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June 1, 2006 - May 25, 2006

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


InstaPunk Senior

InstaPunk Senior -- fighter pilot, father, and backbone of America.

THE WORD. I like this picture. It's of the guy who sired InstaPunk before he did that. The date is indeterminate, circa 1942. It may have been before he joined the Army Air Corps, after, or the exact moment when he announced that he had to his parents. Regardless, you can see something of who he was when he started out. He was cocky and yet uncertain, insufferable and invincible but still oddly innocent. He hadn't yet learned what happens when a friend crash-lands with his face too close to the gunsight, or what fire can do to aluminum and flesh when it's fed by a thousand gallons of gasoline.

I have many later photographs. During and after the war. None exhibit this particular look in the eye, the attitude that accounts for the admonitory stories I used to hear about driving too fast, drinking too much, and observing too little. The kid in the picture is a punk. He became a good man, faithful, dutiful, serious, hardworking, and upright -- all to a fault.

All these years later, his son is still a punk, still paying for too much attitude and too little maturity.


InstaPunk in not-so-hot mode.

Beat up, tired, and fed up. InstaPunk Senior was also fed up when he died at the age of 77. He'd retired 20 years before, after he discovered that his company's executives had taken up the practice of lying to each other and to him. His 37 years of corporate life hadn't included that -- till then.

The remainder of his life represented more unhappy education. The veteran of 88 P-47 combat missions told me, days before he died, that everything he had gone to war for was gone. His country no longer cared for individual initiative, despised traditional virtue, and subsidized both weakness and failure. He was relieved to be out of action. He died of lung cancer in 1999, almost 40 years after he quit smoking cigarettes, as he'd been sermonized that he should, cold turkey, as no one but him in my experience has been able to do.

In today's terms, he was in many ways a bad man. That is, he excelled in the (now discredited) virtues of THEN, and he was an archetype of the evils we deplore NOW.  He commuted 80 miles a day to work and back, he never phoned in sick, he regarded children as ancillary accessories that shouldn't end life as we know it, he refused to countenance rude or inappropriate behavior by kids or relatives, he loved dogs and hated cats (until Webster), he drafted the whole family into the mission of keeping the yard spotless, he thought tennis was God's personal sport, and he never cursed or tolerated cursing. He never forgave any transgressor of these arbitrary dicta ever.

He was a snob. He paid attention to only a handful of well-bred families in the town he (and I) was born in, he insisted that his children had to go away to secondary schools where they'd be trained as ladies and gentlemen, and long before it was the fashion he was resolute in his conviction that women should be as well educated and dutiful as men. To him, a college education meant the Ivy League or the Seven Sisters, as long as they weren't Harvard, which was a breeding ground for fools. He disliked Jews, whom he admired enormously for their intellect, because even though they worked tremendously hard, they tended to be under-dressed and obnoxious, both in school and in restaurants. The highest honor he conceived of in academe was to get better grades than the smartest Jew in the class -- while being better dressed. He himself never entered a restaurant without a coat and tie and never complained about anything he was served, no matter how offensively inedible it was.

He was also a racist. He believed that black people, at least American black people, were inferior, apart from all the obvious exceptions. For this reason, he was a tireless champion of hiring them during his working career, defending them from the attacks of others, and bending over backwards to make sure they got an even chance to prove themselves in every way -- because he refused to tolerate unfairness in himself and because he had  utter contempt for all the people who were so prejudiced they couldn't recognize the fact that there are many exceptions to even the most self-evidently true generalizations.

He hated Democrats, especially FDR, JFK, and LBJ. He flew in FDR's funeral, 750 ft below the ordered 1,000-ft altitude, to protest the deaths of multiple friends who died in the fog during the spurious NY Harbor submarine scare that helped get Roosevelt reelected in 1944.  While JFK was president, he insisted, with absolutely no evidence, that the man was a callow, drug-addicted, philandering hypocrite, bought into office by his Nazi-sympathizer bootlegger father, and that the whole Kennedy clan amounted to no more than the lowest of shanty Irish. He so despised LBJ that he counseled his son not to join up for the Vietnam War, "because there's no point fighting a war you're not allowed to win."

He had no understanding of, or sympathy for, the radical sixties that followed Kennedy's assassination.While he did not forbid the playing of music by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Doors in his house, he uniformly referred to them as "adenoidal, no-talent losers."

What he did like: Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, the Dorsey brothers, Nat Cole, Ted Heath, and much (though not the personal life) of Frank Sinatra. He also liked sports cars. He had a Triumph TR3, TR4, and TR6, and a Fiat Spyder 124 (though he had no use for Italians since being stationed in Naples in 1943).

What else? He was a gifted portrait painter. He loved his wife devotedly and was faithful to her throughout 53 years of marriage. (How do I know? I know. That's who he was.)


Well, who wouldn't be?

But he was funny, too. The whole world was a word game to him. He had his own names for everyone and everything, and hardly ever were those names mean. He also put up with InstaPunk. We fought like dogs and loved each other nonetheless.

Why all this? Because I miss him. If he were here, we could grouse together about Nancy Pelosi, and Howard Dean, and global warming, and Hollywood, and rap music, and cartoon dudes, and Sean Hannity, and Enron, and Cindy Sheehan. Without him, I feel as if the world has taken a turn too many, so that now what's left is getting off the merry-go-round before it crushes us with its well-meaning safety standards and flatulent political correctness. You can live out in the country, in the remotest and most rural of counties, but they can still turn you into a criminal for smoking in a bar where half the patrons also want to smoke, and they can force you closer and closer to the new ideal of a life not lived as the only life worth living, where life itself is defined as not dying for a decade past consciousness, where nothing on earth is worth dying for, and where only self-proclaimed victims are regarded as wise enough to write the rules for everyone else -- and scream them at you as if they constituted an anthem. These days, it feels as if my father chose the exact right time to leave the U.S.A. for good.

I'd like, just once, to have the chance to congratulate him on a decision I have come to agree with. For that I'd be willing to take off the boot chain for a day and put on a proper four-in-hand tie -- you know, the kind with a small, perfect dimple just below the knot. The thing is, I've always known that what we had in common was the guy in the picture. Behind the tie and the stern face, the punk was in there somewhere, the one who could have understood the hair and the Harleys and the go-to-hell grin. He might even be grinning at me now.

A REMINDER. Chain Gang must have been right about what he said a few days ago.




Tuesday, May 30, 2006


The Diff in a Jiff

55 is so much nicer a speed. Don't you agree?

TRUST. So the Dems think we're ready for their approach to everything. Maybe you are. But we can't help remembering that as bad as the Republicans are, the Democrats are worse. The question you have to ask yourself is this: Just how badly do you want to be protected from yourself? If you're really afraid of how much harm you might do yourself by making your own choices and living your life your way, by all means vote Democrat.

Here's the perfect example. Hillary Clinton is devoted to keeping you safe from your worst impulses:

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, ex-First Lady and likely future presidential candidate threw out an odd legal suggestion to the National Press Club this week: a nationwide return to the double-nickel. According to Clinton, "The 55-mile speed limit really does lower gas usage. And wherever it can be required, and the people will accept it, we ought to do it..."

Meanwhile, the red-state hick idiots in Texas have just done this:

DALLAS -- One of the fleetest critters in western Texas, so they say, is the kooky-looking bird called the chaparral, or "roadrunner." The main tourist attraction in Fort Stockton is a huge statue of an 11-by-22-foot roadrunner called Paisano Pete, who greets visitors from atop the town's "Welcome" sign.
    But on parts of Interstate Highways 10 and 20 around Fort Stockton -- heading west toward El Paso and east toward San Antonio and Dallas -- the gawky bird no longer will be the fastest thing going.
    Last week, state highway officials in Fort Stockton unveiled the first 80-mph speed limit sign -- reportedly the fastest posted speed limit in the nation.
    Rep. Pete Gallego, who represents a district bigger than Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island combined and sponsored the bill, said it will only add to the comfort of drivers who travel the desolate highway.
    "Probably the only difference might be that police write fewer speeding tickets," he said.
    Some safety officials and energy conservationists predict the additional speed allowance can mean nothing but more fatal accidents.
    "People don't survive crashes at that speed," said Tom Smith, director of the Texas office for Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy organization.
    "This will result in more deaths," said Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "You get somewhere faster, but at what cost?"
    Mr. Gallego said Texas Department of Transportation specialists had studied the situation and found that in the three years since the speed limit in that area was increased from 70 to 75 mph, the number of fatalities had actually dropped.
    The highways, among the most remote in the U.S., are generally four-lane, well-maintained and straight as an arrow mile after mile. It is often 10 to 15 miles between exit ramps. The affected highways total about 400 miles.

Just a few observations. Straight roads kill people because they get bored. Suggest anything to you? About Democrats? Also, social engineers have been trying to fix speed limits for generations, but STUDIES SHOW that actual speed limits are set by the drivers themselves, of whom 85 to 90 percent travel at a speed that is safe given traffic, weather, and road conditions. Legislated speed limits are either irrelevant or a dangerous complicating factor to these driver-set speed limits. Does this suggest anything to you?

Pay attention, all you leadfoot, minivan-driving soccer moms. Do you really want a huge congressional tax increase AND a permanent personal tax increase in the form of mucho additional speeding tickets plus the associated insurance premium hikes you'll receive for all your incompetent driving around in the suburbs? If your husband can't convince you to drive slower with the kids on board, do you really think Hillary can?

Think about it. We'd call this a kitchen table issue. What would you call it?




Monday, May 29, 2006



Happy Memorial Day




Friday, May 26, 2006



InstaPunk Lives

We're not sure what all that was about, but one thing is for sure -- InstaPunk is NOT ready for prime time.

As reported previously, the discussion sessions were a bit above and beyond past debates. InstaPunk was bloodied, but he was still standing at the end of it all -- at least that is what we heard. Unfortunately, we weren't there -- so, it is left to us to sort it all out . . .

That is what we'll be doing over this Memorial Day weekend. If you'd like to help -- perhaps contribute and entry or two -- drop us a line via the email address provided in the left panel. Otherwise, have a good time and go listen to Taps being played somewhere near home -- maybe even shed a tear or two for those who aren't with us this year.





Jock Justice

Mike Nifong, Lacrosse alum. Translation? Idiot.

COUNSELOR. We were suspicious from the start. The folks at Instapunk are as sympathetic and intimate with strippers as anyone. This particular charge never rang true. But we kept our peace. We know that jocks can be a**holes. In particular, we never liked Lacrosse jocks.

[Yes, InstaPunk arises from his bed of pain. He's back. Because of this. Which he hates. Because he never liked Lacrosse jocks.]


Well, Seamans wasn't
that dumb. Better than what came after.

They were the superficialest, snobbiest, airheadedest bunch of clowns who ever afflicted a private school -- back in the days before Johns-Hopkins somehow swindled the nation into believing that a bunch of halfwits sporting pre-Columbian accessories 24 hours a day constituted a legitimate sports constituency. They never did. They were, from the first, merely the signposts of empty-headed, social-climbing, obsessive, quasi-untalented joke-jocks, who convinced each other they were athletic because they came from the same affluent three-county area in Maryland. They drank themselves into a stupor over a title decided among Johns-Hopkins, Annapolis, and the honestly named Terrapins of U. Maryland. Oh yeah. I forgot. There were also a bunch of prep schools in the Maryland area that gave passing grades to congressmen's sons who had filled in their athletic deficits by swishing Lacrosse sticks over their Topsiders since the age of six. Where do you think Terrapins come from?

Yecccch. Yeeeccccch. Thirty-five years after graduation from my southern Pennsylvania prep school, I still despise them, even the thought of them, their sneers, their sticks whooshing day and night, their Sperry Topsiders slap-slapping the paths, their consonantless, empty chatter...

To my mind, Lacrosse players are the bottom of the bottom-feeders.

So I waited for the rape case to be made against the Duke dudes. Only problem:  No case.

You see. I hate Lacrosse players. But I don't get to ruin their lives by leveling empty charges at them. Just to pose one example, say I'm a woman who's at least momentarily attractive to Lacrosse players.  I don't get to accuse three of them of raping me when I've already admitted to having sex with three other non-Lacrosse-playing dudes on the same night. I don't get to change my story back and forth -- nothing, rape, gang rape, rape by the richest Lacrosse players -- when I'm a stripper who's too drunk to to remember what really happened. If anything happened.

It can even be the case that my life is sad and unfair. I can call myself an exotic dancer. I can pretend I don't make money by taking my clothes off for Lacrosse players (Yecccch!), which -- when it accidentally happens -- causes me to drink too much and have sex with lots of men before I ever meet the rich stick-wielding dudes.

But if I want to prove that Lacrosse dudes raped me, I'd really better be able to remember the incident, name names, produce evidence beyond residual signs of arousal and subsequent tenderness in my loins, and have some kind of circumstantial evidence that rich white boys forced me to have sex against my will.

I'd also better have a district attorney on my side who isn't a total race-whore sellout with no case beyond a desire to inflame racial tensions to win an election.

Let me sum up. When I quit pretending that I'm a stripper, I still hate Lacrosse players. A lot. But what I hate worse are scheming whores who assume they can frame men for rapes they didn't commit. And worst of all, I hate prosecutors.

Yeah, unscrupulous prosecutors are the worst. Like Mike Nifong, spread-eagled political opportunist. Like the first Maryland Lacrossers I ever knew. Social climbers armed with a stick. Whoosh whoosh. Whore of whores. But I also hate even the lesser prosecutors  -- the ones who overcharge their clients even when they're not overstating the case against defendants who aren't savvy enough to get real legal help hire a more expensive lawyer. On the other hand, maybe there's justice in the injustice of bullies who learn that other people are alive only by learning that they aren't. Condolences to all the dead people. Whoosh whoosh.

But that's just me. Recuperating from the Debate. [I gave as good as I got. Who out there has ever publicly disagreed with Insect Brain?]

Get the man some topsiders and a stick. Then shoot him. It worked for [DELETED].





Thursday, May 25, 2006


The World is Catching Up...

Bob and Joan and Cate and Brad

BREAKING NEWS. About five weeks ago, we published a scoop about George Clooney's new movie Weekend at Berchtesgaden. Some people laughed at the reported casting of Barba Streisand as Joseph Goebbels and Whoopi Goldberg as Nicholas von Ribbentrop. We may have been slightly premature about Clooney's next project, but we were right on the money about the newest fad in movie-making -- casting against gender type. Today's Drudge contains an item about a new film biography of Bob Dylan, in which one of multiple actors playing him  is Cate Blanchette.

[O]n Dylan's birthday, the Hollywood press reported that Blanchett would be among several actors -- also including "Brokeback Mountain" star Heath Ledger and Richard Gere -- to portray the great American folksinger in a film.

Blanchette as Dylan. Of course. Wrong nationality, wrong ethnic type, wrong sex -- sounds about right to us -- right in the sense that the world is indeed catching up with Instapunk predictions. The article fails in one respect, though; it doesn't mention the equally sensational casting of the Joan Baez role, which will be played by Brad Pitt. Our sources tell us that Tom Cruise was briefly in line for the part but was considered "too deeply weird" by the producers to be convincing as Baez. (Yeah, that doesn't sound right to us, either. Oh well.)

We suspect this is the beginning of an onslaught of double-switch casting, which offers multiple advantages to the Hollywood movie industry. First, as Instapunk pointed out just a few days ago, there's a real and increasing shortage of male actors capable of playing men who aren't metrosexual castrati. Couple this with the increasing aggressiveness and ambition of contemporary women, and you have a solution to a longstanding problem. There still aren't many interesting dramatic parts for women, for some reason, and today's female actors are therefore determined to cross gender lines to get more screen time and juicier dialogue. Filmgoers will benefit too, particularly in the red states where attendance at Hollywood movies has been declining because of the perception that they're way too gay. Here's where the double-switch can come to the rescue at the box office. When Cate and Brad get it on as Bob and Joan, viewers will still be able to imagine that the traditional unseen parts are operating in traditional ways, even though the visible parts are bass-ackwards, if you know what we mean. Everybody wins. Female actors get to pretend they're brilliant men instead of frustrated feminists. Male actors get to indulge their ballooning feminine side. Movie audiences get to pretend that sex itself is still pretty much proceeding the way it always used to (even if it isn't). And Hollywood producers will make enough money to keep all their gay lovers happy.

Here are some similar projects rumored to be in the works:

A new film biography of Napoleon with Janeane Garofalo as the short, humorless emperor and Orlando Bloom as Josephine.

A blockbuster remake of Gone With the Wind starring Ashton Kutcher as Scarlett, Demi Moore as Rhett, Halle Berry as Ashley, and Bruce Willis as Hattie McDaniel.

An Andrew Lloyd Webber musical adaptation of Citizen Kane in which the eponymous protagonist will be played by Rosie O'Donnell and Dakota Fanning (Kane as a child sledding on Rosebud), while the part of Kane's tragically unhappy wife will be filled by Johnny Depp.

What's that? You're not excited about these developments? Then we won't even mention the planned Godfather remake with Kirstie Allie as Don Corleone, Anjelina Jolie as Michael, and Matt Damon as Diane Keaton. Not one  word.

Bet you're sorry now.




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