Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More Of This I Can Take

Sarah Palin:
A lot of people, I guess this New York Times reporter, they just don't like that message of we being taxed enough and wanting to remind our elected officials of their constitutional limitations of big government, and just kind of get government back on the side of the people.

Grammar schools everywhere have found their cautionary tale.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

If Dreams Were Thunder

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha -
Alleging a plot to tamper with phones in Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office in the Hale Boggs Federal Building in downtown New Orleans, the FBI arrested four people Monday, including James O'Keefe, 25, a conservative filmmaker whose undercover videos at ACORN field offices severely damaged the advocacy group's credibility.

Also arrested were Joseph Basel, Stan Dai and Robert Flanagan, all 24. Flanagan is the son of William Flanagan, who is the acting U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana. All four men were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony.

An official close to the investigation said one of the four was arrested with a listening device in a car blocks from the senator's offices.

- via C & L where - omigod, I can't breathe!
Dave N.: Hmmm. Wonder how Andrew Breitbart and Glenn Beck - who have relied heavily on O'Keefe's work to smear ACORN - will respond. One can only imagine the cries of persecution that will be erupting shortly.

One can't help but be impressed by O'Keefe's investigative-journalism technique. If only the rest of us poor schlubs had realized something O'Keefe obviously learned the first time around: You can get away with breaking the law if you can get it up on Fox News first.

I'm sure O'Keefe was banking on that this time around, too. Ooopsie.

Unfortunately, Jon Stewart fell for this shit. It's time for him to retract The Audacity of Hos.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Put the Tape On Erase

I learned everything I know about glam close up shots from Bruce Lee movies.

Recently, video of that radio comedy troupe I was in turned up on YouTube. The videos are of shows we did while working up new material for the radio show or because we were too bleary to refuse a request. Sometimes they're funny. Sometimes they're true dogs. This is all from a time just before I lost my memory, so I don't remember a whole lot about it except that when the wild ride ended suddenly, I felt lost without the constant companionship.

Even so, the past is the past. I kind of wish it had stayed there, but history is fluid. Sometimes history shows up whether you like it or not. You know who should feel my pain? Jim DeMint - he won't even notice, and that should be funnier.


Friday, January 15, 2010

What I Know If You Know What I

As aid trickles into Port-au-Prince, I feel as if I am watching a horror show I've seen before. In the days after the levies broke in New Orleans, one of my co-workers quietly asked if I thought help was slow to arrive. I said I was sure of it. Her son who had flown many rescue missions with the Air Force, had told her it took time to coordinate a large operation. I told her she should not expect to see President Bush exert himself on behalf of black people, even Americans, so imagine my surprise when I read this:
Obama enlisted the help of former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat who is already a U.N. special envoy for Haiti, and former President George W. Bush, the Republican who preceded Obama in the White House.

They agreed to a request from Obama to lead private-sector fundraising efforts, issuing a joint statement expressing deep sadness at the devastation and suffering in Haiti.

"In the days and weeks ahead, we will draw attention to the many ways American citizens and businesses can help meet the urgent needs of the Haitian people," Bush and Clinton said.

Their effort will be similar to that performed by Clinton and Bush's father, former President George H.W. Bush, when they led an international relief effort to help the recovery from the 2004 tsunami that swept South Asia and killed 226,000 in 13 countries.

Verrrrrrry interesting. Says Marcus Toussaint at Jack & Jill Politics:
A heady move on President Obama’s part. Clinton is having to slip the multiple jabs coming his way over his alleged “coffee” comments and, knowing politics as he does, had no choice but to say yes.

But the real coup de grace is getting the support of George W. Bush. Whether or not he feels he needs a mulligan, he needs one. Moreover, those who oppose Obama on Haiti and anything he wants to do regardless of whether it is actually good or not will have to do so knowing they are also throwing salt on one of their own. They’ll either have to call him a turncoat or find some way to justify his thug, which can’t be done without acknowledging Obama’s hand in it, though I’m sure they’ll try their darnedest to find a way.

If George W. Bush rescued kittens from a burning building I'd assume he force-fed them gold coins first and plans to use their carcasses as bedroom slippers. There's not an altruistic bone in his body, and he would only do a service mission like this because even he knows he fucked up so badly history has shut the book on him.

On the other hand, a survey of comments on news sites shows that Limbaugh's disgusting tirade has taken root. I won't link to that. Scores of human weeping fistulas have turned up everywhere, urging Americans to turn our backs on Haiti. I won't link to them either. However, as Toussaint says, the appointment of Bush to a relief mission in the face of crazy-racist wingnut disapproval is fascinating.

Bush cannot redeem himself. Watching him try against his every selfish instinct will be interesting. Absolutely riveting will be conservative response.

I'm making popcorn as we speak.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Everybody Here Is Out Of Sight

Dear Exo-Pro:

Just saw your TV commercial for the first time. Perhaps your neoprene cold weather face mask plays really well in the Midwest, but here in New Jersey, your products are just fucking dangerous. Wonder why?

This model, which you had the good taste to title EFFNBLACK, would certainly cause the wearer, unless he was effing white, a world of trouble. This mask is practically a signed confession if worn by a person with a tan, let alone an African-American, who would be safer in Klan robes in Milltown than in this while shoveling his driveway. But that's not the worst of it.

Picture a college-educated gentleman -

You know what? Forget it. If you sell these in New Jersey, they might as well come with the phone number of a licensed undertaker.

I'd ask if you held stock in Taser, International but there's not a cop within state lines that's getting close enough tase. No. The wearer of your garment will skip the hospital and head straight to the morgue.

And speaking of effing white, this is your EFFHNWHITE model, which is guaranteed to cause local police departments to think burn patients are on the loose. I'm guessing you think by default, people are supposed to be white, but even white people aren't white - unless they have pink eyes, which will definitely cause the local gendarmie to go all bang-bangy.

In conclusion, your product, while it may be efficient, logical and possibly supercool, is going to get my neighbors killed. Please rethink this in a wild hurry.


Princess Ta


Monday, December 07, 2009

A Road That Would Only Misguide

Darwin Awards reward the stupid and foolhardy who sensibly off themselves without contributing to the gene pool with notoriety and ridicule, but when that's not fast enough, there's always Amazon's customer reviews.

One glance at this patented lunacy and certain Christmas bestseller tells the average observer to wear a helmet while driving on the nearby interstate because district managers and real estate agents will soon be arguing with customers and the laws of physics at highway speeds, and it won't end well. But don't take my word for it! People besides me - people who probably finished high school in less than nine semesters - have also noticed something amiss.
The greatest thing ever invented!, October 26, 2009
By T. Meadows "TM" (WV) - See all my reviews (REAL NAME)
Wow is this thing great! I use it as a "mini-bar" when the friends and I go out to the bars. I can quickly fix multiple shots of tequila for myself and the friends as we drive from one bar to the next. We also discovered that if you place a pillow on top of it and turn on the cruise control you can catch quick naps on the interstate. If you swerve to the left or right the rumble strips on the road wake you up in plenty of time before you get into trouble. I can now take longer trips without being tired!

Also, i am now dating a midget and she fits nicely on the steering wheel desk which allows us to experiment sexually while driving. This thing is like WD-40 or duct tape, it is a million and one uses!

Tim, Tim, Tim! We call them Little People now. Rest up on the road, smartypants! Meanwhile, high in the skies:
These worked great in the cockpit for our tanscontinental flights!, November 4, 2009
By Linky's Dad (Alexandria, KY) - See all my reviews
My copilot and I both used these during our "daily grind" transcontinental flights from San Diego to Minneapolis. We had to modify them a bit to fit snug against the instrument panels (when we bought them we didn't realize the planes we fly don't have steering wheels!), but in the end it did the job. With our laptops firmly in place we were able to focus our attention on what really mattered, participating in raids with our WoW clan. During our last flight we were so immersed in trying to take down Eranikus that we overshot Minneapolis by a full hour and a half before some annoying flight attendant interrupted us, babbling something about "FAA and F16 fighters."

We'll definitely use this product again at our next gig, whatever and whenever that happens to be...

Despite his propensity for non-standard punctuation and freelance spelling technique, that fellow seems sensible. I wish him luck in his further pursuits. Finally, we see that safe driving and those invention company commercials on late night TV don't mix.
I loved this so much I got one for my 90yr old mother, October 29, 2009
By S. Kelly - See all my reviews (REAL NAME)
I loved my Laptop Steering Wheel Desk so much I got one for my 90yr old mother. She is an avid crossword puzzle fan and now she can work on them while she is driving back and forth from bingo at the senior center. One cautionary note be careful of those jerks that stop at yellow lights, my poor mother rear ended one and the airbag drove the desk back into her stomach which ruptured her spleen, well after a short down time I'm glad to say she is back on the road and cranking out those NY Times crosswords once again. Thanks Laptop Steering Wheel Desk you have made my mothers life more complete.

One suspects well-aimed barbs will not discourage humor-impaired shoppers from cooing and clicking and designating free shipping, because Uncle Skippy is on the road, isn't he? And wouldn't that just be perfect?


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

You Won't Hear Me Leaving

Jim Bell
Executive Producer, The Today Show

Mr. Bell,

Yesterday, many news services reported you'd hired Jenna Bush Hager as an education reporter. This is offensive on a number of levels. Hager has no resume, no experience, no competency and nothing to offer. I'm afraid this hiring does not just betray NBC's political leanings; it also argues against your news organization's basic ability to gather news.

I have been watching your show for decades. Several years ago, I wrote to The Today Show twice to inform you that when Ann Coulter appeared on your show I changed the channel or turned off the TV. Ann Coulter continues to appear on your show. Recently, I wrote to tell you that Jim Cramer's presence also caused me to change the channel or shut off the TV. I should have mentioned, perhaps, that Erin Burnett's every pronouncement made me feel cheap and dirty, but some people like that. You should have disclaimers on the screen each time Cramer and Burnett speak, describing their culpability in the financial crisis, but even honesty is too much to ask. This, hiring Hager, is the last straw for me. NBC has lost all credibility. This is an insult to serious people of all kinds who train, hone a craft and polish their skills.

This morning, I switched the channel, and I won't be back until your organization does some very serious growing up. I won't hold my breath.

Sincerely yours,
Princess Ta

Sent to:

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

That River Twisting Through A Dusty

Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic:
I will say one thing about journalists collectively: we will never, ever change people's minds about the media except by practicing good journalism. So arguing - and even apologizing - is kind of useless and counterproductive.

I still think that some journalists were right to be skeptical of the doubters at the time. I think that some journalists were correct to question how they arrived at the beliefs they arrived at.

I believe I can be of assistance here.

Speaking for myself, it was simple to conclude that the Bush junta was lying about something.

First, I listened. I listened to the words and how they were strung together. I listened to who was talking and what was being said. I listened to a lot of spokespersons saying the same things over and over, knowing that people who try to persuade are doing something completely different than people describing facts. Salesmen and sociopaths persuade.

Second, I thought over what I'd heard. This is a crucial step in the process of forming an opinion, often overlooked. I mulled over not just what was said but what wasn't. I considered what it would mean if what I heard were true, and what it would mean if it weren't. I pondered what would be the possible actions, probable outcomes and who might benefit from them. I thought over what I was intended to conclude and why anyone would want me to conclude that. I even wondered why someone seemed so desperate for me to agree and fall in line. That, to me, is usually a tip off that someone's getting his or her prevarication on.

Then, because I had the luxury of distance, time and no pressure, I did some further mullin', ponderin' and considerin'. It further helped that after 9/11, I didn't piss my pants, develop a pathological fear of olive skin or take a paycheck from a conservative source, so I was free to surmise without ideological interference or goosebumps. I listeneded and I thinked. Then I decided the Bush people were lying.

Funny: during that entire presidency, this process never failed me.

Cross-posted at Brilliant @ Breakfast.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Elvis Needs Boats

Tata: Frigging Connecticut!
Daria: On 95, are you?
Tata: Freaking Connecticut!
Daria: On the way home, I saw an eight-mile backup to get onto the Cape. I've never seen that before.
Tata: Fecking Connecticut! New Haven oughta be carpet-bombed. And don't get me started on the roads around Bridgeport.
Daria: Even New Yorkers are like, "These people are crazy." How do you like the stopping for no reason whatsoever?
Tata: Not as much as I hated stopping at a McDonald's just inside the Connecticut border. I knew something was up when I saw someone had washed the floor with the wrong greasy mop and the floor was still wet. So I made the mistake of walking into the ladies room, where people in stalls were talking and stopped when I walked in. And the two open stalls? The toilets were full. I tapped the handles: disconnected. I walked right out into the restaurant, determined not to touch anything while I waited for Pete. The floor was still wet. You know what that means?
Daria: I could puke!
Tata: When I told Pete my story, we drove across the road to Stuckey's, where the bathroom was only moderately gross. We got fake strombolis at the one and only Sbarro that doesn't smell like burnt tomato sauce and sat down at a reasonably clean table. I have eaten about half of my lunch when this guy in a Stuckey's uniform walks over to the garbage can behind Pete and sticks his arm into the can to smash down the garbage. Then he straightens up the used trays. I stopped chewing. The guy walks around behind me and does the same thing where Pete can see it. I said, "Did you see that?" He said, "I really did." I said, "And now, we are leaving."
Daria: A district manager would loooooove to see that.
Tata: I know, but what can you do when a whole town doesn't know shit about basic hygiene?
Daria: Todd was just telling me about taking his kids to Chuck E. Cheese, which is the Land of All Things Contagious. I mean, what do you do? How do you scrub up after that?
Tata: You slather your kids in head-to-toe Purell? Yeah, so we're never stopping there again.
Daria: Exit 93? I've never been there.
Tata: Howcum you just know that?
Daria: You know, people who are not you actually remember things.
Tata: Okay, so the gross isn't just in Connecticut. On the way out of town, we stopped for bagels. Pete went around the corner to gas up the car and I went into the bagel shop. So I'm standing behind this young couple that just started sleeping together.
Daria: What? In the shop?
Tata: No, at his house. I get his newsletter. Doofus! Anyway, they order a bagel each and a cup of coffee each. The kid behind the counter seems to only exhale, and he's wearing one glove.
Daria: One?
Tata: Yup, only one. I watch him slice two bagels in geologic time, spackle them lightly with cream cheese and eventually pour one cup of coffee. They correct him. He pours another. He handles their money and finally looks at me. Meanwhile, three people wandered into the bagel shop and are now standing behind me. One walks out.
Daria: Really? It was that long?
Tata: Absolutely. The kid's obviously someone's nephew. I'm almost sorry to ask him to slice three bagels, put cream cheese on all of them, and on one, slice tomato and lox, but I do. The woman behind me starts to deflate. He cuts everything crooked, he's stingy with the cream cheese. It's a disaster. He disappears into the kitchen and in line, we just look at each other. He comes back with a few scraps of lox. Finally, he slices a tomato with what might as well have been a spoon. By now, Pete's waited so long he's walking into the shop to threaten the kid, because Pete's seen this dance number a few times already and he doesn't care for the ending.
Daria: Oh Lord, here it comes! What'd Pete do?
Tata: Nothing, because just then the kid asked for money and handled it with both hands.
Daria: NO!
Tata: Yes.
Daria: What did you do?
Tata: I turned to the woman behind me and said, "If I were you, I'd ask for a new glove."


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I Can Smell the Chemicals

Remember this motherfucker?
“I think it’s hard to argue that families that can contribute to their shelter cost shouldn’t,” Robert V. Hess, the city’s commissioner of homeless services, said in a telephone interview Friday. “I don’t see this playing out in an adverse way. Our objective is not for families to remain in shelter. Our objective is to move families back into their own homes and into the community.”

But Ta, you say, the world is full of motherfuckers. Remind me: who was this guy and what mothers was he fucking?
Mr. Hess acknowledged that if a family does not pay the required rent, it could be told to leave the shelter, but he noted that residents can contest the rent required through a state hearing.

Oh. Right. Those mothers. Thank you, New York Times. Anyway, Mr. Hess isn't through making the homeless more homelesser:
The new policy gives the city greater latitude to push families out of the shelter system, which had swelled to a near-high of 9,720 families as of Sunday. Families could always be evicted for illegal behavior like bringing in drugs or weapons, but they can now be ousted for any of 28 violations, including failing to sign in and out or not keeping an active case file with city welfare agencies.

The new policy is also meant to encourage families to more readily accept permanent housing, even if it is not to their liking.

“We would only expect to use this process in the most egregious of situations,” said Robert V. Hess, the commissioner for homeless services, in an interview on Monday. “We do have a small number of families where temporary emergency shelter is really being used as permanent housing.”

Evictions are for a 30-day period.

I've read those four paragraphs about ten times, and if those words make sense in that order I need a new native language. And watch this exhilarating turn of phrase:
Mr. Hess said it was not clear where families removed from shelter might turn. “The most likely outcome is that the family would demonstrate that they do have a place to go,” he said.

Or...they might be homeless and have nowhere but the sidewalk, which by this motherfucker's definition is a place to go. But it's only for 30 days, right?
An instructional guide provided to shelter operators appears to leave open the possibility that families will be subject to the elements. It instructs shelter operators that no families should be ejected during a “Code Blue Winter Weather Alert,” or when the temperature drops to 32 degrees.

Compassion like that brings a tear to the eye it does.

Robert Hess, Commissioner of Homeless Services:

Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City:

Government agencies sever parental rights over shit like failing to provide shelter. So why is the city doing it?


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Burn Your Eyes On You Moving

So I'm watching the Today Show this morning and something - I can't quite put my finger on it - is making me very uncomfortable. What -
Last night, the president of the United States said nothing surprising when he observed that members of the Cambridge police "acted stupidly" in arresting a man in his own home after he had identified himself as the owner. Even the whitest and rightest of morans could figure out that's a stupid, outrageous, disgraceful way for cops to behave. Talk about government overreach!

No, the real shocker was the audible gasp from the mostly white press corps as Obama said it. They don't seem to understand, truly understand, that the United States elected a black man to be its president.

That's close, but no cigar. When Matt Lauer asks rhetorically if it's appropriate for the President of the United States to comment on his friend's racially motivated false arrest, he's not asking an etiquette question. Nope, he's asking if it's appropriate for a Black man to mention Black men have problems specific to being Black men, because the dominant paradigm says they don't. I stopped huffing my breakfast polenta when I heard the word appropriate which was bad enough, but I got up, shut off the TV and brushed my teeth when I saw Michael Smerconish was going to discuss race with Michael Eric Dyson, and I knew Dyson was going to be told by two white guys that Mr. Obama had no right to mention racism.

Here's the clip. Maybe you have more nerve than I do.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

If Anything Was Broken I'm Sure

Via Pam's House Blend, about which I am only a teeeeeensy bit obsessive, comes this suspicious tidbit:
No one is talking on the record, but here's what happened:

"OLTL" was taping scenes in late-June concerning roommates Cristian, Layla and Fish. (They'll air in September.) Cristian and Layla suspect that sweet cop Fish is gay, but aren't sure how to approach him about it. So they buy a book about how to tell if you're gay and plan to give it to him.

Cristian's mom, Carlotta, was supposed to find the book and assume Cristian is gay. Her reaction was scripted to be very accepting and even amused, citing his love of art and fondness for going shirtless as signs she should have recognized.

But Mauceri, who has played diner purveyor Carlotta Vega for 14 years, refused to play the story as written, saying a Latina mother would not be so accepting. Rather, Mauceri rewrote the scenes to make Carlotta confused and troubled, and submitted them to "OLTL" execs.

"That's not the story we're telling," responded an exec.

Mauceri then said she could not play the scenes as written, so the show called [Saundra] Santiago.

I don't know about you, but when I read a story I am aware of things moving in the background. Sometimes I can see what they might be; sometimes not. Here, it's possible Mauceri is an artist with some integrity, in which case working on the soaps may not be her best bet for avoiding cognitive dissonance. Listen: One Life To Life has underground cities, stolen babies, secret twins, visitations by the series' creator, burn victims without scars, bullies with bags of lightly chilled blood we're supposed to believe just came from a donor, folks rising from the dead so often crypts should have ejector seats, time travel, cowboy industrialists with lawyers named "Beaver," multiple personality disorder described through hair and makeup choices, newspaper magnates lingering in modest kitchens over coffee, people cough a few times after stuff blows up, serial killers get their own European kingdoms, nobody ever goes to jail unless their contract's up and not even I would plan a double wedding with my ex-husband. We're not going to get much in the way of real life here. Or dignity. Even so, it must be said that recently OLTL has been a little weird in its treatment of Latin peoples, with a moment that made me cringe and turn off the TV. This one:

A character that supposedly lived for years in Puerto Rico and Europe is throwing a party and mistakes her guests for "the help" because they speak with a heavy accent. I threw myself at my remote and found something else to do for a while. So I could understand if someone had absolutely had it with this show on this topic and decided to give the script writers a little tough love. Unfortunately for Mauceri, writers are big users of strong words. Let's go back to the article and weigh the words:
No one is talking on the record, but here's what happened:

Omigod, I can't tell you what happened but this is what happened.
"OLTL" was taping scenes in late-June concerning roommates Cristian, Layla and Fish. (They'll air in September.) Cristian and Layla suspect that sweet cop Fish is gay, but aren't sure how to approach him about it. So they buy a book about how to tell if you're gay and plan to give it to him.

There are no gay people in Pennsylvania so you can get manuals that tell you how to be gay and only straight people know where to buy them.
Cristian's mom, Carlotta, was supposed to find the book and assume Cristian is gay. Her reaction was scripted to be very accepting and even amused, citing his love of art and fondness for going shirtless as signs she should have recognized.

What could my son's love of Post-Its and fondness for going to grocery stores mean? Perhaps I should have recognized his penchant for being Latvian.
But Mauceri, who has played diner purveyor Carlotta Vega for 14 years, refused to play the story as written, saying a Latina mother would not be so accepting. Rather, Mauceri rewrote the scenes to make Carlotta confused and troubled, and submitted them to "OLTL" execs.

If I can't write caricatures based on my prejudices I don't know what the world is coming to!
"That's not the story we're telling," responded an exec.

Don't think: it weakens the team.
Mauceri then said she could not play the scenes as written, so the show called Santiago.

I'll overlook the fact that some people are still mad about Carmen Miranda's Chiquita banana thing because Latin people are just so darned temperamental. You can't work with 'em.

Frankly, I might be smashing heads in the office photocopier, if that were me. It also can't be overstated that treating your gay roommate like his homosexuality is an exotic disease makes you a big jerk.

Of course, it's possible Mauceri is just a bigot, but it's also possible we only caught a glimpse of what happened and this is a smear. Mauceri's out of a job. Everything else is rumor and speculation.


Friday, June 19, 2009

A Vacant Lot For Any Spirit To Haunt

Oh brudder:
A passenger told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that she noticed Sicily was missing - while she was on a flight to the island. Smaller islands, such as Sardinia, were in the right place on the map.

Alitalia was re-launched earlier this year under private ownership. It had been a state-run company for more than 60 years before going bankrupt.

One Italian Senator, Riccardo Villari, said it was unfortunate the big advertising campaign surrounding the re-launch had been followed by "unpleasant" errors. The magazine editor, Aldo Canale, said: "We have run lots of editions on the beauty of Sicily and we would never dream of eliminating it from maps of Italy."

This reminds me of that time on a genealogical bulletin board when someone said my great-grandfather never existed. I recall shouting a lot, "The proof that he lived is that I'M SITTING RIGHT HERE." See, he married a divorced woman, which was cause for little old ladies to slather White Out all over the family records. Hope Sicily reappears or floating through baggage claim in the Mediterranean's going to be VERY FREAKING TRICKY.

You've got to give it to Chris Dodd. He knows he's about to fuck up so bad Connecticut's voters might finally put him out of a job, and yet he sounds so calm about it.
On the one hand, Dodd expressed his strong support for a public health plan that would compete with private insurers and give Americans to buy into an insurance system that doesn’t fatten corporations’ bottom line. On the other, Dodd signaled his willingness to accept a “compromise.”

“We have the votes to pass a bill that expands coverage to millions of Americans, improves quality, protects patient choice, cuts costs, and averts disaster for our economy and our families,” Dodd wrote. “But, as frustrating as it is to you and to me, I don’t know if we have the votes to pass a strong public health care option. What I do know is that whether we can get there or not is still an open question. What I do know is that I plan to fight hard to convince my colleagues on the committee and in the full Senate that we need a public option. What I do know is that I’m going to need your help.”

I'd sound a little more nervous if I were saying to Americans, "Dudes - can I call you 'Dudes?' - Dudes, we're going to expand coverage by forcing you to buy it, refuse to help pay for it and sit around with our collegial thumbs up our asses while the insurers refuse claims and make your lives an exorbitantly expensive living hell." In fact, knowing that this plan will actually make the lives of Americans much worse would prevent me from saying it at all.

So who knew I had some dignity? Not Siobhan, who just sent an old picture of Ivan and me in Santa suits in a Tewksbury, MA hotel room where she, Ivan and I met up with Johnny and drank Boone's Farm out of bowls. Apparently, paper cups were illegal within the city limits - but whatever: dignity, motherfuckers! Like the Portuguese, I guess:
Notably, decriminalization has become increasingly popular in Portugal since 2001. Except for some far-right politicians, very few domestic political factions are agitating for a repeal of the 2001 law. And while there is a widespread perception that bureaucratic changes need to be made to Portugal's decriminalization framework to make it more efficient and effective, there is no real debate about whether drugs should once again be criminalized. More significantly, none of the nightmare scenarios touted by preenactment decriminalization opponents — from rampant increases in drug usage among the young to the transformation of Lisbon into a haven for "drug tourists" — has occurred.

The political consensus in favor of decriminalization is unsurprising in light of the relevant empirical data. Those data indicate that decriminalization has had no adverse effect on drug usage rates in Portugal, which, in numerous categories, are now among the lowest in the EU, particularly when compared with states with stringent criminalization regimes. Although postdecriminalization usage rates have remained roughly the same or even decreased slightly when compared with other EU states, drug-related pathologies — such as sexually transmitted diseases and deaths due to drug usage — have decreased dramatically. Drug policy experts attribute those positive trends to the enhanced ability of the Portuguese government to offer treatment programs to its citizens — enhancements made possible, for numerous reasons, by decriminalization.

You had me at postdecriminalization, Mr. Greenwald.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Deal With Rockets And Dreams

The weather, I am under it today. Most of the morning, I couldn't open my eyes. It's not a big deal, but my patience wears thin when my body refuses to cooperate. I'd call a meeting with it but I'm sure it would hang up on me. Thus, now is the wrong time for me to notice that one of my soaps is about to step into a stinky mess. This child holding a child is the mother nearing the moment she decides to raise her baby rather than give that baby to a nearby adult. I'm neither an advocate for adoption nor a detractor. Most - not all but most - of the adults I know who were adopted are very fucked up about it. Adoption is better than foster care. Sometimes. Depends on the circumstances, the kid, the parents. But the soap saying that kids can raise kids is going too far, especially with the class issues packed - no, stuffed - into this particular scenario. It's a bad scene, glossing over what this means in real life, like that the teenage characters are unable in any way to provide a home for themselves or the baby. So today, I shut off One Life To Live half an hour in, and I'll come back when the show veers back to husband-stealing, underground cities and mental illness. That weirdness I can handle.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hear Me You Don't Even

New York fucking Times:
Sotomayor’s Sharp Tongue Raises Issue of Temperament

What what what?
Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s Supreme Court choice, has a blunt and even testy side, and it was on display in December during an argument before the federal appeals court in New York. The case concerned a Canadian man who said American officials had sent him to Syria to be tortured, and Judge Sotomayor peppered a government lawyer with skeptical questions.

“So the minute the executive raises the specter of foreign policy, national security,” Judge Sotomayor asked the lawyer, Jonathan F. Cohn, “it is the government’s position that that is a license to torture anyone?”

Mr. Cohn managed to get out two and a half words: “No, your hon- .”

Judge Sotomayor cut him off, then hit him with two more questions and a flat declaration of what she said was his position. The lawyer managed to say she was wrong, but could not clarify the point until the chief judge, Dennis G. Jacobs, stepped in, asking, “Why don’t we just get the position?”

This sounds really familiar, but I can't fucking place it -
Other lawyers, though, are not so enamored. In the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary, which conducts anonymous interviews with lawyers to assess judges, she has gone from generally rave reviews to more tepid endorsements. Among the comments from lawyers was that she is a “terror on the bench” who “behaves in an out-of-control manner” and attacks “lawyers for making an argument she doesn’t like.”

Ringing a distant bell - so, so close -
“Some lawyers just don’t like to be questioned by a woman,” Judge Calabresi added. “It was sexist, plain and simple.”

I remember now! It was Mrs. Ornstein's tenth grade English class.
Gentlemen, importune me no farther,
For how I firmly am resolved you know;
That is, not bestow my youngest daughter
Before I have a husband for the elder:
If either of you both love Katharina,
Because I know you well and love you well,
Leave shall you have to court her at your pleasure.

[Aside] To cart her rather: she's too rough for me.
There, There, Hortensio, will you any wife?

I pray you, sir, is it your will
To make a stale of me amongst these mates?

Mates, maid! how mean you that? no mates for you,
Unless you were of gentler, milder mould.

I'faith, sir, you shall never need to fear:
I wis it is not half way to her heart;
But if it were, doubt not her care should be
To comb your noddle with a three-legg'd stool
And paint your face and use you like a fool.

From all such devils, good Lord deliver us!

And me too, good Lord!

Hush, master! here's some good pastime toward:
That wench is stark mad or wonderful froward.

Nothing's as fresh as seventeenth-century sexism. Also: they suck as theater critics if they don't know what play they're seeing. The least the New York fucking Times could do is demand that these fuckers write their poison-pen OpEds that pass for reporting in iambic pentameter. Truly: that's the least it could do.

Updated to reflect common understandings of sentence structure and moral sloth.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How Right It Is To Care

It took me a whole day to stop hyperventilating.
The Bloomberg administration has quietly begun charging rent to homeless families who live in publicly run shelters but have income from jobs.

The new policy is based on a 1997 state law that was not enforced until last week, when shelter operators across the city began requiring residents to pay a certain portion of their income. The amount varies based on factors that include family size and what shelter is being used, but should not exceed 50 percent of a family’s income, a state official said.

I'm speechless.

What percentage of my budget should go to housing?
Nauseous in New Brunswick

Dear Nauseous,
There's a chart.
30% Housing
18% Transportation
16% Food
8% Miscellaneous
5% Clothing
5% Medical
5% Recreation
5% Utilities
4% Savings
4% Other Debts

This is if one's situation is stable and one is looking to miraculously cut one's medical costs to 5% and spend less on pizza delivery. Evidently, even numbers are different in New York.
Vanessa Dacosta, who earns $8.40 an hour as a cashier at Sbarro, received a notice under her door several weeks ago informing her that she had to give $336 of her approximately $800 per month in wages to the Clinton Family Inn, a shelter in Hell’s Kitchen where she has lived since March.

“It’s not right,” said Ms. Dacosta, a single mother of a 2-year-old who said she spends nearly $100 a week on child care. “I pay my baby sitter, I buy diapers, and I’m trying to save money so I can get out of here. I don’t want to be in the shelter forever.”

“I think it’s hard to argue that families that can contribute to their shelter cost shouldn’t,” Robert V. Hess, the city’s commissioner of homeless services, said in a telephone interview Friday. “I don’t see this playing out in an adverse way. Our objective is not for families to remain in shelter. Our objective is to move families back into their own homes and into the community.”

I think it would be hard to argue that there's a bigger dick anywhere than Robert V. Hess, Commissioner of Homeless Services, who plainly has never missed an expensed meal in his life. His argument is precisely, on its face WRONG. Isn't it fortunate that he has a public office from which to broadcast his dickishness, and you can call it?

Robert Hess, Commissioner of Homeless Services:

Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City:

You can help Mr. Hess conclude that he is full of MATH FAIL. It'd practically be a good deed to get him fired. Maybe he'd develop some compassion!
A flier posted in one shelter last week warned residents in bold, underlined type, “Failure to make the required contributions could result in the loss of your family’s temporary housing.”

But advocates for the homeless said the new policy was punitive and counterproductive, and some shelter residents, in protest, have already refused to sign the documents acknowledging receipt of the rent notifications.

“Families have been told to pay up or get out,” said Steven Banks, the attorney in chief for the Legal Aid Society. “The policy is poorly conceived, but even more alarmingly, it’s being poorly executed. What is happening is that we have seen cases of families being unilaterally told, without any notice of how the rent was calculated, that they must pay certain amounts of rent or leave the shelter. We’ve already had a case of a survivor of domestic violence who was actually locked out of her room.”

Mr. Hess acknowledged that if a family does not pay the required rent, it could be told to leave the shelter, but he noted that residents can contest the rent required through a state hearing.

Ms. Dacosta, for one, said she had spoken with her caseworker and demanded a hearing. Martha Gonzalez, who is 49 and lives with her 19-year-old son in a rundown shelter in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, said she was informed last week that she owes $1,099 in monthly rent on a $1,700 monthly income as a security guard in Midtown. She said she planned to contest the rent demand in court.

...Because the working poor have plenty of time to take take off for pointless, dickish hearings pointing out that dickish New York City is extorting rent from the poor. If there's one thing the homeless need it's being told that unless they pay up they'll be EVEN MORE HOMELESS. More homelesser. Man, I hope they splash those on superglam NY1! I still don't know what to say, but it's Limerick Day. That seems promising.

A homeless commissioner named Hess
thought the homeless should have even less
he charges them rent
dumb money spent
when saving up worries us hairless.

That sucks, but I write a blistering email. Hope you will, too.

Update: That guy is such a motherfucker I can't believe I got through this post without saying motherfucker.


Saturday, May 09, 2009

I Can't Feed On the Powerless

On a spring day, a young instigator's mind turns to registering dissatisfaction with the status quo, and foliage. I started writing letters about this constuction project two years ago. Some months back, I wrote to one of the unnamed university's urban planners about the time it was taking to finish a relatively simple paving project on Route 27 under Route 18. The urban planner, evidently uncomfortable with the words corruption and visible to any idiot assured me stiffly that the project would be finished in April of 2009. In the meantime, this corridor was closed for a weekend during which about half a day's work was done, and since October, on few occasions have workers attended the traffic cones, displaced lanes and construction signs. This project is going nowhere fast.

Longtime readers of Poor Impulse Control may recall that my mouth has the power to move mountains, and so it would be effortless to imagine that someone, deep in bowels of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, has heard my piteous mewling and decided to punish commuters on two major roadways, possibly for a year or more. Though I am indeed a special snowflake, let us resist this blizzard scenario. For one thing, because New Jersey is rife with corruption we can all see and for the most part expect. Sometimes, we even benefit from it. If we were to accept that my protests changed the pace at which this project was being completed we would have to attribute to me the power to piss off corrupt officials. That is too much to believe. So this must be some professional-grade incompetence at work. Impressive, isn't it?

As I've also mentioned before, the two buildings in the distance in that last picture were designed by I.M. Pei in what can only have been the most desperate moment of an otherwise interesting career. The building on the left is the Hyatt. No one can afford to stay there except guests of Johnson & Johnson and you see people with little wheelie suitcases crossing Route 27 and tripping bicyclists all the time. It's like a video game with lacerations and credit card reward points. I took these three pictures walking on the Albany Street Bridge toward New Brunswick, and on this picture I looked over the side. That asphalt is new and those street lights are puzzling. Right now, they light the homeless, who live under the bridge I'm standing on. The street lights are a portent of something we've all wondered about: what are they doing with the river front? It doesn't take a genius to know that when the river rises those lights will be halfway under water, along with the luxury housing on the other side of Route 18. It's a flood plain.

Last September, I photographed this corridor. It's changed somewhat. This stretch is so bad for bikers I can't picture riding to work until it's fixed. The other side of the road was fixed in a somewhat conventional sense but I still wouldn't let my worst enemy out on that side of the road.* The best thing on that side of the road is when cars fly off the Route 18 ramp and come to a screeching halt because cars exiting Route 27 have the right of way and really bad attitudes. As a pedestrian, I want to get right in the middle of that.

I do like that my shadow resembles that of a giant squid. I feel underdressed without tentacles.

These spots are very close together, but shadows deceive. Two people my size could not walk side by side on this path and people who meet must negotiate their passing. There's a second aspect to this: the grade. Under the overpass, water pools. It's rained off and on for more than a week. Where there's dirt it's all mud, and dirt is everywhere. People walk this pushing baby carriages. I hate to think of them crossing paths with the seemingly endless parade of young men cycling to jobs in every kind of weather.

In the center of this picture looking back behind me you can't see where old pavement was cut and new pavement now sits almost a foot lower because I am a sub-par photographer. When a rain cloud forms, people turn truly stupid on this very spot. They drive right into a pool of pooling water and sit there, waiting for the light on the other side of the bridge to turn green. That light is at least 100 yards away and not visible from this spot. I wonder if this spot was engineered with the blessing of towing companies, or perhaps it's a municipal fundraiser.

Truly, the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train. This spot is actually getting worse. It's really hard to negotiate this place between the overpass and the Hyatt without getting muddy. When I attain the traffic light ahead, I know that it's 100% certain that I'm as muddy as I'm going to get, barring a sudden altercation with corporate landscapers. Which could happen. Possibly. Even though it never has. Anyhow, I compared the images from last September and these and I was actually surprised that anything had changed. There's still a light that tells pedestrians to go but no light to arrest vehicular traffic, but apparently the Department of Transportation considers a few high-speed maulings the price of doing business.

This project could have been finished easily in a matter of months. Instead, it's dirty, dangerous and will probably go on for as long as possible. Even the mob would be embarrassed.

*She is still SUCH a BITCH.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I'll Give You Everything I Have In My Hand

Why bother disguising your racism when you can parade is all over the front page?
"People here are afraid of the police," said Terry Willis, vice president of the Homer branch of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People. "They harass black people, they stop people for no reason and rough them up without charging them with anything."

That is how it should be, responded Homer Police Chief Russell Mills, who noted the high rates of gun and drug arrests in the neighborhood.

"If I see three or four young black men walking down the street, I have to stop them and check their names," said Mills, who is white. "I want them to be afraid every time they see the police that they might get arrested.

"We're not out there trying to abuse and harass people - we're trying to protect the law-abiding citizens locked behind their doors in fear."

This is bullshit cowardice, as everyone knows deep down, and it never, never ends well.
On the last afternoon of his life, Bernard Monroe was hosting a cookout for family and friends in front of his dilapidated home in this small northern Louisiana town.

Throat cancer had left the 73-year-old retired electric utility worker unable to talk, but family members said he clearly was enjoying the commotion of a dozen of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren cavorting in the grassless yard.

Then the Homer police showed up, two white officers whose arrival caused the participants at the black family's gathering to fall silent.

This is pretty bad. The chief wants black people to be afraid when they see cops. Well, mission accomplished:
Four witnesses said he was sitting outside his home in the late afternoon on Feb. 20 -- clutching a large sports-drink bottle -- when two police officers pulled up and summoned over his son, Shawn.

Shawn Monroe, who has a long record of arrests and convictions on charges of assault and battery but was not wanted on any warrants, reportedly ran into the house.

One of the officers, who had been on Homer's police force only a few weeks, chased after him and reappeared moments later in the doorway, the witnesses said.

Meanwhile, the elder Monroe had started walking toward the front door. When he got to the first step on the porch, the witnesses said, the rookie officer opened fire, striking Monroe several times.

"He just shot him through the screen door," said Denise Nicholson, a family friend who said she was standing a few feet away. "After [Monroe] was on the ground, we kept asking the officer to call an ambulance, but all he did was get on his radio and say, 'Officer in distress.' "

The witnesses said the second officer picked up a handgun that Monroe, an avid hunter, always kept in plain sight on the porch for protection. Using a latex glove, the officer grasped the gun by its handle, the witnesses said, and ordered everyone to back away. The next thing they said they saw was the gun next to Monroe's body.

"I saw him pick up the gun off the porch," Marcus Frazier said. "I said, 'What are you doing?' The cop told me, 'Shut the hell up, you don't know what you're talking about.' "

Homer police maintain Monroe was holding a loaded gun when he was shot, but would not comment further.

Oh. My. God. These people aren't even good at being bad. They're just racist fucks. Fortunately, because they've attracted the attention of the Feds.
Now the Louisiana State Police, the FBI and the Justice Department are swarming over this impoverished lumber town of 3,800, drawn by allegations from numerous witnesses that police killed Monroe without justification - and then moved a gun to make it look like he had been holding it.

"We are closely monitoring the events in Homer," said Donald Washington, the U.S. attorney for the western district of Louisiana. "I understand that a number of allegations are being made that, if true, would be serious enough for us to follow up on very quickly."

You know where we might apply some stimulus funds? To hiring investigators and prosecutors to protect us from jackbooted thugs of all kinds, but especially from thugs passing for public servants. I can't wait to watch the judicial system turn the incarceration industry inside out and put bad cops on the inside.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mean But I'm Changing My Scene

When I moved to Pete's house, I gave up cable, which had a few PBS stations I truly miss and a whole mess o' instructional videos I could use whenever I felt like it. The yoga videos were just as good for laughs as for stretching. A very satisfied-looking gentleman smiled a great deal as he conducted class, and I could just hear him as he gazed at his lovely assistant - oh yes, there was gazing - 'I am a very handsome man, and Suzanne is lissome in unspeakable ways, and we're going to spend this very afternoon investigating the body dharma here in San Souci. Don't forget to hold each pose for five breaths.' I miss that guy.

Pete's house has the dish, and with it, different channels. The trainwreck I can't stop watching is called Veria, and it is amazing.

What what what?

It's supposed to be programming about healthy living but I've noticed that such programs tend to omit just as many important words as they include so I end up with piles of questions. Everyone is starch-white and has a weird smile and speaks slowly. It's that red flag that hints at a cult, but I don't get how to connect that signal with what I see, which are excruciatingly serious talk shows about herbal work and alternative medicine and some pretty exciting forms of yoga I'll have to work up to trying. I mean, what the hell's going on?

When Amanda McQuade-Crawford discusses enemas you must not, under any circumstances, laugh.

The other day, I rowed for 30 minutes during a show about Dr. Bronner, who I thought all these years was a cult figure. Short answer: sort of. What? The same series profiled the man who created homeopathic medicine. He's got some nitwit followers who should never venture near a microphone again in support of their guru.

Anyway, what made me think of this was Sunday's (yes, I am rowing a whole lot) show about brewing herbal extracts and fermented Korean health beverages. I almost fell over when the herbalist said the next preparation involved rum. I surmised from surveying the channel that nobody touched a drop of demon rum. Now I wonder if they're all just drunk.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Well, Maybe Not An Elephant

This has been bothering me for months: SNL's Fred Armisen as Barack Obama.

Is this blackface? What is it?

In fact, why in 2009 is there one African-American actor in SNL's cast list?

I'm no credentialed cultural critic. I went to college - drove there five days a week for twenty-three years, in fact - but I don't have a theory about why this is or isn't flying, except that the cast keeps growing in size, the women are starting to look very similar and and they keep adding white guys. So what's happening here? Why am I increasingly uncomfortable with what I see?

This is a very respectful treatment of our President's character - affectionate, even. But someday it won't be. Sometime, Mr. Obama will do something the writers don't like. When this bit goes south, it'll be a disaster.

Updated to reflect Siobhan might be right about a few things. Like.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

You're Not A Stranger To Me

The indispensible Tom Tomorrow offers his tribute to the outgoing administration.

Let us hope it is swiftly followed by indictments, prosecutions, convictions and lengthy prison terms.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No Sense In War But Perfect Sense

What in glamorous tarnation?
The Bush Administration's Department of Justice announced Monday that they are suing the city of Gary, Indiana for discriminating against white people.

Seven more more days...
On Monday, the Justice Department announced a lawsuit against the Indiana city, alleging that six EMT technicians appear to have been hired on the basis of race alone in violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act -- which was passed to combat discrimination against African Americans.

The suit alleges that the city told applicants that offers of employment would be based on the order they were ranked. But the city seems to have ignored their own ordering and instead hired several African American applicants who placed lower than the white applicants.

Each of the six who were hired ranked lower than the highest-ranking white applicant, the Justice Department wrote.

"Federal law guarantees equal access to employment opportunities without regard to race," said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a release. "The Department is committed to enforcing all the federal civil rights laws, including Title VII, under its jurisdiction."

Something about this doesn't feel quite right, but what is it? What's missing? What's...?
Gary's corporate counsel, Hamilton Carmouche, told a local paper the list was prepared by the city's previous mayor, and gave preference to applicants who lived in Gary.

"We hire not on the basis of any race, but on the basis of residency," Carmouche said.

Ah! There it is; logic. You want your EMTs to feel connected to the community. Got it. So, the administration's doing what, now?
Use of the Civil Rights Act to protect against discrimination against whites is not unprecedented, but it is a novel tactic by the Bush Administration's lawyers.

Ironically, the Administration hasn't been a big fan of expanding civil rights law.

Earlier this year, the White House fought efforts to elimination[sic] a statute of limitations measure that prevents employees from suing their employers for hiring discrimination if they don't file suit with 180 days from the date of the discriminatory activity.

With one week left of this unabashed oligarchy, I can say with a clear conscience I wish we'd elected a lime Jell-O mold to the Presidency in 2000 because even if the squiggly dessert wouldn't talk about its policies at least it wouldn't have fucked with the American people like this. And sliced pears.

I assume this kind of racist bullshit will stop Tuesday morning, just before lunchtime, so what was the point? What could possibly have been the point? The point has always been to be a really big dick about everything. As jaw-dropping as every day of the last eight years has been, this final press conference is still shocking. At 7:54 in this video, even now, you will not believe your eyes and ears.

At least when desserts fail, no one fucking starves.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Shiver I Feel So

Dear Lou Dobbs,

One of these days, because you don't seem to be stupid, you may realize how much damage you have done to America. On that day, your racism and class issues, which you've been playing out in public for a very long time, may finally be clear to you. You've been biting the hand that feeds you. I mean that literally. You castigate the people who grow and raise and slaughter and transport and prepare everything you eat, and clean up after you. Are you aware of them? I suppose not. But you are violating a very important little rule: Don't screw with the people who take care of you. That can't end well.

It's time you started looking up the economic ladder for the causes of our current economic armageddon. Only there will you actually see what's happening, though I doubt you will ever look. If I were you, I'd start overtipping everyone in sight, because it's completely impossible no one's spitting in your dinner.

Bon appetit,
Princess Ta


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Knitting the Book And the Broom

Oh, for fuck's sake.
Please resign, Bush tells political appointees

Historically, you didn't have to tell political appointees to resign when it was someone else's turn to make political appointees. But these fuckers are special.
The White House has a message for its political appointees: Go home.

White House chief of Staff Joshua Bolten sent a memo Dec. 1 to all of President Bush's political appointees asking them to tender their resignation effective Jan. 20 - the day President-Elect Barack Obama is sworn into office.

Just days ago, one of these valiant prayer warriors declared she would not, in fact, vacate her office, though she must've gotten Bolten's memo.
Despite a new administration coming into power, U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said she plans to stick around.

"It doesn't serve justice for all the U.S. attorneys to submit their resignations all at one time," she said yesterday.

U.S. attorneys serve at the discretion of the president and may be hired and fired at will, although their appointments must be confirmed by the Senate. When a new president is elected, U.S. attorneys of both parties generally tender their resignations.

Instead, the Republican said she plans to continue her work in the Western District of Pennsylvania. More than that, she said she would consider working in the Obama administration. She would not discuss what her future might hold beyond the U.S. attorney's office.

"I am open to considering further service to the United States," Ms. Buchanan said.

She's a toughie. Not to worry, that memo may still come in handy.
Should they not be sure what to write, Bolten gives appointees a sample letter.

"Dear Mr. President," it reads, "I hereby tender my resignation as (title). I anticipate that my last day of service will be January 20,2009, and I understand that you will act on this offer no later than noon, January 20, 2009."

"Sincerely, Name and title."

I see. We've found the only person in America who's never written I QUIT across her boss' windshield in ketchup. Well, lucky us.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Expecting To Grow Flowers In A Desert

Have you seen this commercial?

YouTuber impossiblefunky:
Early this year Creative Director Tom Koh teamed up with our NY office to launch a fresh new brand spot for Astra Zenecas pharmaceutical product, Symbicort. It being the products first broadcast ad campaign, the expectation was for these spots to not only establish a memorable image for the brand but to set them apart from the competition. Expanding on the existing brand element of the human silhouette, Blind created a world rich with color and dimension to bring the spot to life.

The talking silhouette freaked me out so completely the first time I saw this commercial it took months for me to watch it all the way through. Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's not. The image is familiar, yes? I see people like this in dreams, so the ad caused me a kind of instinctive fear response.

Good job, ad men. I am breathless.


Monday, October 06, 2008

You More Than Anything

Yesterday, Jim Cramer appeared on The Today Show, a humbled and beaten man. His appearance was no less striking for what he said, but it's hard to have sympathy for the man who predicted this would happen, repeatedly called for GM to break the UAW and continues to kowtow to unfettered capitalism.

Last night, within only a few hours of his appearance on The Today Show, Cramer turned up on The Colbert Report, where he refused to blame the current administration for the unfolding economic disaster but says Republicans had a lot to do with it. Don't worry, he finds plenty of blame to lay at the feet of Bill Clinton. I would have been disappointed if he hadn't. This bit of fancy footwork is unbelievable. If his career as a guy screaming about Wall Street on TV is over, I'm sure he'll do very well on Dancing With the Stars.

This morning, poor Jim Cramer again appeared on The Today Show, defending his warning to Americans that they should remove anything they'll need for the next five years from the stock market. Oddly enough, Americans did not want to see the defeated Mr. Cramer admit defeat, and they attacked him for - well, you'll see. It is the most pointed example to date of the administration's successful campaign to numb Americans to fear. Congratulations, Republicans. Congratulations, runaway capitalists. Your oracle of venality gibbers on. This disaster is all yours, and none of it was an accident. Fortunately for you, when told to take cover, people who've been conditioned to believe you will take care of them still believe it, and they will stand there believing it as the sky falls.

As for Mr. Cramer -

It is impossible to pity him. He will be fine, once the humiliation of being right, a moral failure and unable to see what he could have done differently wears off. It is plain that he will not suffer the loss of his home - or much else, probably. He won't see what he contributed to the vast harm bearing down on billions of people. His blindness protects him. I wouldn't want to be him if it fails.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Slow Parade Of Fears

I'm not 100% certain where I learned this - I think it came from Martin Cruz Smith's novel Gorky Park, but it might have come from another novel I read in my early twenties. See: everyone seeks himself in what he or she sees. Artists endlessly reproduce themselves in their work, which people kind of know. The Mona Lisa might have been DaVinci's self-portrait, as any sophomore art history major knows. So in Gorky Park, forensic reconstruction of a skull is undertaken by a dwarf who says to the protagonist, "Trust the freak's eye." We don't have to go that far to examine an image. For instance, I missed my soaps for a few days because I was buffeted by real life so I checked in for episode recaps. There, I found this image. What the hell?

At first glance, the residents of Llanview, PA have little in common aside from their penchant for drama. Diversity is the key word in town: Cowboys and cops, the wealthy and working class, lovers and enemies mix amidst a collection of different races, religions and families. Upon closer inspection, it becomes apparent these disparate individuals all share the desire to triumph in the one life we have to live.

Really? Why is the banner image six white people with blond hair and - as far as I can tell - blue eyes?

Trust this freak: you now know who the graphic artist is.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Like A Leper Messiah

This morning, I had a fight on my hands.

Tata: I don't wanna go to work!
Tata: We're going!
Tata: I don't wanna! You can't make me!
Tata: Aw, come on, little camper! We can get some fresh coffee...?
Tata: No!
Tata: That's it! I'm throwing you in the shower!

Man, she's a BITCH! So I got dressed in the dark because Pete wasn't really asleep. I can't explain that. Anyway, some time later, I realized I was inching away from me.

Tata: What in glamorous tarnation are you wearing?
Tata: Pants. My co-workers like when I wear pants.
Tata: And what else, Missy?
Tata: I'm wearing - oh, help.
Tata: Yes, exactly. Your Inner Angry Toddler dressed you in pretty, pretty colors. In fact, all of them.

So I tried buttoning or unbuttoning, to make it look like I'd assembled this ensemble on purpose.

Tata: That shirt you gave me. I suppose you knew the buttons don't unbutton.
Mom: Are we playing Anagrams?
Tata: I cannot unbutton this shirt. You have cursed me.
Mom: Are you at work?
Tata: I am, and they like when I wear shirts. But this one, I cannot unbutton, even on purpose. It's permanent or something.
Mom: Now I remember: you didn't graduate from high school!
Tata: That was then, this is now, and I have lefthanded scissors.

I am now wearing a modified, less terrifying version of the this morning's outfit in tones of purple and brown. I've also discovered that standing in front of one's co-workers and shouting, "HAVE YOU SEEN WHAT I'M WEARING?" will produce a wide variety of responses largely dependant upon what you've shouted beforehand.

Thus, you will be surprised I had the nerve to stare at this Go Fug Yourself picture of Traci Bingham like dogs stare at ceiling fans. I'd never heard of her before, so I figure she's one of those starlets on a reality show I can't name. She's got lovely skin tone, a super shape, and she doesn't look like one of those meal-skipping waifs, so yay. Anyway, Kali knows I've put on some get ups in my day, including a gold lamé toga I should have had dusted for fingerprints, so I observed this dress with milder mirth than others might, at least until Miss Bingham turned around. Irridescent fake snake skin is one thing. Fake dress is another one altogether.

In fact, it's not a dress. It's someone's resumé.

Dear Traci's Plastic Surgeon,

Nice work.


Princess Tata
Pun intended.

I once went out wrapped in cellophane, showing less skin than this. However, on the day you issue the demand for better video of your grandson, it's mighty weird to mention your erstwhile hotness. You must trust me that I would never have mentioned either Miss Traci With An I, my closet full of industrial kitchenware and mismatched knits or my super-adorable grandbaby who now says, "Hi!" if not for the third picture, which caused me to scream, frightening my cats. My poor darlings! I simply wasn't prepared, as a gal who treated every day of her late teens, twenties and thirties as one long costume party, to meet the almost certain Guest of Honor. Said Jessica of Go Fug Yourself:
...what can I say? There are literally no words in the human vocabulary that can express my horror/glee at the fact that you have gone out wearing a dress with a giant detachable ruffle, which you, at some point, removed and presumably shoved into your purse. I am terrified, and yet thrilled to the very marrow of my bones. That is all. I have no further witticism. I am so confused/excited. I'm going to go lie down with a washcloth over my forehead and attempt to parse my own emotions. Farewell.

Bravo! This is a fashion crime on a par with the Brinks Armored Car Heist, and I say that as a little old lady with her hair in a ponytail, wearing black shoes with a brown outfit. Even I was left - briefly! - speechless by the color scheme, texture and clashing patterns when I quit screaming. This dress reminds me of the weirdest parts of childhood, like pretending to be a mermaid and not noticing you can't move. Like pre-teens auditioning for a dance troupe to "Hey Big Spender." Like at every little girl's birthday party before 1970 where Barbie stood in the center of a bundt cake, not at all like a human sacrifice up to her neck in festive butter cream. Friends, we are in the presence of greatness.

Fortunately, I smell clean.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Drifting, Falling

This is from Politico, which is no left-leaning union newsletter. It is a conservative mouthpiece.

Consider this source very, very carefully, and the horror this portends.
According to one GOP lawmaker, some House Republicans are saying privately that they’d rather "let the markets crash" than sign on to a massive bailout.

"For the sake of the altar of the free market system, do you accept a Great Depression?" the member asked.

I have my feelings about the crisis, the negotiations, the package, the pricetag, the process, the players, the outcome and the consequences to the executives. All of these things aside - and I am not arguing in favor of the bail out - why are these employees of the taxpayers allowed within 100 yards of the Halls of Congress?

How do they show their faces in public without cream pies sailing through the air?


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Trouble Is A Temporary Thing

Fuck you, Jillian. My mother can catch a football, I can catch a football, and my sister Daria would kick your ass for thinking about reaching for the ball.

Dissing other women is NOT a great way to manipulate them into doing what you want them to do.

P.S. Wikipedia - indulge me, Poor Impulsives:
The enactment of Title IX has helped increase participation opportunities for girls and women in sports. Female high school athletic participation has increased by 904% and female collegiate athletic participation has increased by 456%.[21] An analysis of NCAA data shows that since the passage of Title IX, participation opportunites for collegiate female athletes of color have increased 955% (2,137 in 1971 to 22,541 participants in 2000).

A 2008 study of intercollegiate athletics showed that women's collegiate sports has grown to 9,101 teams, or 8.65 per school. The five most frequently offered college sports for women are, in order: (1) Basketball, 98.8% of schools have a team, (2) Volleyball, 95.7%, (3)Soccer, 92.0%, (4) Cross Country, 90.8%, and (5) Softball, 89.2%.

In answer to the question "How many girls can do that?" where girls = female human beings under the age of 18, the answer is "A whole lot, more every year and fuck you, Jillian."


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pressure on People - People On Streets

I've been walking to work again. It feels fantastic to get out of the car and into the sunshine. The Albany Street Bridge over the Raritan River is four lanes of car and truck traffic, a pedestrian walkway on either side of the bridge and crazy intersections on either end. The time across the bridge is probably three minutes max, unless it's rained and travelers negotiate thoroughfare. So long as no more than two people walk abreast or one person meets a cyclist on the bridge, it's fine. Fortunately, a lot of people walk and bicycle across this bridge. Unfortunately, humans walk at different paces and today, someone without a bell on his bicycle pedaled right up behind me to pass me on my right. I almost clotheslined him by accident, and I only like to be violent on purpose.

On the other end of the bridge, the messy intersection is not just dangerous, it's a completely foreseeable accident waiting to happen. Immediately in front of me is the ramp from Route 18 N to Route 27 N, where the driver manual for this state would suggest this ramp constitutes a lane of its own, and it should be, except some wiseass put a stop sign on a stick. A friend used to say, "Stop signs are for people who don't know how to drive." In this case, a number of bad things happen here structurally that are merely amusing and uncomfortable, compared with the other side of the highway, where I expect to see gravestones line the riverbank any day now. On 25 June, I wrote the NJDOT the following love note. Watch as I pretend to be a Normal Person*:
To Whom It Concerns:

I walk or bicycle between Highland Park and New Brunswick daily. Hundreds of people do, many of whom use the trains to travel on the Northeast Corridor line. During the Route 18 construction, the section of Route 27 passing under Route 18 has become a dangerous, dirty place to travel. There are three separate spots where travel is very bad.

1. The ramp where Route 18 northbound where it intersects with Route 27 south is great for drivers. Everyone on foot or bicycle is subject to unstable surfaces, bad angles and arbitrarily placed signs. This leads immediately to:

2. A single-file width channel of wildly uneven surface where foot and bicycle traffic fight road conditions and lose every. single. day. I cannot stress how much I dread passing through this fifty-foot gauntlet. Someone is going to get hurt here, if someone hasn't already. It would seem logical to try the other side of Route 27, since I have to cross to get to work anyway but:

3. Where Route 27 north intersects with Route 18 and Johnson Drive, someone on foot or bicycle is going to get killed. That stretch of road is so dangerous I wouldn't let my worst enemy out of the car there.**

I would be delighted to conduct a walking tour of this site, should the occasion arise. The construction has gone on a long time, and will continue for the rest of our natural lives, so it seems. These little matters do not generate the kind of attention five-car pileups do, but that doesn't mean a badly designed pedestrian/cycle path can't cause the same degree of injury or death. These are real situations faced by people every day. Some of them are reparable. At least one of them (#2) is EASILY reparable. I hope you will take into quick concern the people for whom you're building those sidewalks that go nowhere and put safe sidewalks where people actually travel.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. I am certain I will be in contact with you again, possibly quite often.

Princess Tata

I signed the name on my passport, sheesh! But there's more: this intersection sits no more than 150 yards from the office of US Representative Frank Pallone, and in no way can the staff be unaware of this situation. I'm certain of this because, before I started the big push to move about two months ago, I called his office weekly to ask what Mr. Pallone was doing about it. At first, the staff was dismissive. Several calls later, I made them an offer: send a letter to the DOT before someone gets killed because afterward grandmothers will call CNN and say, "He never calls, he never writes, he chews with his mouth open and he fucking knew because I told him it would happen. You look thin! You should eat."

That's no threat. I'm simply not that kind of gal. On a daily basis, I see whole families walk under that bridge and women push baby carriages. A highway sign promises construction will begin next Monday but last week it promised repairs to start on the 8th. These signs must be regarded with feelings of hope and dread: one of the unnamed university's urban planners told me confidentially her department had to have a talk with the NJDOT about not closing the bridge totally because religious people cross it daily to attend services. The DOT had no idea. If not for the devout, hundreds of people who cross this bridge every day on foot or bicycle for other reasons would be out of luck indefinitely. What the hell? This has been going on for years. Seriously: what the hell?

*Stop laughing!

**And she is SUCH a bitch.