4.30.2008

DVDs

Has anyone ever watched an episode of a series with the commentary on? Ever? Just wondering.

4.26.2008

4.22.2008

A & F?

What the fuck was the deal with the three douchebag's behind Barack tonight during his speech in Indiana? Watch the speech on YouTube and tell me #54 isn't completely coked out and desperate for a bump as we get deeper into Obama's speech. Honestly, well played Abercrombie, nice to hit you core demographic with some well-placed t-shirts at an Obama rally. Nice call, you dubious fucks, nice call.

Oh yeah, nice post Arlo. Totally on point, and definitely not six months too late for anyone to care about your moronic "autobiography."

Autobiography of Arlo Harshenstein Chapter II

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Originally these chapters were all composed in Word form, but for the sake of you cretins I have pasted in links for some topics about which you might otherwise be completely ignorant.


Chapter II--Our hero describes the circumstances of his mother's life up until the time of his birth, at long last gives some indication of his childhood, and also pauses for a long denunciation of his parents on the grounds of hypocrisy, disloyalty, and primarily extreme stupidity and inadequacy.

Gladys Disraeli Harshenstein was born in London, daughter of August Disraeli and Prudence Horowitz Burke. Disraeli was a distant cousin (several times removed, and from a disgraced branch of the family) of the famous British Prime Minister and man of letters Benjamin Disraeli. Horowitz Burke was a descendant, through her father, of noted parliamentarian and philosopher (and founder of modern conservatism) Edmund Burke, and through her mother of slightly less well-known but nonetheless significant British Rabbi Levi Horowitz. Those of you will note that as my mother's mother was Jewish, I am, according to Talmud, wholly Jewish. Let no fools think that that quarter of Anglo-Irish blood renders me any less Jewish!

This historically bright pedigree was not to serve young Gladys well. Despite all the education, all the advantages, all the instruction, the proper pedagogical methods, and on, Gladys was an irreverent, blustery spirit from a young age, always more interested in "liberty" and "women's lib" than ideas of actual value, such as "tradition" and "knowing one's place." In a predictable act of transgression, she rebelled against her parents' hard-worn Tory politics in favor of an excitable Labor sensibility. She also predictably chose to attend college in America, going away to Wellesley in the late 60's. While she was a few years behind Hillary, she at least had the good sense to despise her even then as a clear contriver. Gladys was probably too much of a radical for middle-of-the-road-Rodham anyway.

But Gladys resembles the future Mrs. Clinton in one respect: like Slithery (coinage), my mother engages in displays of radical accent-shifting (for Clinton, see her famous "Tammy Wynette" moment from 1992, then any speech of hers today). Depending on the company, mom speaks either with a completely flat American, high-class tone, but if one of her British friends calls, she instantly modulates to a horrid English yawp... A mark of her underlying lack of integrity.

In any event, after finishing her Americanization and transformation into a complete, scruple-less moral-chameleon, she took a few years off to work in Africa as an "activist"... Or at least that's what we were told. All of it, the Africa, the activism, all of it: LIES!

In reality after graduating from Wellesley in 71, my mother became involved in an insidious group of radicals, a not-so-well-remembered band who called themselves simply "Fist".

"Fist" was dedicated to principles of radical sexual liberation. Hence the name, Fist. They were inspired for the most part by the writings of noted madman Antonin Artaud as well as the insipid prattle of that fraud par excellance Foucault, who advocated violent erotic practices.

Their terrorism consisted primarily in disrupting middle-class wedding ceremonies by, Carrie-like, pouring pig's blood on the bride and groom as they stood at the altar. Really transgressive stuff. Oh, and then there were the orgies.

You'd think this would be painful for me to talk about, but strangely, it's not at all, so primal is my rupture from the enseamed womb from which I sprang. No, it doesn't bother me at all, psychologically, but it sure manages to get my political goat in a way few things can.

I mean, ruining marriages, engaging in all-night Foucault reading sessions, oh yeah, and then massive group organ massages. Totally fucking despicable. This is the kind of assault on traditional values I absolutely despise, abominate, detest.

In any event, after a few years of "protest" my mom became, predictably, insane. So much so that she was committed to a mental hospital in New York city after being arrested in an attempted plot to blow up the torch on the statue of Liberty (leaving just a raised fist in its place). You can guess what happened next. A certain amoral internist with known Leftist (terrorist) sympathies took an interest in this sad case, and, well, I am the result.

It was into this miasma of stupidity that I was thrown. More on my early years soon.

4.21.2008

Media Cycle Theory

Finally getting back on topic (after several years, really, of being way way off topic), I want to share a theory of media cycles I have been developing over the past months, as I've been trolling the tabloid blogs, desperate for another Natalee, another Cindy, another Terri. Not happening. Drew Peterson? No f'ing way. That cat makes Scott Peterson seem like the most interesting Peterson, when everybody knows it's Michael Peterson whose story is actually best.

My explanation for this lack is quite straightforward. During the intervening years there have been relevant things happening. By relevant, I don't mean to denigrate the central importance of cases like Natalee's, I mean simply things that "actually effect people in a material, not spiritual, way." Things like politics (the real source of tabloid pleasure). When the 2008 election cycle began in, well, April 2007 due to the total lack of storyline as the Bush administration "stayed the course" on virtually every issue (not even giving in a wink for children's healthcare! Damn that took principle!) and due to the sudden drive among states to have each primary matter (little did they know), all would-be blockbuster stories somehow lacked a certain je ne sais qua... Nothing has taken flight, whereas in the torpid, post 2004 tragic aftermath (of the election) of 2005, anything with even a hint of limberness clambered up the seamy wainscoting of our collectively mediated vision.

To quote, appropriate in this context, Wordsworth, "Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive!" All we can hope is that 2009 is some proxy for the glories of '05, but with a new president I expect we'll have a more 1993 feel to deal with, though if McCain (as anticipated) wins, we should be ready for a kind of quasi-05 status to emerge, if he is as much a continuation of Bush as he appears to be... If there's another terrorist attack, we might be faced with a 2001 post-Millenial disaster mindset of extreme patriotism and bigotry, which also could be fun.

New Low

Hillary and her people have really outdone themselves with this totally relevant montage:I applaud the subtle, almost subliminal, splice of the Bin Laden mountain sequence (definitely classic footage... I would give anything to climb those rocks and do an Errol Morris style reconstruction of that video, with Actual Rod playing Bin Laden, just to keep an authentic feel) into that cavalcade of disasters, ranging (if memory serves) from the Great Depression, to FDR (think Hitler, people), to (logically) the energy crisis of the 70's, the falling Berlin Wall, etc... And Hillary is the person who is ready to deal with all of these situations for exactly what reason again? What's that? You say this video was ironic? Oh, well that changes everything.

Two New Gems

Added two new links to the blog.

First, Lobsters & Cocaine, from the genius who brought you Immortalized Stillicide. Truly classic stuff on here, folks!

Also, our old friend Nosferatu has resurfaced on the Ultimate John Mark Karr Blog.

4.18.2008

He's Back!!!

Just when you thought we were safe:
You know who I am talking about, and it ain't Hillary.

Altered Images

After reading this I couldn't resist doing this:
A little bit less succesful:

Now that I've gotten my "art" on, and apropos of nothing, I present you with this (not my work):

4.16.2008

The Truest Measure of a Pitiful Season

Bloogeur extraordinaire Rich and I attended the Knick's home-closer (seems an appropriate term, though I could have substituted "fizzle," "deflation," "disgrace") at The Garden (predictably a loss to the Celtics sans Garnett, Pierce, Ray Allen... Leon Powe equally predictably scored an efficient 10 points in 20 minutes while Rondo looked sick, and Cassell was great))...

David Lee came out before the game, and with supreme awkwardness apologized for the horrible season, promising they "would do better" next year (they've never done worse), and that we should enjoy the "free food" (if you consider kettle corn, twizzlers, and immensely soggy pretzels food)... It was sad, as Lee is the one player beloved by all (except Isiah apparently, as it took an injury to Curry to finally get him permanently into the starting five) and you could tell his heart wasn't really in apologizing for a bunch of nonsense he has had relatively little to do with (cf. Marbury trade, Malik Rose trade, Jalen Rose trade (how quickly we forget...), Curry trade, Steve Francis trade, Zach Randolph trade, etc).

But getting beaten by a team's bench is not the "measure of a pitiful season"... No, that would be Mike Dunleavy, poster child for everything that is wrong with college basketball (number 3 pick? Really?) scoring his career high, 36 points, against the Knicks for the third time this year. I admit Mike Jr. has actually had a good year (for the first time in his career) on a mediocre team, but I mean, come on! His career high thrice against our beloved Knicks? Thrice?

This, truly, is the measure of a terrible season.

4.06.2008

Malwhacktice

This began as a comment in response to my colleague's superb polemic of March the 6th, but then it sort of got too long and I realized that no one would read it; gentle readers, saddened as I am to say it, I am no Franz Kafka. When I write something, it is meant be read. My response is below--it was written in haste, originally as a comment, so please excuse the absence of my usual verbal mastery.

I'm no expert, but in that he was pretty young and had many years of steady, high-quality work ahead of him (as we all came to expect), a claim for compensatory damages this high shouldn't be too surprising. Estimated future earnings of the deceased (for a period of years extending until the end of the deceased person's average life expectancy or retirement age, depending on the job, etc.) are indeed a significant factor in the calculation of damages for malpractice, and as I understand it jury instructions in malpractice cases almost invariably include some formula for this calculation. On one hand this seems wise: we can't actually compensate people for lost loved ones, because we'll never be able to calculate exactly how much, say, a spouse's love (or something) may cost (even if we could, it would probably be too depressing).

Human affection being so intangible (in economic terms), but nonetheless significant and shit (even judges have families...except for my boy Ben Cardozo), we have to compensate people somehow, thus the focus on what courts call "lost earning capacity." --Of course, courts do grant monetary damages for intangibles (pain and suffering, for instance). You may take issue with a legal regime that values the few remaining years of an aging billionaire's life over six or seven decades of a working class (for the hell of it) black teenager's life. Most would. Despite, or perhaps because of this, it actually seems like a perfectly American way to compensate for malpractice and wrongful death claims in general.

That said, I think Ritter's widow will probably settle for much less than $67M (and it will still be exorbitant).

While the high damages awarded in malpractice suits are one source of the skyrocketing costs of healthcare, they are not the only one (just try finding quotes for average med. malpractice insurance rates, I just spent about 20 minutes and failed and I don't even care. That's a lie). litigation costs can also get pretty high because some doctors try to cover up their mistakes, and sometimes because insurance companies compel their clients to use every available nuance of procedure to get cases dismissed.

Prohibiting the widow ritter (and those of her ilk) from bringing such a claim (which is all kinds of unconstitutional but I won't go there) isn't going to necessarily reduce healthcare costs unless it takes a wider view of the whole HC food chain. If the claim is truly absurd (say, based on some more reasonable formula for the calculation of damages than the one most states use now), it is likely to be dismissed or (almost certainly) reduced to a slightly less egregious sum.

Forcing us to pick between citizens' rights to due process of law and lower healthcare costs is sort of terrifying (& instructive). We shouldn't have to choose one over the other. Both interests are integral to what we (or, at least, i, the actual rod) envision as a modern society: one is essential to democratic life and the other to life itself.