“We discovered that it was OK to have a little high-brow as long you have a lot of low-brow. That’s entertainment value. The one thing you want to avoid is the middle brow, because the whole world is frigging middle brow at the moment.”
– Jon Langford
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Sorry, Ma, I Remembered to Rummage through the Trash
Desperate Housewives actress Marcia Cross is battling to keep naked pictures of her from being published. Two hundred sexy snaps were reportedly discovered by a catering company hired to removed rubbish from redhead Cross' home in Los Angeles.
200? Wouldn't it just be easier for her to take off her clothes and parade around the house rather than take all those pictures? I'm also a bit confused why someone employs a catering company to take out the trash, but if it's an example of hiring dyselxia it does explain why so many people got sick from the canapes at the last bash at the Cross estate.
The firm's owner is being represented by agent David Hans Schmidt, who plans to sell the pictures. Schmidt tells the New York Daily News, "There are some pictures of her showering outside. She looks absolutely gorgeous. And yes, the carpet does match the curtains."
I guess that means in addition to being an agent, Schmidt is an interior designer.
But 44-year-old Cross' legal team claims the photos were thrown away by mistake and insist they still belong to her and husband Tom Mahoney. She is demanding their return. But Schmidt is confident he has the law behind him and hints he plans to sell them abroad: "The pictures were not stolen. When you throw something away, you forfeit that property. We recognize the copyright issue, but US copyright law stops at the border." But he has given Cross the opportunity to buy the photos back, claiming he knows how wealthy she is after discovering her tax return in the trash as well.
Two syllables, Marcia: Shred-der.
Schmidt adds, "I'm not looking to mortify Ms. Cross. I just want the most money for my client. I know how much she made, but out of respect for Ms. Cross, I won't discuss it."
Yeah, what a gentleman. Her income is off limits but the blush of her bush, that's a different kettle of fish.
"If you listen carefully for a Democrat plan for success, they don't have one. Iraq is the central front in the war on terror, yet they don't have a plan for victory," he told cheering Republican faithful at a rally here.
He went on to say, "I do have a plan, and that plan is to say I have a plan and then to do nothing. This will confuse people in Iraq, expecting something better from the U.S., which just goes to show they're too busy being blown-up to notice how well our other plans in places like New Orleans have gone so far.
"Plus the Democrats don't give me enough credit for making Iraq the central front on terror. Terror used to happen anywhere, but now we know where most of it is getting created. Just as we know that Afghanistan is the central front for growing opium. That's all thanks to our plan."
It's My Fantasy, and I'm Not Afraid of the Other 11 Owners, and I Did Beat Their Asses
May I introduce to you the 2006 Bill James Memorial Baseball League World Series Champions, your Oberkfellows! There will be a ticker-tape parade through our house, featuring a relatively normal-legged Nigel (so much joy in our little Mudville today!), at noon. You're all invited.
As you might know, Madwoman McCaw is suing the Independent. Here's Nick Welsh's take on it:
I was busy doing nothing when I was interrupted Thursday evening by a reporter from UCSB’s Daily Nexus, informing me that The Independent had just been sued in federal court by News-Press owner Wendy P. McCaw.
In her lawsuit, McCaw alleges that The Independent had infringed upon her copyright, ripped off her trade secrets, engaged in “intentional and negligent interference with her prospective economic advantage and contract.” Translated into the English language, McCaw claims that two news articles written by News-Press reporters had somehow been leaked to me and that I was in their possession illegally. Secondly, she was upset that I had posted one of the articles on the Independent’s website in its entirety without the News-Press’ consent. And somehow because of this, her lawsuit charged, McCaw and her newspaper have suffered economic damages.
I shouldn't wade into these waters, knowing only enough about the law to change my mind about being pre-law when I was merely a freshman in college. Plus we have Craig Smith to set us legally straight. But part of me thinks that I want to be in the courtroom for this trial, assuming the case doesn't get a sane judge who will laugh his robes off and toss it out. I mean, McCaw is on such a losing streak she can't get the NLRB to give her a hearing, let alone side with her on anything.
Because if the News-Press is going to prove it has suffered economic damages, first it's going to have to admit it's lost advertising revenue and/or lost circulation. And so far it refuses to admit either, or else folks aren't passing around those Dr. (of Philosophy) Agnes Huff press releases about how poorly the paper is doing.
But what might be even more delicious is that in a courtroom people are sworn to tell the truth and the whole truth. What's Travis Armstrong going to say on the stand? Scott Steepleton? And that's about all the witnesses for the News-Press's case--I doubt Wendy will get to say what she thought was going on at her paper in July as she was on a yacht in Europe. Unless anyone wants to know what suntan lotion Catherine Zeta-Jones wears.
The Independent, on the other hand, will have 26 former N-P staffers who might actually all say the same thing. Sure, Wendy will rant that they are part of the conspiracy that at this point probably includes random people on a grassy knoll in Dallas, but it seems impossible that she can have a trial about how Ampersand's trade secrets got out without saying what those trade secrets actually are. So this very lawsuit guarantees some transparency.
I'll bet anyone dollars to donuts that the story about the suit won't be reported on in the News-Press.
Just loaded Mission of Burma last night--after trying to rip all the artists we thought we needed for the party last week, we are now plugging through the alphabet; we're at 29.4 GB, 8757 songs that would play for 22 1/2 days.
Yo La Tengo "Georgia Vs. Yo La Tengo" Billy Bragg " The World Turned Upside Down" The Klezmatics "Shnaps-Nign" Laurie Anderson "In Our Sleep" Mahlatini and the Mahotella Queens "Kazet" The Blind Boys of Alabama "Good Religion" Fred Astaire "They All Laughed" Built to Spill "Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss" Brian Eno "Saint Tom" Boomtown Rats "Like Clockwork"
bonus Steve Earle "Until the Day I Die"
How nice--2 artists we've just seen live, a cut featuring one we will see next week (Lou Reed is on "In Our Sleep"), and a true worldly mix that is as random as my tastes are.
So it goes like this--of course BushCo is all for torture, since that's what they've done to Iraq, to the U.S. Constitution, to reality itself. What a surprise that it's Dick Cheney who finally admits that there's water-boarding going on; after all he has no problem spraying a friend's face with birdshot, so what's a little H20 on someone darker and foreign. Cheney and Bush won't even listen to the first two subjects in the next sentence, as they are noted commie-pinko-liberals:
The U.S. Army, senior Republican lawmakers, human rights experts and many experts on the laws of war, however, consider water-boarding cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment that's banned by U.S. law and by international treaties that prohibit torture. Some intelligence professionals argue that it often provides false or misleading information because many subjects will tell their interrogators what they think they want to hear to make the water-boarding stop.
That's so like everything they've done. Methods don't matter. Results don't really matter either--just ask those watching the Taliban sweep back into power in Afghanistan or those still waiting for recovery in New Orleans--but the impression of results do. Just say what we want to hear.
Those of us still living in reality have to make sure we say something very different November 7.
OK, I'm rooting for the Tigers tonight both because I have the Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman on my WS fantasy squad and I want to see Cardinals pitcher Jeff Suppan lose after he shut down the Mets twice in the League Championship Series despite being truly mediocre throughout his career otherwise. I don't mind losing to good athletes, but getting beat by Jeff Suppan and Yadier Molina is like watching W. keep winning elections.
I chose that comparison advisedly as it turns out that rooting for Suppan is very much like voting Republican. For we learn from the New York Times:
Jeff Suppan is scheduled to pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of the World Series at Busch Stadium, but his time on the mound will not be his only appearance on the baseball telecast.
Suppan is one of several athletes in a political campaign commercial to be broadcast regionally during the Fox network’s telecast of the game. The ad urges Missouri voters to oppose stem-cell research and vote against Amendment 2 to the state constitution, on the ballot in the Nov. 7 election.
In a video copy of the ad, produced and distributed by an anti-amendment group called Missourians Against Human Cloning and posted on the Internet, Mr. Suppan’s face appears in the first 10 seconds. He is not wearing a baseball cap in the ad.
"Amendment 2 claims it bans human cloning, but in the 2,000 words you don’t read, it makes cloning a constitutional right," Mr. Suppan says in the ad. "Don’t be deceived."
Clone this, Jeff. When you get your medical degree come back and we can talk.
U.S. Senate candidate James Webb's last name has been cut off on part of the electronic ballot used by voters in Alexandria, Falls Church and Charlottesville because of a computer glitch that also affects other candidates with long names, city officials said yesterday.
Although the problem creates some voter confusion, it will not cause votes to be cast incorrectly, election officials emphasized. The error shows up only on the summary page, where voters are asked to review their selections before hitting the button to cast their votes. Webb's full name appears on the page where voters choose for whom to vote.
Thus, Democratic candidate Webb will appear with his first name and nickname only -- or "James H. 'Jim' " -- on summary pages in Alexandria, Falls Church and Charlottesville, the only jurisdictions in Virginia that use balloting machines manufactured by Hart InterCivic of Austin.
Every candidate on Alexandria's summary page has been affected in some way by the glitch. Even if candidates' full names appear, as is the case with Webb's Republican opponent, incumbent Sen. George F. Allen, their party affiliations have been cut off.
Now, I'm not the kind of person who spends time pondering how Building 7 came down, but here I begin to smell the scent of conspiracy. The Democrat? His name gets zipped. The Republican? He loses his party affiliation right when it's not necessarily the best time to stand proud and tall with that R after your name.
For initial funding, Hart went to Triton Ventures, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Triton Energy, a firm that primarily exploits oil fields in Colombia. Triton, in turn, is a subsidiary of Amerada Hess.(1)
The $3.5 million awarded by Triton in 1999 didn’t last long, but the Help America Vote Act, with its massive allocation of federal money, hovered just over the horizon. In October 2000, Hart picked up $32.5 million more from five sources. 45 In 2002, it raised another $7.5 million. (2)
RES Partners, which invested in Hart’s second and third rounds, is an entity that represents Richard Salwen, retired Dell Computer Corporation vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, who had also worked with Perot Systems and EDS. Salwen is a heavy contributor to George W. Bush and the Republican Party. (3)
Hart’s most politically charged investor is an arm of Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, which was founded and is chaired by Tom Hicks. Hicks bought the Texas Rangers in 1999, making George W. Bush a millionaire 15 times over. Tom Hicks and his investment company are invested in Hart Intercivic through Stratford Capital. They are also heavily invested in Clear Channel Communications, the controversial radio-raider that muscled a thousand U.S. radio outlets into a more conservative message. (4)
In an endless effort to diversify my portfolio and take over the internets, I have a review of the the Yo La Tengo show up at the Santa Barbara Independent website. I promise it's not a case of nothing blogging itself inside out.
As you must know, it's never been a stay the course strategy at INOTBB. The enemy we're fighting is a very determined one. They're very lethal.... But we are going to prevail and it's going to require that readers themselves step up and take more responsibility, and that's something we'll be impressing on you in the weeks and months ahead.
We're not talking about cutting and running from blogging, just a re-adjustment of priorities. We are reacting to the news on the ground, which of late includes a kegger with Stone IPA and 30 guests and badly underestimated food purchasing (or maybe we just didn't realize how hungry our guests would be, although we were shocked to see some purging prior to the party in order to eat more), and seeing Sonny Rollins--who still plays like a genius and isn't just the shell of one--on Sunday night and Yo La Tengo on Monday night, although YLT wasn't kind enough to play in Santa Barbara, so there was this ride to LA and back, and let me tell you, INOTBB is more of an late-summer chicken (not a spring chicken or a hot chicken #1 or a summer sun) these days, no matter how much guitar feedback can sustain a soul.
Plus there's the general sapping of the life force at chez INOTBB, as Nigel has been on the DL. He managed to hog-tie himself Friday while playing at the off-leash park and fell on his side in a cloud of dust. He seemed OK, but when we got home his hip swelled up, and it was time to take him and our checkbook to the vet. They say it was just a hematoma, but they left out the "one heck of a" beforehand that we would like to add in our non-medical way. Since Friday the fluids up there drained down his leg, so his new nickname is Bigfoot. But he's not his usual chipper self, and therefore our whole household seems to be running on a lower wattage battery, barely enough to spark up this dim bulb.
Big scoop, my loyal reader(s)--members of the Arts & Lectures big donor Producers Circle learned this weekend what the rest of us poorer folks will want to know, too. Jon Stewart is coming to Santa Barbara. He will do some sort of Evening with... at UC Santa Barbara's Events center on Saturday, November 18. Tickets go on sale to the general public starting next Sunday through Ticketmaster and be sure to sit down when you think about buying your seats, as the rumor has it the cheapest non-student ticket will be $70.
Still, Stewart doesn't like to fly, and is only out here because he has a big LA appearance the night before with Antonio Villaraigosa for the Geffen Playhouse.
Amy's super nice husband got her an iPod for her birthday, so we've been downloading the CD collection around the clock and are up to 2600 songs and 6.5 day of music (and on the seventh day God played John Cage's "4:33"). That means I get to do my first Random Ten, just in time for everyone to wonder why they're doing them. Here I am, in time to kill off the meme. It doesn't help that the darn machine got repeat artist happy, but I guess that is an essential feature of randomness--sometimes the same thing happens (like the Mets lose).
Gang of Four "I Love a Man in Uniform" Wilco "Monday" Elvis Costello & Steve Nieve "My Dark Life" (live) Magnetic Fields "Grand Canyon" Perez Prado Orchestra "Mambo No. 5" Magnetic Fields "I Was Born" Wilco "Summer Teeth" The Jackson 5 "Forever Came Today" Elvis Costello and the Attractions "Shabby Doll" Talking Heads "Sax and Violins"
It gets dark around here early Because of all the crows What they want and where they came from No one really knows Crows are sour and surly With reason, I suppose
There are crows, crows, crows in the trees Saying crows things, doing as they please There are crows, crows, crows everywhere But when I think of you, dear, I don't care There are crows, crows, crows in the trees Saying crows things, doing as they please There are crows, crows, crows everywhere But when I think of you, dear, I don't care
It gets light around slowly Because of how it goes Every day we hear the same dumb list of those crows' woes Thinking they're so holy while leaving mementos
There are crows, crows, crows in the trees Saying crow things, doing as they please There are crows, crows, crows everywhere But when I think of you, dear, I don't care
I don't care because I know you love me Unlike all crows lurking above me...
Now just replace crows with cardinals and you're all set for a Metsian Series of Unfortunate Events (AKA, Not the World Series). C'mon, I mean Yadier Molina?
You have to check out the columnist archive page at the News-Press. Either evil Teamster hackers got in, temporarily distracted from their international plot to sap our precious bodily fluids and end slow-growth on the South Coast and make life miserable for millionaire newspaper owners, or someone at the paper has a good sense of humor (which, I hope, makes up for not having a job soon):
(BTW, doesn't the headshot make her look like a character from Sim Family?)
But the challenge facing the new musical “High Fidelity,” now in previews in Boston and scheduled to open on Broadway Nov. 20, is quite the opposite, though perhaps equally daunting: how to follow a book and a movie that were both awash in charm, and, if not megahits, at the very least cult classics.
“I loved the book so I admit that my first thought when I heard the idea [of a play] was ‘Oh no, really',” said David Lindsay-Abaire, the Tony-nominated author of last season’s hit “Rabbit Hole” who adapted “High Fidelity” for the stage. He changed his mind though, swayed, he says, by the songs from the composing team of Tom Kitt (music) and Amanda Green (lyrics). “It’s real music, songs you would hear on the radio,” says Lindsay-Abaire.
How badly don't they get it? First, the book is about songs you don't hear on the radio. The guys at the record store would be aghast if the songs they liked got played on the radio. Second, you simply can't write a new score for it--if you want to do it as a musical, you have to go the Pennies from Heaven route and have the cast sing existing indie songs. Now that could be interesting. It wouldn't be...
The major change is that the back story—Rob tracking down his past relationships in a desperate attempt to understand his life of romantic failures—is reduced pretty much to a single song. The play is the love story, focusing almost entirely on Rob and Laura’s relationship.
So it just becomes another love story, like Romeo and Juliet or King Kong. The idea of Rob trying to make himself whole by going through the other relationships--which he can only think about as lists, as that's how his whole life is formed--eh, who needs it? I put this idea on my top ten list of Brodway musical mistakes.
I'm sure at least one of you (and I know who you are, too) has been wondering when I would write about the Mets. There's no better time than prior to a Game 6, as Game 6 means much to Mets fans, especially those who name their dog after Mookie Wilson. The point is, there's always hope, and the Mets seems to like to give their fans memorable moments to cling to--there's no just out-and-out winning for the Mets. There's Ron Swoboda and Tommie Agee sprawling their way to great catches, there's Buddy Harrelson in a fight with Pete Rose, there's all the hope you can run through the space between Bill Buckner's legs. All of that gets balanced by pretty much 35+ years of futility, anguish, Steve Chilcott and not Reggie Jackson, the remains of Jim Fregosi for Nolan Ryan, Dallas Green mowing down the young arms that might have meant a turn in fortune. I mean, as a child I had to root for George "Stork" Theodore.
Let's just say being cheery and being a Mets fan isn't really possible. You just assume the worst will happen as it mostly has. Even this season, when they tied with the Yanks for the best record in baseball (and who's still playing now?), they could often look so lifeless they seemed to be auditioning for a George Romero movie. Even in the same game--this summer they trailed the Cubs, the worst team in the NL this year, doing nothing in a nationally televised game, only to club two grand slams in one inning later that afternoon. I almost turned it off before that point, I was so digusted.
So anything can happen, even with John Maine versus Chris Carpenter this evening. You know who started the infamous Game 6 for the Red Sox? Roger Clemens. Who got a blister and left the game, and the rest is Calvin Schiraldian history. If the Mets mystique surfaces, Chris Carpenter has an appointment with unexplained boils tonight, or at least some tasty not quite outside enough pitches to Carlos Delgado. If just the Mets show up, I'm picking the Tigers over the Cards in 5.
Dung beetle research may be about to boost the cliché about men with flashy sports cars. According to new study, male beetles with the most dramatic and ostentatious sets of horns apparently pay for that with smaller testicles.
So today Bush got to sign the urgently needed, but he'll take 19 days to sign it (closer to the election that way) pro-torture/anti-habeas corpus bill, and be proud that the CIA has the big tool they need.
And the Prez has his "I got my way" smirk on. But now science confirms exactly what he's packing.
We might as well start calling him Travis "Stretch" Armstrong, because that's just what the News-Press' editorial page editor does with the truth. At least you can't say he stretches common sense, for to do that he'd have to have some in the first place. Seems that on Sunday part of his column included the following attacks on other papers, bringing to mind the old Biblical adage, "How can you take out the speck in your neighbor's eye when there's a plank in your own?":
(No link, because the News-Press threatens to sue you if you link to them.)
THE WALL?: Where's the dividing line between news and opinion at the Santa Maria Times? There might not be one. Just look at its editorial board. You'll see the group that comes up with the newspaper's editorials includes the executive editor and managing editor. (I'm not sure how in touch the paper can be with the community when the page's contributing editor, John Lankford, apparently lives in Florida.)
The Santa Maria paper's ethically challenged situation echoes that of the Ventura County Star's. At the Star, Editor Joe Howry and Managing Editor John Moore also sit on the newspaper's editorial board. Mr. Howry has the final say over the newspaper's editorials.
On the South Coast, one of the weekly freebie papers takes up its whole cover to promote its political endorsements of candidates.
Why aren't there uproars about these ethical problems?
Because there's a conpsiracy to get you, Wendy, and the Nipper, Travis--you know that. Every other newspaper in the world is in on it. That's how important you are.
OK, let's pretend the shuttle has landed and examine the problem as it exists in the real world. First, this is a complete misreading of "the wall." It's not that news and opinion can't have the slightest thing to do with each other (unless, of course, we're talking about the Wall Street Journal, were the news reporters do fine jobs and the editorial penners are right wing wackos). It's that the opinion side of the paper can't drive the news content, reporting, etc. Like, say, someone in opinion thinking a story should say nasty things about a politician because the person in opinion also lobs nasty opinion about that politician, for instance.
Second, it also assumes that if one person wears two hats, he or she can't be an objective reporter wearing one chapeau while having opinions as an essayist. The News-Press's very own Starshine Roshell did this for years, till the paper told her she couldn't (gee, wonder why she left), and the N-P readers knew that if a story had Roshell's headshot next to it, it was a column, if it just had her byline, it was a news story. Believe it or not, but readers can actually be all sophisticated like that.
Third, it might not be wise to belittle the Ventura County Star's editorial board. Turns out it features 11 community members. When was the last time that Travis, Wendy, and Arthur met with community members, let alone pretended they cared what they had to say?
Fourth, of course Travis takes a shot at John Lankford, as he's a former News-Press-man. True enough, at this point in the dreadful McCaw regime you pretty much can't throw a rock on the Central Coast without hitting a former News-Press staffer, but still it's telling Travis calls him out by name when....
Fifth, he can't name the Independent, like it's beneath him or something, and instead pretends that it's worth nothing because it's free. I guess that just means Money Bags Wendy is teaching him access for everyone is not such a good thing. So big deal, they tout their endorsements--that means they're being open about it. So much so that on the Indy's blog there's a debate about what they've done and how they did it, a kind of transparency that the News-Press has sorely lacked all through its, what do you call it, period of adjustment?
Sixth, there are uproars about some endorsement choices, and even how those choices came to be, but because the Indy lets people hash it out on its very website, people don't show up in DLG Plaza to have rallies.
Sure it's hard to take seriously any article that claims Danys Baez "was an effective closer for Cleveland and Tampa Bay" and that putting in Mark DeRosa of the .947 lifetime fielding percentage at third in the A-Rod slot would solve the Yanks's problems. But the true whopper has to be this passage from the New York Daily News:
When Torre's Yankees were great, the two men next to him on the dugout bench were vital components. Bench coach Don Zimmer was the unquestioned master of strategy, while pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre had the complete confidence of his staff.
"Zim was the strategic genius, and Joe was perfect at managing people. It was a great combination," [Jim] Leyritz says.
The Gerbil was the strategic genius? The guy who called out Pedro Martinez for a fight? The guy with a single first place finish in all his own years of managing as he led 14 teams to a stunning .508 winning percentage?
Does Leyritz have a metal plate in his head, too, and he's standing up for a union of the ore-brained?
Here's my theory about the Yanks demise, if only getting to the playoffs is a demise--after the 2003 season David Wells, Andy Pettitte, and Roger Clemens left (rumor has it with the remaining youth of Bernie Williams). Oddly enough, an Astros club with Clemens and Pettitte went to the 2005 World Series. Somehow Jaret Wright, Carl Pavano, Shwan Chacon, and Aaron Small didn't make up the pitching difference. Who would have guessed?
The attack on American universities is part and parcel of that ascendant wing’s larger program for American society. They now control all three branches of government, they’ve got their own Philip K. Dick-like alternative-universe media in Fox News and the vast right-wing noise machine, and they’re striking out at the few areas of American life they don’t dominate—Hollywood, unions, college campuses. (You know, the real centers of power.) It’s a little hard to believe, at first; if I were a conservative, I’d be quite happy with an arrangement under which my allies control the country and my opponents control the survey courses in American fiction.
Go read the whole interview, or better yet, buy his book What's Liberal about the Liberal Arts?
This Friday is the 405 anniversary of the death of the man who invented the San Diego Freeway, but his hearse is still stuck in traffic near LAX. Only kidding, it's actual the deathiversary of Tycho Brahe, who has to be written about simply because his name is cool. Brahe was a famous astronomer whose observations set up lots of the things we know about the heavens, not including how Bush won't get in. According to Wikipedia "No one before Tycho had attempted to make so many redundant observations, and the mathematical tools to take advantage of them had not yet been developed." So you have to hand it to Brahe--he did the same thing over and over, and didn't know why. Today we'd just give him a pill for being OCD. But that would be just the beginning of our medication of this positively strange man who lost part of his nose in a duel and then wore different prosthetic schnozzes depending on the occasion (take that, you piercing people, you). Evidently he could also tell you the story of a dwarf named Jepp, his court jester, who would sit under the dinner table. (I wish I was making this up.) He also owned a tame elk that he'd loan out to friends, but, alas, during one dinner the elk had drunk a lot of beer and fell down some stairs, and died. He should have just stayed under the table with Jepp. As for Brahe's own demise, he suffered from something any frat boy would be proud of--a bladder burst. Seems it was rude to get up from a fine dinner mid-meal, even if nature called. Instead the mortician called, given it's generally a bad idea to have urine flowing in your body. I'd say more about his importance to science, but he's dead and it's pretty boring.
Line of the evening by Steve Earle, during a fine solo show that proves he's a better lyricist than songwriter--he has about 5 tunes ("Christmas in Washington" is "Ellis Unit One," for instance), although they're awfully good tunes. He's finishing up his catchy sing-along "Fuck the FCC" and says:
Sorry for any of you who brought the kids tonight, but would you rather they learn to curse from me or Dick Cheney?
The President Cometh? No, He's Just Breathing Heavy
Another Bush press conference. I sort of liked it better when he didn't talk to the press. And the silly, psuedo-chummy joking about people's clothing--you'd think Bush wants to take over for Steve Carrell on The Office. But let's visit a moment or two. First, I love this one:
I do know that a lot of innocent people have died, and that troubles me and it grieves me.
As for those non-innocent people, death is too good for them. I wish we could have the "CIA program" go forward with those non-innocent people.
Then there's this passage, which is pretty much Bush in a nutshell (not to mix anatomy):
Q But they [the Democrats] don't say cut and run.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, they may not use cut and run, but they say date certain is when to get out, before the job is done. That is cut and run. Nobody has accused me of having a real sophisticated vocabulary, I understand that. And maybe their -- their words are more sophisticated than mine. But when you pull out before the job is done, that's cut and run as far as I'm concerned. And that's cut and run as far as most Americans are concerned. And so, yes, I'm going to continue reminding them of their words and their votes.
OK, no one's going to accuse him of using adverbs properly, either, but it's not the Dems' words that are more sophisticated, it's their thinking. For Bush there's only in Iraq or out, and there's no way in-between that actually might be responsive and responsible. Plus, you can't say you're reminding people of their words when you change their words into your words and then use those.
Short of all that, there's the easy Freudian take on this, especially with 41 looming over W.'s shoulder--you can't pull out before the job is done. Iraq, get ready for your money shot.
There’s a symptom apparent in America right now. It’s evident in political talk shows, in entertainment coverage, in artistic criticism of every kind, in religious discussion. We are living in a courtroom culture. We were living in a celebrity culture, but that’s dead. Now we’re only interested in celebrities if they’re in court. We are living in a culture of extreme advocacy, of confrontation, of judgment, and of verdict. Discussion has given way to debate. Communication has become a contest of wills. Public talking has become obnoxious and insincere. Why? Maybe it’s because deep down under the chatter we have come to a place where we know that we don’t know…anything. But nobody’s willing to say that.
Let me ask you. Have you ever held a position in an argument past the point of comfort? Have you ever defended a way of life you were on the verge of exhausting? Have you ever given service to a creed you no longer utterly believed? Have you ever told a girl you loved her and felt the faint nausea of eroding conviction? I have. That’s an interesting moment. For a playwright, it’s the beginning of an idea. I saw a piece of real estate on which I might build a play, a play that sat on something silent in my life and in my time. I started with a title: Doubt.
Shanley ends with a play set in 1964 that's pretty brilliant if you can admire the sheen of ambivalence. Did the priest molest the young boy? Is the nun's conviction of the priest's guilt merely her way to keep order against the encroaching secularization of the holy orders? Why does she want to sustain a system that makes her mightily powerful over children but relatively powerless otherwise?
The play is yet more wonderful because Cherry Jones enhabits (pun intended) the role of Sister Aloysius so fully. She's so formidable she's practically S.S. Nun, so any crack in her armor is even more devastating, more a chance for all of us to wonder what it means to know, to doubt. How much of faith is the desire for faith? And what does it mean if we've wandered into desire as our verb of choice, as we stare into the religious?
Perhaps one of Shanley's best touches is we never see a single child at the St Nicholas Church School in the Bronx. Sure, that just make the play easier to stage, but I sort of mean that in more than one way. If we saw the child who was supposed to be molested, even if we have doubt about Father Flynn's guilt, it would be tougher to sustain, if doubt is sustained (is doubt a wallow? a fog? a grace we want no part of, just as we don't want part of the cross--and I don't even mean that religiously). It's a play about protecting the children yet we never see them. They are part of faith, then, too, prayers we offer, hopes we hold to our hearts and assume there's a bigger picture who cares for their innocence. Of course, it's Sister Aloysius who says, "Innocence can only be wisdom in a world without evil." When the nuns--even the most ramrod straight of them--call experience wisdom, you know the fall is just around the corner. Nuns fall, you know.
Why is journalism a mess, you might ask (and I'm not even taking about the News-Press this time)? It's easy to see Bob Woodward as the dean of American journalists, at least the most known name and face. Sure you or I might pick Seymour Hersh, but Hersh never had Will Ferrell, let alone Robert Redford, play him in a movie (btw, if you've never seen Dick, get your hands on it and stick it in your DVD player at once). Woodward is everywhere, and one of his books tops the bestseller list with almost too-automatic regularity, as if booksales were tabulated by Diebold, especially given how those same Woodward hardcovers end up remaindered and clogging the sale aisles post-haste.
Still, when people think journalism, they think Woodward. But when Woodward thinks journalism, he thinks, according to Alicia C. Shepard in the Chicago Tribune and soon a bio of "Woodstein":
Say what you will, but he just wants to get the facts.
"He really believes it is his job to bring to light secrets that would otherwise not be told, not give his opinion," said David Greenberg, a former Woodward assistant.
Woodward takes advantage of the access he has built up in 30 years of reporting. And he lets the reader decide what it all adds up to. He doesn't attempt to make sense of the story, to put it in context or even be analytical. It's just not who he is.
Now, even Ronald Reagan knew that facts are stupid things. Does Woodward really think ignoring context works? Is that how Bush can be the decider in one book and decidedly deluded in the next?
It strikes me as truly odd that it's the political right that accuses the left of being wishy-washy, too willing to see all sides and not believe in absolutes. Yet when it comes to the media, if they actually tell the truth and not truthiness, they are flat-out wrong. The media have to present "both" sides of every story. But true objectivity would admit there is truth--that Iraq is a mess, that people lied to get us there, that BushCo. wants more power than any White House has ever even asked for, let alone received.
In the meantime our most famous journalist stacks up facts but refuses to see what the piles mean, leaving us standing about in too many steaming piles.
Scientists around the world are taking a cautious wait-and-see attitude after North Korea claimed to have successfully conducted an underground nuclear test on Monday.
Only careful analysis of data returned by seismic or atmospheric sensors will determine whether the blast was a success or a damp squib, they say. Nor could they rule out the possibility of a scam, in which North Korea blew up a huge stock of conventional explosives to bolster its claim to have joined the nuclear club.
Damn those scientists, calling us descendants from monkeys, claiming humans have something to do with global warming, wanting to play with stem cells and stop the joy of snowflake babies. And now this. How are we supposed to scare people back into the Republican flock?
So much to report after two straight days driving down to Los Angeles, Saturday for doubt and Sunday for Doubt (will report on the magic of Cherry Jones tomorrow). Both were great, but one was a lot more agonizing. As you may have heard, the Mets swept the Dodgers. And we were there in Loge 144 down the first base line and I do love E-Bay, yes. We got there early because every sporting event known to man happened in LA yesterday--2 college football games (supposedly people here care about this USC and UCLA, but I don't get it as UCSB doesn't even have a football team) and there might have even been a cricket match somewhere. So we sat around and watched the Mets take batting practice and the Yanks lose (such a pity) on the big screen, which seems surreal, like we went to one ball park to watch a game on TV in another.
This photo looks better big (click on it) as you can see Wright and Delgado and LoDuca and Reyes, and Green on the far left in his natty white gloves (I assume he just came from tea). And in the bottom right corner 2 Dodgers fans belittle the Mets in their Gagne souvenir jerseys, pretending it's still 2003.
I won't go into point for point detail on this game as it lasted about as long as the Seven Years War (Steve Trachsel started for the Mets, after all). The worst part was there was never an inning the Dodgers didn't have a baserunner (in the second they only sent 3 men to the plate, but that's thanks to a double play). Given the Dodgers were a great comeback team all year, who would, in fact, comeback to take a 5-4 lead after being down 4 zip in this very game, any time they got runners on base (i.e., every innning) it seemed like the beginning of the end. Especially when I called the start of their scoring, and thought to myself if Marlon Anderson gets on, Jeff Kent will hit a homer off Darren Oliver. Bingo. (P.S., Marlon, Mr. Scratch wants that soul now, hope your out-of-character great run was worth it.)
The good news is we only got called shits once, and it wasn't even when Oliver snared a linedrive comebacker and doubled off a runner from third, suddenly killing a rally, and inning, and the "Let's go Dodgers!" cheer that allowed me to instantly fill the stunned silent void with, "You're out Dodgers." Otherwise the Dodger fans didn't abuse us for rooting for the winning team. Guess they hope they'll be the winning team someday.
This is what victory looks like. The Mets were pretty good about not celebrating too much on the field, knowing they shouldn't rub it in because the Dodgers only lost because they didn't have their situational lefthanded reliever, who cut his pitching hand in a bar. Guess Joe Beimel could throw a pint back, if nothing else.
Sorry you lost, Dodger fans, but not too sorry. Notice we were just 2 minutes shy from all winning our bonus Subway coupons for surviving a 4 hour, 9 inning game.
(Photo credit: Suzy Allman for the New York Times)
I just had to run that photo to rub it in and to say, I'm going to the Mets game tomorrow! The Mets are charmed--48-year-olds beat out double plays to keep rallies going! They're going to finish the sweep of the Dodgers! I might get beat up by Dodger fans! Woo-hoo!
On a sadder note for the beauty of baseball in numerous ways, man crush Johan Santana and his Minnesota Twins are going home. But here's to the A's finally winning the clinching game of a playoff series. Meanwhile good luck to the Yanks or Tigers, as the A's get to set up their good rotation but good for the ALCS.
And keep those hits a-coming folks. As I write this entry I'm 103 visitors away from 10,000 unique visitors (some of you more unique than others, if I may butcher grammar) since I put the counter up in June. Not bad for a humble blog without nude pictures of Monica Bellucci, King Tut, or Dennis Hastert. And if I don't get that 10,000 visitor by midnight Saturday, I am going to post a naked Hastert picture. I'm not one to threaten, but....
The News-Press Says the News-Press Is the Greatest, According to the News-Press
I never had the time, thanks to my cold, which was no doubt caused by the vast conspiracy of those pro-dense-growth in Santa Barbara who hate turkeys...oops, turned into Wendy McCaw there--I must really be sick.
What I was going to say is I never got around to analyzing the latest missive from the News-Press and their publicity flack Agnes Huff (as in what she should leave in). That a newspaper has to communicate via press releases should be sign enough something is wrong, but things are so wrong in McCaw-ville because Wendy's heart is two sizes too small (just the right fit for the Nipper, luckily, just as long as Wendy's bank account is a million sizes too big).
SANTA BARBARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Santa Barbara News-Press issued the following statement: Today, the Santa Barbara News-Press filed objections with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regarding the election conduct of the Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. These objections are filed in accordance with NLRB rules and regulations.
See? We are fair. And we will tell you so.
The News-Press believes the conduct of the union affected the results of the September 27, 2006 election.
Really? You mean, the union wasn't supposed to try to get people to vote for it? They're not the Democratic Party after all.
The company’s objections focus on Teamster campaign strategies and conduct, including union coercion of employees, circulation of false and misleading information and potential criminal threats against the company.
Funny complaints from the very people who installed a lawyer in the publisher's office. Who sat down every employee and discussed how bad unions were. Who brought in a manager and grilled her about unions and when she didn't say she found them as repulsive as people who wanted to raise taxes on the rich, she soon found herself without a job.
Plus, Wendy, Arthur, and Travis have all circulated false and misleading information. I don't hear the Teamsters calling them on that. (Oh, yeah, people saw through their BS. So if the union really did lie, that means Wendy, Arthur, and Travis think all the employees are dupes. Nothing like that vote of confidence from your employer.)
As for the criminal threats, they are referring to an anonymous comment on a blog. Which, for all anyone knows, might have been posted by Agnes of G--, Wendy, or one of her minions. (Anyone who stresses she has a Ph.D. and is not in academia is either a charlatan advice columnist or a hack who hopes she can charge more to cover those ancient student loans she stil has to pay back, because she didn't get enough student aid through grad school.)
The NLRB regulations provide for an investigation of the objections or challenges by the agency’s Regional Director. The company’s objections to the election are consistent with the Unfair Labor Practice charge previously filed against the union by the paper.
Brilliantly winning logic--the News-Press insists what it says now is correct, as it agrees with what it said before. After all, the more times you lie about someone, the truer that lie becomes.
The News-Press is committed to ensuring that all actions and outcomes associated with this union campaign, including the recently held election, are found to be fair, legal and according to the rules and regulations set forth by the NLRB.
The unsaid here is: "Of course, we were committed to the union vote never happening, and you all saw how that turned out."
Separately, the company announced that two newsroom employees resigned today: copy editor Al Bonowitz and reporter Starshine Roshell. News-Press Associate Editor Scott Steepleton said, “While most of the former newsroom employees who resigned acted professionally, I was taken aback by Ms. Roshell’s use of profanity as she turned in her resignation letter.”
First, check out the way the capitalization works in those sentences. Guess you lose your upper-case status if you quit. Of course, the sentence also ignores how many other things both Bonowitz and Roshell did for the paper--Al was the Travel Editor and did illustrations, Starshine wrote a column that was one of the things people looked forward to reading, till Wendy/Arthur/Travis (the unholy trinity?) took it away from her. Plus she often filled in as Life Editor or Scene Editor (back in the days when Gary Robb was stil around--one of the first people, actually, to get offed by the recent bloodletting).
Second, as we've learned from Craig Smith, Starshine said, "Fuck you." Oh, poor Scott Steepleton's sensitive ears. I bet they're still bleeding. No, this is just more character assassination, from the people who brought you the legal actions against Jerry Roberts and Michael Todd.
Third, the release says "while most...acted professionally." Don't you want to know what those not part of the most did? Maybe they made fun of Steepleton's clothing? Or insulted his taste in music? What kind of people were working at that paper?!
Irrespective of challenging events during the last few months, News-Press operations have not been affected and the paper continues to publish daily, just as it has for the last century. The focus remains on getting past the issues and improving the paper, the news coverage and the service the News-Press provides to the Santa Barbara community.
Now dear old Dr. (of Physiology? oops, wrong N-P flunky) Huff probably choose "irrespective" because on the Free Online Dictionary one of the literary examples came from Nietzsche, and that kind of thought goes a long way with Wendy. But for a paper to say its ultimate goal is to keep coming out daily.... Sure, the paper is ever-shrinking, with more wire stories and less and less interest, but, gee, what do you people want from the News-Press? "Getting past the issues" isn't that easy now, when there's so few people of any talent left to help do that. Particularly when all you do is antagonize everyone involved with the issues. And by everyone I actually mean everyone. Sorry, except for the 6 people who voted against the union.
Friday is the 122nd anniversary of the founding of the Naval War College in Newport, RI. This school superseded both the Navel War College in St. Augustine, Florida (Motto: I Will Trump Your Cannonball with My Orange!) and the Naval War College in Topeka, Kansas (Motto: Now Where Did They Put the Water?). Taking over the building of what was the former Newport Asylum for the Poor, the college moved all the town's poor to Providence, although the irony of the town's name was lost on the impoverished. Those who enrolled in the first class at the college in 1884 studied a wide range of courses including Scurvy I & II, Cannonball Fuse Lighting, Apprentice to a Pilot or a Pirate?, Inside Whale Survival, and Accordion. The first scandal occurred in the second semester when one young cadet woke up to find the dean of the school naked in his bunk and had to ask, "Is that your rear, Admiral?"
Looking through how people end up at INOTBB, after the majority of you coming here to learn the latest about the News-Press, there are folks looking for what appears to be an odd couple, Denny Hastert and King Tut. Then it hit me, there is sort of a connection, if you forget the part that the real Tut died when he was 18 and remember the deliciously campy 1960s Batman. Which is only fitting given Hastert has to sort of wish all these people younger than 18 were closer to Victor Buono's age....
I'm not very clever today, bad cold +1, but this cartoon is (click on the image to see in a legible size). Hat tip to If I Ran the Zoo.
Oh, and here's a kicker I heard on Al Franken on the drive to work this morning--supposedly some rightwing person claimed the following: If the Democrats knew about Foley and saved it to use prior to the elections, they should be brought up on criminal charges.
I Went to Disneyland and All I Got Was this Lousy Cold
I can't remember the last time I had a cold so horrible it kept me from going to work, but the one today did. And you know I was really sick since I haven't even blogged yet. "Waste Please" indeed.
Then I remembered the Mets were on, and the game was so nerve-wracking it probably didn't help my health, either. I mean, between the game and my cold I was so delirious I could swear I saw Paul LoDuca tag out both Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew on the same play at home.
As many predicted, now that the beleaguered staff at the News-Press has stuck it out long enough to vote the union in, many of them will sneak out, knowing that union negotiations with someone as blind to reality as George Bush Wendy McCaw will be darn near impossible.
Today is a very sad day for the paper, as former columnist and fantastic feature writer Starshine Roshell has quit as has travel and copy editor Al Bonowitz (who also often drew the clever illustrations that accompanied Star's columns).
Here's Starshine's take on things now that the duct tape is off--her resignation letter, a fine example of her typical eloquence. Luckily we don't have to say goodbye since: 1) we had canceled our subscription months ago, and 2) people this talented will be someplace soon--here's hoping someplace sane, too. TO: Yolanda Apodaca CC: Scott Steepleton
October 3, 2006
I hereby resign from the News-Press. And since you no longer control what I say and how I say it, I'm going to tell you why.
For 11 years, I have been proud to work for this company. I was honored to have managers who were smarter than me, and had something to teach me.
They weren't bullies. They weren't liars. And remarkably, they were able to manage our newsroom by employing scruples rather than lawyers.
But they're all gone now, and the only thing our current leaders have been able to demonstrate is the heartbreaking mess that ensues when ambition far exceeds talent, and hubris trumps wisdom.
At a good newspaper, as ours was, truth is held in higher esteem than power. It makes me sick to see Wendy McCaw topple that hierarchy here, and to watch you both help her do it.
While I will desperately miss the camaraderie of my noble colleagues and the relationships I developed with countless readers, I am grateful for one thing.
That when I look in the mirror, I won't see what you do.
I've got no idea if the Sofia Coppola Marie Antoinette is going to be any good. But the trailers do make great videos for great songs--Gang of Four's "Natural's Not in It," New Order's "Ceremony" and "Age of Consent." She's got musical taste, if nothing else, not that that's a surprise after Lost in Translation's brilliant use of Roxy Music and the Jesus and Mary Chain.
And I'm particularly willing to buy our age/Antoinette's age, as we have to have a Bastille Day coming, no? Although much of the revolution isn't particularly pretty. Unlike, say, this album cover: Which has a certain air of nobility to it, and a perfect title for too many eras, alas--Power, Corruption, and Lies.
They Come for Your Wallet, They Stay to Grab Your Ass (if You're Under 18)
Listening to Warren Olney on KCRW's To the Point on the way back from lunch and he's interviewing Chuck Todd, editor-in-chief of The Hotline (National Journal's daily briefing on politics--I didn't know either), and they're discussing the political fallout from the Mark Foley (R-NAMBLA) situation. Todd thinks the Republicans might have ignored the first "curious" emails they first saw about a year ago as that's when the Congressional power structure was a mess thanks to the Tom DeLay scandal.
I offer to you the current Republicans, too caught up in financial cheating to have the time to notice sexual misdeeds.
So I'm going to blow all my indie and anti-corporate cred in a single shot here and admit that yesterday Amy and I went to not one but two Disney parks. Now don't get your golden mouse ears (it's still the 50th anniversary celebration, if you weren't paying attention) all in a bunch. I have had a fondness since childhood for amusement parks, back when we used to visit my grandmother in Scranton (yes, the home of the American Office) and would go to the now defunct Nay Aug Park and ride its rides that probably were nearly defunct even then. I do remember the rides weren't as scary as going into the Brooks Model Coal Mine, which had a really creepy statue of a coalminer, which, admittedly, probably creeped me out so much since one of my grandfathers died in a mine accident years before I was born, so I got that statue and him mixed up as a kid.
But meanwhile back to Disney. Sure, its sheer omnipotence is dangerous, as it has molded imaginations--and necessarily limited them in its corporate way into buying machines--of generations of children. It's sort of the Pentagon of the entertainment world. Definitely the herd mentality of the super-jammed park argues that Disney's ultimate power is crowd control, especially when a ride dumps you into a gift shop where it takes longer to escape the shop than ride the actual ride. But lots of stuff is fun, if you ignore too many people, too much commercialism, and pretty dreadful food.
That said, here are some Disney bullet points, cause it's Sunday night, and my mind is dulled from too many rollercoaster swooshes with--why, oh, why--a speaker right next to my head.
Don't ever say, when on a long line, "At least the ride hasn't broken down." Space Mountain can sure have its problems.
Be aware of the people nearby and try to stay away from ginormous people on line. They will not fit in a Space Mountain rocket, their lap bar won't close, and the "cast members" will pull your whole rocket off the track to get everyone out. Small bonus: you will get to walk in an area marked "Authorized Personnel Only" and do so without having to wear a dopey space-age costume.
The Tower of Terror at Disney's California Adventure is way too much fun. The ghostly visuals are the best in either park (sorry Haunted Mansion, you're fun but fabulously fake) and the air time off your seat when the elevator car drops is a true thrill.
Leave it to Disney to make one of the longest rollercoasters in America, with lots of drops, turns, and a loop, and make it a smooth ride. Despite the ease of it, California Screamin' is a blast, especially up that first hill.
The big ferris wheel looks very cool. Watch it. That's all you need to do with it. If you get on on it, a "ride" is really one cycle and everyone getting on and off.
Soaring over California, a hang-gliding simulator matched with an Imax-ish screen, will give you a really goofy grin and remind you why CA is our most beautiful state. (Did you really think I'd say New Jersey?)
When you want to eat, get out of the park and go to Downtown Disney, as it's called. Ignore it's really an outdoor mall, and while the park pushes a dream of Main Street, USA, it contradictorily now sells mostly a series of chains as the heart of downtown. Ignore the music that blasts. Avoid the Anne Geddes store so you don't induce sugar-shock. But do eat there (no, not at the Anne Geddes store). You can get drinks, and you will need them. Brennan's even serves a proper Sazerac, and you can't ask for much more than that. Unless, you're like us. Then you'll ask for seconds.
Finally, I ask all of you to join me in a new venture. I need capital to start what I'm sure will be both a boon to humanity and a prosperous money-making endeavor. I am going to open a state-of-the-art vasectomy clinic at Disneyland for when parents most realize they need a little snip on their trip.
George markets only for the forces of good for a living. He has a paid hobby that involves eating, drinking, and writing, things he’d do for free, which is almost what he’s doing it for. In a previous life he taught mostly illiterate and generally ungrateful college students how to write. He has been a body guard for Jodie Foster, a walk-on dancer with French avant garde troupe Maguy Marin, a film programmer, a judge at an Iron Chef style competition, a political activist, a textbook author, a bassist in a band, a two-time league winning fantasy baseball manager, a union local president, a pr flack helping run a red carpet at an Angelina Jolie event, a janitor, a chauffeur to folks from TC Boyle to Andrei Codrescu, a delivery man to Plato's Retreat, a reluctant writer of a non-snarky intro for Colin Powell, a radio DJ, a corn detassler, an escort van driver, a rock journalist, a lab assistant for a company that made everything from mouthwash to super skin lubricant, and even, once, a poet. His biggest brush with fame was when Julie Christie fondled his tie, a tie George Lopez belittled to 1000 people minutes later. The best thing about him is his wife. His dogs aren't bad, either.