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November 8, 2008


Sorry, but I forgot to write the "McCain's concession speech was very gracious, much more gracious than his followers in attendence, but not enough to wipe his record clean of the terrible campaign decisions he made, any more that the President's current loopy lame-duck amiability absolves him of the worst administration in American history" post.  I was reading a book, and boy am I glad those things are still around.

Also, I'm pretty sure that I'm supposed to write the "Obama is so cool that not only did he call himself a mutt but also apologized to Nancy Reagan almost instantaneously" post right now, but instead I'm going to do some dishes.  They do pile up during the week.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:06 AM

November 7, 2008

the bush-obama transition

So the President, the current one, gave a little speech about how he was gonna work on the transition to the next administration, and it's full of magnanimity and i's dotted with hearts and what not.  Yeah, maybe his long national nightmare of confidence-in-the-face-of-utter-failure has taken its toll, and he's just looking forward to some quiet brush-clearing at the ranch, where the only legacy he'll be worried about will be at the bottom of the next bottle of Jack, before he "chokes on a pretzel" again.

But I don't think so!  In fact I think he's planning nefariousness!  The clues are hidden in plain sight in the speech he gave!

For the next 75 days, all of us must ensure that the next president and his team can hit the ground running,” Mr. Bush said in an emotional speech to hundreds of employees of the executive branch on the South Lawn of the White House. He urged them to “conduct yourselves with the decency and professionalism that you have shown throughout my time in office.”

Can't you see?  If his staff conducts themselves with the decency and professionalism that they have shown throughout their time in office -- why, then that's exactly the same as conducting themselves without any honor or professionalism at all!  In fact, the president is threatening to blow the cover of a CIA agent, or let an American city drown from a hurricane or manipulating an entire country into an expensive, deadly, pointless war!  It's like, it's not that they were never decent or professional at the same time -- they were never either.

I'm not quite sure how that would translate into spoiling an orderly transition between administrations, but to match the decency and professional of the Bush team, I'd imagine it would be something like boobytrap the West Wing with anthrax-laden spikes and frame Obama's children for the Kennedy assassination.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:49 AM

writing about commuting? you're just jealous

What is wrong with the citizenry today?  Motorists are careening around my neighborhood, aiming for little kids (and my dog) in crosswalks.  Pedestrians are serially shoving in front of each other like the nowhere they're going to would be better if they got there first.  Straphangers are trampling little old ladies and polio-lamed newsboys for the one empty seat fifteen yards away.

What angry god woke up on the wrong side of the cosmos this morning?  Doesn't everyone remember that everything is different now?  Don't we get at least one more day of smiley-happy?

I guess we're just back to normal.  Or at least normal, with sixty-five percent less worrying about a government constantly redefining "insidious".

Or maybe everyone's just pissed about asshole Proposition 8-passing California.  I know I am.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:38 AM

November 6, 2008

sarah palin withdrawl?

A headline in the Yahoo! Box of Newses jumped out at me, and I thought I might get a quick little funny out of it:
• Is Sarah Palin ready and willing to resurrect the GOP?

But then I made the mistake of actually reading the story attached to it, and instead of a quick funny, I get a spectacularly bad AP story on Sarah Palin Superstar:

Ever since her selection as John McCain's running mate in late August, Palin, the 44-year-old Alaska governor, was the star of the GOP ticket, though views of her vary wildly across the political spectrum.   With the Republican brand corroded and the hunt on for the next Ronald Reagan, Palin could be one of many people competing to influence Republican ideas in the post-Bush era, maybe even as the party's leader.

Maybe the premise holds in light of the single fact of the rabid response of certain types in her rallies in the Pro-America portions of the country, but it conveniently ignores that the preponderance of the "varying views" of her is that her appeal to fringe racist idiots is only exceeded by her overall drag on the ticket.  And further, her overt effort to whip the rump of the GOP into some sort of frenzy has only fueled the implosion of the Republican Party, wherein her True Believers have sworn to blacklist the moderate apostates.  Which negative view is shared by a large portion of the McCain braintrust.

Shorter, the dissonance of this story is truly dizzying.

Not that I'm advocating Palin leave the stage -- if she can as effectively marginalize the rabid right with her charisma/naked ambition/lack of book learnin', then I stand and applaud.

But I do wonder how someone can write (and then publish) an article like that with a straight face if one's last name is not Limbaugh.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:21 AM

high surf advisory

Sometimes I'm checking the weather online on the way out the door (which I guess our parents did by looking out the window or divining the entrails of a squirrel or something?), and my eye gets caught by the bold all-caps "SEVERE WEATHER ALERT" link above the forecast proper, and I remember what I thought the weather was supposed to be like -- like today, say, rainy, blowy -- and then I get curious, not recalling anything resembling severe weather that was supposed to happen.  Novelty!  So hell yeah I click through that shit, just to see what's up with the typhoon or meteorite or similar force majeure that's supposed to be happening.

And pretty much every time, like today, the "severe weather" referenced is a "high surf advisory".

Sorry, weather guys, but I'd say that of the eight million people in the five boroughs, only two or three hundred thousand are lobstermen, clam-diggers or life guards.  So maybe you can tamp down your high-surf alarmism in deference to the rest of us.  Plus also, what if there actually is a surf someday so alarmingly high that those of us driving desk a couple stories in the air should be warned?  Think anyone will pay attention, after years of bi-weekly high surf advisories?

But.  On behalf of NYC's commercial fishing industry, thanks for your continuing efforts.

Posted by mrbrent at 8:30 AM

November 5, 2008

cnn holograms: rendered by an apple iie

There was one thing worth a larf or two -- CNN's hologrammatic interviewing machine, which was so terrifying that I surprised myself with how fast I could turn a channel.

It was far too "help-me-obi-wan" to be effective at anything other than inducing cringes.  Plus also, even if Wolf (Wolf!) was talking to an actual flesh and blood person and not a 1975-looking fake person, why have them awkwardly face off like that, ten feet away, cheating to the camera?  I thought that Blitzer/hologrammee were fixing to launch into "Who's On First" or other great bit of Vaudevillian schtickery.

So yes, we did experience a customary level of snark and derision last night.  I think it lasted about seven seconds.

Posted by mrbrent at 2:46 PM

no nyt

Dudes, can I tell you my newspaper story?

The intention of the pleasant commute I reference in the immediately subsequent post was to procure a copy of the New York Times and to read it slowly -- maybe even take the Q train, which is the local train, instead of the express B train so that I would have more time to read my New York Times, look at the pictures maybe, point, smile, wink at everyone else reading their newspapers and smiling, etc.

So, instead of risking the newsstand next to the subway (which sometimes doesn't have the NYT, for some reason), I headed for the deli the opposite direction from the subway -- super-reliable.  No NYT.  I went a block up Coney Island Ave to the deli that gets about five NYT and usually sells out by 10a.  No NYT.  By now, I'm pretty far from the subway, so I decide to walk up to the Cortelyou Road stop, which is one stop closer to the city.  Cortelyou Road is a commercial center, with plenty of delis and a newsstand just past the subway stop.  No NYT, no NYT, no NYT.

Fine.  Local shortage.  I hopped the Q and, since it's the day after the day that Obama won the presidency, I decide to get off at Union Square, leisurely stroll the Greenmarket, and hop a bus to work (about a mile away).  And, of course, pick up a NYT.  I purchased two apples (Gala), a package of onion rolls (three), and no NYT.  As the newsstands/delis/etc. around Union Square had no NYT.

The bus was coming and so I jumped on it.  I didn't have all day.  But I was gonna be damned if I was gonna walk into my office without a NYT under my arm.  I disembarked a block away from my office, where there is one deli and one gas station.  I went to the gas station first, because I like those guys.  No NYT.  I ran across the avenue to the deli, also no NYT.  I remembered that the street did have a couple of coin-op newspaper boxes, so I searched for one.  I found one a block away, which was being used by a young fella that was walking out of the gas station a minute ago.  Another victim.  There better be more than one NYT in that thing.

He said that the thing wasn't working, that it wouldn't take his change.  Having already bought a superfluous bag of chips so that I'd have exact change, I asked if he minded if I gave it a shot.

Bingo. : Exactly two NYTs.

I know it's a big day and everything, but I hate to start a Wednesday without reading the Dining In/Dining Out section.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:58 AM

good morning, world with new president

The morning after: boy, that sure knocked the snark outta me, at least for an evening.

It's pretty excellent to see someone behave as if they are humbled by the enormity of their coming responsibility, and it's a good example to set.

I'm not saying that "sincerity is back!" or anything -- I'll leave that to the few people that are still employed in the printed-word industries -- but I am buying what the president-elect is selling, and I'm cynical beyond a fault.

Now excuse me as I begin what I intend to be a particularly enjoyable commute.

Posted by mrbrent at 8:46 AM

November 4, 2008

obama wins

Hi!  It's quarter after ten, election night, and they haven't called it yet, but... well, hi, everyone!  I always liked all of you most.

Okay, back to the TV and the Internet (though the TV wins tonight?).  And that thing about liking all of you?  I'm still meaning that.

There certainly must be a car to turn over around here somewhere.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:12 PM

ignore the exit polls

I think this is the longest day I can remember -- even longer still when I remember than while everyone's doing the heavy lifting as they cast their ballots, the day will be essentially news-less until well after dark.

Oh, sure, there will be some exit polls coming out sometimes towards Happy Hour, but, after being admonished to ignore exit polls by just about every site on the web, I actually read Nate Silver's explanation of why you should ignore exit polls.  And it turns out that you really should ignore exit polls.

Why?  Short version: they are bad science, and wrong.  Good enough for me!

God, maybe it'd be a good time to catch a movie or something?

Posted by mrbrent at 1:57 PM

pretty much obv. what we'll be writing about today

The voting was successful!  Or hopefully so.  The voting was successfully carried out, let's say.

Shocking, though, was the fact that there was a LINE.  I know it's different everywhere else, where apparently each city shares one voting machine, but traditionally voting here is not so bad -- persistent, but never a big ugly wait like you'd see on CNN.  But it was a good 45 minute wait for me, complete with small-talk with neighbors.  And I live way out in a part of Brooklyn that maps don't even show.  I can't imagine what it would be in hotbeds of political activity like, well, pretty much everywhere in NYC west of me.  Actually, I can imagine it.

Also, feeling much less queasy/nervous than I was yesterday.  Maybe because of the adrenaline caused by sharing breathless I-voted stories with co-workers.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:33 AM

time to vote

Okay, gotta go vote.

Real quick, a bunch of times in the past couple months I've said/written that everyone's entitled to pick their own candidate, and it's just important to vote.  Well, there's one thing I intentionally left out: there is very clearly a candidate that improve the country, and that candidate is not John McCain.  So if I gave anyone the impression that I respect everyone's opinion w/r/t the candidate of their choice, I apologize.

So, if you were one of the people I was talking to/writing for, and you were a John McCain supporter, and you were starting to get defensive, like, "Just because I support John McCain doesn't mean I'm stupid..."  Yeah, you're wrong about that too.

Now where'd I put my special voting shoes?

Posted by mrbrent at 8:20 AM

November 3, 2008

ken layne for mccain

From Ken Layne's endorsement of the McCain/Palin ticket:
The question, on November 4, is this: Are we man enough, as a nation, to admit things are just going to keep getting worse?  Can we finally grimace into our national mirror and admit that we need someone to finish the job?  Then let's make John McCain, and then Sarah Palin, our president(s).  Let's do this right!

Experts say the United States is like a bus full of enraged cows teetering on the edge of a sea cliff, with swarms of bloodthirsty sharks circling the waters below.  Tragically, the frightened and confused livestock are unable to tilt the bus over the cliff by themselves.

We can't afford to prolong the misery.  We can't afford to elect some pie-in-the-sky character who appeals to our better instincts.  We can't afford to put aside ignorance and poverty.

I'm mostly sharing this because it's nice to see someone is not freaking out so much that they are unable to be funny.  Don't know who that would be.  Nope.

Vote early, vote awful!

Posted by mrbrent at 5:10 PM

god oh god please let this be over

Let's just say that the mood around these parts, and the mood of just about everyone I know, if FREAKIN' NERVOUS.  I follow the hard data (Lord do I), but face it -- even if Sen. Obama was polling with a 25 point lead, I'd still be sweating it today/tomorrow.  It's not so much the result of watching the last two elections and being grieviously disappointed as it is an abiding belief that the GOP cheats, and in fact doesn't see cheating as anything but a viable method to accumulate/retain political power.

So yeah, today it is very hard to focus on much of anything, and I suspect that tomorrow will be worse.

But I will eat a nice healthy meal tonight and get plenty of sleep -- gotta be ready to vote the fuck out of this thing.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:30 PM

lynn forester de rothschild is an idiot

This is a Gawker post from late last week that gave me a flash of insight on why we do what we do, as far as Internet/blogs go.  The post concerns uber-PUMA Lynn Forester de Rothschild, former-Hillary fundraiser who jumped ship to McCain.  She had authored some piece in which she attacked Obama for his tax policy, comparing it to the tax policies of FDR and JFK.  Gawker's Alex Pareene replies:
In 1932, the top marginal tax rate was 63%. In 1960, it was 91%.  Lynn Forester de Rothschild is an idiot.

Yes!  We do this so that there is some record of people who say dumb things being called idiots.  That is (part of the reason) why we do this, and why we should continue.

Back before the Internet, and the advent of the capability to publish to the world from your home, where were the critics and the ironists flooding the zone?  Who were watching the watchers of the watchmen?  They were publishing APAs, and then zines, and they had no audience.

Now, there are bloggers, who are mean and ethically challenged -- perfectly suited for flushing out the idiots.

I'm probably totally wrong on this, but this is what happens when you spend any time at all navel-gazing.  So, at least for now: the Internet is for calling idiots idiots.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:11 AM