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April 4, 2008

dave is a jerk

A response, in reference to this bit of correspondence to our friend Cardhouse:
Dear Dave:

Hey Man I saw your letter and while I was laughing, I thought I might ask you a few questions.

A you some special kind of sociopath that we're not familiar with yet?  I know, Dave, that you're not the first person to write someone you don't know and tell them that they have no life, and you certainly won't be the last.  But of all the basic human instincts I've encountered, I've never understood the urge to be an anonymous jerk to someone you will probably never meet.  What causes this in you?  Is it a direct result of something, like maybe you slammed your finger in the car door, and then wanted to injure someone to mitigate your pain?  Or is it some deeper hurt, some desertion by your parents, some inappropriate touching by that uncle your mom doesn't talk to anymore?  Personally, I'm voting for some failure by your parents, because apparently "manners" is not a concept you're (not "your", no) familiar with.

Also, let's talk about your spelling and grammar -- is this a result of your fatally flawed upbringing as well?  Ending a sentence with ellipses can be customary, but keep in mind that ellipses only have three dots.  If you usemore than three, then you're essentially breaking up your thoughts with Morse code.  And "your" and "you're" are pretty easy to tell apart.  One is a contraction, the one with the non-letter in it.  That little thing is an apostrophe, and it's holding the place of the "a" that would otherwise be there in the uncontracted form -- "you are".  And "your", well, even you must know that that's a possessive pronoun, in the second person.

If you take a little more care with you're writing, Dave, maybe you'll have more success in telling strangers that they have no lives.

And yes, Dave, I would like fries with that.

Ahhh, people.

Posted by mrbrent at 2:07 PM

some of david brooks best friends are--

It's funny how, now, forty years after someone, maybe James Earl Ray, maybe not, shot him in Memphis, any old right-wing fool can invoke the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King and smell like a bed of roses, like someone is not a crypto-racist.  Why, even deranged old Sen. John McCain, who actually has a vote against MLK Day on his record, is heading down for the ceremonies today -- shake a few hands, say a few nice words, and it's like you're right there with the Rev. Doctor, marching in Selma, like you too have a dream.

How fitting then, in connection therewith, that NYTimes token-conservative opinionist files a column that could be subtitled, "I like reform movements better when they are assassinatible."

Posted by mrbrent at 11:19 AM

April 3, 2008

cary grant would've done the same thing

I tend to shy away from linking Gawker posts as stand-alone "go read that right now" posts (as opposed to the footnote-y hyperlink, supporting some crack-ass assertion I'm making) because, well, either you've already read it yourself, or you're the type of person who wouldn't be bothered with such things.  Plus also, Gawker is hardly starving for eyeballs (footnote!).

But this post from Hamilton Nolan both is a nice piece of writing and coins the phrase "celebrity-industrial complex", as it discusses the snake of tabloid journalism eating the tail of George Clooney, and vice versa:

The actor would doubtless say that he supports real journalism, which is all well and good.  So do we!  But Americans have an unfortunate taste for the minutiae of the lives of their big screen heroes.  So perhaps some sort of bargain can be struck.  The tabloids can promise to take Clooney's earnest projects seriously, and in return, he can throw them a bone by accepting that his social life will always appear in the gossip pages and on the blogs, until he chooses to retire into obscurity.

I have no real position on the obscene objectification of celebrity other than "That's obscene."  But it's nice to see a long-y thing come out of Gawker v4 or v5 or however they're keeping count.

Posted by mrbrent at 5:35 PM

April 2, 2008

oil execs: it's just supply and demand, baby

Still haven't seen much in the way of the long-haul trucker protests, and we all know that sound cannot travel in a vacuum, etc., so that's all there is to that.  Truckers are happy, and cooperating!

But I did see that oil company heads visited Congress to chat about energy prices, obscene profits, and, presumably, once the hearing was over, the finer points of expensive whores:

Appearing before a House committee, the executives were pressed to explain why they should continue to get billions of dollars in tax breaks when they made $123 billion last year and motorists are paying record gasoline prices at the pump.

Should be an interesting explanation, yes.  And a pretty obvious one -- business entities have no mechanism that would serve as a moral compass.  There is no "first law of corporate robotics".  The honest answer is, "You should keep giving us tax breaks because it would increase shareholder value, which is our only purpose."

But no.  Instead, they replied with windy, jargon-laced sentence that read like phonebooks:

"Our earnings, although high in absolute terms, need to be viewed in the context of the scale and cyclical, long-term nature of our industry as well as the huge investment requirements," said J.S. Simon, senior vice president of Exxon Mobil Corp., which made a record $40 billion last year.

And the Representatives slowly nodded off.  But at least the House got to look busy.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:27 AM

April 1, 2008

and the trucker shall lead them

I heard of this yesterday on some AM radio program, and I'm not seeing much national mention of it, so let's cut out the middle man: today, the long-haul truckers of the nation are engaging in public displays of protest against rising fuel prices and deteriorating infrastructure.  A quick search comes up with reports of agitated truckers in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Arizona and Ohio, so I guess that the lack of national news coverage doesn't mean that it's not actually happening.

This is not France, so no tires are being burnt, but some major highways are being slowed down.  This may well piss off the rank-and-file commuter, but I think that these organized actions against a forces that run the world are heartening.

And it is not like protesting against the rain, or a word -- I don't think it's as futile a protest as you might think.  Off the top of my head, foreign policy, energy policy, federal and state taxes and a culture of corporate thievery are all contributing elements that could be changed to affect this.

Also, I grew up in the 70s; of course I love truckers, good buddy.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:31 PM

no, really -- there is a bug on your shirt

Today is the day in which we all hug our inner trickster and do something embarrassing to a co-worker in the interest of hilarity for all.  "Holy--  That's not coffee!"

Just in the interest of you getting to know us better, here's a personal funfact:  Around our house, the wife's customary April Fool's Day prank goes something like, "I want a divorce!"; mine consists of sobbing.

And for how long do you think "I wonder how they celebrate AFD at NORAD" jokes have been made?

Posted by mrbrent at 11:37 AM

March 31, 2008

soon we are all married to the internet

Good morning.  The creepy Internet robot lady will see you now.  (Do make a point of waving the cursor around.  Or, take it all in, and then do.)

And fellas -- she's one hundred percent virtual!  (Though, to my untrained eye, I'd say that she's more brilliantly utilized photo elements and fully computer-rendered.  But, in the end, not-real is not-real.)

[Again via Boing Boing.  Again!]

Posted by mrbrent at 9:17 AM