Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Netflix update: 11/30/04

Just put The Office: Series 2 and The Warriors in the mail. Both excellent, excellent choices for very different reasons. The former is the ultimate in dry, clever writing while the latter is ultimate camp. Love the Baseball Furies and the Lizzies.

Still waiting on Disc 1 of The Gangs of New York (see last week) - I wonder if they're really really confused about it. We'll see how this plays out.

Previous update: November 23, 2004

Still too busy for a full post, but...

It"s not helping that internet connection is down at home. I saw Con Edison doing work on the street, so I assume it's their fault. Assuming is more efficient than thinking, so I blame you, Con Ed. Anyway, a few things I'll leave you with:

  • For a Red State, North Carolina ain't a bad place to be. But I knew that already.
  • Home improvement shows on TLC are deathly addictive. But I knew that already as well.
  • Laguna Beach is not addictive, however. The characters are more believable on The OC.
  • Combination of staying up all night, large amount of turkey, red wine and white wine can make you sleepy. Really.
  • I lost a game of Scrabble to someone who was not Kevin Kaminishi. I have brought shame to my ancestors.
  • A "Pssst" can be a handy weapon in your verbal arsenal, but it is not all that effective in a crowded mall.
  • The elevator in my building is hella slow. That could pose a problem if there's an emergency.
  • The Warriors just may be the greatest cinematic achievement of the last 30 years.
  • The Office is the greatest achievement in television since the cathode ray.
  • Asobi Seksu at Mercury Lounge on New Year's Eve? Don't mind if I do.

I'll post a full weekend wrap up soon enough, and I'll post answers to the Thanksgiving quiz shortly. Which means it's still not too late to submit your entry. Later dudes and dudettes.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Chaos in the office = no time for blogging

Back from beautiful North Carolina. Still full of turkey and sweet tea. Still time for Thanksgiving quiz (see below) and a chance to win a fabulous prize. Sidebar still not showing up on Windows PCs. More later.

Ta la.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hopefully, you're already when you need to be, but if not, travel safe.

I will be in beautiful Gastonia, NC from Thursday until Sunday, and will most likely not be updating much, if at all. I might actually enjoy some actual spinach dip though.

So I want to wish you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving. I've seen better times and worse times, but I will always consider myself fortunate. This holiday is a nice reminder for me to look at all the wonderful people and things in my life, and remind myself that I have it good even when things seem otherwise.

In any case, I will be eating too much and watching too much football, and I hope you will be doing the same. Oh, and take a couple of minutes out of your time to take the crazy wacky Thanksgiving quiz.

Click here to start the quizCheat if you must. Google is your friend. Email the answers when you're done. Good luck.

Section 1 - Multiple Choice (40 points - 10 minutes)

  1. Which of the following is not an actual quote from George W. Bush?
    a. "I will stand up and struggle, as others have, to try to get that right balance between violence, and sex, and things."
    b. "I think if you know what you believe, it makes it a lot easier to answer questions. I can't answer your question."
    c. "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
    d. "I'm honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein."

  2. Which command does Burger King's Subservient Chicken not perform?
    a. "Do the chicken dance."
    b. "Change the light bulb."
    c. "Drink."
    d. "Eat a chicken wing."

  3. In the popular teen drama The OC, how many regular cast members are actual teenagers?
    a. 0
    b. 1
    c. 2
    d. 3

  4. Which one of the following served as a makeshift holding cell for protesters during the Republican National Convention in New York this summer?
    a. Pier 1
    b. Pier 39
    c. Pier 57
    d. Pier 69

  5. According to the American Family Association, about how many times was the f-word used in ABC's airing of Saving Private Ryan?
    a. 20
    b. 30
    c. 40
    d. 50

  6. Which of the following people complained about not getting enough credit for helping end the Cold War?
    a. Madonna
    b. Nancy Reagan
    c. David Hasselhoff
    d. John Kerry

  7. How many movies released in 2004 will Jude Law appear in?
    a. 4
    b. 5
    c. 6
    d. 7

  8. In the film Garden State, Natalie Portman claims that "this song will change your life." Which song is this?
    a. Frou Frou "Let Go"
    b. Cary Brothers "Blue Eyes"
    c. The Shins "New Slang"
    d. The Commodores "Three Times A Lady"

  9. The FCC fined Fox Television $1.2 million for sexually suggestive content in the show Married By America after viewer complaints. How many people submitted written complaints?
    a. 3
    b. 23
    c. 53
    d. 159

  10. If you are deep frying turkey this Thanksgiving, what temperature should you heat the oil to?
    a. 300
    b. 350
    c. 375
    d. 400

Section 2 - Matching (12 points - 5 seconds)

Match the following terrorist sounding names with the correct description
1. Ali Shaheed Muhammed
2. Barack Obama
3. Khalil Greene
4. Ahmed Chalabi
5. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
6. Ayad Allawi
a. Suspected terrorist
b. Iraqi informant
c. White guy
d. musician
e. US Senator
f. Iraqi prime minister

Section 3 - Essay (48 points - 40 minutes)

  1. In 100 words or less, write a haiku or two about Thanksgiving or the holiday season.

  2. Write a haiku or two about the person who writes this blog without using the phrases "incredibly good looking", "out-of-this-world intelligent" and "above average hygiene".

You can email the answers before Monday at 6 pm. I'll post the answers next Tuesday. Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Enjoy your loved ones, but make sure no one catches you.

Last post before I go...

- Fight! Fight! Fight! - Why we need more NBA brawls. (Slate)
- Sports' darkest day? No way (ESPN)

Okay, so I'm shutting my computer down. It's like 4:30 am here, but I'm leaving for the airport in less than an hour - an early flight out of Newark (and thanks to Fish for coming to pick me up a day early - more on that later) and I can't sleep.

You kids behave yourselves.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Jesusland is weird

In North Korea, the government tells the people how to think and whose orders to follow. In America, that job is left to multimedia conglomerates.
Clear Channel sponsor "Our Leader" Dubya Bush (AdLand)

More fun Jesusland propaganda: Billboards in Arizona

I'm glad I wasn't the only one pissed off at L&O: SVU

Write your own damn stories! (adfreak)
The verdict on Law & Order is like the punch line of a joke. Why would you leave us hanging? OK, we get the thinking behind this boneheaded move: “Let’s engage the viewer and make it interactive.” You know what? Some of us just want to be entertained, not interactive. How about the guys who get paid to write these shows actually finish the stinkin’ script?
If I vote on an ending, do I get writer's credit? Will I get a residual check in the mail when the episode goes into syndication?

BTW, I believe this was the episode they were filming on Orchard Street back in October (do they turn around that fast?). I happened to be walking home when they were filming the opening scene, with the yellow cab.
Law, Order Fnally Comes to LES (tale of two cities)

I will buy this CD next week: Handsome Boy Modeling School

Handsome Boy Modeling School - White People White People

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Netflix update: 11/23/04

Currently waiting on The Office: Series 2 and The Warriors to arrive, just in time for my Thanksgiving trip.

My first problem with Netflix - I received The Gangs of New York in two envelopes, but both contained Disc 2. If they had been both Disc 1, I could have watched the beginning while the latter part was in transit. Unfortunately, it doesn't work so well the other way around.

So as of Tuesday afternoon, all my movies are in the mail, partially or otherwise.
  • The Gangs of New York: Disc 1
  • The Warriors
  • The Office: Series 2

Previous update: November 19, 2004

SJP covers up for winter

It's getting colder in Tel Aviv, apparently. Who knew?

From Yahoo:
A cosmetics billboard advertisement of Sarah Jessica Parker, of the cable television show 'Sex in the City,' in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday Nov. 23, 2004, ran afoul of religious groups. The top billboard shows Parker wearing a more revealing dress, while the bottom shows workers changing the billboard to more modest attire after members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community threatened to boycott the company's products

If you look to your right....

I just added a TagBoard thingy to the right sidebar.

I've been less than pleased with Blogger's comments feature, as it seems to cause problems on certain servers, and you can only leave comments with a Blogger id or as "Anonymous".

I think a single TagBoard is better for sustained conversations. So please take a minute a leave me a message. And say something nice if you can. Thanks.

Links bitches, links: Old Familiar Faces Edition - U2, Ol' Dirty, RNC, Che, Paris and Che

Sometimes, I'm too lazy to come up with any new material, but I can't help but be an attention whore. So I scour the blogs and post what I like. Today is another one of those days.

- Ol' Dirty Bastard, true to one his many, many noms de guerre Big Baby Jesus, returns from the dead in a Spike TV reality show: Like Tupac, ODB will never truly die (Gawker)

- The previously mentioned U2 show under the shadows of Bk and Manny Bridges - the photos are positively awesome: U2 in Bklyn (Gothamist)

- Guantanamo on the Hudson returns to the news: RNC protesters sue (Gothamist)

- I love, and encourage any and all Aaron Burr references: Hamil(ton) on Trial (tale of two cities)

- Apparently, correct grammar is not "hot" Paris Hilton's "Hott" Grammar Lesson (Gawker)

- Finally, the most clever take on Che as fashion statement: I have no idea who this is (Busted Tees) (Thanks yet again, Glasper)

My two cents on the Pistons vs Pacers brawl

- Timeline of Pacers-Pistons brawl (ESPN)
- The Sports Guy - Tale of the Tape (ESPN)

I'll try to keep this short - try, I said - because it seems everyone has already had their say on this incident and I won't be saying much that hasn't be said already.

Click here to continueThe suspensions (rest of the season for Artest, 25 for O'Neal, 30 for Jackson) may have been harsh, but they were necessary if only to send a clear, unmistakable message. There's simply no excuse for going into the stands, end of story. I agree with Bill Simmons' take (see above linked piece) that Jackson's needs to be longer, and O'Neal's shorter.

And if the league had any spine, they will hold the next Pacers vs Pistons in an empty arena as Darren Rovell and Marc Stein suggest. And I wish they'd stop serving alcohol at sporting events - people who want to drink can do it pre-game - but I suppose overpriced macrobrews simply make too much money for the teams. I suppose cutting off beer sales at halftime is a reasonable compromise.

But it's more than just taking preventative and punitive measures. There is the sports spectator culture that led to this incident, and in retrospect, it's not all that surprising. I was listening to NPR this morning and John Feinstein had an interesting take on this.

He talked about how fans are allowed, nay, encouraged to heap abuse on the visiting team. The visiting players are introduced to a round of boos, before the lights are lowered and the home team is introduced rock star style. Feinstein thinks we need to go back to a time when visiting teams, while still not warmly welcomed, were treated with more respect.

He's right, I think. But it's more than that. Today's sports arenas have a cult-like feel. In a sense, sports fandom is a cult. It is an irrational, childish obsession with the sporting conquest of grown men. It's silly, but it is socially acceptable nonetheless.

I thought about what Feinstein said about the lowered house lights, and I thought - that's exactly what cults do. They pack a hall with likeminded people, create an atmospheric effect that makes it easier to preach their vision and villify the opponents. The Nazis did it in their rallies to create a cult of personality around Hitler. And today, spiritual healers do it - the packed halls, dimmed lights, music and all - to get poor people to give up money for fake miracles.

It's a disturbing comparison, but that's exactly what happens. The methods used by arenas to "pump up" the fans are essentially creating a cult, a mob to rally their team. And in a mob environment, irrational, even violent acts, are near inevitability. It becomes okay to taunt opponents. It becomes okay to say things you would never otherwise say in front of your kids. It becomes okay to throw beer onto players and rush the court. The mob/cult mentality + alcohol is nothing but trouble.

Now, I don't expect the culture to change overnight. But I hope, in light of this incident, fans and teams at least look at what they get into every game.

Okay, that wasn't short at all. But that's my 2 cents and that's all I will say about it in this forum.

Should mention The Sports Guy's second entry on the Brawl of the Millenium. It's a throwaway paragraph, but it deserves repeating:

Look, I'm not comfortable with what happened, but I'm a realist. The NBA has been straddling this line for years: crazy players, boozed-up crowds, everyone on top of one another. Throw in a sense of entitlement for some fans -- they take escalating ticket prices and mind-boggling salaries as a free pass to belittle players -- and this was inevitable. If the league truly wants to prevent riots, why does it sell beer after halftime? Why let drunken troublemakers sneak down into premium seats? Why aren't policemen protecting the visitors bench? If they don't change the rules after this, forget $5 lottery tickets; you're better off buying $125 tickets to an NBA game, getting bombed and baiting opposing players into a lawsuit

It's almost Chrismukkah time, Maureen

Click here for more distinctly amateur photography
The pictures are a bit blurry since I'm entirely too lazy to take my tripod downstairs and set up the shot.
But here they are, the holiday lights over Orchard Street:

Update: 12:52 am
Okay, let's try this again. This time with a tripod. Not too happy - I'll have to do it later when I can get a bunch of lights in row, but here goes anyway:

And also, shots of Allen St. I'm not too happy with the amount of noise in the pics. Gotta lower the ISO and stuff. Next time.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Free U2 concert today

From Gothamist:U2's Free Concert In Brooklyn Today

So it's for an MTV taping, and the show starts at 3 pm at the Empire Fulton Ferry State Park in Brooklyn, between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. It's a nice place with a great view of the river and the bridges. If you aren't lucky enough to score tickets, you may still be able to watch it from Manny B. Maybe.

Tonight, I shaved my....

... goatee. Yes, I did. I shaved the hair on my chinny chin chin. I'd been growing it for a while, so long that I've forgotten how long exactly.

But anyway, it had gotten pretty long, and it was starting to get itchy down there... on my chin. And Maureen noticed split ends so I decided to just shave it off. And what a difference it makes. I had forgotten that such a beautiful face was hiding behind the layer of facial hair. Wow.

Maureen says I got the split ends because I was playing with the goatee so much, but I think it was just God's way of making me shave so I rediscover the beauty of my cleanly shorn face.

And having gone through several weeks of not shaving my chin and having suffered some irritation the past few days, I have a newfound respect for those who keep bushy facial hair, people like Santa Claus, Pei Mei and Dr. C. Everett Koop - you are true American heroes.

For all you early holiday shoppers out there: 25% off one item at Borders

Found at: dealmac

So this one expires Monday but 25% off (or 10% off for electronics and video games) ain't no joke. Take the printable coupon to your local Borders to redeem.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Thank me now, use this later - hopstop.com

Even for a seasoned New York resident like myself, getting around can be complicated (well, not really).

You can't really tell the cross street or the neighborhood from just looking at Avenue addresses, and while Mapquest directions can be helpful, they're for drivers, so they'll send you around the block if there's a one-way street (there are a couple of those in Manhattan) and they don't take public transport into consideration. And the MTA website doesn't have a Trip Planner feature like a lot of other systems do.

Well, featured in this week's Time Out New York is a site that does exactly that, hopstop.com. I tried it out and I approve. It's an excellent resource that was way overdue.

(click here to continue)It's pretty simple. Just as on Mapquest, you enter the starting address/intersection and the destination address/intersection (and the site covers all 5 boroughs, which is nice since neighborhoods are harder to locate in the outer boroughs.

It gives you turn-by-turn and stop-by-stop directions in text, and a walking map to and from the subway stop, like so:

So here's what I liked:
- Option to choose between "More walking/less transfers" and "Less walking/more transfers"
- Option to include crosstown buses
- Easier to read map and text directions than Mapquest/Yahoo Maps
- Includes street transfers (i.e. going from F/V/B/D to Uptown 6 at Bleecker/Broadway-Lafayette

My wishlist
- Downtown/uptown buses for subway deprived neighborhoods on the East Side
- Incorporating weekend/late night service changes

So my complaints are minor and it's a fantastic site overall. I just wish they had this when I first came to NYC.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Netflix Update - 11/19/04

So this week, watched Taxi Driver (more on that later) and Bridget Jones's Diary (not as bad as I expected and even enjoyable at times, but still, the less said, the better, probably) and waiting to watch The Gangs of New York.

I guess the cool thing with Netflix, besides the obvious conveniences, is that I can rent movies that I wouldn't otherwise rent (Bridget), or something that Blockbuster wouldn't have multiple copies of (Taxi Driver). I'm a satisfied non-paying customer so far.

Previously: I am now a member of the Netflix Nation

Creative Technology - nothing if not classy

Creative declares marketing 'war' against iPod (Yahoo! News)

"The MP3 war has started and I am the one who has declared war," Sim said. -- Creative CEO Wim Wong Hoo

Fantastic. Because you know, the idea of a real war is so foreign to consumers, they won't be bothered by casual use of war metaphors one bit...

click here to continue

That aside, I'm not sure how competitive any iPod alternative as long as iTunes Music Store remains the #1 music download service. MSN Music might win out, but unlike Apple, Microsoft kinda needs its store to be profitable.

Plus, Apple has the cache as the musician's (and other artistic types') brand of choice. You can't imagine U2 doing a promo for MSN, can you? They did the iPod spot for free instead of taking money elsewhere, because it's that important to associate themselves with Apple.

"I'm planning to spend some serious money -- I intend to out-market everyone," said Sim.

That's nice. But so far, all I've seen are ads that basically replace Apple's white background with black, and rip off the ads for the different colored iMacs.

The OC Season 2 Episode 3 - Two is the loneliest number

Previously: Season 2 Episode 2

Okay, so I missed, like, the first 15 minutes of the show as I was in transit. But really, it's not like stuff can't be explained later.

Click here to continueSo Seth decides he needs to change and put feelings of others ahead of his, so gives tickets to The Walkmen (you've heard these guys' song, "We've Been Had" on a Saturn commercial. Really, you have.) thinking if he's nice to Summer and WASP Seth, he can be friends with Summer, and if he can be friends with Summer, then she'll dump the WASP Seth. Well, so much for putting the feeling of others ahead of his. Summer doesn't see through this though, until Seth lands a big wet one.

Meanwhile, Ryan is talking to Marissa again, but to Marissa's dismay, after a inauspicious start, Ryan is clicking with his lab partner/Harbor newbie, essentially a redheaded, female version of Ryan.

In other news, Sandy is fired from his law firm for representing Caleb, Caleb steps down as Newport Group CEO and hands the job to Julie, which pisses off Kirsten to no ends until she gets promoted to CFO. Not exactly what Jimmy would characterize as "fantastic", but will do for now.

The episode ends with Seth and Marissa sitting on a bench at the pier, wondering how the two ended up being the two loneliest people in Newport Beach, as Rachael Yamagata's excellent Worn Me Down plays in the background. Well, I'll give you an answer - 1. Because you're stupid teenagers, and 2. You're characters on a TV show.

This season has been decidedly slower paced than last year's breakneck pace, but I like it. The storylines are better defined, and loose ends are getting tied, instead of being dropped like a hot potato with herpes. I mean, who remembered that Marissa's sister was in a boarding school, or that she even had a sister until she mentioned it this week?

Anyhow, The OC (or TOC for short) will take a break for Thanksgiving, but will come back with the violance and hot, strategically concealed sex, the previews suggest. Can't wait.

More coherent episode recap:
The OC: Seth and Marissa Can't Get No Satisfaction, but Summer and Ryan Can (TVgasm)

I've been riding the subways long enough....

...to know that if, in an otherwise packed train there's one train that is fairly empty, you never ever ever ever get into that empty car. Never.

Click here to continueIn the summer, it may mean that the air conditioning is broken, which is only good if you're trying to lose weight and suffocate at the same time. The only other plausible explanation is that it smells really really really bad, most likely from a homeless guy taking a crap or carrying a week-old corpse in his shopping cart.

Well, that was exactly the case (a homeless guy) as I boarded a downtown F-train at 14th St. I mean, On the stinky-o-meter, if the horse carriage path in Central Park is a 50, then that subway car was about 94, high on both unplesantness and intensity.

The door closed behind me before I could get out, so I, along with about 10 unlucky riders, had to endure the pain before running for dear life at W 4th. I'd give the homeless guy a good talking to if I could. I wonder if he reads Missed Connections.

In any case, lesson learned. Again.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Molvania is, like, the new Czech Republic

Molvania - a land untouched by modern dentistry (via MUG)

Baseball Jesus amuses me

Baseball Jesus in Brooklyn (Curbed)

As a hater of the Yankees and a lover of long, shaggy hair, I approve of Baseball Jesus taggings. Likewise, I approve of other celeb/historical figure tags, including "Andy Lives" and the freshly buried Arafat.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Watch this now, thank me later: The Grey Video

Thanks again to Glasper for the heads up on this link: The Grey Video

You might remember a while back when DJ Danger Mouse did a mash up of Jigga's The Black Album and The Beatles' The White Album, and dubbed it The Grey Album.

For a couple of weeks, it was an internet and streetcorner phenomenon before EMI sent out the ol' cease 'n desist. You can still download mp3 files from your favorite p2p file sharing network.

The mix exceeded my expectations. It takes mash ups to a whole new level. Anyway, this is the video for Encore (Green Onion). Superb stuff. Check it out. It's for your own good.

Also covered by: Gothamist

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Unsolicited restaurant promo: Mugajee


Living on the lower end of Orchard St, the Alsace-Lorraine of Chinatown/Lower East Side, I have more than a few dining options. But my favorite is Mugajee, a Korean restaurant without a restaurant.

Let me explain...Let me explain. I picked up the menu, as I often do, in my apartment building's entrance. It looks cool, much like the online menu, and since both Maureen and I like Korean, we had been meaning to order from there.

One night, we decided to give it a try, and went to the address on the menu, 85 Division St. Except there's nothing at that address. Absolutely nothing.

I thought I got the address wrong, but I went back and checked the menu - no, I was right. After some cursing and wall punching, we called the number and ordered. Apparently, they just have a kitchen, a phone and a website, and no storefront.

The food was well worth the trouble though. I recommend the Pajun (little pancakes, but with kimchi instead of syrup) and Soon Doo Boo. If you want more meat, I suggest bulgogi, and there's the standard, bibimbop.

So if you're downtown, give them a try. Just be prepared for spiciness.

The return of links bitches, links - Trishelle on eBay, Vibe channels Source, The Sports Guy

- It ain't whoring if you do it on eBay
Thanks again to Glasper on this find.

- The Vibe Awards tries to become more like The Source Awards
Horrors! Stabbing at a hip hop awards show? What is this world coming to?

- The Sports Guy: Questioning The NBA
I always enjoy Bill Simmons' writing, but he does his best stuff on the NBA. I would post an excerpt but I can't pick just one. Read it, you'll enjoy it.

- Virtual Bartender (via Adrants)
I don't think I'm allowed to look at this at work, but I understand it's a mammal version of Burger King's Subservient Chicken.

- Kids taking bedroom cues from adults, pop culture (NY Times)
Kids these days, they grow up so fast.

- Finally, the Village Voice pays its last respects to Ol'Dirty Bastard
By most accounts, the ODB who made it out of prison was a sober one. Predictable became the last unpredictable thing he could become.

Most people wouldn't have it, though, and he sadly remained an object of public spectacle. His continued existence as a shambolic cipher, it seemed, was a comfort to others who'd prefer to keep the dark side at a comfortable distance, for whom danger is a concept best kept abstract. And so Rusty, as his mother called him, has said good night to these foul-weather friends: You won't have Ol' Dirty Bastard to kick around anymore.

The times, they are a-changing on Orchard St

It seems like even during the 3 short months I've lived here, the Orchard St has take noticeable steps on the path of gentrification.

50 Orchard is ready to go on the market, it seems, with construction already beginning on the empty lot next to it, and the previously mentioned Little Giant, the first destination dining restaurant on the 'Chard.

What's my point? I have none. Except it's kinda funny a luxury condo is popping up just up the street from me.

More on Colin Powell resignation

Slate's Fred Caplan:Why Powell Had To Go - And how will Condi fare as his successor?

Looks at why Powell had to go, even if he didn't want to (he did, badly) and why he didn't resign or wasn't fired earlier. More importantly, Caplan considers what the future holds for Condi Rice:

The good news: Rice is among Bush's closest advisers, so foreign leaders will at least know that her words reflect the views of the president. Her appointment may also provide, at least in the short term, a morale boost among foreign service officers—a note of compensation for the departure of their cherished Powell that the State Department is now run by someone who has the president's ear and trust.

The bad news: In her four years as national security adviser, Rice has displayed no imagination as a foreign-policy thinker. She was terrible—one of the worst national security advisers ever—as a coordinator of policy advice. And to the extent she found herself engaged in bureaucratic warfare, she was almost always outgunned by Vice President Dick Cheney or Rumsfeld. Last year, for instance, the White House issued a directive putting her in charge of policy on Iraqi reconstruction; the directive was ignored. If Rumsfeld and his E-Ring gang survive the Cabinet shake-up, Rice may wind up every bit as flummoxed as her predecessor.

Previously: Colin Powell resigns

Winter is officially here

Yep, winter's here (forget for a moment that it got warm on Monday), Maureen and I made a nice big pot of chili. Actually, this was my first time making my own chili, but still.

We based it on the Food Network's Rachel Ray's Veg-Head Three Bean Chili. We used serrano pepper instead of jalapeno, chick peas instead of refried beans, added a vine tomato (diced) in addition to the crushed tomato and used a spice package that included cumin, paprika, red pepper powder and chili powder.

It came out pretty nicely. The beans were fantastic, and the spices were super hot. And the side of guacamole worked very nicely.

Well done, team.

Monday, November 15, 2004

When 3 people have the power to punish a corporation for $1.2 million....

No, it's not a good thing.

Remember a month ago, when the FCC fined Fox Broadcasting a record $1.2 million for the sexually suggestive content in Married By America?

Well, they did receive 159 complaints, right? Well, according to a FOIA request by Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine (via adrants), there were, wait for it, 3 unique complaints. All others were duplicates, slight variations and copies sent to different locations.
(click here to continue)
Now, I can see the flaw in Jarvis' methodology. I myself have participated in a write-in campaign against Sinclair Broadcasting and I imagine many of the letters ot FCC and advertisers were copy-and-paste jobs (I wrote my own letter, thank you).

Be that as it may, by Jarvis' findings show that only 23 people, out of millions who watched Married By America wrote in to complain, and forced the FCC to impose their values on the 99.9% of America.

You may still argue, "Isn't that exactly what you were doing during the Sinclair controversy? Aren't you the one who gets all high and mighty about the power of the grassroots?" Well, sure. But you're missing the point.

First off, more than 23 people participated in the write-in campaign against Sinclair, and most of the letterst were to advertisers, as it was clear that FCC was going to turn a blind eye to the blatant in-kind gift.

Second, the aim was not to stop Sinclair from broadcasting Stolen Honor, per se. We would've been fine if Sinclair had decided to air the same amount of pro-Kerry programming in an equivalent time slot. This was a matter of enforcing election and broadcasting regulations, not about standards.

Third, the original Sinclair plan was to air Stolen Honor on every station, even in markets where the company owned more than one network affiliate. This is different, of course. Local affiliates could have chosen not to air Married By America. Viewers could have turned to a different channel, or god forbid, turned the TV off altogether and read a book.

But no, this tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny minority of viewers wrote into FCC and the FCC bent over backwards, allowing this tiny minority to set the standards for the rest of the country and allow them take away our choices as consumers of entertainment products.

My message to the FCC? Grow some balls.

Predictably, conservative organizations like American Family Association are flooding the FCC with complaints after the airing of Saving Private Ryan on Veterans Day.

Good grief. It's a war movie! You knew it was going to be violent and vulgar! This movie was shown the last 3 Veterans Days! There was a clear, explicity disclaimer at the beginning of the film and at the end of every commercial break! They did not surprise us with a special Director's Cut showing a three-way gay sex scene with Tom Hanks, Barry Pepper and Matt Damon!

I'm getting verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic: the Christian Right is neither Christian nor right. Discuss.

NYC Marathon pics, finally

Okay, it took over a week to post them, but here they are, my pics from last Sunday:
Marathon pictures from my .Mac iDisk

Honestly, I wish the pictures came out a lot lot better. I could blame the sun and getting used to a new camera, but really, it's pure laziness. Oh well.

2004 NYC Marathon - I need more cowbell
Gothamist's marathon wrap-up

Colin Powell resigns

ABC News

Who didn't see this coming?

It's almost surprising he lasted this long. He's been cast aside by Bush and the Neocon army as the march to the Iraq war rumbled on, and it looks like he's been preparing for his post-political career.

BBC World News names US ambassador to the UN, John Danforth as a possible successor, and refers to Powell's legacy in the Bush administration as "irrelevant". Can't really argue with that.

So what about his plan to visit Palestine, and who's next?

Previously: Ashcroft resigns

A little Dubya in the morning

Thanks to Glasper on this one.

President Bush sings Sunday Bloody Sunday (2.8mb mp3)

Appointment TV that you may have missed

- Sunday night's Arrested Development. Not as uproarious as last week's, but stilll hilarious. Tobias continues to blue himself:

- PBS FRONTLINE | The Persuaders
A fascinating look at the people who persuade us to consume, vote, and generally affect the way we feel about brands and candidates. Check your local listings - it's so worth your 90 minutes.
Personal site of David Rushkoff, creator/narrator of the Frontline piece.
NY Times thinks you should watch it too: How They Make You Buy Buy Buy

Rich Bastard Pissing Match (Cont'd)

Part I

Mayor Airs Stadium Salvo, and Cablevision Fires Back (NY Times)

In his weekly radio address, [Mayor Mike] Bloomberg underscored the significance of the stadium to the city's effort to attract to the 2012 Summer Olympics, and he accused Cablevision of trying to "destroy our Olympic dreams by blocking a key element of our bid."

What Olympic dreams?

The fight has grown increasingly personal. One of the newest anti-stadium ads aims to make the mayor look foolish, using reverse images of him squaring off against each other, as a referee's whistle blows and an announcer cries, "It's Bloomberg versus Bloomberg!"

Um, haven't we seen that before on Comedy Central?

Silly rich bastards.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


Ft. Green Legend, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Dead at 35 (Gothamist)

Dirt McGirt was always a messed up dude - constantly in trouble with the law, fighting substance abuse - and he never rached his full creative potential after the first Wu and solo albums. Yet, despite all his problems, he had a certain hint of genius, a joie de vivre that made it irresistable for me to pay attention to him.

Sad day for me. ODB was finally out of prison and had a recording contract again. He was many things to many people, for better or worse, but he will always be Dirty to me.

"Baby, I don't have no problem with you fucking me, but I have a little problem with you not fucking me."

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Little Giant gets so-so review. Also, ramen in NYC!!

I scour the blogs of NYC (well, 4 or 5 of them) so you don't have to. Today, Curbed, albeit about 4 days behind.

The newest restaurant in my 'hood, Little Giant, on Orchard at Broome, doesn't get the most favorable of reviews (NY Press). Basically, food is so so to good, but names are just too cute for the sake of being cute. Heh. We'll see how long it survives. I'll keep y'all posted.

- Little Giant menu at menupages.com.
- Daily News was a little kinder, giving it 2.5 stars.

Also, In Search of Great Ramen (NY Times)

The difference between these richly satisfying bowls and packaged ramen, flavored mostly with MSG, is vast. "New York might never have really great ramen, just like Tokyo might never have really great pizza," said David Chang, the Korean-American chef, trained at Craft and now the owner of Momofuku. "But I'm having a lot of fun trying."

Yup yup. One of the many things I love about the city is that I can get a fairly close approximation of authentic ramen. It's great year round, but the stuff is just fantastic in winter.

The article mentions the usual suspects like Honmura An on Mercer, Sapporo on 49th & 7th, Soba Ya and Rai Rai Ken in East Village

Other places I would recommend are Zen Sushi on St. Mark's between 2nd & 3rd (though they only have two styles) and Menkuitei on 56th between 5th & 6th.

And a word to the wise, if you're in Japan, the ramen is better the further away you get from Tokyo. Sapporo (far north east), and Kumamoto and Hakata (far southwest) have awesome noodles.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Weak Stuff of the Week

3 for the weekend.

1. WTC architect sued by ormer Yale student for stealing his idea (Curbed, among other places)

Weak, just weak dude. I mean, how could you replace Liebskind with an (alleged) plagiarizing hack?

2. Grey creatives buy hookers, charge client (ad-rag)

Okay, everybody needs a good hooker or two sometimes, but who the hell expenses hookers? To all the kids who are reading this, when you buy hookers, you do not leave a paper trail. You do not pay with a check or credit card, you do not ask for a receipt, and you certainly do not put it on your expense report. What's with people nowadays?

3. Final Bid for NYC 2012 In (Gothamist)

Can someone explain to me why a city that's perpetually in the red spending money on an event that will most certainly lose money for the city? Has NYC become some sort of fiscal masochist? Good lord,

Honorable mention: Rich Bastard Pissing Match mentioned earlier this week. Also, the sixty-six ABC affiliates who did not show Saving Private Ryan - thank you for protecting your viewers from the English language. Not that I care - my ABC local affiliate showed it, but I was watching The OC and The Apprentice.

I am now a member of the Netflix Nation

So I am now a (soon to be) Netflix customer. I couldn't resist their $18.95/month and 30-day free trial, so I took the plunge.

I received my first three movies this week.
  • Control Room
  • Before Sunrise
  • Before Sunset

Yeah, I know, I'm turning into a girl. Yukk it up.

Anyhoo, I'll be posting my DVD queue here from time to time. I'll be happy to take suggestions and nasty comments about my selection.

Control Room was excellent, by the way. An insightful, though at time unfocused, look at Al-Jazeera during the major combat in Iraq. Highly recommended. 1.6 thumbs up.

(click here to see queue)My Netflix queue:
  1. Taxi Driver
  2. Gangs of New York
  3. The Warriors
  4. Rashomon
  5. The Office: Series 2
  6. Seven Samurai
  7. The Fog of War
  8. Whale Rider
  9. Chicago
  10. Fever Pitch
  11. Almost Famous
  12. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
  13. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
  14. 21 Grams
  15. Arrested Development: Season 1: Disc 1
  16. Arrested Development: Season 1: Disc 2
  17. Arrested Development: Season 1: Disc 3
  18. Dogtown and Z-Boys
  19. When We Were Kings
  20. Trainspotting: Collector's Edition
  21. Spirited Away
  22. Pirates of the Caribbean
  23. Once Upon a Time in Mexico
  24. Being John Malkovich
  25. The Ice Storm
  26. High Fidelity
  27. Traffic
  28. 25th Hour
  29. Election
  30. Three Kings
  31. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
  32. The Office Special

McDonald's Japan gives Ronald McDonald sex change

McDonald's Japan is running commercials with a female and a hipster version of the burger pushing clown to promote its Tomato McGrande sandwich. I'm, uh, lovin' it, but I gotta say, neither of the new Ronalds look like regular BigMac eaters.

Pics, link to commercial at ad-rag.com.

Fun with Site Meter Part II

Once you have a blog going, one of the things you become curious about is how people get to your page. Well, Site Meter has a nifty tool that tells you how your last 100 visitors found your page.

It's become clear that there are mainly 4 kinds of people visit this page:
1. Other Blogger.com bloggers and readers
2. BigSoccer members
3. People looking for Turk's cell phone number from the recent Scrubs episode (it's 916-CALL-TURK).
4. People looking for Lindsay Lohan's exposed breasts. I kid you not.

To people looking for surgically enhanced celebrity boobs, I apologize, I have no such pictures unless you count the link to that horrifying Tara Reid pic. But good luck on your search anyway.

When fiction is more thruthful than facts

You know how in Shakespearian tragedies, how it's the actors and the jesters who speak the truth? It's kinda the same way in today's America, isn't it?

The Onion | Nation's Poor Win Election For Nation's Rich
WASHINGTON, DC—The economically disadvantaged segment of the U.S. population provided the decisive factor in another presidential election last Tuesday, handing control of the government to the rich and powerful once again...
read on

It's almost schadenfreudic to see Bush granting amnesty to illegal immigrants , letting Ashcroft resign and naming a pro-choice Attorney General nominee. Almost schadenfreudic, I say, because we're getting screwed equally.

Also, the real reason why Bush won.

Some Jesusland residents embarassed by obsession with Jesusism, like donuts

Georgia Evolution Dispute Embarrasses Some (Yahoo! News)

First, Georgia's education chief tried to take the word "evolution" out of the state's science curriculum. Now a suburban Atlanta county is in federal court over textbook stickers that call evolution "a theory, not a fact." Some here worry that Georgia is making itself look like a bunch of rubes or, worse, discrediting its own students...

(click here to continue)Earlier this year, science teachers howled when state Schools Superintendent Kathy Cox proposed a new science curriculum that dropped the word "evolution" in favor of "changes over time."

That plan was quickly dropped, but comic Jimmy Fallon still cracked wise on "Saturday Night Live": "As a compromise, dinosaurs are now called `Jesus Horses'."...

Some scientists say they are frustrated the issue is still around nearly 80 years since the Scopes Monkey Trial — the historic case heard in neighboring Tennessee over the teaching of evolution instead of the biblical story of creation.

"We're really busy. We have a lot to do. And here we are, having to go through this 19th century argument over and over again," said Sarah Pallas, who teaches biology and neuroscience at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

The best part is here though:
Doughnut shop worker Maria Jordan, 48, said her Atlanta customers were shaking their heads over the latest dispute. "Lord, don't we have more important things to worry about?" she asked. "It's just a flat-out embarrassment."

As for what they are saying elsewhere around the country, she said: "Whatever Georgia's getting up north, we're putting it on ourselves."

Apparently, doughnut shops are the center of reason and intellect in Georgia. Maybe if we can open more doughnut shops in Jesusland, the Dems might have a chance at winning some of the red states in 2008.

I'm calling Krispy Kreme right now.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The OC Season 2 Episode 2: With so much drama in Newport Beach

"I'll just brood silently over here"

So the show starts moving after the tie-up-the-loose-ends season premier.

Gotta love it. Seth and Ryan realize the girls have moved on with vigor, Caleb is locked up finally, the Cohens' remodelling goes to shit and Jimmy is about to lose his drinking buddy. Also liking the WASP version of Seth, but Marissa's cabana boy boyfriend, not so much.

Anyway, I expect the story to pick up in the next couple of weeks. The O.C. seems to go in 3, 4 episode cycles and spends a couple of episodes building up. Well, we've had the calm before the storm. Let's bring the storm.

Download the torrent here
Mischa Barton Conjures Up Some More Emotion (TVgasm)

Because my iPod needs to stay warm too

iPod Socks now available for order (iPodlounge)

As silly as they look, me likes. Sure, I already have a carry thingy for my iPod, but this isn't so bad. I like the colors.

The good news is, you get all six colors, the packaging's pretty cool and you can find non-iPod uses. The bad news is, you're dropping $29 on something your mom can knit.

After this, I think I need a poncho for my iBook.

Finally, a burger joint in my hood

Maureen won't be exactly thrilled, but I am. cityrag is reporting that a new burger joint/bar, Epstein’s Bar, will be opening up at the corner of Allen and Stanton.


There is hope for America

Well, at least American soccer, anyway.

Adidas Deal With MLS Contains Plans for Development League (washingtonpost.com)

This is great news for Major League Soccer. Getting the 10-year/$150 million uniform deal with adidas was great for the league's finances and stability, but a reserve league will do wonders for the quality of play.

Right now, with limited roster sizes, young players have to develop in college or go to Europe. With a reserve league, teams can keep players under their wings without sacrificing their competitive edge. This is fantastic news.

More election hangover

I'm almost over it. Almost. Anyhoo, a few post-election links, like freaky purpley looking maps, pictures of sorry ass people and inspiring words from that Get Your War On guy.

(click here to continue)

- University of Michigan's election result maps page.
This page is excellent. It has the obligatory red states vs blue states map that divides America into Jesusland vs Terroristland, and that county map that shows America look like it's been attacked by a swarm of mosquitos.

This one's my favorite though. It takes the county level map and represents each county is shown in red, blue and varying shades of purple.

- Half of America is sorry, and some of that half wants you to know how sorry you are - sorryeverybody.com

- Chapel Hill's own David Rees had said that he would stop his brilliant Get Your War On when Kerry is inaugurated as President. Well, that didn't quite happen, did it. I went to see if he had updated GYWO, and as of today, he hadn't posted any new strips. But he did have this messsage on the front page.
We're smarter than those motherfuckers.
We can learn more quickly than those motherfuckers.
We can be more ruthless than those motherfuckers.
We can be some six-million-dollar motherfuckers ourselves.

Chin up.
We're more American than those motherfuckers.
We're more responsible than those motherfuckers.
We're more compassionate than those motherfuckers.
Hell, our atheists are more Christian than their Bible-thumpin' motherfuckers.

There's an election in two years.
There's nothing we can't do.

Chin up.
Because it's on, motherfuckers.
It is on.

It is on indeed. On like buttered neck bone. On like gravy on mashed potato.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

You too can CALL-TUR

From my heterosexual mancrush #2, Zach Braff's latest blog entry:
Thank you to those who have been writing nice things about my nominations for The People's Choice Awards. I was indeed nominated for lead in a TV series, lead in a film and Scrubs was nominated for best TV comedy.

What is particularly funny, is that in the leading man category I am nominated alongside: Brad Pitt, Jude Law, Colin Farrell and Jim Carey. Yes indeed me and my friends had a good laugh about that one. A "Fraggle" has a better shot at winning that award than me. But I'm flattered to be alongside them.

Cool, and more importantly, The Garden State DVD is now available for pre-order. But the coolest part of the entry:
*Also, for those of you that watched Scrubs this week, you can actually call Turk's new cell phone number and get his machine. Thought you'd get a kick out of that.

I called Turk and got some good news about Scrubs. I'm excited too, Turkelton. You too can call Turk at 961-CALL-TURK. You don't have to dial "K", but you know you want to.

Truth from my favorite loudmouth

From Mark Cuban's blog: When will the music industry do it right ?

I don't always agree with him (for example, his notion that The Benefactor was a good show), but I like his candor. I guess you're pretty much freeto be honest if you have fuck-you money.

Anyhoo, he goes off on the RIAA. Excerpt:
1. The amount of money the RIAA is spending, along with other lobbying efforts in the industry, could go to artists, and probably be better spent on marketing the industry and getting consumers excited, rather building a wall around your industry that only slows it down.

Rich bastard pissing match over West Side stadium continues

NY mayor rips Cablevision over anti-stadium ads (ESPN.com)

So Mayor Bloomy is trying to get the city to help finance his pet project, a West Side stadium for the Jets/Olympics-cum-expansion to the Javits Center. Cablevision, which owns Madsion Square Garden opposes it, naturally...

(click here to continue)

Cablevision Systems Corp., the primary opponent of a $1.4 billion sports complex on the West Side of Manhattan, has produced a series of television ads that have become increasingly disparaging of the mayor.

The advertisements, which air regularly on television and radio, claim that the city's $300 million contribution to the project makes no sense given its potential budget deficits for the next three years. Cablevision also is concerned that a new stadium would compete for entertainment events with Madison Square Garden, located a few blocks away...

Bloomberg has countered that a new stadium and an expansion of the adjacent Jacob K. Javits Convention Center would bring the New York Jets back to town from New Jersey, provide badly needed economic activity to an underdeveloped area of the city with minimal effect on the city budget and give the city a shot at hosting the 2012 Olympics.

Bloomy: "Well, I don't know why the stockholders of Cablevision put up with it. Cablevision has probably spent the same amount of money producing ads that the tax break that the taxpayers of this state have given them."

MSG Chairman James Dolan: "The mayor is trying to hide a flawed and financially risky plan by taking cheap shots at Madison Square Garden."

But here is the best part (well, other than the laughable notion that the Olympic Games will somehow bring money to the city):
"I think the coach is a good coach. He could use a lot more money. They'd be better off spending their money there than (on) these ridiculous ads."

Um, Bloomy, you do realize that the Knicks are well over the cap, and have one of the highest payrolls in the league? Are you seriously suggesting that what the Knicks need is more players like Allan Houston, Anfernee Hardaway, Moochie Norris, Jerome Williams and Kurt fucking Thomas? (see: list of NBA player contracts by Patricia Bender)

Ashcroft resigns

Ashcroft, Evans Resign From Bush Cabinet (Yahoo! News)

"The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved," Ashcroft said in his handwritten resignation letter to the president, dated Nov. 2 — Election Day.

No word on whether Ashcroft was wearing a flight suit or if there was a banner on the flight deck.

Slate, from today's papers:
Everybody fronts the resignations of Attorney General John Ashcroft and Commerce Secretary Don Evans. Ashcroft has some health problems and Evans might run for governor in his home state, Texas. Bush praised both men. But one "longtime friend" of Ashcroft didn't buy the group hug. Ashcroft "was something to offer to evangelicals," the friend told the Post. The White House "used him, and now they're done with him and he's being tossed aside."

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

More NYC marathon stuff

26.2 miles of multi-tasking by Darren Rovell of ESPN who ran the race on Sunday.

Couple of excerpts:
If someone is running the marathon in a costume or is attempting to be evenly mildly creative, odds are extremely high that they are either Irish or British. I spoke to a decked out Scoobie Doo and an Elvis, both of whom were from England and beat me. Note that these are the same people who are sampling beer instead of trying on the new brand of "blister-free" socks at the Marathon expo. To be fair, there were two Americans dressed up as SpongeBob SquarePantses. Not sure what the plural is there.


Running through Central Park on the final miles was incredible. Except for a young girl holding up a sign that said, "Don't Bonk." This, of course, was referencing the Powerbar commercial, which first ran four years ago, which heeded active athletes not to run out of energy. That's nice, tell your kid to hold up a sign that says "Don't Fail." Perhaps her parents were unaware that "Bonk" is the British slang term for sex. I'm sure a lot of Brits got a good final kick out of a young American holding a sign that said, "Don't Have Sex."

Finally, a celebrity boob to schadenfreude over

Tara Reid's Breast Forever Alters Lanscape Of Slippage (definitely not work safe) (Defamer)

In these dark times, it's the little stuff that lifts our spirit, and how. Also at the same P.Diddy birthday bash, the normally shy Paris Hilton shocked, shocked the press by lifting her gown high enough to show London and France but not her underpants.

Speaking of the Didd, I am somewhat amused to hear that his silly "Vote or Die" campaign was slammed by Kerry campaign insiders. Well, amusing until I realized Bush will still be in office come next January.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Welcome back to The OC, bitch. Also, Arrested is back.

I was actually going to do an OC episode recap Thursday night, but honestly, nothing of note happened - it was just tie-up-the-loose-ends-and-set-up-the-new-season episode, so there really isn't much to report. I hope they bring back Anna though. Still, I wanted to use the above post title.

But the season premier of Arrested Development was fantastic. It's good to see the show's Saddam obsession ("It's signed by Saddam... Hussein"), but Tobias' discovery of The Blue Men Group was just fantastic.

"I blued myself."

The preview for the next episode absolutely killed as well. Well done, well done.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

2004 NYC Marathon - I need more cowbell

--- Pictures coming later. It appears I left my digital camera cable at the office, so I can't upload pictures. Keep your eyes peeled for an update. Or not. --

1 marathon, 3 viewing spots, 6 hours spent yelling and clapping like an idiot.

So my friend Whitney (previously mentioned in my Sept 29 post) was running in the New York City Marathon so I figured I would go out there and support her. That, and her parents needed someone to navigate them in the dirty, dangerous streets of Brooklyn. Well, nevermind that Liz, who actually lives in Brooklyn, did most of the navigating, but I'm more than happy to take credit...

(click here to continue)

Fun was had. Picked up Whitney's parents at their hotel downtown, staked out a spot on 4th Ave around the 5-mile mark and caught the wheelchairs and the elite runners before the masses. Good lord professional marathoners are tiny. And fast. They're practically sprinting down the street. Absolute craziness.

Unfortunately, we didn't do a good job of coordinating a way for us to find Whitney or vice versa, and we couldn't spot her in Brooklyn. So we piled ourselves into the 4-train and made ourselves up the east side, where another group had set up camp at Bar Coastal at 78th St.

Apparently, I was the only one who didn't see her there, but she did slow down enough to wave. Allegedly. We finally went inside Central Park and I finally made visual confirmation of our brave runner at around the 24-mile mark.

You know, this entry really needs pictures. I'll post those tomorrow. A part of me thinks I can train and run the marathon. The other 90% of me thinks this is utter delusion.

I would be remiss if i didn't mention Paula Radcliffe winning the women's marathon, especially after her forfeit in Athens. Congrats and all that.

Feeeeeeed the woooooorld/Do they know it's Chrismukkah time?

So that song is back. I remember buying the 1989 version of the tape when I was but a wee one. Dude, I'm getting old.

Yahoo! News - Bono, McCartney Join Band Aid 20 Lineup

(click here to continue)

LONDON (Billboard) - Paul McCartney, U2 frontman Bono, Robbie Williams and Dido are among the performers lined up for the new recording of the all-star Band Aid charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas."
The tune, which will be credited to Band Aid 20 in acknowledgement of the anniversary of the 1984 release, will be issued Nov. 29 in the U.K. on Mercury/Universal.
Others on board include Snow Patrol and Natasha Bedingfield. McCartney will play bass on the track and Bono will reprise one of the most famous lines in the original lyric: "Well tonight, thank God it's them instead of you."


"He's got the Darkness doing the guitars at the end, and he's changed the arrangement of it. He shipped that over to L.A. where Nigel was working with McCartney. If it turns out absolutely shit, it does not matter. What I will say is you've got to buy the record because it's the only record that's going to save lives this side of Christmas, and you can't ask for more than that."

That's the spirit.

You know you live in a blue state if....

Some my own, some I am blatantly plagiarizing from BigSoccer:

  • You open up the paper and see people crying over the election results

  • Blacks can sit at the lunch counter

  • Your state actually has stuff the terrorists want to blow up
    Your neighbor knows Saddam wasn't involved in 9/11

  • At the local high school, the student body marijuana club is closed and its members are suspended....because the teachers discover it is a front for a clandestine Bible study

  • (click here to continue)

  • Children can read Catcher in the Rye without fear of paddling
  • You are not ashamed of your college degree

  • You are not ashamed of your college degree even if your football team loses

  • "I don't like his wife" was not one of the determining factors in your vote on Tuesday.

  • You've used the term "flyover country" not as a joke or a slur, but as a matter of fact. You probably used it while flying over it

  • You've attended a "commitment ceremony" for either a gay or straight couple

  • The movie phrase "now playing in select cities" means it's playing down the street from you

  • Your governor announces he's gay, and his approval rating rises

  • You're secretly hoping that the evangelicals are right and that the Rapture really does happen, since it means we'll finally be rid of them all and have the place to ourselves

  • "Dinner and Theater" means Charlie Trotter's and Chekov, not TGI Friday's and "Legends: Where Only the Best Celebrities Are Impersonated!"

  • Late night shenanigans involving beer and shotguns get your arrested

  • Cowboy hats are worn pretty much on Halloween only... except for that naked-guitar playing guy in NYC

  • Nobody ever gets "uppity"

  • You don't think Dale Earnhart is sitting at the right hand of God

  • You don't get in your car to go half a block down the street to pick up your dry cleaning

  • You don't need a designated driver

  • You know that it's rude to spread out across the sidewalk

  • When you get take-out Chinese, #45 tastes different from #23

  • You can read a book during your commute

  • You can read

  • You can go to craigslist and find pretty much anything, including furniture, roommates, that cute girl you saw on the F-train on the way to work

  • You don't know anyone who's been on Springer, Judge Judy or the like

  • Your first reaction is not "Honey, get me my shotgun"

  • Your community does not feel the need to construct a "World's Biggest ____ (insert farm product)" to get people to get off the interstate at your exit

  • Evolution vs Creation is a chapter on 19th century thought, not tonight's agenda at the local school board

  • When you're in an industry party and Chloe Sevigny is sitting 2 booths down from you, and you act like you don't care

  • You know who Chloe Sevigny is

  • And you care

  • Mullet is a fish, not a hairstyle

  • You don't flinch while someone passes you on the sidewalk, slapping himself as hard as he possibly can over and over

  • You've spent valuable time at the Genius Bar in an Apple Store

  • You have a sizable collection of plastic / paper bags from Whole Foods Market that you don't know what to do with, but don't want to just throw out (helpful hint: the store will take them back)

  • General Lee isn’t considered the greatest General and automobile ever

  • The "H" in "vehicle" is silent

  • You hit the "Scan" button on your car radio and don't keep coming back to the preacher dude

  • The most respected figure in your community is not the football coach

  • "Get the fuck out!" is an exclamation, not a command followed by a "click"

  • "Good ol' days" refers to the early 90s, before gentrification

  • “Crossfire” is a show on CNN, not an argument with your in-laws

  • You smirk at the phrase "fair and balanced"

  • Jay Leno is not funny

Could the Blue States Secede?

Could the Blue States Secede? - Is there a legal way to opt out of the Union? By Sam Schechner (Slate)

For one, it would be nice to get back federal funds in proportion to how much we pay in federal income taxes, says the liberal with socialist tendency oblivious to his own irony.

Unfortunately, the answer is no, United States of Canada cannot secede from Jesusland. But a boy can dream. Plus, it would be fun to get a stamp on my passport every time I visit my friends in Cakalak.


I really don't have a good reason for linking this article. I just wanted to type "assvertising".

BBC SPORT | A word from our sponsors

(click here to continue)

In a world where Arsenal have sold the name of their new stadium to an airline, Total Network Solutions sit proudly on top of the Welsh Premier League, and Manchester United endorse a well-known razor manufacturer as their 'Official Male Grooming Partner', what other areas could possibly be left for the money men to exploit?

The answer, it seems, is footballers' backsides.

Thanks to a recent change in the regulations governing kit sponsorship, teams can now have a company name emblazoned on the back of players' shorts.

Hard-up Leeds United have recently taken advantage of the new rules, following local rivals Scunthorpe - a club apparently chosen by their off-road short sponsors because: 'Like the Jeep brand, Scunthorpe combines ruggedness with style...'

Friday, November 05, 2004

Not so angry any more, but still in a daze. And also, "tragicomical"

So Maureen read my blog and raised a good point - as someone who can't vote and can freely go back to Japan if things continue down the spiral staircase of fuckedupness, why was I so damn angry?

(click here to continue)

Well, the simple answer is that nothing pisses me off more than willfull ignorance and incompetence. But I think a bigger reason is that I have such high expectations of you 'Mer'cans. The Founding Fathers made sure that there were checks and balances of power. They made sure that the power was not concentrated in one person or institution. They wanted to prevent a tyranny of the majority or the minority. They wanted to make sure religious dogma did not become policy.
They created this wonderful document that works perfectly well 200 years later.

And you're pissing it all away. It's painful. The absence of honest political discourse, the neglect of democratic institutions, the compromises of core ideals in exchange for power - it's appalling. And it is because I admire the system (if not always the execution), that I get so angry, that you have something that's so great, and it's going wasted.

I'm not so angry any more though. Just disbelief. Probably like how Boston Red Sox fans felt last week, minus the euphoria and the stale beer smell.

Short of breaking off into the American Progressives and the Reasonables, I just hope the Democrats do their damndest to provide some degree of checks and balances. I want lame duck Democrats to lame duck like a motherfucker until they leave Washington. And the survivors have to spoil the pork fest and contest all extremist Supreme Court Justice nominees Dubs props up there.

And I don't want to hear how out of touch the Blue States are with the rest of America. Who decided that the Red States are the real America, and Blue States are somehow the lunatic fringe? This was no landslide. We're all out of touch.
I just wish the Red States voters would look beyond the GOP's characterization of the opposition. Please, for the love of Odin, take the rhetoric with at least a grain of salt - that goes for both sides, really.

Finally best wishes to Chief Justice Rehnquist and Mrs Edwards. They have tough battles ahead, and I hope they come through.

PS - BigSoccer poster nicephoras has a much more coherent, better informed version of my anti-Democratic rant.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Angry Bush authorizes use of force on Blue States, launches surprise attack on New Jersey

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Bush addresses the Blue States
In a stark contrast to his concillatory victory speech yesterday, newly re-elected President George Bush took a defiant course of action against the states that voted overwhelmingly for Senator Kerry, when he ordered an F-16 fighter jet to fire at a school building (Yahoo) in what can only be described as an act of war.

Luckily, no Blue State citizen was hurt.

Bush later drew a line in the sand by declaring that he will only "reach out to everyone who shares our goals" (Yahoo).

Let the shots and the contentious words serve as a warning for those who strive for fiscal responsiblity, equal rights and accountability. It's going to be a long four years for us Blue Staters.

All is not dark in this world, we still have The OC

The OC: Season 2 kicks off tonight at 8 pm ET. Huzzah!

I still have faith in humanity, because I know in my heart that Sandy Cohen would have voted for Kerry. If he were a real person. That, and the fact that The OC has now used two Journey songs, "Don't Stop Believing" and "Anyway You Want It". Holla.

Surprisingly non-suicidal / Angry about the codependent incompetents

I'm not really mad at Bush, or the Red States - they are what they are.

I am mad at the Democratic Party, the Confederacy of Incompetence. The party has no clear platform, have no viable national strategy and basically went into this election thinking they could win with Anyone But Bush...

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In retrospect, Kerry was a horrible candidate - 20 years in the Senate means 20 years of voting records to tear down, not speaking in front of the electorate that much, and a New England Democrat is never going to win in the South, not even with Wonder Boy Edwards. And going into an election thinking "Let's keep all of Gore's states, but try to get all the blue counties in Ohio and squeak this one out" was a horrible strategy.

Simply put, the Dems are in deep doodoo and I don't know if they have a plan for getting out.

Now, I can see the counterargument. If 70,000 voters in Ohio switch their votes, Kerry would have won and we'll be talking about how the Republicans can't win in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, the West Coast and big Midwest cities.

But that ignores the fact that the GOP crushed the Dems in the Senate and House races.

No, the Dems are in an identity crisis. They don't have a clear platform, and the GOP has successfully painted them as the party of Michael Moore and Hillary Clinton, the godless liberals who want gay marriage. And it's not surprising that the GOP's most brilliant GOTV campaign was the gay marriage ban initiatives in 11 states. Once the Christian right came out to vote, game over.

The biggest problem for the Dems, in my opinion, is the disconnect between the leadership and the base. The leadership, Nancy Pelosi notwithstanding, is centrist, and wants to disassociate itself from the far left. However, if you cut off the base, you lose the grassroots, the energy and the traditional Democratic values. The base clings to the centrist leadership of course, because that's the easy track to power.

It is the ultimate codependency of incompetence. You had a centrist leadership trying hard as hell to paint Kerry as not that liberal, while the base was trying hard to get excited about a candidate who wasn't exciting at all.

And of course, no plan for washing the unwashed masses. Just hope that Kerry's medals and "I have a plan" would be enough to get 1% more than Bush. The Republicans on the other hand said "Morality, terror, leadership. Morality, terror, leadership" and worked like a fucking charm. They're light years ahead of the Dems on reaching voters.

There is still a glimmer of hope for the Democrats if they clearly define who they are. The Republicans are abandoning their traditional small government, economic driven philosophy. That's where the Dems can latch on to.

And I think the place to start is the Southwest. Places like Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and maybe Colorado - polls showed Kerry making inroads to varying degrees there. And the people tend to be more independent and less evangelical than the South, the Plains and rural Midwest. It'll take time, but if the Democrats can rebrand themselves as the party that stands for working people and small businesses and against big business, for healthcare and education, and for fiscal responsibilty, they have a chance. It'll take time, but it is possible.

2006 is a whole new game. Let's hope the party has a viable strategy by then.

God, I hate talking about politics. Man, I'm really hoping for some celebrity schadenfreude.

EDIT: Lest anyone pretend that Bush has any sort of popular mandate because he received more votes than any other presidential candidate in history, it should be noted that Kerry came in second. Yes, more people voted against Bush than any other incumbent in history.
That said, I don't know which is sadder, that an incumbent war president who enjoyed astronomical approval ratings post-9/11 was just one state away from being booted out of office by a personality deficient Northeastern liberal, or that an unpopular president with no policy to speal of, a tanking economy and an unpopular war won the popular vote by 3%. I guess it's a sad state of affairs any way you look at it.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The morning after

The sun is shining and the world has not ended, at least to my knowledge.

Needless to say, I'm pleasantly surprised.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

As of 1 am ET, Ohio does not look good for Kerry. If Ohio goes to Bush, he is guaranteed at least the tie, and he holds the tiebreaker. Fuck fuck fuck.

You suck, Republicans. You suck, Democrats. You suck, everybody.

And how does Tucker Carlson get a show on PBS?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Happy E-Day!

There's a polling station right across the street from my office, at the NYC Public Library on W 20th St.

There has been a steady line all day. Good to see the turnout. May the best man (and various candidates, men or otherwise) win.

On a lighter note...

Gothamist: Get Out and Vote. And Drink! With an emphasis on "drink!"

Bipartisan Hatorade of Truth - a message to Americans on Election Day

Incredibly long, and perhaps a little incoherent rant on why you are all fucking* stupid, both Republicans and Democrats, and other kind words.

(*In this entry, I make liberal use of the word "fuck" and various forms thereof. I realize the word may not be fit for civil discourse, but I thought it was absolutely necessary. Because I'm fucking pissed. And I can't show the fucking veins in my neck or me pounding my fist on the fucking fist. So get the fuck over it, I guess.)

First, the Republicans because I hate you more than I hate Democrats. What the fuck is wrong with you people? Why are you letting fucking right wing wackos speak for you? You guys are supposed to be the fucking moderates, the voice of reason, the sensible defenders of small government and accountability.

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Yet, you guys are supporting a president who has increased spending (non-military spending, that is) at a record rate. Sure, GOP is good for business, but not your business. Why the fuck else would they oppose Kerry's insurance-buy in plan? It's going to reduce the burden on small businesses by lowering the cost of health insurance plans. What? You don't like socialism? Oh, fuck you. Then where is the fucking outrage against your socialist highway system, your socialist police forces and socialist fire departments?

The fact is, consolidating insurance buy-in is going to lower costs (about 40% of health care cost goes to administration - so much for the public sector being more efficient, huh) and less uninsured patients means less taxpayer money spent on unpaid hospital bills. This isn't national healthcare - this is fucking good business. Isn't that what you fuckers want? You're the ones who are always crying about how government should be run like a business. Well, here the fuck you go.

But I'm not here to discuss healthcare. I'm here to discuss the fact that you people are willfully stupid. You only see two options. Us or them. Welfare or employment. Capitalism or socialism. Low taxes or high taxes. You couldn't get it through your tiny little heads that there are always more than two choices. And that the two sides aren't mutually exclusive.

Which is why you don't get that you're getting dragged the fuck around by the Christian Right. You're thinking, "Hmm, I'm a morally upright conservative. The only other option is a world inundated with indecency!" That's why you're getting screwed by big business, and you support tax cuts for the rich, even when it's obvious that the rich won't fucking put the tax cuts back into the economy like the poor and middle class tax payers do. No, I'm not trying to insult you when I call you willfully stupid - well, maybe a bit. No, I'm begging you - you're blessed with a brain or two, use them. Read. Study. Stop letting your agenda co-opted by people who don't give a fuck about you.

And for fuck's sake, stop your fucking whining about the liberals and the media. Please. What, Fox News isn't the media? Hannity and Limbaugh aren't the media? You really think media outlets owned by Viacom, Disney, TimeWarner, GE/Vivendi Universal, Infinity and ClearChannel are going to be liberal? And where is your fucking accountability? Sometimes things go wrong because things go wrong, not because of the liberals. Do something or stop whining. And this is my pet peeve - stop constructing liberal strawmen. Liberals don't want soldiers to die, or for communism to win, or to convert your children to homosexuality, or to let criminals run loose. Liberals are just people like you, but they take the democratic process more seriously (albeit too seriously at times).

Now, the Democrats. Now, I hate you less than I hate Republicans, but only marginally so. Whereas the Reeps are willfully stupid, you fuckers are self-righteous, self-congratulatory, and ultimately, self-defeating. See, I like a lot of your ideas in theory, but you have no idea how to get them to work. Your biggest problem? You have no idea how to communicate to people who don't share your beliefs, and you need to drop your holier than thou act.

Pro-lifers don't fight against abortion because they don't care about women (okay, maybe they don't, but that's not the point). Think about why they are against abortion, and deconstruct their arguments. You're emotional, they're emotional - take the upper hand by putting up a convincing argument.

And stop with the "Bush is a terrorist" and "No blood for war" shit. No, you might be right, but that's not going to convince anybody and you're just alienating people. All you're doing is preaching to the choir - you have no idea how to sell your ideas.

You have to give people what they want. You have to use the other side's argument against them. I'm right because I read books doesn't work. Comparisons to Hitler or apartheid only pisses people off.

Instead of calling names, why the fuck won't you address Kerry's supposed weaknesses? The flip flop charge - no shit, he's a senator. Senators flip flop. Why don't you point out Bush's flip flops, or that he doesn't have a single piece of coherent, competent domestic policy? That's the problem with you - you are perfectly happy to circle jerk and sing praises of your candidate, and don't care about convincing voters.

Don't resort to the usual emotional argument or anti-Bushisms. Talk about how he can help someone other than yourself.

And this is to both sides - stop dwelling on the trivial. Making fun of Bush for war mongering or past cocaine use or (lack of) military service or malapropisms won't do anything. Yeah, it's good for a laugh, but it's not political discourse.
And what the fuck was that outrage over Kerry's Mary Cheney comment? Mary Cheney has been openly gay for god knows how long. She worked in community outreach for the GOP, Coors Brewery and the Colorado Rockies. You know what that means? Her fucking job is to be openly lesbian! And just this August, after he changed his mind on gay marriage for the second time, he name drops her daughter - that's not cynical? That's not exploiting his daughter for political purposes? Of course it is, and the faked outrage was just a nice way to cover up a woeful debate circuit in which Bush was reduced to repeating talking points like "98 times" and "liberal from Massachusetts" and "Kerry doctrine".

But why do we dwell over such trivial bullshit? Because the fucking media doesn't do its job. I'll spare you the rant because Jon Stewart has already gone on Crossfire and did it so eloquently. But the media doesn't report what's important - they just report what sells, and what makes for easy soundbites. Which is part of the reason why we are in Iraq and we are presented with two incredibly unattractive candidates. God help us.

So with reluctance, I endorse Kerry, mostly because there needs to be accountability. If we pretend Bush is the CEO, then as shareholders, we have to fire him. His borrow-and-spend fiscal policy is driving up the deficit, he rushed into war and is underfunding the military. At the very least, Kerry will bring back fiscal sanity, mostly because we'll have a split government, but more importantly, it'll send a message - incompetence and contempt for the democratic process will not be tolerated.

And no matter whom you vote for, or where you stand in the political spectrum, demand more from your politicians and the media. Stop watching CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. Stop getting your news from political blogs - they're fun, but they're crap as news sources or even for serious commentary. And for god's sake, listen to the other side. We are all good people and we all want the same thing for our society. We just have different ways of getting to the goal - you can always learn something new.

Vote. Vote with your head, your conscience, your heart. Vote. This is the most important election of your lifetime. Just remember that your role in democracy doesn't end here. Let's hope we have a president-elect by Wednesday morning.