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.