Monday, June 28, 2010

Selected quotes from an article in the news

The Rolling Stone profile of General Stanley McChrystal by Michael Hastings made all kinds of news last week. People were very upset! Eventually the General was fired or resigned or something. But I get the feeling that few if anyone who loudly bloviated on the subject actually read the piece, which in fairness is thousands of words long. While reading it I repeatedly thought "The guy got canned for this?" I thought it seemed pretty flattering, for an article in Rolling Stone Magazine about a man whose job is to organize the killing of people. It didn't even include the phrase "vampire squid." Anyway: Here are things I copied and pasted that may or may not make sense taken out of context. Oh, and read it yourself here if you want.

"'I'd rather have my ass kicked by a roomful of people than go out to this dinner,' McChrystal says.
He pauses a beat.
'Unfortunately,' he adds, "no one in this room could do it.'"

"COIN, as the theory is known, is the new gospel of the Pentagon brass, a doctrine that attempts to square the military's preference for high-tech violence with the demands of fighting protracted wars in failed states. COIN calls for sending huge numbers of ground troops to not only destroy the enemy, but to live among the civilian population and slowly rebuild, or build from scratch, another nation's government – a process that even its staunchest advocates admit requires years, if not decades, to achieve. The theory essentially rebrands the military, expanding its authority (and its funding) to encompass the diplomatic and political sides of warfare: Think the Green Berets as an armed Peace Corps."

"The general's staff is a handpicked collection of killers, spies, geniuses, patriots, political operators and outright maniacs."

"By midnight at Kitty O'Shea's, much of Team America is completely shitfaced. Two officers do an Irish jig mixed with steps from a traditional Afghan wedding dance, while McChrystal's top advisers lock arms and sing a slurred song of their own invention. "Afghanistan!" they bellow. "Afghanistan!" They call it their Afghanistan song."

"McChrystal steps away from the circle, observing his team. "All these men," he tells me. 'I'd die for them. And they'd die for me.'"

"Being a highly intelligent badass, he discovered, could take you far – especially in the political chaos that followed September 11th."

"After Cpl. Pat Tillman, the former-NFL-star-turned-Ranger, was accidentally killed by his own troops in Afghanistan in April 2004, McChrystal took an active role in creating the impression that Tillman had died at the hands of Taliban fighters."

"McChrystal has issued some of the strictest directives to avoid civilian casualties that the U.S. military has ever encountered in a war zone. It's "insurgent math," as he calls it – for every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies...There's talk of creating a new medal for "courageous restraint," a buzzword that's unlikely to gain much traction in the gung-ho culture of the U.S. military."

"'I get COIN. I get all that. McChrystal comes here, explains it, it makes sense. But then he goes away on his bird, and by the time his directives get passed down to us through Big Army, they're all fucked up – either because somebody is trying to cover their ass, or because they just don't understand it themselves. But we're fucking losing this thing.'"

"Even Afghans are confused by Afghanistan"

"So far, counterinsurgency has succeeded only in creating a never-ending demand for the primary product supplied by the military: perpetual war."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Holy Fuck

OK that picture doesn't do the adrenaline that is still coursing through my veins and arteries justice, nearly an hour after Donovan put the U.S. through to the knockout stages with a goal in the last minutes (edit: now with a guy screaming in spanish). RIGHT AT THE DEATH! This is better (via):

Take that Algeria, you French-born bastards! Now we can look forward to a match Saturday at 2:30 p.m. against Germany or Serbia or Ghana or Australia depending on what happens this afternoon. The only thing I can guarantee at this point is that somebody's going to be tying one on that day.

One other thing that occurs to me on the comedown. There are few sporting events that can still get the butterflies stirring in the goat's old stomach like this. Professional sports just don't do it anymore, at least not since the 2008 Phils did their thing and let a generation of a city to feel what it was like for their high-paid heroes to win it all. You only have to look back at the posts from September and October of that year* to see I was into it, then. But these days it takes the World Cup, or college football involving my alma mater and 70 pass attempts in bowl games to get that head in hands/rocking in my seat heebie-jeebies going. Probably has something to do with a fan-player dichotomy that exists in pro sports and not in amateur. But who the fuck cares about that right now. America! Fuck Yeah!

*with classic phrases like "Hot 'Cooch' Carl's game-winning nubber"

also this

I kind of wish it was possible to use animated gifs in casual conversation.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

But now kids buy shit. They really buy shit. Kids buy designer stuff. So you're being constantly pounded by marketing. And if you want to be a rebel, well, there's rebel clothing companies. There's rebel stick-on tattoos. You can get a rebel skateboard. You just pick your rebel mode and there's a whole online shopping network that you can be a part of. So kids may look punk or feel punk, but what they're kind of doing is the same as like, being really swept up in high school sports or something. But when I was a kid, you didn't know. I was like, "I guess Kraftwerk is punk?" I remember I got Sex Pistols, Kraftwerk's Computer World and Venom on the same day. And I thought it was all punk. It was just everything that was weird. Everything that wasn't Bruce Springsteen-- who turns out to be a lot punker than I thought at the time.
-it's reassuring when your taste in music corresponds with your politics

Thursday, June 17, 2010

You win this round, Associated Press

Oh man, this article about the "beer pong world championships" could well be my favorite thing I have ever put on a news website. I can't decide which is my favorite, that "about 100 contestants look like Eminem" or the Itzhak Perlman reference in the same paragraph as the phrase crotch-grabbing. Also good: The related photos on the wire include one of a guy working one of those DUI ignition interlock devices. And I'd commend the writer in getting both sides of the story, with quotes from contestants bragging about their drinking prowess as well as other saying its about the skill, not the drinking.

Whoa, hey, I'm awake, geez

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Somber but uplifting?

Yeah I know, that video may just be the hipsterest hipster that ever hipstered. People dressed in panda suits of some sort. Weird messy performance art. It could probably use more twee. But still, I highly recommend the new album from LCD Soundsystem, This is happening. (listen to this, and be sure to keep it going through 3:09). Shit owns.

NPR calls the guy who is in charge of this group (project?) a dance-punk guru. I didn't know dance-punk was a thing until I started making this post, but hey, apparently I like it. James Murphy is the guy's name. I could type more stuff about it, no doubt, like how he had some sort of rivalry with Death From Above 1979 before they disbanded, or how I've listened to "All My Friends" like a million times or how this song sounds like Bowie. But I'm rapidly approaching the limit on amount of effort I put into this blog on a weekly basis, so if you want to know more use google you lazy fucks.

In conclusion, in case you are keeping track, the goats required summer media consumption list now looks like this:
1. Black Dynamite
2. LCD Soundsystem's This is Happening
3. Spaghetti Westerns?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Just bought a vuvuzela

These instructions are included, I believe

The "big talking point" so far in World Cup internet circles is the vuvuzela. It is a plastic horn that is a traditional fan accessory in African soccer, and thousands of them played simultaneously in a stadium sounds like millions of bees*, to those watching on television.

Now internet people are all like "How dare this international tournament be sullied by local traditions" and "The vuvuzela is ear rape." Statements like these piss me right the fuck off. Like, how condescending can you possibly be, wankers of the developed world? However can one enjoy the games when subjected to that infernal buzzing sound? Better a slight buzzing than monkey chants and xenophobia, RIGHT EUROPE?

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I am firmly in support of the blowing of vuvuzelas. So much so that I just ordered one off some soccer website. Off course now its saying they are out of stock. Damn you global demand curves! Hopefully they will get more soon, because I'm really excited about refuting anti-vuvuzela arguments via blaring vuvuzela.

*They're defending themselves somehow!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Given that Marmaduke is a movie nobody asked for, nobody enjoyed, and nobody will remember, why was it made? Dear readers, I believe this film to be a cinematic time capsule, a veritable cross section of a sick society that pours $50 million and countless man-hours into a cultural artifact nobody gives a shit about, like the Phoenicians' idol to Ba'al. The film will find a shelf life on DVD and lie undisturbed in NetFlix warehouses until civilization dies. When the smoke clears, our descendants will find this film hidden in a bunker somewhere, nod their heads sagely, and murmur with their leper tongues, "This is why they fell."

-somebody is thinking way too hard about Marmaduke

Saturday, June 12, 2010

It's kind of a big deal

It's funny because Americans are stupid.

More things posted here as the day goes on? It's a possibility!

Here's something: Bring the annoyance of vuvuzelas to your home viewing experience with this site, which includes bonus double entendres. Wu Tang Killa Bees, etc.

David Beckham is not pleased about the England goalkeeping situation. Glorious ties!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Important things, they are a-happening

Sports! Do you care about them? Increasingly, it seems the answer may be yes! This became apparent to me when I was on facebook this morning, to update my employer's page on the marketing/dating/photo-sharing site. Linky linky! Links to webpages pages within links to webpages: The internet may or may not be based on some sort of chinese doll system. But I digress.

In having to log in to facebook, one is forced to look at a so-called "news feed" in which any of the other people out there I have deemed worthy of being my friend can post whatever the heck they want, which is mostly what they or their children recently ate and/or pooped. But who am I kidding, you know how facebook works. How did we ever live without it! I used to not (know how the site works or use it) but now I have to because I am paid increasingly small amounts of money (if inflation is taken into account) to know those very things. Job skills!

So this morning I logged in and what should I see but not pictures of people's babies and dogs, but a bunch of things about the Stanley Cup (or as I like to call it, the World Cup of Canada). But the information that was appearing in my "news feed" was very conflicting. Apparently, some people were happy about the outcome of the games, while others were deeply sad! Upon further review, it seemed like there was some regional bias in effect, like people from Chicago liked what happened, and people from Philadelphia did not. One person just said "WOOOOOOOOOO!!" with no context whatsoever! Very confusing.

"Where are the fact checkers!" I thought. It's almost like anyone can put whatever they want in my news feed, whenever they want, with no regard for actual facts or whether I might actually care what they are saying or whether it actually fits the universally-accepted definition of news. I assume that facebook has a bunch of money from selling all the information it has about everyone, surely it could afford to pay an editor or three! Take a little pride in your work, that way I wouldn't have to sort through all sorts of banal nonsense just to post an amusing (to me) inside joke about setting people on fire and poking people's eyes out with Denny's menus on someone's note about Nebraska joining the Big Ten (This is true, look it up!).

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Fuck the World/Feed it beans

"Two pills I pop/Til' my pupils swell up like two pennies/I'm Clint Eastwood in his mid-20s/A young ass man with a trash can strapped to the back of his ass/so the rats can't chew through his last pants"
-Under the Influence

I remember working at Pizza Hut summer after freshman year of college, the year 2000, it seemed like a world of unlimited possibilities was right around the corner, in Coatesville. There was this guy who also worked there, Eric, who used to recite Eminem lyrics while stuffing crusts with string cheese or squirting vegetable oil into deep dish pans. That one up top always stuck with me, along with "Hit the trees like Sonny Bono, oh no!" and "Fuck shit ass bitch cunt shooby-dee-doo-wop."

Eric and I were friends in the sense that we got along, shot the shit like two of the more intelligent people employed at said hut would do. I'd say we had a mutual respect. Neither of us had any kids out of wedlock, both of us graduated from the same high school and both of us enjoyed smoking pot on the job. Eventually I went back to school, that Pizza Hut got boarded up and I maybe saw Eric a couple times at parties, thanks the the hazy ways social circles of drug-using suburban youth can intersect.

Flash forward to a year or so ago and I see a police report here at the paper, fatal car accident. The dead man's name looked familiar, it was Eric. He had gotten in a head-on collision with a bunch of drunken Mexicans, late on a Saturday night. It's a fucked up thing, when a peer dies. Still, everyone knows a couple kids from high school who flew too close to the sun or whatever. You pour some out and move on in your life, it's healthy.

But when I watched the new Eminem video "Not Afraid" where he raps about facing his demons, kicking drugs, growing up, etc. it made me think of Eric. Yes, it's unfair to think that if the kid had heard this song, he would like somehow still be alive. Listening to one song cannot make a difference in a person's life. But there is something there, some flash of electrons in my brain at least, even if I can't "coherently" type it out. It makes me sad, I think.

People are way into Eminem, according to his raps (although it's likely that there is less obsession these days than those heady times after the Marshall Mathers LP dropped in 2000). And those people may not make the best life choices. And now this guy, this most profane and immature of rappers, who once had a public feud with a talking dog puppet, who wrote graphic rhymes about killing his ex-wife and kidnapping his child, is showing signs of maturity. And that means anyone can grow up, unless they're dead.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Ennio Morricone you magnificent bastard

Protip: If a guy is galloping away on a horse and trying to steal bags of gold of which only you know the location, be sure to fire a civil war cannon at him.

Other thing: Tuco may well be the original proverbial turd that would not flush. Bad flushing is a proverb right?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

A great scene in cinematic history

So there's this part toward the end of the 1993 John Woo/Jean-Claude Van Damme actioner "Hard Target" where Van Damme and the girl are fleeing through the Louisiana bayou (on their way to see a bow-and-arrow toting, moonshine-brewing Wilford Brimley no less) and they stop and Jean-Claude asks the girl if she trusts him and to shut her eyes. She's all swoony and like "Why do you want me to shut my eyes, Jean-Claude" and shuts them and puckers up. Jean-Claude is somber, and grabs a rattlesnake that was lurking over her shoulder. The girl has one of the all-time great bug-eye takes when she sees the snake. I spent a good 15 minutes trying to get a good screenshot of this, but then the batteries on my digital camera died. Anyway, Jean-Claude, still somber in what I assume is a Cajun way (Cajun somberocity is a decent description of how he plays his character, Chance Boudreaux, throughout the film) then punches the snake out and bites off its rattle (pictured above). That way when the group of human-hunting bad guys pass through the area later, they won't suspect that a now silent rattlesnake is about to fall out of a tree when they pass under it. Which it does, biting a guy in the face. Then Lance Hendrickson blows its (the snake's) head off with his single-loading high caliber handgun (someone shoots the guy who got bit in the face too, I forget if it was Hendrickson).

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

This is why we can't be friends

You use the word bangin' as an adjective. If sentences like "This shrimp scampi dinner from Red Lobster is bangin'" I'm sorry. (edit: I also hate complete sentences, apparently)

You eat at Red Lobster, for that matter.

You harass coworkers about getting in on a Powerball jackpot pool. Spoiler alert: You are not going to win.

You update your facebook status with details of a recent vasectomy. Congratulations, you're sterile, and not the PM of New Zealand.

Your self-esteem is inexplicably high. No one cares about whatever the hell self-important bullshit you are blathering about today. Seriously, you work here part-time managing the interns, get over yourself.

You say things like "The Ladies Man is the funniest movie ever" and mean it.

Side commentary: Well, that's a nice little petulant list for a Wednesday. The goats are starving!