10.28.2008

#3 The ACTUAL Nostradamus


Yes, you know who I mean. The man who has spawned more History Channel specials than any other, the great sage who predicted World War II, JFK's assassination, as well as the meteoric rise of the comedic genius of Seth Rogen (though nobody noticed any of this until after the fact, naturally, because that is how prophecies "work"), Michel de Nostredame.

I mean seriously, the guy essentially wrote nonsense poems (that are probably better in the original middle French, but who has the time for middle French these days, what with the economic crisis and all?) that have somehow stayed in print for almost 500 years, despite their having only proved accurate retroactively...

Yet for every event that happens, be it 9/11, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the inevitable cancellation of Pushing Daisies, someone has to chime in that "Nostradamus predicted it all!" and then proceed to interpret some badly translated verse that has only the most tenuous relation to anything resembling an accurate prophecy.

This is all obvious, and yet Nostra continues to outsell (and outlast) many greater artists and writers. For this reason, long ago, I chose to write under his name. He seemed the perfect guise to adopt for this sad chronicle of our diseased and all consumingly mediated existence.

We salute you, and will check back with you next time something calamitous happens!

10.27.2008

#4 Chuck Todd


I've let this list go a little long. Probably, most have forgotten about it already, which is of course in the nature of things. But over the weekend I had another dream that really helped me come up with all the answers. Here is what happened:

I walked into a therapist's office, not my therapist's office, and sat down in the waiting room. There was a copy of New Yorker with an oddly maudlin drawing of a dead-in-a-pool-of-her-own-vomit Anna Nicole on the cover. Sadly there was no reference to Larry Birkhead, but I opened the magazine, only to find a story devoted not to ANS but instead to online food ordering. People quoted are really up in arms about it, but I'm not really reading: the story is kind of coming to life out of the magazine.

The therapist opens his office and invites me in. At first I am struck by how devilishly handsome and familiar he seems, before it hits me: he's MSNBC Political Director, Chuck Todd.

Todd nods, clearly in a somber mood, and asks what has been happening in my life. I start to complain about the unfairness of Tim Russert's death and how meaningless my Sunday mornings have become, even with the somewhat able stewardship of Brokaw on MTP. Todd shakes his head knowingly, obviously still scarred by the loss himself. He mutters something, some kind of empty palliative that does little to staunch either of our inner bleeding. I shake my head in dismay and leave the office.

From there I walk out into Central Park. A large bat (with a ten foot wingspan) is flapping about chaotically over a pond as onlookers with kids watch, apparently delighted. It is not to my liking, so I head into the forest, which opens into a real forest, filled with what seem the choked screams of a hundred drowning Holloways. Nonplussed, I continue deeper, heading towards the source of the wailing.

At this point everything becomes opaque.


Needless to say, Chuck Todd is one of our handsomest and most important thinkers, and without a doubt, the fourth best person ever.

10.24.2008

Dream

I am outside my family's old summer house on Martha's Vineyard. Some kind of cocktail party is happening in the back yard, and my parents have invited many of my friends from different phases of my life.

The doorbell rings and I am told to answer it by Rikki (Don't Lose That Number), the long dead family parrot who we had for many summers at that same house, and who used to call my name obsessively.

I answer the door. It is LeBron James and his mother. Strangely, I recognize his mother but act as though it's LeBron's real mother with a LeBron impersonator, like I'm trying to take him down a notch while giving real respect to his mother.

LeBron takes it good naturedly but is like "I'm a six foot eight small forward able to dominate like no other. True or false?"

And I'm like, "Totally true, but I'm not impressed, you see Yao was at our party last summer."

LeBron nods as if he understands completely and we all move into the party which is taking place throughout the house and the garden in the back yard. The wildflowers in the distance glisten with a kind of sublunary pulse.

I wander around, running into random characters from my past, notably Tom S. who is getting quite wrecked, laughing volubly, and palling around with people (Actual God, Jesse and a few others are all present, along with countless folks I don't like, or just never really knew all that well, which feels awkward now but didn't in the dream.).

I then walk out of the stone-wall-enclosed garden where this has all taken place and head for the barn, which is strangely filled with small cats of all colors who are trying to glide between the different levels of the barn, and who move as though they are in a video game.

While this is obviously fascinating I move to the back of the property, by Chilmark Pond, where I contemplate subdividing this lot and selling the guesthouse and the dock to a pair of 1970's appearing gentlemen who are out of a late film noir.

I tell them the only thing they have to worry about is that there are mushrooms growing inside the house.

Buchanan knows how to pick 'em

Wow just when I couldn't get over Patrick Buchanan's wisdom in latching himself to rising politico of the moment Rachel Maddow, I find that Buchanan and Rugby Dan are writing on the same blog! I'm starting to think Buchanan has a fetish for hyper-intellectual Jews who go to Oxford...

10.21.2008

Homage

So I was walking out of school today when a desperate pamphleteer stopped me. Getting in the spirit of the season, I stopped and listened to his "revolution can happen here, if only you will donate a few dollars to Revolution" spiel, when this really desperate seeming Latino guy came up and began taking the guy on (or so it seemed). Here's what transpired.

Communist: So you see, China, man, China has lost its way. Thirty years ago they were the highest we have ever been, but now they've become capitalists. But the times are right, right here, right now.

Nos: Because of the economic crisis?

Com: No. That helps. But the system is more corrupt even than we know, and people in the projects, here, in Harlem, in the community, man, they are ready for this, man.

Latino: You don't even know my problems, man.

Moves uncomfortably close to the communist

I got to scope my shot first, man, because, you see, I'm a film-maker.

Holds his hands together creating a rectangle through which he looks and speaks.

Scoping the shot, getting there. But man, that American thing drives people, especially artists, especially those kids here at college, all of them are doing that because of that ineffable urgency provided by the American energy, that moment of greatness, over the horizon, that solid promise of future security we see embodied all around us ever day by successful immigrants and entrepreneurs and their potent, native-born brethren. America drives that, and everyone around the world sees that, despite the present difficulties. Now is certainly not the time for communism, especially with my problems.

Com: My brother! My brother! You get it! You see where old movements have failed, you get it! That spirit is important...

Nos: Wait... What energy?

Lat: The American energy!

Nos: As best embodied by whom?

Lat: My life is so hard man! But, oh, let's say New York Times film critic A.O. Scott. He's a hero of mine.

Nos: Wrong! Think historically. I'm looking for a 19th century example of a certain kind of... Oh fuck it.

Nostradamus draws a knife and stabs the Latino man above the kidney

Com: My brother? Why did you stab our brother?

Nostradamus sweep kicks the communist and then kicks him in the neck--The Latino filmmaker drops to the ground, bleeding

Nos: I was going to go through a long series of historical questions in an attempt to eventually lead you to the name, John Wilkes "BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTH," but I have a class to get to, so instead, I figured I'd just kill you both. Have a nice day.

The two men die--Nostradamus heads home--He has no class to which to get

10.18.2008

The Etiquitte of Sharing

Recently a friend e-mailed me, letting me know that I had a problem.

Apparently my sharing on Google Reader was out of control. My list was like eight times longer than any of our friends. No one was reading my shared items as a result, intimidated by the scale of my generosity.

I am of two minds about this.

Is this like e-mailing someone to tell him he looks like a douche-bag on his facebook page? Or that his website makes him look "like a dick" (I've done the first one, endured the second, mostly because I am, you know, a dick)?

Perhaps it is just a matter of taste. Or neurosis.

I for one have hundreds of feeds on my Google Reader, and I can't possibly keep up with every single post on each of them, so as a result many of my folders contain unread items. I am fine with this. Of course, this is the first thing a person sees upon entering my apartment:


Others, apparently, prefer to live in "clean" places, and similarly, they like their Google Reader lists "clean" as well, which is to say free of niggling, dirty unread items.

Since the "intervention" I have been loathe to share for fear of embarrassing myself, like that jack ass with the Oakleys and a Hawaiian shirt on his Facebook page whose favorite Movie is "Miami Vice." Don't want to be that guy.

10.15.2008

Debate LiveBlog 3

9:00- B.A. gives A.G. a beer which then explodes- GAFFE!

9:02- Both candidates are pimpin'- McCain with his pinstripes and Obama with his diagonal tie

9:04- GAFFE! McCain says "Fannie and Freddie Mae"

9:05- AG kills the CNN HD Ohio uncommitted voters trend graph and CNN pundit scorecard- JESUS I am going to actually have to pay attention to these idiots! We're on PBS now! Ahhh not the issues!!!

9:06- McCain's blinking algorithm is malfunctioning

9:08- That drinking game where you take a shot when McCain raises his right arm above his head stands- it's going to be a sober night...

9:09 - Love the Joe the Plumber content. Get that guy his own reality show.

9:10- We HAVE to change the channel. Watching on PBS makes me feel like I'm in civics class. Boooring

9:11- YES we changed to NBC- distracting graphics again; soothing, ahhh...

9:12- Schieffer talking about deficit- snooooze; not even flashy graphics will save this

9:14- Obama says "Pay as you go" - ahhh the Washington Post editorial board is having a circle jerk

9:15- McCain is writing his notes with a SHARPIE in all caps like a Kindergartener- MAVERICK

9:16- Tom scared everyone off with his sarcastic email

9:17- McCain is talking about cutting the budget using a "hatchet AND a scalpel" - BA suggests using a dildo

9:18- more hatchet and SCALPEL content- MEME!

9:20- McCain is obsessed with this projector thing- Marty Beckerman says, "I think John McCain is thinking about movie night at the old folks' home"

9:21- Pretty sure Obama's drawing penises with that Uniball

9:23- McCain brought his hand HALF-WAY up to his head- you guys and gals out there get HALF A SHOT!

9:25- McCain is obsessed with the Town Halls. We saw how last week's town hall worked out for the McCainBot- i don't understand why he wanted more????

9:30 - Obama is joking around, he knows he has this thing in the bag...

9:32- Obama brings up "Terrorist!" and "Kill him!" "Pallin' around with terrorists" - siiiiick; he is going for the jugular. Smart of him to bring it up first and set up the frame of negative attacks on him as crazy.

9:34- What are those t-shirts at the Obama rallies that McCain is talking about???? I want to see those!

9:37-McCain drops the AYERS and ACORN BOMBS!!!! Siiick! Finally some fireworks!

9:38- Obama has a sick response where he makes himself seem bipartisan at the same time! Amazing response- Washington Post editorial board is nutting again!

9:40- Major hat tip to Tom-- "A real-time poll of decided New Yorkers is giving the debate to Obama"

9:41- Joe Biden Scranton content! MEME!

9:44- McCain's dropping the special needs TRIG BOMB!

9:47- Schieffer says "Climate Control" instead of climate change- are we talking about my thermostat here? OHHH!! What's that animal with a long neck? I can't quite remember... oh yeah the Gir-GAFFE!

9:54- Obama's never been to Mexico? Huh, I figured him for a Senor Frog's kind of guy

9:57- Schieffer is so old- can we get that sprightly fairy Anderson Cooper to moderate the second half of this thing?

10:02- Obama is showing off how much he can move his hands- good call, rub it in McCain's face.

10:06- back to CNN - JESUS is Gergen even paying attention? He and Bennett have maddd low numbers for both candidates- a total of 10. Castellanos is going nuts but this Martin person is GOING INSANNNNNNE- he's put up 100 points!!!

10:09- Obama says "one of us may make more than one appointment to the Supreme Court..." - is this a hex on Rutebega Ginsburg?

10:11- the trendlines are flatlining; the Ohio undecideds are asleeeeep...

10:12- McCain calls Obama "pro-abortion"- them's fightin' words- and... women's trendlines are dippin' - Dipset!

10:15- these Ohio undecided rabble love Obama's "sexuality is sacred" content

10:19 - (Triumph the Insult Comic Voice): "Theece computer is like John McCain's campaign- eet's on life support!"

10:20 - computer's back- whew!

10:21- good idea McCain- send those PTSD soldiers into the classrooms!

10:27- McCain with the creepy Joker laugh again- MAVERICK! McCain can barely speak a sentence without flubbing it- MAVERICK!

10:28- via BA- McCain concludes, "I hope you give me an opportunity to serve again... before I die"

10:30- we hear the mics of the candidates; sick- McCain robotically says "Good job, good job!" and then does a cute little old man shuffle that almost makes me want to vote for... but not

10:31- Cindy McCain just defined the word PERFUNCTORY with that handshake with Michelle! Ouch! So perfunctory! And finally one last... GAFFE!

10.14.2008

GOP Idiocy/THE REAL ISSUES


Take a look at the picture of Elizabeth Hasselbeck to the left and you will see the face of the modern Republican Party. Shrill, overconfident idiots who will scream at you about WILLIAM AYERS! ACORN! REVEREND WRIGHT! WHY WON'T THE LIBERAL MEDIA COVER THESE THINGS! Can you even imagine how little brain activity is going on in her head at this moment?



Which brings me to THE REAL ISSUES. Lost amid some financial thing going on that, really, who can understand anyway(!), is a major shift in the campaign that's gone unnoticed by the mainstream media. That's right, Hasselbeck clone and VP nominee Sarah Palin has LET HER HAIR DOWN!

Let's see the change- First, her usual librarian porn look:














But now Sarah has let her hair down...











Talk about an OCTOBER SUPRISE! This can't be topped unless Osama rocks a handlebar moustache! But whoever is advising Palin is seriously going astray with this Tammy Wynette deal. She is alienating her core librarian/elementary school teacher fetishists, and for what? A few thousand Sally Jesse Raphael viewers. This is a serious GAFFE and suggests a campaign that can't quite figure out what it's about. In any case, HOW IS THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA NOT COVERING THIS FLIP-FLOP! Jeez, I feel like Elizabeth Hasselbeck with this shrill idiocy -- sorry....

10.13.2008

Raisin' McCain Reprise

For those who didn't see it back in August, I still find this video to be perfect distillation of the McCain campaign. Look at the diversity at evidence in the crowd, where literally the only minority I noticed was a dwarf at :52 seconds... Amazing:
Way to unintentionally satirize your candidate, John Rich... Nice.

Krugman--Nobel???

Damn, our first pro-Krugman post ever (remember what an unrepentant, bought shill he was for Hillary Clinton), has brought about quite the response, eh?

This Nobel is certainly well-deserved (don't get me started about what a PC joke the literature prize has become), especially since Krugman has had absolutely no shady dealings with major doomed firms in our era... Guess who else was on the board?
The only person there I thought of as a journalist was William Kristol - I thought he was there to regale us with Washington gossip.

There you go, it must have been a totally serious and legit operation if Kristol was involved...Congrats PK, I suppose this will make you all the more omnipresent on MSNBC. Yay.

10.09.2008

A Palin Dream

At my Grandmother’s house in Maine/New Canaan (composite dream locale). Sarah Palin and her husband are there, along with an assorted group of others. We are preparing for a dinner. I spy Sarah and Todd Palin crossing through the dining room (which is much larger than it once was) and I approach them to talk.

Someone dies (Non-existent Uncle Auggie? I am devestated, though I feel like I'm pretending. I am told to call an eye surgeon, which I do).

His death somehow involves a collapse in the old New Canaan TV room, resulting in a pierced iris from a sharp point atop a large globe. John McCain, on the announcement of the death, slinks off to the quarters where the help live, for whatever reason, though there is no help and never has been. Apparently this is McCain's standing in the house, whereas the Palin's have a proper guest room.

I speak at length with Palin as people crowd around her and Todd on a staircase. I tell her how much I admired and loved Tim Russert, because he had the same folksy, homespun style as Palin herself. I find myself overwhelmed by her charisma, and I increasingly become a total shill for her. It's loathsome. We all pause for a photo, and I am pressed away from Palin (who was only humoring me anyway) down the staircase, which is suddenly in a strange mountainous catacomb.

Palin's rejection stings, but I move out through the back of the house, through the mountain path that leads out onto a concealed golf fairway.

I go outside and see a ramp and an ambulance speeding away with the dead uncle. I am awoken by a cat biting me on the face.

10.08.2008

10.06.2008

Celebrities + Politics = Pure Joy

The thing I will miss most about this election season when it's over will not be the post-debate spin, though I will miss that. And it won't be Chuck Todd's and John King's electoral maps, though I'll miss those too. No, what I will most miss is celebrities' attempts to insert themselves into the political discourse.

The newest example comes in the form of the movie An American Carol. This trash is the brainchild of David Zucker, who was formerly part of the braintrust responsible for The Naked Gun and Airplane! movies but has since stooped to directing late-period Scary Movies and this dreck. The movie is some sort of spoof of Michael Moore and A Christmas Carol. What is it about conservative satire that makes it bad- maybe it's the anti-intellectualism or maybe the witless xenophobia and racism. I mean i enjoy xenophobia and racism as much as the next guy, but make it smart xenophobia and racism! In any case, what interests me about the film is the presence of some major Hollywood stars. Jon Voight- OK I already knew he was insane. James Woods- he is a dick anyway and I knew that from poker chatter. Kelsey Grammer- FRASIER is a conservative?! Jesus christ, how can I ever trust a latte-sipper again? Dennis Hopper- What the fuck? This guy was in Easy Rider, and now he's siding with the party of anti-abortion, gay-hating, race baiters? Fortunately, we have been spared any Drew Carey content.



But it's not just conservatives that interest me. It's liberals too. Take, for example, this Huffington Post item I just read in which George Wendt discusses the current financial crisis:





George Wendt is a Los Angeles-based actor and amateur ornothologist. His autobiography, "From Bar Stools to Birds' Stools: 30 years of Giving Crap and Cleaning it Up" has sold tens of copies since it was self-published in January. He is also known for his acclaimed role as "Norm" on Cheers.




OK I am tired of hearing from these damned economists about how "the causes of the financial crisis are very complicated and interconnected." Who has been President during this crisis and the lead-up to it? Let's see, was it Bill Clinton? No, no, Bill Clinton presided over 8 years of unprecedented prosperity. Was it JFK? No, as I recall he presided over the biggest expansion of the middle class in this country's history. Oh, right, it was GEORGE W. BUSH!

This boy-king hick, his Machiavelli Karl Rove, and his Rasputin Dick Cheney have messed up everything they've put their grubby hands on- Iraq! Katrina! Justice Department!- and the economy is no different! Where did all of us ordinary Americans' money go? To public schools, public transportation and alternative energy infrastructure? Nope. Hmm, where did it go again? Ah yes, TO KBR AND HALLIBURTON AND THE OIL COMPANIES! I'm pretty sure those poor folks wouldn't have defaulted on their mortgages if they weren't paying 200 billion dollars in no-bid contracts to these criminal companies!

So the next time some egghead on TV tries to tell you otherwise, remind him who's really to blame. "Well the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act has actually made banks less likely to fail because they're better capitalized and..." YOU MEAN GEORGE W. BUSH! "Both Democrats and Republicans encouraged the reckless behavior of Fannie and Freddie during the..." RECKLESS BEHAVIOR BY GEORGE W. BUSH! "The housing bubble-" AND BY THAT YOU MEAN THE GEORGE W BUSH BUBBLE! That's a pretty apt metaphor actually. Let's burst this George W. Bush Bubble by rejecting John McSame and electing Barack Obama! Yes, We Can!

10.02.2008

Death-Media

This blog once had a topic.

Here is a good instance of the Death-Media-Effect playing itself out:
The body of the [South Korean] actress, Choi Jin-sil, 39, was found in the bathroom of her apartment with a rope made out of bandages around her neck, Yang Jae-ho, a senior police investigator, said at a news conference.

Already struggling with a messy divorce, she had been deeply troubled by online accusations that she had driven another actor to gas himself in his car a month earlier, Mr. Yang said. The actor, Ahn Jae-hwan, was struggling with debt, and the rumors said she had pressed him relentlessly to repay money she had loaned. She complained to the police about the rumors, which she called baseless, and they were investigating when she died.
Gas-tly rumors, dare we say? (Homage to Dan, 2006/2007) But seriously, rumors that she was a shrewish lender whose shrill and prating demands for the repayment of a loan caused another actor's suicide drove her to suicide? Talk about a media obsessed culture. The Times chimes in with this gem of a detail:
Then, in a sort of high-tech suicide note, Ms. Choi sent cellphone text messages to her makeup assistant, asking her to look after her two children, Mr. Yang said.
Text-messaging is "high-tech?" I would have accepted "post-modern" (though it would have been inaccurate) or "contemporary" or even just "unusual," or I would have taken no mention of it all, but this dimwitted use of a non-current neologism really irks me. And what's with the "sort of?" Is it "high-tech" or not? Make up your mind, don't make me do it for you!

Moving on, a related story of possibly media-induced suicide (though more likely suicide induced by depression, alcohol, and guilt):
A New York City police lieutenant who gave the order to fire a Taser stun gun at an emotionally disturbed man who then fell to his death in Brooklyn committed suicide early on Thursday, law enforcement officials said.

Lt. Michael W. Pigott, a 21-year veteran of the force, was found in a police locker room at a former airfield in Brooklyn, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, said Paul Browne, the police department’s deputy commissioner for public information.
Pretty dark. But in brighter news, it turns out all of those stories about massive numbers of suicides-by-defenestration following the 1929 stock market crash are greatly exaggerated:
Between Black Thursday and the end of 1929, only four of the 100 suicides and suicide attempts reported in the New York Times were plunges linked to the crash, and only two took place on Wall Street.
But fear not, there is some good news:
(There were some crash-related suicides that didn't involve fatal jumps: The president of County Trust Co. and the head of Rochester Gas and Electric both killed themselves, but they used a gun and gas, respectively.)
Have a wonderful day!

10.01.2008

Notification of Thanks

September was the busiest month in D-M since the golden age (2005). Special thanks goes to returned correspondents Arlo Harsenstein and Nosferatu, as well as to brilliant new assistant (to the) editor, Dan.

Also, a very special thanks to Sarah Palin, for obvious reasons. And to Rich, for being the only one to share my blog's posts on Google Reader consistently. Not that I pay attention to these things. Not that anyone does!

Anyway, I am determined to make this year the second most prolific in D-M history, which means much more activity is needed in OCT-NOV-DEC... It will come, and I will build it. This I promise.

You Be The Judge

First off, thanks to Nosferatu for a tremendous first installment of his Music Notebook (or whatever he called it). I want you to plumb that Bob Marley line of thinking like a Jamaican fisherman!

But back to business... Things have been getting pretty ugly for Sarah Palin. Bloodbath potential is high for tomorrow night (shout out, Nosf). I have confidence that Biden will seem knowledgeable, well-versed, and (by his standards) subdued. I hope he slams her, big time, but in a Godfather kind of way, not with a 300 vibe, if you know what I mean. All of this is probably irrelevant, as the past demonstrates, but I'm sort of heartened that the MSM seems to have fully turned on her. Maybe this is a turning point, but I doubt it, given the ragged shape of congressional leadership these days. Non Sequitur you say? No. As long as the congress has a low approval rating, the press will have an excuse to bring up the small town questions that, as a mayor, I have... Okay. You get it.

This is the clip we heard about yesterday from the Washington Post:



Like the whole newspaper gaffe, I count this as a meaningful error only because Sarah Palin has not demonstrated even a modicum of worldliness. I would be hard pressed to name a case I specifically oppose myself (Bush v Gore)... Oh forget it. I can't possibly pretend to be that ignorant, and if I were ever even remotely considering a run for political office one of the first things I would do would be to ground myself in a few of the cases of the day (Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Stenberg v. Carhart anyone? (And those are just cases related to abortion. -ed.)).

But clearly I am "out of step" with the GOP's strategy, which to the chagrin of the Ghost of Bill Buckley, has been heading in the direction of anti-intellectualism for some time...