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August 6, 2005

waxing hipsteric

I am an aging hipster.  Oh ho, I'm not the oldest one in the pool (and who is, really?  Left Bank, anyone?), but I'm not the youngest, either -- no, those dudes who keep lapping me in the hipster pool?  They're the new guys.

I live in a hipster neighborhood.  Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, USA.  When I got here eleven years ago, it was the nice grimy replication of the dirtbag neighborhood I was used to back home, where the rent was cheap and the housing comfortably seventy years old, which is as it should be.  Working class, urban empty space, nice park, waterfront -- it was as I imagined it could be.

Of course now the upwardly mobile have discovered the hood, and they are developing the shit out of it.  Rents have sky-rocketed, and enormous luxury condos are planned that would make Robert Moses proud.  Which inspires my daily inner screed against the dipshit trustafarians and the second-year associates who decided that they'd love a fifteenth floor condo in a brand new building in that neighborhood they've read so much about.

But after reading Antigeist's latest, I realize that I am a bad and weak person.  Anti's contemplation on real estate Darwinism is right on, and right on to that right on.  The aging hipster old "I hate the young hipster" saw -- whether it's about gentrification or clothing or terrible music -- is nothing but becoming what you hate, and hating what you used to be.

And I realized that I've been breaking my own "no whining" law.  "It is what it is" is a phrase that has been pursuing me all year, whether at work or out in the wide world.  Originally I wondered why I couldn't remember ever having heard that phrase before, but then I just relaxed and went with it.  Because "It is what it is" is the most potent defense against whining.  "I wish it were..." is the heart of every whine, and if only wishing could make it so.  When it comes to interfacing with reality, the Law of the Excluded Middle is the rule and not the exception, and we have to find our grace notes where we can, in the negative spaces, in the fringe.

I miss my old neighborhood.  Hell, I miss being twenty-five.  I wish I could go back.  But, sadly, it is what it is.

And, hey.  If you're off the bus, you're off the bus, and if you're off the bus, then you're off the bus.


Posted by mrbrent at 2:56 PM


What is more fun than our American president?  Is it a burning treehouse, is that more fun?  A BB gun, maybe?  How bout a blind date?

No, none of those things are more fun than our American president.  He is more fun than a runaway train, and he is more fun than a romantic trip to Mount Airy Lodge.

Let's take, for example, the president's response to the release of a new Al Qaida videotape as detailed in this Washington Post story:

President Bush, speaking in Crawford, Tex., said that the comments "make it clear Iraq is a part of this war on terror, and we're at war.  He's saying, you know, leave...  People like Zawahiri have a ideology that is dark, dim, backwards.  He's threatening.  They have come up against a nation that will defend itself.

Defend ourselves?  Why, that's the most fun notion of self-defense I've ever heard: unilateral invasions of unrelated third-party nation-states.  And if those Al Qaida dudes don't watch themselves, we're gonna get real self-defensive and invade Switzerland!  Or Venezuala (which is a communist haven anyway, so that will really show them).

And the president's sentiments on Iraq?  Super fun!  Zawahiri mentions glancingly British and US occupation of Iraq as rationale for continued pigfucking terrorist acts, and Bush returns to the "we're fighting the war in terror in Iraq" talking point.  He sets up this very fun logical construct that any US act is part of the war on terror as long as Al Qaida mentions it.  Abu Gharab?  Oh, we were just doing that to piss of Zawahiri and his boys, which makes it part of our war on terror.

Or, maybe I should say, our fun war on terror.

Hopefully, Al Qaida will someday mention domestic presidential election tampering, so the president can finally own up to it, and then excuse it as part of his war on terror.

That would be most fun of all!

Posted by mrbrent at 10:24 AM

August 5, 2005

me to pirates: shut up

I used to be a big fan of pirates.

"The Nineties" is the time-frame that we'll assign to this minor obsession, though it bled into this decade a little.  I used to run (with a friend of mine) a live variety show, and The Pirate became our stock character.  It started out as some random bit every show, like a romantic scene, or two guys talking on a park bench, with the yuks coming from the fact that one (or all) of the characters were dressed like pirates.  No, there was very little "matey"ing and not so much with the "avast ye".  Just people dressed like pirates.

Eventually, The Pirate became one actor, for some reason or other.  (Which requires a shout to Augustus.)  The Pirate came on stage, every show, and did some quickly rehearsed random bit during the intros.   Usually, the bits were conceived in the period one would call "immediately preceding".  But we had a pirate, at our little Dog & Pony show, and we were pretty happy about it.

Sometime right about when we stopped doing the show, I heard of "Talk Like A Pirate" day, which seemed like some self-promoting bit of nonsense -- a couple of guys trying to weasel their way into celebrity by publicizing a frattish bit of time-wasting.  Yeah, I'm cynical, but, whatever.  It didn't make me talk like a pirate.

And today, I hear of this, which is a little story about how some twenty-something NYers like to dress up like pirates and go drinking.  I'm sure that the exegesis of the story is something like "friend of rookie reporter out of ideas does this pirate thing, so story is pitched and published".  You know, five or ten people do it, add reporter friend, shazam.

Though now of course the story will probably be farked, and in a week bars all over the world will have to contend with children in eye patches who hold their drink poorly.

Which is why I must now renounce pirates, all pirates, except for the kind that come from Pittsburgh and play baseball.

Further, all of this is my mid 30 year old way of saying, "Stop playing on my lawn."

[Via Gawker]

Posted by mrbrent at 11:23 AM

because i'm a bad person

I so very badly wanted all week to write about the increasing affinity between Boy Scouts and electrical storms.

Maybe something about a downturn in offerings to Odin.  Maybe something something, "Nature's lightning rods," something something.

But then I got to thinking, "What if I had a Boy Scout?"  Because, really, I wouldn't want you making jokes about my Boy Scout like that.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:13 AM

August 1, 2005

sean hannity will save you

I still have not yet found any evidence contraverting my theory that conservative comix suck as a matter of principle.  Today's exhibit is brought to you by old friend Ballpeen Hammer.  It is a proposed comic book called "Liberality For All".  I'm just gonna type that again, because it so funny.  "Liberality For All".  You can see for yourself here, on their little website.  This is the tagline of the project:
!t is 2021, tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of 9/11 It is up to an underground group of bio-mechanically enhanced conservatives led by Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North to thwart Ambassador Usama Bin Laden's plans to nuke New York City ...And wake the world from an Orwellian nightmare of United Nations-dominated ultra-liberalism.

Tee hee.

I probably should get all mad and shrill about me and the fellow travellers being married to "Ambassador Usama Bin Laden" in someone's fevered little alternate universe, but I'm a little too busy laughing my ass off at the "Orwellian nightmare of United Nations-dominated ultra-liberalism."  This is the first attribution of "Orwellian" to the progressive side of political spectrum I've ever seen.  Maybe there's some rationalization for it, but, comic book kids, maybe you should read Orwell before you start throwing around the adjectival version of his name.  Otherwise you might piss off the liberal "Big Brother" that wants to stop you from reading the Bible, marry other dudes, etc., etc.

Pushing even further the envelope of hilarity is the zombified hero worship of wingnut talk show hosts.  "In a world with no future, only surly loudmouths will save us."  Never mind that Liddy would be about 115 years old.  Sure, I've heard stories of his "Will" -- you know, holding his hand over a lit match without flinching and stuff -- but please admit that not flinching while holding one's hand over a lit match is about the crappiest super-power ever.  Which is maybe the point: all the talkshow heroes of the conservative right need are the lamest powers ever in order to defeat the liberal dominion of the nation.  Like Oliver North's super "lying to congress" power, or Hannity's super "parting the money of millions of conservatives from their pockets" powers.

Freedom of expression dictates that these comic book dudes can follow their dream and publish all the crap they can; also, it dictates that I can haterize on them all I want.  Face it: the comic book dudes behind this project seem a little bit less sophisticated than the average comic book dude.  Which is saying a lot, if you catch my drift.

Hey, maybe Hannity will only charge the comic book dudes half-price for an autograph -- that should float their boat for a couple weeks.

[Also taking gratuitous shots at the comic book dudes are Tom Tomorrow and BH]

Posted by mrbrent at 12:43 PM

he comes not to praise the u.n.

How do you get yourself all fired up for a five week vacation?  If you're president of the United States, you endrun the Senate and shoot the UN the ol' twirly bird, if you know what I mean.

This morning Bush ended speculation by shoving John Bolton into the job of Ambassador to the UN via a recess appointment, or "cheating", as most people call it.

How does the president shore up rapidly eroding international confidence in the United States?  By appointing a laughing stock bully with a record of manipulating intel for policy gains to ambassador, while the US Congress has basically gone on the record with no confidence in the nomination.  That'll show that obviously corrupt UN!  Now they'll have to deal with our clown-ass freak!

At least Bolton has the full confidence of the president.

Goo goo g'joob!

Posted by mrbrent at 11:50 AM