Wednesday, December 31, 2008
So, today, Dec. 31, 2008, will be the last day of A Place Called B.L.O.G.
(Isn't it dramatic when I put a big important statement in its own paragraph like that? I learned that trick in journalism school.)
This blog has been a fun diversion for me since I started it in 2004. I've written some stuff I think is pretty good, other stuff I'd rather not read again, and a lot of pointless random things that amused me and (sometimes) my core group of loyal readers. Those four years were a time in my life when I felt like I needed this outlet. I had a lot of new energy and a desire to play around with words, share my thoughts with anybody interested in listening, and devote some of my free time to creating something that I found engaging. When I write or edit professionally, I have usually had to be deadly serious about most things, but this was a place for me to let my hair down, so to speak.
But I think that period is over. I've gotten a lot of that stuff out of my system, and when ideas occur to me nowadays, they seem amusing but more often than not they also seem like they've been done before. And in contrast to a good chunk of that 2004-2008 time, I don't have the free time to sit at a computer and develop my ideas. In the past, I tried to have something on the blog every day, and sometimes more than once a day, but lately that's not practical. I guess you might say I got a life. A lot of those posts from the olden days started out as germs of an idea that I sat down and messed with until it became something I felt like publishing. That's not something that's a high priority for me anymore.
This is the part where I say I've appreciated hearing from those of you who've enjoyed my blog. It's been a good way to make and strengthen connections with people, and I'll always be grateful for that. When I'd post something, it was always fun to see that somebody had posted a comment, or to have one of you comment to me about something I'd written. There were never more than a handful of comments on any particular post, but that's OK with me. For a while this was a sleepy little corner of the Internet where me and a few others had a few laughs, made a few memories, and learned long-lasting life lessons, which is important because they don't make after-school specials anymore.
I'm planning on starting a new family blog that I'll post on occasionally, so those of you who want to keep in touch can check in once in a while and see what we're up to. It seems like that kind of blogging is a better fit with where I'm at right now, and I'm looking forward to it.
One last thing: Strangely, one of the things I enjoyed most about this blog, even though I never had any evidence that my audience enjoyed it, was what I referred to as "pretending to be a critic." One of the good things about having a blog is that you don't have to work for the Village Voice or Rolling Stone or some shit in order to share your opinions about things like music and movies. It's the Internet age, and any jackass can share his opinion if he chooses. So, one last time, I'm going to be that jackass. I am going to share with you my final list, the list of my favorite music that came out in 2008 (so far, since I haven't heard all I want to hear yet, and some stuff will require more listens to really peg down). CHECK IT OUT:
1. Why?, "Alopecia"
2. Deerhunter, "Microcastle/Weird Era Cont."
3. No Age, "Nouns"
4. TV On The Radio, "Dear Science"
5. Titus Andronicus, "The Airing of Grievances"
6. Women, self-titled
7. Santogold, self-titled
8. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, "Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!"
9. Fleet Foxes, self-titled
10. Marnie Stern, "This is It and I am It ..."
11. The Ruby Suns, "Sea Lion"
12. Ponytail, "Ice Cream Spiritual"
13. Jay Reatard: "Matador Singles '08"
14. The Walkmen, "You & Me"
15. Portishead, "Third"
16. Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, "We Brave Bee Stings and All"
17. Gang Gang Dance, "St. Dymphna"
18. Crystal Antlers, "Crystal Antlers EP"
19. Beck, "Modern Guilt"
20. The Breeders, "Mountain Battles"
And so, thus ends the age of A Place Called B.L.O.G. See ya!
Friday, December 19, 2008
Look to me for advice
Isn’t it flattering when people want your advice? I think it is. It means somebody thinks your opinion is worthwhile.
Being able to give good advice really is all about a few key qualities. One is having lots of varied experiences. Another is being the kind of person who pays attention, notices things, remembers them, and makes connections about cause and effect. Also, it helps if you are not dumb.
It’s good to know people who you think you can trust and whose opinion you value. I have found it to be very helpful. And I wish to return the favor. Therefore, I would like to make it known to you, my dear friends, that I am available for all your advice-getting needs. Sometimes people are not sure if they can approach a certain person for advice, but in this case, I want there to be no doubt that I am open to such requests.
Just to get the ball rolling, here is some unsolicited advice from me to you.
* If you don’t already do it, CHECK THE POCKETS OF PANTS BEFORE YOU WASH THEM. I don’t normally resort to capital letters like that, but I need to impress upon you just how important this is. Crayons, in particular, can cause problems when tumbled around in a dryer for an hour or so. I’ve also heard that lipstick, candy, pens and such things can be a bear. Especially crayons, though.
* Get some sleep. Sleep is good. I love sleep. Everybody should get plenty of sleep.
* Do not allow anybody to bring crayons into your house. In fact, keep them at least 100 yards away from your house at all times. Especially the laundry room.
* Don’t drink soda pop. It has sugar or caffeine or whatever, which is nice in a way, but really, it just makes you feel miserable in the end. Drink water instead. It’s delicious and refreshing.
* The brake is the one on the left.
* It is a wise idea to write your U.S. Senators and Representatives and ask for laws banning the manufacture or use of crayons on American soil. This menace must be stopped!
* Don’t forget to look at the big picture. I saw a big picture once, at a museum. It was really cool. I think you should go and look at it.
* Seriously, though, look at the big picture. Getting too engrossed in the details or the momentary setbacks makes you blind to reality. So, don’t do that.
* Finally, don’t mess with Jack Bauer. It’s just not worth it. He will make you pay. Maybe not this hour, maybe not in four hours, maybe not in 12 hours. But sometime in the following 24 hours, you will pay and pay dearly.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Sometimes, people say to me, "Do you have any tattoos?" And since I don’t have any, I’ll say, "Yes, and maybe you’ll get to see them someday if you’re lucky."
OK. I don’t really say that. That would be misleading. And also kind of a weird thing to say to people. Come to think of it, that’s a really dumb thing to say for several reasons. But the point is, when you were reading that sentence, you weren’t expecting that, were you? No, you weren’t. I’m unpredictable that way. You just never know what I’m going to write next.
See? I did it again! I wrote "aardvark" for no particular reason at all. There is no way you could have seen that coming! Ha!
Anyway, on to the point of today’s blog entry: Tattoos. It is true that I have no tattoos. I have struggled with the question of whether I’m a tattoo-having kind of guy. There are certain circumstances under which there is a measure of credibility attached to getting a tattoo. Being drunk in Mexico is a good one. Also, it’s good if you have some deep spiritual reason or symbolism going on. Being in the Navy is an acceptable reason. It’s also OK to get a tattoo if you belong to a gang of ruffians. Tattoos are very popular among the ruffians of today, I’m told.
But what’s my reason? Just because I feel like it? There’s no credibility there. Getting a tattoo just because you think it’s cool to have a tattoo is a major step down the road to dorkhood. (Of course, using a word like "dorkhood" is also a step down that particular road, but whatever. I’m a dork that way.)
So, I’ve always thought that if I were to get a tattoo someday, it would have to be for a good reason and it would have to have some actual meaning.
Well, I’ve been thinking about it lately. I think I might have an idea for a tattoo that meets my high standards. But I need to figure out what part of the body it belongs on. Here are the candidates I’ve come up with.
Pros: Visible. Sensible. Not too weird.
Cons: Visible. Kind of weird.
Pros: When people ask where I got a tattoo, I’d get to say "on my butt cheek."
Cons: Everything else about it.
Pros: Hidden most of the time. Very manly.
Cons: I don’t think I’m that manly.
Back of neck
Pros: I might forget it’s there, and that could be funny. Also, it’s in the center of my body, which would allow me to remain basically symmetrical.
Cons: I think it would hurt. Plus that seems like a place that’s best for a prison tattoo.
Pros: Good conversation starter.
Cons: Would probably scare children and the elderly.
Back of shoulder
Pros: Discreet. Kind of elegant.
Cons: Seems slightly girly.
Pros: My calves are my favorite body part.
Cons: Calves are weird places for tattoos.
Pros: Seems really cool.
Cons: There would probably be some shaving involved. Also, not sure if I have the kind of chest that can pull it off.
What to do? Suggestions? Anybody?
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Why I like gloves: A short essay
Gloves keep my hands warm. When I put them on and touch something cold, such as a doorknob or a steering wheel before the car warms up, they serve as a buffer between the coldness of the item and my soft, vulnerable hands. When I shovel snow, they lessen the effect of the cold air that wants to whisk the heat away from my exposed skin. Wearing gloves reduces the necessity of warming my hands by forming them into fists and blowing into them by 63 percent.
Gloves are also an attractive accessory. When paired with a stylish jacket and/or hat, they can be part of a winter ensemble that oozes style and has the ladies swooning and touching themselves and whatnot.
In addition to these practical concerns, gloves are also satisyfing playthings. They can be trotted about individually as if they were turkeys, with the thumb part being the head and the other finger parts being the feathers. “Gobble, gobble,” I say. Or, two gloves can be held together in such a way as to suggest some kind of octopod (the two thumbs combined can be part of the body, leaving the 8 other fingers to serve as the tentacles). Watch out, Captain Nemo! And finally, gloves can be placed over the ears, held on top of the head, or, in extreme cases, slipped over the end of the feet to serve a wide variety of silly-making purposes. Here comes fun!
Finally, in a pinch, gloves can be used to stuff into holes in dikes or dams, cut into cloth strips to be used as tourniquets, or set on fire to provide a source of heat for cooking.
For all these reasons and more, gloves are truly wonderful instruments, and I think every American should own at least one pair, maybe even two or three.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Today I was thinking to myself. I was thinking about what kind of world I want to live in: The kind of world where people give baskets of muffins to neighbors, friends and acquaintances, or the kind of world where they don’t. I decided that I would vastly prefer the muffin-basket world. Who wouldn’t? Think about it: People exhanging baskets of muffins left and right. It’d be paradise. But what to do about it? Well, I’ve always believed that to change the world, you have to start by changing yourself. So I decided that I would bake muffins and give them to people in baskets.
My plan hit a snag, however, when I arrived at Super Target. I quickly found some muffin mix (no, I’m not quite ready to do muffins from scratch yet — I’m starting small), but the baskets were a problem. Where could I find baskets that were A) affordable, B) attractive, C) available in mass quantities, and D) suitable for muffin distribution? Well, it turns out, not at Super Target. The best I could find were just the right size and shape, but they were $7.99 apiece. That will not do. I don’t have that kind of budget for my muffin project. And since I don’t know of any places to buy things other than Super Target, I’m in a tight spot.
So, my plan is now stalled. I must find a source of suitable baskets. I considered shifting my focus and going with plates of muffins, but I don’t think "plate of muffins" sounds as good as "basket of muffins." The basket really seals the deal.
I will be looking around some more to see if I can find the baskets needed to get my plan in motion. I’ll keep you all updated as the project progresses. Or perhaps you’ll just receive a basket of muffins and then you’ll know that I was successful.
The mission has been a success so far. Baskets were gotten, Betty Crocker mix was mixed, and light, fluffy muffins were born in the hot hot heat of my oven. They were allowed to cool, removed from their pan, placed in the baskets, and given to people. Then it was all written about in the passive voice on this blog.
It’s exhilariting, really, giving baskets of muffins to people. I quite enjoy it. In fact, even as I type this, the smell of cooling muffins is wafting in from the kitchen — that’s right, I’m so pleased with the muffin project that I’m continuing it indefinitely. I bought 10 baskets and I’ve only used three, which means more muffins will be baked and distributed before this is all over, and now that I have a basket source (Michael’s), I can always go back for more if the world’s hunger for muffin baskets remains unquenched.
Thanks to everyone who has supported me in this muffin endeavor of mine. And keep your eyes open, for you may be the next to receive a muffin basket, if you haven’t already.
And now, a challenge to you. Come up with your own idea for handing out baked goods in some kind of vessel. Perhaps you could prepare bowls of biscuits, boxes of gingerbread, trays of breadsticks, sacks of dinner rolls, or Tupperware containers of blintzes. Then give them out to people who might like them. Together, we will change the world into a place where the exchange of baked goods among friends and acquaintances is commonplace. But don’t do the muffin baskets. That one is mine and I will come and steal your baskets if I find out you’re using my idea.
Good day to you!
Three weeks ago, I presented to all of you my dream. It was a dream involving muffins — and really, isn’t that the best kind of dream? — but there was more to it than just muffins. There were also baskets. And peace and love. What do you get when you combine peace, love, muffins and baskets? Muffin triumph.
I set out to change the world by giving out baskets of muffins. I decided to start with 10 baskets and a buttload of muffin mix — the “changing the world through muffins” starter kit, if you will. And today, I can report that Phase One is complete. The basket supply has been exhausted. Each of those 10 magical vessels has been transformed into a gesture of neighborliness, kindness, appreciation, or all of the above, and delivered to a human being. A human being who, like all of us, carries some kind of emotional scarring, brokenness, deep-seated pain, guilt, or sadness. These things make it a challenge for us to fulfill our potential for greatness on this Earth. Can something as simple as a basket of muffins help to heal some of these wounds and maybe nudge a person a little farther along the path to wholeness and serenity? Perhaps. Can’t hurt, anyway.
So, the 10 baskets have been exhausted, and many of you reading this are among those who have shared in the muffiny goodness. I’ve gone through 13 packages of chocolate-chip muffins, 6 packages of lemon poppyseed, two packages of “three berry” and one large package of blueberry muffins during my pursuit of this noble goal. I have stirred a grand total of 9 cups of water and one cup of milk into the various mixes and baked them for the approximate cumulative total of 216 minutes. I’ve washed my little muffin pans 23 times using approximately 2/3 of a cup of Ajax Lemon Fresh dish soap.
I hope the muffin project has been as inspiring to you as it has been to me. Even if I have converted just one of you into a disciple of Muffinology (as I call it), I feel like Muffin Quest ‘05 has been a success.
Monday, December 15, 2008
I think I'm going to transfer this business model to A Place Called B.L.O.G. for a week (minus the making money part, of course). I'm going to roll out a week of classic posts from the days of yore, long before some of you were reading.
In fact, I'm going to go back to the days before I was on blogger and I wrote my blog on Friendster. Remember Friendster? It's what they had before there was Facebook. Except it was much crappier.
Here is the first rerun.
Requests for the aliens
If aliens deep in outer space have the Internet (and surely they do) and any of them read this blog, I have a few requests:
1) Please bring me some Popsicles. I’m out. I really like them.
2) If you ever come to Earth to attack us, please make sure that your seemingly indestructible motherships have at least one weakness that the few plucky survivors of your onslaught can exploit in order to save our planet.
3) Can you do anything about Uranus? We humans gave it a really bad name, and most of us are pretty embarassed about it. It becomes the butt of juvenile jokes all the time, and really, who needs that? Please blow it up or something. We’re not using it, anyway.
4) Have you discovered how to bring dead organisms back to life? If so, we need you to get to work on half of an Earth group we called "The Beatles." A reunion tour would sell out arenas worldwide and give us something to talk about in an otherwise boring year. And it would really rock.
5) I could really use a high-speed Internet connection. I figure you, who are certainly from an advanced technological society, can give me some kind of secrets about how to steal it from my local cable or Internet provider without getting caught.
6) You have probably figured out a lot about the space-time continuum. I think we Earthlings could really use some of that knowledge. Can you help us out? Mostly, I just want to know why the word "continuum" has two consecutive "u"s in it. I mean, it must be the only word that has that. What’s up with that? Does your alien language have any words with two consecutive "u"s? Oh, shit, I fogot about "vacuum." Well, never mind.
7) Here on Earth, people like to blow each other up and whatnot because they disagree about how other people live their lives, or because they have a different religion or something. Can you let us in on the meaning of life so we can all understand the true nature of the world and all live in harmony? Or, if you don’t know the true meaning of life, can you please take all the fundamentalist bastards from Earth and bring them to your planet? They’re really fucking this place up.
Thanks, aliens. You guys rock.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I have mixed feelings about Christmas music. On one hand, it's festive, it brings back nice childhood memories, and it's a nice thing the whole family can experience together to add to the holiday atmosphere. On the other hand, most Christmas music is pretty wretched. With the exception of the standards like Bing Crosby, it's mostly a bunch of also-ran musicians doing lame covers of the same tired old songs, which weren't very well written to begin with, and because there are only approximately 12 known Christmas songs, you can't listen to the Christmas stations for more than an hour without being totally sick of all of them.
Today, I'm going to get it out of my system and go all Grinch on you. After several weeks of intermittently listening to 102 and 108 (the two big all-Christmas stations), here is my shit list of most annoying Christmas songs.
Winter Wonderland: Worst-written Christmas song ever. Any song that rhymes "snowman" with "no, man" automatically qualifies for that honor, and the "blue bird/new bird" rhyme seals the deal. (What exactly does "here to stay is a new bird" mean, anyway?) It's also possibly the sappiest of all Christmas songs (which is really saying something) with mindless tripe like "a beautiful sight, we're happy tonight" and "later on we'll conspire as we dream by the fire."
Do You Hear What I Hear?: The story is absolutely preposterous. Savior born in cold, desolate desert, bringing joy to the world? Who makes this stuff up? And what does it have to do with Santa Claus? Just a bizarre song. And, seriously, if you hear that a child "shivers in the cold," would you bring him silver and gold? How about a blanket? The kid isn't even going to appreciate precious metals till he's 6 or 7.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town: Has any song made Santa Claus seem creepier? Hey, kids, Santa is constantly spying on you and is ready to reward or punish you based on you behavior! Reminds me of another story people made up to scare their kids into behaving ...
The Chipmunk Song: They should have stopped playing this thing in about 1982. There is nothing enjoyable about those chipmunk voices. And is it supposed to be funny to hear that rage-a-holic Dave verbally abusing his pet chipmunks?
The Christmas Shoes: Did I say Winter Wonderland was the sappiest Christmas song ever? Well, I forgot about this cliche-filled doozie. Sir, I want to buy my dying mama these special Jesus shoes. Has any song ever been so blatantly engineered to be a tearjerker?
Wonderful Christmas Time: More proof that Paul McCartney should have just stopped when the Beatles broke up.
Charlie Brown theme song: For some reason, the Twin Cities Christmas stations keep playing this song. First off, this is not a good song. Second, why are they playing it at Christmas? Because there is a Charlie Brown Christmas special? There were also Christmas episodes of "Friends," but I don't hear them playing that godawful "I'll Be There For You" song.
Have A Holly Jolly Christmas: OK, Burl Ives is mostly above reproach as Christmas singers go, but what does this song mean? Holly jolly? Mr. Ives, "holly" is not an adjective. It is a noun meaning any of a genus of trees or shrubs whose limbs are often used as Christmas decorations. I cannot have a "holly jolly" Christmas any more than I can have a "mistletoe jolly" or a "wreath jolly" or an "icicle lights jolly" Christmas.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas: All this stuff about our troubles being miles away doesn't exactly jibe with a season in which rates of depression go through the roof.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Dust off my resume and start passing out copies on the street corner. If somebody doesn't want one, chase after them and stuff it down the back of their coat. That's the kind of attitude that says "model employee."
While waiting for the job offers to start rolling in, search the refrigerator for Jesus-shaped fruits that I might be able to sell on eBay.
Write letters to congresspeople asking them to consider me as part of a badly needed bailout of snack consumers, which I'll pitch as a crucial step to keep the corn-chip industry from collapsing.
Go to the hardware store. Ask if they have any elbow grease, explaining that I've heard it helps people get through hard times. Pick security guard's pocket as I'm being escorted out.
E-mail David Letterman and ask for some money. He's pretty rich, you know.
Save money on weekly grocery purchases by substituting sawdust for flour in all recipes.
Spend a week or two hamming it up as the mascot of a major-party presidential candidate, then sign a book deal and a recording contract 15 seconds before everybody's forgotten (and stopped caring) who I am. Also contact Kmart to see if they need a new spokesperson. Kmart will hire anybody.
Cut expenses by converting home to a geothermal heating and cooling system. In absence of money to install such a system, do the next best thing: Rip out a section of concrete floor in the basement and dig a hole 18 feet down, creating a burrow where I can sleep in comfort all year long.
Monday, December 08, 2008
It’s kind of exciting, though, because this looks like it could be the first big snowstorm of the season. Everyone loves the first big snowstorm of the season, except for people who get in car crashes, of course. It's a Minnesota tradition to get worked up about snowstorms.
But there’s a problem: I lack a sufficient metaphor to describe how heavily it is snowing. We have several such metaphors for raining, such as “raining cats and dogs,” “raining buckets,” or simply “pouring.” But you can’t say it snowing cats and dogs. It just doesn't sound right. And there aren't any other good expressions. All you can say is "it's snowing hard," which is really lame and not very fun at all. I guess when it’s snowing hard, people say “it’s like a blizzard out there,” which is actually not a metaphor (or even a simile) because you’re not comparing it to something it’s not, you’re comparing to something it arguably is – a blizzard.
So, I will take it upon myself to come up with some possible metaphors and similes for heavy snow. Here are some contenders:
- “It’s snowing otters and walruses.”
- “It’s snowing like the aftermath of a deadly explosion at a cotton ball factory.”
- “It’s piling up like collection notices in the mailboxes of an affordable housing development.”
- “It’s coming down faster than prices during a doorbuster extravaganza at Wal-Mart on Black Friday.”
- “It’s coming down faster than the vital signs of that unfortunate employee during a doorbuster extravaganza at Wal-Mart on Black Friday.”
- “It’s snowing like your TV image is going to be after the HDTV transition, if you’re still using one of those analog sets with the rabbit ears.”
- “The flour sifter in the sky is working overtime today.”
- “The sky is as white as a gated community.”
- “It’s coming down like executive compensation in the auto industry, if the latest version of the Detroit bailout bill passes.”
Monday, December 01, 2008
We like Gerten's. Sometimes we go just to look at flowers and other plants. It was where we bought our Halloween pumpkins (two of which were complete busts, by the way -- one was rotten inside, and the other was so hard that I had to saw it for a half an hour with a big knife just to access the interior, and by then I was too tired to do anything else with it). And the kids love the seasonal wonderland, with what seems like acres of decorations for whatever holiday is on the way. Kids love decorations. Have you noticed that?
Yesterday we went there for the first time in a few weeks, and naturally it's all about Christmas. They have a huge setup of Department 56 pieces, enough to make your own hopelessly quaint Christmas metropolis, if you're the kind of person who has enough space and disposable income. They have a place where you can buy Christmas lights by the yard. They have nutcrackers and tree ornaments and wreaths bigger than you average Greyhound bus. And they have this strange product, which R pointed out to me:
Real plastic snow? Is that snow made of real plastic? Wow, real plastic! You hardly ever find real plastic anymore, with so many companies using that crappy fake plastic. Or, wait ... is that supposed to mean real snow that's made of plastic? But real snow is made of water crystals! I'm so confused.
A trip to Gerten's can be fun, and sometimes you actually want to buy things, but at the same time it's a place to go and wonder at the amount of money people will apparently spend on tacky home and garden products. Seriously, who are these people with thousands of dollars to blow on elaborate garden gazebos, 12-foot artificial Christmas trees, and godawful lawn adornments, such as this set of fake polar bears?
Seriously, a family of life-sized polar bear figures to put on your lawn? (FYI, they are actually furry. No word on whether they enjoy Coca-Cola.) And here is the price list:
Why would anybody pay $2,000 for a fake polar bear that will be defaced or stolen by the neighborhood hooligans within 24 hours of it showing up in your front yard?
Also, I am interested in knowing what differentiates the male from the female model ...
So, that's a little taste of our trip to Gerten's, complete with crappy cameraphone pictures. And now, just because I can, here is a picture of a cheese-ball-and-fruit plate that I made on Saturday:
Friday, November 28, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Mashed potatoes: Peel some potatoes. Boil them in water. Smash them up. Serve.
Gravy: Take the gunk from the bottom of the turkey pan. Stir in some corn starch. Heat thoroughly.
Green bean casserole: Put some beans in a pan. Put some cream of mushroom soup in. Buy some of those french-fried onions in can and put them on top. Cook for a while. Serve.
Yams: Buy some yams. Cook. Serve.
Pumpkin pie: Find a pumpkin. Scoop out the guts and discard. Cut it up. Cook it. Put it in a pie crust. Cook. Allow to cool. Cut up. Serve.
Cranberries: Buy some cranberries. Serve.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
But when the chips were down, when everything was on the line, when the stakes were truly high, American showed that it was not ready to put its racism totally in the past. Sadly, America is still not a place where a black man can be champion on Dancing With the Stars.
Voting for president is one thing. But when it comes time to vote for something that people really care about, a position of real notoriety and importance, people in this country couldn't bring themselves to support a person of African descent. Warren Sapp was robbed.
I will not rest until the percentage of minorities among America's reality show champions is approximately equal to their percentage of the general population.
Also, I'm pretty sure Lance Bass lost because he's gay.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Unspoken message: "Use this software to edit your homemade porn videos."
This has been another edition of Unspoken Messages in Product Packaging.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Let's be real in a way the national media seems incapable of: this person should never have been placed on a national ticket in a mature democracy. She was incapable of running a town in Alaska competently. The impulsive, unvetted selection of a total unknown, with no knowledge of or interest in the wider world, as a replacement president remains one of the most disturbing events in modern American history. That the press felt required to maintain a facade of normalcy for two months - and not to declare the whole thing a farce from start to finish - is a sign of their total loss of nerve. That the Palin absurdity should follow the two-term presidency of another individual utterly out of his depth in national government is particularly troubling. 46 percent of Americans voted for the possibility of this blank slate as president because she somehow echoed their own sense of religious or cultural "identity". Until we figure out how this happened, we will not be able to prevent it from happening again. And we have to find a way to prevent this from recurring.
It happened because John McCain is an incompetent and a cynic and reckless beyond measure. To have picked someone he'd only met once before, without any serious vetting procedure, revealed McCain as an utterly unserious character, a man whose devotion to the shallowest form of political gamesmanship trumped concern for his country's or his party's interest. We need a full accounting of the vetting process: who was responsible for this act of political malpractice? How could a veep not be vetted in any serious way? Why was she not asked to withdraw as soon as the facts of her massive ignorance and delusional psyche were revealed?
The Palin nightmare also happened because a tiny faction of political professionals has far too much sway in the GOP and conservative circles. This was Bill Kristol's achievement.
It was a final product of the now-exhausted strategy of fomenting fundamentalist resentment to elect politicians dedicated to the defense of Israel and the extension of American military hegemony in every corner of the globe. Palin was the reductio ad absurdum of this mindset: a mannequin candidate, easily controlled ideologically, deployed to fool and corral the resentful and the frightened, removed from serious scrutiny and sold on propaganda networks like a food product.
This deluded and delusional woman still doesn't understand what happened to her; still has no self-awareness; and has never been forced to accept her obvious limitations. She cannot keep even the most trivial story straight; she repeats untruths with a ferocity and calm that is reserved only to the clinically unhinged; she has the educational level of a high school drop-out; and regards ignorance as some kind of achievement. It is excruciating to watch her - but more excruciating to watch those who feel obliged to defend her.
It's weird. It's wrong. It's weird and wrong.
What do you need to talk about that can't wait until you're done in the stall? I'm pretty used to overhearing loud cell-phone conversations by now, since they're common almost everywhere you go, but I thought the public bathroom was one sanctuary we had left. Something about hearing you talk on the cell phone while you're sitting on the john is just unpleasant. And did I mention weird and wrong?
So, if you've ever done this, never do it again. If you've never done it, please don't start. If you are on the toilet and somebody calls you, don't answer it. Instead, finish pinching off your turd, wipe thoroughly, wash your hands, and then go call the person back from someplace OTHER THAN THE FREAKING BATHROOM.