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June 13, 2008

pope: lookin' good!

So, President Bush and the Pope walk into a bar meet at the Vatican.  No, for real, they meet at the Vatican.  The president is taking what is supposed to be his victory lap of Europe, which is instead more of long dark night of the soul -- the president doesn't like instrospection so much, it makes him feel itchy.

So, like I was saying, President Bush and the Pope meet at the Vatican.  How does the president greet the Pope?

"Your eminence, you're looking good," Bush told the pope.

The president has a protocol officer whose job it is to devise the least-dignified possible response for every situation.

[Via Griz, who posted something not entirely unlike this almost simultaneously.]

Posted by mrbrent at 9:33 AM

June 12, 2008

oblique shout out

An important lesson from my friend Scrappy Jack, who traffics in the field that I used to but don't anymore and am wondering where the door to get back in is located:
It never starts with the Money.

What is Scrappy Jack talking about?  Well, contextually, he's talking about creating an theatrical arts space somewhere in the Five Boroughs of NYC, the premise of which is, kind of, Fortune Favors The Persistent, or, Transactions Are Other People's Problems, or, It's Already Happened And Nobody Knows It Yet.  It sounds crazy, but, then again, I like his track record.

What am I talking about?  It's good to have an inspirational widget small enough to hold in my head in these days of spinning wheels.

Plus also, I think he's right, and maybe I think about the money too much, because it never does start with the money.

Posted by mrbrent at 3:07 PM

try it without cutting and pasting, i ask

Okay, so now the cut and paste on this here Firefox (v.!) is all working again, after a day of frustration.  Which should be reason to celebrate, but I'm coming to the realization that all those years of celebrating when the problem mysteriously fixed itself were maybe misguided, inasmuch as each resulted in a more permanent, non-self-solving problem that was even less fun.

So I am going to continue looking into a solution for this problem which is not currently a problem.

In the meantime, two things: (i) Dashiell Hammett spelled "okay" like "oke", which is hard not to read phonetically; and (ii) cellphones can't pop popcorn! but get a hands-free anyway and keep those nasty microwaves clear of your temporal lobe.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:12 AM

June 11, 2008

i am between the ages of 17 and 40

My wife received a forward from some family friends back home, concerning the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.  It's got your dimestore whackjob appeal, enough to lodge doubt in the mind of someone that's not sniffing around the current events, but not slick enough to pass the laugh test.  In fact, I'd say it causes laughter, especially the part about Obama turning his back and slouching during recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance -- what could be more evil than slouching?

There were some questions between us, concerning how to answer the family friends, who we're quite fond of, without appearing elitist or anything Communist like that, which are ongoing.  In the meantime, I figured, all on my own, that maybe some of these crackpot email forwards could use a little daylight.

So here's another, the operative presumption of which is that many bad things happened because of Muslim extremists between the (oddly chosen) ages of 17 and 40, and concluding with [formatting preserved for dramatic effect]:

And Now:
For the award winning
Act of Stupidity
Of all times the People of America want to elect, to the most
Powerful position on the face of the Planet --
The Presidency of the United states of America

A Muslim
the ages
of 17 and 40.

Barack Obama, born on August 4, 1961, is currently 46.  Which could only be considered "between the ages of 17 and 40" if you're doing that Terrorist New Math.  So, close, but, no, not even close at all.  The whole Muslim thing has been answered pretty well elsewhere, which will probably do nothing to put a stake through it, because who can trust anything you read (except in a slimy email)?  But if you're going to premise your entire hit job on an age range of the evil ones, then maybe you should at least research the age of the target of the hit job, which age is pretty much common knowledge.

But thanks for playing, fucking idiots!

Posted by mrbrent at 9:03 PM

cliff notes to bush administration

If you're old enough to remember the works of David Foster Wallace (ahhh'm just kiddin'), you might recall that, even those of his fans (that's me!) would agree that his prose can tend towards the long, even without footnotes and annotations.

May well be the case, but in this interview with him concerning the publishing of an essay he wrote on McCain years ago, I think he composes the sentence that best encapsulates everything about the present administration that has made us drink to excess and lose our hair:

The truth —- as I see it —- is that the previous seven years and four months of the Bush Administration have been such an unmitigated horror show of rapacity, hubris, incompetence, mendacity, corruption, cynicism and contempt for the electorate that it's very difficult to imagine how a self-identified Republican could try to position himself as a populist.

The salient point being the unmitigated horror show and not the potential of a populist Republican, of course.  I know I've devoted a windy post to each one of those abstract nouns in the context of the past years, but each time I tried to string them together into something portable, I'd get tripped up and -- hey, look at the Yahoo! headlines!  They're silly!  So good on DFW, and I look forward to his next million page novel.

And then the prescriptive notion to the Obama campaign would be, "It's the rapacity, hubris, incompetence, mendacity, corruption, cynicism and contempt, stupid."  Somebody get that on the whiteboard, stat.

[Via Maud, and, for the record, I have not yet lost my hair.]

Posted by mrbrent at 8:22 PM

tech question

Does anyone have an idea why the cut/paste function would have died in the Firefox browser (v2.0.0.14) I'm running?

It didn't seem like that big of a deal until I got around to put in a hyperlink.  That's a lot of gibberish to try to type on one's lunchbreak, and it seems inevitable I'll get it wrong.

My browser is haunted, right?  (And imagine the hilarious link I could attach to "haunted", if I were able.)

Posted by mrbrent at 12:47 PM

June 10, 2008

i'll consider this a free speech post instead of the other thing

Speaking of the "nanny state", here's another one, which seems rational on the surface, but slips into nanny state for a half a moment and then lands into Big Brother territory -- NYS AG Andrew Cuomo strongarms ISPs into blocking sites with child pornography content.

This is a bit of a sticky one, as to argue against AG Cuomo's actions means that you are arguing against a man who is arguing against child porn, making you a de facto defender of the child pornographers.  Of course, this is not the case -- I would never defend purveyors of non-consensual adult material, especially that involving minors.  But I do think that Cuomo is overstepping, and the implications of this action are a bit chilling, free speech-wise.

And fortunately Gawker's Nick Douglas has written the post that states my position better than I would:

A filter doesn't stop child porn; it just moves the problem somewhere else.  The distributors will just find new ways to pass the porn along, new ways to disguise it, ways to get around the cataloging system that Cuomo's office uses to search for child porn.

Which is absolutely true of any underground market.  You can't kill the market by snipping distribution arms off.  They grow back.  Not to say that there is not a benefit in appearing to be doing something to combat the evils of society, but I don't think that our ISPs should be policing their customers anymore than our telecoms should be policing our conversations.

It would be nice to squash all bad things like bugs, but the squashing must be achieved through certain constitutional parameters.  And any blatant overreach in the name of fighting crime should at least be one that would have a chance of succeeding.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:39 PM

this was supposed to be a quick paragraph

"Nanny state" is one of those offensive linguistic units that the People With Whom I Disagree have fashioned to belittle their enemies and elicit sneering approval from their friends.  They've been bringing this ideological fight to the trenches for fifteen years or so now -- "death taxes", "Democrat Party", etc.  Like many sci-fi writers and futurists, the GOP understands that language is a virus, and you can solidify perception contrary to reality if you can deftly wrangle the language.  "Nanny state" is a particularly juvenile one, basically calling sissy those who would feed the poor and house the homeless, and, being juvenile, it's pretty effective, particularly with the great unwashed, who tend, oddly towards the poor and homeless.

But, there's no reason we should let the concerted efforts of bad people rob the rest of us from a colorful phrase -- "nanny" is at least a very fun word to say, with all those Ns.  So I nominate the following as a better example of a nanny state:

NY State Assemblywoman: make jaywalking safe for the blind!

The assemblywoman in question reps the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, so I'm surprised that she's not also trying to make sure that there are no sharp edges on the buildings, lest a toddler fall out of their stroller and hits their head.

But that's smotheringly maternal, yes?  Legislating vehicles to make more noise, in an already noisy world?  That is a much better fit that, "anyone who wants to give government money to anyone other than corporations".

Posted by mrbrent at 9:00 AM

June 9, 2008

will sweat short out a keyboard?

I was out of the Brooklyn for the weekend and apparently someone forgot to turn the boiler off for the season.  Because it is very hot, like all those other times it was hot.  It was hot where I was, as well, but that hot just got rolled for its iPhone and wallet by the Brooklyn hot.

I've always said that New York was the city that makes its own gravy, but am coming to realize that it's also the city that is its own tagine, because I already feel more tender and flavorful.

But, on the bright side, complaining about the weather!

Posted by mrbrent at 11:41 PM