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Archive for January, 2006

In Which I Liveblog The SOTU

January 31st, 2006 1 comment

8:06:  Ooh!  There’s gonna be a doggie! And Cindy Sheehan!

8:36:  Wolf really wishes that he was in the limo with the president so that he could hear what he says!  He’s such a fan!  I’d want a button from his jacket.

MSNBC has a countdown clock to the SOTU.

8:40: Wolf thinks bush’s job is harder than Laura’s.

8:42:  Will CNN do a SOTU bloopers reel?

Drug company propaganda from CVS – And the drug company paid for the medication.

8:44:  Cindy Sheehan was arrested before she could get into the House Chamber.  No word if the Chinese ate the bomb-sniffing dog

8:55:  Oh, Cindy, you idiot.  How could you fuck up an opportunity like that by unrolling a banner against House rules?  Every single TV camera would have been trained on you. You could have kept seated through the whole speech.  You could have even given him the finger for hour.  But, no.

9:01:  This little chickee doing the introductions to the Speaker is HOT!  And she knows it.

9:07: Sargeant Of Arms – Wilson’s Living Good! 

9:09:  FLASH!  Gary Coleman is standing next to Laura Bush!

9:11:  bush looks like a 14-year old pretending to be president.

9:12: Brown-nosing Coretta Scott King.  Another hurdle down for affirmative action!

9:13: “Why can’t we all just get aloooooooong?”

9:15:  No isolationism – “I kinda fucked up that one up when I went into Iraq.”

9:16  Democracy brings hope not resentment.  Umm…who the hell wrote that line?

9:18:  B-b-b-bin Laden?  Oh, no, he di’nt!  He did NOT just say that!  Nuh-uh!

9:19:  “Allowing the violent to inherit the earth”  Umm…who the hell wrote that line?

9:20:  “An assaulted world to fend for itself…never surrender to evil.”  Soooooo…we’re pretty much fucked until he leaves.

9:21:  “We will remain on the offensive in Afghanistan”.  Didn’t we declare victory alread?

9:22:  “In three years, we still have not distributed all the chocolate to the Iraqi children and we will not leave until we do.”

9:23:  It’s surpsing the House chamber doesn’t tip over from the imbalance of Republicans standing and Democrats not.

9:24:  “We must keep our word and not pull out of Iraq like my Daddy did.”

9:26:  Letter from a dead soldier, parents in the audience…somewhere Satan smiles

9:29: Dems stand to support the troops – duh

9:29:  Will this entire fucking speech be about Iraq?  Really?

9:30:  Twenty-three minutes – the State of the Union is…in Iraq?  Oh, and we’re invading Iran tomorrow.

9:32: We love everybody!  Why does everybody hate us?  We want everyone to be healthy, like our population is.

9:33:  bush needs Al-anon.  Apparently the State of the Union depends on the rest of the world doing ok.

9:34:  I’LL SPY ON THE WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORLD!  No word on when we’ll hire Arabic translators.  Hillary ruefully grins and shakes her head.

9:35: “A long war fought by presidents of both parties.”  W-wait.  Didn’t we capture bin Laden already:

9:38:  How much money do we owe China?

9:39:  Pemanent tax cuts so that Americans can continue to not save money.

9:41:  Line item veto?  To stop lobbyists?  Holy shit – I just threw up on the keyboard.

9:42:  “Two of my dad’s favorite people, me and Bill.”  Hillary – if looks could kill.

9:43:  I am almost weeping with joy as the Democrats give the big fuck you on the Social Security bit.

9:45:  “Affordable health care and I promise not to cum in your mouth”

9:45:  “Affordable health insurance and I promise not to cum in your mouth”

9:46:  “America is addicted to oil and I am addicted to crack.  How can I not be?  I want to do the nuclear energy thing again.  I’m Buck Rogers!  Wheeeeeee!  I want…I want to proposed particle travel for every man, woman and child.”

9:50:  Nanotechnology.  Cheney smiles engimatically.

9:52: Kids has got to get learning good.

9:53: “America has become a more hopeful nation”  Oh, you mean Jesus-wise.  I thought you meant, you know, hopeful that you wouldn’t get us blown up again.

9:55: America’s not in decline.  I know that we’ll survive you, bitch.

9:57:  Sandra Day O’Connor is leaving a turd in Alito’s new desk

9:58: Public trust must never be betrayed and that’s why he’s releasing all files relating to Katrina and Cheney’s meetings with energy companies.

10:00:  AIDS – half of all from African-Americans…well, now that Coretta’s dead…

10:01:  End the stigma of AIDS?  How will Republicans get elected if he manages to do THAT?

10:02: “The destination of history…”  “History written in courage” Terrorism is a thing with feathers.

Oy.  So…what did we learn – that we unless we finish a war that will never end we will never get the oil monkey off our back so let’s be nice to the rest of the world and hope that we don’t get blown up again.  And less fucking and more learning for the kids.

The end

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In Which You’re NOT FUCKING OPPRESSED

January 31st, 2006 No comments

Yeah, I know the timing passed me by, but work and a wife away on a business trip conspired to keep me out of the loop on little Dougie Anglin and his brave pursuit of equality for white men.

How best to put this so I don’t hurt Dougie’s feelings?  Hm.  How about – SHUT THE FUCK UP.  Until such time as your race, creed or gender actually prove an obstacle to running either the government or the lobbying firm that controls the government – YOU HAVE NOTHING TO BITCH ABOUT.

Put another way, Dougie – Ask Dad what he thinks of affirmative action.  I’m betting that you wouldn’t even have to disguise the question to avoid it sounding pointed.  I’m also betting that Dad’s face will redden slightly as he prepares to go off about how black people have got to stop relying on the whole slavery thing as a means to take jobs away from more qualified white people.  Take notes on the number of times he uses the word “quota” and the quality of scorn attached to it.  Once he’s done, ask him to define “irony” for you.  Bonus points if he’ll define “double standard”.  Extra bonus points if he defines “hypocrisy.”

Dougie, we run everything.  Nothing’s going to change that.  Even if a spaceship from the planet Homo sprinkled Earth with Fairy Dust [tm] and turned us all gay, we’d still run everything.  Need proof?  Look at Hollywood. 

So the Women’s Movement made you feel bad about being a guy and let women into positions of power?  Get over it.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but stop acting like pussies and start acting like guys.

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In Which I Try My Hand At A Parenting Column

January 30th, 2006 No comments

I picked my daughter up from the rehearsal for the musical.  She threw herself dejectedly in the front seat, crossed her arms over her chest and silently scowled. “Hi,” I said. 

She grunted. “Everything ok, hun,” I asked. 

Grunt. “What’s going on, dear?”  Times like these are the hardest since there’s a privacy line that shifts on a minute by minute basis. 

“Rsdkjendjsdsalsksdeiow.”  The grunt changed to a mutter.  A good sign! “Huh?” 

“It’s just completely stupid because all ANYone wants to talk about is Rent, Rent, Rent and it’s REALLY boring and REALLY stupid and I CAN’T stand to listen to it for ONE MORE MINUTE!” This took her only about a second and a half to say, but her diction was perfect.  By now, I’ve learned the best response to this kind of rant involves a subtle nodding of the head and low, quiet sounds of agreement and sympathy. 

“It’s just…it’s just….” She faltered. “It’s just what, hun,” I prompted. 

“It’s just so GAY.”  She slumped back into the seat. Well.  

How to respond?  English, while incredibly flexible, also frustrates the hell out of you since words change meaning at the drop of a hat.  “Gay” is just the latest in the parade of words and phrases that leaves you scratching your head about their appropriateness.  Like the word “sucks” (which used to mean…well, you know), “gay” seems on the verge of crossing over from an unambiguous description of sexual practice to the DMZ of borderline offensiveness.  If it reaches the other side the original meaning becomes a footnote in the OED.  One of the most thankless jobs of a parent is harping about the way our children use language.  And so the choice was clear. “Hun,” I said gently, “you’re right.  It’s incredibly gay.  But you have to realize that if you chose to continue pursuing a theater career that it’s all run by homosexuals.  It’s a crazy, crazy place where societal norms get turned topsy-turvy.  The boys all want to be Judy Garland and the girls want to build the sets!  I mean, jeez-louise, I remember this one time when I was acting in – ” 

“Dad.”  She cut me off.  “I didn’t mean “gay” like “guys and guys”.  I meant it like really, really stupid.” “Oh,” I said.  “Well…it’s that, too.  Rent sucks.” 

“Yeah,” she smiled.  “It does.” 

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In Which I Ate Dinner At Ikea

January 21st, 2006 1 comment

I’m beginning to wonder if the whole Ikea thing is actually a plot to undermine the well-being of the United States of America.  First, they offer us reasonably priced faux-stylish home furnishings.  Then they lure us in with 99-cent kids’ meals and begin to slip lingoberry into the national pallete.  The next thing you know our suicide rate climbs through the roof and the American public no longer gives a damn about terrorists taking over the country.  We just want to be left alone to eat our lingoberries in the comfort of our Humvees with the garage doors down and the windows duct taped as we drift off into whatever the Swedish version of Valhalla is.

Fucking Swedes.

If, in my pre-parenting days, you suggested that I’d eat dinner in a furniture store I would have knocked back five shots of Jack Daniels just to prove to you that I would be dead before that happened.  And yet, there I sat bathed in shiny flourescent light, sitting at a Rhkemplatnech kitchen table on a matching Rhkemplatnech chair eating my Swedish meatballs whose sauce had a uniform consistency and color not found in nature.  The diners (and even the food) served merely as set decoration in a parody of 1950’s hygeine films co-directed by Jean Luc Goddard and Jacques Tati. 

I’m at a loss to explain the non-restaurant-dining trend.  Bookstores now, by dint of selling books, must have a cafe.  And not just coffee and a muffin, but a fairly robust menu that allows one to say such inane sentences as, “Let’s meet at Barnes and Nobles for lunch.”  No.  Let’s eat at a restaurant.

Bread and Wallet (now Whole Foods Market) sells food, it’s true, but exactly what compells Alexandra K. SoccerMom to linger over her decaf and vegan morninglory muffin in a pre-fabricated fast food booth located right in front of a checkout counter?  Perhaps it’s a component of the ironically named Power Yoga – throw as many obstacles to meditation as possible in your path and when you block them all out you get to buy a new Volvo.  Honestly, you can’t throw an adopted Asian baby in Cambridge without hitting a funky, comfortable cafe with nice lighting and a yummy $12 soy chai, so what’s the appeal of eating in a supermarket?

Yes, I know this was supposed to be about Ikea, but in the interim, I ran across the Ikea Walkthough v2.3.1 and…well, there’s not much room for improvement.

IKEA is a fully immersive, 3D environmental adventure that allows you to role-play the character of someone who gives a shit about home furnishings. In traversing IKEA, you will experience a meticulously detailed alternate reality filled with garish colors, clear-lacquered birch veneer, and a host of NON-PLAYER CHARACTERS (NPCs) with the glazed looks of the recently anesthetized.

=============================================================
OBJECTIVE
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Your goal is to successfully traverse the five awesome worlds of IKEA before your patience runs out…

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In Which I Post The Headlines

January 20th, 2006 No comments

With Jack Abramoff poised to lift the lid on the un-flushed toilet of corruption in Washington, House Democrats and Republicans have feverishly begun work on a lobbying reform bill dubbed “The Reclaim Our Virginity Act of 2006.”  The bill includes caps on gifts, banning trips paid for by lobbying subsidiaries and 50 million dollars worth of tax breaks to the drug, energy and airline industries.

The Ministry of Public Security in China announced that the number of people murdered dropped by a whopping 15.9 percent in 2005 owing to a reclassification of pro-democracy protesters as “not human”.

After several days of intense negotiations, Mary Beth Carroll, the mother of kidnapped reporter Jill Carroll, chose CNN as the exclusive outlet to broadcast the plea for her daughter’s life.  Anonymous sources report that originally Mary Beth Carroll planned to release only a written statement but was convinced that “nobody reads anymore”.  Said one CNN executive, “From a marketing standpoint, she realized that while domestically, Fox News outperforms CNN, CNN’s international reach far exceeds Fox.”  Book and film rights have yet to be decided.

Democrats who feared that John Roberts’ traditional leanings would influence the Supreme Court had their suspicions confirmed not once, but twice this week.  First, Roberts joined the minority dissent as the court struck down a New Hampshire abortion law.  And today, with the almost certain confirmation of Samuel Alito to replace Sandra Day O’Connor, Roberts signaled his intention to re-instate Porn And Beer Fridays.

And in the Kids Do The Darndest Things corner, a 12-year old Chico Kelley was sentenced to juvenile prison for an armed car-jacking committed when he was just eleven…years…old!  WOW!  He might have gotten away with it if he hadn’t driven the car to school the next day!  OH, KIDS!

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In Which I Couldn’t Watch The News

January 18th, 2006 No comments

Two nights ago I was up until 4am waiting for a Ghost image to complete so that I could push it onto a new hard drive due at a client in the morning.  Of course, if I had started it earlier I would have gotten to be earlier but who knew the throughput to the USB drive would choke down to 17mb/sec?  As a result, I stumbled through yesterday and looked forward to a little couch/TV time before crashing.

We flipped around until 10pm when I figured I check on the status of Jill Caroll, the reporter kidnapped by some assholes who really believe that their ridiculous demands will be met.  (“We will kill this hostage unless my whore of an ex-fiance admits that I’m not a loser and consents to go through with the wedding as planned.”)

Silly Paul.

Just as MTV and its subsidiaries strayed from their strong point (music videos), so, too, have cable news outlets strayed from news.  Instead, they play commentary about what they’d like you to think about the news that they’re not reporting on.  Hence, 360 with Anderson Cooper completely dispensed with a recap of the headlines and dedicated the show to the UNBELIEVABLY IMPORTANT RAMIFICATIONS of Hillary’s “plantation” statement and Ray Nagin’s “God doesn’t like black people” statement AND packaged the whole thing under a title of (I’m not kidding) Keeping Them Honest.  Anderson used this title in a sentence at the top of the show.  “Blah, blah, blah and we’re going to Keep Them Honest.”  I’m waiting for CNN to bring in a studio audience to chant this phrase at the end of every segment.

Anderson: …and that’s why we’ve got to invade Iran because we’ve got to –  

Audience: KEEP….THEM….HONEEEEEEEST!

Anderson:  (To the cameras)  On tomorrow’s show – Are Aruban officials really telling all they know?  We’ll talk to Beth Holloway Twitty for some surprising answers.  I’m Anderson Cooper.  Keep the truth alive.

Audience:  (Chanting)  TRUTH-A-LIVE!  TRUTH-A-LIVE!  TRUTH-A-LIVE! 

(Fade out)

Merciful fag-hating christ.  It’s enough to make you yearn for of the overly earnest Ward Cleaver days of Aaron Brown.  And that was only a few months ago.

Oh, well.  There’s other news outlets, right?  I mean, 10pm on weeknight, right?  MSNBC?  Nope.  An in-depth examination of (and I think I’ve got this right) the secret messages Hollywood transmits to the public.  Two words – Brokeback Mountain.  Fox?  AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  What about Hea-Hea-Hea-(oh, my god, I can’t even type it without wanting to kill Ted Turner) Headline News?

Of all the tragedies of the post-Fox era, this is the worst.  I honestly loved Headline News up until a few years ago.  Then came the tickers.  CNN, as I remember, decided that the kids didn’t watch Headline News because it didn’t look like a web page.  “Those youngsters can process so much more information than their parents and the lame-o 30-somethings that actually buy stuff, so let’s try to target their demographic instead and render Headline News stressful and unwatchable to everyone else.”  And so they did.

Then FoxNews started throwing mud at anything that contained the letters of or rhymed with d-e-m-o-c-r-a-t-i-c and America pissed itself with equal parts joy and horror.  And then, Hellooooo 9-11!  Since Fox already laid the groundwork for Liberals destroying America, they suffered no learning curve when it came to calling a towelhead a towelhead.  Americans, shocked and angry, tuned into Fox to nuture their inner patriotic/racist/xenophobe/crackpot.

Moderate CNN could have put up a fight for taking things easy and slow.  But market share slipped and the news hasn’t really been about truth since Murrow died.  Rather than looking to their mission statement (as Tylenol did during the poisoning thing years ago), they took up the cry of “beat Fox at any cost.”

So now, instead of headlines on the half-hour, we have Nancy Grace.

Thank God for New England Cable News.  All they want to do is tell me what happened today in the world.  Is that so much to ask for?

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In Which I Discover Bush’s New Security Measures

January 18th, 2006 No comments

Frankly, They're Full Of Shit

So…the terrorists are afraid of ghosts?  Are there other founding fathers haunting Port Authority and LAX ready to jump out and yell “BOO-ETH!” as the scaredy-cat towelheads de-plane?  Or do our righteous American ghosts get ‘em before they get on the plane at Heathrow? 

WWJMD (What Would Jacob Marely Do?) 

I haven’t had a drink for 14 years, but I’m seriously considering it now.   

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In Which We Made The Globe City Weekly

January 17th, 2006 No comments

Just as a follow-up, Adam Gaffin of Universal Hub, kindly included the Star Market Action in the Globe City Weekly Blog Log.  It’s the last item on the page.

All lost at the supermarket

Paul Day of Watertown is not a fan of televisions beaming ads at shoppers in his local supermarket. So he hatched an idea: Stage a sort of arty protest. Everybody would congregate around the monitors at Star Market on Cambridge’s Mt. Auburn Street, stare intently and ask employees for more information. One problem: Day posted information about his ”flashmob” on his Blog Supplement Weblog — and somebody at Star Market found out about it. When Day and about 15 other ”flashmobbers” showed up last Saturday, they found three of Cambridge’s finest waiting. One addressed him by name and said his group was free to shop — but not cause trouble. Still, they went in, and Day considers the event a success:

 

”At the checkout, with my greeting card rattling around in my otherwise empty hand basket, I stared at the checkout TV. A woman with a full cart came up in back of me. ‘G’head,’ I told her. ‘But you’ve only got one item,’ she reminded me. ‘ ‘S OK.’ I pointed to the TV. ‘This is really good.’ Reluctantly, she moved ahead of me.”

Thanks, Adam!

I’m trying to wrangle the various footage together.  I’ll post it when it’s done.

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In Which The Paradigm Is Proved That If The Title Is Longer Than The Actual Post Then It’s Probably Not Worth It

January 16th, 2006 No comments

“Is that a cell phone in your pocket or do you just have a small penis?”

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In Which I’m Not Sure If It Was An Art Or An Entertainment

January 15th, 2006 6 comments

“WHERE’S UNCLE PETE?? NOBODY LOVES ME!! THERE ARE NO MEN IN THIS ROOOOOOM!!”

Just as there are friends I don’t really care for but still hang out with, so, too, are there channels programmed into the Favorites button on my cable remote that I just never get around to deleting. The Horse Race Channel, for instance. I put it in as a kind of momento mori to the sheer surreality of a channel devoted to replaying horse races. How many people would ever have cause for such a thing outside of 70-year old ex-felons and a half a dozen high school kids that just discovered Stranger Than Paradise? And why do I keep A&E? Sure, they used to show plays and concerts but that was almost twenty years ago. Does anyone remember when you could watch Mark Morris on Bravo? Or the opera set in the airport? AMC, and I’m showing my age, showed honest-to-god classic movies…unedited…without commercials. Now they play Delta Force III.

My wife and I slumped onto the couch this evening and began to flip when suddenly she shouted out to go back to A&E. I read the title of the show on the info bar – Intervention.

“Intervention?,” I asked. Five mintues earlier she bemoaned missing the 50 Most Stylish Haircuts of the Mid-90’s on VH-1 claiming she just needed to zone out. “What the hell is that?”

“You haven’t heard about this? It’s a show where they film people’s intervention.”

“Good title,” I said.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, an intervention consists of gathering the loved ones of an addict into a room and then telling the addict they’re going to…say…a surprise party. Once the addict walks through the door, the loved ones tell him/her how much their behavior hurts them. Then, with luck, the addict goes into rehab.

“It’s a little controversial,” my wife informed me, “because I guess they don’t actually tell the person that it’s gonna end in an intervention.”

NICE!

So, Kristen, this evening’s Junkie du Jour, thought she’d simply signed up for a reality show about twenty-three year old heroin-addicted, alcoholic prostitutes with children in Wisconsin when in fact she’d signed up for a reality show about a particular twenty-three year old heroin-addicted, alcoholic prostitute with a child in Wisconsin about to get her emotional ass kicked.

If I wrote the pitch for this show it would be – “Punk’d with real world consequences”.

I’ve seen some great junkie-whore documentaries.  HBO does them very well.  One camera and a boom mic operated by the filmmaker.  Nice, tight and mobile.  Intervention, however, has a budget.  Not only do they run with two cameras BUT all the participants where wireless microphones clipped onto the back of their jeans!  The sound quality is stunning.  Except, of course, when the junkie slurs their words, but that’s why god created subtitles.  Two cameras opens up the possibility of some really effective jump cutting while Kristen snorts heroin or fires up her Mountain Dew bong.  And keeping two cameras in the room while she and her sister show the cameras how they fight provides some almost Bergman like two-shots.  When Kristen’s sister flies from the room in sadness and disgust, the reality smacks you right in the uvula as the camera follows her down the stairs, through the parking lot and into her car, keeping the wireless mic in the shot the entire time.

“So,” I asked my wife, “do you think they’ll let her take it off before she starts driving, because that looks really uncomfortable to sit on.”

Still, nothing could prepare me for the supreme and pathetic irony of the intervention itself.  Kristen’s downslide began in eighth grade when her grandma died and her mom and stepfather divorced.  What happened with her real dad?  Dunno.  We flipped back and forth between this and Barcelona for the first half-hour.  The point is – she has issues with men leaving her and not taking care of her.  She stays with her boyfriend who beats her because he stands by her.  (I cannot tell you how hard I’m trying to leave that without comment)  This is where Kristen lets loose.

“WHERE’S UNCLE PETE?? NOBODY LOVES ME!! THERE ARE NO MEN IN THIS ROOOOOOM!!”

A flashy graphic appears in the bottom left hand corner of the screen informing us that Pete wouldn’t come to the intervention (waaaaait for it!) because he didn’t want to be on camera!  SCORE!

The presence of Pete might* have made the intervention run smoother but Pete (and this is pure conjecture) did not want to whore himself on national television.  Pete is my hero.  The fact that he showed up in the end does nothing to diminish that.

The Intervention website, naturally, solicts loved ones to punk their junkies, which sounds cold, but they have a nice reminder

You acknowledge that you may not receive a response from this submission. IF YOU BELIEVE THAT THE SITUATION YOU DESCRIBE BELOW REQUIRES URGENT ATTENTION, PLEASE CONTACT AN APPROPRIATE CARE PROVIDER.

Translation – If your junkie continually overdoses, please don’t wait to see if you can get on TV before trying to help him.  Yes, the ratings would go through the roof, but dead junkies do us absolutely no fucking good.  We need them alive.

In summary – we’ve reached the end times and I’m ready to jump on the bandwagon.

Here’s my reality show –

DYING TO LIVE!
Twelve terminally ill contestants all compete to see which one will be the last to die.  They all share a hospital ward (or convelescent home).  During the series, they compete in challenges.  The winner receives a bonus of an expiremental drug or extra dialysis.  The loser forfeits one day of medication or chemo.  The last one living wins.

Drug companies may reach me at hbeeinc_at_gmail_dot_com

 

*I need to point out that an addict cornered will do or say anything.  We’re not stupid.  She may have latched on to the no-men-in-the-room thing in a flash of self-preservational improv.

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