Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chinatown bus rules

I took the chinatown bus to Philly from D.C. the other day. Notable moments included a more-crazy-than-usual driver tailgating some Honda for several miles on I-95. Dude was a maniac and I loved it. Less loved: The middle-aged couple in front of me feeding each other cheese puffs while whispering sweet nothings to each other in some Slavic language. Shit was depraved at best.

I would have simply shut my eyes and dozed off to avoid that nastiness, but the aforementioned nutball driver had a swerving, lurching style. So I was forced to find different modes of distraction. First I went to my normal time-killer in public: Reciting non-milkshake lines from the bowling alley scene in There Will Be Blood, but eventually that got old, despite the timelessness of "They should have put you in a glass jar on a mantlepiece."

So I thought about what are the best modes of travel. Here it is: Definitive and without commentary.

10. City Bus
9. Taxi
8. Car
7. Someone else's car
6. Jet
5. Subway/Elevated train
4. Some other way I can't think of right now
3. On foot
2. Chinatown bus
1. Bicycle

Don't believe me? Just watch this commercial, which is a likely peek into my future some 30 years from now.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An important conversation

We were having this conversation yesterday, and I thought it might be goat-relevant, paraphrased:

D: So I was waiting for the Broad Street Line this morning and there was this fat woman spreading cream cheese on a bagel with her thumb. It was the grossest thing I've seen in some time. I kind of wanted to throw up, or punch her.
E: That's not that bad.
T: Was she just fat, or morbidly obese? This is an important detail.
D: Morbidly obese, why not?
T: Yeah that's awful. A disgusting human being in body and spirit.
E: Give me a break! It's not gross, it's her thumb!
T: Have you been in a Philly subway station? Eating anything in there is a terrible idea. So many homeless men pee in there that the air is permeated with urine molecules. Touching subway tokens and then eating? Horrible.
E: But it was her thumb! Are you saying that eating a bagel without the cream cheese would also be gross?
T: Well, it depends on what kind of bagel. The viscosity of the cream cheese certainly adds a level of disgust.
E: The cream cheese makes the bagel! And it was her thumb!
D: It was a plain bagel.
T: OK, the cream cheese is necessary because it was a plain bagel.
E: She just wanted a tasty breakfast, and didn't have a knife.
T: Wait, she had a tub of cream cheese? and was scooping it out and smearing it with her thumb? I now have a full mental picture, and it is awful.
E: Give me a break. Who cares? If she wants to take a chance at contracting some Philly subway germs, it's her risk. Who are you to judge?
T: If someone makes the decision that they need to spread cream cheese on a bagel with their thumb in one of the most disgusting places in America, I will judge them, and declare them gross. Unilaterally.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dumbed down

This morning I'm posting a perfectly innocent story to the web about some kid with cancer who is able to maintain his schooling via a live classroom webcam. A perfectly fine, uplifting story for the holiday season, which takes all of my self control not to change the headline to something in bad taste.

"Technology: 1, Cancer: 0" or "The future is now" or "Cancer boy telecommutes." That last one may be a bit to far. Here is an actual sentence from the story: "After some thought, administrators decided technology could help Darius continue his studies." Now I know we're not re-inventing the cliche here, at a local newspaper (circulation: 23,000 and dropping), but that is some blandly awful writing right there.

There is no excuse for using the term "technology" three times in a story, four if you count the actual headline. Perhaps there is a less descriptive, more generic word you could use? Because "technology" describes every fucking thing invented by man, fucking ever. It's a good thing I only read copy at this place at my whim, because I always regret it.

Coma-inducing copy is part of why its important to get as much PG-rated absurdity as possible into print when provided the chance. Like a song about Allen Iverson set to the Welcome Back Kotter theme. And that is my two-cups-of-coffee-in-20-minutes rant for today.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What kind of name is Landry Fields anyway

It's snowing like a bitch, I just cracked a beer, and college hoops is on, so let's give typing stuff and then putting it on the Internet a shot. Not going to publish updates too often (or at all) because no one is looking at this. We'll see if it can hold my attention with such distractions as "other stuff on television" and "looking out the window" tempting me.

This is what I know about 2009 Northwestern Men's Basketball prior to today: Their record, and that the best player from last year is hurt. But my knowledge is increasing with every informative graphic displayed. In a couple hours I will be able to spell at least 2 players names.

I kind of hope NU can win this, because I went double or nothing on this season ending in a NCAA tournament berth. Meaning that instead of going to see the football team in the Outback bowl on New Years Day, I will go to a the basketball team's first ever tourney game. This is a gamble, that can blow up in my face in many ways. They play first round games in weird places. Which makes it all the more exciting!

John Shurna's jump shot is "flatter than the interstate between Des Moines and Omaha," According to this big ten network clown. Oh he's a clown all right. Shurna is a player, they don't let just anyone onto the USA men's under-19 national team.

Just checked out the gamecast on ESPN. Is there some poor underling in Bristol entering the stats in for this game as it goes on? Probably an unpaid intern. Or an intern that paid for the right for valuable work experience in the form of menial labor. That is an observation I'm sure no one has made before.

Oh right, the game. It's 25-23 with 5 minutes or so left in the first half. A barn burner.

What ever happened to Muhamed Hachad? Internet says: Playing in France. If you had "Playing in France" please come claim your prize. Which is ... looks around room ... a harmonica that I don't know how to play. There may be a book of harmonica lessons around here somewhere, if I find it there will be a different prize.

Juice Thompson?

Halftime: Score tied at 33.
I spent the break printing out, reading, then burning this long interview with David Simon about writing the wire and other things. Good quote:

It’s one thing to recognize capitalism for the powerful economic tool it is and to acknowledge that, for better or for worse, we’re stuck with it and, hey, thank God we have it. There’s not a lot else that can produce mass wealth with the dexterity that capitalism can. But to mistake it for a social framework is an incredible intellectual corruption and it’s one that the West has accepted as a given since 1980—since Reagan. Human beings—in this country in particular—are worth less and less. When capitalism triumphs unequivocally, labor is diminished. It’s a zero-sum game. People paid a much higher tax rate when Eisenhower was president, a much higher tax rate for the benefit of society, and all of us had more of a sense that we were included. But this is not what you really want to talk about, I know.

Yeah, fuck Reaganites. If you are going to push policy with a side of morals, it helps to not be morally bankrupt.

I am going to watch the second half in earnest, which means posting this and not dividing my attention for a bit. Otherwise there is too much chance I'll get distracted by stuff like best photos of the year.

More coming ...?????

Friday, December 18, 2009

Stay tuned ...

There are no less than 5 unfinished, malformed posts clogging up the backend of this blog, including one about how evil chairs are. Answer: Very. All of the incomplete posts are better than that one that I "finished" this morning. Although I supposed that depends on your personal definition of the word "better." Scare quotes are great.

The point is that I will be forced indoors all weekend because of shitty weather, providing ample blog time. Maybe there will be a live account of the Stanford-Northwestern basketball game tomorrow afternoon, drunk on cheap blended scotch and PBR. Who knows? Don't get your hopes up though, because there is also a chance that I'll waste the time playing antique video games. In which case I am confident that picture of a meerkat will keep you entertained. Constantly refresh this page, just to be safe.

Top 5 drugs of decade

It's nearly 2010, which means it's time to reflect back on the past 10 years. That's what media people do, because its easier than trying to come up with something new, and everything's half-staffed around the holidays. Arbitrary lists of subjective things are all the rage. But honestly, who fucking cares if Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was better than City of God, or if In Bruges was better than The Royal Tenenbaums. Argue their respective merits all you want, it's still pointless. Pop-culture lists fill me with loathing, mostly because I can't stop reading them. I blame baby Jesus and job stress.

That said, I'm all for taking this frivolous pass-time and turning it back on itself. For example, the top stories of the past 4.5 billion years, or the 50 states in order. Pennsylvania number one! And I've been thinking, what would be an original and subversive thing I could do with a decade-ending list, here on this blog? And this is what I came up with, the top 5 drugs of the past 10 years, in chronological order (I don't know what that means). So unscientific and based on personal experience, yet possibly accurate?

You really haven't lived until you've flown on a commercial flight with a gram of this sticky treat folded up in a scrap of paper and stuffed in your wallet.

This would be higher, if it wasn't so prone to abuse. Using drugs is one thing, abusing them is another. Somebody famous said that, I don't remember who, possibly Marilyn Manson. I'm not sure if that makes the statement more or less credible. There are a number of other strikes against this one: Expense, terrible hangovers, etc. But on the other hand, it can be really fucking fun in the right setting. Like at a bar talking to a bunch of Mexican workers who just got off their shift at a nearby Cuban restaurant.

The fact that this is legal alone merits its inclusion. It's prolific. Getting older does destroy a bit of booze's mystique, I think, but doesn't take away from it's abilities to help one celebrate or wallow, according to mood. And of course the whole lowering inhibitions thing is pretty awesome.

Spawned the classic "You're in the painting" sequence, which I don't feel like explaining at this time. If you know, then you know. The only problem with the shrooms is too much can result in temporary the breaking of one's mind by hacky-sackers, thinking you are holding the entire universe in your hand when in fact you are holding a pebble, etc. But the benefits, i.e. Chicago looking like an alien spaceport, far outweigh the disadvantages, given proper preparation. Heh, preparing for drugs.

An obvious number one. It's both a hallucinogen and a depressant! A two for one, if you will. Plus its increasingly decriminalized, and a plant. No better way to take the edge off. I tend to regard anyone who has never even tried weed this with suspicion, at least upon first meeting them. Stupid stigmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ha ha, famous misogyny

When you think about it "Tiger Woods" could very well be an all-to-appropriate stage name, or alternatively, a sex act involving golf clubs.

TRIVIAL SIDENOTE: You may remember that guy playing Woods as drunk baby, and also from Community. Celebrity?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tarantino deserves an Oscar

Not for this commercial though, despite the presence of a talking dog. What's the Japanese advertising equivalent of the Academy Awards? I want to say The Emmys, but that's probably wrong.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Or some shit

Quick links from a week ago, with affectations:

Oh Taibbi, you had me when you compared Goldman Sachs to a vampire squid, and now this Obama Selling Out piece. I like that this actual journalism sort of backs up gut-reactions I made nearly a year ago: "So this means that we will avoid a new great depression by miring ourselves in endless class warfare."

Also might I suggest reading that article while listening to this girl who does piano covers of metal songs, i.e. Toxicity. Impressive that she does all the arrangements herself.

Back to politics and economics: Here is an International Workers of the World interview with Noam Chomsky (or as I like to call him "The Chomster") that includes all the commie-style back-slapping you would expect and enjoy. But there is an interesting point at the end about how the left should not be ridiculing the idiot right (last answer).

And finally, here's a thought-provoking piece on Iverson and public image, with passages like this:

It is sad example of how our perceptions are shaped not only by what we see, but also by conceptual frameworks that we draw upon as short hand to “make sense” of the world, as described by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson in their classic book Metaphors We Live By. The problem is that to the extent that we draw upon pre-existing metaphors to make sense of people, we strip them of the agency to represent themselves as human; while these metaphors frame expectations for behavior, they also irrationally justify us assuming that our perceptions are universal common sense and those who don’t fit can be demeaned, dismissed, mocked, or vilified.

Indeed, the classic "Metaphors We Live By." Who could forget that one?

Thursday, December 10, 2009


So I'm thinking big wave surfing videos are the oceanic equivalent of Warren Miller movies. Which are all generic and the similar in their badassery, but differing in that one will have skiers being pulled by snowmobiles, and another will have a skiers flying down the mountain half-skiing half-para-gliding. In my opinion either skiing or surfing vids are much more watchable than the skateboard variety. This is due to the giant mountains and waves, rather than some guy on a sidewalk doing kickflips.

Also I suppose its important to acknowledge the song in the video above, by some band called Freedom Hawk. Which is a dumb name for a band, I think, but still appropriate for their style. Sworn enemies of rival-band Fascist Falcon! Clearly Democracy Owl wasn't rawk enough. Liberty Buzzard? Independence Vulture? Together all these form the super-team I would call the Bill of Rights Birds of Prey. Ok I'm done. That song kicks ass.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


They said you shouldn't blog angry, or maybe it was drunk? I don't remember because I am so bitter and scotch-ridden. Those people that say that, whatever that is, are FUCKING ASSHOLES. Also they may not exist. Oftentimes seething, unexplainable rage at things beyond one's control can be a powerful motivator, at least for me, to punch random people in the face and groin. But for now we'll have to settle for writing about things on the internet. These things, rantly:

Drivers of Cadillac SUVs, and the Cadillacs themselves. Enemies to all road users small in stature. A trip to the inside of a "brain" of someone who thinks that driving a enormous luxury-SUV-pick-up-truck Frankenstein creation would be fun maybe, if it wouldn't surely drive me insane. More so that is. Runners up as the worst fucking vehicles ever: Audis and school buses. They all think they own the goddamn road what with their dropping off of the children and the attached swinging stop signs and the European engineering and the four interlocking circles. What is this the shitty Olympics? Well you just lost, asshole.

What the hell is this supposed to be? Terrible use of Photoshop.

Kings of Leon. I swear to God if I ever hear that "Sex on Fire" song ever again I will immediately turn down the volume or cover my ears and start screaming "LALALALALALA, I CAN'T HEAR YOU ANY MORE YOU AWFUL TENNESSEANS." To think I once thought buying that CD would be a good investment, for its resale value. "Only by the night" will someone please shoot them in the face and murder them by stabbing. Because they would be surprised by the non-fatal face-bullet, enabling numerous easy knife wounds.

Sarah Palin and the Washington Post and Climate Change. Mother of squealing Jesus this shit again. I know the Post is an empty husk of an institution, much like all American newspapers, and its Op-Ed page is a goddamn joke that I avoid at all costs. Richard Cohen for example. So maybe it fits that a national symbol of intellectual bankruptcy, willful ignorance and disgrace would get a place in its pages in a bid for "buzz" or pageviews. But on the other hand, as Cheese Wagstaff might say, "Shit is unseemly, Unc." That is what he would say if he knew how to read and was not a fictional character played by Method Man.

The other side of the climate debate isn't much better. To wit this horrifying ad:

"The bottom line is money. Nobody gives a fuck."
-System of a Down

And just as I thought my rage would be assuaged by the soothing sounds of avant-garde post-metal mixed with protesters ... cuntstick! It's raining again. Goddamn clouds pissing all over my shit. Walking to work horribly wet sometimes makes me wish I had a car, or at least water-proof pants. Rain really fucking blows. I'd prefer snow even. Did I mention that I am soaking wet right now? Probably the main reason for my current state of displeasure. Root cause found! I'm signing off and publishing this nonsense. Tune in next time, when I paraphrase idiotic comments from news websites.

apoplectic edit: And now I go back on to work and the first thing I see on the wire is a story about a newly opening Marshmallow Peeps store. Yeah, that's worthy of 500 words. I need a joint.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Reading list 2009

I met the first man as I was going home from a dance at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall. I was being taken out of the dance by my two good friends. I had forgotten my friends had come with me, but there they were. Once again I hated the two of them. The three of us had formed a group based on something erroneous, some basic misunderstanding that hadn't come to light, and so we kept on in one another's company, going to bars and having conversations. Generally one of these false coalitions died after a day or a day and a half, but this one had lasted more than a year. Later on one of them got hurt when we were burglarizing a pharmacy , and the other two of us dropped him bleeding at the back entrance of the hospital and he was arrested and all the bonds were dissolved. We bailed him out later, and still later all the charges against him were dropped, but we'd torn open our chests and shown him our cowardly hearts, and you can never stay friends after something like that.
-Denis Johnson, Jesus' Son

My favorite thing about reading a book is getting a glimpse of unexpected truth. That is to say a piece of information or knowledge never occurred to me before, but then some passage provides a flash of insight. Maybe this can happen in other media as well, but I get it most reading post-modern fiction, a genre I have been into as of late. Specifically DeLillo. I recently tried to remember all the books I'd read in the past year, and list them.

The Macrophenomenal Pro-Basketball Almanac
Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
Anathem by Neal Stephenson
Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
The Great Shark Hunt by Hunter S. Thompson
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The Ingenuity Gap by Thomas Homer-Dixon
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Cosmopolis by Don Delillo
White Noise by Don Delillo
The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Breakfast of Champions by Vonnegut

Yeah, so that's a pretty self-indulgent post, and not as many books as I thought. Oh well.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The future of news

In the future, news will only be broadcast in foreign languages, forcing English speakers to interpret what is happening via computer-generated animation. I am going to start learning how to do 3-D graphics right now, they are the logical next step beyond where we are now in news-gathering/distribution, which is I dunno, Twitter? I'm not kidding, except about the learning part. This is because I assume there are thousands of Chinese and Thai people willing to make these animations of women swinging golf clubs for slave-level wages. Wages that could never support my American lifestyle.

Til the break of dawn

I love me some Ritz Theaters in Philadelphia, even if the trip takes average 2 hours on public transit one way. It's worth it to see a good film on the big screen with a mature audience. Last year after a serious thrilling, movie-guy voice trailer, everybody laughed when it went to black while a guy was wielding an outboard motor in a threatening way and the title card "Donkey Punch" went on screen. The multiplex is OK, but art house cinemas are a better way to kill winter.

So ... The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is the first movie I've seen at the Ritz in a while. I like to think of the cumbersome name (TBLPOCNO is a handy acronym) as a smirk toward the cookie-cutter police procedurals following the "Title:Subtitle" structure you see on television. So as a counter to those, this movie is batshit insane. Nic Cage's bad lieutenant is a huge part of it, with his non sequitur yelling, evil shaving, maniacal laughing, and old-lady menacing. His performance combined with the fearless Werner Herzog direction (i.e. hand Iguana Cam) makes for something you just have to sit back and marvel at. They are going for it, good or ill.

It's certainly not for everyone. The film is a hot mess, and if you can't laugh at the absurd, that can be a problem. But on the other hand: Souls breakdancing. It's matter of filmmakers trusting the audience/not giving a fuck while making a pitch-black comedy about the nature of man in a ravaged city where inhumanity is the norm, rather than the exception. It could be nihilistic if not for the animals that cast a mocking eye at the unconscionable acts. The animals laugh at the folly of man. Specifically the dog, and even the baby alligator whose mother was just run over by a car.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A now for a brief commercial interruption

Like to golf? Incontinent? Finally a product that's right for you!

Makes a great gift!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cutting losses

So I have this friend who is fucking crazy. Most aspects of his life would prove intolerable to an "upstanding member of society," in all its connotations. I believe that everyone commits crimes in one way or another -- be it against nature, culture, economy, their family, or what have you. So it is important consider the source when examining any outward criticism of another person or group. Many who would call my friend "a bum" or "stupidly insane" or "a colorblind sociopath" likely suffer from chronic road rage, enjoy both the Twilight movies and Radiohead's Kid A, and think sharing is unnatural.

But to dismiss someone out of hand just because of so-called "Disgusting Habits" is short-sighted, I think. Those with strangely skewed world-views are interesting. And assuming they have some degree of self-awareness, getting swept up in the frenzy of personality is never boring, and a welcome diversion from the drudgery and ennui associated with modern American life. The problem with cultivating this kind of friendship is that someday they may go off the rails in to serious self-destruction in an unexpected way.

I don't expect everyone/anyone will understand what this is about. Outwardly most people are perfectly content to live in blasé conformity. Selling out and moving up to something stable, if not sustainable, can be appealing. Grow up, go to college, buy a house, have kids, mow the lawn, play some golf or go shopping on the weekends. Which is all fine I suppose, but don't blame those that want less, or different, if they don't jibe with the status quo. You know what no one says: To each his own according to the amount of satisfaction they can derive and pains they tolerate in their daily routine.

Let's get back on track. This was supposed to be about my crazy friend, specifically in reference the events of this past weekend that may or may not have ruined his life for months, if not years to come. Due to ongoing legal ramifications, I have some hesitancy in getting into the meat of the story. In fact, the details are irrelevant here. So just imagine a situation in which a crazy trip spirals out of control and in the process crosses paths with a Napoleonic authority figure armed with a Taser, allegedly.

Massive failure. I feel some degree of culpability for not taking more preventative measures. I do pride myself in the ability to act appropriately in the weirdest of situations, even twisted. But look: You see a grown man flying on what looks like a sure collision course with the sun. What do you do beyond offering warning, advising restraint. In the end everyone's decisions are their own, be them severely hampered or not. At this point abandoning ship becomes the rational, appropriate decision. I don't want to needlessly spend the night in the drunk tank. This quote from HST resonates.

So ... a point? When one thrives on the fringe of societal norms, sometimes a line is crossed and there are bad consequences. Living on the edge is a choice, one that can lead to regret just like any other. Maybe Steven Tyler was on to something when he said "There's a meltdown in the sky" but God only knows what that means.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Check out this bird

Fucking badass chainsaw sounds, right?

I am working on a more "long-form" essay on the not insignificant events of this past weekend. So look out for that sometime before the holiday. It involves tasing.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Don't worry, it's dead

Here's some week-ending paraphernalia. Week-ending in the chronologic sense, not that they cause any sort of stoppage, weekly or otherwise. Thoughts I can't form into a full post, and a couple links. This is what happens when my brain cannot gain any purchase on anything specific, much like a frog in space. I blame the wealth of choices available to today's discerning media consumer. Shittily prolific!

There was some confusion(?) earlier this week when I commented that I had read and posted about Jesus' Son, a book about some guy who does heroin and other drugs in Iowa and other places. In fact this was untrue: The book was only mentioned offhand in some post about random things (imagine that). But yeah, I did read it on the Chinatown Bus, hipster-style! Unfortunately this did not result in any craigslist missed connection ads, which was my hope. The story about the narrator eating random hospital pills and then carrying baby bunnies in his shirt was the best. Except when he forgot about them and sat on them and they died.

"Eat shit, assholes. Sorry." That's all I've got so far in my short story/memoir, working title The Regretful Misanthropist. Because people are terrible. Well, not all people. But most. I'm going to do more research.

Frank Zappa on Crossfire is a must-see from the '80s, it's about freedom of speech. The other guy: A foreboding glimpse into the future of punditry and the Republican Party? Or just some guy obsessed with incest? Both.

These very short stories are funny.

That's about it I think. Maybe something regarding a movie ... involving a Bad Lieutenant.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nevermind on the book suggestions

After reading this review, I decided that I am Going Rogue. By which I mean reading the book of that name by Sarah Palin.

If you are in a hurry, here is the succinct version of this review: Going Rogue is shit. It is groundbreaking in its banality and disregard for facts. If you are sentient, it will pain you to read it. Imagine watching your parents 69 one another while John Madden sits behind you and bellows out color commentary and you will have some idea of how excruciating and profoundly scarring it is to plow through each page of this wholly fictional monument to self-aggrandized mediocrity. Going Rogue is to the art of writing what the Holocaust is to the concept of a just God – the piece of disconfirming evidence so overwhelming that we are left questioning whether it can exist at all.

But seriously, fuck that book. Literally cut a hole in it and fuck it. Worst paper cuts ever.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Happy now bitch?

That is a well-edited video, capturing many of the themes that made The Wire so great. I only wish it had a couple other lines: Like "Nice Dolphin, nigga" and "That's a life that had to be snatched." Also I forgot how many obscenely hilarious lines Rawls had over the years.

Speaking of The Wire, this AV Club list with the best 30 shows of the decade is pretty spot on. Is instant nostalgia a thing? Because there will be much of it, if it exists, in the next month and a half as the decade comes to an end.

In other news -- anyone have any book suggestions? Something I can get at the library? I was thinking of going sci-fi, an easier read after the hardest 150 pages ever in Crying of Lot 49. Stephen King perhaps. But on the other hand I'm tempted to go full pretentious, get Infinite Jest and read it conspicuously in public places.

Banged Up

Something is telling me that it's a minor death trap. That is to say my 70's era Schwinn bicycle that has been converted to a single-speed. It looks cool with its fresh paint job and swapped and chopped handlebars, but there is a problem. The chain periodically comes flying off the gears. More of a problem is that this only happens while pedaling with force.

Occasionally careening through an intersection, precariously maintaining balance while avoiding cars and pedestrians is a small price to pay for looking hip. The voice in the back of my head saying things like 'catastrophic drive-train failure' and 'may result in injury and death' was ignored with a hearty PSHAW. Until yesterday when said failure caused a violent crash and injury to no less than three joints on my right side. So maybe a rethinking of strategy?

Details: I was en route to the local K-Mart for important supplies. I am not a quitter. So despite bloody road rash and an inability to properly grip the handlebars with my right hand I continued the couple miles to my destination and got those supplies, plus another wrist brace. You can never have too many wrist braces. I may have been going into an insignificant level of shock.

It's kind of surprising that not one bystander showed the slightest bit of concern during the entire escapade. The initial crash occurred on a busy street -- no one stopped. One pedestrian gave me a look of some interest as I rolled past wincing with blood running down my leg. But it easily could have been aversion, or non-plussitude, or just gawking at the freak who was disregarding his obvious physical trauma.

Not that I was looking for sympathy from anyone, least of all someone in a car. I would have shrugged off any show of worry with a self-respecting grunt, at best. Or in a bizarre fit of fight-or-flight response gone wrong I might have attacked them with my now disfigured and claw-like hand. So ignoring the injured bike guy may have been a smart move, in retrospect. Still, a little empathy would have been nice.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

There's always music in the air

Yeah yeah, this blog isn't being updated enough. I know what you are thinking -- what a lazy fucking asshole that thope is, looking at hilarious things on the internet all day and not sharing them with me and the 6 other people that look at this. Well sorry, here's a chimp forcing a frog to suck its dick. Was that not informative and horrifying! Or maybe no one is looking at this anymore? I kind of hope not, that would waste a years-long tradition of slapdash blather.

But shit man, I can't help it if a pornographic video-game addiction and strange media cravings preempt posting things on a blog. This is 2009! You know how it is, first you're like "Hey Twin Peaks isn't that weird, despite a bunch of shots of a ceiling fan for no reason," and then you get around to watching the episode with the infamous Dale Cooper dream sequence and its all like WTF dancing little people.

That said, maybe I'll get back in the groove of posting on here. But then again maybe not. Maybe I'll make a tumblr and put the goats out to pasture. Maybe I'll commission some South Asians to redesign the template so this doesn't look like something from 2002, or update the links on the side. Honestly, who links to 4chan? Zen Habits? Have I ever even visited that site? This blog sucks, show it to small children.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Roger Sterling ladies and gentlemen

If you don't watch Mad Men, this won't make much sense. Also, you didn't see a guy get kicked to death by a horse in the season finale the other night.

Anyway: "That woman got on a plane with a man who was going to end World War II, not run her father's dog food company." ZING

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Links brought to you by a hairless bear

Disturbing? At least its not centaur Alex Rodriguez

Does declaring a link-dump to be the laziest of all blog posts make it less so? Probably not. Here are a few things of possible import, from the internet mostly.

Anyone watching that Ken Burns' documentary on PBS? It boldly proclaims that the National Park was America's best idea right in the title. Here's it's web presence. The show is quite good, a worthwhile distraction from baseball last night.

This article on Ayn Rand has a bunch of choice tidbits, including this laugher: "In her 70s Rand found herself dying of lung cancer, after insisting that her followers smoke because it symbolized "man's victory over fire" and the studies showing it caused lung cancer were Communist propaganda."

Drugs! Who hasn't done them? Not our president that's for sure. From this article:
"You might just be bored, or alone. Everybody was welcome into the club of disaffection. And if the high didn't solve whatever it was that was getting you down, it would at least help you laugh at the world's ongoing folly and see you through all the hypocrisy and bullshit and cheap moralism."

This Daily Show segment is ostensibly about the just happened elections, but it gains relevancy as a take-down of cable news coverage of just about any political story. (Best part of the election for us in PA: No more Corzine-Christie N.J. Governor ads. This is not up for debate.)

A lastly -- Halloween may be over, but it's never too late for some "ghost stories with Ghostface."

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Programming Note

After several years of faithful service, my laptop finally kicked the bucket -- dead hard drive. I will be using this as an excuse for sporadic and shitty posts, that is to say more so than normal. I could "post from my work computer" like "I'm doing right now" but let's get real, I have important time-sucking activities to attend to, such as playing flash games online. And hey, this post is here, take what you can get at this point.

In related news, computers are cheap as shit these days. 300 bucks? I paid nearly twice that for the one that just broke down, off craigslist. That is actually an amusing story, one which I tell many people. Have I ever written about it on this blog? There's no way to tell barring a lengthy search, so here it is (possibly again):

Spotted an ad on craigslist, had to be 4 years ago. Eventually the guy and I decide to meet in the parking lot of a Best Buy. This was so we could link into the store's wireless network, the guy told me in a heavy Russian accent. That didn't work, but I eyed up the two laptops he brought, and left. Later I decided to buy one of them and called to work out the final terms, and he offered to stock it with maybe ill-gotten programs.

"You want Photoshop? I hook you up," he said. "Dreamweaver? No problem."

This is the part of the story that is hard to convey via text, as opposed to with spoken words. Mainly because I do a hilarious Russian accent. So imagine that with your brain. That's pretty much it, I assume that laptop came to me from some sort of eastern European mob-like organization. One with the kind of deep pockets necessary to provide "customers" with photo-manipulation and word-processing software.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Mother of babbling God

Thank you, Ron Artest, for shedding light on this important and over-looked issue. Not to make light of what I assume is serious problem on the other side of the world (and graphic as well, if that video is any indication), but what the hell is going on here? I'm asking.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Two videos with no connection


Hard Copy investigated the hell out of a Nine Inch Nails music video 20-odd years ago. "Nine Inch Noise" indeed.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A letter to the pro-lifers I see everyday

My commute each day takes me past a Planned Parenthood. Most days I see you, plodding along just outside the painted line indicating private property, sign in hand or hanging from your neck. Usually these signs include some variation of the words baby and murder -- thanks for not having those huge gross photo ones. I try not to make eye contact with you as I ride past. But I notice you mostly. I see you so much you are blending into the background.

Yesterday you weren't there. Was it because it was raining? Does the "40 Days of Life" campaign only include sunny days? Not to be too quick to judge someone of course, because you have been there on other bad weather days. But yesterday there was an attractive young girl going into the clinic -- if you had been there to shout and chase her she may have reconsidered the possibility of two lives ruined.

One time I saw a girl screaming at you as she rode by on her bike in the opposite direction. Something along the lines of "Get a life!" Which is an interesting choice of words, don't you think? That must have been exciting. Does it satisfy you to draw the occasional strong reaction? To me walking up and down the street with signs seems like a boring way to spend the day, so the occasional heckler might spice things up.

Still, I wonder what it is that motivates you to brave the elements everyday (yesterday excepted of course). Do you see yourselves making a difference in the lives of these girls, and more importantly for you I suspect, the lives of the unborn? Perhaps you recently saw the movie "Juno" and think that you can inspire a bittersweet movie-style ending for a live family-type unit? There's one guy that is always mumbling an unrecognizable prayer -- are you speaking God's honest truth? Or are you just a nutbag?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Quotes and a question on the World Series

One year after New York had its 13-year string of reaching the postseason stopped, the Yankees did what everyone expected them to do - spend money. And spend they did, as they paid a combined $423.5 million last winter for the services of three players: starting pitchers CC Sabathia (7-years, $161 million) and A.J. Burnett (5-years, $82.5 million) and first baseman Mark Teixeira (8-years, $180 million).
The moves paid off, as the Yanks returned to the postseason after winning the AL East for the 10th time in the last 12 years with a major league best 103 wins.
-Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"It's like a nothing city. It's just insignificant in comparison to New York."
Another Yankee fan, Laura Nidelle, 24, insists the Yuengling-slinging rubes in Philly are uncultured and uninteresting -- and go to bed too early.
"I briefly lived in Philadelphia and I couldn't wait to get out," the Brooklyn writer said. "Their fans are whiners, the food is lousy and there is nothing to do.
-New York Post

According to investigators, Finkelstein posted an ad on the website Craigslist that read:
"Diehard Phillies fan--gorgeous tall buxom blonde-- in desperate need of two World Series Tickets. Price negotiable--- I'm the creative type! Maybe we can help each other!"

After that ad was posted an undercover officer responded and, police say, Finkelstein offered to perform various sex acts in exchange for World Series tickets.

Standing between the Yankees and their 27th World Series title are the Philadelphia Phillies, the defending champions. This is a club made of steel, playing some of the best ball in the history of franchise. What they lack in certain departments is made up for in guts and resolve; for the Phillies, no lead is insurmountable. Opponents pay dearly for leaving them even the tiniest windows of opportunity – just ask the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were an out away from levelling the National League Championship at two games apiece when Jimmy Rollins blew away Jonathan Broxton with a game-winning double. It's no wonder the American football-loving locals have fallen for this club – even their fiercest enemies can't help but admire what this franchise has accomplished after a long legacy of losing.

Here we have an attempt at the rare Symbiotic Trapezoid Quote. The topic is the World Series, underway tonight in the Bronx. The storylines and characters are primed for the best fall classic since Giants-Angels in 2002. Clutch hitters, proven starting pitching, intangibles and abstract abilities above normal for both. But you know all that.

What intrigues me, besides of course homerism, are matters of relative culture and geography. Like Boston, Philadelphia is a little brother to New York. Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time thereabouts can vouch for this. There is a certain East Coast similarity, but far be it from me to make any hard comparisons lest I get jumped by a drunk Philadelphian with a chip on his shoulder, or a roman candle shot in my eye while climbing a tree.

When viewed through the lens of television, the sibling dynamic between the two cities is easy. New York is a dominant cultural force, while dismissing Philly's efforts as cute at best. Which may or may not be accurate (It is). The point is the Phillies take an underdog role to the Yankees juggernaut. Objectively on the field it's arguable whether this is correct -- The Phillies won it all last year, and with few exceptions this Yankees team hasn't won anything. But its not cool to be contrarian, so running out the string on that argument would be pointless.

But where else can I go with this? Sports fans as religious fanatics? I suppose that could be hacked out, but I want to get this thing posted before the start of Game 1. No -- as much as I want to create a "sports orthodoxy" rankings or some such gibberish, that will have to come later, after I've had a bit to drink while watching college gymnastics on the Big Ten Network.

So nevermind that. The question I want answered is this: "If the Phillies win the World Series, will it ease the city's collective inferiority complex in regard to New York?" I'm leaning toward "indubitably."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Navel Gazing

It feels like I've been stuck in a rut the past month or so and I don't know why exactly -- a combination of shitty weather and encroaching ennui. Bottom line is something needed to be done to shake things up. A sudden jolt to the system to increase vitality. I considered buying a last minute ticket to Chicago for college homecoming weekend, but did not. Instead a group of miscreants from around here will be traveling to the middle of bumblefuck Pennsylvania -- a cabin miles from anything. Hopefully someone will bring a gun to fire into the mountain. I'm not sure if "the cabin" has ever been mentioned here before ... it is a thing, that's for sure. Schwab mentioned it in a comment that had nothing to do with the post, I think.

Anyway, that's the fucking plan. An escape from realitosis, if you will -- maybe not a full retaking of collegiate self-destruction, but damn close and with fewer Indians and Jews. I know what you are probably thinking -- what does this have to do with a baby holding a gun in its mouth? There is a reason, but I won't put it out there at this point, because it doesn't make a whole of sense.

Changing the subject to ennui's vindictive German cousin, schadenfruede, go read this interview with Bronson Pinchot, in which he hates on such luminaries as Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington from the perspective of a coworker. It's been tearing up the Web the past week or so, the consensus being it is one of the best "Random Roles" outside of this one with Teri Garr, where she talks shit about someone, questions herself, and then says "Fuck it, he's dead."

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Later, Shane Victorino beat Don Mattingly to death and buried the body in upstate New York. Is that a good, sense-making metaphor? Probably not, because Henry Hill is clearly a "fan" in this video and not a member of the team. Although he is cheering "Jimmy" who in the movie is a member of his criminal "team." So maybe Hill represents some teammate of Rollins, cheering from the dugout. But he is in the shower, so that doesn't work. Perhaps its a teammate who is in the locker room shower? This is all very confusing.

Another overthought note: It was a bummer when I realized that throwaway post yesterday about the exploding, flying anvil pushed grant's 20-spot on living in Africa down the page. I mean, grant's thing was real actual content, not just regurgitation. Although in fairness, the lone joke I bothered to write was not plagiarized from an Internet message board or anything like that. Original words and sentence structure! Then I decided the juxtaposition of real-life adventures in Uganda with a video about a "world champion anvil shooter" is at least fitting, if not appropriate. Also if you are inclined you can read more Africa stuff at the excitingly named Adventures of Grant and Ann. It has pictures.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

News you can use: Flying Anvils edition

They said man wasn't meant to make an anvil fly 200 feet in the air via explosion. They were wrong.

African Booty Scratcher

I've been in Kampala, Uganda for about 3 weeks now. I'm doing HIV/AIDS research at the Infectious Disease Institute (IDI) and Mulago Hospital. I'll be here until June 1st, 2010 at which point I will fly to Amsterdam for a week. Back in the US on June 8th. I have some observations that I'd like to share. If anything seems of poor taste please consider the humor and/or frustration. Realize that I am one of those bleeding heart liberals and as such am immune to any accusations of being racist, sexist, etc.

Denial is a river in Uganda.

1. There are a lot of black people here. I'm serious.
2. Because I am white, everyone stares at me. Little kids always say "hi/bye mzungu" which translates to white person. Some literally come up to me and want to touch me. Strange.
3. I walk through a shanty town to work. I will admit that I get nervous. It doesn't help that a number of the whities who have taken this path previously have been robbed at some point in their stay here. I need to find a new path.
4. Drivers in Africa follow no rules. Crossing the street (no crosswalks) is like Frogger. My girlfriend considered buying a car for the time we're here. I must say she's is out of her damn mind.
5. There is a strange fascination with country music amongst some of the population. They also have a thing for 80's and 90's music. I'm having some major flashbacks to elementary, junior and senior high. Listening to Africans sing along with shitty American music is both hilarious and sad. Maybe one day they'll discover something like Mastodon. Maybe it's my duty to introduce them.
6. I watched Uganda's equivalent to the NBA. I know two players on a club team here and went to one of their games. One of the guys is apparently Uganda's highest paid athlete and he makes about $35,000 a year or so. That's pretty good here. The game was played outdoors at the YMCA...tar court, mattresses against the wall under the basket, wood backboards, and a really annoying announcer. The fans are hilarious with their heckling...basically because they speak with an accent and use ridiculous phrases that are more polite than heckle. This wouldn't fly in the US. "Pass the ball, you do not need to be the superstar in this game." My girlfriend yelled out "bullshit" after a call and I didn't know if that would fly. I wanted to quote Coming to America during a lull in the action "yes, yes in his face" but realized that no one would get the reference. A few of the players were pretty good and could probably play D1. Not sure about the pros though. Only 7 foot Africans get to play in the NBA. It's a rule.
7. The beer here sucks. What I would give for an IPA or Pale Ale. All they drink are lagers. They all taste the same, which is to say like piss.
8. Classic Ugandan food is not the best. My only exposure to it is at the IDI canteen for lunch every weekday. It consists of posho (solidified corn meal), rice, matoke (mashed plantains), potatoes, kasava (a tasteless root), sweet potatoes, as well as your choice of a protein (fish, chicken, beef, beans or g nut sauce). I usually go for the beans or g nut sauce. G nuts (ground nuts) basically taste like peanuts. However the sauce doesn't taste like peanut butter; still, it is tasty. Can't complain as it costs about $0.25 or $0.50 for lunch. I suppose the fresh fruit is pretty nice too, however I'm tired of bananas.
9. I eat at an Indian restaurant multiple times a week. There are numerous in the city and it is my meal of choice. Large South Asian presence here.
10. I thought all Africans were skinny. There are some hefty women here...not American hefty, but still. It must be all the carbs in their food.
11. The internet is slow as shit. Honestly, it's like we're back on dialup with AOL.
12. My apartment. How often does the water need to shut off? Can we go a whole week with running water, is that too much to ask? The blackouts get annoying too. At least we have flashlights and it typically is back in a few hours. The water will go out for days at a time. Not good when you sweat like a pig and it's dusty as hell. We have backup water for showers and toilet in the form of giant water jugs. Loads of fun.
13. Laundry. Yeah, I'll be doing this by hand. Awesome.
14. Wildlife. Crazy ass birds everywhere. Some people also have goats and chickens in their yards and/or roaming around the neighborhood. This is in a city of 1.5-2 million! The best was when I saw a herd of longhorn cattle walk by me on my road as I was getting dropped off by a taxi. Honestly, wtf?

15. People try to rip me off because I am white. This is usually the taxi and boda (motorbike taxi) drivers. Getting better at bartering.
16. Things fall into disrepair and basically stay that way. The roads are terrible. The sidewalks too. Although sidewalks are a luxury. Usually I'm walking down the side of the road hoping not to get hit by something. That's the way they do it, so I guess I need to get used to it.
17. The city is really interesting in that it is built on numerous hills. Basically the richest live at the top. The poor are at the bottom. The poverty here is eye opening. We are pretty lucky in the US, but honestly the way things are going (rich punking the poor over and over and over...) we might end up similarly. I'm looking forward to a post-apocalyptic world. This is assuming it happens in my lifetime.
18. Everyone has cell phones and they buy minutes as they need them. Much better system for those of us who never talk on the phone and overpay for the service in the US.
19. I never understood the impact of HIV/AIDS until now. It's such a minor problem in the US, but it is everywhere here. We really need to find a cure. There shouldn't be children living with HIV due to no fault of their own.
20. This really is an interesting place and it's starting to grow on me. I do miss some of the things we take for granted in the US, but it's an experience I'll never forget. Being here for 8 months will allow me plenty of time to explore East Africa. I'm looking forward to the many trips we plan to make while here. Especially those dealing with monkeys and apes...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rollins no punk

Its always a good day when long-time Philly sports columnist and surfer Bill Conlin uses the term "spiked jackboots" in a column. When it comes after a improbable walk-off win over the Dodgers, all the better. In fact, that column is epic -- just like last night's game. Not that I would know, because I fell asleep.

Terrible. The only excuse is that I am still recovering from the binge I went on after the Game 2 loss. Which was what, 4 days ago? It's a bit hazy. I do remember screaming in a friend of mines' face at the bar. And running after some weird long-haired white animal that was later determined to be a skunk. Good times. Where was I?

Oh right:

Some nights you get the Big Dodger in the Sky. And some nights the Big Dodger in the Sky gets you.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Artistic growth?

I remember when I heard Kanye's first album, and was all like -- this shit is awesome (no more borrowing from mom for my high). But then his second album came out and I was disappointed. Fuck that Golddigger song. Jamie Foxx should stick to movies about musicians and football players. But despite my personal opinion West became more famous and popular. Later there was backlash from the drunken award show antics. But who doesn't have demons right? Just gotta cut them out of your stomach after vomiting up rose petals.

edit: Original taken down, so its been replaced by this shoddier Youtube version. Until that gets taken down as well, at which point it will be replaced (per anonymous' suggestion) by a picture of Carlos Ruiz/goats. Or you know, not.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Today, we are all balloon boy

This is what happens when I take a "sick day" and avoid all news or news-type information for a day: The biggest non-story of the year breaks. It's got everything one would want in a hyped-up piece of bullshit: A missing child, home-made mylar balloons, an amateur scientist experiment gone wrong because of meddling kids, live video of an inanimate object, and vomiting. It's like the OJ's white bronco chase, without the tragedy of a murdered white woman.

So no one died, or even suffered a disfiguring injury. Which is a shame, because now it's open season for jokes about the situation, instead of just callous assholes like myself making inappropriate and possibly offensive comments. For example: The kid's name is "Falcon" which would have been awesome if he had in fact fell to his death. Because he couldn't fly, you see. But no, now yesterday will go down in history alongside such hilarious media overreactions to non-moments as the day Paris Hilton was arrested, the Michael Phelps bong picture, and Dick Cheney shooting his friend in the face. Such is life.

Was it all a publicity grab? Is it wrong to exploit the hysteria of a 24-hour news cycle for another chance to appear on the television show Wife Swap? I don't think it's wrong to say anyone who deeply cares about the travails of this family should be publicly flogged. In fact, that could just be the shiny new non-event that next captures the public's imagination. A game show in which idiots compete to see who cares the least about the latest Wolf Blitzer inanity, with the threat of corporal punishment for the loser(s). The bottom line is with any luck at least a few of the lives in this family are ruined forever, wilted in the glare of the harsh spotlight in a world they never made.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My keyboard works again!

Never underestimate the healing powers of "letting that shit chill for a while" to fix what's broken. It even works on inanimate objects with no regenerative properties whatsoever. I'm going to celebrate by typing up a passage from The Great Shark Hunt that caught my eye while I was on the shitter.

That's fine, I said. But I couldn't really get into it. I was all for it, you understand, but only on the basis of a personal friendship. Most of my friends are into into strange things I don't totally understand—and with a few shameful exceptions I wish them all well. Who am I, after all, to tell some friend he shouldn't change his name to Oliver High, get rid of his family and join a Satanism cult in Seattle? Or to argue with another friend who wants to buy a single-shot Remington Fireball so he can go out and shoot cops from a safe distance?
Whatever's right, I say. Never fuck with a friend's head by accident. And if their private trips get out of control now and then—well, you do what has to be done.
-Strange Rumblings in Aztlan

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I love this team

Filled with adulterated glee, fueled by booze bukkake, Brett Myers later continued to celebrate the Phillies come from behind win in Colorado by paying a 19-year-old University of Denver freshman to beat the shit out of a bum with an empty champagne bottle. That bum's name? Dante Bichette. After coming to, Bichette was arrested for trying to enact a poorly conceived revenge beating, considering the Phillies had already flown back to Philadelphia while he was unconscious and bleeding in a bus terminal bathroom.

Jesus. Where the hell did that come from? Surely if I had typed something last night during the game it wouldn't be as depraved. It's unfortunate then that my auxiliary keyboard went on the fritz -- rendering me unable to type the letters m and h. In the past I have worked around this by copy and pasting them from various other websites. But last night jangled nerves and tired eyes prevented any such emergence. So here I am the next morning trying to capture some of the paling joy afforded myself and the rest of the Philadelphia region.

It was (is?) a great feeling -- something akin to this, in which the Phillies are the car, the kids at the bus stop are the Huston Street and Rockies, and the fans are the excited commentator. In this analogy Ryan Howard is the front driver side tire (or tyre, in the parlance of that video) and Chase Utley is the puddle.

Soaking British schoolchildren aside, not everyone feels this way. Take for example the salesperson I overheard this morning, whom I pity. She said something along the lines of "They were playing bad so I turned on 'Dancing with the Stars' and then I turned back and it was 4-2, did they win?" These are the perils of working in an office with aging dinosaurs.

But who cares about that woman right? Go sell some print ads to car dealers while you can you old battle-ax. For the rest of us this is a time to bask in the reflected glory of our sports heroes, until Thursday. These are men who refuse to give up even when everyone else is filled with dread. Men who say badass shit like "Get me to the plate boys" and then back it up. Men who spit in the face of people named Yorvit. As they should.

Monday, October 12, 2009

So banal

This video makes me want to beat "Internet" people over the head and back with reprints of classical paintings, and then stab them with the shards of the broken wood frames. But it has animals! That cat is riding a Roomba!

Friday, October 09, 2009

This is bad news ... for Obama

"Thoughts like a hundred moths. Trapped in a lampshade."

That Rage Against the Machine lyric seems as good a place as any to start what is sure to be a meandering, often pointless exercise in typing. Hmmm, born of a broken man. Still, better to put these political thoughts out there, into the internet ether, than not. Will it make sense? Will it matter?

One idea that has been bouncing around my skull for the past week or so concerns the Olympics, or lack thereof. Single tear for Chicago and all that. But anyone who doubted that the games were going to Rio is an idiot, in retrospect. The only question that remains now is how "City of God" relates to the new inclusion of golf as a medal sport. Well maybe not the only question, but the number of questions that remain is not germane to much, if anything. The point in this case is how it relates to American presidential politics.

Obama critics scored cheap points following this perceived defeat. Which is fine, if you are into spite. Krugman sums it up well. It seems to me that this decision (flying to Copenhagen to campaign for his adopted hometown) was made with emotion, not logic. A rookie presidential mistake perhaps? Opening oneself up for attacks by trying to do good for country and city. It does seem half-assed, flying around the world for a couple hours to try and make up for however many years of ill-will sown by previous administrations. But that could very well be the nut of the Obama presidency thus far: Frantic, futile scrambling after years of going down the perceived wrong path. Perceived? Way to hedge your bets you spineless alarmist.

This brings us to the news of the day: Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. It is a bit surprising, even though he's first person of color to elected the top office in a Western Nation, and extended an olive branch to the world, somehow despite two wars. But he's only been in office for 9 months or so. It is natural to assume that the award is more for what Obama represents, than what he has actually accomplished. This is acceptable, symbolism. The politics of hope get votes. But it's still just a marketing gimmick. For every story about tossing lobbyists out of high-powered panels, there seems to be ten on how he's just another tool for the oligarchy, all from Matt Taibbi.

Gah. Politics. Thinking too much about it strains my lymphatic system. So I guess I'll just press publish and go look at halloween costumes.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Carlos Ruiz is underappreciated, pudgy

There is no doubt catcher is one of less glamorous positions in sport. There are exceptions of course but do not let them distract you from the squatting anonymity most mask-wearing men behind the plate enjoy. And Carlos is the rule, not the exception. Some local fans call him Chooch, and less call him Hot Carl, but these nicknames do nothing for the general public. Outside of Philadelphia and Panama the man can walk down the street with nary a person approaching him for an autograph or a job not on a banana plantation.

The fact is the man should have been the World Series MVP last year, but whoever chooses that award instead went with the feminine aloofness of Cole Hamels. One can only assume that the World Series MVP voters don't take much heed in "tough outs" or "blocking balls in the dirt" or even "handling the pitching staff." But Holy Sweating Jesus, give the man his due. He does in fact do all of those things and likely more. Somebody knows this, why else would he be featured on the World Series poster I have, twice.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Books. Books? Books!

There are few things more satisfying than a good book. In particular a book you own -- not those cheap sluts from the library. You don't know where those things have been. Although if you want something quick and easy there's damn near one in every town. The point is that I recently bought a couple books, from an independent bookstore.

First off, as you may have discerned from the picture up top, is The Great Shark Hunt by Hunter S. Thompson. This thing is a massive collection of his writings and essays from when he was in his prime. A veritable HST reader. Just great stuff -- take for example "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved" in which he starts by laying a terrible lie on some Texan about the Black Panthers starting a riot, and then he and Steadman devolve into drunken chaos and macings. I am a huge HST nerd, so this thing is like catnip.

The other one, if you care, is The Crying of Lot 49, by Thomas Pynchon. I've long wanted to try out one of this reclusive bastard's books, and this one is only 150 pages long or so, far less daunting than say Gravity's Rainbow. It's hilarious, puns and all. Also it makes me feel smart to understand the symbolism of the main character putting on like 50 articles of clothing for a game of strip "guess how this movie that I was in as a child actor ends." That's a game right?

So remember, reading is fun and educational, as long as it's not Jonathan Ames, who apparently "bangs the ugliest grad students."

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The world is ending for some reason

New conventional wisdom: Collapsing buildings are best dodged in limousines.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Fall television, yes?

Like most Americans, I get extremely excited when a new TV season dawns. Near hysteria, like a political debate during the birth of a child. This is especially true these days now that we are in what's been dubbed somewhere as a new "Golden Age of TV." Unfortunately the sheer number of channels and shows means that you have to wade through all manner of dreck to reach the sweet goodness. Here's what I, and thus you, should be watching. Be warned: I have like every goddamn channel in the world, so you may not have access to these shows. If that is the case I recommend you tune into Jay Leno.

Amazing Race (CBS)
Reality TV is not my bag, this is the exception that proves the rule. Teams of two race around the world, with lots of arguing. Usually the teams fit into some neat little category: For example this season has "The Massholes" "The Christian Douchebags" and "The nerdy friends, one of whom has Asperger's Syndrome" as I call them. But the the real stars of the show are the locations and local people, which are varied and awesome. Although the first episode was the worst I've ever seen, with the contestants competing in a Japanese Game Show.

Californication (Showtime)
For some reason I resisted this until recently. Something about a series on Showtime seemed unnatural and wrong. But Jesus Christ this show. You know its raw when some guy does the Mangina and it's par for the course. Damn you Pope! A plotline from season's past include David Duchovny's character having his novel "Fucking and Punching" stolen by the teenager that was part of his inspiration for the book. Also you can watch the first episode of the new season on Youtube, but it is heavily censored for good or ill.

Bored to Death (HBO)
Look past the show's lame-ass yet accurate tagline "A Noir-rotic Comedy" because it may be quite good. I wasn't sold on the pilot, but the second episode had me rolling a couple times, particularly the bits with Ted Danson and Zach Galafinakis. The jury is still out, but it has promise with its weird darkness.

Community (NBC)
Aided by a somehow funny again Chevy Chase, that guy from The Soup (basically playing himself) makes his way through a community college filled with various misfits and eccentrics. It's funny because he's a cynic surrounded by idiots.

Also watched: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Kitten Mittens!), Sons of Anarchy, The Office. There's others too, but I don't give a shit about this post anymore.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Of fucking course

Finally someone has answered the question no one was asking, "What if Skeletor was an American Apparel model living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn?" Our long national nightmare is finally over. Or just beginning. Via The Awl

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

News you can use (?): Flirting with Magic edition

From now on I'm going straight to Everything is Terrible anytime I want a quick, no think post. More later? Perhaps, depending on how fast I can bang out a column for my paying gig.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A short story idea

An unreliable narrator has a lucid dream where he goes back in time and gets in a drunken sword-fight with Ronald Reagan on the set of "Bedtime for Bonzo" only the chimp gets killed. Upon waking up back in the present, it turns out that his dream actually happened and Reagan's career never recovered from this setback. Armed with the knowledge that he can make his dreams reality, he goes back to sleep only to get stuck in the universe of some television show, True Blood or Mad Men probably. That's about it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Who likes to watch?

Many times when this blog goes through a posting drought like the past week or so, it's not for lack of ideas, but for lack of execution. For example, upon watching the outstanding satire "Being There" starring Peter Sellers (see clip up top) my mind immediately began making comparisons between it and Don DeLillo's White Noise, which I finished reading a couple weeks ago.

Granted, I should have tried to put something down at the time. Now I forget it all, except that there was television. Also a funny scene where Sellers refers to an elevator as a very small room. No specifics, but I'm going to attempt an exploration of the ideas that I can think of, fruitless as they may prove. As an old editor of mine used to say: "Hack it out." Good advice for any writer.

The plots are dissimilar -- "Being There" is about an television-obsessed idiot leaving the house for the first time and becoming a top economic adviser to the president; White Noise is about Jack Gladney, director of a college Hitler Studies department, and his family as they deal with among other things, an "Airborne Toxic Event" and a drug that supposedly cures the fear of death. It also has television, especially commercials as a background constant -- white noise I guess you could say.

There is an outstanding article on White Noise here, in which the author writes:

Now that people everywhere in America have seen the same television shows and movies and read the same books and articles, they share a wealth of common memories - but unfortunately, these are not memories of actual life, but memories of media manufactured situations and characters. Our collective unconscious is tainted, cluttered with media images and advertisements, catch phrases and jingles.

How does this relate to the scene in Being There where Sellers watches Basketball Jones? It's hard to say. But I think the nut may be how Sellers character, Chance the Gardener (or Chauncey Gardener), is so focused on TV over all else. Threatened by a hood with a knife, he responds by trying to change the channel. His ignorance to everything outside of television makes him an idiot savant when it comes to dealing with economic policy.

Ah god, this is such a failure. Should have known it was totally fucked when I referred to a "former editor." But whatever, its a blog, not serious. Publish post.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Giant baby

I'm going to cold start neglecting the shit out of this blog, until I don't. Too busy videotaping minor regional celebrities talking to the elderly about Facebook and JFK. Until then (probably later today) look at this enormous baby!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Goddammit Ferrell

As if the millions of dollars the insurance company lobby was throwing around Washington wasn't bad enough. Now they have paid off a number of recognizable if not nameable celebrity type people. I'm so upset I turned the video off half-way through.

Thanks boss

The other day I had one of those "performance reviews" in which the boss judges how well I am doing my job. I guess this is a fairly common in most workplaces, and could even be valuable to both employer and employee, if done regularly and well. Thing is, neither of those words could be used in this particular case.

It consisted of a quick stop at my desk in which my boss (think a smarter, less innocent Michael Scott from The Office) handed me the evaluation form, which he had checked off in what appeared to the the quickest way possible, straight down the page.

"Performance review," he said within earshot of at least 10 coworkers. "Your fine. The only thing is you need to be more of a prick. Which we will work with you on." That was it.

I have no idea what this means, but nevertheless I have taken it to heart. No longer will I be nice to people who call here looking for their paper and get my desk because there is no receptionist and all calls are routed to the newsroom for some reason. It's cliche, but someday I'd like to work for a real news organization.

Before I would cooperate with subscribers to find some obscure article that "ran about a month ago on page 3" about a "task force" but no longer. Everyone who reads this fishwrapper is a goddamn moron, especially anyone who calls in. And the writers are all terrible, either young idiots or old imbeciles. They wouldn't know a good lead if it crashed into them like a small airplane flown by Cory Lidle (Timely!).