« August 20, 2006 - August 26, 2006 | Main | September 3, 2006 - September 9, 2006 »

September 1, 2006

try shaking it

Maybe this one should go to Deadspin, but I'll give it a try.  This is the lead paragraph from an otherwise innocuous NYTimes sports story:
The Jet's quarterback picture, which was developing as slowly as a Polaroid, became clear yesterday with the trade of Brooks Bollinger to the Minnesota Vikings.

Um, Polaroids develop in a minute or so.  I dunno if the reporter/editor have tried pulling 35mm film out of a camera and developing it in their hands, but I'm pretty sure Polaroids have corned the market on the quick-developing.

Maybe I'm just not impatient enough.

Posted by mrbrent at 2:49 PM

nypd wants you horn-swaggled

The powers-that-be are persisting with their baffling West Chelsea campaign.  And they're honing their message.

The traffic sign of fate has returned to the corner of Tenth Avenue and Twenty-Third Street, and its message to commuters is this:


You might remember that a few weeks ago, the traffic sign was present, and read:


Apparently, there was some concern that the potential perpetrators were confusing "unlawful" with "suggested", or "fun".

I'll tell ya, the assorted new media minions and gallery assistants of the neighborhood are governing themselves accordingly, hoo boy.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:20 AM

August 31, 2006

olbermann for the ages

Again, you will see this one linked to the gills.  Don't let this dissuade you from watching, the way my friends' incessant yap-yapping about how cool Kerouac inspired me not to read "On The Road".

On his program last night, Olbermann swung for the fences.  A transcript is also available as a post on his blog, which he religiously updates (on a quarterly basis).  I do recommend the video, because much of the beauty comes from the delivery.

I would tell you the subject of his speech, but the subject is almost irrelevant -- you can pretty much pick from a score of subjects in our current political reality and come to the same result.  I would call this Olbermann's Edward R. Murrow moment, though it might not be fair to do so, as he quotes the great man directly.  But it is a moment of great import, and hopefully we will get more such moments to come, whether they be Murrow moments, or Howard Beale moments, or even, please God please, a Joseph Welch moment.

It's time for all the good brothers and sisters to stand up.  So get to it.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:35 AM

August 30, 2006

hello, nerdcake

Just when I think I know all the link answers, I change all the link questions.  But this post here goes a long way in explaining one of the ineffables about living in NYC on a long-term basis.  And no, I ain't never hid shit like that, but I've been thinking about it for many years.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:11 PM


The little news bits are getting to me today.  So let's just run them down and not worry about the five paragraph essay form we try to follow (stupid clincher!).

First Boing Boing brightened my day with news that not only is Thomas Kincade a drunken boorish piss terrorist crap landscape painter, he is also a criminal (alleged!), with accusations of a franchise scheme.

These [eventually defrauded] dealers became investors primarily because they were believers in faith, love, family and God, and the paintings reflect those values," said Joseph Ejbeh, a Rochester Hills, Mich.-based attorney.

And I thought just having a Kincade in your home was punishment enough.

Over at Tom Tomorrow's This Modern World, Rush Limbaugh's stance on poverty is examined.  To wit, Mr. Limbaugh is of the belief that the current epidemic of obesity is proof that we give too much to the poor.  The poor soul must be confusing the obese poor with his own fat ass, as his ass is fat from good old fashioned abundance -- steak, cigars, oxycontin.  The weight problems of the poor are caused by McDonald's and other mass-produced test-tube "food" marketed to the poor, you know, the "food" which has exactly enough nutritional value to barely not kill you.  It really is obscene, the sentiments espoused by Mr. Limbaugh.

Which is why we call him fat and laugh!

Coincidentally (or not so), Census Bureau data released yesterday revealed that the number of uninsured Americans has risen to 46.6 million.  That would translate to 15.9% of the population, or a little over one in seven.

We truly are the jewel of the Western world, unless, of course, we're trying to scrape by on $5.15 per hour.  U-S-A!  U-S-A!

Posted by mrbrent at 4:14 PM

we will go to NOLA soon

This will be the last word on the Katrina anniversary.  For now.  By clicking on this highlighted text right here you will find yourself whisked away to a bittersweet little editorial penned by longtime NOLA resident Poppy Z. Brite.
We hope you'll join us in mourning our losses.  But please don't make the mistake of mourning for New Orleans as a whole, because we're not dead, and we're not dying.

That sounds about right.

I first became acquainted with Poppy Z. Brite from back in my bookstore days when everyone was reading horror novels.  (Not me, man!  I was reading Bill Cosby's "Fatherhood" like the rest of you.)  Poppy was an originator of what you could call "alt.horror", which eventually became, as you are well aware, pop culture.  Browse her livejournal for more Poppy Z Brite, and find out why WE ARE NOT OKAY.

The link is brought to our attention by Maud Newton, who I haven't said a nice thing about in a while, so then: remember, a day without Maud Newton is like unto a day without sunshine.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:56 AM

August 29, 2006

he feels your pain, from 9 to 5

Today, the President must be cranky.  Some stupid advisor made him stop vacationing and sign some autographs in New Orleans.

Wouldn't it have been more appropriate for NOLA to have some kind of remembrance ceremony and the President to watch it from 35,000 feet?

Shouldn't every amateur writey type be making this joke today?

Also, let me reprint a paragraph from the AP story linked above, as I find a portion of it dubious:

"We're addressing what went wrong," [Bush] told residents at a high school gymnasium in an uplifting speech that spoke to the heroic efforts of rescuers and the death and despair left behind when the floodwaters receded.  (My bold.)

Is it just me, or is "uplifting" a word that you only want to read from a journalist as contained in a direct quote?  After all, once a reporter starts decided what is uplifting, would that not fly in the face of objectivity?  Is not one person's "uplifting" another person's "disingenuous"?  Besides, what could be more uplifting than a nice flyover in a plush comfy Air Force One?

Posted by mrbrent at 12:49 PM

yes men

A scrap of good news in NOLA.  The Yes Men have arrived.

There may be a straw man out there that would question the efficacy of prankstering as a means to effect change.  To this straw man I say, "Shut up, straw man, so that I may listen to the Department of Housing and Urban Development be forced to again explain why they wish to bulldoze perfectly good low income housing."

That silly straw man.  He so stoopid.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:46 AM

the president shrugs

There's so much to say about the one year anniversary of Katrina that it's hard to know where to start.  And even harder to collate all the little things to say into a coherent post.  (Which is perhaps why the professionals keep away from posts and write things like "features" and "books".)

I'd like to start with the image of the President, and its fall from grace in the aftermath of the hurricane (as smartly discussed by Matthew Yglesias.  Specifically, Yglesias contrasts the two iconic images of the Bush presidency -- his Ground Zero speech in 2001, and his flyover of NOLA last year -- and then wonders why the Ground Zero speech is considered a benchmark of Bush's popularity.  He writes, "In particular, the centrality of 9/11 to Bush's political persona has always struck me as under-analyzed. It's a strange thing primarily because Bush didn't really do anything on 9/11 or its immediate aftermath."

And I'd like to join in the questioning.  At which point did President Bush's "I have a bullhorn" act constitute any form of leadership?  I wish those that wear the President Bullhorn T-shirts and think of Bush standing on a pile of rubble as the Platonic ideal of presidential action would have the courage to admit their cowardice.  The purpose of the federal government is not reassurance, and the ability to appear resolute is not a substitute for actions.  People fondly remember the Ground Zero speech because they were terrified and powerless and wanted to be swaggered at so they could manage to sleep at night.  People don't want results; they want empty words.

The photo of Bush staring out the window on Air Force One last September 1 would seem to be the opposite of the Ground Zero speech, with a passive POTUS watching from the distance, removed by privilege and unconcerned.  I disagree.  The spectating president is nothing but what the president looked like directly before and after the Ground Zero speech.  Passive and unconcerned is the president's natural state.  His speechifying is an attempt to look busy when the electorate walks up to his cubicle.

It was not the ineffectiveness of the government to response that broke the president in the eyes of the public -- for some reason, ideologues are fine with incompetence as long as they get to hate a gay or a brown person.  It was the arrogance of the president's indifference that did it.  The patronage, the cronyism, the bungling -- that was bad.  The failure to even pretend to care a little bit, that was worse.

And our reward, those not displaced by Katrina, is that we get to sit and remember this catastrophe with all the fuck-yous our tiny hearts can hold.  Because the country I grew up in is not one that loses an entire city to fucking weather and then tries to build luxury condos in the ashes of the dead neighborhoods.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:11 AM

August 28, 2006

hello, crazy dude who didn't kill jon benet

There is little point in linking this story, as it will be having it's going away party tonight, sucking the air out of the newshole for the last time.  But yeah, crazy fucker din't do it.

Hopefully now the Nancy Graces and the Laura Ingrahmses of the world can spend about as long (two weeks, was it?) congratulating themselves for not descending into a wolfpack of incrimination (like they did with Jon Benet's mother/father/whoever) as they did descending into a wolfpack of incrimination.

And a nation of TV watchers can now conveniently forget how willing they were to sit in judgment of a crazy fucker over something as dumb as a confession.  Because they looked right into his eyes on that TV screen and they done knew he done it!  Thanks, pork chop.  Back to some other ghoulish televised diversion, plus also voting in contravention of your own best interest, like usual.

And please prepare for excuse-making, simpleton moral justifications along the lines of, "He may not have done it, but..."  Then set your phasers for "autodefenestration".

Posted by mrbrent at 5:32 PM

hey now, monk

Sometimes, correspondence is so good that I am compelled to share.

How off the wire this morning from Monk:

I wish I could hack in and put a comma after the word "hurricane" in this headline.

It's true.  We spend our days, when not posting, just trying to crack each other up.  Like, with that one about what you feed a gay horse.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:29 AM