Instapun*** Archive Listing

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December 25, 2010 - December 18, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

His first Christmas. We thought we'd educate him.

CIVILIZING THE HEATHEN. He's ten months old today, old enough to start taking an interest in the Yuletide season. He loved all the gift wrapping, the scent of candies and foods, and twinkling lights of the Christmas tree. But there's so much more to appreciate than the commercial and purely festive parts of this annual celebration.

So we played the music for him. Unfortunately, all the other exciting activities had put him to sleep. Could anything awaken him to the real meaning of Christmas?

The full catalogue of what we tried actually adds up to a marvelous, global Youtube Christmas concert that even human beings might find affecting: Celtic (***), Welsh, German, Norwegian, Russian (***), Romanian, Greek, French, Italian (****), Italian-American (***)African-American (****), and Celtic (****) again.

Nothing. He remained exactly as you see him above. Then we tried this (*), and lo and behold, up he got:

Yes, he was momentarily awake and alert.

I guess he's still too young to understand the true ecumenical spirit of Christmas. But after our musical tour of Christendom, we kind of settled on this as our favorite (*****):

Merry Christmas. God bless us, every one.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lefty Political Splatter Porn

Mrs. CP's early Christmas present was Netflix streaming movies on the TV. She
said it would give me more stuff to write about and share. Who knew? She did.

. Wow. Wow. WOW. Even the lefty reviewers were embarrassed by this one and attempted to bury it without addressing its real mission. This negative review at Rotten Tomatoes is typical:

More interested in bloodshed than giggles, “Operation: Endgame” aims to be a nasty little riff on paranoia, contrasting W-era government buffoonery with Obama’s “hope” shell game (thus creating the potential for The Factory’s obsolescence), creating [the] backdrop of ceaseless surveillance and government futility th[at] best support[s] a low-fi actioner. Perhaps the film’s ambition read better than it plays, with only a hazy outline of purpose remaining in the movie. The rest of the feature is devoted to dreadful improv contests (Corddry has a limited imagination for insults) and bland fisticuffs, with the spies forced to beat the stuffing out of one another to escape the impending detonation. Shot around what seems like a law office, the ensemble certainly looks content trying on a rare amount of stunt work, but it all becomes meaningless noise, with Mikati staging the same scenes over and over again, with only gore punchlines creating identity. [Positive review here.]

A dismissal that leaves out everything important. This movie was never intended to be about giggles. It was intended as a mordantly wicked satire of the evils an incoming Obama administration would magically undo. All the action occurs on the day of the One's inauguration, which is not a backdrop or a plot device but the subtle-as-a-hammer obviously, strikingly, and laughably motivating force behind the whole picture. We're supposed to read all the hyper-violence of the action as a revelation of the poisoned soul of the Bush administration and its conservative minions, with direct reference (I'm guessing supposedly subliminal) to the White House Plumbers of the Nixon administration, including a pair of Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum security staff stand-ins for Haldemann and Ehrichmann, who are summarily gunned down in the last reel. We're given repeated glimpses of and plot linkages to Dick Cheney, including the fact that the Milady-like villainness of the piece -- Ellen Barkin -- once (ugh, ew, spew) slept with him, and every quarter hour or so we're returned to the Inaugural Speech of the Messiah promising a New Day while the Old Day is self-destructing in the hellish depths of a CIA black-ops bunker located hundreds of feet below the Empire State Building.

The cast alone reveals that this is not simply a failed action movie: Ellen Barkin, Ving Rhames, Jeffrey Tambor (Garry Shandling's second banana on the Larry Sanders Show), the Rob Corddrey guy from the Daily Show, and Zach Gallianakis. Yeah, maybe they all need work, but you get the sense -- as you sometimes do with actors -- that they're being enthusiastic above their pay scales, as if they think they're doing something important. Ellen Barkin, who allows herself to be called both "post-menopausal" and "a cunt" (by another woman, no less) in this movie is still a formidable talent and beauty. Why would she participate? Because let's be clear. This is a splatter flick. It also features some of the most constantly obscene language you will hear outside of a porn website (or an HBO TV series), and there's a cringe-inducing moment when a character tells Barkin he expects her to welcome a new hire "inside your vaginal walls." And Barkin doesn't turn a hair. Her reply is a matter-of-fact F-Bomb. You know. She's playing a Republican. Who once spread her legs for Cheney.

The plot? Ten Little Indians, and all the Indians are secret assassins whose activities have to be wiped from the record as the Bush administration is leaving office. The symbolism is self-consciously indicative and, like all bad satire, so intrusive as to be the only mechanism of suspense: Are they going to tell us what all the naming schemes mean? You see, the evil unit buried below the Empire State Building consists of 22 psychopaths whose code names are the Tarot Arcana. Our putative hero is The Fool. We meet other agents in succession, each of them a perversion or opposite of the Tarot's archetypes. Temperance is a whore, reputed to have had anal sex with Putin -- and everyone else.. The Chariot is a drunk who swills from a flask shaped like a .45 semi-automatic. The Empress (Barkin) is an insane, cold-blooded, castrating bitch. The Tower is a cartoon black Republican who works at his desk waving tiny American flags and is described as "probably still a virgin." The Devil, who nominally runs the whole unit, is Jeffrey Tambor, a doughy, impotent bureaucrat conducting a phone sex affair with a mysterious woman of slovakian origins. Etc.

But here's where the 'satirical genius' enters the script. These Tarot personae are divided into two units, the Alpha Team and the Omega Team, each of whose mission it is to oppose the other in the performance of Black Ops. Uh, something about the utter futility of any kind of intelligence function in the U.S. government? Ya think? Of course, Christ is the real Alpha and Omega, and he's being sworn into office while these nutcases are tasked with killing each other, thus clearing the decks for the "Change We Have Been Waiting for" or some such nonsense.

If the Obama administration hadn't begun self-destructing the moment it took office, I'm thinking this movie would have received kindlier reviews. It's clear that filming began after the coronation of the One, which meant that by the time of its release the Messiah thing had become something of an embarrassment. To understand this movie, we have to return to the lefty mindset at the time of his arrival in the Oval Office. He was going to set everything right, which meant establishing a radical break with everything that had gone before. That's the allegorical setting of Operation: Endgame.

The agents who ruthlessly murder one another in this movie are supposed to be us, those who supported the jingoism of Bush and Cheney and opposed the liberal "Can't we all get along?" approach to foreign affairs. (The hero is, also presumably subtly, a Brit whose accent only surfaces in the final scene. Long live world government.) So the real value of this absurd manifestation of lefty prejudice is the view it gives us of how they see us. What do you suppose that is?

We talk patriotism and Christian values, but we actually live in the gutter. We think about sex, sex, and sex in our frozen hearts, but in reality we're either hypocritical whores or repressed sexual predators. We don't care about anything you'd call principle, we lie continuously to ourselves and each other, and when push comes to shove, we'd kill our best so-called friends at the drop of a hat. The worst of us are the evangelical Christians. The creepiest scene (I exaggerate; there are many, many creepy scenes) is the murder of Judgment (Ving Rhames) by The Hierophant (sometimes termed The Pope in Tarot-speak), who calls her dying victim to Jesus as he tries to pry the bolts of a table leg out of his temple after she put it there. And, of course, her final solicitation to the Lord includes the word "fucking." You see, we're the foul-mouthed ones, even though they're the ones who wrote this foul, sadistic, and unbelievably blood-drenched script.

There is nothing in this movie -- no scene, no dialogue exchange, no act of sex or violence -- that isn't meant to be pure political allegory.

I'm not telling you to watch it. Scratch that. I am telling you to watch it. It doesn't matter that it failed at the box office and that few will see it. It's good information nonetheless. This movie shows us who they really are and who they think we are. It's a political SM masturbation fantasy, incredibly violent, dark, and monolithic. As the Haldemann and Ehrichmann stand-ins watch the murders of Alpha and Omega agents on their computer monitors, tonelessly, one at a time, the one asks the other, "Are you feeling at all aroused by this?" His repressed counterpart answers, "No." Which draws the response, "Me neither."  We're supposed to know that they both have raging hard-ons watching women kill other women.

There's a happy ending, of course. Temperance and The Fool find the escape route before the complex detonates its pre-programmed napalm bombs (Jeez. Who still remembers napalm? Talk about revealing archaisms...) But then the hero -- er, The Fool (a.k.a. the Zero) -- emerges from the elevator, stepping over the dead body of the 'Temperance' he bloodily slaughtered on the way up and catches a cab, secure in his possession of a CD documenting all the dirty work done by the evil Bush administration. Which is when the nasty old diried-up Pelosi-esque phone sex babe puts a bullet in the heads of Haldemann and Ehrichmann. 'The World' is now free to experience the healing balm of the New Messiah. Who has the hard-on now?

Available this week on Netflix. Don't miss it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Report On
The Lame Duck Congress

I think this covers everything, but I'll talk some anyway.

. I know some of you think we've been neglecting our duties. Congress has been running wild in its final session while this site has been yammering mindlessly about movies, dogs, and sports. Sorry. Hence the video documentary above, on which we have worked tirelessly for daysminutes. Okay. It may be more allegorical than documentary in tone, but the actions of this last congressional outing have also been more symbolic than serious. When the next congress takes office the pursestring power of the House and all its occult procedures for poisoning bills the president must sign with items of its own political agenda will rapidly undo most of the real damage. You'll see. Why we've been so apparently careless. This month we've had the Democrat tantrum. Next month we'll start the Republican war. Thus, our video report has it about right.

It begins with an overview of the various tools and perquisites congressional porkers can bring to bear against their lame duck status. They still have all the big guns in the form of rules and voting firepower, and damn the long-term electoral consequences. It's more than enough to scare a Portuguese waterdog (or whatever that pooch is), but far from enough to change the inevitable outcome of the campaign. They sally out onto the floor and attempt an explosion of defiant spending that somehow misses the mark. In spite, they retaliate by managing to do what they've always been best at -- damaging the military. But the military will survive, as it always does. There's a lot of self-conscious pantomiming about earmuffsearmarks, but when the pork barrels seem torpedoed, they're merely sinking from sight and spilling their booty under the surface. What look like lame ducks are actually just drunk ducks, intoxicated by their incipient careers as lobbyists, ready to sing in unison with the capitalist running dogscorporate government collaborators they pretend to have opposed and drubbed during their terms in office.

Then there's Nancy Pelosi, the lame duck Speaker of the House, possessed by what she regards as a new electricity of passionate resistance, whereas the rest of us see her as pregnant with shocking defeats to come. Afterwards, the chaotic endgame, lots of rhetorical firing off about all kinds of nonsense, and maybe some casualties on both sides, but none of it is fatal.

When the archaic cartoon part is over, the contemporary reality show can begin. If START passes, its specific implementation provisions have to be funded with the approval of congressional oversight committees. If Net Neutrality is to be an effective enforcement mechanism, same thing. If the government is to be taken over by unelected bureaucratic agencies, they must somehow escape relentless congressional investigations into the legality, expense, and economic impacts of their overreach. Make no mistake. Porkers will still be porkers and congressional birdbrains will still quack in vast formations around the Capitol, but elections do have consequences, and the gridlock that can halt runaway federal expansionism is just around the corner of the New Year. Despite the paranoid sententiousness of the pundits, who all have deadlines to meet and ratings or circulation figures to pump, December 2010 is farce. Enjoy the video.

The only thing it's missing is any comment on Krauthammer's weird theorem that failing to raise taxes in a stagnant economy equals a trillion dollar stimulus expenditure. We love Krauthammer, and so there are times when it's kinder to look away. Maybe he always gets this irrationally depressed during the holiday season. Maybe he's celebrating the conservative equivalent of Mardi Gras, in which what are (tantamount to religious) orthodoxies for most of the year are deliberately turned on their heads and mocked in a madcap week or so, simply to relieve the strain. Who knows? Regardless, we're certain he'll be back to normal come January.

As may the rest of us, including

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Mystery of
the Meadowlands

Beautiful. Unlike the public humiliation heaped by classy
Head Coach Coughlin on his rookie punter on national
television in the immediate aftermath of the game. What
goes around comes around. Giants? How 'bout Midgets?
PAYBACK. As a resident of the Delaware Valley, I can tell you it's probably the most mysterious mystery in the history of sports. After three-and-a-half quarters of the Giants-Eagles game yesterday, the Eagles were trailing 31-10 and dead in the water. Everybody in Philadelphia, Delaware, and South Jersey changed channels. Then, suddenly, the Philadelphia exiles who follow the Eagles in other parts of the country started making frantic phone calls to tell their friends and relatives to turn the game back on. My own call came from Las Vegas, just to show you how the thing went down. "Are you watching this?" he practically screamed at me. "Watching what?" "The Eagles! The game is tied! Watch it!" Then he hung up.

Which is when we all tuned back in. Just in time to see Desean Jackson win the game. Apparently, the Eagles scored 28 points in the last half of the last quarter to win in regulation, which has never happened before in the history of the National Football League. But how? Nobody knows. Even the normally know-it-all sports press is baffled. They keep calling it a "miracle." Well, I have it on righteous authority that nothing associated with the Eagles should ever be called a miracle because of, you know, and so I think we can safely rule out divine intervention. There has to be a more prosaic explanation.

I'm thinking it must be Desean. It's partly a matching of improbabilities. Nobody wins games in the NFL from that far back. But nobody would think Desean Jackson could become the most explosive player in the league, either. He weighs 165 pounds. He's no taller than 5' 10." When he was drafted two years ago, in the second round, Philadelphia fans thought Coach Andy Reid had lost his mind. Ever since Terrell Owens left the Eagles, fans have known they needed a big, tall, strong wide receiver like Terrell Owens, only without the subversive attitude. Why waste a second round draft choice on a shrimp who'd get broken in half the first time he was tackled in the NFL? This is why.

And he's still making about half a million a year. You know. Second round.
(I almost called this post 'Hip Hop Ambassador.' All his highlight videos have
rap soundtracks. Which fit. But he's no gangsta. Instead, he's everybody's
irrepressibly exuberant little brother, the naughty one who gets away with it.)

He's captivatingly likable. Even phlegmatic Andy Reid is, uncharacteristically, openly fond of him and unbelievably forgiving of his antics, which he sees as proof of the kid's boundless enthusiasm for playing the game. Which is also what has charmed the fans. Despite all his mistakes and juvenile showboating, Desean unmistakeably loves to play the game of football. There was no one in Eagles country who didn't take it personally when Giants fans at the Meadowlands cheered his scary concussive injury in the Eagles-Falcons game when it was shown live on the Giants Jumbotron.

You see, he's too little to be playing NFL football in the first place. He's incredibly brave to run onto the field at all, and we certainly don't want to see him carried off the field on a stretcher. But when Giants fans cheer his possibly serious injury, then karma comes into play. Not God because of, you know, but the law of physics which postulates that what goes around comes around.

Like what happened with the Redskins. There was a near brawl before the second game because the Redskins told Desean they were going to do the same thing to him the Falcons had. Karma.

You see? Not divine justice but physics.

Not that the laws governing myth-making don't also kick in. Fact is, now the titanic New Meadowlands Stadium is cursed the way the old Meadowlands were, at the time of the first so-called "miracle."

P.S. There were also "miracles" two and three. Something to do, perhaps,
with the endless libelling of Philly and its fans by classless New Yorkers?

The same way the gaudy new Cowboys stadium has been cursed by the Cowboys' loss to the Eagles in the first-ever game played by Philadelphia in Jerry Jones's monument to himself. Which dates back to the merciless beating the strike-breaking Cowboys gave an Eagles "replacement" team during the last big NFL strike.


I can't think of any other reason, human or divine, why or how the Eagles somehow managed to humiliate the New York Giants in a divisional title showdown in the first-ever game played by the Eagles at the brand new palace of football some manner of hubris caused New York politicians to build for their two misnamed teams in New Jersey.

Can you?

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