March 12, 2005
actual tearsI try not to get all linky. It makes me feel like a cat, bringing in its kills to impress/horify its owners.
But I stumbled across this and it made me laugh so hard I cried, with actual tears:
Oh, Lordy, I haven't laughed that hard since Corn Mo in Magic Brian's show, when I couldn't feel my teeth.
Posted by mrbrent at 11:27 AM
March 11, 2005
in all our debtsLadies and gentlemen, the President of the United States of America:
I applaud the strong bipartisan vote in the Senate to curb abuses of the bankruptcy system. Reforming the system with this commonsense approach, more Americans — especially lower-income Americans — will have greater access to credit.
Yeah, he's talking about this piece of crap legislation that the Admin is able to push throgh because of fear on both sides of the aisle of losing financial service industry contributions come election time. And yeah, the President's quote is filled with fucking lies, but, then again, everything he says is filled with lies, and we're so tired. So tired.
So, instead of going on and on about bankruptcy (which going on and on you can find in your friendly neighborhood random leftie weblog), I thought we could do a little digging and look into consumer debt, without which we would have no bankruptcy.
After an amount of research that was about forty-five minutes longer than I wanted, I finally figured out that the Fed is the repository of the hard data, and that I'd have to give up on finding a link to the tightly written article on the burdgeoning personal debt crisis, as all the search engines would give me were a multitude of debt refinancing homepages. I swear to God, home-grown debt consolidation sites are the bullet-proofed glass Check-Cashing joints of the Internets.
The hard numbers I found here (also available in pdf!), and, congratulations! According to the Fed, the United States has 2.2 trillion dollars (as of January) in outstanding consumer debt. That's around $7,000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S., which doesn't sound like a lot, but I have a buncha friends with little ones, and I'm pretty sure they couldn't shell in seven grand on demand. So if we exclude the kids (under 18), all of our debt works out to about $9,800 per adult. Or $19,500 per household. For some, about average. For others, thassa lotta freakin cabbage. This is not just credit card debt, mind you -- it includes auto loans -- but does not include mortgages. So, that nineteen five, that's not including your house, if you have one. That's nineteen large you owe MBNA and your local Chevy dealer.
Basically, our debt is massive. And not just in the sense of all of us being collectively on the line for that much, it's also a staggering amount of money as compared to the rest of the economy. It's an amount that is greater than what we spend on durable goods each year. It's about half of what we spend on non-durable goods, like anoraks and chicken wings. And, holy smokes, it's about a hundred times the amount the porn industry rakes in each year. Overall, it's about a tenth of our gross national product. This is not an unusual ratio of revenue/debt as far as big business goes, but the American citizenry is not Enron, or an airline, or an S&L from the late 80s. When we default, there will be no amnesty, and there will be no bail-out. There will be no Congress-mandated debt relief. On the bright side, there will be plenty of finger-pointing (at us for defaulting), a refreshing change from the great big business defaults of the past!
Yeah, so, this is pretty much a couple hundred words of "we're fucked". I hope they build those debtor's prisons nice and comfy, and I hope they let you bring a book, because it might be a good safe place to surf out the crisis caused by a buncha bankrupt-for-life consumers.
And the robots, of course.
Posted by mrbrent at 6:33 PM
ooooh, it makes safire so angryMy burning question for the morning:
If someone sends an e-mailical bit of business correspondence to you, and this correspondence begins with, "Believe it or not, ironically," is it then fair to get all snarky on them? You know, a smidge of the withering response, or maybe a dash of, "That sentence hates you."
It just seems to me that using both "believe it or not" and "ironically" on top of each other like that is like squeezing one more five hundred pound phrase on the syntactical elevator, causing the cable to snap, car plummeting down the shaft. No survivors. Is it ironic to believe it or not to believe it, anyway? Or is it the very act of simultaneous belief/non-belief that is ironic? The very root of the idiom -- ironic!
No, it is not then fair. It is crazy.
But still tempting.
Posted by mrbrent at 11:51 AM
March 10, 2005
more on koyenLet's follow up on the NYPress and Jeff Koyen's demise. I picked up this week's issue and gave it a browse. Two mentions of Koyen and the Pope -- Matt Taibbi, who wrote the Pope thing inna first place, files a "you dudes realize that it was a joke, on three or so levels" piece, and then, there's Mugger.
Mugger is Russ Smith, former owner/anonymous asshole columnist of the paper. While he gets credit for guiding the NYPress through its early years, he gets more credit for being a solipsistic asshole who systematically ate his young. His column can be summed up as follows: outrageous, out-of-context media firestorm confirms my opinion of the talent of the writers involved. Way to be a team player, Russ.
And Gawker gets a letter from an anonymous NYPress staffer:
I work for the NY Press and at great risk to my career am trying to clear the air on the controversy around Jeff Koyen’s departure.Actually, the greater risk to the Anonymous Staffer's career is that they write terribly. There's a couple of big words and such, but it's constructed to seem as if it is making sense without actually doing so. What's the story from inside the NYPress? Difficult to decipher.
These matters may be the furthest thing from your mind right now. But, as history progresses, how will we stop the slow decay of our free weeklies? Soon, they will all resemble "Steppin Out".
Then, at least, we'll know what every cover band in Jersey is doing at any given time.
Posted by mrbrent at 9:06 AM
March 8, 2005
the only thing that tastes like bacon is... bacon flavored productsThis link was forwarded to Titivil by old friend Knohio. It is lowbrow, but the kind of lowbrow where the sincerity axis of the graph vacillates wildly, leaving no one certain whether or not they are joking about the genius of the bacon whores. Mmm, bacon.
Posted by mrbrent at 9:09 AM
martha fatigue is so 2004I guess I didn't put it all together until I took a smoke break. The Dayjob Archipelago offices are in the vicintity of the building that houses Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia - in fact, I stare right at it (we call it the Martha Building) from the fire escape, with a cigarette. Yesterday, the Martha Building, which has the footprint of a freakin' city block, had been laid seige by satellite news trucks, and cameramen and reporters with plastic looking hair. I thought about bringing them some coffee and donuts, until I realized that I wasn't actually thinking about that, as their coffee and donuts are probably so fine that it makes me all jealous for their mainstream media craft services table. But, gosh! What a load of hoopla!
So let me wearily restate my belief that the breaking news of Martha is the lamest breaking news ever, unless you are Access Hollywood. Formerly legitimate news organizations prostrate themselves all over Manhattan's 11th Avenue -- oddly enough the longtime home of good old fashioned street-walkin! -- to make sure that every imbecile American has enough live footage of Martha perambulating to stoke ten grocery line's worth of dumb conversation. The non-story of this old rich white woman ex-con is being breathlessly covered as if any house-arrest infraction will cause Martha's ankle bracelet to explode and blow her foot off.
Which, sadly, is the plot of the TV movie-of-the-week that Fox is hoping to get pitched this week.
The silly reporters should realize that the legal limit on news media has been raised, and start avoiding open spaces.
Posted by mrbrent at 8:51 AM
March 7, 2005
who offends the watchmen?I am very unhappy to read today that Jeff Koyen has elected to fall on his sword. Koyen was the Editor-in-Chief of the New York Press, which is a (now) venerable free weekly here in the Big City.
It started when I was in college, and hit its hey-dey in the mid-90s, opting for a post-Spy snark that not even an unnatural fixation on the Village Voice could derail. Koyen's regime of two years saw the paper reemerge as an opiniated, vulgar and irreverent source of features and columns. Of course, some disagree with me, but I think Koyen did a bang-up job, and this fate is undeserved.
It is vital that someone carries on the important work of offending the powerful, lest our children all grow up wusses, like those sad Republican teens on our college campuses complaining of "bias" from their professors. No teen should start their adult life being an A-1 wuss like that.
Best of luck in future endeavors, Mr. Koyen.
Posted by mrbrent at 2:50 PM
i gotcha tort reform right heahIf you remember from the presidential campaign last year, tort reform is hot. Some would even say v. v. hot! Millions of families spent entire meals explaining to their children the importance of tort reform, even those a majority of these families thought it had something to do with pastry. Hoooooo!
As you are no doubt aware, the current administration believes that the best way to reform these nasty torts is to protect business interests from those greedy, greedy scarred, maimed and/or dead victims of malfunctioning products of these interests.
In lieu of that, I suggest this: everyone who ever is the subject of a spurious law suit should respond in a way similar to this. If only by referencing Fred Durst's balls.
That would have a chilling effect, indeed.
Posted by mrbrent at 12:41 PM
March 6, 2005
the demons got himNot even the Yahoo! Box of Headlines is taking Sundays off anymore:
• Frail Pope reappears at hospital window
At the risk of hurting anyone's feelings, when exactly was it that the Pope disappeared from the hospital window? And do the authorities have any suspects?
It looks like a black magick job to me.
Posted by mrbrent at 12:57 PM
marthaIt is with a heavy heart that I noticed the superfluidity of the coverage of the release of Martha Stewart from prison. I even was forced to overhear the Martha/Larry King softball game aired on CNN. It was a real home run derby, if you know what I mean.
Most alarming is the undercurrent of the coverage -- Martha is a survivor, Martha is a role model, Martha is a hero.
Titivil does not pick heroes for America. If it did, small market NL baseball teams would lead in merch sales. But, if there is anything heroic about Martha, it is that she avoided prosecution on the original allegations of insider trading. (Even though she did take the rap for the fraud and conspiracy, like a sucka).
So, yes, Martha may well be a hero to Americans who look up to generic white collar crime, but to Titivil, she will always be a shitbird. And not even the shitbird of our hearts (which is much catchier), as that would be a lie. The shitbird of our hearts, of course, is Tommy Chong.
Posted by mrbrent at 12:34 PM