Monday, April 30, 2007

It Both Blows And Sucks, Dept.

Y'know, your sobsister tries to guide you, the reader, to sites and sounds (thank goodness for that hot magenta Motorola Razr, for example) that I hope will please and delight you.

Occasionally, however, it falls to me to steer you to webpages that are so preternaturally sucktastic that words, images, sounds fail me even as they're employed with ill intent by the creators and operators of the pages in question.

One such affront to human decency and Western civilization in general is the Bazooka Joe website. Bazooka Joe?!, you ask in shock and disbelief. Not that lovable one-eyed scamp whose awesomely-unfunny adventures have been followed by generations of gum-chewing, filling-losing, dentist-profiting children?!

Yes, much as it pains me to say it, yes.

Because the Joe you knew is no more, you see. Along with Uncle Ben, Aunt Jemima, the Great Bear Auto bear, and so many other iconic figures of our racist, sexist, speciesist childhoods, Bazooka Joe has been "updated". He has been made "relevant" and "contemporary". His old pals--Mort, Herman, Pesty, Toughie--have been mostly swept away. No more these last few survivors of the ubiquitous "kid gangs" of popular culture from the first half of the storied century that gave birth to the Greatest Fucking Generation Ever™.

Do you remember that Simpsons episode where "Poochie" the surfer dog is forced into the cast of "Itchy & Scratchy" by cynical network suits who want to introduce an "in your face" dog character "who gets 'biz-zay'"? The new cast of the 'Zook is ever-so just like that.

This 2006 New Yorker article tells the tale of how Joe and his pals fell like so much clear-cut timber before the utter cluelessness of some Canuck motherfucker and soi-disant Bazooka-lover who, as managing director of Topps, Joe's parent company, focus-tested for new characters with gum-addled children and came up with, gosh!, a veritable Rainbow Coalition of the Chewing. There's a tomboy, a "slouchy music snob", an environmentalist, an "excitable German", and, of course, a Black "science geek".

Wow. The comedic possibilities are...finite. Severely limited. Few in number. Scant.

But it's not enough to have taken "Bazooka Joe", beloved three-second reading material of generations, and skull-fucked it.
Topps then built a website to feature the new Joe, the new focus-group-friendly Joe.

How can I begin to describe it?
I know! What if I start with the unbearably-crap a cappella song-cum-schoolyard-chant offered by "Tha Heights", an African-American foursome who do everything in their power to disabuse White America of the notion that all Black people can rap. Here's are the first two stanzas:
"My Mom
She gave me a dollar
She told me to buy a collar
But I didn't buy no collar
Instead I bought some bubblegum
Bazooka, zooka bubble gum

My Mom
She gave me a quarter
She told me to tip the porter
But I didn't tip no porter
Instead I bought some bubblegum
Bazooka, zooka bubble gum

Yeah, it's just that good. And so timely too! Why, it was just last week that I went to buy a collar, in fact. A nice celluloid one. Attended a function at the White House hosted by President McKinley, you understand. And on my way, I even had the opportunity to tip a porter. Colored fellow, very respectful of his betters. So, I can totally see why Topps wanted to update ol' Joe. These new "rhymez" are "da bomb"!

After listening to this musical abortion, you can then learn to do the "Bazooka Zooka Dance" which is very Even-White-People-Can-Do-It. And you can see this song performed by "Tha Heights" in both "Music Video" and "R&B Video" versions, the latter a Take 6-ish version and unfortunately not an R.Kelly nymphette-banging XXX-travaganza. Though if watching barely-pubescent girls get their freak on shake their budding charms is your barely-legal thang, you can watch videos which young ladies from Canada and the U.S. have made and submitted. There's even one from Brazil featuring four young women who are disconcertingly precocious in both appearance and movement. These are available for viewing at the Bazooka Dance Blog.

So, wow! Uploaded viewer videos! A "blog"! Cycle-consuming streams of crap music! Is there a wheezy Internet device that Topps has not exploited in pursuit of its coveted, fickle, orally-fixated target demo?

And yet...what about Joe? We began with a discussion of that half-blind li'l bugger's renovation. Where on this audiovisual atrocity can we find ol' Joe? Well, buried three levels beneath the busy graphics and relentless "Bazooka Zooka" is our opportunity to "meet the gang".

There is, of course, Joe himself, "A.K.A. Bazooka Juan...a cool guy, so it's no wonder he's got lots of friends - boys and girls." Courting Latinos and bi-sexuals in one smooooth move. Love ya, Topps! "And the eye patch? Don't worry, it's just his style." Oh yeah, stylin' with the lazy-eye look. Very 1950s-medical-care chic. Next, we have Mort, the only holdover from the Classic Gang. Then Jake the dog who's "got a unique dog's point of view on life, and loves to make wisecracks (and make us laugh)", apparently to the point of writing run-on sentences. Then DJ Chen who is the Yellow Peril's contribution to this ensemble and "our favorite mixmaster". Then Kevin Griffin, "the ultimate nerd's nerd". You can tell he's Black despite his inexplicable aptitude for the hard sciences because his skin is a few tones darker than Joe's. 'Cause otherwise he has just the cutest button nose and non-existent lips. Then Cindy Lewis, "the ultimate treehugger...Recycling? It's her favorite sport!" No, seriously, an environmentalist? That tests really well with kids? Better than, say, a kid pundit? Or a child accountant? Then Casey McGavin, "your classic tomboy - and totally allergic to anything that's considered girly", i.e., flannel-wearing bulldagger. Then Wolfgang Spreckels, "from Germany...Wolfgang loves America and heavy metal - and can't stand disco (and disco dancing)". Oh, man, that is so fucking today! Oh, I can see "Wolfgang" taking these John Travolta-wannabes down a peg! Particularly given that they're in their early-50s! Ha ha! Disco sux! Disco sux!! Ha ha!

So, there you have it. The new Bazooka Joe.
Another lukewarm childhood memory enrobed in goldflecked shit.
Thanks, Topps.
Hope you don't go out of business and have to trick for crack or anything.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

You Can't Spell "dickhead" Without "a-i-d", Dept.

Federal Official Resigns in Inquiry of Escort Service - New York Times

Don't do the crime if you can't do the time!
Don't plunge the gorge if your paycheck's from George!
Don't pay for snatch on ol' Condi's watch!
Don't hire call girls to stuff their panties in your mouth, bind you with handcuffs, and ream your butt with a greased burpless cucumber if you're a highly-paid, highly-visible member of a right-wing administration who comes to his exalted position in the foreign affairs policy-making hierarchy not by dint of qualification through experience and knowledge but, instead, as a function of the thousands upon thousands of dollars you've funnelled into the party coffers!

Yeah, not as catchy but perhaps more on point.

Randall L. Tobias, now-former head of USAID and now-former Ambassador head of United States Foreign Assistance.

Poor Randy. Randy Randy.
He learned Lesson Number One of Choc City scandals.
You can lie. You can cheat. You can steal. You can break the law. You can lie about lying, cheating, stealing, and breaking the law. You can fuck up and cost tens of thousands of Americans their homes and property. You can ignore reality and cost thousands of Americans their very lives.
But you can't be caught getting your winkie tickled by hookers.

That would betray a lack of character on your part, don'tcha know.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Things That You're Liable To Read In The Bible..., Dept.

Y'know, your sobsister happened to be flipping through the Good Book as is my wont, when suddenly I came upon Chapter 23 of Ezekiel in the Old Testament (a/k/a the One With The Best Stories/Worst Laws). And it about knocked me off my comfy chair!

You see, it's an extended riff by Zeke (yeah, we're that tight) on the Two Adulterous Sisters. Sounds good so far, right? So, these two sisters "became prostitutes in Egypt, engaging in prostitution from their youth. In that land their breasts were fondled and their virgin bosoms caressed." And, okay, I'm a fellow of sober and steady temperament but this is getting hott. It turns out that the older sister was named "Oholah" (holla!) and the younger "Oholibah". Okay, not exactly tongue-trippers but it's all good, right? Then I read, "Oholah is Samaria and Oholibah is Jerusalem."

And I'm thinking, shit, a parable? dang! the whole thing's dropped, like, twenty points on Al Goldstein's Peter-Meter™. But, okay, I'll stick with it. So, it turns out that Oholah (holla!) starts giving it up big-time to the Assyrians, more caressing of her virgin bosom and pouring out of their lust on her. Basically, a number 7, hold the latex, extra fellatio.

She meets a bad end. Stripped naked, put to the sword. You don't wanna know. Trust me.

So, Oholibah sees this and the didactic dénouement to her sister's tale proves to be no deterrent. Soon, she too is making the beast with two--and sometimes three or four--backs with the Assyrians. Then she rings up the Babylonians and says something to the effect of how she would like them to caress her virgin bosoms. Which, I don't wanna be a bitch or nothin' but they was like two hundred Assyrians from cherry. So, the Babylonians show up and there's defiling and lusting and whatnot. That done, she waxes nostalgic (whacks on, whacks off...oh, now I get why Ralph Macchio was so into it) about her younger days in Egypt when her titties was all ridin' way up high'n'shit. And "there she lusted after lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses".


Oh yeah, bay-beee! Now I know why they call it the Good Book, 'cause this shit is gooood. Nowhere in my own personal religious/spiritual formation was I ever exposed to the image of donkey-dong'd men shooting stallion loads onto skanky ho's. This is like Bukkake Buddies 6: GUSHERS!. Except it's in the Bible, motherfucker, so it's totally legit! And I'm about to blast-fax this to every parochial and diocesan school within a hundred miles of Sobsister Central when I get a thought.
A sobering thought. inspired thought.

Maybe it's wrong to spread this message wantonly to young people in the midst of their spiritual formation. Maybe it's wrong to excerpt salacious passages and pass them freely to unformed minds for unholy gratification. Maybe...I should package this all up and sell the whole thing to FOX!

She's a Wild Child and her sister's Freaky-Deaky! Now, they're being let loose on the unsuspecting male population of L.A.! This Fall, get ready to taste thirty-one flavors of fonky when Paris Hilton and Tara Reid kick their Candies to the ceiling as they take on the young'n'hung of the city of fallen angels in "Holla!"

See, that's how you get the young people interested in the Bible.
I mean, VeggieTales?
What the fuck were they thinking?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Where There's Smoke..., Dept.

Wolfowitz Hires Prominent Lawyer in Fight to Stay at World Bank - New York Times

Nothing says "I am innocent of all wrongdoing related to accusations levelled against me concerning inappropriate sexual activity with a subordinate" like hiring the same ambulance-chaser who defended Bill Clinton against Paula Jones.

The shyster in question, Weasel McWeaselbits née Robert S. Bennett, actually had the brass chestnuts to compare the Wolfman's current tribulations to...well, I'll let him speak: "'I am very worried about the rush to judgment,' Mr. Bennett said. 'We just had a wonderful example of that in the Duke lacrosse case.'"

See? Shaha Riza is just like an intoxicated stripper who claims she was raped. Or, wait, does he mean that an anthropomorphized World Bank is like an intoxicated stripper who...? At any rate, Bennett worked as an advisor to and spokesman for the catchily-titled "Committee for Fairness to Duke Families". So, he knows all about cases where the conditions for sexual impropriety are manifest but no actionable offenses can be proven to have been committed.

So, at least for the nonce, Castle Wolfenstein remains untaken, despite what appears to be the vast bulk of its staff and management sharpening pitchforks and lighting torches. And now, with the addition of Robert "the Stain Remover" Bennett, we can look forward to a long, bloody, costly siege.

God bless Chocolate City and its Vanilla Suburbs! Can y'all get to that?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bush Am Honorable Man, or Return to Bizarro World, Dept.

Copperas Cove man to give president his Purple Heart

Right, so a "Bill Thomas" of some fucking place in Texas or another, who had received three Purple Hearts for his service during the Vietnam War, sent one of them to the poor retarded man in the White House via his congressman on account of "the verbal attacks, both foreign and domestic, the commander in chief has withstood during his time in office. 'We feel like emotional wounds and scars are as hard to carry as physical wounds,' Thomas said."



As a result, the Thomases were invited to meet with the poor retarded man for 20 minutes in the Oval Office to present the, let me repeat this, Purple Heart to the poor retarded man in person. At which time, according to Thomas, our Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief reportedly said he "didn't feel like he'd earned it". Which is a nice, humble thought coming from an inveterate draft-dodger who used every scrap of influence at his and his family's disposal to avoid front-line military service during an actual shooting war.

But, of course, the poor retarded man then promptly took the Purple Heart from an actual, wounded veteran of the war he himself would not deign to fight for his country, all the while apparently unaware that he was being vigorously boned up the arse by Irony.

Oh, Mister President, what do you take at night to help you sleep? 'Cause just a few drops, I'm sure, would be enough to sedate all of North Korea for a month.

And lest you think your sobsister is in any way shitting you, I confirmed the fact of the Oval Office meeting with the congressman's Washington office. The White House Press folks, on the other hand, have been somewhat dilatory in their response to my query. A ceremony in the Oval Office on April 16. Hmmm...April 16, April why does that date ring a bell?...oh, right, it was the day that that crazed gunman murdered 33 people at Virginia Tech. Man oh Manischewitz! Now that is one multitasking sonuvagun! Able to feel great sorrow at the senseless and tragic death of dozens occasioned by a lunatic wielding an innocent handgun and able to receive a Purple Heart--to which he is as entitled as Britney is to be Mother of the Year--as a cheap bolster to his drooping ego, all in the same day! Next week, I'll be reporting on how the poor retarded man is soon to obtain a second-hand Nobel Prize for Literature as well as Bette Davis' 1938 Oscar™ for Jezebel.

Our President, the little magpie twunt.
Him Am Smart!, Dept.

Bush Says Confidence in Gonzales Has Grown - New York Times





(as expressed in Adventure Comics 286, July 1961)

Ha ha! Leave it to the poor retarded man to say exactly the opposite of what anyone might've expected him to say about Li'l Albertito "the Coño from San Antonio" Gonzales.
'Cause he's not bound by your puny human four-dimensional logic.
His thinking wraps around itself ten times while you're still chewing your Wheaties, pardner!
He vanishes up his own asshole in the Oval Office and reappears in a Tastee-Freez in Gackle, North Dakota!
He is his own random number generator!
And until you can get straight with that reality, motherfucker, until you recalibrate your simian noodle to grok the hypermetakoans that this thirteen-dimensional Zen Master is throwing down, you just ain't gonna get the Toe-Tingling Wonder that is BushThought™.

Your loss, chumpy.

bizarro world!

Friday, April 20, 2007

You So Crazy!, Dept.

McCain Message to Joke Critics: Get a Life - New York Times

That ol' jokester, John McCain, made a funny when asked on the campaign trail about how to deal with Iran by singing "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran" to the tune of the Beach Boys' (actually, the Regents' 1961 hit) "Barbara Ann".

Ohmanohman, that is fah-neee! At least twice as funny as it was back in 1980 when Americans were singing it at the height of the hostage crisis! What next, you krazy kidder, an "Ayatollah Assahole-a" t-shirt? Oh stop, my ribs are aching!

And then, according to the NYT, when asked by reporters about his foray into political humor, McCain retorted, "'Please, I was talking to some of my old veterans friends...My response is, Lighten up and get a life.' When reporters asked if the joke was insensitive, McCain said: 'Insensitive to what? The Iranians?'"

Ha ha! Yeah, J-Mac, stick it to 'em! "insensitive to Iranians"?? They're practically animals, am I right? Boo-yaa! It's just you talkin' to guys like guys talk to guys, right? I hope you capped that joke by whippin' your dick out onto the podium and measuring it! Hella-good! Oh, yeah, J-Mac, you got my vote for dangity-dang sure!

Drawing Flies with Vinegar Honey, Dept.

The other day someone wrote to me and said, "damn, sobsister, why u always pissin' on shit an' whatnot? u be all up in muthafukkaz grill an' shit, wassup wit dat, nigga?". And, you know, it caused me to stop and reflect. So, I wrote back the following,

Dear Vice-President Cheney,

I am in receipt of your correspondence of 15th instant. Thank you for your thoughts.

After careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that you were, in fact, correct in noting that the tone of my blog has been more negative than positive, more critical than laudatory. Consequently, in an attempt to redress that imbalance, I offer the following items:

1) I am enjoying the parcheesi out of the new Willie Colon comp, The Player. Ever since Emusica purchased the Fania Records catalog, salseros and salsero-wannabes have finally been able to enjoy access to that label's classic sides without having to cope with the full-price bullshit and ancient masterings previously available. This 2-disc set offers a great overview of the original matón de esquina across his recordings on the Fania and Vaya labels. Vocals by, among others, the great Hector Lavoe and Ruben Blades (no Celia Cruz? WTF, Celia y Willie is a stone classic!). Kickin' charts driven by Willie's trombone. And, of course, Willie Colon's badass persona throughout. Who else released albums with titles like El Malo, Cosa Nuestra, Crime Pays, and Hustler? Even this disc's cover shows him by the docks, brandishing his trombone like a submachine gun, him all pimped out in fedora and pinstriped double-breast. This is classic music, people. Go listen. I'll wait.

2) Grant Morrison needs no introduction from me. He is acknowledged as like unto a deity by comicbook fanboys. His runs/resurrections/reimaginings of Superman, Batman, New X-Men, and the JLA, not to mention his own properties like The Invisibles, feature some of the best, most interesting mainstream comics writing of the last decade. So, now your sobsister is reading his Eisner Award-winning Seven Soldiers of Victory mini-series in its trade paperback release. And it's every bit as hallucinogenic and perverse as his work on DC's Vertigo imprint but harnessed to the task of recreating seven of DC's more-obscure characters in an intertwined narrative arc in which they all interact but never meet. The trade version is better than the story's original release as seven individual limited series because the format interweaves each character's storyline with those of the others thereby teasing out the narrative threads nicely and forcing great juxtapositions of visual styles and palettes. Not to mention the juxtaposition of the varying narrative voices Morrison assumes (and if that's not a Jack-Kirbyesque tone to The Guardian, I'll eat my baloney sandwich. yes, thank you. with a little mustard. that's fine.) If you've not read Morrison before, you might want to dip your toes in his JLA or New X-Men stories. Or you can plunge in here and work your way back. I'm halfway through the four trade paperbacks and having quite a good time.

3) Ugly Betty rules my teevee. To the extent that it almost cancels out the utter crapitude that 24 oozes from its fetid quadrant of my virtual dial (wow, a possible mole at CTU?! wow, Jack has to torture a suspect?! wow, Chloe can access any schematic of anything ever by just using the right "protocols"?). Ugly Betty and Heroes are my '06/'07 must-sees. And the Betty even trumps the Cheerleader. Now, background: I'm not an aficionado of telenovelas or soaps. I tuned out of Fashion House despite the prospect of Bo Derek/Morgan Fairchild catfight throwdowns and despite the blazing Natalie Martinez as the trembly-lipped heroine. And I know that Betty is populated by cartoons and stereotypes. But the fact that these cartoons and stereotypes break out of their mold and make me care about them on a weekly basis endears the show to me. Short list of what I lurve about Ugly Betty:
1) America Ferrara is Betty. One of those performances where you know no-one else could've been as good.
2) my beloved Ashley Jensen, over from her brilliant run on Ricky Gervais' Extras.
3) Ana Ortiz as Betty's sister, Hilda; 180-proof Latina from Queens.
4) Becki Newton as Amanda, gorgeously-devious and, you know, vice-versa.
5) actually, the fact that all the women are strong and hott, each one in a different way. unlike the cookie-cutter mannequins peopling most of prime-time.
6) Mark Indelicato as Hilda's son, Justin, the femmest little boy ever on television. ever. his recreation of Hairspray on a stuck subway was a series highlight for me.
7) Michael Urie as Marc St. James, personal assistant/confidante to Vanessa Williams' scheming Wilhelmina Slater and so light-in-the-loafers he makes Will & Grace's Jack McFarland look like Mickey Spillane.
I haven't trawled the blogosphere for thoughts on "Marc" and his over-the-topness as the show's principal gay male character. And, really, he is as gay as a day in May, at least as formulated by and for popular culture. He's swishy, he's fashion-mad, he's bitchy. In many ways, the bête noire of "progressive" gay men who see him and his ilk as a throwback to the days when only screaming queens were allowed to represent male homosexuals on film and television. But where W&G's Jack was given "serious" moments that ultimately never meant anything in the continuity of the show, Marc has grown beyond being a cartoon signifier for "gay man" into a character who demonstrates affection for his friends, for his mother who is deep in de Nile about his sexuality, even for Betty, the woman he ridiculed and demeaned for the first half of the season. And that's what makes this something other than a live-action Family Guy.
Now, whether network greed will force an extension of Betty into a second season, I do not know. Telenovelas, unlike soaps, have a fixed end-date and a predictable narrative arc. Such was the case for Betty la fea, the show's Colombian precursor. Telenovelas do not go seven seasons and then into syndication. And some things are meant to end after one season (and here I'm looking at you, Twin Peaks and Desperate Housewives). Whether art or lucre will win is yet to be seen. But I heart Betty big-time.

And there you have it, Mister Vice-President. As you requested. Best of luck with that whole monkey-gland-transplanting/virgins'-blood-bathing thing you've been doing. It hasn't done shit for Iraq but maybe your golf game's improved. Oh, and I meant to ask: where the fuck has your wife been for the last seven years? I figured Widemouth Lynne was going to be the Martha-Mitchell-cum-Billy-Carter of this administration and she has not peeped a peep since January 2001. Did you put her in stasis? Is she in the Phantom Zone along with Superman's enemies? Enquiring minds want to know.

Wishing you the best of this vernal season, I remain, your obedient servant, &c.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

"To scrape the barnacles off her hull", Dept.

Gonzales rejects call for his ouster - Yahoo! News

Don't cry for me, Albertito.
The truth is you don't know truthing.
Not if it kicked you
Right in the jewels.
Just bite the bullet.
You broke the rules.

You have absolutely got to hand it to Li'l Albertito "Sister, you forgot to give us homework!" Gonzales. The Democrats hate him. The Republicans hate him. Even his own Department hates him. But this tenacious li'l motherfucker just will not say "uncle". Or "I'm leaving". Or the truth.

And he's joined in this aw-shucksable obstinacy by Paul "Ass-Bandits 3: Rectum 'Recker" Wolfowitz who similarly refuses to vacate his comfycozy chair at the World Bank despite the hue and cry being raised by the vice presidents of the Bank, his own deputy, and the staff of the Bank in general over Wolfie's shameless promotion of his current fellatrix.

In both cases, these men enjoy the confidence of a White House so discredited and degenerate that it'd surprise no-one if the Krayola Kid in the Oval Office were to ride his horse into the Capitol and make it a Senator.

But what strikes your sobsister as humorous-if-it-weren't-so-tragic is that these two fucktards feel perfectly comfortable saying, "I don't think I'm leaving!" when any other person possessed of even a grain of a) integrity, b) self-respect, c) responsibility, d) accountability, e) all of the preceding, would have hung his or her head down to his or her knees and gone out in the yard to lay on a dung heap.

At what point does the Universal Override kick in? At what point does the well-being of the Republic take precedence over the political agendas of these shitwits' political master(s)? At what point is Clowntime over?

While I cannot counsel the humiliated-by-dint-of-association rank'n'file at DoJ and the Bank to start boiling tar and plucking chickens, I would recommend they begin comparison-shopping for rails on which to ride these two punchlines out of town. Beat the Memorial Day rush, y'know.
On The Good Ship Wolfowitz, Dept.

Banker Says He’ll Smooth His Style, but Waters Are Choppy - New York Times

"You've gotta have heaaaart, miles and miles and miles of heaaaart..."

And World Bank President and neo-con cocksman par excellence Paul "Swallow, Don't Spit!" Wolfowitz has heart. To spare.

I mean, look: in lieu of resigning his position due to his disgraceful involvement in the Galpal Scandale, Wolfie offered to "change his management style", noting that his resignation would "not be good for the bank".

Fuckin' ay! What a guy! Just look in the dictionary next to "generous motherfucker" for a picture of the Wolfman, kids. I mean, sure, he could resign due to the impropriety, shadiness, and shame attendant on his actions on behalf of the World Bank employee he was boning but he can't because he's thinking of the bank. Oy, I get verklempt just typing those words.

So, you see, whether it's fending off his deputy's attempts to force his departure from a once-prestigious organization or jettisoning another load of semen down a well-paid subordinate's throat, you would have to go pretty darn far to beat this chickenhawk Casanova for sheer heart!

The White House, of course, recognizes the Wolfster's merits. White House spokesman Anthony "Tony Goombah" Fratto, when asked if "the bank's reputation had been hurt by the controversy", replied, "It's not what we believe." Except he said it in the same tone of voice one might use to note that competing with one's lucrative waste-disposal business might not be beneficial for somebody's health.

See, that shit just doesn't translate onto the printed page.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, Dept.

4 bombings kill 157 people in Baghdad - Yahoo! News

OH MY GOD!!! 157 people killed in one day at one place in a brutal murderous assault!! Clear Katie's schedule! Pre-empt prime-time programming! MSNBC, set up a liveblog! FOX, CNN, stringers and correspondents in 24-hour coverage! Get Nightline all over this! Meredith, Matt, fly over there ASAP! Brian, Charlie, you'll be anchoring in expanded coverage direct from...what's that? ...where? ...Baghdad?


Well, fuck it, then.

Whatevs, y'know?

Can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs'n'shit.

Just ask Richard Perle.

Oh wait, the Chickenhawk's out today taking a second mortgage on his soul.

Just leave a message, then. His familiar checks his voicemail regularly.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Do As I Say, Not As I Do, Dept.

Bank Staff Asks Wolfowitz to Resign - New York Times

This just in: World Bank President, neo-con Lex Luthor, and Baghdad Butcher emeritus Paul Wolfowitz thinks with his dick!

When asked about this, Mr. Wolfowitz' penis responded, "There's no truth to the rumors. We're just good friends." His penis went on to note that the highly-irregular clandestine raise Wolfie arranged for his galpal, Shaha Riza, to receive after her transfer to the State Department was in no way ironic given Wolfowitz' crusade at the World Bank for transparency and against corruption among debtor nations.

To underline just how guilty Wolfowitz is of ethical breaches and attempted concealment of same, White House spokesman Tony "the Calamari" Fratto stated that Wolfowitz "has our full confidence".

When asked to comment about the raise that increased Shaha Riza's annual salary above even her own as Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice responded, "I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies."
Do As I Say, Not As I Say, Dept.

Off the Air: The Light Goes Out for Don Imus - New York Times

In a related story, CBS head Leslie Moonves had his guard dog put down. The dog had been trained to attack any uninvited visitor entering Moonves' yard. However, when an uninvited visitor recently entered Moonves' yard, the dog inexplicably attacked him.

At an afternoon press conference, Moonves, speaking from inside a whited sepulcher, noted that he had yet to understand how the animal could have misunderstood his commands.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Johnny Hart: An Unappreciation

I am not and was not ever a fan of the late Johnny Hart's strips. Not The Wizard of Id. And certainly not B.C. Hart's "humor", at least in the last twenty years, had been unrelievedly labored, hokey, and unfunny. When it wasn't being reactionary, preachy, or self-righteous.

In the week since his death, many of the post-mortems and obits have focused on the controversy engendered by his desire, if not "need", to proselytize from the three-panel pulpit, the two most notorious cases being the Easter, 2001 strip wherein he appeared to advocate the view that Christianity had supplanted Judaism and the November, 2003 strip wherein, through the juxtaposition of the onomatopoeic sound-effects and symbols which make comics such effective visual shorthand, it appeared that he was comparing Islam to a reeking outhouse. In both cases, Hart denied culpability and malicious intent. I myself thought he was lying through his fucking teeth, particularly in the case of the "Islam" strip where any other "interpretation" would've rendered the strip utterly, almost surreally, nonsensical.

And, if nothing else, Johnny Hart was not one to dabble in the nonsensical. In a medium whose visionaries have imagined little boys riding space-warping beds and kat-mouse-pupp love triangles in Joycean trialogue, his strip, despite its prehistoric setting, was prosaic and Middle-American in the extreme, populated by generic characters differentiated only casually by an extra stroke or a longer nose and scripted from a jokebook that was old when the world was young. The two, count 'em, two women in B.C. were unnamed save for the descriptors "Fat Broad" and "Cute Chick" which effectively described his roles for women: domineering battleaxe or ditsy babe (he was not alone in this; compare the same dichotomic distaffing in, to name only a few, Beetle Bailey (Martha Halftrack/Miss Buxley), Hägar the Horrible (Helga/Honi), Blondie (Cora Dithers/Blondie Bumstead), and the Hart-scripted Wizard of Id (Blanch/Gwen). He relied heavily on puns not even worth the groan. His setting, the mise-en-scène of his strip from which the humor and characters would spring, was as often ignored as observed. Anachronistic elements and situations were introduced in a way that made The Flintstones look like a BBC period drama, nowhere more obviously than in his Christianity-themed strips. Because unless I'm missing a page in my Creationist playbook, I don't think Jesus co-existed with homo erectus. I just don't.

Now, I have read that Hart's early B.C. strips were, in fact, funny. Inventive. Hip in a late-50s/early-60s beatnikish way. I've read praise of his early style, its clean lines and simple design. But its devolution into a daily sanctimonious crapfest and the fact that Creators Syndicate announced that his family will continue the strip (apparently, according to the Comics Curmudgeon, "'Family members have been helping produce the strips for years, and they have an extensive computer archive of Hart's drawings to work with...'") bring up the topic of superannuated strips and of legacy strips or, as your sobsister prefers to call them, "zombie strips".

What's the difference, you may ask? Well, Beetle Bailey is a superannuated strip, that is to say, its creator, 83-year-old Mort Walker, is still alive albeit likely not involved in the day-to-day production of a strip which itself has lived considerably beyond whenever might have been considered its creative zenith and now hangs around the office like that geezer who just won't retire and still tries to ingratiate himself with the new boss by telling jokes that slayed 'em back in the Eisenhower administration. Blondie, on the other hand, is a zombie strip, that is to say, its creator, Chic Young, died over thirty years ago and the strip has been drawn and written since then by his son Dean. (There is actually a third type of comics page space-filler, the rerun strip. The most prominent example currently is, of course, Classic Peanuts.) There are very, very few cases where superannuated or zombie strips have matched, much less surpassed, the early or original work on the strip.

Which leads one, inexorably and ineluctably, to ask, why the fuck would anyone want to read these strips? For the same reason, presumably, that anyone would want to eat at McDonald's: the setting is familiar, everyone knows the menu backwards and forwards, and while there is very, very little hope of surprise or delight, there is little danger of shock or disappointment. So, day after day, readers walk the treadmill. Oh, that Dennis sure does like to annoy Mister Wilson! Look at that Garfield eat a whole meat loaf! Those rascals, Billy, Jeffy, and Dolly all said "Not Me"!

By dint of the continued pride of place which these strips hold on the comics page, one is forced to reach four key conclusions:

1) comics page editors are spineless weasels (which, understood literally, would mean that, at best, their locomotion is severely curtailed) whose overriding mandate is not to annoy subscribers by replacing gummy, rheumy veterans with fresh, sassy, inventive newcomers. Now, some people opine that there just aren't that many new strips that are either good enough or immediately-accessible enough to attract and retain readers, that strips take months, if not years, to build a readership, that blahdeblahblah. This is called "rationalizing lazy editors' refusal to educate or challenge their readership". It is a Bad Thing.

2) comics page readers who would rather read the five-billionth iteration of Dagwood's love for overstuffed sandwiches than encounter new strips that may or may not be funny/inventive/"easy" are pablum-gargling idiots who deserve to be beaten with the collected works of George Herriman.

3) comics pages prove on a daily basis Sturgeon's Corollary: ninety percent of everything is crap. Given that this is the case, my own preference, if I must be served crap, is for shiny new crap rather than musty old crap.

4) comic strips are extremely difficult to write non-stop, day after day, for twenty, thirty , forty years. A handful of characters, a few settings, a limited number of permutations. This is why the few men who have produced consistently high-quality strips over several decades are considered geniuses. Charles Schulz drew and scripted Peanuts alone for almost fifty years! The brilliant Herriman drew and scripted perhaps the greatest daily strip ever committed to paper, Krazy Kat, for just over thirty years! The fact that it effectively requires genius to produce a quality strip for anything longer than a five-year run should be argument enough against keeping mediocrities on life-support into their third, fourth, and fifth decade. The list of creators (Watterson, Breathed, who abandoned top-flight strips after comparatively-short runs speaks to the integrity of the artists and to the scarcity of those willing to forego a steady income in favor of quality and, possibly, sanity.

So, yeah, Johnny Hart. His work will apparently live on through the cut'n'paste work of his family. Whether they are motivated by love of art, lucre, or parent is not for your sobsister to say. But one of the more interesting thoughts (and Christ knows I have an assload of "interesting thoughts", don't I?) to suggest itself to me is that, in almost all cases involving zombie strips or superannuated strips whose creators have effectively abdicated an active creative role, it's very difficult to tell where the seams are between the original and the successor. Did anyone notice a marked change in Hi and Lois after Dik Browne died? Was there a sudden shift in subject matter, visual style, or level of sophistication in Dennis the Menace after Hank Ketcham died? And yet imagine Krazy Kat in someone's hands other than Herriman's. Little Nemo continued by someone other than McCay. Li'l Abner drawn and scripted by anyone other than Al Capp. Thimble Theatre (not Popeye) done by someone other than Elzie Segar. Christ, even good ol' Nancy after Ernie Bushmiller died. It either couldn't happen or the break was so obvious as to be glaring and jarring both. So...what does this prove besides the obvious--brilliant strips by brilliant creators are irreproducible while mediocre strips by journeyman creators can be hacked out for decades by others with no discernible diminution in quality? Not much. Yet, what seems obvious in analysis does not translate to policy on the page. And so, your children and their children can look forward to decades of that darn Garfield kicking Odie off the table and scarfing down entire turkeys at Thanksgiving and hating Mondays like the plague. God bless us, every one.
Persona Non Grata, Dept.

Rare Protests at Brigham Young Over a Planned Cheney Appearance - New York Times

Yeah. To paraphrase the cretinous Jeff Foxworthy, you know you're a devil-spawn a sitting GOP vice-president, you get protests against your appearance as commencement speaker at BYU, breeding-ground for some of the staunchest Republicans in the contiguous forty-eight.

The Dickster's being criticized by students and faculty, partly for his role in fomenting the most expensive civil war in human history but mainly for his "integrity, character and behavior". Which might be graded "none, shit and demonic".

As one 22-year-old Republican from the SLC noted, "The problem is this is a morally dubious man." He added, "It's challenging the morality and integrity of this institution."

Snap, motherfucker! When the Mormons start chewing your Republican ass, it's time to reconsider that lovely assisted-living facility on the banks of the river Styx.

But the Dickhead is a fighter. He won't kiss the canvas on this. No, despite having the blood of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Americans alike on his fangs, he will likely serve out his term. Unless he should call the Rutgers women's basketball team a pack of "burrheaded bitchez". Then, of course, all bets would be off.

the dickster

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sky Blue, Grass Green, Imus Asshole, Dept.

Rutgers team to weigh in on Imus storm - Yahoo! News

You didn't ask but, irrespective of your cruel apathy, I'm informing you: I am now officially up to here (you can't see it but my right hand is indicating a point just above the squama frontalis portion of my frontal bone) with the fucking scandale d'Imus.

Let's see...Don Imus...pioneered the "shock jock" concept...has previously insulted and demeaned blacks, gays, Arabs, Christians, and Hillary Clinton...his entire act is built along the lines of "outrageous" now he's called the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed ho's"...


Yeah. Me love outrage when it comes from whores.

And from what passes for the public guardians of Black America. I mean, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson? I'm sorry, I should say, the Most Reverends Al "I will appear in anything, anytime, anywhere, be it movie, sitcom, public access advertising, supermarket ribbon-cutting so long as you gots the cash moe-nay" Sharpton and Jesse "did you know the late Dr. King and I were this close? yes, and I coined the term 'Hymietown' in honor of his quest for universal freedom and equality" Jackson. I mean, there's no reason Blacks should have any better luck than Whites when it comes to drawing unappointed spokesmen but...really? Are these two honestly the most credible spokesmen for Black America on the current scene? I mean, damn. Throw in Marion Barry and score the whole thing to the waah-waah-wah of "Three Blind Mice" that opened the Three Stooges' Columbia two-reelers. I mean, does anyone, that's "anyoneanyone" care even a little what Jesse and Al have to say about anything? I'm frankly stunned that Imus appeared on Sharpton's show all contrite. A less-likely Canossa I don't think you'd find. I'm also amazed that CBS and MSNBC--two of the paler networks in existence--give even two smallish rat's arses. What're they afraid will happen, Imus' massive African-American audience will desert him for Howard Stern?

I myself don't find Imus (or Stern or Opie'n'Anthony or...) particularly funny. I used to. When I was a sophomore in high school. I used to love Imus' "Billy Sol Hargis" bits. As a sophomore. In high school. But he occupies a niche in the entertainment ecosystem and he can feed to his heart's content. I find him considerably less threatening than the tightiewhiteyrighty commentators who actually and inexplicably command political power and public respect (and here I'm looking at the bloated, besotted, and bemerded spittle-beast that occupies a fat stretch of AM radio). And I find him considerably less annoying than the Jacks-in-the-box who spring up unbidden to waggle their bejewelled fingers at Michael Richards or Don Imus or whichever other asshole is employing his right to protected artistic speech, said reflexive Jack-in-the-boxing thereby gunning the media machine's engine to rev'n'whine. Or maybe it's just Jesse and Al who should go by the formal title "Rev. N'Whine".

At any rate, Don Imus said something "outrageous". And in our top story, a dog bit a man after being repeatedly provoked. Let's go to our correspondent on the scene, Adaora Udoji. Adaora?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Yum-O!, Dept.

"Rachael Ray Serves Up Prom After Tornado

ENTERPRISE, Ala. (AP) - Rachael Ray made sure the students who lost eight classmates and their school in a tornado got a senior prom.

The celebrity chef planned the menu and helped prepare dinner at Enterprise High School's prom, according to a statement Thursday from publicist Georgianna Dente. The star of the syndicated 'Rachael Ray' coordinated donations for the dance, which was shot for an episode to air April 30.

'The students of Enterprise High are so courageous, given all that they've gone through,' Ray, 38, said in the statement. 'When I heard about what happened to their school and classmates, we wanted to help.'"

OMG! Ray-Ray, that is just so mega-fucking-sweet of you! To feed these poor kids your EZ-to-make, five-meals-in-30-minutes koo-ee-zeen. And I am so glad you were able to capture this whole selfless act on tape to air on your how-cool-is-that?! syndicated show!!

I mean, sure, Matthew 6:1-4 talks some nonsense like,

"'Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

'So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.'"

Yeah, right. Like, what did Jesus know about carrying a publicist with you like a spare tampon in your purse? You never know when you'll need it, sweetie, am I right? And good deeds done in secret ain't moving books (or copies of your faboo mag--luvvv it!), so I totally get where you're coming from.

So, yeah, let the boo-birds squawk. Let them ask if those kids hadn't suffered enough they should also have to endure your nasal yawping and blah "cooking" and self-absorbed grandstanding on their trauma. Let them ask if having you turn their prom and their lives and tragedy and healing into just another voyeuristic, ratings-grabbing pity-party (like that wonderful Extreme Makeover: Home Edition--I. cry. like. a. baby. every. time.) isn't rubbing salt (and EVOO, am I right?) in their wounds for your own benefit.

You're *Ray-Ray*, bay-bee; live the motherfucking dream.

Friday, April 06, 2007

An Impressionistic Overview of the Live Feed of the 2007 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Ceremonies, Part Three

We start with a film overview of Patti Smith's career. Again, nice clips that leave one hungry for more. Only Lenny Kaye, her longtime collaborator, speaks. Not sure if the R&RHoF couldn't be arsed to dig up some other Fanburger Patties or if no-one was willing to admit publicly to enjoying the work of America's Leading Rock Poetess. If that word has escaped the curse of the feminine-form pejorative. Like "Jewess". And "fellatrix".

Then comes the time to introduce the rock idol who will induct Patti. But which music industry icon possesses sufficient gravitas to induct an artist whose own influences include Blake and Rimbaud, who has rubbed elbows with such creative heavyweights as Tom Verlaine, Sam Shepard, Jim Carroll, Robert Mapplethorpe, and the Beat poets? Which poet/rocker/visionary on the scene today might serve such a function? Springsteen? He did, after all, pen her sole Top 20 hit, the classic "Because The Night". Stipe? They've worked together closely since Patti's re-emergence in the mid-90s following years of semi-retirement. Bono? Van Morrison? Who could be summoned as an established master of the twin-edged sword of balls-out garage rock and bop-infused mystical poetry? Who? Who??

"To induct Patti Smith into the Rock&Roll Hall of Fame..." Yes? Yes?? "...from Rage Against The Machine, Zack de la Rocha!"

Umm...exsqueeze me?

Oh-kay. Well...I guess I can see the whole "lefty revolutionary power to the people" connection. Alright. So, we're not getting Van the Man. Well, let's see what this young fellow has to say.

Zack de la Rocha starts off by quoting an unattributed article by an unnamed writer to the effect that the "Cultural Revolution" died at Altamont. Now, my impression was that the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (or wuchan jieji wenhua da geming for you Sinologists) died with Papa-ooh-Mao-Mao in 1976. But that's me. Young Zack continues in a tendentious vein to dismiss this theorem by this straw writer he's erected. Distracting from Zack's opening words is his odd gray herringbone jacket with buttoned breast pockets. I'm not entirely sure it doesn't turn into a cadre suit for Party meetings.

Zack praises the 70s during which he enjoyed life at ages 0 through 9. He namechecks Amiri Baraka and Marvin Gaye. He uses phrases like "punk prairie fire". He solemnly states that "the opening to 'Gloria' might be one of the greatest moments in American music". He talks about how its piano line "and the space in it speaks to us like a dark Gospel". Yes. He says this or, rather, reads it; amazingly enough, his eyelashes aren't fluttering and his eyes are not rolled back as he intones these self-sanctified words. Maybe, just maybe, a Bono or a Springsteen could carry off these high-flown rhetorical conceits. But Zack only manages to sound like a kid clutching a clipboard as he tries to collect signatures to indict Bush as a war criminal. He talks about how Patti's voice is both "haunting and healing". He actually feels the need to recite the first line of "Gloria"" "Jesus died for someone's sin but not mine" and manages to misquote it (it's "somebody's" not "someone's", for fuck's sake), then launches into a li'l lit-crit exegesis about how the line is "delivered like someone who left the church that was repressive America and burned it to the ground, the body of the song becomes a celebration of the outsider delivered with a chaos that only Patti can summon and only she can attuned to the moment that anticipating the next one is an impossibility".

Your sobsister would not shit you.
This is what he said.
Out loud.
Not scribbled in his selfconsciously-prole cheapo notebook from the chain drugstore under the covers illuminated by a flashlight.

He also perpetuates the tired faux pas regarding Patti Smith's catalog: Horses: wow! brilliant! unprecedented!; Radio Ethiopia: yeah! pretty good! not bad!; Easter: her only hit!; succeeding albums: (listen to the crickets chirp, watch the tumbling tumbleweeds...).

Makes me think young Master Zack only ever heard side one of Horses, a few cuts off the next two, and then, fuck it maaan, discussing or even acknowledging the rest would just get in the way of exhorting the Proletarian Masses to Storm the Barricades of the Bourgeois Establishment.

Note to Zack de la Rocha: in the future, endeavor to beg, steal, or borrow an editor. Ask someone not in your employ to read your drafts. Because then you might avoid writing something like the series of facile, demagogic extolments and condemnations that followed: Bad Brains:good/Eagles:bad, Clash:good/Ronald Reagan:bad (despite Ronbo's "Tear Down This Wall" EP containing some classic break beats), textbooks(?!):bad/Sonia Sanchez-Allen Ginsberg-Langston Hughes:good.

He then notes, "Patti Smith the poet revealed truth regardless of the political and social consequences". Which actually sounds pretty irresponsible if you think about it. Luckily, Zack didn't, on account'a he's a First-Draft-Best-Draft kinda guy. As exemplified by his uttering the following, "(Patti was) fearless when she put the Bush administration up on the firing line for this illegal war and pulled her poetic trigger".

Man, you cannot make shit like this up! I mean, I'd like to pastiche the hell out of it but I can't. This is utter crapwriting genius! He can't go anywhere after allowing this gem to vault the barrier of his teeth. He ends by introducing and inducting Patti Smith into the R&RHoF.

OMG!!!! Zack was, like, soo kewl. I'm, like, totally gonna go out and read the Communist Manifold or whatever. Like, power to the people, you guys!!! Holla!

On comes Patti in her classic Horses-era outfit: black pants, white shirt, skinny black tie. She hugs Zack. I can't tell if she's simultaneously kneeing him in the junk for inducting her with an agitprop/MySpace abortion that actually makes one nostalgic for Ronnie Spector's earlier sojourn to Babble-on. The crowd rises in appreciation. Cut to audience shots, first, of Michael Anthony next to a much taller "blonde" wearing, apparently unironically, a leopard-print blouse unbuttoned to reveal at least 45 percent of her tits, and, then, of Kid Rock drinking what I can only hope is a congratulatory toast from a bottle of domestic beer. He's wearing mirrorshades, his trademark stoopid Panama hat, and a t-shirt emblazoned "HOOKER" while standing next to what appears to be a prostitute. The t-shirt may simply be functional, however, like the signboards limo drivers wave at the airport to attract their passengers. Poor Kid. He looks so bored. WHEN DA MOTHERFUKKIN' POLE DANCERZ COMIN' ON?!

Patti is very emotional, almost palpably uncomfortable in her speechmaking role. She speaks of her late parents, brother, and husband. She thanks Clive Davis for his faith in her as a young artist and also Columbia, her current label. She graciously thanks her assistants, her musicians, her crew, her children. Respect to Lenny Kaye and her current band. She educates regarding the R&RHoF's program to help musicians in need.

Cut to Kid Rock who takes another long pull of his beer. DAMN, BITCH, SHUT DA FUCK UP AN' BRING ON DA POLE DANCERZ!

She closes with a touching anecdote about her late husband, Fred "Sonic" Smith, and a salute to the next generation of musicians.

Classy, heartfelt.

She then takes the stage with her band. Thanks Keith Richards and the Stones for writing great anti-war songs as the band starts playing the intro to...wait?...can it be?...yes, "Gimme Shelter". And shy, choked-up Patti goes offstage to be replaced by hellraiser, brassballs Patti. Who is going to sing a Stones song. At the R&RHoF.

If there's anything to the transformational power of rock'n'roll, it is apparent in Patti Smith who sings the song with a raspy voice that flares at the end of each line like a revival preacher prowling a creaky plank floor. The song does not play to the strengths of the band whose playing seems tentative and sound thin. But Patti guts the fucking thing out. Then into "Because The Night". Much better. Bigger sound, thicker. Patti commands the stage. The last song is introduced by a well-received story from Patti who tells of her mother who loved rock'n'roll and answered her fan mail for over twenty-five years:

"Right before she died, I mean hours before she died, she said to me 'Tricia', I said, 'what, Mommy?', she said, 'did they save the Stone Pony?', and I said, 'yes, Mommy', she said, 'good' and she said, 'didja get in the Hall of Fame yet?' and I said, 'not yet, Mommy', and she said, 'aw, I'm not gonna make it but when you do, sign your mother's favorite song, the one I like to vacuum to.'"

And the band rumbles and crashes into "Rock'n'Roll Nigger" as Patti growls the opening lines "Baby was a black sheep, baby was a WHORE!" like one of the Furies fronting the Amboy Dukes. She revels in this song, as does the band, offering the strongest performance of the evening. The sight and sound of a sixty-year-old white woman lunging feral and screaming "NIGGERNIGGERNIGGERNIGGER!!" while being propelled by a band that sounds like the Broadway Local derailing is, to say the least, unusual in broadcast media.

Which only makes the sight of the flaccid suits in front barely nodding and tapping their feet, as if Pat Boone were onstage crooning "Love Letters In The Sand", just that much more disturbing. Gratefully, Patti and band are not relying on the audience vibe for energy. Instead, at the song's beginning and near its end, they huddle by the kick drum as if to snag a quick hit off Jay Dee Daugherty's tomtom-pounding before the next sortie.

The song ends, Wild Patti is replaced by grateful, shy Patti. A film clip rolls of a "classic performance". Neil Young jamming with what remained of Led Zeppelin in '95 on "When The Levee Breaks". I can't tell if Jimmy Page is amused by or scornful of Neil's art brut soloing but if anyone knows the power of an overdriven stack, a stomp pedal, and a Les Paul, it's Shakey, so fuck Pagey and his pre-Raphaelite dandyism, 'cause clench-eyed Neil digs into each solo like his fingers are going to bore through the fretboard to strike oil.

The clip ends and we move on to the next segment.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Pelosi's Delegation Presses Syrian Leader

An Open Letter to Nancy Pelosi

Dear Nance,

I'm writing because when I called your office, the young fellow who answered the phone tried to hustle me off with a quick string of embarrassingly-insincere "thank you for your comments", like I was stealing precious time away from his trolling of craigslist for earnest vegan virgins. Or Fabergé eggs. I couldn't quite tell, you know, which way he swung.

Anyway, so tell was Syria? Nice? I hear it's nice. Very Bible-esque, if you will. 'Dja buy any nice prezzies? I bet you did.

Listen, I know you've come under fire from the poor, retarded man in the White House and his blind albino drones for flying over to Damascus to have that little rap session with President Bashar al-Assad. The poor, retarded man even said that "sending delegations hasn't worked" and that "it's just simply been counterproductive". I assume he means in contrast to the many and sundry things he's done which have worked and have been productive. (Oh, maybe you know: when he was talking up The Surge, was he referring to the surge in sectarian violence that would follow his new initiative?)

And a Mister "Johndroe" over at the NSC tried to tweak your "road to peace" comment by saying that "that road is lined with the victims of Hamas and Hezbollah and the victims of terrorists who cross from Syria into Iraq..." blahdeblah, he was getting all JFK-rhetorical on your pert butt, Nance. Now, granted, he's a young man on a meteoric trajectory. Just think: he started off as just a regular college boy who, according to his bio, "attended the University of Texas at Austin" (I think they say that when one can't quite be arsed to finish all those Incompletes and fucking graduate already) and worked on the poor, retarded man's '98 gubernatorial campaign, then on his Presidential campaign in '00, then became an Assistant White House Press Secretary, then the Homeland Security Press Secretary, then Laura's Press Secretary, then "Director of Strategic Communications and Planning" at the State Department, and now he's Special Assistant to the poor retarded man and NSC Press Secretary besides. Hot fucking damn! That boy has drunk the Kool-Aid big-time, ain't he?! Or possibly something more viscous and protein-rich. But, at any rate, for someone who has done and said things I cannot even begin to imagine simply to climb the topply ladder to success, this fellow has got the poor retarded man's ear, so duck'n'cover, Nance!

*ha ha!*
But you know I'm with you, right? Totally. Except for one little thing.

When you were talking to the press before your departure from Damascus Int'l Airport, you said, presumably to quell the whole Nancy-Pelosi-is-a-treasonous-bitch thing on FOX™, "There is no division on policy between us and the (poor retarded man), be it on Israel, Palestine or Syria". But then you added, "As a mother I will exhaust every remedy for peace." the young people say nowadays, WTF???

I mean, I know in the past you've flogged that "as a mother and grandmother" thing like Simon Legree on a fresh black back, but you're in Syria, you're Speaker of the House, you're in a Hell-in-a-Cell match with the poor retarded man to win back control of U.S. policy in the Middle East. The best, most commanding thing you've got to say is that "as a mother" you'll exhaust every remedy for peace?!?!

How can I put this nicely...? Oh, I know: Jesus Fuck, Nance, would'ja drop that shit already?! I think we, as a nation, need someone who's, oh, I don't know...second in line for the Presidency, to ditch the folksy, aw-shucksy, I'm just a grandma bakin' cookies for the young'uns bullshit and step her fucking game up a notch or two. I think I speak for not a few Americans when I say, I don't give a floating fuck about you as a mother. I don't care if being a mother and a grandmother are warm, wonderful, skwooshy-wooshy life-affirming experiences. You're Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Act like it.
Talk like it.
Because I can assure you that only your children and grandchildren--and possibly not even they--care to hear how motherhood has informed your professional life.

Good. Well, drop me a line or give me a call when you get back in town. We can do lunch. My treat.


the sobsister

P.S. All kidding aside, drop that "as a mother" shtick, like, yesterday. It makes you sound like an idiot. That shit may have worked at farmers markets and daycare centers on the campaign trail but it currently stinks of condescension and pretense. But I'll tell you what: you can reclaim it when the poor retarded man starts his sentences with "as a recovering alcoholic and cokehead...". Deal?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Does It Hurt When Expedience Busts Your Revirginized Integrity Cherry?, Dept.

McCain Wrong on Iraq Security, Merchants Say - New York Times

You know what your sobsister likes?
No, you silly goose, not in that special, intimate way that Elizabeth Ray and Fanne Foxe did.
But in that I-didn't-know-you-could-fit-that-much-shit-inside-one-brainbox! way.

A case in point: Representative "Mike" Pence (R) who feels...I'm sorry, what's that? "Who's 'Mike' Pence?". Oh...well, he's a Congressman, you see, who represents the proud 6th District of Indiana and a fellow who describes himself as "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order". Pity he doesn't leave room for "a sentient lifeform" in that batting order.

Why am I being so harsh on this twunty Hoosier?

Well, it seems that "Mike" was in Iraq on a showboating propaganda junket factfinding mission, along with Senator John McCain who I'm sure would never bite the heads off a shelterful of puppies and kittens even if it meant another $10 million in his campaign war-chest, and he found himself in Baghdad's central market. "Mike" and his Congressional colleagues sauntered around the market, chatted with the merchants, bought some souvenirs, had their pictures taken Actively Supporting Our Troops, you know, Codel Package Tour #5, hold the falafel. Then, in a press conference afterwards, "Mike", by way of touting the success of the security strategy currently being flogged by the poor, retarded man who runs our country, noted that Baghdad's market was "like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime".

Oh, did I mention that the market had been locked down for the visit with more than 100 soldiers in Humvees securing the ground while attack helicopters circled overhead? And that all traffic had been directed away from the area by soldiers who allowed only Americans to enter the Potemkin village market? And that the congressmen, protected by sharpshooters deployed on the rooftops, wore bulletproof vests the whole time they were in the market? And that only six weeks ago, at least 61 people were killed there in what the NYT described as a "three-pronged attack...involving two vehicle bombs and a roadside bomb"?

Wow, Indiana must have some badass fucking markets, you know?

And yet, despite this characterization, according to "Mike"'s District Profile, "the 6th Congressional District of Indiana is as American as baseball and apple pie"? Wow, I hope "Mike" pays his writers top dollar 'cause I predict that li'l phrase has legs. I could see it being picked up and used...well, everywhere really. Car ads and tampon ads and...yeah. Anyway, apart from his love of the excruciating cliché, "Mike" appears to possess one trait that may explain his relatively-rapid ascent to positions of real responsibility in the Congress.

You see, despite the fact that he was born without a fucking clue (a Lifetime movie is in the works with Jean Smart set to play "Mike"), he is possessed of faith.
True faith.
Strong faith.

Faith that the people of the 6th District of Indiana--good, hardworking, salt-of-the-earth "reg'lar folks"--don't really give a minor fuck about Iraq or Baghdad or The Surge or the bloody politics of an economy built on profligate consumption of fossil fuel.

Faith that a man in power can open his mouth and spew lies, mistruths, and deceits of every description, and that no-one of consequence will ever call such a man, one who describes himself as "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order", to judgment.

Faith that if he rolls enough shit with his nose, eventually it'll grow into a ball big enough to house him, his wife, and their three lovely children.

Faith can move mountains.
Just like "Mike" Pence moves his personal ball of shit with his nose.
A little further, a little bigger every day.

Good luck, then, "Mike" Pence, and Godspeed, and remember: every little thing you say helps build that ball of faith into your dream home of tomorrow.

Rep. Pence living the dream