Thursday, February 28, 2008

ch ch ch changes blog

The death of William F. Buckley caused me to think: comedians used to do impressions of him. He was a highly public figure, familiar enough to Americans that his mannerisms as imitated by others were immediately recognizable. Aside from Rush Limbaugh, maybe, who has that recognizability any more? On the right, or left?


WFB was a key figure in reinvigorating conservatism in American politics. But, if he were coming into the field as a young man, I suspect he would be appalled at what now passes as conservatism.

Years ago, I had a very smart friend who cited as a reason not to commit suicide: he wanted to see what would happen in China when Mao died. Not that I’m suicidal, but I’m very curious to see what will happen in Cuba now that Fidel has stepped down.

Some CIA guy once said that the effect Fidel has on America is the same effect a full moon has on a werewolf. It always amazed me how he could play us. The Mariel boat lift was my favorite. We demanded that he free his prisoners. He said, “Fine. You take them.” This resulted in that excellent movie, SCARFACE. Thanks, Fidel!

What is up with the photograph? You know, the one where he’s wearing African garb? Are we supposed to be alarmed or something? Politicians have a long history of donning sombreros, headdresses, yarmulkes, etc. If we now see a vice president, say, wearing feathers do we have to worry about Custer’s Last Stand, redux? Well, with Cheney, you never know.

The wee wife spent the last month recovering from a hysterectomy. She is fine, and has gone back to work. (Thank God! Daddy needs new shoes!)

She spent much of that down time on the couch, exploring the wondrous world of daytime television, which I do not generally explore. Judge shows. Man alive, there are dozens of them! Who knew? Who knew that there were that many angry ex-girlfriends trying to get their deadbeat bfs to cough up their share of pre-breakup utility bills? And willing to share their trauma for a national audience?

Judge Judy is my very favorite. I do a Byrd impression, if you know what I mean, and if you’re a Judge Judy fan I think you do.

Double Yarg
My mother found herself in the emergency room over the weekend, with severe abdominal pain. It turned out she had an ulcer, which had to be operated on immediately. She is recovering nicely (she’s 83), but the main concern is Dad (87), who has mild dementia (mild? wtf does that mean?), and rather depends on her for the taking of meds, attention to personal grooming, remembering to eat, etc. Fortunately, they are both in a managed care facility, but this situation may require amping up the “managed care” part. Cripes. It’s always something.

It’s strange to watch how the circle of activities becomes increasingly narrow as one grows older. First the job goes away, if one has one, then the home, flying, the car, the day trips….

Unless you’re Fidel, of course. The world is still his oyster. Why would you want the world to be an oyster?

On AS IT HAPPENS, Barbara Budd recently mused about the dream cast for the movie version of THREE’S COMPANY: Daniel Day-Lewis, Meryl Streep, Dame Judy Dench, and Mickey Rourke as the landlord. Though grateful, I wonder why would Canadians muse about this? Isn’t this America’s problem?

Reading between the lines, it seems to me that the United States is screwed, but doesn’t know it yet. It will be interesting to see what happens when that knowledge sinks in.

Word that pops up everywhere that I’m sick of already.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

Blog Like Me

More cussing on TODAY
Asked by Meredith Vieira why she wasn’t a fan of THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, Jane Fonda responded, "It wasn't that I wasn't a big fan. I hadn't seen the play. I live in Georgia, okay? I was asked to do a monologue called 'Cunt.' And I said, 'I don't think so; I have enough problems.’"

Recoiling in horror from this media event, even as it recounted it, conservative website (a project of the Media Research Center) described Ms. Fonda thus: “famous North Vietnamese propagandist.”

See? She DOES have enough problems.

Just wondering…
How did the subject of vaginas come up in the first place?

Speaking of the Media Research Center….
Brent Bozell III on DEXTER’s move from SHOWTIME to CBS: “The ‘artists’ who make this program cynically paint a canvas in human blood. They are poster boys and girls for a Culture of Death, a culture which revels in murder, wallows in blood, giggles at gore. CBS and Showtime are giddily sledding down a slippery slope to a pit where evil is glamorized with an ironic wink.”

Man, that’s good writin’! By the way, DEXTER, the SHOWTIME version, is out on DVD. He’s a serial killer who only kills serial killers. Sounds like somebody conservatives should approve. He doesn’t depend on the government to kill serial killers for him. He’s a self-starter. He’s entrepreneurial, carving his own niche in a free marketplace.

Mom! Mom! I got a “Satisfactory” in Risk Avoidance!
NYT Editorial: “Time was that a fifth grader’s greatest concern about gym was whether he or she would be picked last for the kickball team. Now, in schools in Hartford, that 10-year-old would-be athlete is being graded on how he or she ‘establishes and maintains a healthy lifestyle by avoiding risk-taking behavior.’ In music class, students are being graded on how they make ‘connections between music and other disciplines through evaluation and analysis of compositions and performances.’”

From popbitch, a Brit gossip newsletter: Knut still no longer cute.
Disgruntled Berlin zoo-goers are complaining that Knut is being kept out of visitors' sight for most days. They claim it's to protect him but an insider tells us it's all political - to stop the attention on him and away from the other animals. So we'd better turn our attention to Nuremberg's rival polar bear after all. Five things to know about Flocke:
1. Four people look after her so that she doesn't get too attached to her owner.
2. Flocke first drew blood with her claws at 5 weeks old (but didn't mean it).
3. She is fed on a mix of puppy milk, vitamins and cod-liver oil with a shot of maize syrup to prevent constipation.
4. Flocke doesn't yet have milk-teeth even though she's now two months old, and polar bears usually get them at around 30 days.
5. When she's about four months old Flocke will be given porridge with carrots, chopped liver and mince.

From The
“Anyone but me roll their eyes through the movie Hairspray? What's up with the equation of black struggle with physical stoutness?”

More obesity, from Slate
“[T]he claim that obesity costs the government $1 trillion is absurd at best and self-fulfilling at worst. Instead, the presidential candidates should pledge support for a federal ban on weight-based discrimination. If we stop blaming fat people for our problems, they might start feeling better—and start saving us money.”

All polar bears are left-handed.

Mind the extension cord
AFP: “David Levy, a PhD in gender studies and artificial intelligence and author of ‘Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relations’…predicts …[that]…getting it on with an electronic femme-fatale or a superstud sexbot will become an accepted part of the human landscape. ‘Think of it: great sex on tap, 24/7,’ he said. People may even fall in love with their hard-wired sex slaves, he adds.”

New one on me
National Post: “Last August, a blogger in Cincinnati going by the name CincyBlurg reported that a black friend from the southeastern U.S. had recently discovered that she was being called a Canadian. ‘She told me a story of when she was working in a shop in the South and she overheard some of her customers complaining that they were always waited on by a Canadian at that place. She didn't understand what they were talking about and assumed they must be talking about someone else,’ the blogger wrote. ‘After this happened several times with different patrons, she mentioned it to one of her co-workers. He told her that ‘Canadian' was the new derogatory term that racist Southerners were using to describe persons they would have previously referred to [with the N-word.]’”

From the blog, “Mr. Conservative”
“With the pushing of Leftist politicians and environmental groups, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing Wednesday to evaluate the delay in listing Polar Bears as an endangered species. The Left sees Polar Bears as a means of shutting down oil and gas exploration, fishing, mining, and virtually any human activity in the Arctic.”

Damn lefties! I was going to go snowboarding in the Arctic, and now I can’t because of those stupid Polar Bears!

Cosmonauts can haz gun?
Internet Broadcasting Systems: “Russian Cosmonauts carry a gun on their Soyuz space capsule, which is attached to the space station…. The gun is located in a survival kit between some seats aboard the Soyuz spacecraft. All the crew members know about it, and U.S. astronauts who fly aboard the Soyuz are trained to use it.”

Intruders? You have been warned.

Bi-polar bear?
Independent UK: “While some insist that bears born in zoos have a right to human intervention to save and secure their lives, others such as the German animal rights activist, Frank Albrecht argue that they become so dependent on man that they end up divorced from nature and turn into hyperactive, disturbed freaks. ‘Knut is a problem bear who has become addicted to human beings,’ he said. The German zoologist Peter Arras has described Knut as a ‘psychopath’.”

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Hey baby girl…
NBC correspondent David Shuster stated that "Chelsea's sort of being pimped out in some sort of weird way,” because she’s helping her mother on the campaign trail. He has been suspended, after the usual outrage.

And weird news from Seattle.
Misha Berson, theater critic for the Seattle Times, informs us that Randy Quaid has been banned for life from Actors’ Equity Association. He was behaving erratically during a 2007 run of LONE STAR LOVE, apparently a musical adaptation of MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, in which he played Falstaff. The show, which ran at Seattle’s 5tth Avenue Theatre was “forced to close” because of his “oddball behavior.” A statement signed by all 26 members of the cast said he “physically and verbally abused his fellow performers.” Four Equity workers, after a physical altercation with Quaid, got restraining orders against him and his wife Evi.

Quaid has issued a statement: “I am guilty of only one thing: Giving a performance that elicited a response so deeply felt by the actors and producers with little experience of my creative process that they actually think I am Falstaff.”

So: either he’s nuts, or everybody else is.

Poor Britney.
Poor Britney.

They’re back!
From a UK Ministry of Defence Report: "The witness saw spaceships and then said that one of them abducted his dog, car and tent when he and some friends were out camping."

Another unfortunate neologism.
Referring to the real world as “meatspace.”

Scott Brown, in WIRED, on facebook, etc.
“We turned into twittering selectibitionists, eager to share choice cuts of our fascinating lives with the world and delighted to find free online apps encouraging us to do just that. (In an era of laser-guided capitalism, who'd have guessed someone would build us a cozy identity hive? Could it be they were just after our honey?) Social networking sites promised to bring not just people together but also our own fragmented selves — what we do, what we like, what we buy. Then we found out that promise was actually made to the identity harvesters — not to us.”

Don Imus is back!
Poor Britney.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Blog of Others

Other people’s notes on an American phenomenon. From (Omaha World-Herald)
"What's the deal with Paula?" said Joe Gudenrath, Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey's spokesman. "I've never really watched the show. She was interesting."

Longtime fan Megan Nanfito of Omaha noticed the same thing. "Paula Abdul was a little bit crazy," Nanfito said.

Nature, back in the news!
AP: “As people spend more time communing with their televisions and computers, the impact is not just on their health, researchers say. Less time spent outdoors means less contact with nature and, eventually, less interest in conservation and parks.”

But much more interest in tap-dancing penguins.

Sean Young, back in the news!
The video is everywhere: Sean Young heckling Julian Schnabel as he accepts an award at the Director’s Guild of America ceremony. She is yelling, “Get on with it!” As I watch him speak, it seems like sensible advice, but she winds up in rehab anyway.

Hooray for science!
AFP " Scientists in New Zealand and Japan have created a 'tear-free' onion using biotechnology to switch off the gene behind the enzyme that makes us cry, one of the leading researchers said Friday."

New techniques in debt collection.
AP “A collection agency tried to collect a $16.96 debt with an letter that addressed its recipient with a four-letter word for excrement. ‘Dear S---,’began the letter attempting to collect from an old record club membership. The word was spelled out in the letter, which arrived in an envelope addressed to ‘S--- Face.’”

The president of Nationwide Collections claims that “Shitface” is the name under which the account was opened. The man formerly known as “Shitface” plans to sue.

A moment in the New Economy
The phone rings. I answer it. A man with a very thick middle-East accent asks, “Marl Keesler?”

Close enough. “Yes.”

“This is the US Government Assistance Program. You have qualified to receive 2500 dollars.”

Sure I have. “Wow,” I say.

He double-checks my address and spelling of my name, then asks how I’m going to spend the money.

“I dunno. Put it in savings, I guess.”

“You aren’t going to spend it on gambling, are you?”

“Oh no,” I say.

“This is for your children’s education, or home improvement. The US Government does not like gambling.”

“I understand,” I say.

He asks, “So what is the name of your bank?”

“Good by,” I say politely, and hang up the phone.

This just in: L. Brent Bozell III doesn’t like FAMILY GUY.
“Let's revisit the FAMILY GUY show on ‘gay marriage’ that spurred [FAMILY GUY creator] MacFarlane's outburst [about the Parents Television Council, which objected to the show, and 90% of everything else on television]. Part of the plot has one of the show's regular characters urged by a girl to join the Young Republicans, which in this episode goes by the acronym SARS, like the deadly respiratory virus. The girl describes their mission like this: ‘We perpetuate the ideal that Jesus chose America to destroy non-believers and brown people.’
That line is not hilarious satire. That is hate mail. It may be airing on national television instead of being scrawled on a pad and put in an envelope, but it's still hate mail. It smears Christian conservatives not only as violent racists out to destroy ‘brown people’ but attributes to them the kill-the-infidel echoes of a homegrown Christian version of al-Qaeda.”

Well, you know, I don’t like FAMILY GUY either. It’s a witless SIMPSONS ripoff, with stupid production numbers satirizing stuff that went out of the culture fifteen years ago. Are the Young Republicans even around any more? But does Bozell III really believe that McFarlane believes that Christian conservatives are the equivalent of al-Qaeda? I think the truth is he was just stretching for a lame joke.

NYT headline: “Economy Fitful, Americans Start to Pay as They Go.”
Or, in my case, wait until paid before going.

L. Brent Bozell III II
Full discolosure: He is a former president of the Parents Television Council (1995-2006). He also founded it. He is responsible, mainly, for the outcry over Janet Jackson’s mammary display at some Super Bowl or other. A grateful nation salutes him!