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  October 29, 2004
Conspiracy-A-Ga-Ga

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It's such a powerful revelation, The New York Post had to bury it in its gossip page where it pushed aside the latest on Pharell and Mick Jagger's daughter. While the blurb itself is larded with legalistic caveats, the headline says it all: CONSPIRACY THEORY: KERRY 'TIE' TO OSWALD.

Conspiracy theorists are buzzing about John Kerry's connection to Lee Harvey Oswald and the JFK assassina tion. While no one in the lunatic fringe has gone so far as to suggest Kerry helped kill Kennedy - yet - they make much of the fact that a cousin of Kerry's, Michael Paine, was a close friend of Oswald who frequently had the assassin as a house guest.

Whoa. Do you really want to play this game, Page Six? Crumple up that tin-foil hat before someone reminds you that "conspiracy theorists" have been "buzzing" for years that John Hinckley's brother, Scott, was allegedly scheduled to have dinner with Bush's brother, Neil, the night John shot Reagan in 1981!

If we are to believe these shoddily-designed websites from people with even shoddier worldviews, the Bushes and the Hinckleys were supposedly best friends forever! (Imagine the barbecues at the Bushes: Hinckleys, Saudis, the Oak Ridge Boys: "Pass me another Coors Light, Poppy. More Ribs? You know it!")

Some dude even went so far as to tie Hinckley's attempt on Reagan with Kennedy's assassination by claiming that Reagan was "shot from the Bushy knoll"!

Wow. See how fucking stupid I sound saying this stuff? Elevating these wackadoos to even the most carefully vetted legitimacy, lowers a writer to, well, a fucking idiot.

Let's all learn from the recent obituaries for Kennedy Press Secretary Pierre Salinger, whose otherwise impeccable career in public service was marred by his late life promotion of a conspiracy theory he'd learned on the internet—that TWA Flight 800 was shot down by a missile.

If the foolish promotion of an unfounded conspiracy can cling like the smell of shit to a smart man with integrity, what do you think it could do to the writers of a gossip column for a ridiculous, unprofitable newspaper?

Nothin'. You're probably right.

Posted at 8:27 AM in a Grave fashion.
Funny, That's What Those Thai Hookers Said, Too

"This matter has caused enormous pain... This brutal ordeal is now officially over, and I will never speak of it again."
Bill O'Reilly

Posted at 7:43 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Denver Waffle

What follows are excerpts from the Denver Post editorial page, endorsing George W. for president. Kind of.

...Since 2001, Colorado has lost more jobs than we've gained, and the ones we've gained pay less than the ones we've lost. We pay less in taxes, but our household and medical expenses have skyrocketed. Ninety thousand of us have lost our health coverage. Washington is ringing up record deficits and sticking the next generation with the bill. In Iraq, Colorado-based military units and reserves are deployed in a hostile environment for questionable purpose and uncertain result...

...So the president has our endorsement for a second term, even as we call on him to steer a more moderate course that is in keeping with his campaign appearances, but not his first-term performance.

It's no secret that we part company with the president over many issues. Two glaring sore spots are his obsession to cut taxes even while piling up record deficits, and his mishandling of all things Iraq. He squandered global good will by taking a "my way or the highway" approach to matters of global warming, international law, Iraq weapons inspections and ultimately the Iraq invasion. He bows to corporate preference in matters of energy and environment, and his education funding levels leave far too many children behind.

Kerry has infused the 2004 campaign with energy and gumption, offering fresh ideas on health care and sensible plans for our tax structure. His are the superior proposals on environmental protection, on stem-cell research and judicial nominations. Sure, we've seen Kerry bend to the political winds over his long career, but we wouldn't mind one bit if more Washington politicians would reconsider their past judgments and ideological certainties. Kerry's growth on the campaign trail gives a glimpse of his potential.

Our support for Bush is tempered by unease over the poor choices and results of his first term. To succeed in his second-term, Bush must begin by taking responsibility for U.S. failures in Iraq, admit his mistakes and adjust U.S. strategy. Big time, as his running mate might say.

...But respect for his leadership was sharply diminished by U.S. missteps in Iraq and evidence that the president had ignored frequent warnings of Osama bin Laden's murderous ambition. Even so, there is opportunity for Bush to make adjustments that will validate the sacrifices of coalition forces and Iraqis themselves.

We believe George W. Bush is up to the challenge.

Well of course, that couldn't make any more sense, now could it? Oh wait, it could - the Denver Post's parent company, MediaNews Group, is owned by William Dean Singleton, a major donor to the Bush-Cheney campaign.

[via, yes, fine, I admit it, The Al Franken Show]

Posted at 12:37 AM in a Grave fashion.
  October 28, 2004
Positive campaigning on the international front

Hey, fellas: What've you been listening to lately? Brian Wilson's newly-revised and -released SMiLE? We thought so.

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Frankly, it's rather impressive that Arafat was able to get ahold of a copy of this album after being holed up in his compound by Israeli tanks for two long years. You see, there is a practical application for those smuggling tunnels everyone's always going on about.

Posted at 3:47 PM in a Grave fashion.
Crooked Letters Flock Together

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"W" at a Saginaw, Michigan campaign rally... The good people who drained your 401(k)

Earlier: We've Been Hammering Away at His War Record, But Let's Not Forget Enron, Okay?

Posted at 3:42 PM in a Grave fashion.
The Who... Well, You Know

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I know that pointing out the "irony" of The Who releasing an album called The Who Sell Out in 1967 and then selling out their every song to Madison Avenue and Hollywood is about as clever as suggesting that Alanis Morissette misunderstood the meaning of the word "Ironic." But The Who-ification of commercials, TV, movies, and trailers is starting to get out of control and it's time to put a stop to it.

Is there a single commercial in production that's not considering using a Who song? Will we see these song/product synergies in the near future?

  • "Fiddle About" to promote Pampers?
  • "Behind Blue Eyes" to promote Fresh Look color contacts? (Or does "Eyesight to the Blind" work better?)
  • "You Better You Bet" to promote Atlantic City tourism?
  • "Tommy Can You Hear Me?" to promote hearing aids?
  • "Squeeze Box" to promote laser vaginal rejuvenation surgery?
  • Really, Pete and Roger: We've all just "Had Enough."

    Posted at 2:54 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    "Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even," Muhammad Ali

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    Rumble, Young Man, Rumble: Muhammad Ali defeats the dreaded Sonny Liston

    Just five more days 'till we shake up the world...

    Posted at 12:53 PM in a Grave fashion.
    Jim Rutenberg is Dumb

    There has been a recent rash of pieces by journalists bemoaning the nasty tone of the letters they've been receiving from their readers. Personally, I think the real issue here is not that the tone of discourse of people who have traditionally written to journalists has taken a turn for the worse, but rather the convergence of two issues:


    • The Internet makes it very easy to send feedback to journalists.
    • The issues of the day have made many more people than usual take an interest in public affairs.

    Now, I'll be the first to admit that telling Adam Nagourney that you hope his son gets killed in a Republican war is a pretty nasty thing to say, although I would counter that Adam is a semi-public figure who gets to go on the Charlie Rose Show, and the unfortunate downside of being a semi-public figure is that people might write you really nasty e-mails. But I really have to take issue with today's piece in the New York Times on the same topic:

    "Most of us now realize that this is a constant conversation, and I think that largely that part of it is good," said Howard Fineman, chief political correspondent for Newsweek. "Some of the stuff includes very personal and nasty things about people - they go after people's physical characteristics, they'll say somebody's ugly - and you just have to ignore that."

    Still, he said, "I would be lying if I didn't say it could be hurtful."

    [...]

    Bob Somerby, a comedian who runs a Web site called The Daily Howler that often accuses the news media of being shallow, lazy, bullied by Republicans and unfairly critical of Democrats, said a more genteel approach would not be effective. (He has referred to this reporter on his Web site as "dumb" and in "over his head" for being blind or turning a blind eye to Republican spin.)

    It's certainly infantile to call people ugly and dumb when you disagree with their reportage, but I think it's equally (if not more) infantile to use your privileged position in the paper of record to whine about it. How thin-skinned are these people? Do they go to their mamas and cry whenever the mean bloggers call them names?

    'Cause we've heard a few things about their mamas, too.

    Posted at 11:28 AM in a Grave fashion.
    Balloon Man

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    Rhys Ifans in Enduring Love and its prequel Danny Deckchair

    Rhys Ifans' new film, Enduring Love, is a charming sequel to his even charminger Danny Deckchair, in which Mr. Ifans' relationship with ballooning is further explored. Up next for Mr. Ifans? Maria Full of Grace 2.

    Posted at 11:15 AM in a Shallow, Versus fashion.
    After having already wrapped up your home state, this is how you alienate swing-state voters and lose Missouri's 11 electoral votes, jackass

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    RELATED: MISSOURI POLL: Missouri reflects tight race, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 26, 2004: "A new poll for the Post-Dispatch shows the race in Missouri tightening. President George W. Bush's earlier lead has slipped among the state's voters. But the Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry, has so far been unable to close the gap, in part because the poll shows a growing number of Missouri voters view him unfavorably."

    ALSO RELATED: Red-Faced: Boston wraps up sweep, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 26, 2004

    Posted at 11:07 AM in a Grave fashion.
    We've Been Hammering Away at his War Record, But Let's not Forget Enron, okay?

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    Old Friends: Indicted and not yet indicted (r. to l.)

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    Click to see larger version

    April 14, 1997

    Dear Ken:

    One of the sad things about old friends is that they seem to be getting older – just like you!

    55 years old. Wow! That's really old.

    Thank goodness you have such a young, beautiful wife.

    Laura and I value our friendship with you. Best wishes to Linda, your family, and friends.

    Your younger friend,

    George W. Bush

    When you go to the polls, don't forget Grandma Millie.

    Posted at 10:21 AM in a Grave fashion.
    Man Underwhelmed

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    Gentle Ben: Man, you don't look so good.

    You survived Christmas... You collected your Paycheck... But are you ready for Ben Affleck's next cinematic blast of explosive diarrhea, Man About Town?

    Currently filming in lovely Vancouver, Man also stars Oscar and Nobel Prize nominees Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Amber Valletta, and Gina Gershon, and, oddly, Air America Radio's own Sam Seder. (Sam, Sam, Sam. Well, I guess you and Ben are having some good talks about John Kerry.)

    But if these names—and BEN AFFLECK—aren't enough to pump you up for this film, maybe its writer, director, and co-star will: Mike Binder!

    You know, he of the sub-sub-sub-Woody Allen knock-offs The Sex Monster and Londinium (straight to cable and straight to your funny bone!), and HBO's second funniest show (after Arli$$, natch) The Mind of the Married Man! (Why only one season, HBO? Now we'll never know if Binder's character Micky Barnes ever followed through on that apt metaphor for the entire show and got that full-release massage or not.)

    I for one cannot wait to see the one-two comedy punch of Binder and Affleck. Oh, and did I mention that it also stars the coolest teacher at "Manhattan High School," Howard Hesseman? Well it does!

    Truly, this will be a Man in full!

    Posted at 9:52 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Sure, The Red Sox Won. But Can Jimmy Fallon Break the SNL Movie Career Curse?

    Roger "I Don't Just Flack for Harvey" Friedman reports:

    "[Y]es, that was Fallon caught live on Fox extravagantly kissing a blonde who looked a lot like Drew Barrymore on the field right after the Red Sox won the World Series...The reason for their appearance: Jimmy and Drew are filming a new movie called 'Fever Pitch' about an obsessed Red Sox fan and the girl he loves."

    Directed by the Farrelly brothers from a script adapted by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. Heart, prepare to be warmed!

    Posted at 9:04 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    The Scariest Part Is the Con-Ed Bill

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    "Candy? We spent all our money on lights. Lights are like candy for your eyes."

    Related: "...sweet crude oil down $2.71 a barrel to $52.46." Mmmm.... Sweet crude oil.

    Posted at 8:25 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Col Allen's Show of Restraint

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    I guess the editors couldn't include "LOL!!!" and a bunch of smileys in the headline like they wanted to.

    Posted at 7:56 AM in a Grave fashion.
      October 27, 2004
    The 'W' Stands For "Will Work 'Till 80 if Social Security is Privatized"

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    Related: Planned Parenthood guide to birth control

    Posted at 10:30 PM in a Grave fashion.
    A Handy Guide to Bush's Supporters (As Seen From Front and Back), Vol. 3

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    Earlier: A Handy Guide to Bush's Supporters (As Seen From Front and Back), Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

    Posted at 10:08 PM in a Grave fashion.
    I am Jack's dated movie tie-in

    Coming soon to your pretentious "anti-establishment" best friend's smoke-filled rec room: Fight Club: The Game from that bastion of anti-authoritianism, Vivendi Universal Games. (FOX must've passed on it since it destroyed Bill Mechanic's career.)

    So put down that dog-eared Hunter S. Thompson book and pick up your PS2 controller, you rebel. It's time to tear this whole fucking system down: from your couch!

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    Yes, in fully-pixelated glory, it's a recreation of the dilapidated yard you grew to love so much with your repeated DVD viewings of David Fincher's Fight Club...you remember the film, right? It came out in, ummm, 1999?

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    And there's that beautifully grimy, dimly-lit basement! It's almost as if Chuck Palahniuk himself is getting all up in your face, ready to pummel it into oblivion.

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    God. There's Meat Loaf, in what surely has to be his first-ever appearance on an X-Box or PS2.

    And in the vein of a good self-help group session, video game fans are congregating and clamoring for changes to the way in which this particular one is played. From the manufacturer's forums:

    "Wouldn't it have been awesome if, after the fight, both fighters, completely covered in bruises and blood would hug each other? That would have been so much funnier and different than all the other crappy fighting gmes target to pre-adolescent rap-boys with Girls, Money and Power on their minds.

    VU, you missed your shot to create something truely [sic.] special.

    Hey, man! The first rule of Fight Club is you do not reveal the queer subtext of Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is you DO NOT reveal the queer subtext of Fight Club. The third rule of Fight Club is take off your shirt and let's grapple.

    Posted at 5:07 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Eh, Not So Much

    Is this another prank from those tricky Canadians at Vice?

    If it is, it's not so funny, but it's better than the whole "We're white supremacists" thing.

    If it's not... I guess that's why it's not funny at all.

    Posted at 4:40 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Super Fun Military-Incursion Home Destruction Quiz: Iraq or Palestine?

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    ANSWER: Iraq, specifically Fallujah!

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    ANSWER: Palestine, specifically Gaza!

    Be sure to check in again a few days from now when we have our next round of Super Fun Military-Incursion Home Destructions with which to work!

    Posted at 3:00 PM in a Grave fashion.
    Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 41

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    Posted at 12:10 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
    Hey, come on now...there are millions of Americans living and breathing right this very second! And several of them are probably smiling or laughing, too

    cheney_smiling.jpgGolly gee. Who'd have ever thought that a few hundred tons of weapons gone missing in some Middle Eastern nation-state would have such an effect on the waning days of the race for the White House? Certainly not the American military unit that apparently wasn't told to search the weapons-storage facility from which these munitions were presumably taken. Realistically, if their bosses had known there were weapons floating around Iraq, they'd have been on high alert over this sort of thing, right?

    From "Spokesman: Unit Didn't Search Al-Qaqaa", Associated Press, October 27, 2004:

    The Kerry campaign called the disappearance the latest in a "tragic series of blunders" by the Bush administration in Iraq.

    Vice President Dick Cheney raised the possibility the explosives disappeared before U.S. soldiers could secure the site, and he complained that Kerry does not mention the "400,000 tons of weapons and explosives that our troops have captured."

    OK, there you go. This is how war works, and politics, too. It's that classic Cheney tactic: accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative. To wit, regarding the administration's now-very-clearly-fucked-up invasion of Iraq, the Vice President said in June:

    "After decades of rule by a brutal dictator, Iraq has been returned to its rightful owners, the people of Iraq," Cheney said in a speech in New Orleans, which made the case that Bush had reversed a terrorist threat that grew unchecked before he came to office. "America is safer, and the world is more secure, because Iraq and Afghanistan are now partners in the struggle against terror, instead of sanctuaries for terrorist networks."

    You see how that works? He plays up the good things that have come from the invasion and overthrow of Iraq and Afghanistan, and doesn't act like a certain senator from a certain state in the Northeast might, by focusing on, say, the fact that 3,000 Americans died three years ago, or that well more than a thousand American soldiers have died in military action since then, or that much more than ten thousand Iraqis and Afghans have perished at the hands of American weaponry in that interim...see, that's meaningless, folks.

    Because at the end of the day, those hundreds of millions of Americans who don't fall into those "irrelevant" categories of deaths detailed above are, of course, safer. It's about positivity. Optimism. And that's the Cheney way.

    At least I think that's how it works. Though I'm probably overlooking something. I can just feel it...

    Oh, shit, I've got it! This, right here!

    "The biggest threat we face now as a nation,'' he said, "is the possibility of terrorists' ending up in the middle of one of our cities with deadlier weapons than have ever before been used against us - biological agents or a nuclear weapon or a chemical weapon of some kind - to be able to threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans.''

    "You have to get your mind around that concept," he added.

    You go, Dick! For a few fleeting moments up there I'd somehow managed to convince myself that you'd gone all Disney, all "hakuna matata" and "circle of life" and shit, but thanks for grounding us in the bare necessities: Vote or die.

    Posted at 11:56 AM in a Grave fashion.
    Notes Towards an Election Week Mix Tape

    "The Final Countdown," Europe

    "Political World," Bob Dylan

    "Power to the People," John Lennon

    "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)," REM

    "Welcome to the Terrordome," Public Enemy

    "Help!," The Beatles

    "The Power," Snap

    "I Started a Joke," The Bee Gees

    "Whistle When You're Low," Cancer Boy

    "Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind," Lovin' Spoonful

    "Manic Depression," Jimi Hendrix

    "Heroes," David Bowie

    "A Change is Gonna Come," Sam Cooke

    "Authority Song," John Mellencamp

    "You're a Big Girl Now," The Stylistics (for Dubya)

    Question: What's on yours?

    Posted at 11:28 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Fittingly, this more or less captures our feelings about next Tuesday's results

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    It's 4th and 10 with six days on the clock and hundreds of electoral votes to go...and John Kerry hopes that his Hail Mary Cheney play works!!!

    And please take note that sports metaphors will never again appear on this site. Ever.

    Posted at 10:40 AM in a Grave fashion.
    A Little Child Shall Lead Them

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    American Taboo: War Planning is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things

    From In Deepest Ohio, I Was Embedded in Bush Bunker, by Philip Weiss, The New York Observer, Oct. 27, 2004:

    In my hotel that night, I read a piece being given out at Crunch's headquarters in Butler County. It's called "Don't Close Your Blinds" and is an unsigned parable supposedly narrated by a war vet's mother. (It has also been on the Internet.) A 9-year-old kid asks his parents why we're at war, and the father brings him to the window and tells him to pretend that the neighbors' houses are other countries and that "our house and our yard is the United States of America and you are President Bush."

    Then the father tells the boy to pretend that the man across the way is Saddam, who comes out with his wife, "he has her by the hair and he's hitting her." She is "bleeding and crying … then he starts to kick her to death." The man's kids come out but are afraid to stop him. "‘What do you do, son?'

    ‘I call the police, Dad.'"

    But the police are the U.N. They say it's not their place or the son's to get involved. The woman dies.

    "Now he is doing the same thing to his children," says the father.

    "He kills them?"

    "Yes, son, he does."

    The son wants to call the neighbors for help, but the father says the neighbors refuse to help.

    "‘WHAT DO YOU DO, SON?' Our son starts to cry," the mother says.

    Next the man goes into a neighbor's house and kills the old lady there. He sees the son through the window and puffs out his chest and smiles.

    The son tells his father he wants to close the blinds and pretend he's not there. O.K., but then the man is at his door.

    Now the son tells his father that he's going to fight.

    "He balls up his tiny fists and looks his father square in the eyes," the mother recounts. "Without hesitation he says, ‘I DEFEND MY FAMILY, DAD! I'M NOT GONNA LET HIM HURT MOMMY OR MY SISTER …. ' I see a tear roll down my husband's cheek, and he grabs our son to his chest. He hugs him tight and cries, ‘It's too late to fight him. He's too strong and he's already at YOUR front door, son. You should have stopped him BEFORE he killed his wife. You have to do what's right, even if you have to do it alone."

    And here we thought the adults were in charge.

    Posted at 10:37 AM in a Grave fashion.
    Despite This, You Should Still Vote

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    Green Party: Punks Dead and Your Next [sic.]

    Earlier: Another counterculture icon for participatory democracy

    Posted at 9:06 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 26, 2004
    Hitch Your Wagon

    Slate, in its noble but hopeless effort "to emphasize the distinction between opinion and bias," allows contributors to reveal their picks for President. And while the legion Mia-philes will be fascinated to learn that arts writer Mia Fineman is voting Kerry, it's Christopher Hitchens' endorsement that is likely to raise eyebrows - Hitch, per Slate, is voting Kerry.

    Nevermind his recent endorsement of Bush in The Nation (titled "Why I'm (Slightly) for Bush"), nevermind his defenses of the Bush administration that occasionally border on the absurd, let Hitchens explain his choice, with the clarity and concision for which he is known. From Slate:

    The ironic votes are the endorsements for Kerry that appear in Buchanan's anti-war sheet The American Conservative, and the support for Kerry's pro-war candidacy manifested by those simple folks at MoveOn.org. I can't compete with this sort of thing, but I do think that Bush deserves praise for his implacability, and that Kerry should get his worst private nightmare and have to report for duty.

    So his Slate endorsement is ironic, but his Nation endorsement is sincere? Or he's not interested in voting for Kerry for ironic reasons, but for obvious reasons? Or what the fuck? I'll bet that piece from the Nation will clear things up, where this Merlot-fueled master of the mot juste really gets to lay out his case. To wit:

    Sometimes it's objectively not so bad that the "other" party actually wins. Thus I ought to begin by stating my reasons to hope for a Kerry/Edwards victory.

    ...

    I can't wait to see President Kerry discover which corporation, aside from Halliburton, should after all have got the contract to reconstruct Iraq's oil industry. I look forward to seeing him eat his Jesse Helms-like words, about the false antithesis between spending money abroad and "at home" (as if this war, sponsored from abroad, hadn't broken out "at home"). I take pleasure in advance in the discovery that he will have to make, that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a more dangerous and better-organized foe than Osama bin Laden, and that Zarqawi's existence is a product of jihadism plus Saddamism, and not of any error of tact on America's part.

    OK, so that was totally ironic. Totally. But then what to make of what follows?
    Should the electors decide for the President, as I would slightly prefer, the excruciating personality of George Bush strikes me in the light of a second- or third-order consideration.
    That's totally sincere (aka un-ironic), right? So then what's with the thing in Slate? Did he change his mind in the four days between the publication of his Nation piece and his Salon rumblings? Maybe Hitchens has run out of things to be a contrarian about and he now has only himself to debate. Or maybe someone should just lay off the sauce this close to the big day. God knows I'm confused.

    Posted at 10:53 PM in a Grave fashion.
    It's Been A Long Campaign Season

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    July 29, 2004... October 21, 2004

    We're all sagging a bit, but we can pull through, people!

    Posted at 10:46 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Chomsky Shrugged

    partychomsky.jpgBipartisancurious Andrew Sullivan seems to strain credulity a bit with this passage in his endorsement of John Kerry:

    Does Kerry believe in this war? Skeptics say he doesn't. They don't believe he has understood the significance of September 11. They rightly point to the antiwar and anti-Western attitudes of some in his base--the Michael Moores and Noam Chomskys who will celebrate a Kerry victory.

    Frankly, we find it somewhat difficult to imagine the dour MIT linguist celebrating anything, especially the election of John Kerry, whom Chomsky endorsed, if anything, more reservedly and reluctantly than Sullivan did.

    Posted at 10:17 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    See? This is why you don't hire Hilary Duff to attend White House press briefings

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    So, like, yesterday the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency announced that a whole lot of explosives were missing or gone or something from an Iraqi weapons facility. This, like, looks so so bad for President Bush, who's been campaigning non-stop on the perceived strength of his, like, handling of this war on terror thing. We're, like, fighting terrorists, and if they have weapons that they shouldn't have, it's so totally bad for our troops.

    Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan fielded questions on the munitions - which are, like, missing - from reporters aboard Air Force One.

    Q: Are U.S. troops under any kind of higher alert because there's enough munitions for like 50 car bombs? Is there, like, any kind of alert going on for them? Are they on any kind of higher standard?

    MR. McCLELLAN: I think you need to look at what we have done in terms of destroying munitions. As I point out, we've destroyed more than 243,000 munitions, we've secured another nearly 163,000 that will be destroyed.

    OMG those numbers totally shot you down, anonymous White House pool reporter! Or should I say...Ms. Lohan!

    Posted at 4:25 PM in a Grave fashion.
    My Big Fat Ancient Greek Word

    How does a writer make himself or herself sound real smart? Use big words!

    "Lonnie Hanover, the club's publicist, began talking to the New York Daily News, the New York Post, and the New York Observer about the calls from Republican delegations and the “big name entertainers' who would be specially imported for their ecdysiastic needs," Live Nude Girls: Undercover at the RNC, by Mara Hvistendahl, The Philadelphia Independent, Oct. 2004. [via Gawker]
    * * *
    "GINA Gershon really threw herself into her latest role in 'Prey for Rock & Roll,' portraying a sexy songbird who frequents ecdysiastic establishments. The brunette beauty had no problem getting into character, reports our spy who sighted her at Scores. In "Prey," she fronts the not-so-subtly named all-girl group Clamdandy and reprises some of the sapphic shenanigans she last performed in 'Bound' and 'Showgirls,' Page Six, by Richard Johnson, et. al, The New York Post, Aug. 26, 2003.

    Thanks for making us all sound a little more literate, Mr. Mencken

    Suggested:: callipygous.

    Related: Ecdysiastic.com.

    Posted at 1:41 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Dino's List

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    Dino Stamatopoulos: He puts the grrrrr in Totally Obscure Comedy Cult Figure

    The best part of the new Mr. Show with Bob and David season 4 DVD? The obligatory blooper reel of course.

    But more specifically, the really best part is the fetishy tribute to show writer, producer, and sometime actor Dino Stamatopoulos that shows him riding his chopper, mucking around in a lake, and flubbing his one line in the excellent Amadeus parody "Philouza." ("There's Philouza!")001MrShowbox.jpg

    If Bob and David are the Lennon/McCartney of sketch comedy, Dino's the Frank Zappa: weird, obscure, beloved by a legion of creepy fans who obsess over his ouvre like members of a secret society— and then there are Dino's questionable Zappa-esque grooming choices. He's probably the funniest person you've never heard of.

    If a show was funny, Dino has probably had his grubby hands in it: The Ben Stiller Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, TV Funhouse. (Memo to Comedy Central: Put that show on DVD post haste!) He's even had his hands in some not so funny shows: Take MAD TV. Please, take it.

    Listen to the commentary tracks for Ben Stiller or Mr. Show and you'll see: It's Dino's world, we just laugh at it.

    dino1.jpg
    "There's Philouza!": He finally nails it.

    Related: Fun Bunch Comedy

    Posted at 12:27 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    George W. Bush sports his "Poppy" mask just in time for Halloween

    gwbushdaddymask.jpg

    Soon enough, they'll both be aged ex-presidents, after all, so it's only fitting that they've begin to look like one another. And by "soon enough," we mean, January 2009, unless certain American voters get their shit sorted in time.

    EARLIER: Bush 41 and 43 in happier years, when little W. was content to merely drink Barbara's milk while wearing a Yale sweater, as opposed to his later-in-life consumption of JD while disingenuously sporting a cowboy hat.

    gwbushdaddy_yale.jpg

    Posted at 12:20 PM in a Grave fashion.
    John Peel's a Dead Cunt

    johnpeel.jpgJohn Ravenscroft, aka John Peel, legendary Radio One DJ, is dead of a heart attack. Pirate radio DJ, punk patron and OBE, Peel, according to legend, was the first DJ to play a record twice in a row. Download mp3's of recent Peel Sessions here.

    Peel on Peel Sessions:

    Over the years we've had almost everybody, except the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, of the kind of big bands of the past. More recently Oasis, I never really thought Oasis were much good to be honest, so they didn't do one. Whereas Blur did a couple of times. My favourites would be fairly obscure things - the two sessions the Slits did during the punk era which were just magical, I thought, were just terrific. Oh, there have been so many. There have been so few that have been bad, it's amazing, really, when you consider how many have been done. Many thousands now. Very few of them have been disappointing. The Clash did half one, and then amazingly said that the equipment in the studio wasn't up to the standards that they'd expected so they couldn't complete the session. Which seemed to me to be unbearably pretentious of them.

    Posted at 10:57 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Lies, Falsehoods, and Total Fabrications, vol. 2

    001gunslies.jpgThe lies will out...

    At least six real-life crimes have been solved by actors from CSI.

    There are four yoga poses that cause instant death: powerful members of the yoga community will not release the names of which ones.

    If left in a bottle of Snapple overnight, a penny will completely dissolve.

    In 1973, General Motors patented an engine that runs on ground up kittens: The ASPCA has prevented them from ever releasing it.

    3 out of 4 Canadians are criminally insane.

    Earlier: Lies, Falsehoods, and Total Fabrications, vol. 1

    Posted at 10:31 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Toke the Vote

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    Doobie Brother: Dude, don't bogart the platform.

    Posted at 9:38 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
    'Perf' Post Piece Sends Circ Soaring

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    Gays, Dogs, Scissors: You just can't make this shit up!

    Today's a red letter day for The New York Post. They finally printed the Platonic ideal of Post stories.

    No, I'm not talking about Steve Dunleavy's heartfelt tribute to his Iraq-bound son/critique of John Kerry. (Though, that piece is pretty close to ideal for The Post.)

    I'm talking about Chris Wilson's 'Gay' Dogfight, which manages to set-off almost all of the paper's hot-buttons and embody everything we look for in a 25-cent birdcage liner. To wit:

    Violence: Nothing gets the morning blood flowing like some violence in the paper. The New York Times has some story about some crap in Iraq, but the post has this: "He just kept stabbing me. At first I thought he was punching me, until I felt all the blood dripping down. He kept saying, 'I want to kill you! Why don't you just die already?'...The scissors were open, so every time he stabbed me, it was like getting stabbed twice."

    Celebrities: "They regularly groomed J.Lo's cocker spaniel, Boots, and Janet Jackson's Rottweiler, Reilly. They also primped P. Diddy's canine posse: Sofie, the Maltese terrier; Honey, the Shar-Pei; and Lady, the Shih Tzu." J.Lo and P. Diddy? And their dogs? Wow, wow, and bow-wow!

    Hilarious Homos: "The former partners — considered to be among the city's top pet groomers — penned the 'Queer Eye for the Scruffy Dog' column for The New York Dog magazine." These guys are like real-life versions of Scott Donlan and Stefan Vanderhoof from Best in Show!

    Puns: Not only does Wilson get to use puns like "the fur flew" and "animal attraction," but the alleged attacker and victim ran a company called Doggie-Doo and Pussycats, Too!. C'mon! You can't make up puns like that. Actually, I guess you can.

    Quotation Marks: We get a 'double dose' of patented Post quote marks: Gay 'Dogfight' (hed) and Celeb groomer 'stabs' his lover (sub-hed). Why the quotes around 'stab'? I guess it's not a real stabbing if it's gay dudes.

    While this is a Platonically ideal Post piece, I sort of wish they could've fit in a slam at The New York Daily News circ numbers, John Kerry, and a trendspotting exposé about something six months old. Luckily, the rest of the paper comes to the rescue.

    So, kudos to Chris Wilson and the editors of The New York Post for this story: Keep up the great work and our 25-cents will be yours every single day, except Saturday when the paper's thinner than a fax sheet. And Sundays, when it's 50-cents, and twice as worthless.

    Posted at 9:06 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 25, 2004
    Fan, Meet Shit

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    TIME, Nov. 1, 2004... The Day After, 1983

    Related: Anyone else out there get sent home with a note from your elementary school principal warning your parents not to let kids watch The Day After when it aired on TV?

    Posted at 6:14 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Dozens may have died, but we nonetheless learned a valuable lesson in the process

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    Life lessons on how to navigate through the hellhole that is Iraq, gleaned from "New Violence Flares in Iraq, After Executions Leave 49 Dead", the New York Times, October 25, 2004:

    "In the future, we will try to be more careful when the soldiers leave their camps," he added. "We will provide them with protected cars that can escort them home."

    Phew! We can all rest assured, then, that slaughters of this magnitude will never happen again. I mean, the guy said, in the future, they'll try to be more careful about it.

    Posted at 5:45 PM in a Grave fashion.
    Question for The New York Post Photo Department

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    Did you use this picture of the Olsen twins' Saturday Night Live parody of The Swan:

    a) To be funny?
    b) To piss off your corporate sister network?
    c) Totally and completely by mistake?
    d) All of the above.
    e) None of the above.

    Posted at 5:17 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    John Kerry for President

    We here at low culture pride ourselves on several things: our good oral hygiene, our minimal use of 'and/or', and our scrupulously non-partisan coverage. We have a little motto around the office that we have hanging right above our collection of Jamaican jerk sauces: We Bring You the World, We Don't Spin It.

    But now, at the end of one of the bitterest, most divisivest presidential campaigns in recent memory, we feel it is essential that we drop the veil of objectivity and endorse John Kerry for President.

    Unlike some satirists who openly endorse the re-election of George W. Bush, hoping for four more years of amusing malaprops and even more amusing enlisted and civilian deaths overseas, low culture stands firm in the belief that there will still be things to make fun of when John Kerry becomes president after the drawn-out legal battle that will bring this country to the brink of civil war beginning November 3rd. Watching Kerry, his running mate John Edwards, the return of several funny Clinton cronies (as well as Clinton himself), and especially that batshit wife of his, we look forward to the next four years with not only confidence, but a feeling we'd all but abandoned years ago: hope.

    Furthermore, we believe that despite their absence, we will still have George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and their cabinet to kick around after the election. We look forward—again, with hope—to Vice President Cheney's return to the private sector and the amazing pay-out he will no doubt get from Halliburton. We can't wait for President Bush, a man near-universally derided as one of the worst public speakers to ever hold an elected office above PTA co-chairman, to receive six-figure speaking fees and team up with Rudy Giuliani on a book or DVD-ROM project. We're excited for John Ashcroft to finally molt his skin and reveal that he is an evil lizard monster in the vein of a David Icke nightmare gone awry, and rampage through the streets of Washington biting children and spitting venom at police. Poisonous venom.

    None of these things will be possible if George W. Bush is re-elected next week.

    As fans of unsigned editorials written by committee know, you cannot endorse a candidate merely by focusing on the flaws of his competitor. You must make the case convincingly—and quickly—and save room for the brassiere ads and other crap that appears at the base of page A18. So, these are the reasons low culture endorses John Kerry:

    1. John Kerry will discard the simplistic Terror Alert color system and truly make the country feel safe from terrorism the only way we can feel safe. No more opportunistically selected heightened alerts around events like the Democratic National Convention. Kerry will make Terrorism like your grandmother's birthday: All but forgotten, but nagging at the back of your conscience from time-to-time. This is a good thing.

    2. John Kerry will work hard to reunite the world community and rebuild alliances lost since the disastrous invasion of Iraq. He will do this mostly through saying things like, "Look, World Community, I know you all got screwed by my predecessor. But I'm not my predecessor and I'm not going to try to be. I'm just a guy, standing before you, asking you to agree with me that my predecessor sucked. Now, who wants ice cream?" (Terry McAuliffe enjoys pistachio, we hear.)

    3. John Kerry has shown us that not all Vietnam vets have mustaches or are scary and reminiscent of some character from Jacob's Ladder. And despite hitting us up before the Democratic National Convention, they don't all beg us for money.

    4. John Kerry will not privatize social security and will work to reform the health care gap in this country. This might not seem important to you, but one day you will be old or sick and we guarantee you, you're going to want ice cream. There is enough ice cream for the World Community and you. John Kerry will see to that, unless Terry McAuliffe acts like an asshole again and takes the bins of pistachio we've left out for Burkina Faso. Terry McAuliffe, incidentally, hates third-world debt relief. 001bra.jpg

    5. Have you seen John Kerry's wife? John Kerry promises that she will do shit to make you laugh your ass off: crazy, out-of-the-box, next level shit that none of us can even imagine right now. Okay, we'll imagine it: She'll speak at a convention for kids with spina bifida and correct some kid's posture. John Kerry promises she'll do stuff like that all the time.

    6. John Kerry will not make signs that boast "Mission: Accomplished" and then watch that mission spin completely out of control as thousands die and billions are spent on preemptive wars: John Kerry hates those signs.

    There are many, many more reasons to elect John Kerry, but we need to make room for a bra ad.

    Please do the right thing for the nation, the world, and yourself and elect John Kerry for President on November 2nd.

    Now, who wants ice cream?

    Posted at 12:23 PM in a Grave fashion.
    A handy guide to Bush's supporters (as seen from front and back), vol. 2

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    westworld.jpg

    Earlier: A handy guide to Bush's supporters (as seen from front and back)

    Posted at 10:03 AM in a Grave fashion.
    Coming Soon To A Town Near You!

    Huge Cache of Explosives Vanished From Site in Iraq
    by James Glanz, William J. Broad, and David E. Sanger, The New York Times, Oct. 25, 2004.

    Worst case scenario: A deadly manuscript bomb set off in an American city.

    Posted at 8:29 AM in a Grave fashion.
    Is Ashlee Wired?

    ashlee1.jpg
    SNL Moderator Jude Law introduces the second address from Ashlee [sic] Simpson.

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    Fun pose has been struck, appealing to "security moms" and suggesting Ashlee's [sic] opening statement is about to begin.

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    Pre-recorded vocal track neglects to kick in, sending Ashlee [sic] into a series of uncomfortable smirks and horrifying dance moves.

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    As Ashlee [sic] leaves the stage a bulge is clearly visible from the rear. Could this be the result of a puckering in her Lucky Brand jeans, a wireless mic, or an especially large mole?

    ashlee4.jpg
    Marshall stacks and audio cables are evident. Ashlee's [sic] shadowy backers attempt to maintain the facade that they are playing live.

    Previous thoughts on Ashlee Simpson.

    Posted at 2:17 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 24, 2004
    Return of the Wolfman

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    Canidae Rovus: The North American Rove Wolf
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    The Wolfman's drawing: "How did the wolves get up in the tree?"

    I dreamed that it is night and I am lying in my bed (the foot of my bed was under the window, and outside the window there was a row of old walnut trees. I know that it was winter in my dream, and night-time). Suddenly, the window opens of its own accord and terrified, I see that there are number of white wolves sitting in the big walnut tree outside the window...

    So recounted Sergei Pankejeff, AKA "The Wolfman," to his doctor, the original Dr. Funkenstein himself, Sigmund Freud.

    I thought about the Wolfman recently, since Freud might just be the man to decode Wolves, the new scare ad from the Bush/Cheney camp, released just in time for Halloween (Oooh, Veddy Scary!). There's a raw, hypnopompic quality to the spot: it has the sweaty, blurry feel of a nightmare. (A not dissimilar feeling to this entire gut-wrenching campaign season.)

    Continue reading...
    Posted at 7:15 PM in a Grave fashion.
    But That's the Name of Scott Ritter's Book

    Lizz Winstead's advice to Jon Stewart, from If You Interview Kissinger, Are You Still a Comedian?, by Damian Cave, The New York Times, Oct. 24, 2004:

    "Jon should be the guy who asks the satirical questions... He wouldn't have to nail someone and make them uncomfortable, but since Jon is so brilliant at being satirical, why not say to Richard Perle on the show, 'Did you ever think of calling your book 'Confessions of a Chicken Hawk?' "

    Related: One more Kissinger mention and my next coffee's free!

    Really Related: Winstead chatted with Kurt Andersen about this very topic in Mother Jones in May/June (it was a long chat):

    KA: Speaking of The Daily Show, I'm always impressed by how comfortably Jon Stewart interviews Kissinger or even Richard Perle.

    LW: Jon's tremendous. I feel, though, when you are interviewing a Richard Perle or a Kissinger, if you give them a pass, then you become what you are satirizing. You have a war criminal sitting on your couch—to just let him be a war criminal sitting on your couch means you are having to respect some kind of boundary.
    [...]
    KA: But Vietnam happened longer ago. Cambodia happened longer ago.

    LW: I think that illegal bombings and massacres have more weight.

    KA: So did that disappoint you, when Jon Stewart was nice to Kissinger?

    LW: I don't mean that you would necessarily need to grill Kissinger. But to let it go.…

    KA: So you should jokingly say, "Say, Dr. Kissinger, what about those 2 million dead Cambodians…?"

    LW: Exactly! As a way to say something. To me, it seems like the elephant in the room.

    Yay! Free coffee time!

    Posted at 1:21 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 23, 2004
    Dubya the Dread

    What happened to you, Christopher? You used to be cool.

    Why I'm (Slightly) for Bush, by Christopher Hitchens, The Nation, Oct. 21, 2004.

    Related: Well, Comrade Hitchens has endorsed worse.

    [via Jimmy "Dyno-mite! Wolcott]

    Posted at 3:38 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 22, 2004
    Actually, You Can Just Skip That First Step

    001voteordie.jpg

    Posted at 4:53 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Sir, If I May Say, You Bomb Cambodians Like No Other. And I Find You Very Attractive.

    001playgirl.jpg
    Naked Without My Peace Prize: Henry Kissinger's body politic, 1974 Playgirl parody

    Everybody loves Henry!

    Well, at lease they used to, according to In Calls to Kissinger, Reporters Show That Even They Fell Under Super-K's Spell, by Scott Shane, The New York Times, Oct. 22, 2004:

    "The only reason for this call was to tell you that despite all appearances to the contrary in this city you still have some friends."—CBS correspondent Marvin Kalb.

    "It has been an extraordinary three years for me, and I have enjoyed it immensely. You are an intriguing man, and if I had a teacher like you earlier I might not have been so cynical"—Ted Koppel.

    "I couldn't agree with you more, my friend... I will make a call and see what I can do"— James Reston, New York Times columnist.

    Related: Long out of print, but partially online: Kissinger: The Adventures of Super-Kraut by Charles Ashman.

    Posted at 2:26 PM in a Grave fashion.
    New York Post Really, Really, Really Endorses Bush. Really. For Real.
    tell (n) A mannerism that gives away your holdings. Smiling when you have a big (very good) hand is an obvious tell. More subtle tells include iris dilation, a throbbing pulse, or acting in a certain manner in a given situation.

    sub·text (n.) The implicit meaning or theme of a literary text.

    These are not strong words of endorsement:

    ...quite good enough for us...

    ...Not flawlessly, not by a long shot, but competently enough...

    ...worry....

    ...No Child Left Behind act may mark the beginning of true reform...

    ...Quite well...

    ...enormous headway in eliminating threats...

    ... Iraq, of course, remains a work in progress. But all wars are "two steps forward, one step back" propositions; this one is no different...

    ...it is true that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq...

    ...Yes, Osama bin Laden — if he is in fact alive — remains at large...

    ...Again, WMDs were not found....

    ...U.S. efforts in Iraq are not finished. More than 1,000 troops have died, and billions have been spent. And pockets of strong resistance remain....

    ...New York, by the way, benefited disproportionately from Bush's tax cuts — because they were geared, in part, to aid Wall Street...

    Wow, with endorsements like that, who needs endorsements?

    But perhaps the key phrase—typed with hams on fist by an unreliable narrator worthy of Nabokov—is this withering appraisal of Osama bin Laden:

    [H]e is increasingly a general without an army, and he is off-balance and on the run.

    Really, really, really sounds like someone else, doesn't it? Really. For Real.

    Posted at 2:04 PM in a Grave fashion.
    ...And they paint beautiful handmade signs, too

    teresa_hispanic_women.jpg

    Posted at 11:04 AM in a Grave fashion.
    Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 40

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    Posted at 10:58 AM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
    Best. Google. Search String. Ever.

    Ann+Coulter+Creampie

    My favorite part is the little survey NBC41.com saw fit to include: Should these men have been arrested?
    No, it was just pie.
    Yes, they attacked her.

    Survey said?! No, they should be beatified.
    [via Gawker]

    Posted at 10:11 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Well, That's Like 40 Votes Right There

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    The Polyphonic Spree endorse Bush/Cheney.

    Posted at 8:42 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Hooray for Charts!

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    003chart.jpg

    004chart.jpg

    005chart.jpg

    God bless you, Mr. Tufte.

    Posted at 8:35 AM in a Grave fashion.
      October 21, 2004
    God is the Biggest Flip-Flopper of Them All

    From Robertson Says Bush Predicted No Iraq Toll, by David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times, Oct. 21, 2004:

    "In the CNN interview, [Pat] Robertson reversed himself on one prophecy. On his '700 Club' television program in January, he declared that Mr. Bush would win re-election 'in a walk,' and added, 'I really believe I'm hearing from the Lord it's going to be a blowout election in 2004.'

    "On Tuesday, however, he conceded, 'I thought it was going to be a blowout, but I think it's razor thin now.'"

    How much can we "trust" in God, if He can't be held a simple, clear point of view? Does God have the experience, the know-how, and the can-do attitude this country needs right now? Is God truly a uniter, or is He the worst divider known to man? It's time to send God and the other fat cats from heaven a message on November 2nd. Vote God out.

    I'm the anti-Christ, and I approve this message.

    Posted at 3:49 PM in a Grave fashion.
    We thank you for dutifully informing us of the past 24 hours' noteworthy injuries

    Prince Harry? M'lŽed! Crikey, the young lad was totally gutted about the face with a camera amidst some fracas with photogs!
    ("Prince Harry in nightclub scuffle", BBC News, October 21, 2004)

    Fidel Castro? Yeah, he was hurt, too. Tripped and fell, and broke some bones. Hope he gets better!
    ("Castro Says He May Have Broken Bones", Associated Press, October 21, 2004)

    Iraqi airline workers? Yep, 14 women were wounded, and one killed, when those troublesome insurgents opened fire on a bus carrying the women and, like, shot them and shit. The guns were totally fucking blazing, I bet.
    ("Iraqi air employees attacked", Associated Press, October 21, 2004)

    Oh, and while we're on the subject, what are Prince Harry's thoughts on the American and British occupation of Iraq? He's never been as good-looking as his older brother, so I'd wager he's got this younger-child syndrome, and is all, "Wah wah, Iraq distracted us from Afghanistan."

    Posted at 12:46 PM in a Grave fashion.
    Unintended Irony Alert

    menudo1.jpg

    From imdb's Movie & TV News:

    Ricky Martin Blasts Child Sex Tourism
    Martin says, "This is slavery and this is the year 2004 and we are still dealing with it. There is a lot of denial. I want to see abolition of this slavery. I need to see the world step out of denial and see this happening here."

    From Kidzworld.com's Ricky Martin Bio Page:

    Ricky Martin's first real glimpse of the spotlight came when he landed a spot in the teen Latin pop group Menudo. Ricky Martin tried out when he was 10, but didn't make the group 'til he was 12 cuz they thought he was too young. Ricky Martin spent five years with the band and left in 1989, feeling burnt out and wanting a change.

    Posted at 12:20 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Move Over, Tragedy. Hello, Farce!

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    "I'm sure the gift shop's right around here somewhere."

    Perhaps the worst trip idea I've ever heard of: a 16 day Apocalypse Now-theme vacation in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

    Really, which is a worse experience to retrace: The fictional journey (random shooting, freak-outs, beheadings, explosions) or the cinematic journey (typhoons, heart attacks, bankruptcy)? Have fun! Don't forget to write!

    As creepy as this is, I guess it's better than The Sorrow and the Pity Parisian Excursion, The Silkwood Seniors' Weekend, or The Alive Andes Adventure.

    [via Green Cine Daily]

    Posted at 9:15 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Beyond the Valley of the Pols

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    Reaching for votes in Iowa

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    Reaching for pills in Valley of the Dolls.

    "Query": Gayest low culture entry ever? Nope and noper.

    Posted at 8:08 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 20, 2004
    Worst Choke Ever

    intangible2.jpgI'm not surprised, but now that it's actually happening, it's worse than I thought it would be. This is the worst choke since the drummer from Spinal Tap choked on someone else's vomit.

    EARLIER: Post-Imperial Melancholy

    Posted at 9:48 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    This election season, be very, very, very afraid (of asinine accusations dropping from left and right)

    selling_arms.jpg
    One lucky terrorist clutches the Bush Adminstration's greatest nightmare, the uranium-equipped Vaccinatron 2000, which threatens to carry black-market flu vaccines into America's largest cities, thereby obliterating all old people

    From "Bush Defends Himself Against Kerry's Charges", the Washington Post, October 20, 2004:

    President Bush pivoted sharply to domestic issues Tuesday, parrying Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry's charges that the president had bungled the flu-vaccine program and would undermine Social Security in a second term.

    With two weeks to go before Election Day, Kerry, fighting to reduce a small deficit in opinion polls, condemned Bush's policies on health care and economic matters. Bush largely dropped the offensive he started Monday against Kerry's credentials on security issues, moving quickly to defend his domestic record and charging that Kerry was willing to make outlandish assertions to win election.

    [...]

    Kerry aides said that in shifting to domestic concerns, Bush was responding to recent polls that show him with a narrow lead over Kerry but also show majorities of Americans saying the country is headed in the wrong direction. Bush aides said the president was not being defensive on domestic matters but rather tarring Kerry as a fear-monger using "old-style scare tactics" and as a candidate who would say anything to get elected - a charge Bush used effectively against Al Gore four years ago.

    From "Kerry Discovers Flu Vaccine Shortage in Battle Against Bush", Bloomberg, October 20, 2004:

    Bill Pierce, a spokesman for Thompson, defended the Bush administration's handling of the flu-vaccine issue. "What we don't need people to do is scare seniors,'' he said. "Senator Kerry has been doing that.''

    And, finally, the coup de grace, from "Cheney, Invoking the Specter of a Nuclear Attack, Questions Kerry's Strength", the New York Times, October 20, 2004:

    Vice President Dick Cheney cast doubt Tuesday on whether Senator John Kerry was strong enough to fight terrorism, and asserted that the nation might one day face terrorists "in the middle of one of our cities with deadlier weapons than have ever before been used against us,'' including a nuclear bomb.

    As he toured southern Ohio by bus seeking to energize Republican supporters, Mr. Cheney hit hard on a central theme of the Bush campaign: that the president has a better grasp than Mr. Kerry of the threats facing the nation, and the will to stymie terrorists. As in previous campaigning, the vice president invoked the specter of terrorists' attacking an American city.

    "The biggest threat we face now as a nation,'' he said, "is the possibility of terrorists' ending up in the middle of one of our cities with deadlier weapons than have ever before been used against us - biological agents or a nuclear weapon or a chemical weapon of some kind - to be able to threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans.''

    Posted at 5:33 PM in a Grave fashion.
    Kerry Not a Heretic

    Just in case you were wondering, it looks like John Kerry is not a heretic after all. And he got cleared by the No. 2 guy at the Inquisition, no less. From The New York Times:

    BOSTON, Oct. 19 - The Roman Catholic Church's official news service quoted an unnamed Vatican official on Tuesday as saying John Kerry was "not a heretic" for his stance on abortion rights.

    The article by The Catholic News Service also quoted an unnamed Vatican official as saying Mr. Kerry was not about to be excommunicated because "you can incur excommunication" automatically "only if you procure or perform an abortion."

    [...]

    But on Tuesday, Father Di Noia, an American priest who is highly influential in his position as under secretary of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, took steps to distance himself from the letter. He told The Catholic News Service that "the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has had no contact with Mr. Balestrieri" and that Mr. Balestrieri's "claim that the private letter he received from Father Basil Cole is a Vatican response is completely without merit."

    Father Di Noia's remarks to the news service seem to reflect a reluctance by at least some Vatican officials to be perceived as trying to meddle in an American presidential election, experts on the Vatican said.

    Way back a long time ago, there was an ugly sentiment in this country that the Catholic Church was a foreign organization whose leadership went out of its way to control the decisions of its members, and that its members, therefore, could not be trusted to be good American citizens. Of course, that view was just used as a pretext by Americans who were simply anti-immigrant. But it seems to me that the (admittedly very few) bishops who are going around saying that it's a sin to vote for pro-choice candidates are playing into exactly that stereotype.

    Continue reading...
    Posted at 2:51 PM in a Grave fashion.
    Attack of the Weasel Vaccines

    weasel_vaccine_attack.jpg
    Courtesy, Asthmatic Weasels Blog.

    From the BBC:

    Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said on Tuesday that vaccine manufacturer Aventis Pasteur would be able to produce an extra 2.6 million doses.

    What Secretary Thompson neglected to mention was that the so-called Aventis is the result of a merger between a French (Rhône-Poulenc) and a German (Hoechst) company. Does the Bush Administration not realize that this company practically personifies the Axis of Weasel? Is it not possible that these vaccines could secretly contain defeatist chemicals intended to weaken our country's resolve? Should they not, at least, label these vaccines such that patriotic Americans can be aware of the origins of the vaccines being injected into their (equally patriotic) children?

    Posted at 12:25 PM in a Grave fashion.
    2BR, 1.5 BTH, WBFP, NO CLOSETS

    McGreevey's Wife, Going Her Own Way, Buys a Home of Her Own

    Thank you! We'll be here all week!

    Posted at 8:18 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    You Know, From Hookers or Kissinger or Whomever

    "[C]alling me a d- -k or making fun of my bow tie is not gonna rattle my cage. It's not like I haven't heard that before." — Tucker Carlson, quoted in Page Six.

    Posted at 7:24 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Post-Imperial Melancholy

    40millionofmisery.jpgIt is clear that the Red Sox will soon delight their long-suffering fans by reaching the World Series for the first time since 1986. We applaud them for their historic comeback, as much as it irks us to lose to them, of all teams.

    Undoubtedly, there are many readers who have no sympathy for the Yankee fan, and not merely the joyous citizens of the so-called Red Sox Nation. To fans of all other baseball teams, the Yankees and their fans appear much as Americans appear to the citizens of all other nations -- spoiled with obscene prosperity that they then, adding insult to injury, proceed not merely to enjoy, but to expect, at all costs. To the rest of the baseball world, the Yankees are the hyperpower, led by a boasting, undiplomatic, bloviating madman named George, using their tremendously disproportionate wealth to tilt the playing field in their favor and to insidiously appropriate the resources of the less fortunate.

    Continue reading...
    Posted at 2:04 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 19, 2004
    Speed Bump on the Campaign Trail

    rove_wheel.jpg
    Thrown Under the Bus: Karl Rove, in an un-doctored photo, below Air Force One

    For many of us, it's a dream come true: Bush Adviser Lays Under Air Force One.

    Sadly, the plane was motionless: Rove lives to scheme another day. I guess it's just another example of what a wacky card that Rove can be! (No, not that Card, wiseguy.) Wanna know Rove's next hee-larious joke? Wait 'till November 2nd: It's on you... and you... and you... and you...

    Related: Anyone else notice that this photo has an uncanny visual symmetry with this famous shot?

    Posted at 7:14 PM in a Grave fashion.
    God Plays His Hand

    kerry-god.jpg
    From The New York Times, Letter Supports Anti-Kerry Bid Over Abortion:

    A canon lawyer seeking to have Senator John Kerry excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church because of his support for abortion rights said on Monday that he had ammunition in the form of a letter issued at the request of a senior Vatican official.

    Although the "senior Vatican official" is not named by the Times, draw your own conclusions.

    Posted at 11:09 AM in a Grave fashion.
    The Real Team America: World Police

    DavidLevine.jpg
    America—Fuck Yeah!

    The New York Review of Books' excellent caricaturist David Levine one-ups Trey Parker and Matt Stone in this week's issue.

    Also, for political views a bit more cogent than those dudes' "dicks-pussies-assholes" analysis, check out this special section featuring Kwame Anthony Appiah, Norman Mailer, Michael Ignatieff, and others on the election.

    (Thus concludes our extensive Team America coverage for the day.)

    Posted at 10:49 AM in a Grave fashion.
    An All-Star Cast

    002teamamerica.jpg

    "Gary goes through the usual three-act gamut of rivalry (with a puppet whose resemblance to Seann William Scott is surely intentional), romance (with a puppet whose resemblance to Elisabeth Shue is probably not), self-doubt and redemption, much of it set to music."
    —A.O. Scott, The New York Times.

    "[H]is performance as John, the actor-phobic Team member is the best of Aaron Eckhart's career."
    —Greg Allen, Greg.org.

    "The team's control-room chief, Spottswoode, a white-haired bureaucrat in the James Mason mold, never loses his stentorian cool, even when he's commanding Gary to, uh, go down for his country."
    —Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly.

    "What's different is that, yes, the hero is a puppet, and you can see his strings. And he's not a fighter pilot, he's a Broadway actor, recruited by a Charlton Heston-like figure with an omnipresent highball to save the world with his ACTING by infiltrating an Islamic terrorist group."
    —David Edelstein, Slate.

    Posted at 9:43 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Yes, But He Was Still Funnier That Night Than Jimmy Fallon Was in Taxi

    001astronaut_jones.jpg
    Astronaut Jones: Blast off! For fun and adventure.

    According to the (criminally Pulitzer Prize-free) reporters at Page Six:

    FORMER Saturday Night Live star Tracy Morgan had an embarrassing episode at Suede last Thursday night. A spywitness tells us the highly intoxicated comic stripped off his shirt, crawled around on all fours and vomited on the floor before concerned friends eventually carried him out of the club. It wasn't the first time Morgan melted down during a night on the town — he's still banned from Madame X after a drunken debacle there a few years back. Morgan's manager did not return calls.

    Confidential to Tracy: Pull it together, man. Your destiny is not here.

    Posted at 8:27 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    When Life Sort of (But Not Quite) Imitates Satire

    low culture, January 22, 2004:

    001believercover.gif

    The Believer, October 2004:

    001believercover.gif

    For our younger readers, the man on the right is Howard Dean.

    Posted at 8:01 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 18, 2004
    Why Are These Men Smiling?

    law_jagger.jpg
    Rakes' Progress: Jude Law and Mick Jagger (and Jude Law, background)

    You'd be smiling too if you slept with half the women in the world and your buddy slept with the other half.

    Posted at 9:26 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Hack Writers, Start Your Puns

    001bigloser.jpg

    Tomorrow, NBC premieres the latest entry in the decline of Western Civilization Reality TV genre, The Biggest Loser in which some people do something to win some money or maybe something else. It's gonna be awesome—or something.

    Since most TV critics are filing their reviews with their editors right about now, I thought I'd offer them some help with their inevitable shitty puns and fat jokes. Feel free to use any of the following phrases in your articles or headlines, or um, become a better writer:

    ·Fat Tuesday
    ·Weighty Matter
    ·Light-Weight Entertainment
    ·Thick as Thieves
    ·Chubby-Hubby
    ·The Weight Is Over
    ·Big Men and Women on Campus
    ·Fat of the Land
    ·Big, Fat Obnoxious [Anything]
    ·Big, Fat Hit
    ·Weighed Down
    ·Heavy/Meta
    ·Well-Rounded Cast
    ·Fatty Ass-heads
    ·Must Eat TV
    ·Hungry for Ratings
    ·Fat Chance
    ·Battle of the Bulge
    ·Thin Premise
    ·Fat Sells
    ·Big Competition
    ·Chubby Reign
    ·Waist of Airtime
    ·Devouring the Competition
    ·Chewing the Scenery
    ·Broad Humor
    ·The Thickest Link
    ·Livin' Large
    ·Large and in Charge
    ·Wide Margin
    ·Fat of the Land
    ·Meaty
    ·Morbidly [Anything]
    ·Gut-Busting
    ·Phat

    Posted at 5:10 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Well, That's One Way Around the McCain-Feingold Regulations

    001bushbank.jpg

    "George W. Bush" robs a bank in Pennsylvania and The Smoking Gun has the security camera stills. Not pictured: Rumsfeld behind the wheel of the getaway car.

    Earlier: Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon rob several California banks.

    Posted at 4:09 PM in a Grave fashion.
    When Oscar Met Jesus

    passion.jpg


    "Hollywood, with its Jewish roots, did not experience The Passion as a transcendent religious and emotional event, as so many other viewers did. Some haven't forgiven Gibson for even making the film, let alone forgotten his father, Hutton, and his inflammatory statements about the history of the Jews. 'I'll tell you why The Passion won't be nominated,' snaps one industry executive. 'Happily, there are too many people in the Academy who believe the Holocaust actually happened.'"

    Will Oscar Listen?, Sean Smith, Newsweek, Oct. 25, 2004.

    Posted at 8:27 AM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
      October 17, 2004
    Reality Used To Be A Friend of Ours

    From Ron Suskind's Without a Doubt, The New York Times Magazine, Oct. 17, 2004:

    "In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend — but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

    "The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'"

    Donald Rumsfeld on whether wrestling has helped him in his current job (earlier on low culture, via Brendan Bernhard in The LA Weekly):

    “It does... First of all, the friendships, the discipline, the reality that you have to produce and make a contribution. So I feel very fortunate that I was able to wrestle for all those years."

    Posted at 10:23 AM in a Grave fashion.
      October 15, 2004
    She's Spunky! Well, Actually, She's Probably Not

    somethingmarycheney.jpg
    From the idiots what brung you Rove & Rover

    EARLIER, indelicately: John Kerry, Debate 2004: Gay, gay, gay, gay, gaygaygaygay

    EARLIER, sanctimoniously: "Mention of Gay Daughter a Cheap Trick, Lynne Cheney Says", Washington Post

    Posted at 11:21 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
    It's a Simple Formula, Really

    001TeamAmerica.jpg

    'World Police' Creators Say Anger = Publicity

    Easy as ABC!

    Posted at 9:20 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Flawless

    001podhoretz.jpgOne of my favorite games as a kid was to have my dad read me the headlines of op-ed columns and let me guess what the writers were going to say. We used to call it "The Great American Thesis Guessing Game," and we'd pass many joyful hours this way, usually as I waited for my various spelling bees and model U.N. to begin or on the train to an educational weekend trip to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, or Colonial Williamsburg (where I learned all about early American trucker hats). It was my absolute favorite game after memorizing every state comptroller and listing all the elements on the periodic table in weight order.

    Maybe I was feeling nostalgic for those bygone days (the humdrum accomplishments of being an "adult" are so boring compared to the achievements I enjoyed as an adorable, opinionated child genius), since this morning I decided to play my favorite game with John "Norman's Son" Podhoretz's latest New York Post opus (Popus?), BUSH'S BIGGEST FLAW.

    Ooh, ooh! I can guess! I can guess!

    ·He loves too much?
    ·Lips move when reading?
    ·Adult-onset backne?
    ·Doesn't like cats?
    ·Cannot—simply can not—change printer toner?
    ·Obsessed with reality TV?
    ·Lacks "salty" taste-buds?
    ·Memory wipes clean every three minutes like a goldfish?
    ·Never washes hands after going to the bathroom?
    ·Right so often, he makes everyone around him look bad?
    ·Loves Maroon 5?
    ·Never cries at the end of Titanic?

    So, Pod-man, what's Bush's "biggest" flaw?

    "His capacity for complacency."

    Damn. How could I have missed that one? My dad's gonna be so disappointed when we go to bird-watching this weekend.

    Posted at 8:10 AM in a Grave fashion.
      October 14, 2004
    Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 39

    uh_debate2004_kerryfrown.jpg

    (With thanks to Chris M., again.)

    Posted at 2:37 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
    Last Derrida Post Ever

    snowyhairedderrida.jpgWe couldn't help but notice that since we issued our "modest defense" of Jacques Derrida, various arms of the media empire seem to have rethought their initial scorn towards the late French philosopher and his work. This critical reappraisal is most apparent in the New York Times, which offers this panegyric, revealing, among other things, that Derrida gave carnival masks to young children of American academics.

    The Guardian has a more diverse sampling of opinion from across the pond, some pro and some con.

    Less hagiographically sympathetic (and somewhat saucier) than the Times op-ed is Marco Roth's piece in the upstart literary journal n+1, which has the virtue of describing a hot chick with whom the author attended Derrida's lectures in Paris:

    ...I watched the raven haired girl who always wore a miniskirt and a fur coat, the sort of Parisienne I fantasized about meeting before my trip. She filled line after line of graph paper in a neat miniscule hand, never stopping. She seemed to be able to take him down verbatim. At the end, she would dash out of the hall. Where?

    To sum up, the new media consensus seems to be "Derrida: Not Necessarily A Pernicious Nihilist Who Threatened The Very Foundation Of Western Society And Cutlture." And, as always, dear reader, you heard it here first.

    EARLIER: Confessions of a Teenage Deconstructionist

    EVEN EARLIER: Jacques Derrida, 1930-2004

    Posted at 2:29 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    "Profiling the Elusive Undecided Voter," or, "When teenagers who can't vote are smarter than the nimrods who can"

    undecided_voters.jpg
    These people might benefit from President Bush's repeated invocation of "education" as the great social cure-all in last night's debate.

    In today's New York Times, we elite-coasters finally get to meet - up close and personal - that rare breed of imbecilic American voter who hasn't been able to glean a fucking difference between Candidate A and Candidate B (perhaps better known as President George "God says I can kill people" Bush and Senator John "You may want to reconsider the implications of engaging in such an act of wanton destruction, for acts of such nature rarely lead to success, and more often bring us down the path of national woe and angst, which is German for despair" Kerry).

    While we wait for the poll tax to be re-jiggered such that one needs to pass a fucking news-reading test in order to exercise their precious right to vote, here are some tragic highlights of the Times' "After the Final Debate, Some Voters Are Still Sitting on the Fence":

    The Great Undecided Masses, on Kerry's indelicate reminder that the Vice President's daughter is a homo:

    "That is very unfair," blurted Patsey Farrell, 64, one of a handful of undecided voters gathered here to watch the final presidential debate Wednesday night. "I'm sorry, that's too personal. That's too hurtful."

    Painful, hurtful, Mrs. Farrell? Not unlike the idea that President Bush wants to introduce a galvanizing amendment to the U.S. Constitution that alienates an entire class of citizens? You dimwitted bitch.

    The Great Undecided Masses, on discomforting moments in the debate:

    Mr. Uhde cringed when Mr. Bush made an attempt at a joke about "credible news organizations" - and also when Mr. Kerry defended himself against Mr. Bush's accusation that he voted 98 times to raise taxes by saying "everybody knows" you can play with the votes.

    "Not everybody does know that," Mr. Uhde said, annoyed at being made to feel stupid. "Not everybody understands when you say, 'play with the votes.' He's not explaining why he did it."

    Here's some credible news for you, Mr. Uhde. You are, in fact, pretty fucking stupid.

    The Great Undecided Masses, on irony and their inability to get a fairly well-crafted joke:

    Mrs. Farrell said that Mr. Kerry had proved himself a better debater, but that she was turned off by his comment about "marrying up," perhaps because his wealthy wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, has left a bad taste with her blunt comments during the campaign.

    "I think I trust Bush more than I trust Kerry," she said after it was over.

    Christ, Mrs. Farrell, you're really testing our patience here. Try reading some topical news for once instead of inundating yourself with Bush campaign ads while you watch reruns of Hannity and Colmes.

    The Great Undecided Masses, on being a selfish American:

    Phyllis Bobb, 68, a member of the church, said of the president, "He's not responding well." Ms. Bobb, 68, said she would vote for "the person who will help seniors."

    Good going, Mrs. Bobb. It's really impressive how you're able to winnow down the needs of a nation of hundreds of millions of citizens (many of whom will likely be subjected to a bankrupted Social Security system, a widening class-system divide, and an environment on the brink of destruction) to the concerns of a smattering of near-death people in walkers. That's some considerate shit.

    The Great Undecided Masses, on skipping biology class in high school:

    And during a discussion on abortion, Mr. Brokenborough, 52, turned away from the television to say, "Who is going to be the advocate for the baby?"

    That's a powerful question, Mr. Brokenborough. And who will be the advocate for my fingernails, which I just trimmed, or my hair, which I just had cut at a delightful salon on the Upper East Side, or perhaps the formerly functional legs and arms of several soldiers who subsequently lost limbs in the past few days of bombings and attacks in Iraq?

    The Great Undecided Masses, on the merits of statistics:

    But Mr. Kerry's performance left Jay Edmonds, 77, wishing for a little more clarity. After the Democratic candidate cited the number of job losses in Arizona and the lower pay of the jobs created in their place, Mr. Edmonds shook his head.

    "I don't know about all those numbers," he said. "I can't add them up that fast."

    Well, Mr. Edmonds, I don't think you add job losses to lower wages. In mathematical terms, this might be considered to be two different equations or aspects of the same problem - though nonetheless fundamentally linked. Sort of like an x- and y-axis, you fucking idiot.

    The Great Undecided Masses, on senior citizens' sleeping habits, taking into account the fact they often inexplicably get up at dawn:

    Although several residents dozed off about 20 minutes into the Bush-Kerry show, Mrs. Small continued to watch intently.

    Good for you, Mrs. Small. You may be uncertain as for whom you're going to be casting a ballot in a few weeks, but at least you're able to stay upright in your chair, all the while subjecting yourself to the theatrics of this third and final debate.

    The Sun-Sentinel newspaper in South Florida, meanwhile, went another route and interviewed, get this, teenagers for their thoughts on the debate they'd just witnessed. You know, teenagers. Those young Americans who are old enough to be executed, yes, but not to vote. And, sadly, in contrast with the intelligentsia-stragglers profiled above by the New York Times, Florida's population of the under-18 set comes off like a bunch of aspirationally-observant geniuses.

    From the Sun-Sentinel's "Reaction from teens to the presidential debate":

    "Although this debate proved to be the most entertaining, the candidates' contentions have surpassed repetitive and reached mind-numbing. There is a significant difference between using colloquialisms to appeal to the nation and simply conveying sheer ignorance. The president crossed that line."

    Anjali Sharma, 15, Pine Crest School

    "Overall I think Bush gets a C-. At least he's consistent with his Yale grades. Kerry presented a persuasive alternative to the spiral downward that the incumbent has (mis)lead us into."

    Bret Vallacher, 16, St. Andrews School

    "Tonight's final debate solidified much of America's position on the upcoming election. From a debating standpoint, George Bush was constantly on the defensive while Kerry, for the third time, acted as the more presidential of the two. Bush failed to provide significant backing for his statements, instead resorting to childish defensiveness against legitimate political attacks."

    Eric Perelman, 16, Spanish River High School

    "Since the second debate both candidates have grown hostile toward each other. But now both of them have seemed to even out the playing field. Unfortunately for Bush, his political growth is too little, too late. Overall, these debates have turned out to be quite a debacle for Bush's campaign."

    Shivam Upadhyaya, 13, Stranahan High School

    Note that this last kid is fucking 13 years old. Someone ought to introduce young Shivam to the Uhde family mentioned earlier.

    Posted at 12:21 PM in a Grave fashion.
    Lies, Falsehoods, and Total Fabrications, vol. 1

    lies.jpgWe hold these lies to be self-evident...

    Several prominent psychologists speculate that if Bush wins the election, the national suicide rate will increase by as much as 35%.

    George Bush wrote a poem in high school called "Little Me, in Poppy's Shadow."

    Teresa Heinz was a back-up singer for Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue tour.

    As a young man, Donald Rumsfeld used to run numbers with Malcolm X, then known as "Detroit Red."

    John Kerry keeps all of his kids' baby teeth in a satchel in his pocket. He rubs them when he's nervous.

    The Bush twins were conjoined at birth, sharing a liver. This is why they get drunk so easily.

    John Edwards's battle with a childhood illness formed the basis of the 1976 after-school special, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble starring John Travolta.

    It has been proven that electronic voting machines are essentially the same technology as the Simple Simon light game.

    Condoleezza Rice had a small speaking part in the film version of Hair.

    Laura Bush is allergic to most root vegetables.

    Posted at 11:48 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
    O, what a manly man! As an undecided voter, I admit that I might be swayed by his powerful aura of masculinity

    kerry_football.jpg

    And, hey there, swing-state voters, don't forget that Senator John Kerry used to be in a rock n' roll band.

    Posted at 10:34 AM in a Grave fashion.
    Debate 2004: Gay, gay, gay, gay, gaygaygaygay

    kerry_pointing_debate.jpgFrom last night's third and final debate in Tempe, Arizona, between Democratic Sen. John Kerry and Republican President George W. Bush, a line uttered by Kerry in response to a question by moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS News about whether homosexuality is a "choice," or genetically ingrained, or something that one ill-advisedly buys in the check-out line at Target:

    "We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as."

    EARLIER: V.P. Candidate John Edwards on the gaygaygay issue

    EVEN EARLIER: President George W. Bush on the gaygaygay issue.

    Hopefully, the reminder that a cruel and offensively dehumanizing constitutional amendment is at stake puts all this in perspective for Democratic partisans who may have grimaced in awkward discomfort at last night's utterances by John Kerry, as sampled above.

    Posted at 10:12 AM in a Grave fashion.
      October 13, 2004
    Why... Is Michelle Malkin the New Jadakiss?

    malkin_kiss.jpg
    Malkin and Kiss... Why?

    The many questions of Michelle Malkin:

    How... many hate crime anecdotes does it take before the mainstream media spot a trend?

    But what... happens when the targets are the wrong kind of victim?

    What... happens when conservatives and Republicans are on the receiving end of discriminatory threats or harassment or worse?

    Hello..., reporters?

    Is... anybody home?

    Is... it my imagination or do I hear pins dropping in the grievance corners of America's otherwise victim-friendly newsrooms?

    Can... I get a hair appointment and pedicure before appearing on Scarborough Country on Friday?

    Will... The pedicurist be an immigrant?

    Should... I cancel it if she is?

    Why... is my Amazon rank so low?

    Posted at 12:15 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Holy Shit, We Need to Get Ourselves One of These Blog Things

    jackie_harvey.jpg
    The Internets are on fire today, man. As they say in Latin, ¡en fuego, hombre!

    First comes this excellent article from a newspaper called The New York Sun that not only tells us about blogs, but finally—finally!—explains that "jumping the shark" phrase our 15 year-old cousin always uses. (It has something to do with Happy Days.) There's also an excellent little primer about a show called Oz, which we're definitely gonna watch this week.

    The article, by a writer named Eric Wolff (remember that name!), is all about a website called Gawker, which we plan to check out after we have our morning coffee! It also answers the age old question: Who gives the best soundbites, Condé Nast editorial assistants, or 'cyber-hostesses'? (It's a draw! They both bring the noise and the bite!)

    Then there's this Tom Scocca piece from The New York Observer about a guy who runs a site called The Minor Fall, The Major Lift (definitely gotta check his stuff out) who was once annonymous but is now going by his real name, Alex Balk! Plus, he's now writing for The New York Times! Like other bloggers! (Memo to self: Pick up the Times this weekend on the way to brunch!)

    What's exciting about this (and warrants all these exclamation points!!!) is that we can now see that far from being an annonymous wag, this Balk fellow was actually hiding in plain site all along, submitting to a website called McSweeneys and playing along on the Slate News Quiz with Emmy-winning TV writers and producers! Next Major Lift, Hollywood!?!

    Phew! This entry has fairly knocked us out (we topped off our exclamation point quota in the second paragraph!), and now we're off to go figure out how to get one of these blogs set up. Our 15 year-old cousin is great with computers, and we think the "domain" JackieHarvey.com is still available!

    As they say in Latin, Excelsior!

    Posted at 8:41 AM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
    Rooting for the Overdog

    mussina.jpgAs gratifying as it is to win these games, they have become so excessively fraught that to watch them is emotionally taxing in the extreme. I thought I'd be able to relax and get some work done when the Yankees opened up an eight run lead, but the Red Sox regrouped, metastasized, and emerged with a deadlier-than-ever assault. Clearly, they pose a threat that requires constant vigilance. Some day, they will win -- perhaps tomorrow. It's not a question of if, but when.

    It may be unpopular and controversial to put it this way, but I think we have to get back to the place we were, where the Red Sox are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance. We're never going to end this rivalry. But we've got to reduce it to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and it's not threatening the fabric of your life.

    Posted at 12:50 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 12, 2004
    Cherish the Memories: Iraqi Yearbook Photos (8x10 blowups available via Jostens)

    iraq-yearbook-photo.jpg

    iraq-yearbook-2.jpg
    (both images via AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    Posted at 4:15 PM in a Grave fashion.
    We Love Disney, We Love It Not...

    Can a mindless paper be of two minds on a given subject? This is an ontological question worthy of the world's best existential detectives.

    But when it comes to a force as polarizing as the mighty mouse, who can blame them for being a bit schizo in their coverage? That, or the editors don't even read their own rag. Either way, Michael Eisner is going to be very angry... Then very happy... But then angry again... Followed by happy.

    happy_eisner.jpg sad_eisner.jpg
    Love 'Em Hate 'Em
    THE ROLE OF A WIFE-TIME, by Don Kaplan. "The hottest star of fall's hottest show is no longer desperate — or a housewife.

    "'Desperate Housewives' sexpot Eva Longoria, recently divorced from her actor hubby, Tyler Christopher, is having trouble realizing she's catapulted from unknown soap-opera actress to bona fide star.

    "'I haven't gotten my head around it,' Longoria, 29, told The Post yesterday as a private jet whisked her and the rest of the series' cast to a taping of 'Oprah.'

    "'It's all a little overwhelming, and it's really new for me, so I'm just trying to enjoy every moment,' she said."
    SMOKING GUN "Conservatives are up in arms about the memo written by the chief politics producer at ABC News, which leaked out on Friday. They shouldn't be. Mark Halperin's memo is very useful: It reveals as no other document ever has the existence of a deeply ingrained double standard in the way political news is reported in the United States.

    "Simply put, Republicans and conservatives are subject to exacting scrutiny of their actions, while Democrats and liberals are treated with far greater leniency..."
    FEELING THE LOVE, by Don Kaplan (again). "'Desperate Housewives' has done what only a handful of TV shows have ever done - debuted as the No. 1 show in the country and kept right on going.

    "Some 20 million viewers tuned in Sunday night for the series second episode - down just slightly from the nearly 22 million who saw the show's record-setting debut last week."
    SICK KIDS VS. DISNEY IN 'PETER PAN' DUSTUP, by Holly M. Sanders. "It's a story that would make Peter Pan glad that he never grew up.

    "Walt Disney Co. is caught in a feud with a U.K. children's hospital over the copyright to J. M. Barrie's classic novel, 'Peter Pan.'

    "London's Great Ormond Street Hospital is talking with its lawyers about whether a book published in August by Disney and billed as a prequel to the original infringes on the hospital's ownership rights to the fairy tale.

    "The hospital has earned millions in royalty fees from Pan, thanks to Barrie's decision to donate the rights to the hospital's charity before his death in 1937.

    "The hospital uses that money to support the hospital and treat sick children."
    Posted at 9:57 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    "Fine, Daddy, I'll Talk to the Goddamn Kiwanis Club for you... Oh my god, are those Buffalo Wings Free!?!"

    001tarmac.jpg

    Posted at 8:30 AM in a Grave fashion.
    We're Hiring

    Please send all resumes in MS Word format.

    Posted at 7:12 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 11, 2004
    Confessions of a Teenage Deconstructionist

    Ceci est une PipeWe all have our youthful indiscretions, those young and irresponsible things that we did when we were young and irresponsible. Senator Robert Byrd, for example, was in the Klan, while George W. Bush was a cheerleader at Andover, and, most seriously of course, John Kerry was a war hero.

    My own modest indiscretion is that I Was A Teenage Derridian. Yes, as a literature major in the early 90's, I was inundated with the "critical theory" associated with various continentals from Adorno to Deleuze to Foucault and most of all, Jacques Derrida. And let me make it clear that I was not merely the victim of all this theory; in fact, I eagerly sought it out. Indeed, some witnesses even report that I had Derrida's famous statement "il n'ya pas de hors-text" ["there is nothing outside the text"] stencilled upon my cap at graduation.

    [Long, boring article follows below the break.]

    Continue reading...
    Posted at 7:42 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Tomorrow's Corrections Today, vol. 5

    Slated to appear on the New York Times' Corrections page, October 12, 2004:

    Because of an editing error, an article in yesterday's International News section by Terence Neilan about the release of Yaser E. Hamdi, an American citizen who had been held in U.S. prisons for three years without having charges filed against him (until a Supreme Court ruling in June found the detention to be unlawful), "U.S. Returns Detainee to Saudi Arabia After 3 Years", was both erroneously titled and published too early. The corrected article was slated to run in late January 2005, and should have been titled "U.S. Returns President to Texas After 4 Years". The Times regrets the error.
    Posted at 5:53 PM in a Grave fashion.
    Campaign 2004: David Cobb for President (Only kidding. Sort of.)

    iraq_burningcar.jpg

    We loves us some nuance when it comes to saying whether or not invading Iraq was a good idea. Or maybe just endorsing the resolution approving the matter. Or whatever. We hate nuance.

    George W. Bush, October 9, 2004:

    "Knowing what I know today, I would have made the same decision. The world is safer with Saddam in a prison cell."

    Dick Cheney, October 7, 2004:

    Vice President Dick Cheney asserted in Miami Thursday that the report justifies rather than invalidates Bush's decision to go to war. It shows that "delay, defer, wasn't an option," Cheney told a town-hall style meeting.

    John Kerry, August, 2004:

    Asked by a reporter, he said he would have voted for the resolution - even in the absence of evidence of weapons of mass destruction - before adding his usual explanation that he would have subsequently handled everything leading up to the war differently.

    John Edwards, October 8, 2004:

    Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards said last week's Central Intelligence Agency report confirming the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq hasn't convinced him it was a mistake to authorize President George W. Bush to take military action.

    "The vote on the resolution was the right vote, even in hindsight,'' Edwards, a first-term U.S. senator from North Carolina, said in an interview aboard his campaign plane on Oct. 8. "It was the right vote to give the president the authority to confront Saddam Hussein,'' he said. "That's what would have given the president the power that would have allowed the weapons inspectors back into Iraq.''

    RELATED: Cobb/LaMarche 2004, "Vote Green for Peace"

    Posted at 3:06 PM in a Grave fashion.
    Three years and zero washes later...

    fallon_nyc.jpg

    Where do you live, Jimmy Fallon? From left to right, the SNL wunderkind on the cover of Paper's November 2001 issue; and the star of Taxi featured as "Man of the Week" in the October 18, 2004 issue of Us

    Posted at 2:15 PM in a Shallow, Versus fashion.
    Campaign 2004: How do the candidates treat their youngest supporters?

    youngest_camp_bush.jpg
    President Bush bestowing kisses upon a baby in Chanhassen, MN, Oct. 9, 2004. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    youngest_camp_kerry.jpg
    Hannah Palcic, 5, inadvertently being forced to re-enact a Vietnam P.O.W. ritual at a Kerry rally in Albuquerque, NM, Oct. 10, 2004. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

    Posted at 11:36 AM in a Grave fashion.
    With the Sports Illustrated cover curse, you merely lose games, but not friends and supporters

    001kerrycover.jpg
    Presidential candidate John Kerry gracing the cover of this Sunday's New York Times Magazine, an appearance which inevitably subjected him to the magazine's notorious cover curse

    From Sen. John Kerry's remarks at the Second Presidential Debate, Washington University, St. Louis, Friday, October 8, 2004:

    Chris Reeve is a friend of mine. Chris Reeve exercises every single day to keep those muscles alive for the day when he believes he can walk again, and I want him to walk again.

    I think we can save lives.

    From "'Superman' Star Christopher Reeve Dies at 52," The Associated Press, Monday, October 11, 2004:

    Christopher Reeve, the star of the "Superman" movies whose near-fatal riding accident nine years ago turned him into a worldwide advocate for spinal cord research, died Sunday of heart failure, his publicist said. He was 52.

    Reeve fell into a coma Saturday after going into cardiac arrest while at his New York home, his publicist, Wesley Combs told The Associated Press by phone from Washington, D.C., on Sunday night. His family was at his side at the time of death.

    Posted at 9:02 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 10, 2004
    Jacques Derrida, 1930-2004

    derrida.jpg "My death, is it possible?" asked the late philosopher Jacques Derrida in his book Aporias.
    As one wag put it yesterday upon hearing of Derrida's death, "I guess that answers THAT question." (Thanks, Sarah)

    Posted at 10:05 PM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 8, 2004
    Democracy in Action

    From The New York Times Letters page, Thursday, October 7:

    To the Editor:
    The debate on Tuesday was really a debate between substance and fluff.
    ...
    If you enjoy fluff, John Edwards won. But if you want substance and a clear understanding of the issues, Dick Cheney won by a landslide.
    Jason Richard Hochstrasser
    University Place, Wash.
    Oct. 6, 2004

    From a mass email from Bush Campaign Manager Ken Mehlman, received Wednesday, October 6, 6:13 am:

    Dear Guy,
    Edwards failed as a credible advocate for John Kerry last night and Dick Cheney proved that substance will always trump spin.
    ...
    Write letters to the editors of your local papers.
    ...
    Sincerely,
    Ken Mehlman
    P.S.  Even as one of the nation's best trial lawyers, John Edwards failed as a credible advocate for John Kerry last night and Dick Cheney proved that substance will always trump spin...

    Sorry Jason, but we checked - if you live in University Place, Washington, your local paper is actually the Seattle Times Tacoma News Tribune. You've made this mistake before, let's not do it again.

    (And dude, getting a perfect Math League score ain't much of a chick magnet.)

    Posted at 12:51 AM in a Grave fashion.
      October 7, 2004
    What next, an NEA grant for Mapplethorpe?

    jelinek.jpgOnce, years before a hyperbole-prone Graydon Carter pronounced "the end of the age of irony", the more astute Tom Lehrer remarked that Henry Kissinger's 1973 Nobel Peace prize rendered political satire obsolete.

    One wonders what Tom Lehrer thinks of today's announcement that the the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to the perverted Austrian novelist Elfriede Jelinek. While not an act of cosmic irony on par with Kissinger's Peace Prize, it is, if nothing else, the last nail in the coffin for kinky books. Even if you are inclined to enjoy nauseating, degenerate art-smut like this (and if you are, you should be ashamed), you have to acknowledge that the authors of these nasty things should not be rewarded for writing and promulgating them. Most of Sade's horrid output was written in prison, and rightly so. Georges Bataille published the shockingly perverse "Story of the Eye" under a pseudonym and spent his wretched life as a creepy librarian, unwilling to face the well-deserved umbrage that even his fellow Frenchmen would have unleased upon him had he taken responsibility for his "work."

    Of course, we here at low culture regard this kind of cultural output as not merely beneath contempt, but in fact a danger to our American way of life and values, the sort of pernicious decadence that leads to the downfall of great civilizations. But even if we did care for this kind of thing, isn't it a fundamental element of these naughty books that they and their authors are "transgressive", that they are breaking the rules of society? And shouldn't society respond to transgression with censure and condemnation, not fancy medals and prizes? Indeed, in a year in which the world was appalled by images of grotesquely sadistic acts, is it not poor timing -- if not a bit perverse -- for the Swedish Academy to award its Literature prize to a pornographic writer who celebrates perversity?

    Posted at 6:30 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
    Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 38

    edwards_smiling_sheepish.jpg

    Posted at 5:00 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
    An art-history undergrad's C-plus critique of the occupation of Iraq

    beautiful_iraq_burningtree.jpg
    (Anja Niedringhaus/Associated Press)

    O, what beauty has been sown from destruction! As with Picasso's famed "Guernica," art aficionados once again have the opportunity to witness anew the innermost depths of visual purity that have arisen from the turmoil and despair of some mysterious "other."

    Ostensibly having undertaken a photographic portrait of today's rocket strike upon a hotel in central Baghdad, the artist, Anja Niedringhaus, has done an exceptional job of framing the composition in such a manner that the merits of using the classical painterly technique known as chiaroscuro become, well, painfully obvious. Notice the interplay between light and dark in Niedringhaus' image, the way in which the otherwise abstract notion of "Iraqi rage" billows outward and takes on a life of its own amidst the spiritual and political darkness of the Western world - here represented by the image's being set at nighttime.

    Furthermore, be sure not to disregard the inherent conflict between "nature" and "mankind" as it is displayed herein; take note of the image's striking left-and-right contrast between the fluidly burning palm trees and the sharp, jarring architecture of the civilized world. Or the usage of the color yellow as the portrait's focal point; one is literally drawn into this veritable heart of fiery Baghdad, where, hopefully, the viewer will be able to partake of the wonderfully restored social services (e.g. the reconstruction of fire stations and water pipes) that have been restored by Halliburton and Bechtel. What? Am I missing something?

    Posted at 2:55 PM in a Grave fashion.
      October 6, 2004
    More Notes Towards the October low culture Index

    rideemjewboy.jpgFrom the New York Times:

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who donned a tan cowboy hat, joked that he was working on a song called "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Mayors."

    Number of jokes made by Mayor Bloomberg about writing country songs: at least 1.

    Additional number of such jokes desired by New Yorkers: 0.

    Total number of such jokes desired by New Yorkers: 0.

    Posted at 1:22 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    "Goddammit, why did you have to go and bring that up?"

    cheney_debate_frustrated.jpgNEWS FLASH FOR GOD-FEARING MIDDLE AMERICANS WHO DON'T FOLLOW THE NEWS VERY CLOSELY (by way of John Edwards' deft placement of this small nugget of information within the context of last night's vice presidential debate): Vice President Dick Cheney has a homosexual daughter.

    EDWARDS: ...Now, as to this question, let me say first that I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It's a wonderful thing.

    Yes, Senator Edwards, and it's also a wonderful thing that you were able to remind the Republican Party's conservative base that Cheney, their chief standard-bearer in oppressing the oppressed, was clearly a very bad parent by right-wing Christian fundamentalist standards, in that he raised a daughter who is now a homosexual. In addition to being a homosexual, Mary Cheney is also purportedly a lesbian or dyke, or whatever labels or epithets conservatives would like to use as they harass and/or beat up gay people in cities and towns across America.

    Oh, Dick, Dick, Dick...where did you go so wrong? And what else have you not been forthright about in terms of a possible penchant for supporting and encouraging sinful acts? We'll never know, as the Vice President was able to skillfully conclude this line of uncomfortable (and far too revealing) questioning rather abruptly:

    IFILL: Mr. Vice President, you have 90 seconds.

    CHENEY: Well, Gwen, let me simply thank the senator for the kind words he said about my family and our daughter.

    I appreciate that very much.

    IFILL: That's it?

    CHENEY: That's it.

    IFILL: OK, then we'll move on to the next question.

    Posted at 11:35 AM in a Grave fashion.
    I'm very forgetful...when did you say the last debate took place?

    edwards_thursday_calendar.jpg

    From the transcript of last night's sole vice-presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio:

    "What the vice president has just said is just a complete distortion. The American people saw John Kerry on Thursday night. They don't need the vice president or the president to tell them what they saw."

    "The AIDS epidemic in Africa, which is killing millions and millions of people and is a frightening thing not just for the people of Africa but also for the rest of the world, that, combined with the genocide that we're now seeing in Sudan, are two huge moral issues for the United States of America, which John Kerry spoke about eloquently last Thursday night."

    "I agree with John Kerry from Thursday night, that the danger of nuclear weapons getting in the hands of terrorists is one of the greatest threats that America faces."

    "And the American people saw for themselves on Thursday night the strength, resolve, and backbone that I, myself, have seen in John Kerry."

    "John Kerry made clear on Thursday night that -- I'm sorry, I broke the rules. We made clear -- we made clear on Thursday night that we will do that, and we will do it aggressively."

    Wait, I get it. John Kerry won that debate quite decisively, and you're reminding the public of that fact. Nicely done, and none-too-subtle!

    Posted at 10:51 AM in a Grave fashion.
    The Most Embarrassing New York Post pop culture mistake since Jam Master Jay Spotted

    "Fallon, who has zero screen presence, flounders around, dribbling forth what can only be improvised dialogue in the most embarrassing SNL vehicle since Pootie Tang."

    'TAXI' DRIVEL, by Megan Lehmann, Oct. 6, 2004

    Posted at 9:57 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Notes Towards the October low culture Index

    Age under which commercial composer and tea salesman Moby says every celebrity seems like a "half-wit": 23

    Year Harvard educated action figure model Natalie Portman was born: 1981

    Posted at 7:53 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    Rodney Dangerfield, RIP

    rodney-loose.jpgI had the pleasure of interviewing Rodney Dangerfield two years ago. He was a great guy, a little out of it, but still as funny and nasty as you could hope for.

    I met Rodney in his Westwood apartment, where he lounged in a loosely held bathrobe - that night I saw more of Rodney Dangerfield than I expected, a softer, more fleshy, less circumcised side. I also met his wife, who was beautiful, blonde and half his age (placing her somewhere around fifty), but she was surprisingly sharp and impossibly nice.

    Rodney was in show business for more than sixty years and worked every gig imaginable, from singing waiter to The Dean Martin Show. He discovered Kinison and Hicks and countless others. In many ways Back to School is to blame for my own sub-par performance in college. And how many times can you wring your collar and declare "No respect" before it gets tired? Never.

    What follows are excerpts from the interview or the transcript.

    On Overcoming Depression:

    "When you're smart," Rodney says, "you've got no one to talk to. I've done everything for it, including forty-eight Austrians, OK? It's not easy."
    "I have no idea what that means" is the best I can come up with.
    "I keep myself dumb, I make plenty of friends that way. It's easier to get a chick when you're dumb."
    OK, but thers thers got to be more. Does he take anti-depressants?
    "Nothing."
    What about the alcohol cure?
    "No, I hardly touch it. I smoke pot," he says, "I smoke a lot of pot."

    On Romance:

    "Listen man," he offers, "You can always find a chick with a nice ass. You find a chick who'll actually listen to you, and you can bring yourself to listen to? That's what you hold on to. If she has a nice ass too, that's not so bad either."

    I like Rodney's advice - it seems honest - but this comes only minutes after he's said, "I told my wife she's awful in bed. So she went out and got a second opinion. And then she got a third opinion, and a fourth opinion."

    And the inevitable follow-up, "My wife, she likes to talk during sex. The other night she called me from a motel."

    Continue reading...
    Posted at 7:09 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 4, 2004
    Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 37

    asian_cheney.jpg

    Earlier: How to Replace Your Lesbian Daughter

    Posted at 8:56 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
    Biting the (Invisible?) Hand

    biting_cheney.jpg

    It's often observed of George W. Bush that, per the old saw, he was born on third base but he thinks he hit a triple. On the other hand, like him or loathe him, Dick Cheney came from humbler circumstances, and must be given some credit for the sharp elbows and all-American ambition that led him to success. But don't let's get too misty-eyed prasing Dick for his enterprise, because he's not all that different from Dubya when it comes to admitting that he may not have done it all by himself.

    As we await the vice-presidential debate, this exchange from the 2000 VP debate comes to mind:

    LIEBERMAN: I think if you asked most people in America today that famous question that Ronald Reagan asked, "Are you better off today than you were eight years ago?" Most people would say yes. I'm pleased to see, Dick, from the newspapers that you're better off than you were eight years ago, too.

    CHENEY: I can tell you, Joe, the government had absolutely nothing to do with it. (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE)[emphasis added]

    Oh really? This lone-wolfish insouciance comes from a guy who has been working in government since the late 60's and whose father and father-in-law were both federal civil servants. He seems more than happy to accept the largesse that comes with being a public servant, including free, world-class health care, a government pension, and free trips in a Gulfstream jet to go duck-hunting with pals. Now, all of these goodies probably don't mean much to a man with a net worth of $50 million, but as far as we know, he hasn't forsworn any of these perks, nor has he offered to pay for them himself. Guess big government isn't always so reprehensible. (But maybe he can't help it -- it's just that pernicious "culture of dependency"...)

    Most of Cheney's fortune, of course, comes from his tenure at Halliburton, and while we must all tip our hats to the chutzpah of a man who appointed himself to the positions of CEO and running mate, could Halliburton's abrupt decision to hire Cheney -- who had no prior experience in business management -- have had anything to do with the Cheney's work in government, or, specifically, the fact that, as Secretary of Defense, he'd awarded lucrative contracts to Halliburton as part of a program to outsource military functions to private contractors?

    Nah.

    Posted at 8:47 PM in a Grave fashion.
    The New York Times Redesign: Skewing Younger, Much Younger

    Little Jackson Pollocks, Exploring in Oil Paints
    New York Times 10/4/04

    Which Was Painted By a Child?
    New York Times 10/3/04

    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl
    New York Times 9/28/04

    Posted at 1:04 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    Love and a Village Charmer w/ WOOD BRNING FRPLC

    Before I moved to Manhattan, spent far too much time in graduate school learning to be erudite about le cinema and became the Cinecultist, I used to just be a movie fan. I loved certain films unabashedly and a tad obsessively — particularly ones about the life of young, single New Yorkers — watching them over and over again until the VHS tapes (remember those?) almost gave out. Nearly at the top of the list was, and still is, Warren Leight's The Night We Never Met (1993) starring Matthew Broderick and Annabella Sciorra.

    The premise is three strangers share an illegal time share in a West Village brown stone walk-up. The lease holder's a Wall Street type about to get married who's moved into his girlfriend's co-op but doesn't want to permanently give up the locale of his boy's club debauchery and so, rents out the space for four other nights a week.

    In this pre-Craig's List era, a broken-hearted struggling chef (Broderick) and dental hygienist from Queens (Sciorra) answer his assistant's ad and take the space for cooking/dating and painting, respectively. They only know one another from the names on a posted schedule of assigned days, but with a predictable switch of Tuesday for Wednesday, Ellen the hygienist begins to fall for Sam the chef, but thinks he's called Brian, who's actually the trader. Ah, the vicissitudes of love.

    Continue reading...
    Posted at 8:30 AM in a Shallow fashion.
      October 2, 2004
    An old Rove mind trick

    Karl Rove meets the press.

    From the New York Times:

    But in a sign that the Bush campaign suddenly found itself on the defensive, the president's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, who is normally elusive to the press, sought out reporters to push the campaign's argument that Mr. Kerry was a walking contradiction on Thursday night and that Mr. Bush was focused and pensive during the encounter, not peevish.

    Rove: You don't need to see Bush's qualifications.
    Press Corps: We don't need to see Bush's qualifications.

    Rove: Bush was focused and pensive.
    Press Corps: Bush was focused and pensive.

    Rove: Kerry is most likely a pedophile.
    Press Corps: Kerry is most likely a pedophile.

    Posted at 5:15 PM in a Grave fashion.
      October 1, 2004
    Morning-after cockiness, manifest on the airport tarmac

    kerry_backwards_football.jpg

    And he'll remain this cocky all weekend long, until Karl Rove implies that Kerry is a pedophile. Or so we heard.

    Posted at 5:34 PM in a Grave fashion.
    Debate 2004: "Daddy's really fucking up, isn't he?"

    uh_debate_bushtwins_mccain.jpg

    bush_scowling_down.jpg

    bush_scowling.jpg

    Posted at 1:23 PM in a Grave fashion.
    Shabbat Shalom, from your friends at the New York Post

    Oy, we're kvelling over here about how many mentions of Jews there are in today's New York Post! Nu, it gives us such nachas to see that this city's true paper of record is finally recognizing Jews' valuable contribution to the city!

    First, there's an article on Jews in reality TV shows sensitively headlined Jew-Insult 'Apprentice' Fired Twice by Don Kaplan and Braden Keil (two nice Jewish boys, yes?). Strangely, this piece about Apprentice contestant Jennifer Crisafulli's anti-semitic comments ("It was those two old Jewish fat ladies!") is not on the Post website (conspiracy?), but you can read all about it here. (Why isn't this article online? Such a shande!)

    Then the Post saw fit to run a press release article by Suzanne Kapner (a nice Jewish girl, maybe?) about a hip [sic.] Jewish clothing company called Jewcy.

    From the hilarious headline (New Jewcy.com Web Site's Offerings Are Strictly Kosher) to the article's pitch-perfect lede ("Call it knish kitsch."), this has to be one of the best, most spot-on pieces about Jews I've ever encountered! And I've read tons of Jewy crap!

    Since the very headline was a plug for Jewcy junk, you just gotta check out their website for hilarious T-shirts emblazoned with such clever, easily accessible Yiddishisms as Yenta, Kvetch, and Meshuggenah! It's shtetl fabulous—even for your shagetz boyfriend who gives your mother such tsuris and makes her want to plotz!

    Feh, it's enough to make you chaloshes! I just wish I could remember Jewcy's URL and help them make some more gelt. Oh, well, guess they get bubkis.

    Posted at 12:54 PM in a Shallow fashion.
    So safe, it hurts

    From George W. Bush's unofficial opening arguments in last night's first presidential debate with Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry:

    "In Iraq we saw a threat and we realized that after Sept. 11 we must take threats seriously before they fully materialize. Saddam Hussein now sits in a prison cell. America and the world are safer for it."

    Visual reinforcement, from A.P. wire service images taken over the last 48 hours, of America's steady progress in President Bush' War on Terror™ or however it's being billed at this moment. I'm guessing that the "safety zone" is located well outside Baghdad's notorious "Green Zone" enclave.

    ap_iraq_cryingman.jpg
    An Iraqi soldier, Ahmed Ali, breaks down after seeing the dead bodies of several children when two car bombs and a roadside bomb went off in succession in the al-Amel neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday Sept. 30, 2004 killing 35 children and seven adults. The bombs in Baghdad's al-Amel neighborhood caused the largest death toll of children in any insurgent attack since the conflict began 17 months ago. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

    ap_iraq_deadchildren.jpg
    The dead bodies of four children are seen at a hospital in Fallujah, Iraq, Thursday Sept. 30, 2004. The children died when the car they were travelling in allegedly came under fire from U.S. forces, whereby the driver lost control and the car fell into a stream near Fallujah, Thursday . Eyewitness Hussein Alwan said that the U.S. military personnel stopped locals from assisting the drowning people, leading to the death of the four children along with two other women travelling in the car. The wounded driver was later rescued. The U.S. military media liason personnel said in Baghdad that they were unaware of any such incident. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

    ap_iraq_cryingwomankid.jpg
    An unidentified mother waits by her daughter's bedside after two car bombs and a roadside bomb went off in succession at al-Amel neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2004. At least 37 were killed, of which 34 are children and nearly 137 got wounded in the attack. (AP Photo/Samir Mizban)

    ap_iraq_cryingwomensit.jpg
    Women cry as they await for news of the fate of their children, outside Yarmouk hospital, after two car bombs and a roadside bomb went off in succession at al-Amel neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday Sept. 30, 2004. At least 37 were killed, most of them children, and 137 were wounded in the attack, hospital and military officials said. 10 U.S. soldiers are amongst the wounded. (AP Photo/Samir Mizban)

    ap_iraq_tankfire.jpg
    A U.S. armored vehicle waits near the site of car bomb attack in Abu Ghraib, Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday Sept. 30, 2004. At least three died and 60 were reportedly injured in the attack. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

    Posted at 12:30 PM in a Grave fashion.
    The news networks covering the debate, the best they know how

    Selected highlights from the cable news networks' coverage of the buildup to last night's first presidential debate between Pres. George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry, as aired September 30, 2004:

    CNN, PAULA ZAHN NOW: Zero Hour Nears For Presidential Debate, WOLF BLITZER, noted company man, 8:48 PM:

    "Fascinating, indeed. Our viewers will be fascinated, no doubt. We'll be watching very closely. Bill Hemmer, we'll get back to you.

    For our viewers who are really interested in politics and want answers to a whole range of questions, go to CNN.com. Incredible amount of information on this presidential race, the history, the current status, CNN.com. That's the place you want to be for politics."

    MSNBC, Pre-Debate Countdown, hosted by Chris Matthews, TUCKER ASKEW, Bush White House communications adviser and noted grade-school punning champion, 8:18 PM:

    "...Kerry's a master debater..."

    FOX News, FOX Report with Shepard Smith, SHEPARD SMITH, news anchor, fearmonger, and ratings whore, 7:59 PM:

    "Stay tuned, as the war on terror continues on FOX..."
    Posted at 11:12 AM in a Grave fashion.
    Presidential Debate Highlights, as selected by Benji Harmon, 8 year-old pundit
    (Or: The Debate was so fucking painful, I reverted to early childhood)

    head_left.gif"This nation of ours has got a solemn duty... We have a duty to defeat this enemy. We have a duty..."

    "Now, we're doing our duty..."

    "...active duty..."

    "We're being challenged like never before, and we have a duty..."

    " It will help change the world. That we can look back and say we did our duty..."

    "...the enemy attacked us, Jim, and I have a solemn duty..."

    "...active duty..."

    "I add two active-duty divisions..."

    Posted at 9:52 AM in a Shallow fashion.
    An analysis of the president's idea of hard work

    I know what you're saying. This is too easy, but nonetheless...

    "In Iraq, no doubt about it, it's tough. It's hard work. It's incredibly hard."

    Which is why my back is clenched up so tight it's ready to snap.

    "I wake up every day thinking about how best to protect America. That's my job...There's a lot of really good people working hard to do so. It's hard work."

    I'm not really sure what any of this shit means, but I refuse to tell people to go to georgewbush.com

    "It's-and it's hard work. I understand how hard it is. I get the casualty reports every day. I see on the TV screens how hard it is. But it's necessary work."

    Watching TV is really hard, yeah, especially the one at the White House with the TiVo. Have you tried to operate TiVo? It's really hard. And Cheney is always stealing the damn remote.

    "The plan says we'll train Iraqi soldiers so they can do the hard work, and we are."

    And it was really hard to think up a plan, we wouldn't want to waste all that hard work just because it doesn't work.

    "We're making progress. It is hard work. It is hard work to go from a tyranny to a democracy. It's hard work to go from a place where people get their hands cut off or executed to a place where people are free."

    It's hard work to go from a televised quagmire to speeches about progress, we're running out of material.

    "And, you know, I think about Missy Johnson, fantastic young lady I met in Charlotte, N.C., she and her son, Brian. They came to see me. Her husband, P.J., got killed-been in Afghanistan, went to Iraq. You know, it's hard work to try to love her as best as I can knowing full well that the decision I made caused her, her loved one to be in harm's way."

    Wait a minute! Is the president admitting an affair here? Whoa, bombshell!

    "Yeah, we're the job done. It's hard work. Everybody knows it's hard work because there's a determined enemy that's trying to defeat us."

    And that enemy is John Kerry, no wait, Saddam Hussein - no, that's not it. Warmer?

    "We've done a lot of hard work together over the last three and a half years."

    Well, mostly I watched it on television, but you get the idea.

    Posted at 9:22 AM in a Grave fashion.
    Make our "team" part of your "team"
    jean-paul tremblayJean-Paul Tremblay written-ed, directed and co-produced a bunch of so-called "comedy" and "video" content, is notoriously competitive, and nonetheless settles for bottom-tier tokenism. Repped by John Herndon at Grape Dope Entertainment. Thrill jockey!
    matt haberMatt Haber has written for The New York Times, Esquire, and The New York Observer. He is not allergic to pet dander and can do "ethnic" accents if the part calls for it. He is repped by Candy Addams at Entertainment 4-Every-1. Feeling special?
    Guy Cimbalo is so cute! Yes, he is. Who's a cute little Guy? You are, you are! Guy's our very own star of stage and screen and is repped by Jeff Kwatinetz at The Firm. Rowr!
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