Wednesday, December 31, 2008

'Boys Will Be Boys': The Superhuman Debauchery of the Dallas Cowboys

Schadenfreude fans enjoyed a richly rewarding afternoon Sunday as the Dallas Cowboys, who'd been predicted to go to the Super Bowl, suffered a 44-6 drubbing by the Philadelphia Eagles. That the Eagles underperformed all season and slipped into the playoffs while dashing the Cowboys' postseason hopes via their worst loss since owner Jerry Jones bought the team in 1989 was all gravy. Hating Dallas is relatively easy and, for most people, signs of a healthy mind and functioning heart, and anyone who found themselves in that common position Sunday night probably went to bed smiling.

Explaining the hate isn't difficult. Years ago, Dallas had the presumption to anoint themselves America's Team, an obnoxiousness that seems to afflict mainly southern teams.* True, Dallas was once very popular. As the only southern NFL franchise from 1960-1966, they netted a greater audience from that region and from portions of the country that identified with it and enjoyed regular national programming from networks hoping to capitalize on those markets. Moreover, as a consistently successful team for two decades, they accreted bandwagoners who like the reassurance of rooting for a team that will probably win. (The other successful southern team, Miami, doesn't fit into both categories precisely because the people who identify as true southern good old boys and who have the racist Civil War totems on the bumper stickers of their trucks to prove it don't tend to identify with a city filled with that many Yankees, Jews and brown people.)

Monday, December 29, 2008

GOP Leadership Candidate Distributes Racist CD, Somehow Blames Democrats

Mike Huckabee's former campaign manager Chip Saltsman, who just a few days ago was a likely frontrunner to take over as chairman of the Republican Party, today might as well be nailed inside a wooden barrel and towed out to the open sea by the merchant marine. Providing yet another demonstration of the racial taste and class of the GOP, Saltsman sent fellow republicans a Christmas card featuring a song called "Barack the Magic Negro" set to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon."

In case the Puff reference wasn't winkingly sly enough, whomever made the video to the song also included pictures of Obama smoking, in a callback to the hysterically stupid hand-wringing about his "vice" that GOP talking heads indulged in, in 2007, without bothering to notice the irony in their party's staunch defense of Big Tobacco for the last 30 years. See below (also, enjoy the misspelled "Thinking Impared") [Note: the original video has been taken down; this one is edited differently]:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Things I Want to Do When I Grow Up

As we near four in the morning, the end of December, I find myself in the same frame of mind that greets me this time every year. Taking stock not of the things done but the things not yet accomplished. The things I keep meaning to do when I have the time or the money or enough connections in law enforcement. Every year, I'm surprised to find yet another ambition I've almost completely forgotten about, as if I'm failing even to retain my dreams, much less attain them.

The attrition stops here. This year, I'm going to start a list, and I plan to add to it annually, so there's a record of everything I've meant to do, whether done or undone. Please feel free to use the comments section to share some of your ambitions for the coming year (and years) and to suggest some goals for me as well, and I'll be happy to include them in a follow-up post.

Things I Want to Do When I Grow Up:
I want to spend an entire day in single entendre.

I want to send massive Christmas gift packages from Omaha Steak to vegetarian families to let them know there's nowhere to hide.

I want to be appointed National Breast Examiner and be given a badge and perpetually warm hands.

I want to go to the deli and order some genoa salami, and when the slicer lady asks me, "How thin do you want that cut, sir?" I'll hold up my finger and thumb about two inches apart, and when she slices it and hands it to me, I'll say, "MEAT PUCK" and stick the whole thing in my mouth.

I would like to slamdance with gleeful abandon, teased hair and sexless joy like a 1980s girl pop singer, celebrating how, despite misunderstandings between my parents and myself, I still had a great day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

"And the kids at Camp Wealthy won't win anything because they lack heart!"

With my favorite baseball blog, Fire Joe Morgan, officially shuttered forever, it's fallen to scattered and ragged bands of sports fans sitting in post-apocalyptic basements in mom's houses strewn across America to try to forge a new society of abuse for misbegotten sports writing. I haven't nearly the patience for number-crunching that those FJM guys did, but I believe I can do my part in at least the "abusive thinking" department.

Today's sample comes from the Chicago Tribune's Rick Morrissey:
Chicago Cubs need to shed their nice-guy persona
Jake Peavy once fired Agent of Darkness Scott Boras. This suggests a man with fine judgment and perhaps even a good heart.

Thus, he was the last guy the Cubs should have been pursuing during the recently concluded winter meetings.
What's great about this is that you can read the title and know that there's almost zero chance you'll encounter anything that makes sense in the rest of the article.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Chatlog Post #5: Iraqi Journalist Heaves Shoes at Bush's Head

Earlier today, an Iraqi journalist's freedoms and shoes were both exercised at George W. Bush, at a news conference during his surprise trip to Baghdad. Poetic justice continues to elude the American president, in this case, twice in succession and by mere inches. However, the president's Press Secretary, Dana Perino, was caught in the ensuing fray and received a microphone blow to the head, resulting in a black eye on her face and an ear-to-ear grin on at least fifty percent of Americans'. See video below:

Thankfully, a friend and I were on the job and able to bring our combined intellectual heft to bear on the issue by trying to imagine every shitty pun-filled New York Post-style headline about to drop on the front pages of the English-speaking world. How could we do it? Chatlogs. Precious, precious chatlogs.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Plimpton, Fatsis and 'A Few Seconds of Panic'

(NOTE: This review was edited at 4:00 p.m. EST to add two details I remembered overnight and also to respond to comments added by Mr. Fatsis. Please see the comments section for more information.)

If you've listened to NPR's Some Things Considered on a Friday, you've doubtless heard the wry sports insights of Stefan Fatsis. His soft-toned voice contrasts nicely against the aged Wednesday Morning Edition death-rattle of Sports Illustrated writer Frank Deford. Fatsis might not have the gravitas of someone like Deford, but his opinions, like his voice, usually offer a more soothing alternative. He reports stories outside the big three American sports, eagerly points out economic rationales for behavior and, unlike Deford, eschews saccharine sports "features" and nostalgic polemics.

His most recent book, A Few Seconds of Panic: A 5-Foot-8, 170-Pound, 43-Year-Old Sportswriter Plays in the NFL, presents the reader with a long-form version of everything that's great about his NPR commentaries but with a depth that allows for both the sweet story and the brutal realities of American football. In Panic, Fatsis attempts an update of George Plimpton's classic Paper Lion.*

* — You may remember Plimpton as the crooked host of the Spellympics who orders Lisa Simpson to take a dive, or as the homosexual psychoanalyst whom Will Hunting deliberately tweaks by admitting to being overcome by the beat of house music so much that he feels the urge to sleep with men. To sports fans, though, Plimpton is the Harvard-educated, prissy-speaking writer who was happy to get the stuffing knocked out of him to write fun and insightful books about what it's like for an average American to try to compete inside the sports world. He also wrote the greatest sports-related April Fool's Day prank ever, "The Curious Case of Sidd Finch," which is absolutely wonderful regardless of your sports fandom.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Impersonal Days

Of the sensations that come from reading an author's good first novel, one of the best is the dawning awareness that this could be the first of many. Better yet, it might even be the least of them. The letdown comes when, as page after page unfolds, small errors and bad habits repeat themselves. Personal Days, Ed Park's bleakly funny debut novel, manages to avoid most of the letdown by uniquely embracing some of the first-time author's pitfalls and employing them as a positive plot device.

The book's title plays on the grim reality that many of us live the great expanse of our social lives in the workplace, in a kind of doomed struggle of depersonalization and hyper-personification of objects and small traits. To a certain extent, we never really can — and maybe don't even want to — know our coworkers. But through the force of repetition and mandatory proximity, small details of themselves and their tiny corporate habitats invade our consciousness and achieve nearly human dimensions. All these are our personal days, but nobody's actually taking time off.

Park shows both the cramped spaces and bizarrely profound social investments we make in our co-workers' lives by telling the stories of a dozen mid-level employees of a moribund company, marooned on an increasingly empty floor of a New York high rise. Together, they're bound in anxiety over losing their jobs, excitement at the sudden independence of being fired and terror of doing anything to draw attention to themselves. Oddly, this semi-oblivion engrosses them. The best jokes come from the office. So do the freshest ironic nightmares. It's the most entertaining thing they have, but no one wants to ask too seriously if perhaps that's because it's all they have.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Chatlog Post #4: It's Hard to Rhetorically Soar with the Eagles When You Lie Down with the Turkeys to Have Sex with Them

While I think most people would prefer not to go half a decade without talking to former friends or acquaintances, it's nice to know sometimes that you can pick right back up with them where you left off.

Whereas people less comfortable with you or with themselves might dance around the "did you become physically bloated in our time apart" issue; whereas a lesser personality might restrict herself to talk of children and spouses; whereas an especially solicitous individual might, in seeking to pay a disarming and non-committal compliment (e.g. "I hope that [washboard stomach, nice hair, enormous ass] of yours held up over the years"), try make you feel still capable of physically bringing it, it's good to know that there are some friends out there with the poise and composure to skip all that polite bullshit.

Some people need only wait until the twelfth line of exchange to cut right to the chase: you have sex with birds.

And some people, in fact, couldn't begin to give a damn about the big, flappy bastards.

Katie A.:
how'd the turkey go? I just learned what "brining a turkey" entails
Me: It was pretty fantastic. I've done this for a few years now, so I wasn't terribly worried about it.
Katie A.: because i didn't know about turkey brining, i thought you were having Thanksgiving 2 days early. "Man, he gets into it."
Me: Ahaha
Me: ffffffff
Me: ok, gimme a minute here

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Search String of the Day for 12/3/08

Some poor, engorged, aching soul went looking for
and was unfortunately directed to my carping about the slow degradation in quality suffered by Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. I can't tell you what a thrill it is to tap into this reader market. This is almost as exciting as when I got the pageload on November 27 for someone searching for, "law and order mariska forced oral sex" and the November 13 search for "unwilling throat pounding videos" that amazingly directed someone to my review of Requiem for a Dream.

I don't really understand what's happening here. I mean, I get it that Mariska Hargitay is an attractive woman. I can get having sexual fantasies about her. What I don't get is wanting to skip her entirely and get right to her character having sex and, worst of all, her character getting raped.

If you want to think of ol' Mariska nude and in your bed, great. If you want to get off thinking about someone who is not even you, someone who is a fictional character, having brutally dehumanizing non-consensual sex with her — well, yer fucked, pal.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

'I Never Played the Game'

Watching SportsCentury on ESPN or a biographical program on Muhammad Ali, it's easy to get overwhelmed by Howard Cosell's erudition, his pointed opinions, his seeming opposition to all that defines modern commentating's aggressive blandness, gutlessness and obliteration of anything that might rise above the widest appeal. At moments like that, he cries out like the last voice in a gathering darkness of unintelligence. Listening to those few historic snippets, you can't imagine how anyone would prefer Joe Buck and Troy Aikman over him.

Reading his book I Never Played the Game, however, instantly reminds you how — like the Yankees, Joe Morgan and AIDS — he aligned millions of strangers against him and how his adherents are often justly pilloried as the dangerously misinformed, cruel or insane. Despite the obvious intelligence and insights behind it, and despite a co-writer, the book is almost undiluted Cosell — and often in the most toxic boring form.

I Never Played the Game has part of its heart in the right place. Having made his bones as a lawyer and then by working up the ladder of local radio and television broadcasts, Cosell approached sports as an outsider — or, at least, as a man as far outside sports as one can be while still becoming part of billion-dollar athletic and media empires. He writes the book with something like the distant perspective with which he began his career.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Twitter Twaddle

A couple months ago, I joined Twitter. I had zero sincere reasons to do so. I haven't the slightest interest in telling people what I'm doing right now because most of the time I don't have the slightest interest in what I'm doing right now either. Writing down whatever it is and inflicting it on other people seems to me to either be narcissistic or needlessly cruel. It's the personal-activities version of smelling month-old milk and saying, "Eeeeuggggh!!! This is terrible. Here, smell this."

Still, because I'm old and lame, I allowed myself to be talked into Twitter. If every idiot is using this, I thought, there's a good chance these idiots will stumble across my Twitter page, on which I'll cleverly have left a link to my blog. That was my entire motivation: cynical promotion for this thing.

Of course, nothing really happened. The same people who read this still read this, and nobody's come swanning in from the Twitter page. Unwilling to just walk away without at least making something of it, I started trying to update Twitter every day with the stupidest thing I could think of. I eventually slaved my Facebook status update to it, partly in objection to the surprisingly self-absorbed seriousness with which some people updated their Facebook, partly to elicit some genuine belly laughs from the few friends who likewise refuse to take "social networking utilities" remotely seriously.

Brief Thanksgiving Update

I apologize for updates being somewhat thin on the ground during this last month. As some of you may know, I've been involved in a pretty demanding and exciting writing project. It has the potential to open a lot of doors, so I've neglected this blog because its meeting a quota has been secondary to doing the best possible work for the current job.

I also want to apologize because this blog's taking a backseat won't be rectified for at least a couple more weeks — both because of this new job and because of the holidays. Right now I'm very pleased, lucky and thankful to have family visiting, and I will have both friends and family dropping into town every weekend until the New Year. Hopefully they'll do so on a lucky rotation that allows me to crank out copy for work without making them sit in the guest room for an hour while I "finish something."

In the meantime, I'll do my best to crank out new content whenever possible. As this is the day when we theatrically stand at the dinner table and thank other people at the dinner table in full view of still other people at the dinner table, I would be remiss in not giving gratuitous public thanks for those of you still reading this junk even months later. I do appreciate it, even if I don't know who you are. (Especially one person. I apparently have a faithful reader from Sydney, Australia, and I literally have no idea who this is. Post a comment; out yourself.) I know some of you check back daily to see if there's new content, and I always feel like I'm letting you down when there isn't any.

But don't worry. There are currently eleven half-written book reviews rotting away in my head, to say nothing of campaign postmortem posts, etc. We'll get those suckers printed sooner or later.

Happy Thanksgiving!

And to those who do not celebrate Thanksgiving, greetings from America!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Toxic Wingnuts Issue Saccharine Thank You to Fantasy Version of Sarah Palin

Planet Republican daily increases in resemblance to the island of Rand McNally, where citizens wear hats on their feet and hamburgers eat people.

Some line highlights:

"A grateful nation wishes to say thank you."
Or, well, as demonstrated November 4th, a mathematical minority of it anyway.

"Thank you for your passionate, hopeful and articulate advocacy—"

Leftover Thoughts About the MLB Playoffs

I had originally intended to write an extended postmortem on the World Series, but I found myself even weeks later still in a funk about the Rays' performance. Whining didn't seem entertaining or appropriate, especially when you consider that even the Rays' appearance in the World Series was a tremendous gift of the Baseball Gods.

Besides, looking back, I'd already talked about much of the origins of the failure. And while I could have gone into the specifics of the loss, there doesn't seem to be much call for it. Even though hundreds of thousands of women Obamaniacs across the country probably verge on the orgasmic when you mention Nate Silver and the numbers "538," probably few are interested in Nate's "secret sauce" in the WXRL, FRAA and EqK9 sense.

Suffice to say that, in the quantifiable sense (WXRL), Rays' manager Joe Maddon continued making inexplicable and barely defensible bullpen moves, repeatedly sending out the skill-poor and luck-middle-classed Dan Wheeler, despite having to propel him onto the field via the giant barbecue fork in his back. Meanwhile, in the gritty, gutty, Ecksteiny and amorphous world of baseball instinct, the Rays' batters probably beat themselves. Wound up tight with the pressure of the stage on which they found themselves, their at-bats seemed desperate, their swings enormous and incommensurate with the situation. Put simply: they were trying too hard.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Plucky Palin Speaks with Press in front of Poultry Slaughter

It's almost impossible to overstate how incredibly unintentionally funny this is.

The stark dissonance between her perky and optimistic demeanor and the unmediated gore behind her can't be fittingly described. Note to future politicians: unless it's a large-scale human tragedy like a mass killing or natural disaster, never under any circumstances field questions from the press in front of a large trough of blood. Especially not while a mustachioed guy responsible for the viscera buckets alternates between looking at the dismemberment in front of him and turning around and smiling at you.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Merry Christmas, Shit-for-Brains

I don't know if either of these amount to sayings for anyone else, but most people I know and read have long since taken it as a given that the following two statements about The Wall Street Journal are true:
Its news section is usually right about business.
Its editorial section is usually right of Goebbels.
Today's latest offering from the America's proudest tower of Fuck You for Being So Incompetent and Poor comes from deputy editor Daniel Henninger, a man who's got a friend in Jesus and who's doing his level best to counteract all the goodwill 30 Rock has tried to engender for The Cleve. His insightful thesis?—the War on Christmas is actually what ruined the economy.

In honor of the sad passing of my favorite blog, FireJoeMorgan, I'm just going to bold-quote and fire away in the style of FJM contributor Ken Tremendous (a.k.a. Michael Schur, staff writer for The Office and occasional screen sensation as Dwight Schrute's bizarre cousin Mose).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Law & Order: Hilariously Earnest Unit

When A&E first began airing syndicated Law & Order reruns years ago, I used to watch them every night at ten p.m., with the sound turned down, while talking on the phone to a girl I knew. There would be long pauses in our conversations during which I'd be able to catch the verbal plot twists; the rest I could infer. To this day, those first four seasons are inextricably tied to my memory of the girl who always slouched a little, who had sleepy eyes and lashes like vaudeville hooks.

Other people think back on high school crushes and recall the songs popular then, the places they hung out. I think of Mike Logan, Ben Stone and Lenny Briscoe.

For partly that sense of emotional familiarity, I spent the ensuing years almost gravitating toward Law & Order when it was on, but I'd be lying if I didn't say the show's format probably played a bigger role. Like pizza, sex and Carl Hiaasen novels, even bad Law & Order is still pretty good. Its instantly disposable format — almost no story arcs, personal drama or characters extraneous to the procedural structure — makes watching it instantly familiar, instantly rewarding and almost instantly standardized in quality. You can give each episode total attention or almost none at all and find both satisfying. If you're home sick and too nauseated to sleep or read and notice TNT is running an afternoon marathon of Law & Order (and when aren't they?), your afternoon is made.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Correlation Between Cotton and Obama Votes

I saw just the graphics for this corollary the other day and meant to write up something about it, but the people at Strange Maps seem to have beaten me to it.

This first map indicates the county-by-county vote in the November 4 election (Obama in blue, McCain in red, with darker colors showing higher concentrations of votes). The one underneath indicates, as labeled, areas of cotton production in 1860, which necessarily denotes areas with higher numbers of african-american slaves, as they were integral to southerners' means of harvesting cotton:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another Racism Update

Election spurs 'hundreds' of race threats, crimes

Incidents include (the following is taken from the article):

Four North Carolina State University students admitted writing anti-Obama comments in a tunnel designated for free speech expression, including one that said: "Let's shoot that (N-word) in the head." Obama has received more threats than any other president-elect, authorities say.

At Standish, Maine, a sign inside the Oak Hill General Store read: "Osama Obama Shotgun Pool." Customers could sign up to bet $1 on a date when Obama would be killed. "Stabbing, shooting, roadside bombs, they all count," the sign said. At the bottom of the marker board was written "Let's hope someone wins."

Racist graffiti was found in places including New York's Long Island, where two dozen cars were spray-painted; Kilgore, Texas, where the local high school and skate park were defaced; and the Los Angeles area, where swastikas, racial slurs and "Go Back To Africa" were spray painted on sidewalks, houses and cars.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Quantum of Snobbish

Today marks the release of the fifth straight Bond movie I haven't the slightest interest in seeing in the theater. I loved Bond when I was younger and sometimes feel a twinge of regret that I can't muster enthusiasm for a franchise whose movies I used to watch every afternoon as a latchkey kid. Then again, every time I start to feel this way, I hear about a new line or scene analogous to Bond telling Denise Richards-as-Dr. Christmas Jones that he thought Christmas only came once a year. (I know what that means!)

Casting Denise Richards as one of your leads — where, you know, she represents about a third of a film's acting power — is like having to win a tied football game with a one-on-one tackling contest and sending out your placekicker. At that point, you just can't have any faith in a franchise anymore. The brain trust behind her casting is the same one that thought a lipless Timothy Dalton oozed sex appeal and sent Roger Moore out for A View to a Kill when even he himself admitted he was "only about four hundred years too old for the part."

Edward R. Murrow Reports from Buchenwald

Tonight, for all my desire to castigate a misbegotten American party and their practices, I haven't the energy. I can't equate them with any genuine hate I'd feel without reservation. They might be on the wrong side of the future, but they are not yet on the purely malevolent side of history. That level of scorn and disgust, that apotheosis of horror, is reserved  both for the Holocaust, and Holocaust Denialists. They represent and elicit from me an entirely different level of hate.

Tonight, I listened to Edward R. Murrow's report on the liberation of Buchenwald:

I wonder: who would think he fabricated that? And why would he? And HOW could he, on the fly, reporting day-to-day? And where could he have got the resources for a fabrication such as that? And why? And how can there be such doubt and suspicion about such a godless, merciless, inhumane and—I can't even have words for it—unprodghghfhessgb-able disaster such as that?

How can anyone wish or deny away that — in good conscience or with any conscience at all? 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Red Staters: Kate Presents Dangerous Socialist Threat, Poopyheadedness

Full article here.
By Nate Eaton - KIDK
REXBURG - Controversial words spoken by kids on a school bus have some Madison County parents concerned.

Matthew Whoolery and his wife aren't blaming the school district for what happened on the bus but they do think all parents need to be careful about what they say and teach their children.

Whoolery and his wife couldn't believe it when their second and third graders got off the bus last week and told them what other students were saying.

"They just hadn't heard anything like this before," said Whoolery. "They were chanting on the bus, 'Assassinate Obama. Assassinate Obama.' Then adding in a name sometimes of a classmate on the bus, 'Assassinate Obama and Kate.'"

Palin as the Media's Flail and Bush Surrogate

I don't consider myself a fan of Andrew Sullivan, and I've disagreed with him pretty strongly in the past, but today he wrote a thoughtful explanation of why he continues to flog Sarah Palin.

It's a short piece and worth reading, but this is his mission statement:
Her candidacy, in short, was indefensible. It remains indefensible. Until the mainstream media, the GOP establishment, and the conservative intelligentsia acknowledge the depth of their error, this blog will keep demanding basic accountability.

My point is not to persecute or hound some random person. I wish I had never heard of Sarah Palin.... It's distressing to everyone, which is why most journalists left many aspects of this charade alone. But Palin is claiming vindication, is on every cable show, is at the National Governors Association Conference, and is touted as a future leader of the GOP. There comes a point at which you have to simply call a time out and insist that this farce cease and some basic accountability and transparency be restored to the process.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

If McCain's Concession Were as Foul as His Campaign

Completely enjoyable, fairly accurate.

Not enough (we didn't say) "FOREIGN ARAB MUSLIM!!!!" though.

The Rats Are Clambering Onto the Only Remaining Ship

Remember the odious proto-McCarthy Michelle Bachmann? In case you only recognize names and not faces, she's the pink-clad skullhead below right. If you recognize both names and faces, you probably can read that the author of the book she's holding is Mark Steyn.

I don't have time to get into the type of person he is, but suffice to say that he refers to muslims as "sheep-shaggers," believes their goal is to overrun Europe and create "Eurabia" via forced conversion and murder, spent a couple years insisting "bin Laden" was dead to do his level best for the right-wing propaganda imaginarium, and advocated Western Europe taking the Serbian solution to an increasing muslim population, saying, "If you can’t outbreed the enemy, cull ’em."

I point this out, because this is the sort of racist, delusional, genocidal shit Michelle Bachmann reads. All of which makes this exchange she had on an October 17 appearance on Hardball that much more predictable:

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lllllet's Get Ready for the Far-Right's Stalinist Purrrrrrrgggesssss!!!, favored home of the republican party's attack on the coloreds, the queers, the poor, the immigrants, secularism and reverse racism (the sinister liberal conspiracy to make sure The White Man can't catch a break no more), has fired the biggest shot in the opening of the Far-Right Stalinist purge. Today, they called for the boycotting of Fox News. Fox must be punished for "its hatchet job on Sarah Palin." Allegedly beginning today, at 3:00 p.m., Freepers encouraged each other to, for "one week," make sure "no one tunes them in. We will demonstrate the power of conservatives when their ratings plummet dramatically."

The ironies inherent in the gesture are astounding.*

* — Not really an irony, but it warrants mentioning that members of a site known for patting themselves on their shimmeringly white shoulders for reaching the apex of human civilization are so spectacularly uninformed that they think the viewing behavior of each and every one of them is being monitored by something. Off the top of my head, I'm going to guess that at least 10% of the members believe there's a man on the other end of the wires leading into their TV, watching what they're watching (only backward) and writing everything down.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Comments Pop Quiz Time!

I was inspired by three or four posts I saw copied and pasted on a message board and decided to poach them and compile some others for this.

Okay, here's the trick. Read all the quotes below. All you have to do is figure out which quotes come from, the internet's #1 white supremacist site and which ones come from mainstream conservative message boards. (All bold emphasis mine.)

Can I be serious for a minute? I know I joke, jest, and goof around, but what I'm about to say I'm am serious as a heart attack. I'm worried about some of our Forum member aka Real Conservative Americans that live in the cities, live in liberal lands, and our young people who are Conservative but going to Liberal Colleges. I just pray that you are all ready, stocked up, and have supplies on hand. I know Anita as well as others live in NY, and other cities, and I'm afraid if O loses it will get very very ugly out here. It will be the time when the likes of Rev. Wright, Jessie Jackson, and others come out to incite the blacks into a racial war. So please take care and be safe. We love you all, and our Country needs you as well as CF Forum, so please just stay aware of your surroundings, and stock up.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, GOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Although the people behind the classic Fensler Film GI Joe PSAs don't seem to be behind this, the spirit is just as bizarre. Thrill to the evils of income distribution — and dark people!

Seriously, I'm fuckin' dyin' here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stop Bogarting My Jesus

What will happen if my secular government stops acknowledging God? What if he no longer gets invoked by public figures?

What if the people around me stop mentioning God?

Will there still be a complete absence of proof he exists, like now?

Will all I have to go on be my faith???

Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm Aborting Right Now

From the National Review, former home of William F. Buckley's son (who was probably told, like Kathleen Parker, that he should have been aborted):
The Palin Trig-ger
Looking behind the hostility.

By Kevin Burke

Some of the very personal and often uncharitable criticism of vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin and her family may have a relationship to the collective grief, shame, and guilt from personal involvement in the abortion of an unborn child.

Seeing the Palin family, in a very visible public forum, with an uncompromising and public pro life philosophy arouses deeply repressed feelings in post abortive parents, as well as media members, counselors, health care professionals, politicians and others who promote abortion rights, especially the abortion of children with challenges such as Down Syndrome. These powerful repressed feelings of grief, guilt and shame can be deflected from the source of the wound (i.e., abortion) and projected onto an often uncharitable focus upon the trigger of these painful emotions…the Palin family.
This editorial really speaks to my problems because — I gotta be honest — I'm aborting right now. I was gonna kick my girlfriend down the stairs for a quick "Irish miscarriage," but as pithy as it is, it's just not the same. Now, abortion: that's just something my folk do. It's seeped into the language of my daily life. For instance:

Friday, October 24, 2008

World Series Live Blog, Game 2

Tim McCarver's Keys to the Game
Phillies - Where is Ryan Howard?
Rays - Don't want to go back to Philly down 0-2... no kidding

Keys to the Game Tim Somehow Skipped:
• Score more runs than the other team

• Try to keep other team from scoring more runs than you

• Though called "baseball," in the game, a base and a ball are in fact two different things

• Pitching — fuck, that'll help ya

• The small mouse that lives in my head and has adventures is named Scraps. He is scrappy and does things to my brain the way they're meant to be done, with mouse fundamentals.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

World Series Live Blog

It's the most successful transvestite in baseball, Jeanne Zelasko!

Okay, not to delve into rampant sexism here, but Jeanne is a woman who comments on baseball. Nobody expects her to do anything other than look hot or know things about baseball. She doesn't even have to do both; such is the nature of sports programming. Unfortunately, she does neither. Being built like a man, having a flaring and meaty nose and a voice like a fourteen year-old kid trying make his sound deeper to pass himself off as 18 would be perfectly excusable if she didn't also have shit for brains. But she does. Jeanne is really dumb.

Friday, October 17, 2008

'The Big Show,' Dan & Keith & NBC

I remember one summer day ages ago, idly thumbing through magazines and books in what passed for the Literature Aisle of a K&B Drugstore. I had 20 minutes to kill and had already smoked a cigarette, negating using the "I'll smoke a cigarette to pass the time" option again and thought I'd give reading anything a shot.

I won't pretend K&B Drugstores went out of business due to a lack of reading selection, but I can't imagine that'd surprise anyone if you told them it was the cause. It was abysmal precisely because it managed to have things on the shelf that somehow weren't even there. If you were the sort of person who loved trash novels, you'd probably still put your hands on your hips, blow some hair out of your face and say, inwardly, "There isn't anything here!" Even now, nothing stands out. Not a single title.

I can remember being stranded in a shopping center 12 years ago, with only $4 to my name and an hour to kill, desperately flipping through a Books-a-Christian discount bin and finding only Louis L'Amour novels within my price range. I can remember forgetting my book on my way to pulling a double-shift at work, finding $7 in my pocket when I ran into a bookstore I passed along the way and buying an anthology of classic English detective stories from The Strand. But I can't remember anything about the K&B selection. Except for what I bought. The Hanson book.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

'Fringe' Still Sucks

I turned over to Fringe because the Sox/Rays game was almost unbearably one-sided, and I caught this exchange:
(Joshua 'I Was on Dawson's Creek' Jackson walks with his father and Anna 'ACTING? FEELINGS? WHAT ARE THESE HYOO-MAN WORDS YOU USE?' Torv toward a crime scene where an elevator drove through the ground.)
Joshua Jackson Starring as Johnny Exposition: [Expository stuff about elevators you can glean from watching the show's teaser.]
Elevator Tech Guy: You know your elevators.
Joshua Jackson Starring as Johnny Exposition: (indicating self) MIT Dropout.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

'The TV Set'

Mike Klein (David Duchovny) is a terminally naive TV writer on the verge of seeing his pilot on the air. You can tell Mike feels good about his show, and The TV Set works hard, via omission and a counterpoint of bad plot ideas, to let you know that it offers a sincerely artistic musing on life. The few cut scenes and Mike's disclosure that the story is semi-autobiographical make the story arc of a man who abandons his life to return to his family and home town in the wake of his brother's suicide seem vulnerable and insightful.

Of course, it never gets made. Untold horrors await Mike and stand in his way. Among them:
Lenny (Sigourney Weaver), a TV executive who wants to axe "the suicide thing" because "it's depressing" and whose near-death experience bestows on her the revelation that life is short and "we can win Thursday night!"

Zach Harper (Fran Kranz), a totally empty vessel of a male lead whose acting ranges from 1990s sitcom-snark MU-UH-UH-UGGING to bizarrely accented homicidal stage whispers à la Travis Bickle.

A director, Brian (Willie Garson), so bent on mining each establishing shot for its avant garde potential that characters don't even appear on screen and dialogue loops over tracking shots of, like, trash, man—an old dude pushing around his trash!

Alice (Judy Greer), Mike's mostly unsympathetic agent whose advice on almost any issue of creative control is to accede to the studio's suggestions.

Focus groups.
By the end of the movie, everything touching about Mike's pilot has been cannibalized and replaced by exactly the insipid production choices you'd expect.

Friday, October 3, 2008

MLB Playoffs Live Blog Day #1: Time for Someone to Kick Harold Reynolds in the Junk

2:30 p.m.
Great to see that Harold Reynolds will be calling the Rays' game for TBS. Harold's famous for hitting on sports columnists' girlfriends and getting fired by ESPN for a pattern of sexual harassment, culminating in his creeping out a co-worker by hugging her in a Boston Market. When it is time to sup with eros, it is time for rotisserie chicken, meatloaf and gravy. Also, if I remember correctly, in Will Leitch's God Save the Fan, there's a story about one of the Deadspin writers catching Reynolds and many other ESPN personalities in a bar with their road beef.

Far be it from me to insinuate that Reynolds is a terrible commentator because he cheats on his significant other, tries to fuck employees and seems to think that a restaurant where people can buy ham and mashed potatoes with gravy in a snapped-shut plastic carrier is the place to make the first move. That would be ridiculous, and honestly I couldn't give a damn who he has sex with. He's a terrible commentator because he's a fucking moron.

For example, it took less than 120 seconds of the broadcast for him to say this:
[BJ Upton] is a great player. He is as good as anyone in this league.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Love Outside the Time of +1 Cholera

It may well be The Dork Masterpiece. Not a masterpiece dorkily told or a masterpiece of dork subject matter, but a masterpiece of the yearning dork heart, its inability to assimilate into a world of social ease, to be happy about anything without worrying about it. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz's 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, recounts the life of that one well-meaning incomplete guy that everyone knew (or was) in grade school, high school or college.

Told by his best friend Yunior and his sister Lola, Oscar's story evokes instant familiarity, empathy and pity. You never see Oscar with a woman, not because he fears or disdains them but because he feels for them a breadth of love and reverence that overawes even so-called "pussy-hound" Yunior. Your minor setbacks are his wrenching agonies; his isolation comes not from feeling coldly but too well. Oscar is every high school kid you knew who never won because he tried too hard and tried too hard because he never won. Wound so tight that the only thing that can loosen him up is a love reciprocated, his tension is palpably off-putting to others. He can't relax enough and let love come to him, but only love could get him to relax.

His body works against him. Oscar is fat; so fat that, when Yunior gets him to exercise, a little kid yells, "Look, Mom, that guy's taking his planet out for a run." Confronted by a world in which his ungainliness and unattractiveness is flung back at him with derision, he instead creates his own. Like so many intelligent and/or overweight kids, Oscar discovers genre fiction — sci-fi and fantasy — role-playing games and writing. He can't mold his body and psyche into the world as it is, so he immerses himself in Tolkein, Heinlein, Alan Moore, the X-Men and his own short stories, where he can mold worlds to fit himself or mold himself to fit his imagination. But this too works against him in a way.