Wednesday, April 30, 2003


I know I said I would drop the story, but just came across a tidbit of information that explains EVERYTHING in this throwaway line in a CNN story:
[Neal Pollack] wanted to move up to the more lucrative field of magazine free-lancing, but despite his Northwestern degree and a facility with the English language, he was having a hard time breaking in.

Pollack went to Northwestern. Of course he did. Jesus, it all makes sense. He was like this itch that I couldn't quite scratch. Now I see why his obnoxious posing, his self-obsession, his execrable personality all seemed so damn grating and familiar: it's all a flashback to my horrid freshman year at that school. I used to explain my decision to leave Northwestern thusly: "Imagine the worst of the Plan II kids, and make an entire school of them." Now I just have to say: "Neal Pollack." Says it all, no?
The face of modern feminism

I am so surprised about this. Really. I am. Sarah Kozer, of Joe Millionaire fame, and bondage film notoriety, has agreed to pose for Playboy, and will grace next month's cover. In an interivew:
Kozer said she only agreed to pose for Playboy if the photos entailed no full-frontal nudity. "I was a women's studies major," she said Monday night at a party celebrating her appearance.

She obviously took good notes.
There were a lot of reasons to be thankful for a speedy victory in Iraq, but one that hadn't occurred to me is the refreshing break from the interminable "should we/shouldn't we?" debate in every blog/editorial/magazine, etc. First the Hitch calms down, breathes, and writes articles once again worth reading. Now, I've suddenly found myself agreeing with Andrew Sullivan 3 TIMES in the past two days. I had pretty much given up reading him--I always enjoyed his contrarian viewpoint, but the Bush ass-kissing and the war-fever were giving me hives. Now, he's writing convincing, urgent screeds against Santorum that I have enjoyed following. Today's rant against Norman Mailer was another I had to admire. In a Times of London article, Mailer claims that the war was a front for saving the self-esteem of the white male by writing:
the good white American male still had the Armed Forces. If blacks and Hispanics were numerous there, still they were not a majority, and the officer corps, (if the TV was a reliable witness), suggested that the percentage of white men increased as one rose in rank to the higher officers. Moreover, we had knock-out tank echelons, Super-Marines, and-one magical ace in the hole -- the best air force that ever existed. If we cannot find our machismo anywhere else, we can certainly settle in on the interface between combat and technology. Let me then advance the offensive suggestion that this may have been one of the cardinal reasons we went looking for war.

Sullivan responds with:
Yes, it is offensive, in as much as it is offensively stupid. Mailer also ignores the other obvious facet of the new military: the presence of women. So apart from the fact that the military is a showcase for feminism and racial integration, it's a symbol of white male supremacy? Does no-one even edit this drivel?

Agreed. Third and final point of agreement is a minor one, but quite telling. Sullivan has been bitching and moaning for ages about the extreme radical bias of the BBC. Mostly I ignore these posts because they are long and boring. But yesterday's was quick and striking. When referring to Osama bin Laden, the BBC says;
It is one of the main reasons given by the Saudi-born dissident - blamed by Washington for the 11 September attacks - to justify violence against the United States and its allies.

Sullivan comes back with:
Sakharov, Walesa, bin Laden. That's the mind of the BBC.

Agreed. It's not always jingoistic to call a spade a spade. Okay, bin Laden dissents, sure. But he's a mirror image of the others. Andrei Sakharov, Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel, Nelson Mandela--these are men who put their lives and their family's lives on the line to achieve democracy and self-determination in the face of a oppressive regime. It is unconscionable that the commentators at the BBC do not have the moral intelligence to differentiate between a murderous ideologue and courageous reformers, and it is an insult to those we revere as dissidents to include his name in their ranks.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

The Hitch's crazed-loon rantings on Iraq were about to reach ear-splitting levels when, thankfully, the war ended. He spat out one quicky I-was-right-all-along column, and now he's sounding much calmer and saner, while at the same time drawing our attention to the under-reported removal of the barrier dividing Cyprus. As he points out, this is the *true* Berlin Wall flashback. The Greek and Turkish Cypriots have been separated by a barrier across the island for nearly 30 years.

Without any warning, this forbidding obstacle was thrown open by the Turkish Cypriot authorities, and it was announced that any Cypriots could travel freely on the island as long as they were back at the frontier by midnight. Since Cyprus is about twice the size of Long Island and has a population of no more than 800,000, this meant that almost anyone could get to almost anywhere within the allotted time. About 200,000 Greek refugees have not seen their old homes for almost 30 years, and about 45,000 displaced Turkish Cypriots come from places that lie to the south of the partition line, so there have been plenty of applicants.
The sense of exhilaration and liberty was extraordinary, as if people indefinitely confined in a cramped cell had suddenly been allowed to stretch and exercise. And also as if a "no talking" rule in a barren jail had suddenly been relaxed: Conversation that had been impossible for decades was suddenly and volubly resumed.

Good for them. And welcome back, Hitch.
Eggers v. Frey v. Pollack, Round....oh, yawn

Neal Pollack, apparently pissed that he's been left out of the Dave Eggers/James Frey media-attention skirmish, has thrust himself in with a resounding "hey guys, what about me?." And I know I'm just playing into his stupid scheme by reporting it, but I just can't help myself. So. here's Messr. Pollack in his blog.:

There's been much talk lately in circles where talk occurs about a young writer named James Frey. I'm tired of him already. Every five weeks or so a punk comes along and tries to cock-block my mantle when he knows full well that I am the greatest writer of my generation or any generation and that no one better captures the anguish of contemporary American male identity better than I do.
You think your appetites are bigger than mine, James Frey? You think you're a bigger rock star and a better writer than I am? Well, motherfucker, I challenge you. I want a drink. I want fifty drinks. I want a tub of acid as deep as the moon. I want a tube of glue that tastes like a dumptruck of peyote. I want a boyfriend. I want a boyfriend. I want all that stupid old shit like letters and sodas, letters and sodas. I want to be the guy with the most cake.

I want your ass, Frey. Served to me piping hot on a platter. Then I will bite it. And then I will send it back. Not because it's tough. But because it's not tough enough.

Oh, by the way, he's being, you know, totally ironic, because like, he knows that he's the self-conscious media whore that he's accusing Frey of, and like, by writing this he's taking on this persona that he's accused of, but he, like, totally knows he's doing it, and....oh, forget it. You all know the script by now. Can I drop this story already?

But for some other reason, people don't tend to forget your penchant for throwing innumerable interceptions in big games, or that sensitive finger that takes you to the sidelines

Draft day becomes longest day for Simmses, father and son

"I just want to show all those people," Chris Simms told the Tampa Bay news media Saturday night, referring to the teams that passed him up and to the draft experts, "that they really have no idea what they're talking about. For some reason, people tend to forget I led the Big 12 in passer rating three years in a row and that I was 26-5 as a starter."

Keep saying that to yourself, Chris, just keep saying that.
Better still, is this cryptic and ambiguous quote from Daddy dearest:

"Going to the Bucs puts a good spin on it," Phil Simms said, "but that's not going to take away the hurt. It was a long day. All the phone calls from so many teams that were so positive. But the disappointing thing is that I know where Christopher stacks up as a quarterback. I played it. I watch it. I teach it all the time. I know the pluses and minuses of all the quarterbacks in this draft. I know it probably more than most of the NFL people."

Yes, Phil, you do know where Chris stacks up. And you're a smart man to leave it at that. You could have a career ahead of you here in Washington.

Vengeance is Mine!

Karma has finally come around and avenged my grievances. So, for unseating Major Applewhite, for that horrible, horrible, horrible Big 12 Championship game against Colorado, and for the many hair-pulling, vomit-inducing moments, Chris Simms
finally got his.

Although he was projected to be drafted higher than Redding and Dockery, and as high as late in the first round, Simms became a major plot twist of the draft as team after team passed over him. Oakland and Houston both passed over Simms five times, and he was not selected until more than nine hours after the draft began, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Simms with the 97th overall pick and the final pick of the third round.
"This is a productive college quarterback," Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden said. "He's very excited about the next step, and I think he's very eager to prove to all the draft analysts that he was worthy of going higher."

That's right, and to to put a cherry on the sundae, he's going to Tampa where Kriston can continue to follow his career, defend him against detractors, and sing his praises into the howling torrent of evidence to the contrary...

Monday, April 28, 2003

And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Our Own Nosebleeds

So the Delgados were recently playing in DC, and a couple of souls on this message board I read were congratulating themselves on their fine heckling at the show. Well, the Delgado's diary revealed that the band was less than amused by those "humourless and patter-free cunts," and also revealed an amusing story about Austin's Own: Trail of Dead:

Got to the show at the Black Cat, a club owned incidentally, by Mr Dave Grohl. Speaking of Mr Grohl, I have to say how much I’m totally loving the new Queens Of The Stone Age album. I’ve got a fucking great story about the QOTSA by the way…apparently they were touring with And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead and two shows into the tour, AYWKUBTTOD had been smashing up their gear (as per normal) after every show but had been hitting the QOTSA’s gear while they were at it. As they happened to use really expensive old amps and pedals and shit, Josh Homme had pulled one of them aside after the second show and told them under no uncertain terms, that they had to cut that shit out or there would be trouble. Needless to say, the poor souls let it rip again the following night, in flagrant breach of their gentlemens’ agreement and, rather than discussing the matter any further, Josh simply went up to the lead singer and without a single word, knocked the fucker out. That, my friends, is hard as fuck.

Ripped straight from her "Rhetoric of Fairy Tales" class at UT is Jenna Bush's re-working of Cinderella. It chronicles the adventure of Chanderalla of Harlem. If you go back to the originating UT site, you can see that the "Student Project" link has been disabled, but somebody snagged it before it went down. I guess this class is the new version of "kiddie lit" that everyone was taking to get an English credit out of the way... I hope she runs for president some day.

Once upon a time in the outskirts of Harlem lived a young woman named Chanderalla. Chanderalla was very beautiful. She had dark skin and hazel eyes and black long hair. But, it was the love that radiated through her that made her so extraordinary. Chanderalla had lived an unusually hard life. Her precious mother who had taught her to read and write died when she was only eleven. She and her father lived alone in their apartment for several years until her father told her he was looking for a new wife. He said, "Chanderalla I loved your Mama. But a man gets lonely without a woman to love."...
The New Yorker hitches a ride

Of all the obnoxious, improbable things, a New Yorker writer has decided to (gasp!) take public transportation! As you can imagine, he writes as if sending dispatches from the veldt. These strange creatures we call "bus drivers," these denizens, these riders of the "bus." How much we can learn from their strange and simple ways! Here are some of his keen observations:

The bus also has order, order as we know it from the fading patriarchal family, visible order kept by an irritable chief. The driver has not only control over his world but the delight of the exercise of arbitrary authority, like that of a French bureaucrat. Bus riders learn that, if your MetroCard turns out to be short fifty cents, the driver will look at you with distaste, tell you to find change from fellow-passengers (surprisingly, to a subway rider, people dig into their purses cheerfully), and, if this doesn’t work, will wearily wave you on back. You are included, fool though you are, and this often at the moment when the driver is ignoring the pounded fists and half-audible pleas for admission of the last few people who, running for the bus, arrived a second too late.
When I first started riding the bus, I mentioned it to people sheepishly, almost apologetically, as one might mention having had a new dental plate put in, or the advantages of low-fat yogurt—as one might mention something that, though not downright shameful, might still seem mildly embarrassing.
...[long tirade about how bus=salvation from fears of terror]
The bus, a permanently running dinner party among friends, a fiction of family for a dollar-fifty, a Starbucks on wheels, is the rolling image of the thing we dream of now as much as we wanted the Broadband Pipe to wash away our sins three years ago, and that is the Safe Room. For the first time, the bus has something to symbolize.

Allow me to offer, in response, a few notes for the non-initiates among you, lest the New Yorker misguide you into this undiscovered urban delight that is the city bus:
--The bus is not a dinner party among friends. No food is allowed (including coffee, so that nixes the Starbucks on wheels, too) lest you face the wrath of your "irritable chief," who, I suspect, would kick your New-Yorker-writing ass to the curb if you ever referred to him or her that way.
--He cites the delightful, quixotic conversations one overhears on the bus as a rewarding treat unique to the bus-rider. True, I've overheard some funny bits, but far more often, I overhear the raving loony who's howling in my ear about a)being an oppressed black man b)killing somebody c)the government d)everybody else's sexual preferences.
--He forgets to mention the bald lady with open scabs on her head that sits in front of you several mornings out of the week.

Hip Hop Newsletter, Vol. III

(via salon)

Hip-hop pioneers Public Enemy are still fighting the powers that be. The group, known for anthems including "Don't Believe the Hype" and "Fight The Power," will take on President Bush with their new CD-DVD, "Son of a Bush," scheduled for May 6 release.

The title track, which first appeared on last year's "Revolverlution," criticizes both the current president and his father. Among the lyrics: "Have you forgotten/I been through the first term of rotten/The father, the son/and the holy Bush... I told y'all when the first Bush was tappin' my phone... Can't truss 'em."

So we have "Son of a Bush" and "Hail to the Thief" so far. Is it me, or is W turning into something of a popular culture muse?
My muse is still the Hitch. I saw this on somebody else's blog, but you snooze you lose, and thus when I form my grrl punk band we will be called "Hitchens Youth."

Friday, April 25, 2003

Poll: New Yorkers favor Bush over Dems.

Can this be true? How? I have that same incredulous feeling that I get when one of my girlfriends insists she's going to stay with her abusive, parole-violating boyfriend despite having the entirety of human reason and rationality stacked against her. I mean, really! If there's one state that's been royally fu*&^d by Bush, it's New York. The budget cuts have hit them harder, the unemployment in the city is worse than the national average, the promised financial aid after 9/11 didn't an out, and the burden of extra security measures has put NYC in an impossible money pinch that in turn puts NY State in a pinch.

I can just hear Karl Rove rubbing his greasy palms together and saying with a leer, "Yeah, but they like it." Gross.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Honesty in Journalism Award goes to:
this guy from the Associated Press interviewing Santorum--

Santorum: In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality --

AP: I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about "man on dog" with a United States senator, it's sort of freaking me out.

Santorum: And that's sort of where we are in today's world, unfortunately. The idea is that the state doesn't have rights to limit individuals' wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire. And we're seeing it in our society.

AP: Sorry, I just never expected to talk about that when I came over here to interview you.

[translation: what the hell is the matter with you? I'm just a nameless reporter who goes by "AP" and I have more common sense and class than you, you old blowhard.]

Winner of the Article That Should Under No Circumstances Be Read by Kriston if He Want to Keep His Blood Pressure Down:

Salon's lead article today, Habla usted Clear Channel?
The blurb:
If the FCC allows the two biggest Spanish-language media companies in the U.S. to merge, it'll create a media conglomerate that will dwarf all competitors -- and could help GOP-friendly radio titan Clear Channel deliver Hispanic votes for Bush in '04.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

They Should Call You Dumb

Gratuitous cheap shot of the day, coming right up:
You know how on all these websites now there are these Personal Ads of the Day and somebody's cutsie little picture is there with some tantalizing quote? Well the one one the Onion, was some guy named "theycallmeox." Here's his comment:

Last great book I read: "Raymond Carver. Generally I like contemporary lit, but this was a blatant attempt to look brainy for a girl."

Wow, Ox, if I may call you that, how did it work out for you? I assume that in your estimation, contemporary literature is comprised of those books/stories/poems, etc., that were composed FIVE MINUTES AGO because Raymond Carver has been publishing all through the 70s and 80s. What, is "contemporary lit" code for "comic books" nowadays?

[p.s. this is why i don't have friends]

Perhaps Ox was trying to say that, although he does like contemporary literature, that was not the reason he was reading Carver. He was reading it to impress the girl, not to satisfy his taste for this particular genre which he does, in fact, enjoy.



I can't believe I just blogged about a personal ad. What the hell is the matter with me?
Oh Happy day

Finally, a happy confluence of two things that always bring me joy, an auspicious omen in this PMS-besotted day. The Onion has lampooned the Hitch! Headline: Christopher Hitchens Forcibly Removed From Trailer Park After Drunken Confrontation With Common-Law Wife . From the report:

When the officers attempted to remove Hitchens from the premises, the leftist intellectual became physically and verbally abusive toward the officers, calling them "shitkickers," "bitches," and "effete liberal apologists for the atrocities of late-stage capitalism."

Police were initially summoned when neighbors reported hearing shouting and a loud crash, followed by a rambling polemic on Kissinger's alleged covert approval of Indonesia's illegal invasion of East Timor in 1975.

Despite the disturbances, the neighbors like him alright. Says one:
"So long as Hitch can learn to keep his mouth shut about Christianity being symptomatic of the 'savage and ignorant prehistory of our species' and whatnot, I'm sure he'll cause no trouble that a few cups of black coffee and a night in the drunk tank can't solve."

(the main story in the Onion is pretty funny this week too)
Andrew Sullivan is seriously losing his shit over Senator Santorum's anti-gay comments, and I'm loving it. I have to say that I love the moments when Sullivan breaks ranks with his fellow conservatives over those issues on which he leans left. He did it during the Trent Lott debacle, and he's doing it again. Sorry Sully, while there are bad eggs on the left as well, it's your ideological comrades who turn hating blacks and gays practically into dogma. Not sure why it continues to shock him, but I still love watching him turn. Really, I think he writes far better when he's defending the liberal line rather than attacking it. Is that because I'm more sympathetic or because it's an easier stance to defend?

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

A strange defense

Andrew Sullivan doesn't understand why all the liberals have their panties in a wad about Bush's domestic agenda. He says:

Yes, I can see why the left will disagree with Bush on certain issues: judicial restraint, tax cuts, a pro-active, rather than defensive, war on terror. I share concern about rising deficits, a weakening of the church-state divide, and fraying civil liberties. But the domestic record of Bush doesn't begin to justify the hysterical opprobrium thrown at him. Some of it is the system working: the man has gotten precious few judges through the Senate (and some of his picks have been dreadful); his tax cuts have been mercifully restrained by more fiscally prudent Republicans; his (good) proposals to shore up social security are on hold; there will be no drilling in protected Alaska; his faith-based initiative has been watered down to almost nothing.

In other words, by Sullivan's own admission, Bush has a disastrous and shameful agenda, about which the only good thing that can be said is that it's been largely blocked and diluted. It's like saying, "Yes, that man tried to steal your wallet, but we stopped him, so why do you think he's such a bad guy??" Sullivan is not only somehow *praising* Bush for failing to push through horrible domestic policies, he sees this as a sign that there's nothing to worry about! Very odd.
Ed Tarkington, not a fan

A while back, I quoted author and surly media darling du jour James Frey's snarl at Dave Eggers. I liked it because, well, he crapped on Dave Eggers. But early reports from the field suggest that Frey (and his latest "I was a teenage junkie" offering) ain't much better. Another shameless self-promoter? Say it ain't so! He takes great pride in proclaiming his ambition to be the best writer of his generation, and practices healthy motivation techniques including a note-to-self by his computer saying: "A page a day. Anything less is unacceptable you punk-ass-bitch-motherfucker. Anything less is unacceptable." Oh, and then there's the tattoo: FTBITTTD. It means: Fuck the bullshit, it's time to throw down. On his other arm, it says, DFTBMYPAMF: Don't forget to buy milk, you pansy-ass motherfucker. Okay, I made that last one up, but you get the point. Salon did a little article on him, and the reader response was, well, a tad on the irritable side. My favorite was one Ed Tarkington, who let loose with this tirade. (And let me just say I'm a fan of anybody who can work the phrase "confessional diarrhea" into a sentence. Now let's hope that this Ed Tarkington doesn't do something shamelessly self-promoting in a few months to make me again eat my words.)

What is it with thirtysomething megalomaniacs and their memoirs of addiction? What makes James Frey think anyone really cares that he was stupid and self-destructive? What's the story? Why won't "the best fucking writer in the world" figure out that real "fucking writers" can do better than spew the dramas of their own lives in black-turtleneck-wearing, high-school-literary-wannabe, stream-of-consciousness nonsense posing as "new, innovative style ' by capitalizing nouns and leaving out punctuation? Why are we still reading memoirs by thirty-nothings who think there's something sexy or dramatic or admirable about flushing their own lives down the toilet and then oh-so-dramatically struggling back to normalcy with the help of Mom and Dad and an expensive residential rehab facility? Since when should one be regarded as a "literary rock star" by artlessly drenching one's paragraphs with more profanity than the average door panel of a boys' bathroom stall?

Having a messed-up life and a brash manner might make one marketable, but it doesn't make one an artist. Let's hold out on big, bad Mr. Frey until he produces "a big fat book" that requires something other than ego and persistence -- like talent, imagination, vision ... any of the aforementioned would be a good start. And stop wasting your time promoting arrogant hacks who exploit the public's taste for confessional diarrhea and brazenness and give the space to the real literary artists outside the New York boys' club.

Open Brackets has a very amusing version of the NYT bestseller list. My favorite of course, is:
9. You Are Wrong - C. Hitchens

But I also liked:
19. Shopping for boxer shorts and chips on a Friday night after doing work not as compelling as it could have been. But what is compelling? And then remembering you’d invited people to your house* for I suppose what you could call a party (and maybe dip, because you’d already bought the chips anyway) but you’re not really in the mood, and it’s mostly because there’s this girl you think you might want to get to know better but don’t want to go on a whole exclusive date with (her).*If you could only remember who they were because you’ve got a lot on your mind, and you just got a really crap haircut, and it’s not always easy to talk about because… - D. Eggers
Wow. Pretty eye-opening article on the feud between the DoD and State Dept. Sounds like things are getting ugly, folks. Most recently, Powell has been against the propping up of this Chalabi character since he is largely seen as illegitimate by Iraqis. Chalabi is said to have a host of insider Pentagon connections and they're pushing him hard. Now Newt Gingrich rears his ugly head again.

(quick Chris Rock segue. Remember Rock slamming Newt for taking the moral high ground during the Clinton scandal? "You got all these fat republicans saying 'I would never do such a thing!' Yeah, well nobody's trying to blow YOU. You ain't never gonna hear Newt Gingrich saying 'Man, I wish the bitches would back up OFF me. Let a player PLAY!")

Gingrich accused the state department of "thwarting President Bush from carrying out a forceful agenda to stop terrorism and confront enemy states." They say that Gingrich has close ties to Rumsfeld, and intends to call for a "major overhaul" of the State Dept. in order to "contrast the success of a transformed Defense Dept. with the failure of State." If Donald Rumsfeld and cronies are the model of success in our government then I'll have to go down on record as a staunch proponent of miserable failure. I guess failure in foreign relations is characterized by diplomacy, rationality, and the ability to manage complex viewpoints. Success is insulting allies, pissing off the entire globe, and propping up insider cronies rather than seeking compromise.

Amusingly, the article notes that there already has been an assessment made of the State Dept. and Powell's tenure like the one Gingrich is calling for. The assessment was made by a group of former ambassadors and released by the Foreign Affairs Council.

The report noted "Powell has made huge strides in winning resources for the department, changing its culture and improving its public diplomacy and congressional relations efforts. "The accomplishments are substantial, even historic," the report concluded.

Gingrich acknowledged that Powell has rebuilt morale at the State Department. But, he said, "he rebuilt the morale of people who don't believe in what George Bush believes in and try to undermine what Bush believes in."

Aha. And this is what it's really all about. Chilling, isn't it?

This Board is Fast and Danger

Continuing my goal to keep you all abreast of the latest happenings in hip-hop culture, I bring you, from Russia with love: Ill Mitch. He is a sk8ing, boxing rapper who wears a blue bubble-vest, white sweat band, and a bright orange helmet. (Safety is needed when your board is fast and danger.) Check out his fearsome photo gallery where you can view: Rap Pose 1, Rap Pose 2, and Video Pose 1. His hot CD available to you exclusively from his on-line store (it seems Ill Mitch has yet to be signed!) is called "Punch While Rap" and features such chart-topping hits as: I Will Win; Hey Ladies Fans; and of course, Fast and Danger (available in streaming audio). I suspect that it might all be a stunt, because the t-shirts he's selling are too self-aware. However, they are still priceless:

I leave you with the opening lyrics of "Fast and Danger":

Im ILL Mitch, now listen me recording
when I'm on street you know Im speed boarding
anyone who board shall call me lord master
oh ho you board? ILL Mitch board faster
wear oakley shades yes I do
say no to rollerblades and so should you
ride my board in the street ride my board and I'm ill
ride my board so quick ride my board down a hill
I ride in a pool I ride a half tube
I board fast like gleaming the cube
if you got a problem with Tony Hawk
get off your wheels and take a phony walk
going so fast you can barely see me board
I go faster than a ranger ford
in Russia call me danger lord
come take a seat on my anger sword

[yes. anger sword. wow....]

Monday, April 21, 2003

Here's another one to file under "new york, why is cool". A series of signs running in the subway tunnel that connects the Port Authority station to Times Square is actually
art commissioned by the transit authority. The signs are all short phrases that, when read in order, say: "Overworked/So tired/If Late/Get Fired/Why bother/Why the Pain/ Just get up/Do it again." and then the last sign is a picture of a bed with the sheets pulled down, just waiting. I can imagine these signs would make me quite angry during a bleary-eyed morning commute, but if I were an artist who got my jollies mocking the 9 to 5-ers I'd do the exact same thing.

As usual, I'm here to bring you the very latest hip-hop news. In other words, you all probably already know this. BUT, I for one was disappointed to learn that Ol' Dirty Bastard is changing his name to Dirt McGirt upon his upcoming release from a New York mental institution. Not even the promise of the new Dirt McGirt clothing line is enough to cheer me up. And I don't even know what to say about his upcoming launch of an underwear line to be called "Ol' Dirty Drawers," except: "No, Kriston. No."
Fareed Zakaria, in a Salon article, has some interesting ideas about democracy. He says that we've become too attached to the erroneous idea that if you hand someone an election ballot, they suddenly become a democracy, overflowing with the bounty of goodness and equality for all. Open elections in many former Soviet republics have resulted in the popular election of anti-reformist autocrats. Zakaria argues that this happens when power is handed out before democratic institutions (rule of law, protected freedoms in speech/media/religion, competent political parties) are in place. In such instances, premature elections may be harmful to a democracy, as counter-intuitive as that might seem.

I think he makes a good point here, and it applies well to the Iraq situation. Let's not hold elections before we've decided what the structure of the government will be and what the political process will look like. If competing power interests don't know whether they'll be "the ruler or the ruled", Zakaria points out, they have a stake in making sure that the party in power will be accountable and held in check. This raises the specter of a long U.S. involvement in the region, but some Iraqi thinkers seem to believe that the local population might be more amenable to the U.S. presence if it seems to be actively improving lives. (building up infrastructure, providing jobs, etc.) Furthermore, Zakaria notes that the U.S. presence will be far more legitimate if internationalized. Look at Bosnia, he says. The U.N. has essentially been running it for the last 6 years, but "nobody is calling that colonialism. They call it international assistance." Of course, nobody's paying much attention to it in general, which isn't ever the case in the Middle East.
Get Your War On

Page 23

Yo la Tengo, Saturday night

Some observations:
-What great musicians. These guys know their way around their instruments, and are able to pull off remarkably subtle and complex sounds.
-What ugly musicians. These guys do not know their way around a closet. Not even tastefully mussy. Everyone was decked out in your Mom's gardening duds.
-Old Yo la Tengo songs: Lovely sound, powerful performances, this is $17 well spent.
-New Yo la Tengo songs: I did not remember seeing Phish on the schedule. Has this song been going on for 30 minutes? I want my $17 back.
-Most prescient reminder that I am a big pansy: When the nice Nigerian cab driver escorting me home quietly inquired as to where I would be worshipping the following morning, seeing as how it was Easter sunday and all. Rather than reply, "I don't really go to church so much these days" or "I'm basically apatheistic," I instantly (while utterly loathing myself) said, "Uh. Mass. Catholic...mass."
"Yes, but where," he prodded.
"oh, uh...."
"Do you go to St. Stephens? St. Benedicts?"
"Our Lady of the Dipshits" I want to say, already hearing my measley reply: "Oh. St. Stephens. That's the closest, I think."
In response, he got completely lost.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Following is a transcript from the O'Reilly Factor (Fox News) that was reprinted this month in Harpers. The interviewee, Jeremy Glick, reported that after the interview O'Reilly said to him, "Get out of my studio before I tear you to fucking pieces."

Bill O'Reilly: In the "Personal Stories" segment tonight, we were surprised to find out that an American who lost his father in the World Trade Center attack had signed an antiwar advertisement that accused the U.S.A. itself of terrorism. The offending passage read, "We too watched with shock the horrific events of September 11...we too mourned the thousands of innocent dead and shook our heads at the terrible scenes of carnage--even as we recalled similar scenes in Baghdad, Panama City, and, a generation ago, in Vietnam." With us now is Jeremy Glick, whose father, Barry, was a Port Authority worker at the Trade Center. Mr. Glick is a co-author of the book Another World is Possible.

I’m surprised you signed this. You were the only one of all the families who signed.

Jeremy Glick: Well actually, that's not true.
BO: Who signed the advertisement?
JG: Peaceful Tomorrow, which represents 9/11 families, was also involved.
BO: Hold it, hold it, hold it, Jeremy. You’re the only one who signed this advertisement.
JG: As an individual.
BO: Yes, a--with your name. You were the only one. I was surprised, and the reason I was surprised is that this ad equates the United States with the terrorists. And I was offended by that.
JG: I'm actually shocked that you’re surprised. Our current president inherited a political legacy from his father that's responsible for training militarily, and economically, and situating geopolitically the parties involved in the murder of my father and countless thousands of others. So I don't see why it's surprising--
BO: All right. Now let me stop you here. So--
JG: --that I would come back and want to support--
BO: It is surprising, and I'll tell you why. I'll tell you why it's surprising.
JG: --escalating--
BO: You are mouthing a far-left position that is a marginal position in this society, which you're entitled to.
JG: It's marginal--right.
BO: You're entitled to it, all right, but you're--you see, even--I'm sure your beliefs are sincere, but what upsets me is I don't think your father would be approving of this.
JG: Well, actually, my father thought that Bush's presidency was illegitimate.
BO: Maybe he did, but--
JG: I also didn't think that Bush--
BO: --I don't think he’d be equating this country as a terrorist nation, as you are.
JG: Well, I wasn't saying that it was necessarily like that.
BO: Yes, you are. You signed--
JG: What I'm saying is--
BO: --this, and that absolutely said that.
JG: --is that six months before the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, starting in the Carter Administration and continuing and escalating while Bush's father was head of the CIA, we recruited a hundred thousand radical mujahedeen to combat a democratic government in Afghanistan, the Turaki government.
BO: All right. I don't want to--
JG: Maybe--
BO: I don't want to debate world politics with you.
JG: Well, why not? This is about world politics.
BO: Because number one, I don't really care what you think.
JG: Well, okay.
BO: You're--I want to--
JG: But you do care because you--
BO: No, no. Look--
JG: The reason why you care is because you evoke 9/11--
BO: Here's why I care.
JG: --to rationalize--
BO: Here's why I care--
JG: Let me finish. You evoke 9/11 to rationalize everything from domestic plunder to imperialistic aggression worldwide.
BO: Okay. That's a bunch--
JG: You evoke sympathy with the 9/11 famlies.
BO: That's a bunch of crap. I've done more for the 9/11 families by their own admission--I've done more for them than you will ever hope to do.
JG: Okay.
BO: So you keep your mouth shut when you sit here exploiting those people.
JG: Well, you're not representing me.
BO: And I'd never represent you. You know why?
JG: Why?
BO: Because you have a warped view of this world and a warped view of this country.
JG: Okay.
BO: Here's the record. You didn't support the action against Afghanistan to remove the Taliban. You were against it. Okay?
JG: Why would I want to brutalize and further punish the people in Afghanistan?
BO: Who killed your father!
JG: The people in Afghanistan--
BO: Who killed your father.
JG: --did not kill my father.
BO: Sure they did. The Al Quaeda people were trained there.
JG: The Al Qaeda people? What about the Afghan people?
BO: See, I'm more angry about it than you are!
JG: So what about George Bush--
BO: What about George Bush? He had nothing to do with it.
JG: --Senior, as director of the CIA.
BO: He had nothing to do with it.
JG: So the people that trained a hundred thousand mujahedeen who were--
BO: Man, I hope your mom isn't watching this.
JG: Well, I hope she is.
BO: I hope your mother is not watching this because you-- That's it. I'm not going to say anymore.
JG: Okay.
BO: In respect for your father--
JG: On September 14, do you want to know what I'm doing?
BO: Shut up. Shut up.
JG: Oh, please don't tell me to shut up.
BO: As respect--as respect--in respect for your father, who was a Port authority worker, a fine American, who got killed unnecessarily by barbarians--
JG: By radical extremists who were trained by this government--
BO: Out of respect for him--
JG: --not the people of America.
BO: --I'm not going to--
JG: --the people of the ruling class, the small minority.
BO: Cut his mike. I’m not going to dress you down anymore, out of respect for your father.
JG: That means we’re done?
BO: We’re done.
Austin rocks

Last night was the Trail of Dead/America is Waiting show at the Black Cat here in DC. Although not into either band, I considered going just to represent the home town. Instead, I watched Funniest Game Show Moments Part II and knocked off at 10:30. I'm hardcore that way. Anyway, I sometimes read a local music forum/message board thingy, and was curious to see what the DC crew thought about the Austin gang. It was a much-anticipated show among the forum-participants. Verdicts are still coming in, but so far the trend seems to be: Trail of Dead is God's gift to ROCK, and America is Waiting

Some comments (reprinted entirely without permission:)

"I thought it was an excellent show. Great intensity -- no pretention. The show inspired me to knock over a few newspaper boxes on the way to my car. Grrrrrrrrrr.
I haven't heard the new EP, but I thought the new stuff sounded pretty good."

"The first act last night (America is Waiting) exhibited what's wrong with bands that take themselves too seriously. They come off as pretentious and overweening wankers. Give me a group that rocks hard and has fun while they're doing it and I'll walk away happy nearly every time."

As for me, I can only give Funniest Game Show Moments Part II the highest recommendation. Almost better than Part I, methinks.


When old friends find out that I live in DC, they all ask me a question that seems odd to me, since, as mentioned, I live in DC and not in Los Angeles or New York. They ask, "Have you run into anyone famous?" Yes, I know that famous people do live in D.C., but they are really B-list celebs if you ask me, since the odds of me running into Dubya or Ashcroft or Colin Powell are effectively nil. So I always answer "probably." Because I have been to bars on capitol hill where grey-haired ass monkeys in ugly suits walk in with the lips of young bouffant-ed ass monkeys in ugly suits firmly attached to their elder statesmen asses. But would *you* know Rep. Joe Bacca (R-CA) if *you* saw him and his ugly suit in a bar? I didn't think so. So if I did run into any celebrities here, it would be a singularly uninteresting experience. In fact, this is probably one of the few cities in the world, where you hope and pray that you *don't* run into a celebrity because 1) they're ugly old men, and 2) they might actually want to talk to you, heaven forbid, about your concerns as a citizen and what they are doing to actualize those concerns in responsible policy.

All this brings me to my point, which is: New York is so much cooler. I know that finding ways in which NYC beats the hell out of DC is really shooting fish in a barrel if you aren't discussing cleanliness, taxicab drivers, and the feces factor in public transport. But I'm talking about celebrities. So. Six months in D.C., unexpected celebrity run-ins - ZERO. I *did* have a chance to be an extra on the West Wing, but I'm not sure that would have counted since it's not exactly a run-in, and anyway, as much as I love the West Wing it still would lose out to being an extra on Sex and the City. Now, for comparison: One weekend in NYC, unexpected celebrity run-ins: ONE! (I'm not counting the time I was outside Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum and tried to take a picture of Samuel L. Jackson before I noticed A) He wasn't moving B) I'm standing outside the Palace of Wax, and C) I'm a fucking idiot.) I was about a block from my friend Mark's place in midtown when I notice a disgusting specimen of humanity oozing vileness into the air around him. Something sparked in my memory, but I just figured he looked like the housing-challenged gentleman on the subway who had tried to grab my leg. Then two young guys ran past me shouting "DUDE! We gotta have our picture with you!" So I turned around again, and gasped to myself in sheer joy, "A celebrity!" I don't know how it works out that my first celebrity sighting in New York should be Ron Jeremy, but you don't get to choose these things. They choose you.

Last night, aforementioned friend Mark called me to tell me his latest celebrity run-in. He was in the lobby of his building with his girlfriend, when a drunken man ran up and grabbed him. It was shortly established that this drunken loser was Stephen Jenkins, lead singer of Third Eye Blind. I don't know if he really is gay, or if he's just an Adam-Dorris-style drunk gay, but he went straight-up queen on Mark. When Mark tried to break loose, this guy pulled him back and started serenading him in the lobby. I can only imagine how amused Mark's girlfriend was. In New York, Mark has also seen (but not been serenaded by): Jon Stewart, Charlize Theron, and the Sex and the City ladies. Someone please tell me what's the point of living in a major city if I have NO stories that start with "So there I was, holding Britney's head over the toilet..."

Thursday, April 17, 2003

rise up

For the last few months, I have become irrationally angry at random intervals on the following topic: Washington DC's lack of representation in the US Congress. Now, I know this will make you think that I need new worries. And it may seem especially frivolous since I am not, as yet, a registered DC voter. (I can't decide if I should give up my right to vote for representation in congress, even if it means voting for congressmen in a state I no longer live in.) But the sheer scope of the injustice really boggles the mind if you think about it.
The Constitution calls for equal protection under the law, but DC citizens are essentially on the level of a U.S.-held territory. They pay federal taxes to a government and serve in the armed forces of a government that will not allow them to have a say in their own governance. DC's city officials have to submit any laws to congress for approval, and congress often overturns measures that were passed by local government or by popular referendum. So not only does DC not have representation in Congress, it does not even have the right to decide on local issues. Furthermore, when congress overturns or decides on a DC law, *my* life is being affected by the 100 senators that I didn't approve, I didn't vote for, and there was no guy in *my* court arguing for my cause.

Washington DC proper has a population of around 600,000 people. Now, some people arguing against letting DC have representation in congress say that if such a small group of people had two senators and their own representative, they would have undue influence. Fine by me, but you better take away North Dakota's senators too, since they have around 500,000 in the WHOLE STATE.

Others say that the original framers of the constitution did not intend for D.C. to have representation or be treated as a state. Sheeesh, if I had a nickle for every intent of the original framers that was a SHITTY idea and that we've since reconsidered...

A local blogger had the idea that if congress won't grant DC citizens the right to elect a representative, they should then allow us to vote in every state's congressional election. I mean, if these guys are going to be deciding our local laws, we ought to have a say in who they are. As he puts it, "Sure, it will take me a long time to cast 468 or 469 ballots each two years, but I think it's only fair given the power they wield over me. Of course, this might mean Wyoming will have a much more liberal (and probably blacker) delegation, but they won't mind, will they?"

And according to at least one former roommate of mine who works on capital hill, that "liberal, blacker" caveat is part of the problem in achieving DC representation. She said it would take an act of congress to grant the measure, and given the demographics of DC (generally very poor and very black. all the rich white people live in a very small portion of DC or the 'burbs), it would be a token Democratic seat every time. The republicans won't let that happen while they have a breath left in them. Of course, the demographics make the whole thing all that much uglier. Whenever somebody is getting screwed on a monumental scale, you can usually be sure it's the downtrodden and the people of color who generally don't have the resources or the organizing power to make any difference.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Blogged down

I haven't been feeling the bloggy bug lately. It could be that I no longer have thoughts about issues. Maybe that whole politically aware thing was just a phase, like the eating-raw-spaghetti-sticks urge. Maybe I can't think clearly because it's a blistering inferno here in my cave from whence I blog. Maybe I'm bumfuzzled by the cosmic imbalance that has--after six months of dead silence--resulted in three different organizations calling to set up interviews in as many days. I have suddenly become a Catch in the D.C. employment arena, and this is quite unsettling to me, as I had grown quite comfortable and accustomed to my prior status as a Leper. I can't help but eye these offers suspiciously. "Did my Mother call you?" I want to ask. "Is Oprah in on this?" Is it some grand scheme to elevate my self esteem? Whatever it is, it needs to put up or shut up. Interviewers are tons of fun on their own, sure, but if they don't make any progress on getting me out of my cave here in products liability land, I'll be none too pleased. Phew! How's that for a spoiled brat sense of entitlement? I've become an expert on that particular topic of late, you see, after reading cover letters of youngsters applying for legal assistant positions with the following content:

Dear [Chairman of Big Bad Law Firm]:

Hi! My name is [Spoiled Daddy's Girl Buffy]. As you know, you are a [Snooty-ass Yankee School] alumnus. Wow! Isn't that weird? So am I!! You know what's even weirder, so is my Daddy! And he's a lawyer too! Gosh. Oh, anyway, I'm looking for a job before I have Daddy get me into law school. He needs a little time to get things arranged, and somebody's using our condo in Cabo this year, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to try working. So thanks. Oh, and I was in the Spanish Club.

Stay Sweet,

Adding insult to injury, this young lady reportedly yawned her way through her whole interview, and even checked her watch at one point to report "I need to leave in ten minutes to go catch a train." Naturally she'll be starting here after matriculating.

Come on, phone. Ring again....

Monday, April 14, 2003

My Father Crapped Bigger Ones Than George Bush

so sayeth Ron Reagan, Jr. in a Salon interview. Junior is decidedly *not* a fan of Dubya. And not because he's a rebelling-against-Daddy liberal. He seems to believe that Bush junior is a betrayal of his father's legacy. Which is funny to me, because I'd consider a betrayal of Regan's legacy a *good* thing, which is not what I consider Bush's administration. Regardless, Ron Junior has a few things to get off his chest:

Reagan says his family feels particularly alienated from the Republican Party over its opposition to embryonic stem cell research, which could have significant benefit for Alzheimer patients like his father. "Now ignorance is one thing, ignorance can be cured. But many of the Republican leaders opposing this research know better, people like [Senate Majority Leader] Bill Frist, who's a doctor, for God's sake. People like him are blocking it to pander to the 20 percent of their base who are mouth-breathers. And that's unconscionable -- there are lives at stake here. Stem cell research can revolutionize medicine, more than anything since antibiotics."


"Sure, he wasn't a technocrat like Clinton. But my father was a man -- that's the difference between him and Bush. To paraphrase Jack Palance, my father crapped bigger ones than George Bush."


"And they told us, 'Don't worry about W. not knowing anything, good old Dick Cheney will be his minder.' Dick Cheney? And this was going to be compassionate conservatism? Dick Cheney is to the right of Genghis Khan, he wants to drill in your backyard, he wants to deny black people their rights --it was all there in his voting record for us to see. What were we, rubes?"

Friday, April 11, 2003

I was wondering what happened to those human shields that went over to Baghdad to save the day. I read an article yesterday, and for the love of God, I cannot remember where, but it mentioned how almost all of the British human shield volunteers had returned home before the bombing began in earnest. But from this report, it looks like a few stuck it out. Can you imagine the *nerve* it takes to come up to a marine and pull this act:

Some American and European "human shields" were there, antiwar activists who had come to Baghdad and placed themselves in front of power plants and other potential targets. They chastised the Marines for attacking Iraq and promoting war.

That angered some of the soldiers. "I didn't bury two of my fellow Marines just so someone like that could call us murderers," said one, angry and teary, referring to an Iraqi artillery attack that killed two of his colleagues on Monday. "They died for this country."

Take your beef to George W., take it to Rumsfeld, take it to Perle, and the other cowards that call the shots far from harm's way. But when you start vilifying the soldiers, most of whom just got involved to have a job or save up for college, you lose all credibility in my book.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Hell has frozen over

And I got a job interview. My loved ones, concerned for my well-being have offered advice:

From Mom:
-Don't wear a suit that makes you look like a man.
-Go to church.

From Steven:
-Wash your feet.
-Wear underwear.

From Mark, stalwart supporter of the non-profit sector:
-Do they actually pay or is this some pro bono nonsense?
The Grammar Police, clocking in at 9 posts between the hours of 9-5 today, has proven that you don't have to have a boring job in D.C. to crap away a whole workday blogging. Don't you have loans to be adjusting?
The Osama Diaries

I was thinking about the tapes recently released of Osama yet AGAIN calling for jihad against all of us, death to the great satan, etc., and it set me thinking to a funny bit I read a while back. It was the last time that Osama put out a tape encouraging our deaths that the ever-amusing Poor Man got sick of it all:

This is all getting a bit repetitive. Wage jihad against America. I think we've got it now. Fucking established. If there was anyone out there who was mistakenly racing hot rods against Armenia or shaking peapods against Albania or something, and for whom this tape proved a much-needed clarification of official Qaeda policy, then, obviously, I stand corrected. But judging by the fact that your organization has spent the past eighteen months dying, being arrested, and blowing up obscure sections of the third world, I think you might be spending too much effort on building brand awareness and not enough on, you know, terrorizing me. Bring it, don't sing it. I'm not saying I actually want anything bad to happen, I just think that, based on recent performances, your tape-recorded messages belong less on the front page, and more in a very special episode of "Where Are They Now?"
Update to last post

OR....will seeing Grandma take a wallop at Saddam suffice for symbolic imagery? Me, I think it's fucking great.

I heard something on NPR this morning that I thought was pretty striking. A correspondent reporting from Baghdad was talking about the images that we've all been seeing and celebrating--namely, the toppling of Saddam statues around the city. She noted that while it was amazing to watch the American flag draped over Saddam's visage while he was tugged off the pedestal, she couldn't help but feel a little sadness. She felt that it should be the Iraqis pulling down the statue, and it was saddening that it was not them. This instantly made me think of the images from Moscow in 1991, when jubilant mobs tore down Felix Dzerzhinsky's (founder of the secret police that became the KGB) statue, and hurled paint and rocks at statues of Stalin, Lenin, etc. It was a powerful and symbolic moment in that nation's history, and I cannot help but think it would have been emasculating and somewhat humiliating if they were relegated to the sidelines while a foreign force tore down the statues for them. If nothing else, it gave the population a sense of volition. This was their triumph, it was something they did, not something that was done to them or for them. And I think that the rebuilding of Iraq will be all the harder for the fact that the Iraqis do not have these revolutionary, unifying, and (pardon the word) empowering moments to remember. It's a relatively small point, but it's representative of a larger problem, I think.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

What he said.

Here are two things that sum up my feelings for the day. Which is really lovely because this way I don't have to write nothing.
First, a cartoon:

and then this rant from The Poorman:
Daylight savings time is such fucking bullshit. It's all like "hey, here's a free hour of sleep in the autumn. You get to sleep, while at the same time preserving endangered daylight." And then you have a lovely late morning, and then life goes on through the winter to the spring, and all of a sudden the DST shows up again and is all like "BAM! Now it's time to pay the motherfucking piper, motherfucker!" and kicks you out of bed at some unholy hour of the night masquerading as 7AM, and sends you off to work or school or the methadone clinic or wherever like a fucking zombie with the I Got Up Way Too Fucking Early thousand yard stare. I've got a delicate constitution anyway, being kind of a Percy Bysshe figure, typing away here in my laudenum swoon, and I think this daylight savings bullshit has permanently fucked me.


Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Here's a transcript (via Salon) of a recent Daily Show exchange between Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Brilliant as usual:

Stewart: What should the media's role be in covering the war?

Colbert: Very simply, the media's role should be the accurate and objective description of the hellacious ass-whomping we're handing the Iraqis.

Stewart: Hellacious ass-whomping? Now to me, that sounds pretty subjective.

Colbert: Are you saying it's not an ass-whomping, Jon? I suppose you could call it an ass-kicking or an ass-handing-to. Unless, of course, you love Hitler.

Stewart [stammering]: I don't love Hitler.

Colbert: Spoken like a true Hitler-lover.

Stewart: Look, even some American generals have said that the Iraqis have put up more resistance than they were expected to.

Colbert: First rule of journalism, Jon, is to know your sources. Sounds like these "generals" of yours may be a little light in the combat boots, if you know what I'm saying.

Stewart: I don't think I know what you're saying.

Colbert: I'm saying they're queers, Jon. They're Hitler-loving queers.

Stewart: I'm perplexed. Is your position that there's no place for negative words or even thoughts in the media?

Colbert: Not at all, Jon. Doubts can happen to everyone, including me, but as a responsible journalist, I've taken my doubts, fears, moral compass, conscience and all-pervading skepticism about the very nature of this war and simply placed them in this empty Altoids box. [Produces box.] That's where they'll stay, safe and sound, until Iraq is liberated.

Stewart: Isn't it the media's responsibility in wartime ...

Colbert: That's my point, Jon! The media has no responsibility in wartime. The government's on top of it. The media can sit this one out.

Stewart: And do what?

Colbert: Everything it's always wanted to do but had no time for: travel, see the world, write that novel. I know the media has always wanted to try yoga. This is a great time to take it up. It's very stressful out there -- huge war going on. Jon, hear me out, it was Thomas Jefferson who said, "Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach."

Stewart: Stephen, Stalin said that. That was Stalin. Jefferson said he'd rather have a free press and no government than a government and no free press.

Colbert: Well, what do you expect from a slave-banging, Hitler-loving queer?
Air Wesley

Since he was coming to visit ME, I'd like to take the credit for Kriston's serendipitous run-in with my new celebrity crush, General Wesley Clark.
I was sitting in my apartment when the phone call came:
K - Susan.
S - Where are you? What travel disaster has befallen you this time?
K - I'm in Dallas. I don't know how to tell you this. But both your boyfriends are coming up to DC to visit you.
S - [oh shit. who on earth has he run into at DFW and why for the love of God is he bringing him to DC?] Um...[sweetly, nervously]...what?
K - Your other boyfriend. He's coming up to DC with me.
S - [thinking hard, but still fairly convinced that I remembered to break up with all previous beaus] Um...who?
K - Come on, think about it.
S - [The light dawning, the voice shrill] OMIGOD is Wesley Clark there? Oh, get his autograph, oh tell him to write me a note, oh take his picture, is he tall??

Sure enough, Kriston was on the same flight as Gen. Clark, and even managed to squeeze in some conversation (and a photo-op) with him that revealed the following information:
1. He is not tall at all. (We'll need to wait for the photographic evidence to confirm this, as I suspect Kriston might have been wanting to downplay the manly virtues of the good General.)
2. The 101st Airborn Division is a world-class outfit.
3. A smart young man like Kriston really ought to enlist in the service. (And very nearly did, as a result of him having never taken suggestions from a 4-star general before, and being understandably eager to please.)

Questions left unanswered include: are you running for president? and what are you doing Friday night?

Matthew Yglesias has a funny post pointing out that The New Republic is busy condemning an invented political movement that they allege is taking root at an imaginary law school. Methinks they need to hire some fact checkers. His commenters are pretty amused by it, too.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

What a Kurd wants...

From Andrew Sullivan, in one of his cheeky moods, a great excerpt from the NYT:

In the giddy spirit of the day, nothing could quite top the wish list bellowed out by one man in the throng of people greeting American troops from the 101st Airborne Division who marched into town today. What, the man was asked, did he hope to see now that the Baath Party had been driven from power in his town? What would the Americans bring? "Democracy," the man said, his voice rising to lift each word to greater prominence. "Whiskey. And sexy!"

Andrew responds:
"Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy." Not quite "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" - but a lot more reliable.
Poet of the Pentagon

Slate has picked up on the
poetic musings of Donald Rumsfeld, compiling a short compendium of his most recent works. They compare him favorably to William Carlos Williams in his "dedication to the fractured rhythms of the plainspoken vernacular," and note that his "gift for offhand, quotidian pronouncements is as entrancing as Frank O'Hara's." Some excerpts from his oeuvre:

The Unknown
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.

--Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing

Glass Box
You know, it's the old glass box at the—
At the gas station,
Where you're using those little things
Trying to pick up the prize,
And you can't find it.

And it's all these arms are going down in there,
And so you keep dropping it
And picking it up again and moving it,

Some of you are probably too young to remember those—
Those glass boxes,

But they used to have them
At all the gas stations
When I was a kid.

--Dec. 6, 2001, Department of Defense news briefing

The Situation
Things will not be necessarily continuous.
The fact that they are something other than perfectly continuous
Ought not to be characterized as a pause.
There will be some things that people will see.
There will be some things that people won't see.
And life goes on.

--Oct. 12, 2001, Department of Defense news briefing

I think what you'll find,
I think what you'll find is,
Whatever it is we do substantively,
There will be near-perfect clarity
As to what it is.

And it will be known,
And it will be known to the Congress,
And it will be known to you,
Probably before we decide it,
But it will be known.

--Feb. 28, 2003, Department of Defense briefing

From The Use of Force
I know how to expose Iraq for inspection
And I did my best.
When finally I got the UN inside
Saddam opened up for an instant
But before I could see anything
He came down again
Splintering the probe with pages
Of useless documents
Aren't you ashamed? Powell yelled
Aren't you ashamed to act like that in front
Of Rumsfeld?

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Kriston does a good job dismantling the inevitable harpys (harpies?) bellyaching about women on the frontlines. First it was the gays, now it's the women, let's just settle down and accept the fact that we need whoever we can get to willingly enlist.

And in other news, my little sister just learned that she was accepted as an Archer Fellow, so she'll be joining me in DC in the fall! (If I'm not freezing my bazongas off in Moscow at the time.) So if you see her, tell her congrats. Gosh, I remember the days when I was so sure she wouldn't amount to anything...
This war has turned Madonna into Christopher Walken

Snooze on Sus

It was a mild afternoon here in Washington DC as I stepped on to my usual bus for the commute home. I walked past the rows of passengers inexplicably glaring at me (for some reason, the going-home bunch is a hostile one) and selected my usual seat. Left side, window. Usually, as we roll along and pick up more passengers, I try to hold my seat monopoly as long as possible. I put on an angry face, shuffle my elbows and hips around (to suggest to passers-by: if you sit here, you will be bumped and nudged the whole way to Georgetown) and generally try to look as though I smell bad. However, there are always worse options in nearby seats (ginormous women with acres of thigh fat, scabby-heads, and the like) so I can't ever ward off a seat partner for long. Yesterday it was a darling little mini-man. One of those old guys that so wrinkled up he looks like those peppers you put on your windowsill to dry: devoid of fluids and half the original size. Only not red. He doesn't take up much room, my dehydrated gramps, so I don't mind. He sits down and begins reading his newspaper as merrily we roll along. Nearly twenty minutes down the road, I begin to notice two things.
One: this bus ride seems to be abnormally long.
Two: there is a growing pressure in the general vicinity of my shoulder.

I glance down to my right, and notice straight off grampy's limp fingers are letting slip the newspaper he had been reading. Pressure on shoulder increases. Good lord. Is he--no, surely--oh my. Grampy's little head--the top of which is just level with my shoulder--has found peaceful slumber on my upper arm. Chasing away the fleeting morbidities, "What if he's DEAD?", I begin to calculate the proper course of action. Can't just shuck him off, these old people sleep hard and we don't want him just falling into the aisle. Should I start clearing my throat loudly? That would just attract unwanted attention from the other bus patrons who would then start nudging their friends and nodding in my unfortunate direction. Should I just be happy he's not snoring? As gramps snuggles ever closer, fate--in the form of crack-addled DC drivers--intervenes. Some obstacle or other leaps in front of our trusty bus, and the driver pounds the squealing brakes, causing gramps' head to woosh off my shoulder and nearly smack into the hard plastic head-rest of the seat in front of us. Luckily his mucle control kicks in before catastrophic brain injury occurs, and best of all, he's been rattled back to consciousness. We're near my stop anyway, so checking my shoulder for drool stains, I relieve myself of human pillow duties and get off the bus.
Book club!

I've been reading British novelist Martin Amis' memoir "Experience" over the past week, and I have to say it has been one hell of a read. In addition to his absolutely divine prose, there's that dry British humor that had me snorting out loud rather unattractively on the #32 bus. He subverts the tedium of chronology and instead organizes the events of his life around some strange thematic structure composed of short vignettes that you wouldn't want to map, but that keeps the reading lively. And even as a telling memoir, he's pretty evasive--he indulges us with great detail in the traumas and despairs of his young cousin being abducted and murdered by an infamous serial killer, but you have to infer his marriages and divorces. They are only glanced at, and you feel that it is all a bit too close for him to examine or, at least, to reveal to us.
Anyway, while much of the novel is quite moving, I thought I'd share some of the snort-inducing moments:

On the birth of his little sister:
Sally was born on 17 January 1954 at 24 The Grove. I was allowed on the scene soon afterwards, and i have an utterly radiant--and utterly false--memory of my hour-old sister, her features angelically formed, her blonde tresses curling down over her shoulders. In fact, of course, she was just like the other Amis babies: a howling pizza

His father was renowned British novelist Kingsley Amis:
Perhaps the most revealing thing my father ever said was in response to Yevgeny Yevtushenko's question, "You atheist?" He answered: "Well yes, but it's more that I hate him."

On being a short (5'2") teenager:
Everyone kept saying to me, "You'll suddenly shoot up," and, after a while, I kept saying to everyone, "What's all this about me suddenly shooting up? It hasn't happened." I minded being short chiefly because it seemed that about half of womankind was thereby rendered unapproachable. When I was even younger and shorter I had a girlfriend who was over six-foot-one. We had an unspoken agreement. We never stood upright at the same time. And we never went out.

Even Amis' long-time friend Christopher Hitchens (HA! You just *thought* you were going to get a Hitch-free week!) appeared for some laughs. Amis writes this about the
Cuban Missile Crisis:

We all remember it. To paraphrase Christopher Hitchens's pertinent inversion: Like everbody else, I remember exactly where I was standing and who I was with at the moment that President Kennedy nearly killed me.

And here, telling his Dad not to get so angry when he has to buy lunch for deadbeat friends:
[Martin]--Look at you--you're a fucking wreck. Who paid for lunch?
I did.
--And you've let it poison your whole day. Instead of having a nice time with your old pal. It's not worth it, Dad. When I go out with Rob, I pay for everything. He says, "Just pretend I'm a chick." And I do pay for everything and i give him twenty quid for his taxi home. And I don't mind.
--Yes but Rob couldn't pay for anything even if he wanted to.
--So? It's like with the Hitch when he used to say, "Whose turn is it to pay for me?"

Blogger is back, and I can blog once more!
Now....what was I saying?