn, is, in the end, primarily an object to be envied.Such notoriety cannot be easily bought.

On another note, has anyone noticed that Martha Stewart and Ann Coulter were cut from the exact same blue-blood cloth? The real tip off is the accent, particularly the slightly excessive emphasis on open mouthed vowels. Disgusting.

And for the record, Neo Pagans can all go to Hades, or Valhalla, for all I care.

Fantasy Realized


Emergency Session

I just got word that a confused Congess is flying back for an emergency Columbuys Day session. It seems Bill Frist has proposed a motion authorizing the removal of Cindy Sheehan's feeding tube. Ka-ching!


Call to arms!

We must rise up and defend the honor of a fogotten American Hero.

Elias Howe, noted sewing-machine pioneer, is also the inventor of the earliest Zipper, patented in 1851. This great hero was born in Spencer, Massachussetts in 1819, where he no doubt was frustrated by his zipper-less breeches.

I would like to surmise that Elias was actually an exttremely lazy individual, as lazy as say, me, and that this intense laziness led him to seek expedients, economizers, efficiency-modulators in every field of endeavor he saw fit to pursue.

But we need to know more, oh so much more, before our speculations can delve deeper, before we can clip with our pen a character so deeply in need of distillation!

Maureen Dowd

As usual, my problems with Maureen Dowd have little to do with the content of her argument but rather rest firmly on the insipid tone she adopts to put forth her views. Must a "respected" columnist constantly use the metaphorical tactics of an angry tenth grader? You always feel, when Dowd criticizes someone, that she is vindictictively striking back like a teenage lover scorned. She moralizes with the modal sophistication of a pond dweller, a reverse leach-gatherer if you will, without the sense to realize that virtue lies in "humbleness" and not her feigning attempt at the grandeur of the rap-album call-out. Come to think of it, if Maureen Dowd's writing were more like the Tupac "rant" sequence at the end of "Hit 'em Up", we would all be much better for it.

Harriet Miers is the pediatrician of my inner child.

New Predictions for NFL Week 5

At Jose Offerman. 10 out of 13 results correctly predicted last week, let's see how this week goes!



I love this kind of thing.

Behl Killer

Had a website he frequented. Trying to stay on task, but the laze, oh the laze of endless sludge-like media, oh how sycophantic I feel in the every bit of glow.


Is it just me, or is there an absolutely huge amount of oil in our lovely Earth? I have been led to understand by some helpful scientists that the oil is largely the result of ancient carbon-based life forms, but is there any chance of oil on Mars if Mars was once host to life? In short, is the seemingly superfluous space program actually the key to all of our problems after all, as we all surely believed in 1969? That failing perhaps we could investigate in a Seaquest DSV style sub-fleet equipped with GM (slang for 'genetically modified'--ed) Dolphins with electronic speaking mechanisms the treacherous reaches of the Marianas Trench and perhaps there locate oil. That also being another sore spot, it might be useful if we developed a super drill and attempted to locate secret stores under the stores currently being tapped at various points around the earth. Surely there is more beneath our crusty friend than the much mentioned layer of molten magma? In the end, it is obviously in all of our best interest to get very used to the smell of trash and the thought of mutant children with real mer-features, as Darwin will surely strike back viciously against the current race of Satanizers who would afix to evolution the name of demonic scheme by mutating an unheard of number in the next generation.

Copycat Blogging

In light of the recent slew of hilarious clips from Delino, I feel obliged to augment my own musical performances with "moving-picture" style bloggery. Thus, I give you:

Nostradamus Looms

I hope it scores as high on the nerd meter as I would like.


Nota: Miers is the intelligence of this Soil

Just a brief comment on the latest bit of Presidential fun.

The only thing that really troubles me is the report by some news outlets that Miers is quoted as saying "The President is the smartest person I have ever met" or something to that effect. I've long been of the "evil genius" view of Bush, but this is taking it a little far. But then again, what can we expect, Arabian horse dealer, yada yadada... This is hopeless.



October is a special month. On October 19, D/M will mark its 6-month aniversary (April 19 also being a somewhat important day for the old USA aswell... 1775 you say?). Hurray! On tap we have the Schiavo epic (now in progress), some new "celebratory" songs, as well as more of the serio-funk political criticism you crave.

I also predict a few inside scoops.

In the meantime, though I hate her verbal mannerisms and find her viewpoint often myopically simple-minded, I have to give Maureen Dowd some credit for this simple formulation, regarding the Iraq situation:
This week, Gen. Richard Myers offered more circular logic, warning that a U.S. defeat would invite another 9/11. The Bush administration used 9/11 as a pretext for invading Iraq and now says it can't leave for fear of spurring another 9/11.

Anyway, happy October, let's hope the Sox can pull off another win and make things really interesting... More predictions on Jose soon, once the playoffs are set. I will also begin predicting NFL results this weekend.