Thursday, April 30, 2009

This Is A Public Service Announcement, With Baseball Tickets

Oh, hai. Do you like the baseball? Do you hate leukemia? Do you have $18? Ok, then. Just shut the fuck up and listen.

Wife Of DCeiver has a coworker who still has a lot of tickets for this weekend's game between the Cardinals and the Montreal Expos or whoever they are now, Saturday at 1:05 at Nationals Park. The tickets are only $18, and they are in Section 226 and half of each ticket sale goes directly to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. See, you don't have to exclusively hate leukemia! You can tell lymphoma to suck on it, too.

Anyway, it's a good cause, so if you wanty, email Scott Greene at Scott [dot] Greene4 [at] us [dot] army [dot] mil or Dani Shotel at Dani_Shotel [at] apsva [dot] us, and you can make arrangements for this weekend, and what not.

She'll Get A Hold On You, Believe It

You know, looking back, I don't think we ever received an adequate explanation as to what was so mission critical about shooting the "Easy Lover" video that Phil Bailey had to be transported by helicopter. I mean, don't get me wrong - I love Earth, Wind and Fire. But take a cab, dude.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

And Then, Obviously, They Ride Mark Sanford All The Way To Victory

You know, the Right takes a lot of shit from people who criticize them for using their blog network and interconnected community to dispense a lot of addled, conspiracy-theory style ravings and bleat a tin of hack criticisms that haven't been even remotely amusing for months. You know, as opposing to doing legit reportage, policy shopping, and informed critiquing. But you know what? I think that they are actually really, really close to getting Obama's Teleprompter impeached.

That'll really show some people what time it is. Until, of course, they impeach the clocks.

Something Up My Sleeve

Lindsay from Videogum has today's "so cute your face explodes and falls off and is gross but anyway ZOMG that's cute" video of the day.

There Was A Dream, And It Was Called Portfolio.

I think we went really easy on Portfolio, not running that classic Dov Charney-in-the-hour-of-financial-collapse cover that more of less summed up the magical thinking of Conde Nast's coffee table magazine for hedge fund middle managers. I definitely am not surprised that Garden and Gun outlasted them. As you are probably aware, adding "and Gun" to nearly any magazine title basically confers upon the publisher a licence to print money. Meanwhile, it's said that Portfolio lost $100,000,000? In two years? I would sure love to know how the fuck such a fucking thing happens, short of Joanne Lippman setting fire to stacks of money, for fun. Anyway, Portfolio. You were a thing in the early twenty-first century and then you weren't anymore. That's how things go sometimes. Now, someone PLEASE GIVE RYAN AVENT A JOB. KTHXBAI.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Milo Minderbinder Prices Your Legacy Assets

"There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle."

"That's some catch, that catch-22," he observed.

"It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed.

Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos


In case you missed the slideshow of these Super Cool Barack Obama Action Figures I did, click here.

Oh, Great.


Bad journalism is following me EVERYWHERE.

Urban, Legendary


All day and all night tomorrow, I'll be at Woolly Mammoth, helping out at the latest Rorschach joint, Myth Appropriations IV: Urban Legends. I take credit for the theme, y'all. But we got a crazy abundance of talented mofeaux who'll be contributing performances, direction, designs, and - oh yeah - the plays themselves, written up from scratch. They've had a week to come up with something. Tomorrow morning, we'll all meet to try to build the show from the bottom up. Deadline: 6pm. Wish us luck. And come! I heard it from a friend's cousin's mother-in-law's first boyfriend that it's going to be the tits. And those tits will have hooks, for hands.

The Deets:

MYTH-APPROPRIATION IV: Urban Legends
Saturday April 25, 2009
@ 6pm, 8pm and 11pm (3 shows)
in the WOOLLY MAMMOTH THEATRE MELTON REHEARSAL HALL
Call 1-800-494-TIXS or go to www.boxofficetickets.com/rorschach. $15!

WRITTEN BY:
Ben Kingsland, Jacqueline E. Lawton, Shaun Raviv,
Stephen Spotswood, Gwydion Suilebhan, Seamus Sullivan

DIRECTED BY:
Michael Dove, Akiva Fox, Colin Hovde, Jenn John,
Suzen Mason, Matt Ripa

DESIGNED BY:
Sam Kitchel, Denise Umland, Justine Light

FEATURING:
JJ Area, Christopher Buchanan, Elizabeth Darby, Chris Dinolfo, Megan Dominy,
Melissa-Leigh Douglass, Kristen Egermeier, Michael Feldsher, Heather Gaither-Greek,
Nick Greek, Annie Grier, Heather Haney, Jessica Hansen, Allyson Harkey,
Laura C. Harris, Rachel Manteuffel, Adrienne Nelson, Francisco Reinoso,
Jessica Lynn Rodriguez, Sandra Sampayo, Adam Jonas Segaller, Brynn Tucker,
Edwin Xavier, Jacob Yeh

Friday, April 24, 2009

NO. DO NOT PAY THAT MONEY BACK.

Oh, Jesus. Like Pareene said, the goddamn answer to this question is an international children's choir singing "FuuuUUUUuuuUUUUuuuck nooOOOooo..." to the tune of "Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring." Mark Penn obtained the still-quick flesh of Press Secretary of the Baskervilles Dana Perino as a tribute from all the Hill People who tremble at Penn's mighty, bellowing, incompetent rages. Now it's time for he and his lady-prize to scuttle back into the Sarlacc Pit, to commune with cave demons, until the moon finally explodes.

A Chimerical Bombination

Meghan McCain, fameball:


"I am concerned about the environment. I love to wear black. I think government is best when it stays out of people's lives and business as much as possible. I love punk rock. I believe in a strong national defense. I have a tattoo. I believe government should always be efficient and accountable. I have lots of gay friends. And yes, I am a Republican."
I would posit that if the shape of punk to come is "just getting around to wondering what Ann Coulter's problem is," then punk rock is dead.

Nice tattoo, though, I'm sure.

Opportunity Leaves A Missed Connection

Do I need to point out just how difficult it was to arrange to meet and subsequently murder someone using the traditional classified ads offered by print media? Try it sometime! I'm honestly surprised no newspapers have jumped on this yet. I guess they're waiting until things start to get really desperate.

Hot Button Topics

Via the G.:

i think last week was my 17th or 20th time in Las Vegas, I've lost count. It will serve you well to know that the most interesting thing that happened there was an IM I had with the DCeiver about "bloggers lounges", my ideas for JMU/LARPing-themed fantasy novels, and the price of Lauren Conrad jersey dresses.
Don't forget the nightly firedrills at Eagle. Indeed, I think we touched on all the key issues of the day. And, honestly, I have no idea why people just let Lauren Conrad get away with that shit.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Trikes Come To Arlington

I'm not as upset at the news that grown adults will be pedaling around Arlington on large tricycles as Kriston is, though I reserve judgement until I see these in the wild. I appreciate all of Arlington's efforts to encourage walking and biking in their urban corridors, so in principle, I'm glad to see this. Which isn't to say I wouldn't change a few things:

The newest way for Arlington County employees to get around has three wheels, a bell and an orange safety flag.
Uhm, no. Lose the bell, for crying out loud. USE YOUR WORDS. And the flag, I think should go, too. Yeah, sure, safety first, whatever. It's just the flag reminds me of that neighborhood in upper Northwest where you carry a flag with you to cross the street. It's just too twee for me, sorry. There comes a time in a person's life where you have to be able to assert one's own significance without the help of an orange flag.

On balance, these tricycles are a better option than the gaggledouchecycles that DC was threatened with back in June of 2006.

Two State Solution Double Coupon Day


Available at your local grocery store, a heretofore untapped source of diplomatic expertise.

As it happens, the Complete Idiots Guide is published by Penguin Group, not AMI - which would have definitely recontextualized the "Complete Idiot" part of the title.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Masked And Anonymous

A decision made by The Politico's Mike Allen to allow an anonymous former Bush administration official free rein to both levy attacks on the Obama administration for the release of the OLC torture memos and brandish unsubtantiated claims as self-evident truths touched off the ire of Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Greenwald last week.

Sullivan was pretty brutal, asking (rhetorically, I suppose), "What journalistic standard is Allen following in allowing such a person to speak anonymously? And how much lower can he sink in craving buzz and traffic? And then Greenwald basically went on a multiplatform tear, assailing Allen on both Salon and his Twitter account. Greenwald's Twitter attacks got noticed -- they prompted the first post to Allen's Twitter account in over a month, and led to him penning an article that attempted to justify the inclusion of the quote (and which reimagined the monolithic left as containing only Sullivan and Greenwald, as if perfectly mainstream people wouldn't object to this anonymous slag).

Well, reading his justification piece cause my eyes to pop, mainly for this paragraph:

I figured that readers could decide whether the former Bush official's comments sounded defensive or vindictive. And POLITICO readers aren't so delicate that we have to deceptively pretend there's no other side to a major issue. So at the bottom of the Axelrod story, I tacked on an ellipsized excerpt of the former Bush official's quotes, removing several ad hominem attacks on Obama. I quoted less than half of the comment and took out the most incendiary parts -- a way to hint at the opposing view without giving an anonymous source free rein. I also added a final sentence with additional White House perspective, so the former Bush official wouldn't have the last word.
Greenwald, in response, captured what made my gorge rise:

I find that paragraph so perfect in its illogic and self-negation that I have come to cherish it in some perverse way. Allen's excuse for anonymity was that readers could decide for themselves whether the anonymous Bush criticisms "sounded defensive or vindictive." But he then confesses that he edited out "the most incendiary parts," including "several ad hominems." So, like a good servant-editor, he first helpfully sanitized the Bush official's smears by making them appear more sober and substantive than they actually were -- by removing all the parts that reflected vindictiveness towards Obama -- and then justified the anonymity he granted by saying he wanted readers to see for themselves if the criticisms of Obama's decision were grounded in vindictiveness. He evidently confessed all of that without realizing that his actions completely negate his claimed justification.
Exactly. If the issue here is how to properly allow the reader insight into the character of this critic, you have to actually do that. Here, Allen intimates that the critic is obviously a spewer of invective. But if that gets edited out, we're missing the most critical thing about the tenor of the criticism! This is servility, masquerading as service.

Still, Glenn is being kind, because he leaves two clean shots on the table:

1. One of the issues here, to me, is that Obama has had some high profile critics from the previous administration -- Cheney and Rove come to mind -- who have lately basked in and dined out on the heaps of attacks they've laid on him, to which they have signed their name. And the press has earned their coin, broadcasting their criticism. But now, these memos are in the news, front and center. And they are casting broad implications of widespread, institutionally-approved wrongdoing. And guess what? Those same institutional mouthpieces -- the same big-dick-swingers who couldn't wait to put their autographed criticisms out there -- are all hiding behind Mike Allen's moleskine. Again, this speaks to their character! The character of sadistic cowards, specifically!

2. Really. Why run ANY OF THIS COMMENTARY if it's off the record? If this was worth publishing at all, some attempt should have been made to make this anonymous critic nut up and own his words. As it is, they add very little of import, other than to remind readers that Mike Allen, reporter, has cultivated important sources.

My question is this: these former administration officials don't hold the keys of power or the bully pulpit anymore. They're no longer on the supply side of the journalistic access equation. So why does Mike Allen have to act like they've got leverage?

This whole sorry chapter belongs in a high school scientific primer on invertebrates.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

As Captain Corelli's Mandolin Gently Weeps

Can you just imagine the how despairingly bleak such movies as The Wicker Man and Bangkok Dangerous could have been if Nicolas Cage had been able to draw on the experience of LOSING HIS MOTHERFUCKING CASTLE?! I sure hope The Sorceror's Apprentice makes good use of the sad that Cage obviously haz.

This Day In Simple Resistance

No.

On The Using Of Rush Lyrics To Make 'Burns'

Just to allay your fears, no, I'm not going to make a habit out of it, or anything.

Wonks Will Destroy Comedy As We Know It

Okay, for a good long while now, I've sat by, idly, as my wonky friends debate the finer points of filmed comedy, and like the good man who's allowed evil to flourish by doing nothing, I've come to see the error of my ways. Look: if my political friends want to impute their lovely geopolitical worldviews upon the coming season of comic book arcana and sci-fi excess, have at it. But please, please, spare the world your joyless ruminations on comedy. For all that is good and holy. My god, stop.

This whole matter has been basically touched off by recent posts from Ezra and Matt, in discussion over I Love You, Man, but it's hardly limited to them, and it's hardly a new thing. I sensed something deeply stupid, this way coming, when the release of Knocked Up led to all of these socio-political ruminations on the movie's abortion politics. To all those people: SHUT THE FUCK UP RIGHT NOW. Knocked Up does not have "abortion politics" or a message of any kind on the matter, outside of a quick sop on the fringes of the plotting. Want to know why? Because the movie CANNOT SERIOUSLY CONSIDER ABORTION POLITICS BECAUSE WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK WOULD THE MOVIE BE, IF NOT SOMETHING IN WHICH A BABY WAS BROUGHT TO TERM? A twenty-minute long comic short about a trip to an abortion clinic? GAH, SHUT UP SHUT UP.

Anyway, Ezra and Matt, God love them both, but it's like they viewed I Love You, Man, from the operating theater of some grim surgical redoubt, lingering over dissected innards as if there was some deep and wonky truth to be had there. It's weird! I saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall with both of them and they seemed to have a pretty good time. Maybe there's a grace period where they allow themselves to enjoy something before steadily picking apart the experience with all sorts of superfluous thinking. Both Ezra and Matt seem to think that a whole bunch of problems have gone unresolved in the movie, but they hone in on problems that are entirely irrelevant! Or were at least irrelevant to me! Jesus, you can practically smell the way Ezra and Klein want to drop the term "status quo ante" into the discussion. Let me tell you what this movie is about, and remember, I have a MFA in this shit.

Paul Rudd's character is getting married. He needs a best man for his wedding. By dint of circumstances, he lacks close male friends. In fact, he lacks, entirely, an innate knowledge of the "vocabulary" - the repository of physical and verbal "stuff" that men do when in each other's company. That's the joke! So the movie presents an escalating series of set pieces in which this joke is exploited, where Rudd's character flails in social settings like an Aspergers Syndrome sufferer, unable to read the social tics that we, in the audience, see clearly. That's the "comedy": the juxtaposition of the non-ideal against a recognized ideal.

Now, the movie has two requirements. AND ONLY TWO. 1. Rudd must make it to the end of the film with a wife. 2. Rudd must make it to the end of the film with Jason Segel's character present and in his wedding party. These are the only important issues to be resolved. To make things interesting, there is a brief conflict that threatens the marriage, and an extended period where Segel's presence is in doubt. At the end, however, both needs are fulfilled.

Both Ezra and Matt overthink everything really badly, and believe that the movie was obliged to answer the question of why Rudd and Rashida Jones should get married. It never occurred to me to worry about that! That whole brief interlude was just an overheated hang-up devised to briefly put the lovers in conflict. Eventually, they both sort of realized that no one needed a fucking five-paragraph essay to elucidate why they wanted to marry each other. That the two were right for each other is established as a given in the very first scene.

Yeah, you might also ask yourself things like: well, why doesn't he just ask his brother to be his best man? Or his father? GAH. SHUT UP. DON'T THINK ABOUT THAT SHIT. TO THINK ABOUT THAT IS TO IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE THIS MOVIE ENDS IN TEN MINUTES. WHY MUST YOU OVERTHINK THIS?

Anyway, the movie has plenty of stops along the way - fun ones, that delve into some very critical issues, such as:

  • projectile vomiting
  • masturbation
  • blowjobs, and the awesomeness of blowjobs
  • dog shit
  • trying to hit Lou Ferrigno in the face: funny?
These are the important matters that this movie is here to discuss. And you know, that's a lot of stuff to cover! A movie that's able to pack in thorough explications of these concepts is a rara avis. Frankly, movies that delve so deeply into the awesomeness of blowjobs the way I Love You, Man don't often leave room to fully cover the issue of the universal humor found in trying to hit Lou Ferrigno in the face. And yet, astoundingly, you'll note that nowhere in either Matt or Ezra's exegesis are these incredibly essential matters discussed. It's like they don't even WANT TO CONSIDER THE AWESOMENESS OF BLOWJOBS!

And look, the bottom line is this, if you are able to get through an entire blog entry on I Love You, Man, and NOT EVEN MENTION Rush's song "Limelight," then you need to admit to yourself that you did not even remotely get the movie at all.

I guess what I'm trying to say to Matt and Ezra, is this: Gentlemen, living on the gilded stage approaches the unreal for those who think, and feel, and who are in touch with some reality, beyond your gilded cages.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

City Paper FTW, April Fools Division


Gotta admit it, kudos are in order. The City Paper has crafted an astoundingly well-detailed parody of our site today, I think the only thing that's off is the headshot image dimensions. It's pretty much the April Fools Day winner, and, for a bunch of obvious reasons, fodder for a series of terrifying nightmares for weeks to come. I just hope that they didn't spend all of Ben Eason's money on the mock-up, because that dude's pretty skint.

Brief Conversations With My Editors

HE: Did you see this story about the intactivist rally?

ME: The what, now?

HE: Intactivists. They were protesting on the Mall yesterday. They are apparently against circumcision.

ME: Really?

HE: Yeah. Maybe you can do something about it?

ME: Well, not if the circumcision's already happened, I'm afraid.
Happy Genital Integrity Awarness Week, everyone! Yes, yes, apparently that's a thing, now.

Four Minutes And Thirty-Three Seconds

iTunes is apparently offering John Cage's infamous silent composition 4'33" as a free download of the week, no doubt commemorating April Fools Day. Of all the silliness involving this piece by Cage, my favorite story is what happened to poor Mike Batt of the Wombles. In 2002, he released a song called "A Minute's Silence" and cheekily credited the songwriting to "Batt/Cage." For his trouble, he was sued for plagiarism, and ended up paying a settlement. But amid the esoteric arguments over whether Batt had composed an original piece of silence or illicitly copied Cage's silense, Batt got off one indisputably great line in defense of his version's superiority: "I have been able to say in one minute what Cage could only say in four minutes and 33 seconds."

Anyway, the Pharrell remix is gonna be tight.

Scenes From Elsewhere, 3/31/09

  1. I remember my first car more positively. It was cherry-red 1988 Chrysler Fuck Richard Cohen LX. That thing glided down the streets of Northern Virginia like a cloud full of silver linings and the engine purred like a hummingbird. A sublimely contemptuous hummingbird.
  2. I understand that Congress has rich traditions -- like say, "the filibuster" and "pretending David Vitter isn't one of the ten or so most loathsome creatures in America."
  3. On the plus side, this is exactly the sort of sublime governance that makes David Broder's nipples hard!
  4. I guess it becomes "torture" when it's being done by genocidal Communist madmen, whose political ideology lacks the beautiful exceptionalism that normally transforms an abhorrent and inhumane act into a patriotic gesture.
  5. Every sentence is a delightful little sip of candy-flavored brain poison.
  6. It's actually a shrewd move, ensuring that some of the worst men in the world will never come to Spain.
  7. Jesus, nerds. It's just Timothy Geithner. Settle down.
  8. I tell you what, here in Washington, DC, you can't swing a stick without hitting NONE PEOPLE who "wonder is [Michelle Obama] is spreading herself too thin!"

And Post-Modern Socialism Is Where Those Jets Are Impounded.

"Another stock-market collapse would, however—one judges—be less traumatic in its larger effect than was the one in October of 1929. The Great Crash had a shattering effect on investment and consumer spending and eventually on production and employment, leading to the collapse of banks and business firms. Now there are safety nets, as they are called. Unemployment compensation, pensions, farm-income support, and much else would have a general cushioning effect, along with government fiscal support to the economy. There is insurance of bank deposits and the further certainty that any large corporation, if in danger, would be bailed out. Modern socialism, as I've elsewhere said, is when the corporate jets come down on National and Dulles airports."

--John Kenneth Galbraith, "The 1929 Parallel," The Atlantic, January 1987.