Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Blogging NBC's The Biggest Loser: Week 3-ish

NBC Reality Show Makes Losing Weight Painful, Demoralizing
[Don't] Let Them Eat Cake

Don't laugh. You'd be embarrassed too if your weight was displayed on a screen that's visible from the space station. Anyways, you know the routine: Straight to the highlights reel.

-Oh great: Another recap show of footage that i've seen 7 times already.

-Phenomenal host change choice. Allison Sweeney is quite the hottie.

-Great theme song.

-I'm uncomfortably attracted to Bob Harper.

-All that food. All that temptation. The equivalent for me would be if they were to trap me in a chamber while I'm sucking on a beer tap like a pacifier while sitting on a bale of weed inside a fort I've made out of cartons of Camels inside of which I'm broiling a T-bone over jasmine tinged coals while my hearts 'o'romaine lettuce soak in liquid morphine.

-Did she just say that she was in "hog heaven"? On national TV where it's being heard by dozens of loyal fans of the show?

-Doing dances while eating if you're fat is not sexy.

-Watching fat people sprint is unsettling because they look like they could come right through the screen and raid the fridge, not to mention various parts of their bodies appear nightmarishly elastic. (I guess, under the circumstances, they'd have to be.)

-Crying. Vomiting. It's all here, folks. In spades. (On the show, too, now that you mention it.)

-Where does Bob get his pants? Those would look good on me.

-Humilation sprints by grade schoolers and a kindergarten cypher? Is it sweeps week already? Or is this a inter-network tie-in with CBS's Kid Nation?

-I need some counter-measures. Where's my 300 DVD?

-I wish Keifus were my neighbor. If this is the point in the post where K thinks, "Asshole. He's just thinking of me because he knows I struggle a bit with my weight. Douchebag!" No. I think of K because he'd be a great neighbor. He'd let me sneak one his bears while he fixed the roof on my shed. That sort of fella.

-This Bob Harper feeling? Not good.

-During commercial breaks, they give away money to veiwers if they can guess how many calories the one gal ate. During these breaks, I kept hollering, "Two hundred thousand nine hundred and seventy-four!!!" Hey, the dogs thought it was funny.

-Kim Lyons, though too muscular and too short? Yum! And she has perfect bone structure. Jillian, however, when she smiles looks like the flying bug dude trying to hock 4th-rate used parts to Qui-Gon Jinn on Tatooine. Seriously.

-[heart] Bob Harper [heart]

I don't think it's wise for me to be making fun of these people. Because it's just this kind of negative mojo that would get me involved in spearheading FOX's new reality based show, Cold Turkey. Yikes!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Jesus' Disciples Were Incompetent Retards

Jesus' Disciples Were Incompetent Retards
-By switters

[!Rerun Alert! (sort of) for my loyal readers]


Jesus' disciples were incompetent retards. Seriously. I think that's why he had to speak to them in parables: Because they were so lame-inducingly stupid. And in many cases, and to Jesus' own exasperation, even that didn't work.

When Jesus told Peter he was going to make them "fishermen of men", he asked, "What bait shall we use?" while Luke started going around putting hooks into complete strangers' lips with a fly rod, ushering in the whole "fishhook in the mouth" look. Idiot!

Thomas didn't believe it was Jesus until he felt the holes in Jesus' hands and feet, even though the wounds he was feeling belonged to, well, Jesus, who at the time was standing right there in front of him!!! Dumbass!

Judas dropped a dime on him and fingered him to the cops by planting one right on his kisser. Nimrod!

Matthew accidentally audited himself and nearly bankrupted the entire operation. Dolt!

John (The Divine [Whatever!]) had a 10 gold coin-a-day psychotropic drug habit. And he was a gay man of the homosexual persuasion. Loser!

Andrew inadvertently drank Elijah's wine at The Last Supper while Philip said, "Yuck!" at the prospect of eating Jesus' body and blood. And they let Jesus pick up the tab. Stupid and ill-mannered. Doofuses!

And when James was passing out food from the basket with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish in it which Jesus had blessed, he kept muttering to no one in particular, "What the hell is going on?! Where is all this bread and fish coming from!? And where are the chips? This can't be good." (God help him!)

See? Jesus' disciples really were incompetent retards. And now you know how. Why, Mary Magdelena was the only one with half a brain in her head, for heaven's sake. But cut her some slack; she was a woman. (Or was she!)

Have a great day!

(Inspired, obviously, by the legendary "Jesus Had It Coming" post, lost to the archives, perhaps forever.)

Monday, September 17, 2007

What have you wrought, Washington?

Given the endless blather that's been in the sports press all week, it was especially gratifying to see the New England Patriots collectively rip San Diego's star squad fifty-three new assholes last night. I don't know if I buy the whole Belichick genius thing--I don't really have enough of a football mind to say--but he sure looks smarter with this year's surplus of talent, and I've a natural aversion to managers claiming credit for that. It's certainly safe to call Belichick obsessive though, and that's the most logical reason I can think of for his videotaping efforts.

(Parenthetically, it's the claim of every middling performer alive if the people around him were better, he'd be super. Tom Brady has been making decent receivers look brilliant for years, and now he has brilliant receivers. And damn if he's not living up to the hype.)

It kills me to have anything suffixed "gate" to be within a mile of my attention (and certainly not in sports) because it's a sure sign that the alleged scandal isn't going to be important enough to explain in any rational manner. This broke the seal however. Listen to this guy's cause for offense:

  • "The arrogance of the organization, the smugness.
  • The fact that this is nothing new. Stories are now coming out of the woodwork that cheating has been a normal modus operandi with this club.
  • Good old street crime is one thing. It goes with the history of sports. But this video thing lifts it to a new level of electronic surveillance and into the realm of the hi-tech, white collar crime that we all hate. Put these guys on the business page, for God's sake. There's no place for them in sports"
What a tool. Let me do the courtesy of interpretation:
  • "I hate that they win all the time." (I understand this of course. I live to see Peyton Manning put a disappointed frown on his ugly shilling mug.)
  • "They were, like, doing it all the time, everyone says." (Do we really doubt that everyone's hand ain't in the cookie jar here? Of course they'll point to the guy who's not them. I mean, football organizations try to steal signals? Next you'll tell me that politicians sometimes compromise my best interests.)
  • "Yeeha! I wanna coach I can done have a beer with. I don't trust me dem quiet nerds."
He goes on to call Goodell a "sheriff," and salute the NFL's authoritarian crackdown. I mean, you want to talk smug? This guy, along with every second announcer on the teevee and the sports pages is drooling to elevate their views to some position of moral football sanctity. Look, Belichick broke the rules and deserves punishment for it, but slavering at his demise makes big fat with crocodile tears is a sure way to reveal yourself as an overemotional, sanctimonious twit, unwilling to call Goodell's public chest-puffing for what it is. And hey, maybe there's a point to the serious principal routine--a lot of questionable activity seems to have skirted under the radar in the past and I don't doubt that the Patriots were the most obvious rulebreakers in this category--but I've got an aversion to example-makers too, and it's not like the NFL lacks for irritating pedantry. And any sportswriter alive is as invested in notions of ideological game purity as any pol is against the business as usual in Washington, and the language is just as stomach-turning. (And all the whining in the world can no more unbeat St. Louis in the '01 season than it can unelect George Bush in the '04 one.)

King Kaufman (via The Editors*) makes a good contrarian case:
Why does the league have that rule? For the same reason it has a rule governing the length of players' socks. The NFL likes rules.

[…]Punish the Patriots if that's what it takes to keep the suits -- and various Pats haters around the world -- happy. Then get rid of that rule.

What the Pats are accused of doing is "spying" on the Jets coaches as they sent signals to the defense. My understanding of spying must be different from the NFL's. Watching a guy flapping his arms while standing in the middle of 70,000 people and in front of a national TV audience doesn't qualify. Even if you point a camera at him. I mean another camera, aside from all the legal cameras that can be pointed at him.

[…]The Patriots may have been trying to steal the Jets' signals for immediate or future use, but there's nothing wrong with stealing signals. It's a fine and respectable art. If it weren't, teams wouldn't need signals that are coded.

The sports press is grooving on an anti-Pats vibe just now, suspecting that the evil masterminds at New England engineered some illegal audio as well, but that second accusation flies in the face of Goodell's example-making, crossing the line into unreasonable vendetta. The punishment was fairly severe for the infraction, and if the unavoidably loud message to the league was the goal--and I suspect it was--then overinvestigating a single team counters it. I have a hard time accepting that New England is uniquely blameworthy in borderline corporate espionage.

Sportswriters and citizens everywhere: when you suck up to authority, it only becomes more obnoxious.


*Mean commenters there call the Pats the Little Cowboys (and the Red Sox the Junior Yankees). It hurts cuz it's true.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Emo Porn...

If you've ever wondered what it is, wonder no more.


Leave Britney Alone!

Blogging The State Of The Iraq War Speech Drunk And Stoned

Prez Endorses "Plan About Nothing"
I Haven't Been This Scared Of My Government Since H.W. Puked On That Nip
S.U.R.G.E.: "Sudden Uncontrollable Rioting Gets Explosive"

(So I'm watching The NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams for whatever reason [it was pouring down rain], and this Tampax [I think] commercial comes on where a tampon is a roller coaster car going up and down all those hills and twists and turns, and I'm thinking, "What happened to riding a horse, or beach volleyball, or Couples Chicken in the neighbor's pool?" I guess Tampax is going after that always ubiquitous and much aimed-at demographic, I-want-my-tampon-to-be-like-Batman: The Ride-at-The Six Flags Over Georgia crowd. Ubiquitous. Just thought you should know. Anyways...)

-Wait. This guy's the president? Of the United States? Of America? Oh, man.

-The 1st ever broadcast of a Presidential Address in High Definition. "High Definition". Does anyone else laugh maniacally at that ironical phrase, other than Cheney (while he's chomping his Sugar Frosted Flakes cereal)?

-I love these "trips down memory lane" where we're told what we've accomplished, who's not dead yet, freedom, democracy, ice cream. Good times. It'd be nice if it weren't so... scripted. Literally.

-He's drunk.

-Is it just me, or man are his eyes really close together? Man.

"Prah-tray-us" is the new "nuke-you-ler".

-He's drunk. He's really really drunk.

-It's true: 2 term presidents don't age particularly well. Remember Clinton? Those bags under his eyes got to be so big that the White House press conference makeup gal had to start packing Preparation H just to keep them from looking like you could harvest caviar from them. Funny that "Clinton" has become such a handy epitaph for the right, seeing as how he did everything the current administration is undoing as we speak. The problem is, love him or hate him, Clinton elevated what it means to be president to heights that'll be studied in Ph.D. programs political science majors will marvel at for years to come, for better or worse. And that's just the right-leaning retards with the confused looks wrapping themselves with (okay, hiding beneath) the flag with stripes whose meaning eludes each and every one of them.

-Boy is he ever drunk. Whoa. If I weren't so drunk and stoned I'd be terrified. Again.

-On several occasions, the video feed blinked, and all I could think of was, "KHAAAAAAAN!!!"

-When he was talking about the dead Anbar ruler dude, I thought, "What year is it?" Did you not just talk to that cat a couple days ago? And now he's dead? And now you're giving this little mini-tribute to a dead Iraqi national who's dead, someone who may or may not have helped with the transition of power, and now he's dead? And you'll sleep the sleep of the just tonight, knowing all that? What might've been? All this talk of war heroes makes me blanche.

-Drunk drunk drunk drunk drunk. Phew.

-9/11? Wait. That really happened? That fat police guy who sings that awful song during the point in time when it's supposed to be "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" is singing that for a reason? That's certainly not closure.

-"I'm Jack Reed. You don't know me, but the speech I'm about to give is in rebuttal to what the president just said. It's just that anything I say can be immediately discounted because it turns out there's absolutely no reason compelling me to be forthright and honest. Which I think is a perfect rebuttal, given the circumstances. I.e., we're fucked. I don't know why we're fucked, but everyone else is saying it, so I just thought I'd echo a sentiment that in no way ameliorates our fuckedness. God bless America. Maybe it'll take this time."

-"Military issue" versus "political issue". Okay, what's the difference, again? Is it the calibre of gun you're allowed to conceal, or is it a matter of being aware of who possibly is hamstringing you while stabbing you in the back?

-10 billion dollars a month? What drug-dealing shylock holds that note?

-What a priceless moment when the speech morphed into The Office, and Michael did a so much better job of not sounding like he wasn't in charge. It was perfect. It went from Big Brother to Little (Retarded) Brother to Big Retarded Brother. Guess which of the 3 was actually likable. Never accuse me of not loving America.

-This is making me long for the days when the president of the United States didn't actually know he was lying. E.g., Reagan's "plausible deniability" has become Bush's "possible unaccountability". Enjoy that, voters.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Forty-five Miles, One Way

His grabbed the wheel with both hands, sighed, closed his eyes. Christ, but he needed a cigarette. Instead of reaching for his shirt pocket--it was empty anyway--he tapped the wheel with his fingers in time to some song that was tired even when he was young. Midnight toker? Well, that wouldn't do at all. He hit scan. Shit. Pause. Noise. Pause. Garbage. Pause. Bubblegum. Pause. Blather. He turned it off. What the fuck was a pompatous anyway? He lifted his right hand and hit the wheel hard.

He looked off to his left at the cars flying down the southbound lanes. Who were the lucky bastards that didn't have to work in some miserable city office? He watched the trucks flying down toward him, noting them. Lumber--maybe it was from Canada--cargo, cargo, tanker. They were moving right along, but were their jobs any better? He doubted it. He didn't see how anybody who commuted could be happy. He drudged up some vague memory of a college physics lecture, momentum, mass times velocity. It would be hard to stop one one of those things. He squinted into the glare at the minivan ahead of him, still not moving. There had better be an accident. Somebody had better be dead. He envied them.

He revved the accelerator and inched his car closer, moved half a length. This was murder on his clutch, he thought. His leg was getting tired too, and his hand trembled as he pulled it from the stick shift. He changed his mind and slapped the thing into neutral, leaned back. It was 8:05. It wasn't as though he punched a clock, but there were meetings, and he hated showing up late to them even more than he hated attending in the first place. All hands bullshit this morning, and his absence would be conspicuous. He might still be able to make it by nine if things would move. He reached for his empty shirt pocket, and pulled his hand away angrily. He reached for the radio, brought it shaking back to the wheel.

Was the job worth it, he thought. It was, even ten years ago, some tradeoff between the price of the commute and the price of housing. It was hard to tell which was going up faster. With his mortgage, he needed the job, but his raises came slower than the rates on the ARM, slower than the cost of gas, slower than his medical premiums. The fucking alimony stayed the same. He was sure she was living on it just fine. No, he needed this goddamn job and no move closer was in sight. He needed it pay the heat. The electric would wait till the end of the month, he thought. Tax time was around the corner. He stamped the pedal at two feet of progress but the gears were still disengaged and the engine roared impotently. He gripped the knob and wrenched it into first, shuddered a meager few steps progress toward the next bumper. The clutch was going to cost him.

The clock was digital. He remembered his first car, with the analog clock, the ripped seats, the dented fenders. High school. This one was cleaner anyway. And newer, but not a lot newer. The clock read 8:33. In twenty minutes, he'd moved maybe half a mile, and he had a good forty minutes to go even if things were moving full speed. Was there road work yesterday? It was all the same shit. He thought about laying on the horn, but that never made anything better. He breathed in exhaust--it had been two years--well, minus a couple of lapses--but he still shouldn't be tasting it in on his tongue, should he? Still feeling it in his lungs. He looked at the glove compartment, and then lunged at it, pounding his thigh on the gearshift. His foot left the brake for a moment and he rolled backward slightly, and the guy behind him did honk. He reached up and raised a finger to him. He tore the contents of the glove out, expired insurance cards, receipts, the driving manual. And driving gloves. Who knew? What a pile of useless shit, he thought, and his fingers clutched at a shiny wrapper at the bottom, upended it to free nothing, crushed it in his fist and held it to his face, breathing a smell that was not quite dead. He tore some of the paper from the inside and chewed it, his fillings grating on the foil. Fuck it, he hit the horn. Flipped off the guy in front of him too. His leg hurt, maybe it was bruised.

8:47. His teeth ground, he'd watched every minute of the fucking thing tick by and they were getting slower. The spitball on the passenger-side window was already dry, and the morning was getting hot. He looked at the temperature gauge. Maybe some asshole ahead had overheated. That would slow things down. Maybe no one else would make the meeting either, but somehow he felt like he was the only one that lived in the damn boondocks. How did those people afford it? He grabbed at the radio dial for the tenth time, and shouted. He picked up his foot and stomped on the thing, turning it on and breaking the dial. Horrified, he reached over and tried to dislodge it, the radio got a little louder. It was tuned to some indeterminate station. Words sparking from the static like random thoughts falling out of the mental ether. He opened the window. It was hot. He turned on the fan and left the window open. Traffic hummed around him, stinking. He thought about the word "static." Trucks flew south. His hand jiggled on the wheel. 8:51.

At some point, some asshole got into the shoulder and sure as shit, a whole train had passed him twenty minutes ago. Now they were trying to merge back in. He pulled within inches of the guy in front, and shouted over the stuttering radio at the would-be cutter as he passed him. Fuck you and your precious Beamer, you overpriveleged shit.

After the merge, traffic started moving a car length at a time. He was moving sufficiently forward to be able to weave left and right in the lane a little, but he could see around the blue family van. He hated those things. As the highway began to turn, he could see, finally, yellow flashes off to his left, maybe a mile up. He began to press the pedal, but he still wasn't there.

Finally, he saw it. There had been an accident in the other lane. Some broken glass, but no cars, no police. A tow truck sat in the median, flashing his lights and hurting the eyes of the oncoming traffic. Traffic on that side zipped right past. His thigh hurt more than it should, and the radio was spurting some intermittent Latin rap. He gritted his teeth. Fucking rubberneckers. Fuckin people nowhere to fucking go. He jammed his foot the pedal and sped past it all. Second gear, a lurch into third, fourth, across into fifth. He accelerated. Up ahead, the median got narrow due to some construction, but still the the trucks barrelled down their lanes. He watched them come down, fly past. It wouldn't take much thought, just a second of a lapse, close his eyes for not much longer than a blink, and there could be no more meetings, no payments, no more fucking daily drive through the exaust and the heat and the horns.

His hands gripped the wheel. The trucks barrelled down. Just one twitch is all it'd take. He closed his eyes.

Iraq Is So Not Vietnam

Okay, this one should be pretty obvious, kids. I feel really bad that I have to point these sorts of things out. It makes me feel very sorry for almost every single one of you.They're not even the same country!?! Southeast Asia and The Middle East are not contiguous.

The Iraq campaign may or may not be many things: illegal, immoral, wrongheaded, poorly thought out and planned, mismanaged, inappropriate, illegal and stupid.

But one thing we can be relatively certain about is that Iraq is so not Vietnam.

In Vietnam, we were looking for "Charlie"

And "gooks". In Iraq, we're looking for Achmed, and "sand niggers". 2 completely different sorts of folks. "Gooks" have slanted eyes with weird eyelids, greenish-blue skin, pointy teeth, and black hair. "Sand niggers" have wide-eyes with massive eyebrows, brown skin, no teeth, and kinky hair. Idiots.

We haven't secretly invaded an adjacent country

Like when we went into Cambodia and Laos without ever really telling anyone. You don't see us stumbling over there to Iran without at least letting someone know where we are, do you?

Our involvement in the Vietnam conflict started way back in the early 1960s, lasted over a decade and killed over 30,000 G.I.s, many of whom were drafted

We've only been in Iraq a little over 3 years and we haven't even lost 4,000 G.I.s, all of whom are volunteers, such that inner-city black youth with go-nowhere futures and rural white trash meth-head losers with little education could be called "volunteers". A mere technicality, John Kerry Junior.

The Vietnam conflict was fought in the jungle

The Iraq police action is being fought in the desert. That's practically the opposite of a jungle. Jungles are filled with exotic trees, bugs, monkeys, and it rains a lot. Deserts are arid with very few trees and mostly just scorpions and things of that nature. And it rarely rains in the desert. Newsflash!!! That's why it's a desert. Is this thing even on?

In Vietnam, we had a clear objective, which was to hold off those ugly commies from spreading their lies in the region

We haven't the faintest fucking clue what the hell we're supposed to be doing in Iraq. That's what makes it so very American to be there. Do try to keep up.

The president during the end of the Vietnam War was a raging alcoholic drunk on power, used the constitution as a coaster, spied on his own people, and drove the presidency so far into the ground that he just as well could've been running for the presidency of China

George Bush hasn't had a drink in 20 years.

Vietnam vets got Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and when they came home they got spit on

Iraq vets got Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and when they came home they got pissed on. Sure, it was their own piss, but piss couldn't be more different than spit no matter how hard piss tried not to be.

In Iraq, we've got almost as many (if not more) "mercenaries" than we do soldiers

We didn't have any mercenaries in Vietnam. Back then they were called "CIA", and there weren't nearly as many not there as we've been led to believe. You might want to brush up on your American history, dumbass. Seriously.

Some Vietnamese civilians, many of whom were blown up into millions of tiny little pieces, didn't want us there

Some Iraqi civilians, may of whom have been blown up into millions of tiny little pieces, do want us there. Badly. It's just that those that do want us there aren't as vocal as those that don't. That "silent majority" I mentioned in my "FOX News" post nobody read.

But note that antecedent up there. Of course many Iraqi civilians want us there. It's just that they want us in Vietnam. Double check the fine print, pinheads.

Iraq and Vietnam are in different time zones

Jesus-rimjob-Christ! Am I saying this? Am I actually having to say this out loud?!? Vietnam is currently residing in the Where Are They Now Sub-Standard Time, while Iraq has been reduced to 1645 A.D.-ish. It's been in a couple papers.

Apparently Vietnamese hookers played an important role in the life of our pre-disco G.I.s

Looks like Iraqi hookers don't play much of a role in the lives of our post-grunge G.I.s, because the last time I checked, Iraqi hookers are 1.) much more discrete than their Vietnamese counterparts; 2.)--wait: There's no such thing as an Iraqi prostitute; 3.) Iraqi women who are only allowed to have sex if it's in the torture chamber of your date's dad's summer palace (3rd door on the left off the main foyer); 4.) not Britney, who bombed at the MTV Music Video Awards in Las Vegas ("Let it go, Dutch. Let it go."); 5.) of the mind that in Iraq, safe sex is considered against the law unless it's in another country with a not Iraqi guy; 6.) Iraqi women who are only allowed to have sex if it's in the Rape Room of their date's dad's winter retreat (down the stairs, 2nd door on the right past the laundry room/anal probe station); 7.) not really "hookers". They're "future suicide bomber semen receptacles". A little red-blooded American,er... blood could only enhance the sheer pointlessness of it "all". Take that, Swift Boat Retards For Bullshit.

The War In Vietnam was real!

The War In Iraq is a video game on CNN.

So, to sum up: Iraq is so not Vietnam because of racial profiling, ray shawl pro filing, proportional first responders, global raining, automatic laugh tracks during press conferences, the wisdom to know the deference, the Jane Fonda syndrome, Walter can't read, nation exploding building, Mei Lei-esqueness, except on the west coast, "me love you long time", and Play Station 2.

Oh well. At least nobody was lied to this time already, again.

Wikifray Symposium: Commuting Rage

Another WikiFray Symposium -- feel free to top post, discuss in the forum, and otherwise express outrage.

Admit it -- every morning, you want to shoot somebody. Probably multiple people. Maybe you telecommute, and want to shoot your computer. Maybe you commute on a subway and want to shoot the guy who wants to shoot you. Maybe you car commute and want to shoot everybody.

So, where are you headed, and why does it piss you off?

Book club -- still happening if you want to post on that as well.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Blogging Gregoire Bouillier's The Mystery Guest

Various & Sundry Thoughts And Whatnot That Popped Into My Head Whilst Reading This Charming Little Novella That I Decided To Share With The Group

[!!!Warning!!! I actually read it. The whole thing. All the way to the end. Carefully even, at times. !!!Warning!!!]

-Okay, dude, seriously: Get out of my head.

-I gave you-know-who(m) a very expensive bottle of Italian wine for her birthday. This sucks.

-She kissed you? Cunt.

-What kind of deranged lunatic doesn't open her birthday gifts but, instead, puts them on display and photographs the unopened gifts and then makes money by holding a show where she displays photographs of birthday gifts (presumably she's been doing this for awhile so there's probably dozens of them) she's never opened? Answer: An insane freakshow retard. This is why I hate artists so much again. (Not really. So much.)

-That's about the 39th time you've said, " they say..." What gives? Who are "they" and why do they "say" it like that? Be specific.

-Tear her face off! Do it! Do it now! Tear her face off!

-French people must be cooler than Americans because they don't make you go outside to smoke at a party.

-"I have no memory of what we said, none at all, since in that moment all I could listen to was her face." Kinda corny, and a touch on the cliche-esque side. But I still liked it.

-Hit on the birthday girl! Do it! Do it now! She's practically throwing herself at you! Hit on her after you've torn your ex's face off!

-Yeah, I guess I'd need a drink too if I thought roses were trying to send secret radio signals to my brain at a birthday party at which I'd just given a complete and total stranger a $400 bottle of ripple that she's never going to enjoy because she's an insane lunatic who doesn't open birthday presents. In fact, I'd need about 19 drinks. Here's a tip, Frenchy la Stinkyberg: Have a couple few belts at the house before you head out to be eviscerated by the one true love of your life. It dulls the pain while helping you to remember it all the while.

-Another tip: Shooting 7 glasses of champagne and then tearing some society whore a new one probably isn't the best way to get invited back, not that you'd want to be invited back. It's just that it's been my experience that sometimes it's best to burn the bridge after you've crossed it, as opposed to, say, while you're still making your away across the chasm it spans. Just spitballing here.


-Uhh... Who's the epileptic gay guy in the Panama hat? What did I miss again?

-Oh. Nevermind. (Fucking French.)

-I wore turtlenecks in college. Or was it high school?

-Well, I guess at least we could be a little bit grateful that the book that left such a strong and long-standing effect on her wasn't Hollywood Wives, Jackie Collins' wonderful sendup of everything behind the scenes in 1980s fake movie-related off-camera hijinks, and an even better 2-part mini-series. I mean, really: "I committed the ultimate Hollywood sin -- I got older." Feel the wrath and tingle of its massive, unmitigated star power!

-The light bulb in my overhead kitchen fixture has been out for at least 6 weeks. What can I say; the days in the summer down here are so long and I've just been opening the refrigerator when I need to find something. Still, this is getting creepily ridiculous.

-That's 4,983 uses of the phrase "as they say". And counting. Also, flashed on the first Star Trek movie and V**GER. I want that probe.

-Wait. So he ends up with crazy non-gift-opening picture lady? They deserve each other, if you ask me.

The End

A Brief Word on Iraq

Petraeus (Hi David!) is supposed to be giving us new information, information that we have been patiently awaiting so that we can make a rational decision about Iraq. There are already, however, many signs that the political theater of his testimony will be an upgraded version of "mission accomplished."

Some common tactics of the Bush administration:

Blame Europe
Yes, the folks who saw that this was going to be a clusterfuck are the ones we're supposed to blame. John Bolton on the BBC this morning: "We'd appreciate more cooperation from Europe." Well, Bolton, they'd appreciate more cooperation from us.

Saddam Hussein Blew Up The Two Towers
Petraeus's testimony falls on 9/10 and -- well, what do you know! -- 9/11.

Change The Standards of Success
Okay, so the surge was meant to help foster political cooperation, and there has been no political cooperation. The Iraqi president is ineffective even as a puppet. But, look over there! In some sectors of Baghdad, Iranian supplied Shiite militia are cooperating with U.S. troops! Mazel Tov!

Best Case Scenario
If all the forces align just right -- maybe everybody will buy puppies, love one another, and sing "Candle in the Wind" (Diana version). Or maybe nuclear war will render the whole question moot.

President Bush keeps insisting he's calmly waiting for the Petraeus report even as he tells us that he's not changing anything.

Petraeus might as well propose that our strategy is to make the country run out of bullets by giving the warring parties more targets. Because that's our "strategy" right now.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Mystery Guest

It is 1996 and I am in Taiwan staring at two very comfortable flannel shirts that I have removed from the depths of my drawer. To prevent any hazard, I have placed them on a pile of red clay on the edge of a construction site. I am a little worried about snakes – it is night, but still warm, and I spotted a viper or two on the road.

My plan had been to burn the shirts, but I was wussing out. There was the issue of the snakes. There were the cops; if somebody reported a fire in a construction site, I’m not sure that I would be able to persuade the cops that my motives involved a certain misplaced romantic flair rather than, say, a penchant for insurance fraud. Minimally I’d probably have to try to bribe somebody, and given my recent record of failure in all things, it all just seemed like it could go horribly awry.

Is it even necessary to recount the events that led me to abandon my two best flannel shirts on a construction site at the edge of Taipei? Suffice to say that she had liked them, at one time had worn them frequently, but now was neither wearing them nor returning my phone calls. In retrospect, I would say that I wanted to be unhappy. I had wanted to see these events as operatic tragedy, wanted to justify the time and energy I had devoted to her by making myself a hero in this grand drama. I think even then I knew that this was a bit silly and self-absorbed – burning clothing was over-the-top, even for a Tristan wannabe.

I would not have wanted to date me at that time, and fortunately for all concerned, nobody did until I returned to the States and plunged into a couple of more disasters until she finally became she -- this woman I used to date whom I wish well but have no great desire to see. At last report she’s married with a kid and working for a non-profit in Washington, D.C.

I wouldn’t want to date Gregoire Bouillier either, but if I were, for example, stuck in a five hour line to get a visa, or enduring a dull train ride, or just going out to dinner, I’d love to have him along. I think he’s funny, brilliantly aware of his own self-absorption. In the first couple of chapters of The Mystery Guest, I remembered myself in Taiwan, living as an amateur shaman – how I sought portents in newspaper accounts of cross-strait relations (“One country, two systems”); how I read with optimism the movements of enormous, puffy clouds; how I surmised that each moment of silence might itself be a profession of love. I was the Delphic Fucking Oracle. Except, somehow, for all my attention to detail, for all my arts of divination, I missed the most obvious sign of all – that she wasn’t calling me.

But what if she had called? Would I have been any less twisted? And who on earth was Michel Leiris? According to Wikipedia, he was a second-rate surrealist. And this is the sign, at the opening of The Mystery Guest, on which our noble narrator (he of “sartorial neurosis”) pins his hopes. He had been suffering the delusion of the jilted, that he had “gotten over” her, moved on, made her a her. The phone call doesn’t rekindle a spark, it unveils his self-deception even as he continues to spin:

But I had gotten over her disappearance and nobody was going to say that her reappearance did me in. I refused to give up; I wanted to understand, and while I stood there clinging absurdly, instinctively to this desire – to understand – as my sole support and the last vestige of my humanity, it hit me. She’d called on a Sunday afternoon and she’d left me in the middle of the afternoon, also on a Sunday. Coincidence? Hardly. From that moment on, I knew I couldn’t possibly be dealing with a coincidence. I knew bigger things were afoot.

I found that section hilarious on first reading, and I find it hilarious now. But it strikes me on a second read that bigger things are indeed afoot, just not in the way that he imagines them. For this birthday party that he attends with his ill-fated bottle of wine (the paperback edition has a photograph of the wine bottle, also excerpts from Sophie Calle's The Birthday Ceremony, newspaper headlines, etc.) is itself a kind of performance-art piece, as is the tizzy that our poor mystery guest finds himself launched into. I guess I disagree with Keifus that this is an example of somebody taking an ordinary story from life and getting it published. This story is extraordinary, in the way that Bouillier will move from a state roughly equivalent to my life in Taiwan to a completely different way of viewing the events of the party. Even Michel Leiris gets readjusted.

It’s rather like something else I learned in Taiwan, about a way to read poetry. If you don’t understand an ancient poem, my friends explained, just memorize it, and let age do the rest.
My favorite part is the section where he leaves the party. There is this grand bouquet of flowers, and our noble narrator is managing to lose himself in the bouquet, when she appears:

…her eyes were fixed on the bouquet, and without looking up, hardly moving her lips, she murmured that roses were the only flowers she could bear to see cut, and immediately I felt all misapprehension that, to that moment, had characterized my presence drop away.

For now, weirdly, the fix is in. All this reading of portents can come to something in addition to its intrinsic uproarious hysteria. What made the book funny for me is that the narrator is constantly mistaken about the way he is evolving, yet he evolves anyway. It tracks mixed emotions that flash in milliseconds. It reminded me of Nick Hornby, of the way his characters are also self-absorbed and obnoxious, and yet they change, and their changes are earned; they come in the natural course of things, through their own logic of being themselves. In contrast to your average romantic comedy, in which the act of falling in love changes you.

Poppycock. Nothing is more narcissistic than being in love.

Addendum: mrs. august wishes to point out that, although she had never heard the story of the shirts, one of her first acts was to banish flannel from my wardrobe.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Sen. Craig's Problems

Sexual tapping
attracts the wrong attention
"you're under arrest!"


Type rest of the post here

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Slugfests In Queens

First of all, let's get one thing out of the way: James Blake did not choke, as a few commentators are alleging; Tommy Haas just brought his A game (finally) and made the proper adjustments to Blake's shot-making style.

Still, best match of the weekend that I saw. I've not seen Haas play all that much. But when I have, I've never seen him go to the net as much as he did yesterday afternoon. And it certainly paid off. Totally appropriate that the match ended with a 5th set tie breaker, and then on another Haas ace. (Blake challenged it, but when Tommy laughed I knew that he knew that Blake knew it was in.)

And, yep, that Sarah Foster, Tommy's girlfriend, is indeed the daughter of producer, David. What makes these matches so much fun for me is when the commentators are Dick Enberg, Mary Carillo and, obviously, John McEnroe. Why? Because when Haas received a warning from the chair for dropping a pretty loud F-bomb, Mary pointed out that she read Sarah's lips when Haas kept missing shots and noted that Miss Foster said, "What the fuck is he doing?" (I believe Mary said "bleep" instead of "fuck". Thanks. Family show.) It became a running joke throughout the match so much so that toward the end of set 4, Dick said something about playing better so as not to upset coaches and girlfriends alike. Funny stuff.

It's a shame Andy Roddick won on a retirement. Mary said that in his press conference, Berdych didn't even mention why he quit, but did say he was going for some blood tests. You could tell that that's exactly not the way Andy wanted to win. (After the retirement, Roddick hit for another hour and a half.)

The funniest match for me this weekend was the Federer/Isner bashout. Not the brawl that the Blake/Haas match was. It was more dance than fight. Isner stole the first set in a tie breaker, mostly with his massive serve. Roger made the appropriate adjustments and proceeded to shred him like a giant hunk of extra sharp cheddar. Great moment when Isner, 6'9", drop shot a forehand which Roger lobbed right over his head. After having made the shot, Federer shrugged his shoulders and smiled as if to say, "Sorry. I'm just that good."

Not following the women so much this year. Suffice it to say that those Williams sisters are scary talented. Quick shout out to m'lady, Shahar Peer, the first Israeli woman to make the singles quarterfinals. Is there nothing Zion cannot do (other than bend over backwards to try to appease insane lunatics surrounding her who refuse to acknowledge her existence)?

Rafael Nadal looked particularly strong against his afro haired French opponent, J.W. Tsonga. If Federer is tennis' ballet dancer, then Rafa is its crunk master.

If I'm not mistaken, and if I heard it right, CBS plans to show the Men's Final Sunday evening, primetime. Well done, "The Most Watched Network On TV"! I'll be there. Could there be any doubt it's going to be a Wimbledon rematch?

My Review of The Mystery Guest by Gregoire Bouillier

[I'm not entirely sure what august meant by spoiling the ending. Maybe this does, and maybe it doesn't. --K]

Like many people who were once young, I've been stupidly lovesick, been stupidly hurt by it, and indulged in extensive fantasies, sprung from a reading (and television) habit that imagined some indeterminate future context when the intensity of those feelings could be justified and explained. The faith in serendipitous opportunities for closure was harder to grow out of than any of the youthful affections that spawned it. What would happen if it actually came to pass?

The Gregoire Bouillier of The Mystery Guest has sufferred years of mild depression (with hairshirts and everything) from a sudden and unexplained breakup, and without warning his departed lover calls him: won't he come to a stranger's party? Indulging in literary constructs of epiphanies and chanced salvations is something that is a nice story, great as a novel, but troubling to see it presented as a memoir, and maybe I'm a little jealous that Bouillier proclaims to get away with it. It's like a student turning in suspiciously accurate results from lab equipment known to be tempermental. Boillier (both as character and author) appears to be smart enough to realize how hard he's fighting get the patchy data of the experience to agree with an acceptable narrative model. He actively hunts current events for a metaphor (hi, bacon) to fix to his effort, considering and discarding a number of random news items before he finds a reference-laden space probe as a clumsy theme. The literature-style resolution of his malaise manages to not only follow a familiar form, but he (evidently) finds a specific story as a link too. The sheer effort he takes to tack a narrative onto his life at least earns him self-awareness points.

As for my own tastes, I'd have appreciated it if he scored a few more irony points. I wouldn't say The Mystery Guest lacks humor--it's almost Seinfeld-esque in it's self-absorbed dissection of the daily traps of routine, of love, of society, of sleep, of entertainment--but he mocks himself only gently. He neither loves nor hates the absurdity of it, reaching instead for the comforts of a literary sense of completeness. I prefer my self-deprecation with a little more vinegar, myself. Maybe it's cultural, or maybe it's me.

M. Bouillier* is a man that's lost in a world of internalized words. It's the literary that seems real to him, much more than the reality observed by his senses. The only proper names encountered in the book are from literature, history, or contemporary art. (He seems to buy one shallow guest's idea that you're no one until published.) His memoir contains only two lines of dialogue, which occur more than halfway through, and which (intentionally) have the false tinge of actor's lines. Although this handful of words proves to be pivotal--Bouillier finally finds his epiphany in them (and in their specific literary context)--the rest is an unrelenting mental monologue that mirrors the actual events like color commentary, as though looking at reality through an extra-thick filter of consciousness. It's less a stream of thought, and more a continuous mental novelization his life. The din of his constant interpretation and self-analysis drowns out everything that's going on outside.** I can empathize with the battle between the external world and internal running commentary. So, I think, can most of the people reading this. I don't think there's anybody else I know who could have gotten away with recommending this book to me.

I recall reading some magazine editors opining that there's no set submission length for a piece, that a story should be exactly as long as it needs to be. Any longer of this internal harangue and Bouillier would have lost his charm. Any less-- Well, there couldn't have been much less. It's probably best read in a sitting, to best catch the rhythm of the ebbs and swells of the author's emotions. I had a few issues with the narrative voice. His guilty use of cliches (as they say) were tedious even though intentional (maybe that's something about translation?), but commendably, his memoir had enough doubt in it to seem honest, even if a little too forgiving and comforting. Bouillier reached hard for a script for his life and found one. It’s always nice to think that people do…but I don't think I believe in it.


*I love the French honorific.
**I used a similar description in a recent book review. It's different here, and yet not.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Tipping Story Problem...

The girls and I go to Ponderosa on Friday night. The deal there is that you wind your way up to a cash register to give your order and pay, receive a ticket for your food order and another for your beverage and sit down. The girls are both under three, so they get the buffet for free, but pay for their drinks. I use a coupon for my dinner order, so our total is $15.

We sit down, and the server is supposed to bring us our drinks and my food order, but take 15 minutes to find us. After that the service is average to good, including refills, and my food being brought out promptly.

The tip should be...