Wednesday, January 31, 2007

At Last: Here's Something Funny About Peace, Love, and Understanding

Kumbayah, motherfuckers, and someone tell Sufjan that he's not the only gig in town. Metroblogs dropped news today on next week's must attend event.



OMFG! This shit has got EVERYTHING! Keith Ellison! Thomas Jefferson's Koran! The star of The Village! Plus a special performance by Steven Tyler. Not Aerosmith, mind you. Steven Tyler. Maybe he'll be shooting ping pong balls out of his herpes scars or something. Anyway, this is surely reason enough to raise the Crazy Awesome Alert Level to Herringbone.

Joe Biden Takes Time Out From Announcing His Presidential Candidacy to Welcome Our Hearts-Conquering, Clean and Articulate, Negro Overlords.

Oh, my, but is Senator Joseph Biden a walking fountain of unchained dipshittery! As you know doubt know by now, Biden couldn't even get a few minutes INTO his 2008 presidential run without punching his ticket right back out of it. Speaking of fellow contender Barack Obama, the six-term Senator (D-Idiot) said:

“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
Oh? Is it a "storybook", man? Really? Really. Was it the storybook about how Jor-El, leader of the doomed planet Acknickulous IV sent his only son to Earth where he was thereupon adopted by Kenyan goatherds, C. Everett Koop, and the gay ghost of Bobby Kennedy who trained him to speak English and use Purel so that he could conquer our sagging, post 9-11 hearts with his unflagging biracial optimism and retina-scorching personal hygiene? Is that the storybook? You're not plagiarizing the storybook, are you Joe? Because you're such a nice-looking, clean, articulate guy, Joe. I'd hate to think that you'd stoop to plagiarizing something. Uhm...again, I mean.

Biden's offered up some weird, racially tinged goulash before, you know. Who can forget how he defended himself of the charge of being a "northeastern liberal" by feverishly pointing out that Delaware was a slave state! Ha-cha! He's no weak-willed Vermonter, no sir! Biden comes from a landed hereditary stock just alpha male enough to own slaves! I wonder if his state's tourism board experienced an uptick in phonecalls from people seeking out this "demi-paradise you call Delaware."

Obviously, Joe Biden meant to offer his fellow competitor for the Democratic nomination some measure of praise--the only people who can't see that are the ones who are too stupid to avoid getting mired in Iraq! There's no doubt that Biden surely would have added, "Barack Obama is living proof that the rum-slaves-tobacco trade triangle was totes worth it!" had he not been momentarily distracted at the sound of everyone in the room gasping as an actual turd wormed its way backward out his mouth just moments before.

Anyway, I'm off to update Obama's wiki entry, making note of his status as the "first ever clean black guy!"

DCeptette: Keep it on the dance floor version.

  1. DCist has a good posting today about what's going on over at out sister site SFist with regards to Gavin Newsom's trained sockpuppet, Peter Ragone, invading their comments under pseudonyms and having nothing better than lame Reesian excuses when he was finally called out on it. It's an appropriate thing for DCist to discuss if for no other reason that I've always felt that when DC's politicos seem to be the most baffling bunch of morons in the world, the best way to feel a whole lot better to look west, young man, and check out the High School Musical that is the San Francisco civic scene. Thanks to good friends, some who used to live there, some who still do, I got introduced to the daily melodrama as a sort of spectator sport, and, I promise you, it's like a telenovela. The caustic infighting between political candidates, underage socialite sctupping, Mayoral pool-hall sharking, and conservative majority doomsaying is just the tip of the iceberg. Peer closer and you get things like the ravenous, lesbian volleyball player eating dogs, college newspaper thieving operatives, and REFERENDA BY THE METRIC TON. Plus, who the fuck can keep track of who's selling what news daily to who? I think BRILL'S CONTENT had to have a monthly column just about that shit. Also: Matt Gonzalez supporters=apparently the most insufferable assholes in all of California. It's all good, people, and after a month of reading their weeklies, I promise you, Marion Barry won't seem so outlandish. [DCist]
  2. Uhm...people still go to Lauriol Plaza? Surely not. [Metroblogs]
  3. George Washington University is the nation's most expensive college? Apparently, yes. The yearly tuition is now a cool $37,820. Symbolically, though, GWU is DC's overpriced condo of area universities--all exposed pipes and granite countertops, but the walls are paper thin. [DCist]
  4. I think it was Chuck Klosterman who, pondering the personnel choices made by the members of the band Velvet Revolver, remarked that Axl Rose's level of irresponsibility must be crazy vast for his former bandmates to hold out serial smack fiend Scott Weiland as someone possessing several orders of magnitude more dignity and professionalism. By the same token, we are stunned and amazed at the rumor that American Idol producers are mulling replacing lovable Vicodin enthusiast Paula Abdul with Courtney Love. I mean, Paula's drugged-out antics are embarrassing, but it's not like she killed Kurt Cobain or anything! Still, the addition of Love would be exciting: especially if you've ever wanted to see Kellie Pickler forcefed a speedball.
  5. If the Going Out Douchecicles truly intend to fill the vacuum left by the Washington Post's now-or-soon to be defunct MP3 page, then woe betide us all. And not because the SuperLames are only now catching the seventeenth wave of enthusiasm over Midlake. No. It's more the way they cluelessly send the Manassas soccer mommies who comprise their core constituency in the direction of music by anti-gay terrorist freakazoid Buju Banton. Sigh. Dumbass. [WaPo Twatwaddles]

Monday, January 29, 2007

The 24gasm: 10:00am

  1. Wow. Was it just us, or was voiceover dude who says "Viewer discretion is advised," like, leaning heavily on his words this week. As if to say, "If you've never taken me fucking seriously before this week, bitch, you BEST BE taking me seriously NOW!" It was that Pinterian pause that got me..."Viewer discretion...pause pause pause pause...is advised." Worth a high-five.
  2. Wow. Given all he has been through, it's surprising that President Wayne Palmer's bowels didn't just open wide and sluice their contents right down his pants leg. The only explanation I can offer is that he's just all out of shit, like the Air Supply song, and now can only blow a column of methane memory through his lower abdomen. Again, I don't blame him. I do wonder how the man who fell asleep in Bill Buchanan's guest room became President.
  3. I feel bad for Karen Hays, who can't be having the doom sex with Bill Buchanan that you know Martha Logan and Secret Service Agent Aaron Pierce are having right now. I mean, say what you want about 9-11, but 9-11 sex was HAWT. I have to imagine that Mushroom Cloud Over Valencia sex is like a crazy, unhinged search for the last seven orgasms.
  4. Speaking of: anyone out there from Valencia? If so, how does it feel to get a shout-out in this way from a television show? Are you like, "Fuck yeah! We blew up on 24!" or are you more like, "Gee...hope this doesn't fuck up our property values."
  5. Damn! The White House bunker looks a LOT cooler than the White House itself. If I was president, I'd want to work there all the time! And not just because the entire world's going shithouse.
  6. Chloe and Curtis were friends? Really? Really. What did they talk about? Chokeholds? Pressure points? Tupac's posthumous recording career? Really? Friends? Really.
  7. Fayed drives through the scenes of his wanton destruction, but, at least his driver is good enough to NOT run over a girl crossing the street. He's apparently working with a guy we'll call Amoral White Guy, who's hella pissed he didn't get some advanced warning that L.A. was going to start blowing up. Sorry, AWG--in for a terrorist penny, in for a terrorist pound. They pass a helicopter on the roof of a house. I wonder if Paul McCrane, after ER, gets nervous around helicopters.
  8. "Don't Go Back to Valencia." And waste another year, right?
  9. Ugh. Okay. Now we've heard from the guy who wants to respond to terrorism by nuking everything in sight. This sort, insanely, does exist in the real world. Is it that they don't understand the fact that nuking the middle east will touch off an environmental catastrophe so severe that we may well muke ourselves? Seriously. Why isn't smacking these sorts of people in the mouth with a pipewrench not a plausible, acceptable solution?
  10. That was good of Biscuit McLieberman to stick up for the President.
  11. Meanwhile, Assad has made it to CTU. Handshake moment. We can already predict that eventually, the handshake will be reciprocated. But not now. Oh, no. Not now.
  12. "Can you tell me anything about Gradenko?" Yes. We were at a policy meeting. They were planning new ways of cheating. I didn't want to rock your boat, but you sent me this dangerous note!
  13. Yay! Finally someone said, "Put it on X's screen!" Five episodes in.
  14. Jack's dad is involved? Oh, that's going to tap a previously untapped well of angst, isn't it? From the first season, we've watched Jack's desperate drive to be some sort of family center. Now the writers are going to open up another river of pain for Jack to wallow in. Man.
  15. I have to side with the FBI when they tell Regina King to fuck off when she asks, "How are you going to put a wire on [Walid]?" Jeez, lady. With tape? Who knows? She should take comfort in the fact that she's not getting a detailed explanation. It means the FBI are the good guys. Only bad guys launch into a sixteen page powerpoint presentation of their masterplan.
  16. Ooh. Are passions beginning to flare between Regina King and Special Agent Cyril O'Reilly?
  17. Jack asks Sam if his number "showed up on his screen." Look. I'm glad you guys thought to make up for lost opportunities to mention the screen, but, writers, let's not forget that "send it to my screen" and what not is for talk between agents! People in the real world don't use that term. At least I hope they don't.
  18. Fuck! Evil Bluetooth Earpiece dude from last season is Jack's brother? FUCKED UP!
  19. God biscuit just can't wait to shred the Constitution! I only wish Karen Hays would call it what it is...not "the politics of fear", but the "insane and titanically moronic politics of tough sounding activity that will result in no terrorists getting arrested or killed or even stopped and American rights scaled back to the level of Uganda's."
  20. Awww. Bill Buchanan comes back for that handshake. Adorable.
  21. I'm still finding it hard to believe that this detention facility is in Anacostia. By now, Adrian Fenty would have pandered to somebody if it had been the actual Anacostia.
  22. Jack and his brother have an awkward reunion. I swear, this is the most constipated relationship in 24 history. And that's saying something--remember, Chloe is a character on this show. These two make Kim and Johnny Drama in the survivor bunker look like Harry and Sally.
  23. Jack finally punched Paul McCrane. It's funny how long I've wished someone would punch Paul McCrane. I thought it would mean something to me to finally see him get punched, but surprisingly, I'm just numb. Damn you, Paul McCrane.
  24. Oh my God! Are you listening to this speech from President Palmer? It's so Mr. Rogers! "This is now a fact. The question is, what are we going to do about it?" And his tone of voice! I definitely thought Dubya was the kind of smug condescension, but somehow, Wayne Palmer's like miles pat him. Worst possible post-nuke speech ever in life.

Down with Clemson.

I spent most of the day worried about the game at Clemson--mainly because the Tigers were coming off ONE OF "THOSE" losses to Duke. You know the kind I mean. Where, say, a timekeeping error benefits the Blue Devils in that weird way that only seem to ever happen when Duke is playing? I expected Clemson to be pissed as hell after that, and I thought, "Great. Fuck you, Duke. You fuck us even when you aren't on our schedule."

But my worries have dissipated, now, only turned to anger at either myself or my TiVo, because one of us failed to close the deal whilst I was treating myself to Children of Men (more on that later). When's the last time we'va won four ACC games in a row? Or come back from 15 points down? On the road? With Jason Motherfucking Children of Cain tipping in the game-winner? Do you see where this is all heading? Right back to the John Paul Jones Arena, where we have not yet begun to fight and where we have only dropped one game (to Stanford, and, by the way, Cardinal, thank you for making that loss MEAN something by running amok this week and beating both USC and UCLA...now, if you wouldn't mind taking a dive to Gonzaga...) and where we will be beating the ass of #10 Duke this Thursday. Yes, sir. This is making me dangerously giddy.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Audiofile: Can't Stop Wincing the Night Away

The Week:
The Broken West, I Can't Go On I'll Go On
Clinic, Visitations
The Good The Bad and the Queen, s/t
Menomena, Friend and Foe
Of Montreal, Hissing Fauna Are You the Destroyer
The Shins, Wincing the Night Away

Well, the Shins have put out the year's first great record. That's the short answer. And while their SNL performance basically revealed that they aren't exactly the most exciting or charismatic live band in the world, they have got crazy, indelible, sunshot melodies pouring out of their assholes like some summer dappled, cotton-candy flavored diarrhea. Freels. There will be those who complain that the muscular production is a sell-out move. Don't believe them. There's too much to miss. The gentle, intimate tug of "A Comet Appears," the rollicking "Australia,"--when I first heard "Turn On Me", I couldn't wait to play it for somebody else. This record should really garner the band a whole lot more attention. Last year, it often seemed like months would go by with only meh sounding releases. Wincing is such a strong way to start the year, you can't help but hope it sets the tone for the rest of 2007.

SPIN seems to hate The Broken West, citing them as unoriginal. Weird thing for the magazine that's dutifully propped up every Gang Of Four knockoff for the past three years to say about a band that's largely blazing its own trail in the marketplace, but, fair enough: The Broken West are VERY reminiscent of the Pernice Brothers. Okay. Now that I've said that--if you like the Pernice Brothers, you are really going to like The Broken West. I Can't Go On I'll Go On is this L.A. bands first release, and makes for a nice Americana flipside--full of frolicking piano and gorgeous vocal harmonies--to the pure pop coin minted by The Shins. I'm not the only one to think so--Amazon's pairing both records up as a companion sale. For once, I have to say, you should listen to Amazon.

I'll readily admit that I only really jack in to what Of Montreal is smoking, like, every other record. They are an essential component of every DJ set DCSOBLoop lays down, so trust me, I'm aware of their vital cultural importance. Still, I often find their twee stylings too clever by half. For whatever reason, however, they've got me with Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer. There's a restless range at work on Fauna that's too enjoyable to pass up--the funky jaunt of "Gronlandic Edit", the sweetly caustic froth of "She's a Rejecter"...there are a lot of hairpin turns to take, each more interesting than the last.

There's plenty of interesting turns on Damon Albarn's new joint, The Good, The Bad, and the Queen--a band he won't admit to being a band, making songs that are oddly billed as some sort of Brit-pop/Afrobeat mashup that actually comes off like very well constructed chamber-rock. It's delicate and tres moderne and it really rewards the listener who is going to sit down and stare at it awhile. In short, nothing at all like the semi-disposable pomo hustle of Gorillaz. Good stuff: but I wonder what context most anyone will have to listen to the record.

Menomena has, thus far, failed to leave an impression on me. Clinic, has, and not a good one. Bunch of arty wankers treading the line between the uninteresting and the unlistenable. I'm guessing though, there will be some pretentious clowns out there who think it's the bee's kneps.

The Shins::MySpace::Download, "Turn On Me" (Plus more at Sound Gymnastics)
The Broken West
::MySpace:: Download, "Down In The Valley" (Plus more at I Am Fuel You Are Friends)
Of Montreal::Download, "Faberge Falls For Shuggie" (Plus more at Feed Me Good Tunes)

THE COLOSTOMY: Collecting Your Leaked Material

At some point last year, a lot of people got the impression that I was some sort of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah hater. I imagine this began when I basically panned their first performance in DC. What can I say? They didn't play well. But, I was never some sort of CYHSY hater and, as always, I largely don't give a crap about your fashionable blog-based backlashes. What mattered to me was this: their record was really fucking good. Face it: between "By The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth," "Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away," and "Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood," we are talking about three cherry tunes that if you don't wish you'd written yourself, then you're a fucking fool.

It's fair, I think, to evaluate the band's next move by asking, "Do any of their new songs yank you back to how you felt when you first heard the best of their debut?" From what I've heard of the forthcoming Some Loud Thunder...the thrills aren't nearly in as much abundance. I love the title track and the crowd pleasing "Satan Said Dance", but the band really abandons its greatest strength--the frenetic appeal of the rhythm section, on such vibrant-and-yet-understated display on their debut record--in favor of the unmoored murk found in "Love Song No. 7" and "Mama, Won't You Keep Those Castles In the Air and Burning." (And, by the way, enough with the too-too precious song titles...do you think you're Fall Out Boy or something?) I look forward to hearing the rest of the record, and hope the songs break the former way, rather than the latter.

Also out there that I've heard and like enough to recommend:

Air: Pocket Symphony, coming out March 6, is a much needed return to form after Talkie Walkie left me feeling I'd been led off the road to someplace vague and unpleasant. The crisp, cinematic feel is back on songs like "Mer Du Japon".

LCD Soundsystem: Me likey, so far...BUT: "New York I Love You" is, without a doubt, the most insipid song I've heard not written by Morningwood. Jesus.

Bracken: Coming out Tuesday is Bracken's debut, We Know About The Need, and I recommend it like crazy. Here is where we see the seeds sown by Radiohead and TV On the Radio start to bear some fruit--like those bands, Bracken makes epochal sounding rock landscapes that draw you down into their depths, somehow finding a beauty among all the pure products going crazy. Fucking great.

!!!--My one criticism of the kee-razy fun and otherwise unGoogleable outfit known as !!!, is that I wondered how long they could get by on turn-of-the-century indie-funk drum circles before everything just sounded the same. What's coming on Myth Takes, are some frankly much needed doses of variety: "Yadnus" sounds a little bit scarred and slutty, "Infinifold" a little bit more revealing, "Sweet Life" a little bit hungry. Not big new tricks, but some unfamiliar flavors that are more than welcome.

!!!::MySpace
Air::MySpace::Download, "Mer Du Japon" [from Red Blondehead]
Bracken::MySpace::Download, "Safe Safe Safe"
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah::MySpace::Download, "Some Loud Thunder"


THE LOCAL

This Saturday, if you, for some reason can't get tickets to or have already seen Rough Magic, that is, you should head on out to the Black Cat, where local act Telograph will be celebrating the release of their new CD, Little Bits Of Plastic. Telograph really have a great feel for that sweepy sturm und drang that bands like the Doves get across so well--massive in scope yet warm. Their music soars, and they have one of the District's better vocalists in the studied baritone of Andy Boliek. They'll be playing with Two If By Sea and Cedars, so, bonus.

Telograph::MySpace::Download, "An Eye For An Eye"

My Assignment for the Denizens of the Flophouse.

Now that you've all had some time to recover from the Great Squirrel Attack of 2007 (and the concomitant amateur medicine that came with its conclusion), I think we're all owed a first person account of the events, The Sound and the Fury-steez. And of course it should conclude with Kriston yelling at the libraries to "keep it on the shelves! I mean, what are you, Philistines?"

Either that, or Matt beating Marty Peretz in the face with a length of hose pipe. Really, I'd accept either one.

The 24gasm: 9:00am.

  1. To revisit the issue of 24 and torture, I have to say, now that I've seen the entire first season of Alias (you know, about eight years too late), it seems pretty crystal clear to me that if you are looking for a show that blithely deploys scenes of torture to advance nothing more than the entertainment (by which I mean, it doesn't ask the viewer to question or confront torture as an issue), then Alias, NOT 24, is the show you are looking for. BY A LONG SHOT.
  2. So far, are you satisfied with Abu Fayed as the baddie? I mean, the guy looks like he's a proud Slytherin graduate. It's like someone took a palm sander to his face to get the maximum evil edge out of his cheekbones. But to my mind, Marwan is the gold standard of 24 villain. He had all that great terror evil, but you could imagine him hanging out with Jay-Z, too. Abu Fayed, I'm sorry to say, if he walked in the room, I'd be like--huh, maybe this racial profiling shit works? Of course, later I'd realize that it's nothing to do with "race" and everything to do with "dude who wants me to KNOW that he is as evil as Sauron.
  3. Bill Buchanan: "Come on now people! Be better! Faster!" It is a little sad that the average Papa John's make-line is filled with people a good deal more motivated than the people at CTU. By now, they should have posters in the breakroom at CTU that read: "When you slack off, moles get inside, release nerve gas--Edgar dies and Chloe cries. Do you want Chloe to cry, asshole? Do your fucking best, and SEND THAT SHIT TO MY SCREEN!"
  4. That's right. A suitcase nuke. It's small enough to fit in a suitacase. Hence the name. Suitcase bomb.
  5. Ugh. FINALLY. Wayne Palmer makes the decision that he wants Jack out in the field, holding shit down. Like, that should've been the plan from JUMP.
  6. Jack has got serious competition in the whole "Traversing Los Angeles in an Reality Defying Short Period of Time," as Nameer--the enemy combatant who got sprung by the corrupt guard when they lined up everyone to get on the plane, has managed a change of clothes and come all the way across L.A. to rendezvous with Fayed. And mind you, he did it even with the L.A. subway closed. That's like TWELVE additional commuters on the street!
  7. Kumar makes Scott's dad choose who goes free. He chooses Scott, and Kumar, predictably says that the wife can go free. "Now I know who you care about the most!" I remember thinking, "What a bitter reward it must be for Scott's mom! To be set free but doomed to know your husband chose you second." It's the sort of things that can come between a man and his wife, but, then again, there's things like nuclear explosions, which can come between man and his molecules.
  8. Scott's mom sort of hesitates, but she eventually calls the authorities. People, this is the correct call. When terrorist neighbors take you hostage and make your husband deliver a nuclear component to operatives bent on destroying America, call someone. Get help. That's what they're there for. To help. Unless you have, like, heat vision. If you've got heat vision, make your own goddamn contribution, all right?
  9. Kumar says: "351 Old Mill, Valencia. You know where that is?" It made me want to reply, "What? Valencia? Or your secret terrorist hideout?"
  10. Wow. You mean this little interoffice spat between Morris and Eric Balfour has been over how to delimit tabs? Really? Really. You know...I have, uhm...a production assistant who uhm...does that sort of thing for me. Because I have more important shit to do than...you know...merge data. And, I would think that senior counter-terror analysts, what, with all the socket opening and screen sending, have more important things to do as well.
  11. Awww, yeah. You see how smoothly Chloe settled all the cocks in her henhouse? Is there any doubt that Chloe will be the President in Season 10? Snarky leader of a pussywhipped nation?
  12. Curtis is unhappy with the state of affairs. He's protecting a terrorist, taking orders from a guy who's been having his back made into Moo Shu the past two years, during which time he hasn't received a promotion or been able to teach his men how to form an inpenetrable perimeter, and all he can think about is years ago, as a sociology major at UMass, and how he just wanted to, like, help at-risk youth learn to read and shit.
  13. Meanwhile, Kumar isn't doing much better. Fayed wants him to kill Scott, but Kumar doesn't want to. Dude. In for a terrorist penny, in for a terrorist pound. Ultimately, this is the answer to the old Kevin Smith debate about the moral equivalence of the dude on the Death Star who manages payroll or waxes the gymnasium floor with Darth Vader himself.
  14. By the way, according to the Wikipedia, Valencia, California is home to a Six Flags and a water park and is the birthplace of some dude who plays for the White Sox. Anyone in the 24verse with a sentimental attachment to that shit better get down to making peace with it.
  15. Here's another thing about CTU: they can't keep moles out, or keep bad guys in there perimeters, as Chromewaves always points out, whenever they leave their office, they get ambushed, and, AND, whenever they absolutely, positively, MUST keep someone alive, they always, ALWAYS get them killed. First it's storage locker terrorist, now it's Kumar.
  16. And don't get me started on those merchants of Death, the CTU EMTs.
  17. Now that CTU has got an address of where they are keeping the suitcase nuke, explain something to me: why not send in some missile-laden gunships to take them out in a matter of minutes--like, say, the ones that were sent at a moment's notice to take out Assad--rather than wait on the CTU tactical team? I mean...gunships. Gunships!
  18. Oh, look! Walid is HAPPY to be locked up! Where he can make a difference! Internment camps are a good thing. Vvvvnnneeaaah.
  19. Now we learn about Agent Manning's past with Assad. His men in Desert Storm were captured and beheaded by Assad's lieutenants. Heavy. Still, Manning would be a lot better off if he could focus on the positives and the rich life he's led. He commanded men in Desert Storm! That's pretty cool!
  20. And so Jack's gotta put ol' Curtis down. You realize that this was the 24 equivalent of Old Yeller, don't you?
  21. Now, Jack's all a-freak. Possibly Kiefer is using that time he tackled and killed a Christmas tree as his Stanislaviskian sense-memory.
  22. Oh. No. Instead, he's going to hug a tree instead. God. We don't like this new emo version of Jack.
  23. Oh, come on, CTU Tactical Team! How can you not hit the ONE GUY, standing RIGHT BY THE BOMB, with a KABILLION BULLETS?
  24. Oh, well. So much for Valencia, California. On the bright side, maybe Kim lived there.

Friday, January 26, 2007

DCeptette: Banned at the end of the world version

  1. This is pretty awesome. I was thinking on my way into work today about the whole Israel-Palestine/Israel-Iran state of affairs today, totally flummoxing myself realizing that one can clearly observe a party's intention, know full well that if you could get said party under sodium pentathol that you could get them to cop to it, have any number of supporting pieces of evidence to back up your assertion but the moment you give voice to your observation, you can be labelled an anti-Semite or worse. Lo and behold, Yglesias wrote a very thoughtful article about the very thing I was musing about! Saints be praised! Matthew: Just as a FYI, tomorrow I'm going to be comtemplating how one might go about achieving a self-administered, forty-minute, slow-motion orgasm. I can wait to read the Prospect! [American Prospect]
  2. The Politico is up and running and fully attempting to insinuate that having Jim VandeHei on staff is somehow impressive. And in their first week, they bring you news of some third-tier government institute that's been trying to edit it's own Wikipedia entry. Woah! Slow down, Politico! I might pull a muscle from being fascinated so hard! [The Politico]
  3. Grahamzilla aims to be an all-ages show killa after some kid gets shot at some show. It's easily the daftest policy proposal we've heard so far this year: keep underaged kids out of clubs so that the adults can get shot instead. I, for one, welcome a throng of middle-school age human shields at the Rock and Roll Hotel. Folks are fighting this: we imagine that when Graham gets word that "Travis Morrisson...was similarly angry and...planning on making his voice heard," that Graham'll shit his knickers right then and there. I mean, this is the guy who wrote "Get Me Off of This Coin!" And if he thinks that's bad, just wait till Graham has to stare into the sad, sad eyes of Amy Domingues! [DCist]
  4. This is how I have always imagined you guys wedding anyway. I also imagine that when the bear let loose his yawp of matrimonial approval, you turned in his direction to offer some gently chiding laughter, as if to say, "Oh, bear. Now." [PIABs]
  5. Now that IS cute. [Cruel Sommer]

Iraq: Sadly, failure is an option.

What does a soldier do when he or she is asked to "surge?" Flail around? Pound a couple Red Bulls? I don't get it. I don't grok the strategery, yo. What will these surging troops do, pray tell? And why, if it takes surging to get done what needs to get done, has it not been done already? Like, say, on any day prior to that time Dubya stuffed a pickle in his pants and toddled around on that aircraft carrier? Why didn't we start the war in a state of "surge?" Why does it feel so much like George Bush is bent over an amp, dully attempting to explain to the American people: "But...but...this one goes to ELEVEN! To ELEVEN?"

I also don't understand how criticizing the surge gives aid and comfort to the "enemy." I'm guessing that the "enemy," by dint of being seemingly immortal, impossible to defeat, and having us right where they want us--supine and doing the Iraqi government's dirty-work Civil War refereeing while Nouri Al-Maliki jets over to Washington every four months or so to haul off another thousand suitcases of my tax money, have grown to be quite staggeringly aided and comforted. I should imagine that the very announcement of the "surge"--by which I mean, an announcement that we intent to try some sort of a last-ditch, go-for-broke, Hail Mary pass of an idea without any real strategic sense or sensibility--was greeted in the enemy camps as just the latest aid and comfort. "Hooray!" they probably said, adding, "This is indeed a glorious comfort! It is as if George Bush bought us each one of those mattresses made of that NASA foam material. You know, the kind where I can put a glass of wine on one corner and jump on the far side of the bed without spilling the wine! What comfort!"

I don't understand the argument, and I don't understand why supposedly sensible people--or at least people in positions that should require some sense--advance the argument. It's such Willy Wonka bullshit. Nevertheless, nu-cuckoo John McCain and his shit-mouthed stooge on the left, Joe Lieberman, both asked General Petraeus if it were in fact, true, that criticizing the surge would give aid and comfort to the enemy--that is to say, LITERALLY, a situation in which the enemy is sitting by the TV, desperately waiting and hoping to hear someone criticize the surge.

Petraeus answered yes, which leads me to conclude that General Petraeus is a moron. Who is this fuck, anyway? Is he some Greek general pulled from the motherfucking Peloponnesian War? Is he gonna ride down the Tigris in a goddamn trireme? Because that would be pretty bad-ass. But if he really thinks the "enemy" is getting hopeful and emboldened because fucking Dennis Kucinich doesn't like the surge idea, he needs to have his fucking head examined.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bono and the Easiest Blind Item Ever.

Mr. Leafblower ran into Bono today on 16th Street on the way to work today. Foolishly, I drove to the office today, missing my big opportunity to kick it with the titular character of Killing Bono, Neil McCormick's fantastic book about growing up in Mr. Vox's shadow--a book so good that it'll have the U2 haters out there thinking of the band in a new way. I should have very much liked to have asked him what he was working on for the good of the entire planet today, whether or not his not getting appointed to the top position of the World bank had anything to do with not being able to count to fourteen in Spanish, and basically just chatted him up as to where he was walking or crawling, the honey lips he was kissing, the bad taste he'd left in people's mouths, or if he was stuck in a moment he could not get out of.

Speaking of the bad taste left in people's mouths, Wonkette ran what is, like, the easiest blind item ever in life today. Let's see: tantrummy, carting around an annoying dog, loathed by Canadians...it all adds up to the Viscountess of the Has-Beens, Karen Feld, who's probably become recently emboldened ever since someone from her benighted, neglected side of the cafeteria was recently reanimated to emcee the White House Correspondent's Dinner (which, by the way, is going to suck large lardy balls this year). Pictured above, one of Feld's many pieces of statuary dedicated to radiation burns.

January Spawned a Monster

Many apologias for the lack of anything a) fresh and b) beyond the 24 crap in the past few days. Two major projects coming to a head, coupled with massive sickness, have kicked my ass in the latelies. But I'm starting to tunnel through it. Look for blogging to resume soon.

I haven't watched this week's 24 yet, by the way, so, no give away the spoilers. Amy Argetsinger: I'm looking at you.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The 24gasm: 8:00am

  1. You know, the Wife of DCeiver and I are sort of upset that the disclaimer at the beginning of the show hasn't yet contained the admonishment that graphic violence was to follow, instead opting for the generic "parental discretion is advised." First, isn't parental discretion always advised? Are there situations where parents can legitimately claim to have no need to supervise or otherwise pay attention to their kids? It's too generic. Second, Jack did kill a man by BITING HIS NECK last episode. I mean, if you are going to play your graphic violence card, there's no sense trying to tiptoe around it. Finally, we just like the graphic violence warning. I told you that we take that shit totally cavalierly.
  2. Damn. This Scott kid needs a haircut. This is one of the few things the people behind 24 actually don't do well--they have never had a believable teen character on the show, ever. They're always steeped in fashion from five years ago, hairstyles from ten years ago, and characterizations from straight out of a Laura Sessions Stepp article. Scott is among the worst--painfully earnest (sorry--you don't survive grade nine anymore without either having an emo addiction or some other studied affectation of vaguely pained disaffection), militantly stupid and a haircut that makes him look like Kris Kristofferson.
  3. Wayne Palmer is on the phone with the terrorists, and he's totally missing his moment. President Palmer! Jack Bauer is back! He's just put one in the victory column for you! Now is the time to be bold, Mr. President!
  4. From the FOX 24 site: Woot! Jack Bauer apparently has a B.A. in English Literature from UCLA! This should make Sommer Mathis very happy. I wonder what Jack specialized in? Does he have a favorite Shakespeare sonnet? Did The Faerie Queene bore the poop out of him like it did me? Did his TA's take on Heart of Darkness piss him off as much as mine did? Did he have to read Middlemarch? Is he a big Jane Eyre fan? Did he make it through Ulysses?
  5. Okay, 24 Nation, raise your hand if this ongoing CTU office territorial pissing contest between Morris and Eric Balfour is at all interesting. Anyone? Anyone? No? Okay. Time to put this shit down like a rabid chinchilla, yo.
  6. For the first time this season, Jack yells: "Chloe, I don't have a lot of time!" It goes without saying that a familiar moistness has returned to Chloe's underwear.
  7. Wow. Los Angeles' Route 7 is nothing like our Route 7. If driving on our Route 7 was a central part of 24, the show would have to called 28 or 32.
  8. Well, it's clear that Curtis isn't quite giving Jack the level of "buy-in" he's looking for when it comes to Jack's "Let's all embrace our former terrorist enemy as our newly minted buddy in The War On Terror." Someone needs to do some trust exercises!
  9. Jack takes some dudes car. I would think it would be an honor to be carjacked by Jack Bauer. Think about it: you'd totally call your wife and be all: "Sweetie! You'll never guess who just broke my nose and took our Lumina! Jack Bauer! Yes...yes! The guy who's saved the world, like, a million times! What? Yes, yes, I suppose the pain is excruciating...what? The car? I don't know, darling! I suppose we may not get the car back! I know. I know! Honey, I don't think you are seeing the big picture here! Jack Bauer! Jack Bauer carjacked me! The man is a goddamned hero, Eleanor, a goddamned hero. He's fucking dreamy, okay? Just dreamy. This is SO going in the Christmas letter."
  10. Ahhh. President Palmer says: "We don't have any other option!" You knew that was coming after Jack dropped his first "Chloe, we don't have a lot of time!" Now, all we need is for someone to say "Send it to my screen."
  11. Also: for the first time this season, Jack goes back "on com."
  12. From the FOX 24 site: The good news--Bill Buchanan also is a fellow B.A. English guy. Here's what's weird: according to the site, Buchanan received his degree from Brown University, which makes Bill Buchanan the first person (fictional or otherwise) from Brown that I've ever been inclined to take seriously.
  13. Poor Scott. He brought his terrifying kitchen knife out to maybe attack Kumar, but, let's face it, that's not how most people think their first stabbing is going to go.
  14. Okay, so, the terrorist's massive plan seems to be to just inundate America with suicide attacks. But, tactically speaking, does this make any real sense? Sooner or later, doesn't Fayed just run out of henchmen? Is that when he unleashes the Yorkshire Terriers of Jihad?
  15. From the FOX 24 site: Agent Curtis Manning has a degree in...Sociology?! From...UMass!?! WTFs!
  16. Don't you love how the camera subtly clues us in to the fact that the Middle Eastern dude with Alec Ounsworth's hair and the over bite is the most important one of these prisoners?
  17. The Anacostia Detention Facility? So, that's the big development plans for east of the river. I guess you couldn't put it in Woodley Park or Brookland without the NIMBYs going apeshit.
  18. So, with Regina King bringing the outrage, Huey Freeman style, it begs the question: how did Wayne Palmer get elected? Seems to me that he starts with one foot in the bucket being brother to a fiesty, anti-establishment, Muslim-hugging firebrand. Plus his name is John Wayne Gacy Hussein Osama Palmer. Of course, on the other hand, you have big brother Palmer who was shot in the neck and much beloved. Maybe they offset. Maybe no one hears about how you cried yourself to sleep in Bill Buchanan's house last season. Also, according to the Fox 24 site, Wayne went to Stanford and got his Juris Doctor at Yale--but those are two things that frankly haven't meant shit to me in about a decade.
  19. CTU is now establishing a "moving perimeter." Seems to me that this is ill-advised, considering that they haven't mastered the art of perimeters that don't move.
  20. I love the prison guard who yells "There will be no mistakes!" You might as well be taunting the television gods with that shit. Remember back when the X-Files was on, what happened every time Agent Scully promised a child that they'd be okay? Child always died. On American Idol, everytime some auditioner describes their voice as "unique" or "not like anyone else?" What they mean is that they sound inhuman or like a million hedgehogs getting tased by Satan. On ER, everytime the introduced a new female character? Noah Wyle would hit that. These are just things that happen because they always happen. Like the Red Uniform guys in Star Trek. Or, frankly, the Red Uniform Guys on 24.
  21. Scott's dad shows up with Kumar's box of money to get the package. By the way, how did Kumar successfully squirrel that box away in the drywall of his house? When I was a kid, there were, like, a million places to hide things. It would never have occurred to me to punch a hole in the wall, repatch it, sand it, spackle the cracks, and repaint it. Uhm, maybe put it under your mattress?
  22. Speaking of Kumar and the package, I think that Kumar is really passing the buck on the whole not having enough money to buy the thing. It's not Scott's dad's fault that the guy wants more money for it, and it's really not fair to make him solve it. Seriously Kumar, you're never going to amount to anything in this life if you can't learn to solve your own problems, or at least blame them on America.
  23. Poor Dad of Scott. I bet that's not how he imagined the first time he killed a guy would go.
  24. You know, I hope that fucking device isn't broken? On second thought, I kinda hope it is. Why doesn't Dad of Scott just bust it up a little? Someone should do something, otherwise the next hour could be extremely violent. Of course, they didn't presage it with a warning of graphic violence...so, what's the worst thing that can happen? Jack bites another guy's neck? I've already grown totally desensitized to that.

The Next Big Thing: Rough Magic


It's that time again. Here's our show for the Shakespeare in DC Extravaganza, written by DC's own Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. The deets, as usual, can be found here.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The 24gasm: 7:00am

  1. We last left Jack Bauer in the tunnelz deep underneath terror HQ, picking some of his recently acquired neck gristle out of his teeth. We'll see Jack kvell at the thought of wreaking violence in this episode (and, we gather, at other times in the series), and so the sight of Jack escaping all vampire-stizz doesn't quite square. But we remind you that a) it's probably the first meal he's had that wasn't damp rice and chai laced with sodium pentathol, so, in a way, it was the pause the refreshes, and b) if I understand the rules correctly, that terrorist will rise from the dead and become another Jack Bauer.
  2. As a stroke of luck, the terrorist dude and his henchies stop just one corner short of the cowering Jack. It should be a rule: before giving up, terrorists should just check around one more corner. We're guessing that CTU really scrubbed him down with some Lifebuoy or something, because I'd imagine Jack's stench would give him away.
  3. Now fortunately for Jack, Fayed stupidly went ahead with a Chatty Villain Move, telling Jack all about his infernal masterplan to use this Assad dude as patsy while he wends a path of destruction across the United States' b-list of cities.
  4. Naturally, Jack's first move is to call CTU, and, let's get real, there's no one at CTU who should be at all surprised that Jack is alive. He gets patched over to President Palmer--the most emo president ever--and does his best to explain that the man they thought they were dealing with is actually the main bad guy. This is basically always the case--the first concept of what's going on is never what's actually going on--this should be a built in protocol.
  5. So, Jack spills what he knows and Biscuit McLieberman is already fuckin' naysaying it. This is where Jack should interrupt and say: "Mr. President, having been through this five times already, I think it's safe to say that the douchebag who's talking right now is the guy you shouldn't be listening to. He's already very likely lied to you about things and is no doubt pursuing a course of action that's going to cause a very simple solution to get fucked up when we need it least. I swear, you Palmer's can be such shitty judges of character."
  6. It has to be said, that whole necklace exchange between the earnest son and Kal Penn? Kinda foofy. I'm sorry, grown men do not exchange pendants "for luck."
  7. So, Jack's off to save Assad, racing in his car to try to stop a missile attack. If the whole thing seems a bit like Syriana, well, guess what? Assad is played by the same guy who played Prince Nasir in that movie. Hopefully, Kiefer will get to Assad and pull him out of the house, as opposed to staring at him stupidly as they both get blown up, a la Clooney.
  8. Jack's out in the field without the two things he loves the most: Brown Bag, which he will not sacrifice for anyone or anything, and his telescoping looky-thing. It's like he's naked. Luckily, any tool is a weapon if Jack holds it right, and, in this case, he makes do with a stick.
  9. Karen Hays and Wayne Palmer fight over whether they should be listening to Biscuit McLieberman, who, we imagine out of frame somewhere, penning a sequel to Mein Kampf and trying to get Hannity to blurb it. Wayne protests, but Karen cuts him down with, "David didn't like him." Oooh, snap! Had to play the dead President brother card, didn't you Hays?
  10. I've made the case elsewhere that being told that you will get 72 virgins in the afterlife doesn't sound like any sort of reward to me. Can you imagine being dead, free from worldly cares, rocking a dope harp like you were Joanna Newsom, drinking ambrosia and shit, and every night you have to come home and take one of 72(!) virgins through the paces? All the while, they're nervous and awkward, they don't know what to do with your junk and don't have a feel for what they'd like done to their junk--in fact, they probably have a bunch of stupid girly nicknames for all the various parts like "butterfly" or "yoni"--I mean, I COULD GO ON. But shit, you'd think a guy would want an afterlife sex partner with some damn experience, maybe a few new things to show you, not a bunch of dopey rookies. I think before I blow myself up for God, I'm gonna turn down his first few offers. 72 virgins is definitely the lowball.
  11. Oh, Chloe--you don't even need to depixelate that .GIF. You know it's Jack, your platonic, yelly, love. Any minute now, he'll be calling for satellite coverage...
  12. President Palmer pauses to say: "Okay...okay...this makes sense." That's the first time those words have been uttered in the 24verse! I mean, AMNESIA, anyone? COUGARS, much? Johnny Drama in his What The Fuck Bunker in the middle of the woods? Kim's Season 3 hairstyle?
  13. Chloe to Bill Buchanan: "...Karen Hays...uhm, I mean...your wife." That's for everyone who hasn't yet figured out that Karen and Bill are married (and having waaaaaay better sex than any Islamic terrorist in the afterlife) and that Chloe is socially awkward.
  14. In my notes, I have written "most delicious meth." This fills me with wonderment, I don't know about you.
  15. Oh, in the meanwhile, we get another subplot with Regina King (woot!) who is like OUR FAVORITEST EVER. And not just because she is the voice of Huey Freeman from The Boondocks, though, that is a plus. Ever since she got that voice gig, we've had the darnedest time completely disaassociating her own voice from that of Huey's. So, when she really gets indignant on 24, it has this odd resonance. And when Regina King's commercial comes on, and we think Huey's trying to sell us tampons, that resonance gets even weirder. Anyway, she's like, the head of some Islamic-American Foundation or Association, and FBI Agent Cyril O'Reilly is all up in her grill trying to get her orgs personnel files, but she's calmly reciting Glenn Greenwald and looking like she'd be only to happy to choke her some FBI agents. Again, we totes totes adore Regina King.
  16. So, Kal Penn, after getting his ass roundly kicked, grabs a gun and kills the asshole from down the street, and we feel weird about this. I mean, Kal Penn's a terrorist, but who doesn't want to see the asshole down the street get capped? I guess I'm conflicted, but I'm gonna call this one a draw.
  17. Damn. Is Kal Penn's rage entirely based on this little kid mispronouncing his name?
  18. The terrorist suicide bomber is going to attack the L.A. Subway, so, at least there'll be very few deaths and no loss of vital infrastructure! Ohhh, me. An L.A. subway joke. They are like: with six, you get eggroll.
  19. Hey. The terrorist at least waits till everybody gets off the train before he moves to get on. It's so nice to see that, even in these troubled times, people can at least manage a bare minimum of decorum and civility.
  20. As of right now, no one has said, "Send it to my screen." This is not helping most 24 drinking games any, though, in fairness, I'm sure everyone's still reeling from about an hour ago, when Jack ATE A GUYS NECK and the rules stipulated that you have to shotgun bong every bottle of liquor in your house.
  21. WTF with the ticket taker on the Metro? What do they think this is? The MUNI? Do they really have ticket agents on board the trains checking tickets like it's New Jersey Transit or something?
  22. Jack saves the day by kicking the suicide bomber off the train, but it begs the question: why did the bomber get on the last car? That makes zero sense.
  23. Are any of you growing tired of Biscuit McLieberman's nervous tics? He's totally calling to mind the jerkoff store psychologist from Miracle on 34th Street. And since when does a department store need a store psychologist, anyway?
  24. Apparently, while Jack stopped the attack on the L.A. Subway, concurrent attacks on a hotel in Chicago and at a mall in Baltimore succeeded. Sigh. If there's a bright side, however, it's that perhaps Kim Bauer was in a hotel in Chicago or a mall in Baltimore. (We're guessing mall in Baltimore! Fingers crossed.)

The Weather Outside is Anything But Frightful

I don't know what we got in exchange for San Francisco's weather, but the lack of snowfall is really starting to get to us. DCers really should ever only harbor modest snow hopes, but our current losing streak has been especilslly galling. We may not be much of a winter wonderland, but here in the metro area, we do have our own snowfall traditions that we hold near and dear that the local news is always certain to cover and share with us all. Here's what we've been missing out on:

The Parade of Self-Importance. Every snowfall, we hear from people all over the city who just HAD to go to work in the snow because what they do is sooooooo fricking important. That's pretty hilarious. I've met a LOT of people in Washington and I can count on one hand the number of you out there who really have "important" jobs. So, unless everyone out there went and became a transplant surgeon over their summer vacation, you're really hearing from a bunch of turds who want a medal for doing something commonplace. Maybe, in the mix, there's a few people who bought some trail-rated monster of an SUV and three inches of snow made it fucking GO TIME! But usually it's a bunch of self-deluded dorks who desperately want to believe that those file folders wont label themselves. Guess what? One day, those file folder will be able to do that, leaving you with the extra time to shovel my siewalk.

Sledding Children Bespeak Illusory Innocence. Awww. Would you check the B-reel of your nightly newscast? Look at all the youths from your neighborhood, frolicing in the snow. They've found a big hill and have taken their sleds and saucers and toboggans out for an afternoon of sliding and careening. Doesn't it just take you back to when you were a kid? Doesn't it remind you of a more innocent time? Doesn't it make you wish you could freeze this moment and never let go? It makes me wish your children would get lost in a snowdrift. Don't kid yourself, papa. Your kids suck mad stool. They sodomize each other behind the cafeteria dumpster, eat meth, throw rocks at people bicycling up the street, gang up on commuters and take their iPods. This snow is not for them, unless of course, it's filling their lungs.

Panic! At the Grocery Store. The news of an impending snow flurry sends area consumers into a full-blown Apocalypto frenzy of sudden need. Never has a civilization fallen for want of additional rolls of toilet paper, but, if there had to be a first, it would probably come here, where browneye cleanliness seems to require several more layers of infrastructure to plan for every possible contingency. Also: the milk. WTF is up with the milk? Within six minutes of the forecast, all the area grocers are devoid of milk. For many, this will be the only milk they'll buy all year, and, since, as mentioned above, civilization has this nagging tendency to not disintegrate with each snowfall, it's as likely as not that the milk will just sour on the shelf of the refrigerator.

Out-of-Towners More Uppity Than Usual. Gotta love it when you get local interviews with people from Boston and Minneapolis and Denver who'll tell you how much better their city is at dealing with the snow. Comment boards fill up with comments from auslanders who'll talk all kinds of snow game, but dontcha know they still seem to be the larger demographic in the grocery store panic? Sigh. Why can't such people be beaten with sticks. In the first place, it's GREAT you have 1,500 snowplows in your hometown. It snows once every four years here--if we spent the money your town spends on snow protection, we'd call our local officials crazy. Second, why is it that you live here if you love lousy ol' Boston or Denver or wherever better? Move back, assbag? But then you get their names and do some checking and you find out why Mr. DC Just Can't Survive in the Winter doesn't live there anymore--he's a registered sex offender, lamming it. This is basically always the case, so, keep your kids away from people who brag about snowplows--all they want to do is earn your respect so they can ball-gag your sons and daughters in their rec-room and play a game of Branding the Pony.

That Guy With The Cross Country Skis. It never fails. Anytime there's a big snowstorm, the newscameras never fail to find somebody who's maintained a pair of cross-country skis just for the once-every-Olympiad snowfall and is charging up the road, full of vigor and vim and a "can't keep ME down" attitude. God. What a right cunt that guy is.

The 24gasm: 6:00am.

  1. At last. 24. Another season of formulaic setbacks, easily avoidable ambushes, totally penetrable perimeters, backbiting officemates, crazy fucks at the right hand of the President, impossible cell phone tricks, bizarrely navigable Southern California cities, and the phrase "send it to my screen" again and again. Plus, violence by the metric ton. And while the show may, arguably, not take it blithely, I can guarantee you one thing: I will.
  2. So, as we begin, we learn from a vaguely Chris Parnell sounding dude that terrorists have launched a campaign of sporadic bombings, most recently tagging San Antonio. I'm totally unconvinced that this makes a whole lot of strategic sense. Maybe there'll be some pretend think-tankery on this. It just seems so Legion of Doom. One thing's for sure, in the future, we will gather around public televisions!
  3. Kal Penn! I totally forgot Kumar was on the series this year!
  4. So, of course, the guy the bus driver shuns is not a terrorist, but guy he let on is. YOU SHALL KNOW THEM BY THEIR DOWNMARKET MP3 PLAYERS!
  5. Wayne Hussein Palmer, who, as nearly as we could tell, fell fast asleep at Bill Buchanan's house just as the action was getting started last year, is now President, having overcome both his rather awkward middle name and his tendency to cry while making love. (He totally does.) We also welcome, Peter MacNicol, to the 24verse. He will be playing the corrupt/crazy guy who inexplicably ended up in the President's inner circle, despite being a broadly drawn caricature of Joe Lieberman and Michelle Malkin (both of whom are also, in real life, broadly drawn caricatures). MacNichol's character (who in tribute, we'll call Biscuit), obviously dreams of locking up Muslims and being on the receiving end of The Weekly Standard's Thursday night bukkake celebrations.
  6. Also, this season, it will be President Palmer who's gonna be menaced by a cougar. A cougar named Karen Hays! Meee-OWWW! Well, played, Miss Hays.
  7. So two years after Jack goes to China, CTU is basically getting its ass kicked by terrorists. It's like Michael Brown's in charge at Division. I hope that's the case, because, otherwise, you have to blame Bill Buchanan and Chloe. I mean, some things are the same--in this case, Chloe's husband/former show salesman/ex-MI6 Morris and Eric Balfour are the two designated foils for all your CTU territorial pissings. But, CTU should be used to that by now. It shouldn't diminish their operational standards.
  8. OMG! Jack is getting off the plane, and, by the looks of things, the Chinese forced him to be in My Morning Jacket!!
  9. The Chinese dude is all, "Jack never talked during the entire time we were jacking him up like so much meat." We get a good look at Jack's hand, which looks like it's been slavered with pus and raw chicken. Are we going to have to look at that all year?
  10. I like how they have to get Jack cleaned up, and they've provided him with some WWI era washbasin. I mean, spring for some of that quadruple blade action, at least. And what about a hot meal? I mean, insert your tired joke about Chinese food here why don't you?
  11. Awww. Bill Buchanan and Karen Hays are totally married. We can tell by the ring on his finger and the way the straight up pine for each other in that post-menopausal way when they are on the phone together. I wonder how the toast at their wedding went: "I remember when Bill told me about the day he met Karen. She came to kick him out of CTU because of incompetence and insubordination and the fact that this guy died from nerve gas. I don't have a funny joke to go along with that. The guy died from nerve gas. God. That's not in the least funny."
  12. Okay. Let's remind ourselves of something that's true of all 24s in the first hour. The plan is not the plan. Whatever happens in the next 23 hours, it will have NOTHING to do with the deal for this Assad guy.
  13. What!? She fucked up the Jarvis Firewall? Not the Jarvis Firewall!
  14. A chance pausing of the TiVo leads to a screen capture where we can see a computer monitor at CTU, it's browser window open to the "L.A. Tribune", the headline: "America Under Seige." Nice.
  15. I think the worst thing about Jack's sacrifice is the he's going to have to die in Los Angeles.
  16. We get to meet Mr. and Mrs. Who The Fuck, and their son, who's got a super-sensitive mane of hair and looks like he's going to grow up to be an Eagles fan or something. Just some innocent Americans who are going to follow in the long 24 tradition of earnest dipshits who get caught up in this mess. The son comes home to tell his dad about how his pal Ahmed's dad got arrested. Kal Penn is playing the role of Ahmed and right away we aren't buying their friendship. Ahmed comes across as being a minimum fifteen years older than the other kid.
  17. Chloe forbodes that her crazy relationship with Jack is going to lead to trouble. Jack means so much to her: the way he yelled at her, told her to do her job and get him satellite coverage, the way he always said "We don't have a lot of time, Chloe!" It truly is a magical relationship.
  18. Chloe and Morris reconfigure satellites, which totally get detected and almost results in CTU's deal falling through (which it's going to anyway), and yet, once again, it's still not enough to get Chloe fired. I swear, she could commit an act of terrorism and Bill Buchanan would probably rationalize, "But we have to keep Chloe! She's our best analyst and is amazing on the computer. Our only hope in catching Chloe is to keep her employed.!
  19. Sure enough, Bill is bitching about the lack of manpower. The fact CTU is understaffed probably came from the 9-11 Emergency Package bill that gave like $20trillion to the Biggest Ball of Twine in New Mexico but zeroed out funds for major target cities. L.A. has been the center of every other 24 so you'd imagine they'd be well funded.
  20. Jack doesn't want to die for nothing. That's nice. Did he want to die with his shirt buttoned up all the way to the collar like that, though?
  21. When and if this is all over, Karen and Bill are going to have the hottest sex of their lives. It'll be a hot combination of anger sex, imminent terrorist threat sex, and massing doom on the horizon sex.
  22. Oh, no! Kumar is a bad guy! Van Wilder would not be amused, Kal Penn.
  23. DUDE! Kiefer just seamlessly went from using his Flatliners powers to distract a guard to using his Lost Boys powers to rip a huge piece of the guard's neck out with his MOUTH! HOLY SHIT!
  24. Jack Bauer: I'm in ur tunnelz, chewin ur henchmanz jugularz!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A little 24play.

So, 24 is back on next week and people are talking about it. Today, on Unfogged, Becks voices some concerns that I imagine a lot of people have with the show.

"I used to like the show 24 but have stopped watching it in recent seasons because I feel it treats the subjects of torture and depriving people of their civil liberties too blithely. In 24, every encounter with a bad guy is a "ticking time bomb" scenario and they present torture like it is almost always justified. While the creators are going for entertainment, I feel this desensitizes the public and gives them a false impression of what their actual government is using these tactics to accomplish."

The truth is, you can, quite literally, tell people that the "ticking timebomb scenario" has no real-world application. It is a plot device, found only in screenplays. Last January on Wonkette, I argued that the "ticking timebomb scenario" can only exist as a fictional trope. If you think about it logically, in real-life terms, who knows better how much time is on the clock than the terrorist? Armed with the knowledge, your would-be torture victim knows precisely how long they'll have to endure torture, and can even opt to send his captors on any number of wild goose chases based on false information, thus running out the clock without suffering any torture at all.

Of course, 24 deploys the "ticking timebomb scenario" with a ubiquity that approaches overreliance. But this is based on nothing more than the rules the writers have contrived for the world of 24. On 24, the viewer benefits from dramatic irony--as a viewer, you're the only person who REALLY knows when the clock is going to run out: somewhere toward the end of the 24th episode. The ticking-timebomb scenario is a micro means to push along the macro story. On 24, time is the only thing that matters, and the way the show simultaneously expands and compresses the time-frame magnifies the brutality. Jack Bauer does not torture people on a day-to-day basis. These are but isolated actions in a life that's likely free of them.

Nevertheless, I enjoy 24, and I wholeheartedly disagree that those issues are taken blithely. In my opinion, the writers have not shied away from saddling the character of Jack Bauer with the moral backlash from his own actions. Yes, he has tortured people, and operated on the amoral end of the ends-means equation. He's suffered mightily for it, though, most notably in his pointed, profound despondency and his stark and ever-worsening alienation from nurturing human contact--something the writers seem to exult in denying him. For all his heroics, Bauer is the most singularly depressing character on television--on a personal level, his immoral actions have completely offset the greater good he's achieved, and the universe of 24 offers him neither credit for his heroism or relief from his sins.

Nevertheless, the writers have programmed Bauer with a certain moral trajectory that includes a very clear awareness of responsibility. I point you to a scene in the season from last year. While in custody, Bauer convinces a Secret Service Agent to free him and, together, they assault a Presidential aide and threaten to put out his eyes--directly countermanding the orders of the President, who is in the room with them. Under threat, the aide confesses to aiding foreign terrorists. So, Bauer was, in the large sense, correct in his actions. But the very next thing that happens is that he and the Secret Service agent hand over their badges and weapons to the President and ask to be placed in custody, because they have violated the law.

This is very weighty, philosophically advanced stuff to be shown on TV--a cheaper show would have glossed over it and moved on. Watching that scene, however, pointed out to the viewer that the ends do not justify the means--and that even if the end that is met is entirely just, a man must nevertheless stand in account for his actions. Compare this to the moral lesson taught by President Bush, who flauts the law on the pretense of protecting the country in numerous ways. Bush wants all of the credit, and none of the responsibilty. He actively pawns it off. Is it any wonder that I don't believe his warrantless wiretaps serve anyone's interest other than his own? The aforementioned scene in 24 really afforded viewers some vital food for thought in these times we live.

So, in short, the show can be brutal and despairing, but it is most definitely not blithe or indifferent. It is, I'm afraid, our real-life leaders who are blithe and indifferent and 21,500 members of the armed forces are about to find that out the hard way. If more people watched 24, perhaps they'd vote for better people.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

George W. Bush Poised to Unleash the Surgegasm!

PS: I am DUMB! Somehow I had it in my brain that tonight was a SOTU. I wish! Sorry for the lame, lame, lame. Half-hearted corrections below!

Tonight, President Bush will address the nation in what will hopefully be his penultimate State of the Union Iraq address. We've all known what's been coming for months, of course: TIME FOR THE SURGE! Twenty-thousand additional troops are going to Iraq to finally, once and for all, turn Baghdad into the glorious, post-Islamic Epcot Center it was destined to be, as it was told to President Bush by the magical television on which he claims to have watched the first plane fly into the World Trade Center.

SURGE! There's so much to talk about, and yet so much naysaying! Time was, ol' Bush could propose just about anything and scare people into agreeing with him. But now that his approval rating is such that all of his supporters can reasonably and comfortably fit into the average high school cafeteria, he's got to go all out to justify it. The fact that only the most addlebrained pundits support it while many formerand current high ranking military officials are gravely expressing their "Surging Generals' Warnings" isn't helping. Tonight, Bush will do his best to explain how the surge will help, and detail how it will work by explaining the following things:

  • Where the 20,000 troops will come from. My understanding is that some will be pulled from Afghanistan while most will be pulled from, uhm...Iraq. How does that work? Apparently, the lion's share of the "surge" will be nothing more than a long extension of certain units' tours of duty. That doesn't sound like much of a "surge", but, then, "surge" tested a lot better than "strategic super inertia." At least we're finally cutting and running from Afghanistan.
  • A reminder that if, on Dick Cheney's hunting trip, there had been a sudden "surge" of drunk quail, it would have been more likely that he wouldn't have shot Harry Whittington in the face.
  • What it is the surgers will hope to accomplish that still needs to be accomplished after having hung a giant sign touting the accomplishment on a boat in the middle of the ocean.
  • How, mainly out of spite, Jim Webb's son will have to do most of the surging.
  • How we're supposed to fight Joe Lieberman's personal war against Iran while we're doing this.
  • How the last man to die for a mistake will make sure to get the lights on his way out.

All in all, it will make for a memorable night. I'm sureHopefully, Bush will cover many other things as well, like acknowledging President Ford's existence. Also, his domestic agenda--like how much Congressional Page cock his fellow Republicans plan to devour in 2007 and his plan to send a rocket to Mars containing nothing but Thomas Jefferson's personal copy of the Qu'ran. Personally, I'll be looking forward to an update on his vaunted War Against the Human-Animal Hybrids. He's been diligently reading their mail without a warrant, after all, letters like:

"Dear Family:

Happy holidays! I hope the new year is treating you well. We have had an eventful year in 2006. Shirley says that the kids' gills are coming in nicely, and I feel like we're only about a year away before America comes to accept my right to have a gay Communist unicorn horn right in the middle of my forehead."
President Bush will likely take the opportunity to warn the manimals in our midst that he will be unrelenting in pursuit of them, and that, when they are caught, they will be hastily tried and hanged. Muqtada! Muqtada Muqtada!

The whole thing is likely to conclude when Nancy Pelosi wearies of all of Bush's stammering and unfolds her vagina dentata like a massive dufflebag full of San Francisco values to devour the President whole. Let's hope she does so early enough to prevent The Knights of Prosperity from being pre-empted. Palomino!

[many thanks our Supreme Turkmen Kriston Capps for the image.]

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Track this rumor: Boozin' it up with Gary Williams?


So, this rumor got back to us today, and the source, just so you know, is a diehard Terrapin fan.

This is how the rumor goes: Maryland men's basketball coach has been asked by the University to stay the hell out of the state of Maryland when he's not coaching basketball because during the offseason, he apparently prefers to fill the vaccuum normally occupied by basketball with gallon after gallon of booze.

Again: only a rumor, and one we're not inclined to believe because of the dearth of photos of Williams publicly exposing his genitals, which appears to be at the forefront of the drunk in public zeitgeist. On the other hand, his fugly-ass mug always does look a little puffy. We always figured that his family used to beat his face in and it eventually stopped healing.

Still: if you can attest to either Williams' wanton drunkeness or his saintly teetotalism, and if you can point to whether it changes once he crosses the state line, you know...like dem Duke boys!...hit us up.

Friday, January 05, 2007

DCeptette: If I ever ask you about invisible motorcycles version

  1. I'm straight up relieved that even if UVa. hasn't managed an away win against an English speaking team, we could at least find ourselves in the front seat on the Let's Beat Gonzaga Bandwagon. The Wahoos are becoming straight hibachi-like at the John Paul Jones Arena--where they have NOT YET BEGUN TO FIGHT!--Sean Singletary jacking threes like the game was stuck on "novice" setting and the team coasting out to a crazy-ass lead at halftime. We have to note, also, one team that DIDN'T manage to square away a seat on the Beat Zaga Waga was UNC, who choked at the Deaner. Interesting. Of course, Brother of DCeiver would like to remind you all that Appalachian State, who beat Virginia, are sitting up in Boone with an RPI rating of 7. 7! Gweneth Paltrow's head in a box! Of course, they have a long winter of beating up the other members of their "conference", so that rating will go down. Still, I say App State's got the best chance of anyone out there getting to the Dance and going straight Masonic. We'll see.
  2. Speaking of basketball, LEAF'S SWAG IS PHENOMENAL! Check him out as he holds Agent Zero's heels to fire on the issue of quality shots. [Information Leafblower]
  3. Monitoring the cultural advancement of Baltimore: the nation's deadliest IHOP has been TRANSFORMED into the nation's gaudiest Enterprise Rent-A-Car. [Thrown for a Loop]
  4. Now, now. Something tells me that your offer of congratulations is just a teeny bit disingenuous. [Craigslist]
  5. Somebody explain Pat Robertson to me. If God was always taunting your ass about the hellfire that's going to rain down on America, sooner or later, wouldn't you get tired of God being such a stone dickhead and stop hanging out with Him? I think one day, Robertson's going to wake up and realize that all the while he's thought himself to be on the Good Lord's hotsync, he's actually been conversing with King Booga-Foo Douchetoast from the Dark Side of the Moon. Maybe then he'll say to himself, "My. I am, indeed, effervescently stupid." [Circumlocutor]

We Must Burn the Libraries in Order to Save Them

So, yeah, I hate to wade too far deeply into an issue that's been gnawed at my betters in the bloggo-spherica, but I couldn't let this get away without some attention.

So typical Band Camp! All those dusty oldies on the library shelves are totally harshing their hard-earned Band-Campian mellow. And they've got just the perfect reason to start banishing the classics from their shelves--no one's reading them anymore! No one's checking them out! And, of course, to their soft-serv ice cream Band Camp brains, the ONLY PROBLEM INDICATED BY THESE SYMPTOMS is a lack of shelf space! Well, can you really argue with the inexorable logic of a rampaging blowtorch when it tells you it's gonna burn some shit?

I pretty much stand firmly in the Kriston camp on this issue. And I say that despite the dearth of conversations I've had with Kriston that run in the fusty old way Tom describes. I personally like any conversation with KC to either end with him drunkenly shouting "Woo-hoo! Hook 'em! Hook 'em, bitches!" or with me saying something totally innocent that will set events in motion that will inevitably prevent him from getting laid. In either scenario, I feel like you're reaching the full Cappsian potential, which is clearly present in his take on the Band Camp Library Matter when he writes "...because he's William Fucking Faulkner." Precisely: the man wrote Pylon, Band Camp County, so you just shut up, sit down and pay William Fucking Faulkner some goddamn respect.

Libraries are not mere end results of public policy or tax allocations. Hell no! They are INSTITUTIONS! They collect not just books and periodicals and microfiches--they house the very shared values that bind our society--indeed: the shared values that informed our particular version of civilization itself. To walk into a library is to walk into an institution that houses our societal protoplasm--the stuff that built our nation, the wellspring that renews us, the resource that makes it so we don't have to reinvent the fucking wheel year in and year out. The reason we need to keep the classics in there, in spite of their lack of steady circulation, is simple: they've earned their place on those shelves! Take them away, and the value of the institution decreases exponentially.

Even Julian Sanchez, to whom the idea of public good is likely stuck somewhere between a papercut and pure anathema, seems to grok the idea of institutional value when he casts classic literature as the agents of education and the Axis of Steele-Turow-Grisham-Etc. as the avatar of "entertainment" and concludes: " while we can argue the merits of public libraries as a means of subsidizing education, there's no terribly compelling argument for subsidizing people's amusement."

Though, Julian, as Horace said in the Ars Poetica, "Profit AND delight, my friend. Profit and delight."

So, when I hear that a library wants to get rid of some great books that no one is checking out, I wonder: "Why? Seems to me that replacing these books with ones that came out last week that'll fly off the shelves for no particular reason other than novelty is only going to drive up operational costs!" I sorta kid. But, seriously, when Sanchez relates that the classics are available for dirt cheaps on Amazon, to me, this isn't an argument FOR stripping them off the library shelves. Hell no! I say it's an argument for going out and acquiring MORE copies for the libraries! If they're that inexpensive, it's almost irresponsible not to!

It is, after all, William Fucking Faulkner we're talking about. And that newly minted copy of The Ten People You Meet In Mitch Albom's Scrotum is only going to cost you more to put on the shelf, and leave the reader feeling cheap every time it ventures forth.

Thus Endeth the Prime of Miss Harriet Miers

We must and should take a moment to consider the end of Miss Harriet Miers' unlikely career. She and I will be inexorably linked together in the story of my life, as in, "That Time I Totally Wanted To Ease in To My First Ever Day of Wonkettery." For the rest of you, should you choose to waste valuable parts of your neural network remembering her at all, you'll likely remember Miers as the wack-a-doodle hairstyled Queen of the Cronies, straight up representing the type of people George Bush loved having in his government the mostest: that is, folks who had no business being in government at all. The Heckuvajob Corps of the U.S.A. Like some sort of Zelig-y figure, they sat at the right hand of the President, and, no, they didn't have any better ideas than he did.

Of course, Miers was extra-special close to Bushiepoo. So much so that one can see her as a real-life Desmond Pfeiffer, except that her Secret Diaries are likely filled with such examples of erudition as "I *WUV* my Prezzie Bush! He is the nicest and the cutest and the smartingest President EVER IN LIFE!" and every "i" is dotted with a heart or a kitty-head. And with that in mind, PUZZLE AND WONDER over what could have been if she had made it, as planned, to the Supreme Court of the United States--a plan so downright cockamamie that even Harry Reid had to get behind it...you know--JUST 'CUZ! Imagine her dissenting opinions! "This court cannot grant relief to this Complainant, who is a real silly-billy who ought to just lighten up if he wants to have a reasonable expectation of HUGS AND PUPPIES!"

Yes, that would have been awesome, even though it would have hurt America every single night and every single day that she remained on the court. Still, we'll miss her, and we'll even hold out some sympathy. We distinctly remember AMC telling us about her Miers costume for Halloween 2005--a dagger stuck in the back of a dress. So truly true. And simultaneously: a great punchline.

Bye-bye Harriet! Enjoy life on the Bush Family Latin American Apocalypse Compound!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Wesley Autrey gets 2007 off to an inspiring start.

Maybe 2007 is going to be a good year after all! That's about the only thing one can say after reading of the superlative exploits of one Wesley Autrey, a construction worker from Harlem, who risked his life to save a stranger. Autrey and two other women had been helping 20 year old man Cameron Hollepter on the platform of the 137th Street 1 line who had lapsed into a seizure. They were attempting to get the station attendant's attention when Hollepter got up and stumbled headlong onto the tracks in front of an oncoming train. Astutely aware that the gutter in the center of the tracks afforded some clearance from the bottom of the train, Autrey leapt onto the tracks and pinned the still seizing, panicked Hollepter in the gutter. Autrey reckoned afterwards that he had about two inches to spare.

But he did it. Both men lived to tell the tale. And Autrey impressively brushed off the notion that he was some sort of hero (although, let's face it, he is) by taking the path of humility: "I think I did the right thing. And it ain't about being a hero, it's just being able to be here and help the next person." Read more about Autrey here. It should come as no surprise that Autrey was a veteran of the United States Navy, by the way.

And you know what? EXACTLY. Autrey has it precisely right. There is such a thing as the common wealth and there does exist a social contract that is supposed to bind each of us together. One thing that I typically keep coming back to, when I enter into debates on society and politics is that these things a) exist, and b) are vitally important.

Yeah, I'm not against making a buck, God knows, but the first wealth any society shares is its greatness, greatness reflected in a sense of purpose, a sense of duty, a sense of understanding and owning up to what is the RIGHT THING TO DO. Sad to say, no one has ever promised that doing the right thing was easy. But then, not all of us find ourselves required to jump in front of a moving train.

I'll resist any further futile attempt to divine deeper meaning and purpose from a single, self-contained deed. I guess to put it in fewer words: "Please, more Wesley Autreys."

DCeptette: She talks like a woman but she shakes like a man version

  1. My Citrus Bowl experience couldn't have been more different from The Upstate Life's. In the first place, the game began with Terry Kirby fumbling away the opening kickoff. Then, we were sadly treated to the sight of something that occurs in nature with a Halley's Comet-like frequency: Jeff George playing competently. After the game, we too, hit up Church Street Station. Based upon TUL's testimony, that place has changed considerably since then. It was hopelessly, haplessly Lame City. The only thing that made the night unique is that we made the acquaintance of an absolutely smoking hot friend of a friend who later went on--and I am in no way making this up--to marry Tony Randall. Yes. That Tony Randall. I think we were seated near the same drunk woman, though. She goes to all the Citrus Bowls. [The Upstate Life]
  2. Look who's achieved boldface status on Fishbowl! Hawt! [FishbowlDC]
  3. Oh, boy. Circumlocutor takes me straight down memory effing lane today! We remember this piece of Cherkisiana from way back, and thrilled at the searing letter he got in response, which the good Sir Circ quotes in its entirety. After all these years, we still laugh about how Cherkis namechecks Rites of Spring as the sonic fuel behind one of his temper tantrums. Cause he straight reprazents, yo! Emo, bitches! Revolution summer! Ovaries the size of basketballs! Ye GODS. [Circumlocutor]
  4. The Governess chronicles the many treatments she's used to cure her back/neck pain. One of the treatment protocols she cites is "new wave crap." We are taking this to mean she attempted to use a Sigue Sigue Sputnik album. Silly goose: I think C. Everett Koop warned us about those guys! [Pygmalion in a Blanket]
  5. At our recent DCist Holiday Soiree and Milkshake Festival Unlimited, I was happy to note that Tom was the sort of person who doesn't buy that old audiophile line about how vinyl recordings maintain some sort of aural superiority to digital recordings--an argument typically put forth by weirdos. Finally, a suitable person to debate Tom on this regard has been identified. Glenn Danzig. Let's make this happen, people. [Idolator]