Oct 30 2010

restoring fear

The plan was to attend the rally in person, and I am eternally in CarrieNation’s debt for suggesting the bail.  The telecast was bad enough.  I spent the afternoon enveloped in spite and scorn while watching a smug spectacle and an enormous crowd feeling really fucking pleased with itself.  It should be no surprise, given that background, that I thought of this song for today.  I just wish somebody – anybody – was sporting a mullet as heroic as the one in the video below.

Jul 16 2010

chimps are not monkeys

I know someone who once made the mistake of casually referring to chimpanzees as “monkeys.”  And while I will grant that this is a common misconception, that does not make the statement – however casual – true.  Dabysan was the first to mention the error, and he did so tactfully.  “Actually,” replied Dabysan to to the mistaken assertion, “chimps aren’t monkeys at all.  They’re apes.  There’s a difference.”  That’s when things got ugly.

This other person – at the time – was a web designer for Conservation International, which caused her to believe that she was an expert on pretty much everything found in nature.  She was also very much a know-it-all, which caused her to believe she was an expert on pretty much…. well, everything else.  She didn’t take kindly to being corrected.  She immediately insisted that chimps were, in fact, monkeys, and that she personally worked with the world’s top primatologists who would no doubt back her up on this fact.  That’s when things got really ugly.

Needless to say, an argument ensued.  This was some time ago (okay, fine – eight years ago), before access to the internet on one’s cellular telephone became ubiquitous.  And besides, we were on a ski trip in BFE West Virginia, so we probably wouldn’t have gotten a signal anyway.  But it wasn’t much longer than five minutes once we returned home than three people sent out emails with definitive proof that there is a difference between apes and monkeys and that chimpanzees are in the former biological classification.  To this day, the person who mistakenly proclaimed chimps to be monkeys has not admitted her error.  She never will.  Ever.

I’m reminded of this story after reading about how Steve Jobs responded today to glitches in his latest precious Apple product.  This is partly because my friend the primate expert is the second biggest lobotomized Apple apologist I know, but it’s mostly because Steve Jobs refused to acknowledge his company’s error.  And there’s nothing more annoying that someone who is obviously wrong insisting that they are right.  Under most circumstances, I’d say that the quote of the day goes to Slate.com’s Farhad Manjoo, who closed his piece on Jobs’ press conference with:

“What I’d prefer, since Jobs is asking, is a company that doesn’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s the ‘most revolutionary rain storm ever!’  A free case is all well and good.  Just lose the attitude, Steve.  You screwed up.  We know it.  You know it.  Just admit it.”

But that doesn’t account for the fact that Steve Jobs is the most self-righteous douchebag on the planet.  So he gets the dubious quote of the day honors for this disingenuous gem:

“We love our users so much we’ve built 300 Apple retail stores for them.”

Fuck you, Steve Jobs, and fuck your shitty fucking iPhone too.  Stop pretending you’re doing us a goddamn favor by offering overpriced consumer products.  You built your three hundred fucking Apple stores to line your pockets with the hard earned money of the stupid and gulli-  Wait a second…  Why am I ranting about this again?  The stupid and gullible deserve to be ripped off.  What the hell do I care?  I have a Blackberry.

Jan 29 2010

ain't nobody gonna see eye to eye

J.D. Salinger died today.  I can tell because it was all over my Facebook feed.  And I honestly have no idea why.  I guess it's supposed to be shocking.  Or sad.  Or significant.  But I'm struggling to understand any of those common reactions.  The guy was over ninety years old and he hadn't done shit in the last fifty of them.  Oh sure, he supposedly kept writing while living the life of a hermit, saying at one point "Publishing is a terrible invasion of my privacy."  But that doesn't make him relevant.  It just makes him a pretentious douchebag.  Like everyone else in America, I read The Catcher in the Rye in ninth grade.  It didn't change my life.  I didn't even like it that much.  It was a school assignment, and I was a good student so I did it.  I have had literally no interest in re-reading it in the two decades since.

The title of this song by the Old 97's, however, comes from that novel.  It's a reference, if I am not mistaken, to Holden Caufield's sister.  Which ordinarily wouldn't matter, but that line in the coda – "I believe in love, but it don't believe in me" – is one of the best ever in any medium and had nothing at all to do with Salinger.  So I guess it's fair to say that he at least inspired something worthwhile.

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May 1 2009

doo wacka doo wacka doo

I read this morning that Minnesota whackadoo Michele Bachmann held forth yesterday on the history of the Great Depression in general and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's role in the creation of the Depression specifically.  Now something about this has bothered me ever since I read it, but until now I wasn't able to put my finger on what exactly.  I mean… I watch a fair amount of the Fox News Channel, so I know she was being fair and balanced about how big government and the passage of the Hoot-Smalley Act hurt average Americans just like you and me in the early 1930's.  Then it hit me.

Michele Bachman must have learned everything she knows about history from homestarrunner.com, because it was called, ahem, the Smoot-Hawley Act.  And it was promoted by, ahem, congressional Republicans and signed into law by Republican president Herbert Hoover.  Many who supported this misguided tariff lost their jobs over the issue, which – to be fair -  was as disastrous as Bachman indicated.
I've been trying for an hour to embed the awesome "Ballad of the Sneak" video, to no avail, so you'll have to follow the link.  You'll be glad you did.  Old-timey Homestar is the best. 

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Apr 24 2009

yoshimi battles the oklahoma house of representatives

Except for Woody Guthrie – who left as soon as he possibly could – the Flaming Lips are literally the best thing ever to come from Oklahoma in the history of time.  It's not even a close contest.  But for whatever reason, for somebody in that god-forsaken state the issue of official state rock song was far too important to leave the public out of the (obvious) decision.  So they put it to a vote.  And the Flaming Lips' nominated song – "Do You Realize??" – obviously won.  All that was left was to make the public's will official.

And wouldn't you know, those fatcats in Oklahoma City got in the way.  Despite a plurality of the popular vote in the online poll and passing unanimously in the state Senate, the House failed to pass the resolution.  Fifty-one votes were required, but only forty-eight members of the House supported Oklahoma's only relevant contribution to popular culture.  Thirty-nine Representatives voted against the band – who is still based in Oklahoma, despite all logic – and fourteen members failed to vote at all.  Speaking on behalf of the ridiculous opposition, state Representative Mike Reynolds (R-Oklahoma City) noted that the band has a reputation for using obscene language, and recalled that band
members used such language several years ago when the city of, uh,
Oklahoma City named an alley after them.  Reynolds went on to add "Their lips ought to be on fire."  (Ooooh, that's a burn.  I think.)  I believe there was also an incident involving a red t-shirt with a hammer and a sickle on it, though – to be fair – that may have been the same function at which they were heard swearing.

All hope is not lost, however.  Oklahoma's governor declared today that he will sign an executive order, establishing "Do You Realize??" in its rightful place as the state's official rock song.  I hear he's also planning to sign a second executive order that the idiots in the House who didn't vote for the Flaming Lips aren't allowed to talk about music any more.  That's certainly what I would do.  

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Nov 12 2008

why do you try to cheat?

Don’t you know it is wrong?

Nov 11 2008


Apparently no longer content just with racism and gouging its fans,
the NFL's most despicable franchise announced today that it intends to
supplement its reprehensible behavior with a new disgusting tactic:
theft.  The Washington Post's DC Sports Bog [sic] has all the shameful details.

in a move startling both for its timeliness and its originality, 50,000
burgundy ESPN980 towels will be handed out on Sunday night, 50,000
apparently being the estimated number of Redskins fans who will be on

I understand the ***skins' dilemma.  Really, I do. 
Like most of the population of the nation's capital, their fanbase is
transient and fleeting.  That rare life-long ***skin fan you may meet believes the Dallas Cowboys to be his mortal enemy, while the Cowboy fanbase (as it were) offers a collective shrug
So you got your less dedicated selling their tickets to the fans of
your biggest "rival" who are more pre-occupied with whether the
Longhorns will beat the Sooners and don't give two shits about football
on Sunday…. I can see why that would be tough to swallow.  And I can
see why a team might choose under those circumstances to steal ideas
from one of the most beloved and successful franchises of all time.  Like I said, I understand.  But it's still really goddamn lame.

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Apr 11 2008

this is rocktober

In other sports news, the Colorado Rockies are dead to me:

team's tight-lipped quest to "own" Rocktober is closer to completion
after a key approval from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Colorado Rockies Baseball Club, a corporation, filed four separate
requests last October, seeking to lock up the right to use the word
"Rocktober." The application is currently "published for opposition,"
providing a one-month period for challenges to the trademark. That
window ends on April 25.

This makes a lot of sense, because the first thing that comes to most peoples' minds when they hear the word "rocktober" is baseball.  And the second thing is some historically shitty expansion team who happened to mount an impressive run at the end of last season.  Needless to say, I won't be honoring this bullshit trademark.  Now I just have to find a way to make some dough from the word.

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Aug 31 2007

best. vacation. ever.

Okay, everybody – put the kiddies to bed, 'cause this one sure as shit ain't gonna be Maggie-friendly….


Fuck Texas.  Fuck.  Texas.  And fuck North fucking Carolina too.  A few years back, on my way to China, the plane I was on out of JFK had some mechanical problems and they had to cancel the flight.  It was a hassle, but the people at the desk re-booked every single person and we went on our way.  Because people in New York know that they need to get shit done.  You don't find any of that laissez-faire "You can fly out tomorrow" shit-kicker attitude in New York.  People in North Carolina could stand to learn a few goddamn things from New Yorkers.

But I wouldn't be in this predicament in the first place if Texas wasn't a god-forsaken place where no one should live.  Apparently dump-trucks of rain fall on the place daily during the summer and Texans are too fucking stupid to realize: "Hey, maybe we shouldn't live here."  I'm not even kidding any more.  We need to give Texas back to Mexico.  It's what they want anyway.

Obviously, I'm not on my way yet to South America.  My connecting flight to Dallas was cancelled due to weather.  The plan as of now is to fly to Miami tomorrow afternoon and connect to Santiago to land at 6:30AM in time for my 8:30AM flight to Easter Island.  There's not a whole lot of room for error, though.  And I'd be lying if I said I was feeling overwhelmingly positive about this going off without a snag.  I suppose some might consider this karmic payback for my crack about "gloat[ing]" in my previous post.  But I, for one, feel I am to be commended; I toned the smugness down quite a bit.  I didn't even mention "the littles" like I did in my first draft.

For the immediate future, my options are limited.  And I'm not even thinking far enough ahead to consider how to kill the day tomorrow.  I've already checked with Emma and Daby, and apparently Raleigh is too far from the Outer Banks for them to come pick me up so I can hang with them for the evening.  Who knew?  I mean – they're both in the same goddamn state, right?  Seemed reasonable to me….  Anyway, my options for a glorious evening in bum-fuck North Carolina seem to be:

A/ Remain here in this too-small-for-two-people "business center" at the Days Inn with my new douchebag friend right next to me talking and laughing to himself and surf the internet on this slow-ass probably dial-up podunk bullshit connection.

B/ Hit the Waffle House next door and then watch some TV and hit the sack.

C/ Go get drunk at Hooters.

I wish I was joking.  I think I'm gonna go to Hooters.  Perfect.  I'm the best seventeen-year-old ever.

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Jul 6 2007

where are they now?

Most of yinz – if you're like me – think of Houston, Texas primarily as the home of the space program.  I've got a healthy respect for the rocket scientists and astronauts in its employ.  I love me some "Apollo 13" and fairly recently watched "The Right Stuff," and I have warm feelings every time see them.  They help me to forget, however briefly, that Houston is in Texas.

You see, Texas – at least as far as I can tell (or care to tell) – is filled with people like my good pal Eric Floyd.  Longtime readers will recall Eric as that inquisitive soul who "challenged" my extremely controversial idea that it really sucked that my Grandma had Parkinson's.  A comment by Vanna over on Jodi's blog made me think of him.  Checking in on him felt just like old times.  I'm pleased to see Mr. Floyd has been occupying his time with the most highly intellectual of pursuits.

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