Friday, August 31, 2007

Brooks Makes It Personal

It just has to happen this way. I take a vacation and Tom Friedman publishes a too-stupid-for-words column about our relationship with Iraqi Sunnis. Then David Brooks decides to bitch about his vacation. Normal stuff maybe, but he went too far with it. David Brooks insulted the beach.

Every year we go to the beach, and every year it becomes more obvious that beach vacations are a metaphor for the human predicament. For while in his soul the contemporary man seeks to realize the loftiness of his essential nature, in actual life he finds himself whacking a ball against the windmill arm in an eternal game of mini-golf.

Beaches are lovely. Lovely anyway until assholes like David Brooks and his demon spawn show up. Also, mini-golf? Not a beach

Middle-aged man seeks the spiritual grandeur of a mountain vacation, but is trapped in the saltwater taffy of a beach vacation.

Trapped. On vacation. I've been on one bad vacation my whole life, and even on that one we got to go to a water park. Yet David Brooks just can't help but bitch because the beach isn't manly enough.

He seeks to ride a dude ranch horse among whispering pines and timberline silences, but society is structured such that he finds himself in a piercingly loud ski-ball arcade surrounded by “Party Like a Rock Star” T-shirts and eating a funnel cake.


I don't understand this paragraph. Why is "society structured as such"? Your wife and kids don't want to be stuck in the middle of the god damn woods with you. They need an escape. And your daughters need dicks.

Not that there is anything wrong with funnel cake. It is the only food left that hasn’t been captured by the Alice Waters/Whole Foods set. Nobody is making organic, locally grown, zero-carbon-footprint funnel cake.

No, there is nothing wrong with funnel cake. However, wouldn't one of those made up liberal funnel cakes be better for the environment and local business? Hell, as long as it isn't low-fat it'd probably taste the same.

Still, man seeks something more. And so I repeat my theme: No decliningly virile American man should be content with a beach vacation when a mountain vacation is more in keeping with his inner longing.

What is this longing???? Enough with it already. Will I start talking like that when I'm middle aged? Because if that's the case, I'm putting the gun to my temple at 32.

No middle-aged man of a certain girth should be wearing bathing trunks around adolescents when he could be wearing riding chaps around livestock.

Prepare to have your mind melted. I've given you fair warning. David Brooks. Wearing only riding chaps. Around adolescents.


We all, you see, have two summer selves.


Drunk and High.

Our greater summer self is the mountain self, which is spiritually and physically robust, in a Robert Redford/Horse Whisperer sort of way.

Yes yes, manly blah blah blah. Such an obsession of masculinity from a guy who still looks like he gets wedgies.

Our lesser self is our beach self, which is a banal bimbo-ized version of the person we think we are.

God forbid you get a little goofy on vacation.


Our beach self munches on cheese fries while browsing through “You Were Better-Looking on MySpace” T-shirts along boardwalks that are basically strip malls of unnecessary objects. Our beach self suffers from sandzheimers syndrome, which is manifested by the tendency to spend hours staring at oncoming waves while making scientific observations like, “Here comes a big one.”


Cheese fries? Delicious. You Were Better Looking On MySpace? What 14 year olds tell David Brooks when they meet for ice cream.


Our beach self is ruled by a spiritual Gresham’s law — every aspiration becomes three degrees trashier than it used to be.


Um...

Once, kids were lobbying for a pet dog. Now they are lobbying for a pet hermit crab.

Uh...

Once, adults were hoarding blue-chip stocks. Now they are hoarding 4,500 video arcade prize tickets in hopes of getting a dayglo Megadeth poster.

Oh my god. This will never end, will it? I'm stopping here, because this is about as hard as I've ever worked to make fun of David Brooks. This whole column, with its Vincent Van Gogh references and allusions to feeling inferior to everyone around you makes it seem like some clever self-parody. So unless I find out that this was the work of some brilliant Times intern, I'm gonna stare off in the distance somewhere and contemplate how it is that David Brooks still gets to publish.

Friday, August 24, 2007

So Many Things, So Many Things

There was a lot of shit in the news that we missed lately. And when news falls through the cracks, we have Lewis Black to find it, in a segment we like to call Back in Black.





Turns out we don't have Lewis Black. So I guess I'll go over the news that I missed because I was lazy. Jerks.

Jose Padilla
And America shrugs a great shrug. Outside of some outraged liberals (myself included) did anyone actually give a shit about this case? The Times described it as a "victory" for the Bush Administration, but considering this was a guy they said was going to detonate a dirty bomb, I can't see how anyone would be impressed with the subsequent crumbling of the case. While he spent time locked up in a brig and then a regular prison his case went from dirty bomber to apartment bomber to random ass Al-Qaeda wannabe. Meanwhile, the government, not willing to lose to the Supreme Court and have Padilla go free, stopped torturing him in the military brig and moved him to normal prison and gave him a trial. He was gonna lose anyway, but at least he got one, I guess.

This David Banner Video
Not that I begrudge Banner for being frustrated with Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, but should anyone really be standing up for Michael Vick? Perspective is necessary certainly, because the number of people who loudly object to the torture of actual human beings versus the outrage over Vick offing some dogs just doesn't match up.

Shepard Smith
Absolutely the worst journalist I have ever seen. I turned on Fox News during work to get some laughs while I labeled postcards. First of all, during "Studio B" there's this incredibly distracting purple and yellow "B" done up in some kind of EXTREME GRAPHICS. It looks like something out of the Disney Channel. As for Smith's actual presentation of the news, it was impossible not to laugh. The man just isn't convincing as Very Serious Person and his attempts to get into advocacy journalism and stir up some outrage came off as awkward as a flipper baby playing baseball. Hence his new name Flipper Baby. Though this also means I'll have to watch more Shepard Smith if I want to use the tag. The things I do for you people.

Mike Vick
OK, so he's guilty. Can we not ask every black athlete and entertainer alive what they think of it? Ask football players sure, that makes sense. But why do we need to hear from Jamie Foxx or Stephon Marbury? Because they're black and will probably say something in Vick's defense, thus keeping the cycle of outrage alive. Freakin wonderful.

Ted Nugent
As much as one can read his comments about telling Barack Obama to "suck on my machine gun" as a threat on the life of a presidential candidate, I hardly see it as such. It's just more obvious gun-as-a-phallic-symbol talk from a gun nut. But if I were Mr. Nugent, I might be a little careful where I put my phallic imagery given the GOP's trouble of late with teh gays. It'd be a shame for that kind of talk to bust off in your face Ted.

Major League Baseball: Gang Related


No element of the sports uniform has become a bigger staple of dress around the world than the baseball cap, and Major League Baseball and its affiliated merchandisers have been capitalizing on it for years. Today, New Era and MLB have taken marketing to new levels, making caps ranging from the "patriotic" to the truly bizarre, in a never ending quest to sell more merch. And hey, thats the nature of capitalism: if New Era wants to make a green argyle Red Sox hat, well, there isn't much that anyone can do about it.

Of course, it was only natural that in their never ending quest to make every possible kind of hat they can, no matter how stupid, MLB and New Era were going to cross the line at some point, and I guess that point is now. According to Fox News (with a hat tip to FARK), it seems that MLB has begun marketing itself to a slightly different crowd...

Outraged local activists charge that New Era, the caps' manufacturer, and the New York Yankees — whose famous interlocking NY cap features a choice of a red and black bandanna design for the Bloods, blue and gray for the Crips and a gold crown for the Latin Kings — and Major League Baseball are deliberately marketing to gang members and wannabes.

Naturally, MLB is denying that they had any idea that the hat designs were gang related, and have pledged to pull the hats from stores (as of now, the hats are not available on the New Era website, but there is no word if they were ever sold online in the first place). Personally, I don't think there is a single person in America who could look at these hats and think that they aren't marketed to gang members. Everything from the way the bandanna design is laid out on the hat, to the position of the logo, suggests that, at a bare minimum, MLB is marketing them to people looking to portray a thuggish image, and the colors selected make it clear that at a bare minimum they were marketing to the gang "wannabes."

Not that there is anything for MLB to do besides pull the hats, and they are doing just that, but if nothing else it is nice to see their marketing department hit a slight hiccup. Maybe next time they will think twice before unleashing their next atrocious hat design upon the public. But I doubt it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Hate Baseball! I Love Baseball! I...

hate baseball. And such are the things I thought to myself during what has been the most up and down game of the entire season. I was at last night's game, where I got to watch Brian Lawrence impersonate a major league pitcher and Mike DiFelice impersonate a catcher. My father was at tonight's game, so he had the honor of watching Brian Lawrence peel off Tom Glavine's skin and wear it on the mound. But then again, he also saw a great rally. Then a bullpen meltdown. Then a great rally. Then a bullpen meltdown.

While the Mets lost this series, I can't imagine either team is thrilled with the way the wins came about. Billy Wagner was bad. Trevor Hoffman was worse. I watched Geoff Blum muff a pop fly in the bottom of the ninth. A muff that will apparently go down in scoring history as a "fielder's choice" thanks to a convenient force play at second base. Tonight David Wright makes two errors. Neither bullpen could finish a game without blowing it or making it too close to prevent the sweats. Kudos to the offenses on each team, I'll give them that much. San Diego broke out in a big way while the Mets put up at least 5 runs for the 11th straight game. Unreal.

A word, if I may, about the crowds this series. Aside from the obvious cancerous presence of one Bill Q. O'Reilly in the stands tonight, there was a very odious undercurrent throughout my beloved Shea Stadium. Last night when I talked to Tex about the game, I called it "Ignorant Motherfucker Night". People heckling Mike DiFelice for striking out. Fans deciding to do the wave while Guillermo Mota was blowing the game. There was even a fight in the stands.

Tonight there was booing. So much booing. Delgado. Wagner. Glavine. Heilman. Frankly, only Heilman has deserved it, and even I, a man who lives by his hatred of Aaron Heilman, don't think he deserved the entire stadium booing him. Half I'd understand. He left a changeup out over the plate that got pulled foul, and then he left a fastball out over the plate. But in conjunction with all the other booing, the crowd seemed incredibly nasty. Is that really the way to act when your first place team is still trying? Fans always have a right to boo, but in a situation like this, it sounds more like drunken assholes taking out their frustrations on a bunch of millionaires. Thousandaires in Heilman's case.

Again, the Mets are in first place. Tom Glavine had his second bad start in the past month and a half. It happens. Delgado had an absolutely brutal series and Wagner is tired. But let me ask you something, you baying jackals: where were you when the likes of David Weathers and Mike Stanton trotted out from that bullpen. When Doug Mientkiewicz played first base and Richard Hidalgo patrolled the outfield? Were you there? I'm sure some people were. But the people who weren't there and are all too happy to go the ballpark and boo the home team should just as well stay the fuck away. This wasn't blowing a 5 run lead against the Pirates. It was two good teams matching up and playing each other hard. One team was gonna lose this series no matter what.

Atlanta loses thanks to my hero, Adam Dunn. Philly loses because they're the team to beat. The Mets keep their lead and welcome the Dodgers, who I'd rather not lose a series to. John Lannan wins, at Tex's expense, and manages his second straight game with a hit. Someone give this kid a spot in the outfield when he's not pitching, we have a Babe Ruth on our hands.

Andy Rooney Chooses Sides In The Race War

Hint: it ain't with the day laborers. Via CTSB comes Rooney's heartwarming tale of a senile old man dealing with a sport he doesn't appear to enjoy.

My disinterest in baseball as a kid has lasted all my life. I'm still not interested in the game. I don't watch it on television or follow it in the newspaper. I know all about Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, but today's baseball stars are all guys named Rodriguez to me.

In the words of the esteemed philosopher Jay Sherman, "Hachi machi!" Sure you can go and read the rest of the column, which is rambling and poorly thought out. But I think the most important thing to note in this situation is that the paper Rooney submitted this column to is located in Connecticut. Which proves two of my most sacred maxims true. One, Connecticut is a cesspool of racism and ignorance. Two, white people ain't worth shit.

Bonus fun!
Use the Babel Fish link on the bottom of the story to translate Rooney's drivel into Spanish.

Sé todos sobre el bebé Ruth y Lou Gehrig, pero las estrellas de hoy del béisbol son todos los individuos nombrados Rodriguez a mí.

Este gringo muy loco!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mets Call On Heaven To Defeat Hell's Bells

Last night I obviously wasn't the only one having visions of the past, though I suppose at Faith and Fear stepping in the wayback machine has completely different implications than doing so here. To be fair, the idea that last night was similar to 2006 came in the morning when I was sobered up but still woozy.

But it was all there. The Mets scored early and often (I would call 4 runs in the three innings against the top ERA man in the league that), John Maine was shaky and somewhat frustrating, and Billy Wagner was the Cardiac Kid for one special night. He even hit a guy in the foot, just like in his Yankee meltdown last year. Which uh, never happened.

And then there was Beltran. Carlos Beltran was looking every bit of his 41 homer self last night, causing thousands of shameful Met fans (myself included) to feel bad about hating him early this year. Well, hate is a strong word. But Bushido and I did discuss potential trade locations for him not long ago, something that looks mighty silly in light of the fact that oh my God the guy went to the opposite field twice last night. Part of the joy of having the Mets be in first place all year is that if Beltran stays hot right now, he can redeem himself in the eyes of Met fans for his inconsistencies early on in the season. It's not as if his poor offensive play hurt the Mets greatly. It's not preferred, mind you, but it's hardly as bad as it would have been if the Braves or Phillies had overtaken the Mets.

So good luck Carlos, may all your home runs sail over the fence of defeat and always twirl, twirl, twirl toward freedom.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Eddie Griffin found dead

Fucking sad.

Perhaps the poster child for an athlete who couldn't outrun his demons. It seemed that every year Griffin would start off each NBA season with promise and excitement, only to find his way to trouble towards the middle/end of the season. Thoughts go out to his family.

Friday, August 17, 2007

If You Play Like The Pirates, You're Gonna Lose Like The Pirates

Last night, I slept through the first two innings of the game. I probably should have slept through the other seven.

To say the Mets just provided the Pirates with the highlight of their season would be an understatement. Did you hear that crowd? It was like a playoff game, and I guess for the Pirates and their assembled legions, it was. And considering it was like a playoff game, it's no surprise I suppose, that the Mets, with Aaron Heilman at helm coughed it up.

This whole series was ugly, even the two games the Mets won. What was strange about last night was that the Mets finally did what they should have been doing: whenever the Pirates came back, they scored again. At least until the 5th inning. The Mets left 28 men on base last night! How do you do that? Well, Marlon Anderson leaving 7 on all by himself certainly doesn't help. LMillz better have really had the flu, because if this was just a way for Willie to play a hunch I will never forgive him. And Christ, why not start Easley instead?

And of course, the pitching. Brian Lawrence was just not good enough. I don't give a shit that it's a nice story that he doesn't throw hard and still pitches, I care that he walked 4 batters and let the Pirates back in the game. Pedro can't come back soon enough. Want to know why "holds" are an absolute bullshit statistic? Despite Guillermo Mota's complete meltdown, he got a hold. Fuck you Mota, I'm absolutely done with you. If I wanted a Benitez clone on this team I'd steal some of his DNA myself and put it in my cloner. As for Doughfaced RacistName, I cannot wait until he's jettisoned. The only question I have is will Omar be able to con something good out of a team for him (see: Wong Seo, Jae trade). Everytime I see Heilman on the mound he inspires not confidence, but dread. The instant Jose Bautista put down his bunt, I wanted to cover my eyes. Of course Heilman would fuck that up, he's mentally weak and is prone to shit like that. Even in his good appearances you feel the dread, knowing that one of these inexplicable meltdowns is right around the corner. Way to pick up your teammates after an error there buddy, I'm sure they won't play tight behind you now.

Logic dictates that I shouldn't be so pissed. The offense appears to be clicking more with Beltran and Alou back in the lineup, and the Mets took 2 out of 3 in the series. But logic has nothing on a first place team with championship aspirations blowing a 5 run lead against one of the most pitiful teams of the last 15 years. Especially when the night before they almost do the same exact thing. When Mike DiFelice forgets something as basic as TAKING OFF YOUR CATCHER'S MASK WHEN FIELDING A THROW you lose games. Fuck his veteran presence, that's why the guy is in the minors his whole life. When you let the worst team in the league score on you in innings 4-8, you will lose and you will deserve it. Last night, the Mets got exactly what they deserved.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bookends

When your team scores 10 runs in a ballgame, you should enjoy it much more than this. Especially when the groovy symmetry of five in the 1st and five in the 9th is concerned. Not to say I didn't enjoy the pentaginnings, but everything outside of that was pretty uncomfortable. Except Jorge Sosa, who's on some Ultimate Thor-power of Asgard shit.

It was an odd game, which I suppose is par for the course when you beat the Pirates 10-8. X and I talked about Beltran trade possibilities in a year or two, but then again if Carlos is going to keep making game saving catches like he made two of tonight, maybe that's a bit silly. On the other hand, no one is thinking the Moises Alou signing was silly. He's shook off the DL cobwebs and is reminding us that he is without a doubt one of the finest hitters in the National League. August isn't over and Alou already has hit 5 homers and driven in 11 runs. I can't imagine him continuing to have an OPS of 1.113, but he's certainly locked in right now and giving the team an incredible offensive boost.

Halfway through the game I was wondering if the Mets should resign him next year. All they need is a super-duper backup plan, or failing that, the rest of the offense picking up a little slack when he inevitably gets hurt. Think about it: if Carlos Delgado had been hitting .275 and Carlos Beltran was hitting with last year's power, would Alou's absence been as pronounced? I think not. There are two things you can count on from Moises and those things are getting hurt and hitting. Pure hitter.

You can apparently expect crap from John Maine from now until further notice. I can concur with the theory that he's getting tired from his first big league season, but this drop off has been tremendous. He wasn't even effectively wild tonight. Don't let the 8 strikeouts fool you, the Pirates are an awful ballclub, and ol'Johnny Boy had a hell of a time putting them away. No 1-2-3 innings, 5 hits, 2 homers, 3 walks, a hit batter and an RBI double for the pitcher is an ugly line and usually one that doesn't result in a win. Pittsburgh batters left 15 men on base tonight, and while not all of them were Maine's, most of them were. Kudos to Willie though for stretching Maine out to 117 pitches. If he's gonna learn what the long haul of a season is, he better learn it good.

All in all, it's a win, which I'll take any day of the week, especially a day preceding a Brian Lawrence start. 4 up on the awPhils and 3.5 up on the hated Braves means I'll sleep well tonight, visions of undead Alous dancing though my innocent little head.

Your Apocalypse Forecast

Forecast: Warm, with a mild chance of brain melting agony.

Why oh why can we never learn the limits of our power? With hands firmly ensconced in hornet nests already, we seem to be going for the headbutt now. Ever seen a guy with hornet nests on his hands and one stuck on his head? It's funny stuff.

Guh, I can barely register my outrage about this because it makes me so goddamn crazy. And I haven't even said what it is yet. It, is our possible decision to label Iran's Revolutionary Guard is a terrorist organization. Oh lordy lordy, where are those black stereotypes from Weeds to make me feel better now?

Have we done this before? Has anyone ever up and decided that the armed forces of a sovereign nation is a terrorist entity? I understand the idea of charging a state with sponsoring terrorism, but this seems to be going too far to me. If we fought a war with Iran, would we declare that their soldiers aren't subject to the Geneva Conventions? Will 80 percent of the American people decide that since the President said these people are terrorists than they must be? When will this war with Iran start so that I can finally stop worrying about the consequences of my actions.

You know it and I know it: George Bush will be the end of us.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A David Brooks Cry For Help

When I told my father the name of this David Brooks column, his response was "Was it about him getting a blowjob?" Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the worst fellation of the working class since your mother ran out of money at that truck stop.

Truck Stop Confidential
Other suggested titles: Truck Stop Confessions, Gearshift Swallowers and Horny Truckers Vol. 6

Last Saturday evening, I found myself at the counter of a truck stop diner in Caroline County, Va.
Steamy...

I was sitting next to a weathered trucker whose accent betrayed an East Texas upbringing and a lifetime devoted to tobacco products.
LIAR! I'm sorry David, but even pornography has to have some basis in reality. It's bad enough you ask us to believe you ate at a truck stop diner. But that trucker is a caricature. Come on, was he wearing a denim jacket and did that denim jacket have an American flag with an eagle on the back? And on his feet were there Stetson cowboy boots? A cowboy hat on his head? What of his handshake? Was it steely, though his eyes betrayed a sadness and world weariness? Give me a freaking break.

He’d been trucking for 46 years, away from home for nine months a year for most of them. He’d run through five marriages and now traveled with a little dog.
Oh really, Mister Marriage Is The Foundation of Western Civilization? A Paris Hilton-kinda little dog or a Mike Vick-kinda little dog?

His son, who dropped out of school at 15, was also a trucker. His brothers and nephews were truckers. He’d tried to retire from trucking a few years ago, but he didn’t like fishing so now he is back on the road driving routes like this one, from Las Vegas to Newport News.
Dude. Loves. Trucking.

He wanted to be a trucker since he was a little boy.
David Brooks wanted to be a fluffer.

He talked about the time two young women rear-ended him doing 110 miles per hour in a Camaro (they survived), about the dangers of marrying your secretary, about the introduction of power steering and about the two stints in the Army that interrupted his life on the road.
He would not show me the inside of his cabin or give me a tour of the rest room. No matter how much I talked about it.

I don’t know what came first, the mystique of trucking or the country music songs that defined the mystique
The mystique. Why the fuck would someone sing a song about something that isn't interesting? Then again, with his grasp of music, I guess I shouldn't expect much from David.

but this trucker had been captured by the ethos early on and had never let it go. He wore the right boots and clothes.

Certainly these are the things that truckers worry about. Clothes and boots. Definitely not amphetamines and blowjobs from hitchhikers.

He had a flat, never-surprised way of talking. He didn’t smile or try to ingratiate.
To me, someone who's never surprised isn't really worth knowing. And what's wrong with smiling? Did Jesus not say, "When you smile, the whole world smiles with you"?

He has one of those hard jobs, like mining and steel-working, that comes with its own masculine mythology and way of being in the world.
He was a hard man. I tried to picture his rippling forearms beneath his flannel shirt and kept my lip from quivering while thinking of his iron buttocks.

Jobs performed in front of a keyboard don’t supply a code of dignity, which explains the spiritual anxiety that plagues the service economy.
Office jobs have no dignity? Oh fuck you Brooks. Now, just because you were never manly enough to drive a truck or mine for silver or work in a lumberyard (ahem) doesn't mean you get to tar office workers in a national newspaper. They have enough problems as it is without you, the "genteel conservative" columnist at the New York Times telling them their jobs lack dignity. God, you're barely a real reporter.

As the trucker spoke, I was reminded of a book that came out a few years ago called “The Dignity of Working Men,” by the sociologist, Michèle Lamont, who is now at Harvard. Lamont interviewed working-class men, and described what she calls “the moral centrality of work.”Her subjects placed tremendous emphasis on working hard, struggling against adversity and mastering their craft.
Doctors? Lazy. Lawyers? Shiftless. Stock brokers? Coke addled crumbums. (OK, that last one is true)

Her book is an antidote to simplistic notions of class structure, because it makes clear that these men define who is above and below them in the pecking order primarily in moral, not economic terms. People in other classes may define the social structure by educational attainment, income levels and job prestige, but these men are more likely to understand the social hierarchy on the basis of who can look out for themselves, who has the courage to be a fireman, a soldier or a cop, who has the discipline to put bread on the table every night despite difficulties.
And as they do this, Rupert Murdoch and Richard Branson play golf. With platinum clubs. And silver balls. And they bet using pure gold bars. Uhhh...gold made out of diamonds. Yeah.

When Lamont’s subjects looked at professionals and managers, they didn’t necessarily see their social superiors. They saw manipulators.
All code for J-o-os.

They defined themselves as straight-talking, shoot-from-the-hip guys.
So do many politicians, columnists and assholes of all stripes. This is why I never trust anyone who describes themselves as a "straight-talker" or a "shoot-from-the hip-guy".

People who worked in offices, who worked by persuasion, were dismissed for being insincere, for playing games.
For using their brains? I sure hope these guys keep true to their roots and don't, I dunno, put their money in banks.

This is why class resentment in the U.S. is so complicated, despite inequality and lagging wages. When it comes to how people see the world, social and moral categories generally trump economic ones.
Oh yes, and they should be commended for viewing themselves as so morally superior that they don't see rich assholes distracting them and sending their kids off to die in pointless wars. Yes, thank the Creator that these people don't realize they get fucked economically.

This is why successful populist movements always play on moral and social conditions first, and economic ones only later. This is why they appeal to the self-esteem of the working class, not on any supposed sense of victimization. This is why their protests are directed not against the rich, but against the word manipulators — the lawyers, consultants and the news media.
Again: J-o-o-z.

The trucker I met Saturday in Virginia not only believed in the American Dream, he believed he had achieved it. He owned his own truck. He owned a nice house in Texas on a lake near the Louisiana border. His brother owned five trucks.
You know what the sounds like to me? Sounds like that guy is rich as hell. His brother owns five trucks? When I was being all manly and working at a lumber yard (ahem) I saw many Mack trucks drive up. Those things looked incredibly expensive. And this guy's brother owns five.

He probably drew certain conclusions from the way I dress and talk.
He thought you was a gay.

But if he was at all curious about what I did, he didn’t show it, or didn’t want to veer off into topics where he wasn’t in control.
Because he thought you were gonna ask him if you could go down on him.

Instead, he talked about the things any guy would want to put at the center of his life: highways, engines, hauling, dogs and food.
These are indeed things truckers would think about. Things the trucker's non-honorable doctor would think about: health charts, human anatomy and the plastic jug of dirty needles. No, just kidding, he's just thinking about his ill-gained mansion.

I didn’t ask about the wives.
Because you love men.

God, that took forever. Brooks is really begging for the Michael Wines treatment.

Irony Overdose

They tried to make her go to rehab and she said, yeah, OK. Though to be honest, I'm not trying to get a dig in at Amy Winehouse. If I had just survived a heroin, ecstasy, ketamine cocktail I'd probably consider a few days off from drugs at the very least. From Durden:

It's amazing that someone can do that many drugs, that someone who weighs 100 pounds can do drugs made for a 1400 pound animal. This chick is like a superhero, she can't be killed. She's immortal! I heard the cops tried to shoot her one time but she caught the bullet in her teeth, then just laughed. Who will save us?!?!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Karl Rove Retires to Spend More Time With Fred Thompson's Family

Can you blame him? (By the way, Fred Thompson is only 59? The man looks like the Crypt Keeper!)

Sadly, I cannot join in on the cackling when it comes to Karl Rove leaving. I can cackle a little, but I just can't bring myself to care that much. First of all, it's obvious that Dick Cheney runs the government. So until a non-evil T-1000 unit comes along and liberates us, I don't see anything changing down at Ye Olde Whyte Haus.

And really, when is the last time you even talked about Turd Blossom? As George Bush has waned in power and prestige, Rove has seemed less and less to be the evil genius we all made him out to be. If he can't spin Bush out of his mess now, what kind of spotlight hogging prick is he? He's nothing but a boogeyman, a story to tell your horrible horrible children when you put them to bed.

As for his legacy, it will probably only last as long as his book writing career. Well, that's not true. Karl Rove will find himself a nice nook on Fox News or talk radio and keep spewing whatever it is he says. Truth be told, the most I've ever heard Karl Rove speak is during the infamous MC Rove moment. Nevermore will I support Who's Line Is It Anyway and their sub-funny comedians. I do wonder whether in the future we'll see some repeat of this asshole, Democrat or Republican. I hope we don't, because the less highly compensated consultants running around being bigger than the Presidency the better. But count me among only the mildly interested in this story. Wake me up for the robots.

Non-Championship Team Completes Shit Homestand

It's easy to erase all the goodwill, and more importantly good results, from a 4-2 road trip against the wretched NL Central. Just come home and have a 2-4 homestand against your hated rival and a team whose hat letter is helt up by the mighty fish. Yeesh. So we're right back where we were before the road trip, and pretty much on the same road we've been on since June, when things were looking so good and I foolishly thought we'd get'em tomorrow.

I was home yesterday and watched the Mets finally break out and beat the Marlins. My father watched with me and remarked that if the Mets do in fact survive this, it'll be good for them. His logic being that outside of the playoffs last year, they never played any games under pressure. I have no problem with that, though I still think factors like Shawn Green starting over Lastings Milledge and Paul Lo Duca and the Carloses' continuing offensive offensiveness has as much to do with the Mets' struggles as the lack of pressure.

I think not making the playoffs could be good for some people on this team as well, specifically David Wright and Jose Reyes. These two cornerstones have dealt with failure with no expectations when they got called up and success with some expectations last year. Sure they had to deal with the disappointment of losing to the Cardinals, but the Met team this year was supposed to steam roll even harder than it did last year. Well so much for that. I don't want the Mets to miss the playoffs, but it would be interesting to see how the team reacts.

Sputtering Noises and Other Such Sounds

This blog is more a tribute to me and my ego than anything else I've been involved in. As such, it means I get to make up enemies and in my own small way, tell myself I am doing justice by, I dunno, talking shit about them on the internet. It's more complicated than it sounds. Sometimes then, when I come across mentions of people I hate online, I can't help but laugh. Like my sometimes punching bag, Kathleen Parker. According to this article reprinted on AlterNet, Kathleen Parker is a "respected political columnist". I don't even think a joke is necessary here.

Friday, August 10, 2007

In Which We Learn the Inner Thoughts of a Nickelback Fan That Is Not Kyle Farnsworth

I don't know why I read comments on articles online. Sometimes they're funny (calling Pete Wentz "rape baby") or thoughtful (ummmmmm..got nothing). But for the most part, message boards, comments on well known blogs and any other ways to let people let their voice be heard on the internet just doesn't work. I gotta give it up to the guys at SomethingAwful who somehow wade through message boards every week. If my job involved checking in on pedophile message boards every other month, I'd probably start learning how to build bombs. But today I believe we have found the greatest comment of all time. I petition the internet to never allow a comment again.


Whole post here, related funnies here.

DC Metro

So at long last I have finally figured out the DC Metro: During rush hour, if a train is not close to being filled, metro will shut down that train and just send it on its way to the end of the line, so as to save money by not stopping at each station and by not having passengers weigh it down. Pretty genius, until you realize that WMATA is continuously over its budget year after year.

So where is all that saved money going?
Probably Metro Director gambling debts and the usual hooker expenses.

Where should that money be going?
Animatronic hippoes, a la The Rainforest Cafe, to allow for the random drunk hooligan to run and jump on them unsuspectingly at the urging of equally irresponsible friends.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Metsis Interruptus

Last week when I left work during a John Maine start, the Mets were down 1-0 in the 3rd inning. I got home a half hour later and the Mets were down 6-0. Today I went to go meet some people for lunch during a John Maine start and the Mets were up 1-0 in the third inning. I came back from lunch an hour later and the Braves were winning 6-3.

...
...

I can't sit here and say I'm taking it well. Watching Willie Harris rob Moises Alou of an extra base hit pre-lunch and then Carlos Delgado of a ninth inning game tying homer post-lunch does not sit well with me. It doesn't sit well with me at all. At all.

I'm repeating myself because I'm angry. I'm angry because Marlon fucking Anderson was playing centerfield today. I like Marlon Anderson but not as my starting centerfielder in a rubber game in August against the second place Braves. Where. In. The. Fuck. Was Lastings Milledge? COME ON WILLIE! ANDERSON BLEW TWO CATCHES THAT MILLEDGE WOULD HAVE GOTTEN TO. I look over at Boston who threw an untested Dustin Pedroia into the majors and watched him flounder for a month, but he still played every day. Now he's batting over .300 and is an important cog in a good offense. Why the fuck can't Willie leave well enough alone and let Lastings play?

Not that Willie gave up 6 runs. John Maine is slowly convincing me he can't beat competent line-ups. He sucked twice against the Dodgers and has now suffered two huge meltdowns against the Cubs and the Braves, all three possible playoff opponents. Get your act together Maine, cause this shit ain't helping.

Once more with feeling: FUCK YOU WILLIE HARRIS!

This team just has a limitless amount of ways to piss me off...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

USA Today Commenter All Stars

Finally, someone other than John Edwards who's willing to tackle poverty in America. I may not be a Harvard educated lawyer like primus, but I really can't imagine there's a pair of sweats out there that costs $195.


User Image
primus wrote: 16h 5m ago
Here we go again the damn do gooders want the government to give a hand out to all the so called people who cannot afford the upgrade. That is what they want after listening to pundits talk this up for several months now. So called poor people have more disposable income that they want you to believe. Just look at all the expensive jewelry and stuff they and their kids have. Start with the $195 Nikes and sweats the kids from poor families wear. Now some elderly may need a little help especially with the education side of things. You did not see the government giving out handouts when they switched from B&W to Color.

(Story w/comment found on CTSB, more fun with primus here)

I Hate the Groovies

I had plans to go to the game last night. Glad they fell through. Watching the Braves beat the Mets is torturous to me, because I hate everything about that god damned team. The southerness, the racist as hell image it promotes, the seemingly never ending supply of prospects, and yes, the winning. I've tried everything: ripping phone books, ignoring them, praying to Sadaharu Oh, and nothing seems to make the Braves finally leave me in peace and allow me to find a new team to hate.

Of course, this doesn't excuse the Mets, who made Buddy Carlyle look like a freakin Cy Young candidate out there. Well, it was more that O'Perez made all the Braves look like Sliver Slugger recipients. When he gave up a two out single to the pitcher, my blood pressure would have shot up had I not been regulating it with special herbs and spices. Instead I was doing my best not to lash out. But since I had to react in some way, I slouched deeper into the couch and wondered if I killed myself would God make me wait to get into Heaven until Jeff Francoeur got there. My roomate said things to me that I non-sensically replied to, but I don't think he caught the hint that I was slowly going crazy.

Last year, I would have thought the Mets still had a chance even down 6-0. And when Gary Cohen pointed out that if the Mets scored three in the sixth if would be perfect symmetry with the Braves scoring one then two then three runs in the first three innings, I would have thought, yeah, it's gonna happen. Not this year. I've seen people say the Mets aren't playing with urgency and grit and other such bullshit. That ain't it babe. The Mets aren't playing with talent. Remember Paul LoDuca's .428 slugging percentage last year? His 39 doubles? Yeah, well hold onto those memories, because you won't see that again from Paulie. Remember when we had a competent rightfielder and religious icon in Xavier Nady? Well Shawn Green sucks and so do you. Left field has been a sort of black hole, again.

As I've said before, this team could win a World Series. But I don't think it's fair to the players, the management or we the fans to think that they will.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Guess Who's Back, Back Again

A what an awesome day. How many days do both Andrea Peyser and David Brooks drop fresh new columns of bullshit? Yes, it's like Christmas in July. Only I'm Jewish. So I guess it's more like Hanukkah in August. And I don't know which present I want to open first...

SHIRTING THE ISSUE

Andrea Peyser, come on down!

HOW many ways can you define "suicidal"?

One.

The school hasn't even opened yet. But the hijab-wearing principal of a taxpayer-funded school founded especially for Arab students has issued a fatwa against the kids of New York.

Wow. All she had to do was throw "jihad" and "Ramadan" in that sentence and she'd have covered every Arabic word Americans know.

She said there is nothing wrong with intifada.

Realistically, there are probably many Muslims (Muslims, not Arabs) that agree with that statement. While the blowing up of Israeli civilians is not a just tactic, how else is a Palestinian supposed to rebel? Rock v. tank? Fuck, even with RPG v. tank I'd still like the tank.

But after a day of outrage and calls for her head, the principal, Dhabah "Debbie" Almontaser, apologized.

What a fiasco! It had to be orchestrated by - who else? - the city's Department of Education.

Who else would orchestrate her apology, Al-Qaeda? Of course! Those crafty devils...

The Post gave Almontaser every chance to condemn the shirts' message of armed struggle against the West. She didn't.

Instead, she defined "intifada" - whose meaning is as clear as the hole in the ground in lower Manhattan - as "shaking off."

About that...

"I think it's pretty much an opportunity for girls to express that they are part of New York City society . . . and shaking off oppression."

It begs the question - how are our girls oppressed? Does she mean they are put down by Western ideals of free speech, thought and religion?

Maybe because they're treated as inferiors to the point where America needs to determine whether or not it's "ready" to let a woman be president (see also: black people). And yes, I imagine Muslim girls are harassed in New York.

"This woman should not be principal of any school," Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. said. "This shirt should read, 'I promote terror and hate on a daily basis, and all I got for it is this lousy T-shirt.' "

First off all, I don't think that would fit gracefully on a t-shirt. It'd be very hard to read. Second, where the fuck were all these people fretting about "terror supporters" when Peter King was sucking up to the IRA?

I can only conclude that political correctness trumps self-preservation when it comes to education.

How many ways can you define stupidity?

Two.

Was David Brook's column dumber? Well, no, it was normally unremarkable and vapid, some trite shit about baby names from a man whose children I pity. Like I said, most of it is unremarkable, and in the context of our horrible world seems terribly out of place in the World's Most Important Paper. But there's this little gem:

A thing as seemingly superficial as a name can influence, even if slightly, the course of a whole life (which is why I’ve named my own children President, Laureate and Hedge Fund Manager).

Now, I know that's supposed to be a little chuckle for the hoi polloi as they sip their coffee eating breakfast off of their butler table, but I think it's also an insight in to the mind of David Brooks. Now, my future terrible kids can do whatever the hell they want, provided they stay out of jail and out of my wallet. For some reason, Brooks puts Hedge Fund Manager on the same plateau as the fucking President and priceless literary talent.

Keeping in the Hanukkah theme, the oil lamp of stupidity has kept burning today. Witness Josh Gibson and Fred Phelps carrying out their own versions of compassionate conservatism and decency.

Hey, I Know That Bum

It's very easy to disassociate yourself from athletes who play major league sports. They look nothing like you, are in excellent physical shape, have more money than you ever will and are preternaturally gifted. So with this disassociation we are able to say horrible things about these athletes, sometimes nice things but mostly things that we just wouldn't say about other people. This is by no means bad or wrong, it's just that we expect a lot out of our highly paid professional athletes and again, it's not like we know them.

That all changed for me last night when my father called me around 8.

"Guess who's pitching for the Nationals tonight?"
"Uhhh, you?"
"Pretty close. It's John Lannan."
"From Point Lookout?"

I didn't immediately remember John, and we had some disagreement as to whether I played on his team or against his team in Little League. But I was excited nonethless. When I turned on the game and saw John Lannan on camera, it came flooding back: I had homeroom with this guy in middle school. And now he was 6'5", 200 pounds and the proud owner of one more major league win than I would ever have. It even turns out he was the guy who broke Chase Utley's hand!

And that's where it gets odd. Will Leitch says, understandably, that he doesn't expect any great moments from John Lannan that night. Deadspin commenters who have crushes on Chase Utley say things like "I can't wait until he retires with a 4.97 ERA" and generally do not seem to be a fan of his. Yet all I can see when I'm watching this game is the kid I was in homeroom with every groggy morning in seventh and eighth grade. But confounding that image is Lannan himself, doing things that every pitcher does. Spitting. Peering in to the catcher over and over. Trying to put down sacrifice bunts. It was all so natural, you wonder if some people are just born to be pro baseball players.

I started out wanting John to give up 756, not because I didn't like him, but because I thought it would be cool if he had that place in history. Only one person on Earth can give up 756, and why shouldn't it be John Lannan of Long Beach, NY? But as the game went on and John kept hanging around, I decided, fuck it, I'd rather he had a long and prosperous major league career and retire with a 3.50 ERA. He pitched Bonds tough and watching him pump his fist after he struck out one of the greatest players of all time was thrilling.

So pitch, pitch on John Lannan. Hopefully one of these days we get to see you toeing the rubber at Shea.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Giuliana's Daughter Is A Who-

-heyyyyyyyy...didn't see you there. I just have one question:
Do you think Rudy's daughter got her relationship tendencies from her father?

(Thanks to Slate for the actual reportage)

Non-Championship Team Completes Strong Road Trip

That's more like it. 4-2 on a road trip against the first place teams in the stank-ass Central Division puts my baseball heart a little more at ease than it had previously been. Then again, since the All-Star break, the Mets have played much more solid baseball. Will it be solid enough to beat the hated Braves this week? I don't know for sure, but I think the Mets take two out of three this series. The pitching is there, and while Atlanta improved their offense greatly by trading for future Metropolitan's first baseman Mark Texiera, Andruw Jones is too busy doing his best to show just how overpaid he'll be next year and Edgar Renteria is on the DL.

A note on Cubs' fans: you guys are weird. You have every right to be glad Kerry Wood is back from the netherworld, but cheering his every pitch like it's Game 7 of the World Series? Yikes. Since 2003, the guy has done nothing but get hurt. In New York we have a word for that kind of performance: Carl Pavano. By the way, is he still on the Yankees? I can't even remember anymore. Someone help me out here.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Michael Savage Lives in Fear of Democrats and Other Mythical Creatures

Honestly, when you change your name to Michael Savage and build a career on being a right wing tough guy radio voice, how the hell do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you suggest that the Democratic Party is capable of knocking off the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court? Everyone, especially right wingers, know that the Democratic Party is and has been in shambles for years now. All of a sudden they're taking tips from the Mossad or something?

To wit, in a long and strange diatribe, Senor Savage drew parallels between murdered something or other Alexander Litvinenko and the fact that John Roberts had a seizure. Because that would allow the Democrats to make the Supreme Court a "communist socialist court". I myself have never met a communist socialist, so I don't know how afraid I should be of that kind of court.

According to MediaMatters, Savage gets 8 million listeners a day. However, if these listeners are really that afraid of the Democratic Party, they must be more out of touch than I thought. They aren't just waiting for King George to come back and try to reclaim America, they obviously also live in fear of the Kaiser and Commie Joe himself. Certainly these are 8 million people I do not worry about.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Tim Purpura and Bob Henley: Astro-holes

Dear Astros Owner Drayton Mclane:

In Texas, pride is a big thing. Take a man's horse and you may as well have taken his wife. His wife, you may as well his home. His home, you may as well his truck. So and so forth, so on and so forth.
So in a state where a horse is equivalent to a wife, and to a man who saved and invested his way to being one of the richest men in America, isn't it slightly uncalled for and embarrassing to have a GM (Tim Purpura, hereby referred to as Titty Purp) that constantly has his lunch money taken from him at every major deadline conference? This year's team never decided if it was a buyer or seller and is now doing both. Badly. The big deadline deal this year was meant to shore up third base, where there has been a rather steadfast platoon of Mark Loretta, Mile Lamb and anyone else willing to put on a 3B mitt. In order to solve the problem, Titty Purp decided to trade a major bullpen piece in Dan Wheeler for on Ty Wiggington of the Devil Rays.
Oh where to begin. First, the Stros didn't need a third basemen. Lamb and Loretta are having good years. Instead of focusing on what is going wrong and trying to fix that, we took a preemptive movement. EARTH TO MANAGEMENT. Preemption is a tactic designed after you fix the big gaping freaking hole in the ship.
Even if you are trying to preempt a future problem, you have to cautiously avoid the destruction of another important cog in the team. The bullpen is not the strength it once was, when the team could afford to move major players star rent a pieces like Carlos Beltran. Dishing Wheeler means that all that stands between a shaky bit recovered Brad Lidge and the starter that night is Chad "Grand Slam" Qualls. Just, so you know, we don't call him that because of his big stick.
Even at face value, the move is not good, nor could it ever be. Wigginton is a fine player if you have no third basemen and plenty of other places to look for offense. However, the risk is through the roof if he is your biggest plan to fix a baseball team. He has only one full year in the majors, in 2003 when he put up .255-.318-.396. That might be sufficient but it's no Lance Berkman. This year he is on pace for another full year and is at .278-.330-.458 on the season. When sports reporters describe that as an above average year for him, the description is near perfect. He is between five and ten points better in each major statistical category. He is also almost thirty years old, and somewhat of a defensive liability in terms of range. Then after comparing him with Lambs' .299-.380-.478 and Loretta's .287-.362-.375, tossing in the fact that he makes roughly the same amount as either man... this trade looks like it will be of no use whatsoever.
And yet still on the team is Jason Lane, lugging around his .175 batting average and .548 OPS. I'm glad that they traded away Ensberg in a basic liquidation sale, taking either a player and cash or a player or cash. However, this team has plenty of pieces with which to make trades. Drayton, stop drinking the Kool Aid. It didn't build your team and the fans know it. If we have to get your attention by staying away from the park, fine. There are plenty of bars with Fox Sports Net.
The problem is that you listen to homers like Bob Hensley on the Tenth Inning Show, who makes such brilliants statements in your defense, referencing as support that it is wrong for us as fans to call for the resignation or Titty Purp and Phil Garner because we have not been involved in behind the scenes conversations regarding clubhouse business. Aside from the fact that that defense could be used to support any person in any position of leadership in the history of mankind, there is some logical and practical blame to be placed. When a building falls down, you can partly blame the architect. When a PResidential Policy flops, it's on the head of the President. When a team is repeatedly fleeced in every transaction that it makes and the minor leagues are run ragged, the General Manager is due the blame.

-Tex

I Finally Get It

Well folks, I finally understand all this hullabaloo about why we need to stay the course. After all, when things get rough, do we just give up? Throw our hands up and shrug in the resigned fashion of the defeated? Hell no. Not when your other option is "Leprechaun: Back 2 Da Hood" on BET. I turned on the Met game and watched a comeback and a giveback and a comeback again. Good stuff, good stuff.

Oh, you thought I meant Iraq? Haha, fooled you. I'm talking about something much more tenuous and volatile: the confidence of Oliver Perez. As soon as the double play ball was hit to him, I just knew he was going throw it away. But all baseball fans get those premonitions sometimes. And after that, you just knew Prince Fielder was going to knock the shit out the ball, which he did. So I decided I didn't want to put myself through the pain of a game where the offense sleepwalks and Ollie slowly fades into dementia. But with nothing but Leprechauns to give me dinnertime entertainment, I figured I'd try to slog through the Mets.

I was rewarded for my loyalty by a pretty entertaining game. Aside from the Mets continuing defensive follies (stop diving Shawn Green!), the Mets didn't play an awful game last night. Ollie got his head (mostly) right despite the presence of a tough ump. It's a sight to see when he's working, especially when he struck out the side. Good Ollie makes you look stupid up there. Bad Ollie makes you feel stupid for watching baseball. I'm glad we got the Good Ollie more this game.

So next time you find your team down early and your talented but fragile pitcher is on the mound, stick it out. Unless of course something better than Leprechaun is on.