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March 21, 2008

the dick cheney/king of saudi arabia show

Through the magical power of the Internet, the Yahoo! Headline Box runs a (duh) headline...

• Cheney to discuss rising oil prices with king of Saudi Arabia

And you are there:

Veep:  So, those oil prices are rising?

King:  Yes.

Veep:  Not falling?

King:  No.  More like skyrocketing.

Veep:  Hmm.

King:  (Makes rocket gesture/noise.)

Veep:  I gotta say:  Nice fucking job.

King:  Thank you.

Veep:  Now, hand me that stack of million dollar bills, wouldja?

But wait!  There's more!

Veep:  Don't mind him, he's the doctor that follows me around.

King:  I see.

Veep:  He reports back to the three cardiologists in the van outside.

King:  I see.

Veep:  But this one, he's the one with all the good stuff.  Fresh blood, uppers, horse tranqs.

King:  Of course.

Veep:  And I bet he'll blow you if you ask nice enough.

King:  Thank you, no.  Am too busy counting money.  Maybe later.

Plus, if you order now:

Veep:  How many zeros are in a kajillion again?

King:  May I ask a personal question?

Veep:  Shoot.

King:  Ha ha!

Veep:  Ha ha!

King:  Seriously.

Veep:  Open fire!

King:  Ha.

Veep:  Ha ha!

King:  Well.  What I was wondering was, would you call that a smirk or a sneer?

Veep:  Would I call what a smirk or a sneer?

King:  Your, uh...

Veep:  I have no idea what you're talking about.

King:  Of course.

Veep:  None.

King:  Hm.

Veep:  How about, "Why do you wear a fucking sheet?" how's that one?

King:  Dick...

Veep:  Jerk.

Next episode: Vice President Cheney and the King of Saudi Arabia get an apartment in Santa Monica.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:27 AM

March 20, 2008

fight girl: battle world

This will be an unabashed shill, but for your own good.  Here in the NYC area, a theater company calling themselves "Vampire Cowboy" (which should be the name for anything, right?) has a show up that is utterly worth your time.  It is called "Fight Girl: Battle World".  It is a quiet coming-of-age story set in outer space.  Well, quiet, but with aliens and space battles and that kind of stuff that you don't see on stage very often.

It is a hit -- the closest I've seen anyone come to translating the visceral appeal of an action movie onto the live stage.  I normally go in for the weirdo smarty-pants, like our friends at The Radiohole, so it was by no means a slam dunk that I would love this show.  But I do.

It is a hell of a ride, and if your interests fall into that geek side of the equation (that is currently ruling the world) -- e.g., comic books, sci-fi, anime, etc. -- then you are missing something if you do not go see the show.

And, yes, my wife is in it (and is super), but that is not why I am recommending it.  I recommend it because I believe it's an achievement.

Again, info is here.

Posted by mrbrent at 5:11 PM

aron wider, welcome to your fifteen minutes

Have some heartwarming, quick before lunchtime: CEO of a mortgage company is being deposed for a lawsuit alleging impropriety concerning the mortgage company's mortgages.  CEO is obstreperous, does not cooperate with the deposition.  CEO (and his counsel) are then fined $29,000 by the presiding judge.

What's so heartwarming about that?  Well, for one, the CEO is a dick:

Q: This is your loan file.  What do Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald do for a living?
A:  I don't know.  Open it up and find it.
Q:  Look at your loan file and tell me.
A:  Open it up and find it.  I'm not your fucking bitch.
Q:  Take a look at your loan application.
A:  Do it yourself.  Do it yourself.  You want to do this in front of a judge.  Would you prefer to [do] this in front of a judge?  Then, shut the fuck up.
Q:  Sir, take a look--
A:  I'm taking a break. Fuck him. You open up the document. You want me to look at something, you get the document out. Earn your fucking money, asshole. Better get used to it. You'll retire when I'm done.

While the CEO perhaps hoped to survive the lawsuit so that he could go back home and count his money, he will now have to also cope with the fact that he is officially famous for being a dick.

This is exactly what the Internet was created for -- to overpublicize douchebag behavior, thereby deterring it.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:05 AM

March 19, 2008

um, a thing? back to school, copy editors?

Because it's never too late at night for a bad headline, here's this, from the Yahoo! Box of etc., etc.:
• Bush authorizes supplying Kosovo with military weapons

Because those Nerf weapons just weren't doing the job.

Happy vernal equinox, Internet readers!

Posted by mrbrent at 11:41 PM

legal guidelines for photogs

This is uncommonly useful (if not random) -- a very concise guide to photography and the law.  It runs down, in easy-to-memorize fashion, what you can and cannot take pictures of, and where you can and cannot take these photos.

To add to it, if a shop or store tells you that you cannot take a photograph because of "copyright", then they are full of hooey.  There is no protection accorded by copyright that has anything to do with taking a photograph of a copyrighted item/image.  They may have a "private property" argument, but then again you have an "eat me, dumbhead" argument which should prevail.

I am not referring to a specific import company in NYC's Chelsea Market; why would I do that?

[Via Lifehacker.]

Posted by mrbrent at 2:37 PM

how to ask someone to be the 4,000th to die for a $5bn mistake?

It may be trite to play "where were you when", but five years ago today, a friend took me to my first Rangers game, and after the game we walked to one of the Irish-y pubs near MSG for a nightcap.  On the way, the cell phone rang -- it was my then girlfriend (now wife) telling me that we had invaded Iraq.  That made for an interesting (if not muted) post-hockey game beer, watching Baghdad being shelled on the TV, wondering if we should feel anxious about this or not.

Now, close to 4,000 dead American soldiers, five hundred billion dollars, and the evaporation of U.S. international credibility later, this is the best our fearless leader can do:

"No one would argue that this war has not come at a high cost in lives and treasure – but those costs are necessary when we consider the cost of a strategic victory for our enemies in Iraq."

The Administration has shoved around the goal posts so much that "victory" is now being presented as a negative proof -- only the continued absence of defeat will prove victory.  Or in other words, they're playing not to lose, and games played not to lose are impossible to withdraw from.

So happy fifth whatever.

Posted by mrbrent at 1:13 PM

March 18, 2008

obama: more perfect union

You may have already read (or watched) it, but I just took five minutes to read through Sen. Obama's speech of this morning.  And yeah, that works for me.

There has been a counter-current -- I'm not sure if it's among the punditocracy, or from political opponents -- against Sen. Obama's speeches, that somehow being able to convey a message, or even inspire people, with plain old words is somehow duplicitous, somehow inherently dishonest.

Words are what we got, and what we got in common.  If the only good result of this election is that those that distrust words are put out of business, then that at least would be something good.

And to counter the argument that words can somehow inspire bad thoughts and deeds -- the antidote to that is more words.

It is a hell of a speech, pretty much explaining issues of race in America in a few thousand words.  I don't know of too many people that can do that, let alone presidential candidates.

But is still a race!  Best candidate please win!

Posted by mrbrent at 4:21 PM

blowtorches should be illegalized before it's too late

I don't know why I'm drawn to triumphalist coverage of anti-terror efforts -- cynicism? paranoia? -- but the NYTimes ran the latest model of "Valiant Homeland vs. Godless Dumb-ass Savages" this morning, and of course it has a passage worth highlighting:
Senior [U.S security] officials acknowledge that it is difficult to prove what role these new tactics and strategies have played in thwarting plots or deterring Al Qaeda from attacking...  They did point to some older and now publicized examples that suggest that their efforts are moving in the right direction...

And in 2002, Iyman Faris, a naturalized American citizen from Kashmir, began casing the Brooklyn Bridge to plan an attack and communicated with Qaeda leaders in Pakistan via coded messages about using a blowtorch to sever the suspension cables.

But by early 2003, Mr. Faris sent a message to his confederates saying that “the weather is too hot.”  American officials said that meant Mr. Faris feared that the plot was unlikely to succeed — apparently because of increased security.

Erm, if the best the bad guys can do for secret code is "the weather is too hot", then how is it that they can keep from drowning when it rains?  My knowledge of cryptography and the associated spycraft arts is limited to entertainment that I've read or seen, so I would be no expert, but if the entertainment that I've read or seen contains techniques exponentially more advanced than "The eagle lands at midnight", then I'm assuming it's available with a minimum of education/research.  So, if you tell me a plot was spoiled because some freedom-hater was intercepted saying, "The weather is too hot" then I say bullshit -- either to the plausibility of the plot or to the plausibility of the coverage.

And considering that the plot was to blowtorch the Brooklyn Bridge into the East River, I'm inclined to say that the plot was bullshit, and also the coverage is bullshit for reporting the busting of the blowtorch plot without also reporting a disclaimer along the lines of, "When asked for comment on the arrest of Mr. Faris, administration opponents laughed their G-D asses off."

I'm not sure what the motive of such coverage, or the source of such coverage, but -- hey, is it just me or is it a bit terror-y in here?

But other than its questionable newsworthiness and plausibility, nice article.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:45 AM

March 17, 2008

one less roundtrip to bermuda for paulson

While sitting in the vehicle, waiting for the Alternate Side Parking restrictions to lapse, the news radio I was listening to broke in with a live statement from our president, who thanked the Secretary of the Treasury for working on the weekend.  Could it be only twenty-something years ago when everybody's working for the weekend?  Anyhow, I wept the tears of the freedom loving, confident that our American super-billionaires will be protected from ruin and responsibility by a government willing to come to the office on a Sunday.

In the meantime, I find much worth repeating in this comment to TPM, a small portion of which I quote here:

Seventy years ago Franklin Roosevelt was able to explain this country's and the world's financial crises to a far less educated, and less accessible, American public. That today's candidates are unwiling, or unable to do so, is alarming.  Maybe if the media first tried to understand the problems, then asked the proper questions until answers were forthcoming or it was clear the candidates are afraid to ask them, political coverage would be more than the extreme sports coverage it has turned into.

May we continue to be distracted by fifteen seconds of crazy from a preacher, and hookers.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:12 AM