December 5, 2010 - November 28, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
MAKE STEROIDS MANDATORY (BIG TIME NSFW)
Pussy. But not for any reason you think.
LAZY?? How dare you?! I have a day job, sir! Granted, that job consists of staying airborne above international waters for at least 9.37 hours a day to exploit a little-known tax loophole, but still! Have you ever tried writing loaded to the gills while making giant loops over the Pacific in a private Lear jet? The centrifugal force alone would kill a lesser scribe. Did I mention that loophole requires me to be deeply intoxicated for most of that time. And with only the expensive hooch. Loopholes are tricky like that.
And sure, it's true that I'm lazy, but you don't get to just declare it! At least candy-coat it by lamenting my wasted talent, too.
You want some Zoni writing, son? You got it. I pulled this out of my butt in, like, five minutes. Ten. If that. TALENT!
Mark McGuire has decided we need to pay attention to him again. I won't even link to the story. The reader can look it up himself, if that's how little respect he has for his free time. Long after we've stopped caring, he's confessed to using steroids during his home run record run. In other shocking news, Liberace was a fag.
McGwire is an even bigger fag. Fag, fag, fag. I don't say that lightly. Liberace had sequinsed candlelabrum ON his piano. That's gayer than the gay sex act itself. But McGwire has the old Watermelon Diet spokesman beat. Not because he "cheated" to get his home run record. Not because he's yet another ballplayer blubbering at a confessional press conference. Nah, the reason he's a homo is much more complicated. Explaining would involve, among other things, insulting the reader. Many times over. So let's dive right in.
First off, don't get me wrong. I feel a deep, patriotic love for America's pastime and harbor a cherished personal tenderness stemming from formative bonding experiences with my father over the game and I contemplate with misty awe how its rich history is inextricably and often spiritually tied to that of the nation itself and yadda yadda. But poppa just can't get it up for this. Poppa thinks this hand-wringing finger-wagging at steroid use clangs hollow. Poppa thinks it's a cheap excuse for lawmakers to duck the real issues and act like pious guardians of moral something or other. Fixing airport security? Who cares! Taking a hard look at the disastrous unintended consequences the government's best-intentioned interference has wrought? No time! There's an evil potion that makes professional athletes play sports better! Horrors!
But Washington is just the leeching oportunist of this tragedy. Not the villain. That dishonor goes to the hated American Public; the misunderstood Average Man. Again, don't get me wrong. In most matters, the Average Man's common sense keeps this country-- and therefore the world-- up and running. But sometimes-- sometimes-- common sense is a poisoned chain around the mind.
Wait. Can you poison a chain? Would that work? I'm gonna say yes.
The Average Man thinks steroids are cheating. The Average Man thinks-- or likes to think he thinks-- that there's a substantive difference between scientifically developed performance enhancing drugs and the scientifically rigorous training and exercise equipment that have only been on the scene for a few decades. Why does the Average Man think that? He couldn't tell you if you held a gun to his unused head. And the Average Man thinks he wants sooo many asterisks in the record books, it'd look like a fly with diarrhea walked all over McGwire's name. Good God, sometimes I'd like to bomb wherever the Average Man gets his ideas from. Flatten it like Tokyo in 1944. Not every time. But sometimes.
The Average Man's appetite for his godawful opinion (godawful in this case, I stress, put down the pitchforks) is stoked by a steady regurgitation of it back to him by sports columnists eager to crash the outrage party. Some cock from the LA Times wants McGwire greeted with stony silence for the rest of his life:
Although it's difficult to gauge McGwire's sincerity now that he's admitted to steroid use nearly a decade after his career, it's even more difficult to understand why anyone would still be cheering for him following his back-against-the-wall confession....
Former Cardinals slugger Jack Clark was booed during the event following a report that he described McGwire as a "phony." That's some pretty tame language considering the damage baseball has sustained due to McGwire and his steroid-era buddies.
Yeah, how dare he play better. Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk loves the game so much, he can't stand to see it evolve.
"That's a crock," Fisk said. "There's a reason they call it performance-enhancing drugs. That's what it does — performance enhancement. You can be good, but it's going to make you better. You can be average, but it is going to make you good. If you are below average, it is going to make you average. [And that's horrible WAAAAH!]
Hang on. The stewardess just handed me a bottle of Perrier. I've heard good things about this stuff. PTTTTOOOOFFF! What the...!? Who the fuck carbonates unflavored water? If France didn't have The Bomb, I'd totally kick that whole country's ass. Line 'em up.
And some virgin writing for some college rag doesn't miss the chance to reinforce his societally-imposed chastity. Sidebar: Why does Google News index college papers? If that's news, the AP should have a service that transcribes homeless people's cardboard signs.
“Who decides what can be used and can’t be used?” [Bobby] Knight asked. “Gatorade is a performance-enhancing substance ... As far as Mark is concerned, he should have been in the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.”
Human growth hormone enlarges the heart, damages the liver and causes acromegaly, a condition that makes the jaw and eyebrow bones jut out like a Neanderthal’s. It’s also illegal.
Gatorade comes in fruit punch and fierce grape.
Awesome bon mot, virgin. Glad to see the U of P follows the Stewart/Colbert school of argument from flippant distortion.
Actually, Junior Reporter Virgil T. Virgin's fumbling satire raises an important point, which I'll get to in a minute. But first, a second sidebar: "It's also illegal"? Shut up. Shut UP. My ass you care about the law. The left's newfound reverence for the rule of law is one of the slimier developments of the last decade. To call it hypocrisy almost doesn't do it justice. It's the next mutation of the Big Lie: Fake sanctimony as rhetorical blitzkreig.
Steroids make you hit the ball harder? Awesome. They constitute an unfair advantage over those who don't take them? Then MAKE THEM MANDATORY. Everyone plays juiced. Put the asterisk next to Roger Maris's record. That way future generations will know he did, eh, pretty good, considering he was playing in pre-steroid horse-and-buggy days.
And holy God, spare me the "but it's harmful" arguments from the Virgil's of the world. Pro sports wear bodies out, no matter how clean the body. I don't mean accidents. I mean the normal strain on the body parts used. Pitchers have sholders like pulled pork. If you're playing football without chancing a broken neck, you're playing it wrong. And who, posessed of any love of human achievement, looks at what's happened to Muhammad Ali and sees only a reason to outlaw boxing? A craven snob, is who.
Listen to the audio at the top of the post, if you haven't. It illustrates (not as funnily as I could have, but the hooch beckons) the same fallacy the anti-steroid pundits fell into. This may be a weird sentiment for an ostensibly conservative blog, but sometimes the future is just plain better than the present, and we'd be better off with the present rapidly shrinking in the rear view mirror.
McGwire could have made a stand for that future. He could have squared his sholders and declared, with pride, "I took steroids because they made my game better. They make the game better."
Instead, he turns on the waterworks and begs to not get in trouble. Pussy.
This the best essay you'll read all year. On any topic. And it took me, what, 20 minutes to write? Half hour? Barely. Bow. And send tithes to the Marriot in American Samoa. I'll be passed out in the only room they have. For, you know. Taxation purposes. That's it.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Why is the Dow down
since the Mass election?
WATER. This isn't an in-depth financial analysis. It's just a
headline about the real state of affairs at the moment. I listened to
about five minutes of Glenn Beck this morning and a caller asked him
why, if Brown's election is such good news, the Dow Jones Industrial
Average fell over a hundred points yesterday and is down nearly a
hundred points so far today. Beck said he didn't know.
I do. So I thought I'd tell you. (It's not about bank "fees"; they're
DOA too.) The very worst thing for markets of all kinds is uncertainty.
Investors were dialed in to the predictability of the Dems succeeding
in passing the healthcare bill. Whether that was good news or not for
the economy as a whole, they had strategies in place to deal with that
outcome. But now they don't know what to do. Because they don't know
what's going to happen next.
Like all of us. There's no way to know what will happen next. The Scott
Brown election was NOT the melting of Sauron's ring of power in the
Cracks of Doom. "This is not the end," as Churchill famously said of the
defeat of Rommel in Africa; "It is not even the beginning of the end.
But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
What Churchill meant was that the long, uninterrupted retreat of the
Allies had finally been halted, at least temporarily. The enemy had
been bloodied, proven less than invincible. That's where we are today.
The nature of the game has changed, and the outcome will be determined
by how both sides respond to
the change in circumstances.
Yes, the Obama administration and the Democrat leadership in congress
have a lot of tough decisions to make. Their Blitzkrieg on America has
been brought up short. Humiliatingly so. They can choose to alter their
tactics, settle for half a loaf rather than none on health insurance
reform and energy legislation, regain their sanity on fiscal policy,
and work with Republicans to reduce deficits, spur job growth with tax
cuts, and slash spending from its currently astronomical levels. Which
means they have a chance to regain some of the popular trust they have
arrogantly frittered away and put themselves in position to minimize
losses in 2010 and perhaps retain the presidency in 2012. Or they can
ignore all the warning signs and go for broke, openly or deviously, on
the existing plan of creating so many government dependencies for
middle class Americans that they will be assured, in the long run, of a
permanent political majority as the party which fills the trough nearly
everyone feeds from. Regardless of what they're saying this hour, this
week, that decision has not been made. Uncertainty.
Republicans also have decisions to make. Decisions that require a
combination of shrewd tactics, subtle analysis of the popular mood, and
streetwise toughness. Historically, these are not GOP virtues.
Generally, as soon as the Democrats stop punching Republicans directly
in the face, GOP politicians almost immediately start smiling,
cooperating, and stumbling blindly into every sinister trap their much
cagier foes across the aisle set for them. Which is another way of
saying that the job of the minority leadership just got a whole lot
more complicated. Mitch McConnell has done a very good job of playing
an awful hand throughout the past year. He has kept his troops together
based largely on the fact of their essential powerlessness and the
naked aggression of an overweening majority. But it remains to be seen
whether McConnell is clever enough to keep his troops together when the
Dems' filibuster-proof majority is gone and the naked aggression gives
way to blandishments, false smiles, and underhanded blows to the groin.
So: the Repubs can have the courage of their convictions and fight in
the congressional trenches with false smiles and ruthless tactics of
their own. Or they can make the mistake they usually make,
misinterpreting one lucky pause in the hellfire as a victory or a truce
they don't anticipate can kill them. (When Schumer smiles and extends a
hand in bipartisanship, beware.) Uncertainty.
For the past year the Republican caucus has been the Resistance. Now it
must become an outnumbered but motivated full combatant. Everything
rides on their ability to accomplish that transition, and there's not
much evidence to suggest they're prepared for their new role. Ultimate
That's why the Dow Jones average isn't leaping for joy.
And why we shouldn't either. All the talk has been about the
possibility of the Obama administration "doubling down." The more
important question is whether Republicans
can double down when they have to in the much messier new reality Scott
Brown has given them. Will it still be possible to control the RINO
twins of Maine when Reid sneaks a public option "trigger" back
into a "compromise" health bill enough Republicans have previously
endorsed as bipartisan? Will it be possible to puncture the oh-so
desirable illusion that both sides of the aisle are finally working
together when it turns out to have been a typical leftist trick? That's
when the Grassleys and Lugars and Hatches will have to double down, no
matter how hot the firestorm gets.
That's exactly what they have to do. And what we have to do. The dragon hasn't
been slain. He just has a bloody nose. And he's still a dragon.
And he's plural.
Just for Fun
Question: Why can't NBC Sports understand how many of us switch off their coverage as soon as
Keith appears on NBC NFL football
broadcasts? Not rocket science. Nearly half their potential
audience hates him. Is this smart, cool, businesslike, or
even remotely sane? uh uh. It's crazy. Good luck,
Conan, in your next career.
parts of the MSM are showing signs of professional
conscience. I apologize to the Miami Herald for running their
whole piece here, but I couldn't resist. They're telling the truth.
Isn't acknowledging that in detail "fair use"?
Watching coverage of the Massachusetts
senatorial election Tuesday night, I wondered if MSNBC was getting
ready to cut off its cable signal to the state. Keith Olbermann and
Rachel Maddow, positively enraged that Massachusetts dared to elect a
Republican, delivered two hours of nonstop bilious rage toward the
state's voters, calling them "irrational" and "teabaggers," engaged in
"a total divorce from reality," and hinting that they're vicious
racists to boot.
If you watched CNN or Fox News last night, you got a balanced analysis
of how Republican Scott Brown pulled off the political upset of the
century (or, if you prefer, how Democrat Martha Coakley blew a dead
solid electoral lock). Yes, I said Fox News, without irony. To be sure,
Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity made it clear they were rooting for
Brown. But their shows also included a steady parade of liberal-leaning
guests -- former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown, former Dukakis
campaign manager Susan Estrich, Democratic party strategist Mary Anne
Marsh, NPR commentator Juan Williams and radio host Alan Colmes. And
pollster Frank Luntz interviewed a panel of two dozen or so
Massachusetts voters, most of them Democrats, about how they voted and
why. Practically every conceivable perspective on the election was
And on MSNBC, you got practically every conceivable expression of venom
against Brown and anybody who voted him. From Maddow's dark suspicions
that the election was rigged -- she cited complaints about a grand
total of six ballots out of about 2.25 million cast -- to Olbermann's
suggestion in the video up above that the same Massachusets voters who
went for Barack Obama by a 62-28 percent margin had suddenly realized
they helped elect a black guy and went Republican in repentance, the
network's coverage was idiotic, one-sided and downright ugly.
Olbermann was simply outraged by the vote. "The teabaggers may have
elected their first guy tonight," he declared as Brown rolled up a
commanding lead. Just in case the connotations of the word teabag might
be lost on his audience, he clarified his feelings: "I wanted to
apologize for calling Republican Senate candidate, Scott Brown, an
irresponsible homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model,
teabagging supporter of violence against women and against politicians
with whom he disagrees. I`m sorry -- I left
out the word 'sexist.'"
Maddow added dirty campaigner to the charges. Her sense of fair play
was violated by a Brown campaign ad in which his daughter complained
about Coakley's attacks on her father: "Martha Coakley`s new negative
ad represents everything that discourages young women from getting
involved in politics, and as a young woman, I`m completely offended by
that," the daughter said in the ad. Sniffed Maddow: "It`s like using
your kid as a human shield." Oddly, Maddow made no mention of the
Coakley TV ad that started the exchange, which began: “1,736 women were
raped in Massachusetts in 2008. Scott Brown wants hospitals to turn
them all away...”
MSNBC's idea of "balancing" these rants was to interview former
Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean. (His main insight:
Coakley's loss was, honest to God, George W. Bush's fault.) When a
third MSNBC host, Chris Matthews, timidly raised the possibility that
Massachusetts voters were concerned about high government spending,
Maddow snapped that such thinking was "irrational" and added: "To say
it`s fiscally responsible to not reform health care is insanity... It`s
a total divorce from reality."
(To be perfectly fair, I wouldn't have believed anything Matthews said,
either, after he insisted that Richard Nixon's presidency crumbled not
over Watergate but the recession of 1974.)
It may be too much to expect NBC, these days reduced to a national
wisecrack, to be embarrassed over the frothing lunacy that passes for
news coverage at corporate stepchild MSNBC. But both networks are part
of the same news division. If news boss Steve Capus thinks his
reporters can continue to appear with Olbermann and Maddow without
suffering credibility contamination, he's dumber than whoever was
behind the Leno/O'Brien late-night shuffle.
Let me add: I'm pretty sick of the Maddow bitch. She's monotonous,
humorless, predictable, charmless, abrasive, and all in all, not too
bright. I applaud the launch of Big
Journalism, but I must confess I was utterly mystified by the
new editor-in-chief's odd bouquet to "the lovely and talented
Rachel Maddow." She's neither. She's a horrid boor. I actually tried to
reaction to the Scott Brown victory. But I was compelled to flee
her tedious, incoherent state of denial after a scant two minutes. (The
South Park rerun I saw instead was restorative.) Which makes me wonder
whether Big Journalism can really live up to its vow not to be
The challenges keep mounting. We live in perilous perilous times. She's
not Martin Luther King. She's a drab, dumb dyke. Why is that so hard to
Harvard Lampoon 1, NBC -$45 million
end of' Tonight,'
whatever happens. Shame. End of an era.
Subsequent reporting could defeat me here, but in the interim, I want
to congratulate Conan O'Brien, past president of the Harvard
for having principles.
(Please don't let me down, Conan.)
NEW YORK - NBC said Thursday it has
reached a $45 million deal with Conan O’Brien for his exit from the
“Tonight Show,” allowing Jay Leno to return to the late-night program
he hosted for 17 years.
Under the deal, which came less than eight months after O’Brien took
the reins from Leno, O’Brien will get more than $33 million, NBC said. The rest will go to his 200-strong staff in
Compensation for O’Brien’s staff and crew was the final hurdle in
negotiations. O’Brien was said to have been “dug in” on the issue out
of concern for the workers, while NBC said this week that it had
already agreed to pay “millions of dollars to compensate every one of
them” and deemed it a public relations “ploy.”
On Wednesday night’s show, speaking of a push to get a severance deal
for his staff from NBC, O’Brien joked, “At first they thought I was
gullible. They said the staff would be taken to a big farm, where
they’d be allowed to run free forever...”
“In the end, Conan was appreciative
of the steps NBC made to take care of his staff and crew, and decided
to supplement the severance they were getting out of his own pocket,”
his manager, Gavin Polone, told The Wall Street Journal. “Now he just
wants to get back on the air as quickly as possible.”
What I thought he should do. I like loyalty and principle. I think
Leno's shown it. And now I think Conan O'Brien has. Let's hope it's
Okay. So apparently the wheels really did come off
the Coakley campaign, despite our well intentioned entry yesterday.
But speaking of wheels, there sure has been a lot of talk about pickup
trucks over the past few days. Our favorite moderate, Ann Althouse,
actually had the temerity and wit to fisk the president's Sunday
campaign appearance in Massachussetts. It's all worth reading, but note
the truck theme in this
Finally, he gets back to his prepared
remarks. Conveniently, he's
through with the details about Martha. He tells us we need "somebody
who has fought for the people" because times are tough. He's got
something to say about "Martha's opponent":
He's driving his truck around
the commonwealth --
(laughter) -- and he says that he gets you, that he fights for you,
that he'll be an independent voice. And I don't know him, he may be a
perfectly nice guy. I don't know his record, but I don't know whether
he's been fighting for you up until now, but --
So he doesn't know anything about the
guy he's about to
tear down, but please laugh at the man who drives a truck. He doesn't
worry that the truck might backfire. It becomes a theme in the next
Forget the truck. (Laughter.)
Everybody can buy a truck. (Laughter.)...
... I'd think long and hard
about getting in
that truck with Martha's opponent. (Laughter.) It might not take you
where you want to go....
Now, the repeated recurrence of the
truck may be a good distraction, because this section of the speech is incoherent...
It seems all the laughter in the president's audience was misplaced.
The joke would appear to be on them and
Obama. Which reminds me that we tried to give candidate Obama some
advice back during his presidential campaign. He didn't take it
then. He'd be smart to take it now. Time to stop sneering at pickup
trucks and get one for himself. Then drive it across the country and
meet some of the people he routinely belittles from his telepromptered
throne. 500,000 miles ought to about do it.
But what kind of truck would he pick? That turns out to be a pretty
complicated question. For example, we know that the Obamas prefer to go
top shelf in all their personal choices of clothes, nightspots,
vacation destinations, etc. So the easy choice would be this:
2007 Cadillac Escalade Pickup.
Maybe that's too easy,
though. Truth is, even the Escalade isn't the absolute high end of the
is (as reported on here at InstaPunk back in November
The International CXT. Costs $100K
and holds 300 gallons of fuel.
Very cool. But the fuel economy is, well, disastrous for a
cap-and-trade enthusiast. It might come across as a mite elitist and
hypocritical. Gore's taken mucho heat for his jetting around to preach
about Global Warming. And the CXT gets almost as many miles per gallon as
a Gulfstream jet. Besides, it's still possible to be big and imposing
with more of a common touch. We like this option, monumental and
gigantic like The One himself but somehow more understated:
The Freightliner pickup. Kind of like
Truman's train with tires...
common? Possibly. And also
kind of boring. Unassuming might be the right message for unassuming
populists like, say, Sarah Palin, but if you're The One, you want to
remind people who's got the power even if you're nominally rubbing
shoulders with ordinary, low class American shoulders. How to be
quintessentially American without undermining the potency of your office?
How about this:
Monster Truck draws crowds, and it looks as if there's room up there for a
Nobody's going to take you lightly from a rig like that. Even if you
can't bowl for shit. But it's also a risk to overplay the whole power
thing. If you're really The
One, you'll still shine like a star in some dramatically downsized
vehicle. I feel sure he could carry off a hyper-tiny ride like this one:
The "less is more" principle writ largesmall.
On the other hand, it's hardly what you'd call cool. Which the Prez
indubitably is, even if he's nothing else. And if perchance he is nothing else, it's all the more
important that your appearance be perfect
down to the last detail:
Wow. Those trashy Red States oughta
Unless there's some combination of big and small and perfect and
powerful and New Age that still feels something like a lofty bully
pulpit about all the good things.
Kind of Euro but uniquely American.
Hard to find any vehicle that synthesizes so many complex and
contradictory messages, n'est-ce pas? Although there's always the
possibility that it will be simplycomplexly
over the head of all those stupid ordinary Americans. Don't want to
overthink it, do we? Because there's always the brute-plain option:
something nice that reminds people of the traditional life they think
they want that you're working night and day to take away from them for
good. But hell. They don't know that. Do they?
"You really can fool all of the people -- enough."
-- Saul Alinsky
Well, that's the best we can offer in the way of thoughtful guidance.
Doesn't matter anyway. We're pretty sure we know what the REAL choice
Likely pick? The
Government Motors Half-ton
Looks like a fella
who needs a tea party fix of faith and hope..
Of course, as always, you're free to propose your own nominations.
I'm sure the president will pay close attention...
. Collectively, the Gabor sisters (Zsa Zsa,
Eva, and Magda)
managed, without discernible acting talent, to marry about half the
movers and shakers in Hollywood. Why does this matter at all? It
doesn't. It's just fun to remember.
The brilliant Jim Treacher had the stomach (as did some of us) to watch
part of the MSNBC reaction to the Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts.
He stayed with it long enough (we didn't) to note that Keith Olbermann
cut away from the Brown victory speech to interview the far more
interesting and relevant Arianna Huffington. His entry
is instructive and funny in its own right. But we also felt compelled
to read his commenters, who were equally inspired. A sample:
I did watch MSNBC! All. Night. I had to;
it was so
Since I never watch or listen to her, I
just realized that Arianna
Huffington looks and sounds like that lady from Green Acres.
And, you know, she's absolutely right. Want to compare? Here's Arianna in full
Pretty perfect. It's an American tradition that immigrant femme
fatales can marry their way to power and influence in our great nation.
But it's also an American tradition that the rest of us are entitled to
laugh at their hubris in pretending that a prenuptial agreement which
makes them rich also bestows any kind of intellectual or moral
You'd be have to be a Hollywood liberal to get sucked into taking
them seriously. About anything except the next stop in their bedroom
march to a respectability that just won't ever come. (No pun intended.)
Honestly. Or as honestly as Arianna articulates her conversion from
rightwing Clinton basher during the impeachment scandal to leftwing
visionary during the Obama era. Can she make hotcakes? Or does the boa
get in the way?
wondered about. You're a journalist reporting on a frightful, dangerous
situation. Bad things happen around you. When do you throw down the
microphone, turn off the cameras, and get involved? Mostly, it seems,
journalists don't. Call it a kind of target fascination. The
availability of poignant images seems more important as a message than
people to whom real events are occurring. I understand. Up to a point.
But I'm not a journalist. I'm always biased in favor of jumping in and hang the damn pictures... If this
report is true, then I congratulate CNN's people on the ground in
Haiti for being first-rate human beings. All politics aside and no
irony or sarcasm implied. Just praise.
Carries Injured Child Away from Looting
In two segments airing on "The Situation Room" today, more newsers
found themselves stepping beyond their roles as journalists to assist
during emergency situations in Haiti.
While reporting on a chaotic scene in the Port-au-Prince streets,
Anderson Cooper pulled a young boy with a bloody head injury away a
storefront where looters were throwing rocks from above. Cooper aired a
more detailed report at the top of "AC360."
In another incident, correspondent Chris Lawrence was returning to the
network's base when he and his crew were flagged down by a paramedic
who asked to use their truck to transport a 23-year-old university
student who had just been rescued from the rubble.
Also, early this morning, CNN's Sanjay Gupta, who is one of the TV
doctor's [sic] whose [sic] been pulling double duty as a journalist and
medical professional in Haiti, was helicoptered to the USS Carl Vinson
to perform brain surgery on a 12-year-old girl.
I hope you're as proud as I am, regardless of CNN's many sins against
journalism in recent years. Yes, it might be even more praiseworthy if
we'd never heard
of it, but then we'd never have heard of it and the example wouldn't
have been put out there for others to follow.
I believe everyone on the ground in Haiti should do whatever is
possible to save lives and render comfort. But then I've been a
sentimental old fool for quite a while now...
. Okay. So we heard
about it from Brizoni.
Who has always had a thing
about eBay. But he sort of swore to me that he had nothing (much) to do
with this particular miracle. He sounded kind of sincere. Honestly.
I think weyou
should all bid on this sacred object to help the victims in Haiti.
That's why Brizoni emerged from his cocoon and contacted me. A
sacrifice on his part. Can weyou
do less? Sure. But it would be wrong.
Send your donations here.
Not to that damn text-message scam. Seriously.
Brizoni? Planning on getting off your lazy ass anytime in the new year? To
Forgive me for mentioning it. I just thought, while we're on the
subject of miracles,
maybe... oh, forget it.
Clones (cloanes?) are a political
even women like arid women.
. What nobody else is considering. If Coakley wins. (Yes, she might.) You see, David
Gergen should have asked the same question of her he did of Scott
Brown: "Do you really see yourself sitting in Teddy Kennedy"s seat?"
(Or words to that effect.) There's a lot of legacy in that seat, a long
ton of it if we're being honest. Things that have to be done if you're
going to live up to, er, honor, the memory of the pigicon
who sat his
fat ass in it for all his
adolescent lifeso many years. I mean, you
gotta go for greatness. Like a Kennedy.
For example, Scott Brown looks like he's got the wherewithal to execute
sandwich." But there won't be any more Dodd
to serve as the other white bread half of the turkey
club. Which means Scott is unacceptable. Massachussetts has never
been into open-faced sandwiches. They insist on grinders.
At first blush Marcia
Coakley is unacceptable too. But, just as she has had to learn that
there's a place called Red Sox Nation a Massachusetts senator has to
pay attention to, she can also learn how to do the sandwich thing
that's expected of the commonwealth's most gloried elected officials.
Granted, she can't be expected to sleep with a
thousand members of the
opposite sex during her term in office (wouldn't be possible for a
helmet-haired androgyne), but she can at least make an effort to be
truly progressive. Can't she?
She better. A good first step would be drowning some sexual tool in her
car. Here's a candidate who would attract some national attention:
car has to be a GM model obviously. Which is a shame. The Ford Escape would have been so
It might even help her standing with the neo-moderates
(the few Massachussetts anti-Stalinists) of her constituents.
Afterwards, she can get down to
work on the sandwich thing. Obviously, she needs a partner in crime
(figuratively, figuratively, you Bay State assholespatriots...).
We nominate Geraldine Ferraro. For obvious reasons. Like the fact that
Marcia and Geraldine are pretty much the same person -- drab,
unfeminine Hillaryites who
think it's enough to show up and demand that people celebrate their
lack of a penis as a supreme qualification for office, barring all
other possible qualifications of course.
But who should they make into a sandwich. Again, we have a
We don't need to hear about strap-ons
and such. You know.
You're right. It's all starting to sound pretty complicated. Maybe it
would be easier to elect Scott Brown and hope Connecticut can come up
with a stud who knows his way around waitresses better than Marcia
Coakley knows her way around Fenway
I'm not saying I believe this crap.
But THEY do. Very very very very very bad
mistake to forget it.
Well. At least I tried to be
nonpartisan. As much as Obama ever has. As for Coakley... uh,
GO B.U. (Best I can do.)
Monday, January 18, 2010
A Fun Controversy
My nomination in the Foreign category. Lina Wertmuller. A clip from the worst 'serious' movie
I've ever seen, the original Swept Away, a remake of a Brit
Admirable Crichton, transformed into a ridiculous
communist manifesto. Even worse than the Madonna remake
that won her
a Razzie and offered the saving grace of finishing off her
so-called acting career for good.
Here are excerpts from his screed I almost
completely agree with. There's this:
It is one of the great travesties of
artistic justice that no one remembers the writers of great movies –
nobody knows Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, for example, but
everyone remembers Frank Capra. Together, those three wrote It’s
a Wonderful Life. (Together, Goodrich and Hackett also worked on
The Diary of Anne Frank, The Thin Man, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,
and Father of the Bride.)
Directors get too much credit when a movie goes right, and too little
blame when a movie goes wrong. There are certain directors,
however, who get credit even when movies go wrong.
David Lynch: Pure and absolute
suckage, with the exception of The Elephant Man. Lynch is one of
those annoyingly “deep” directors we’re all supposed to puzzle
over. Forget it. There’s nothing worth puzzling. He’s
as empty as they come, and he makes up for it with graphic sex scenes...
Woody Allen: He’s pretentious and
unbearable. His movies are like nails screeching on a chalkboard,
only with less humor. He is as nerdy as Peter Orszag, but he acts
out his fantasies and illuminates his insecurities in film and expects
us all to watch. It’s okay for a director to be self-centered –
Orson Welles was famously self-centered. But you actually have to
be an interesting person in order to spend that much time focusing on
yourself. Allen isn’t. He’s a whiny narcissist with sexual
inferiority issues. And no one except for him cares about the
status of his penis. As a side note, he made Diane Keaton into a
“legitimate actress,” which alone should qualify him for the Seventh
Circle of Hell.
And definitely this:
Martin Scorsese... His films are
entirely devoid of anything resembling likable characters. They
are cold and calculating and ruthless – and boring. Nobody cares
what happens to Leonardo DiCaprio in The Departed (in fact, in one
screening I saw, people cheered when he got it in the head). The
Aviator takes as long to tell as Howard Hughes did to live. Gangs
of New York featured a brilliant performance from Daniel Day Lewis, and
not much else (on a side note, there is no excuse for killing Liam
Neeson in the first ten minutes of a film). Casino is nasty,
brutish, and long... Raging Bull is gross. Mean Streets is gross
and soporific. Taxi Driver is perhaps the most overrated film in
Hollywood history — dreary, grungy, and subzero. Scorsese has
never seen a main character he liked, a villain he hated, or a pair of
I disagree with some entries and we can get to that if you're
interested after you read the whole list. The comments on it at Big
Hollywood are just as much fun. It's great to read how people react
when their sacred cows are smacked suddenly across the face. They're
so incredulous they can't even respond coherently.
What do you guys think of Shapiro's list? And who would be on your list
and why? Be as voluble and provocative as you want. We could all use a
diversion from the news...
. We've had a recent example of a commenter, the much
maligned and persecuted DRV, who felt he was singled out for abuse by
InstaPunk. Now it's time to demonstrate what it means to be singled out
for abuse by InstaPunk. It's not pretty. In fact, it's the blog
equivalent of being waterboarded. The victim in this case? The
Neanderthal who styles himself "Eduardo." He had the temerity to
propose that he could talk film with us members of the Martha Coakley
Hitchcock - Uhhh, don't think I'd put
him as most overrated ever. I've always thought Vertigo was awful, but
like I said before it was mostly the story I thought was stupid. How
much of that is Hitchcock's fault as a director? Plus, I liked North by
Northwest and a lot his movies are considered classics, loved by a wide
range of people, not just the Hollywood elites, which I think makes him
not overrated. Or should I say that the "overwhelming consensus" is
that he's a good director?
I'll tell you who I think it missing, though, and I hope this pisses
everybody off so you can tell me why I'm wrong: Stanley Kubrick. I
guess Spartacus was all right, but my favorite all time Roman-period
movie is Ben-Hur (you probably thought I was going to say Gladiator,
didn't you?). Other than that, though, I don't get it. We've talked
about 2001 here before, but I haven't cared for any of his movies.
Sure, there's that part in Clockwork Orange is running around with no
clothes on and the scene with the drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket
is funny, but what else is there? Why do people speak his name in awe?
Taking Eduardo's points in order, how is it possible not to appreciate
Stanley Kubrick? I saw "Eyes Wide Shut" on the LateNite Channel just a
week ago for the first time. There were breasts and, if I'm not
mistaken, pubic hair. Which means, I suppose, that Eduardo is a
fundamentalist Christian prig, Palin-supporting fascist. Enough said.
Are these sufficient grounds for condemning the otherwise most
something or other-esque director in the whole history of the movies? I
don't think so. Sex and pubic hair, sterilely focused, are good things. Abase yourself, Eduardo, or expiate your sins by
explaining what the hell the new season of 24 is up to. Or can't you
manage even that? I thought not. It's not humanly possible.
Next, he has the nerve to attack Hitchcock. Vertigo was awful? How
typical. This is where it gets personal. I can withstand the purely
political ad-hominem attacks. But when he descends to the level
ad-hominem attacks, the eviscerating of my whole human soul, my very
gender identity, by assaulting the vivid cinematic relationship between
James Stewart and the two-breasted Kim Novak, that's where I draw the
line. He can pontificate and storm all he likes, even to the point of
transcendant arrogant ultimance, but there's nothing he can ever
present as credible evidence that will refute the two-breastedness of
But maybe his pernicious and subversive undermining of Kim Novak's dual
breastedness is only a screen for his devotion to the flaming
homosexuality embodied in his favorite movie, Ben Hur. True, it wasn't
the most positive possible post-AIDS relationship such as we saw in the
Philadelphia Story, because it was a much much sicker story of
sadistically repressed queerness instead. Is this what "Eduardo"
prefers to really good, fine, super-plus"A" film-making such as that
Hitchcock movie where Jimmy Stewart or Cary Grant is definitely going to
get into Grace Kelly's pants? Probably. I know I'm disgusted. There
they are, Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd, indulging in their ultra
ultra-gay chariot race until one of them is crushed metaphorically (uh
literally) beneath the chariot wheels of the other. Talk about macho
leather boys getting carried away...
What's the matter with him? Hitchcock not great? Nonsense. Any YouTube
search will prove beyond dispute that Eva Marie Saint was both
bi-breasted and blonde, Janet Leigh had bright yellow hair and
mammaries shaped like rockets (two of them), and even Tippi Hedren was at least
technically female. (Would Sean Connery pursue a woman with no... oh,
Compare this to Eduardo's carping about Stanley Kubrick. Just because
nothing Kubrick ever filmed contained even the slightest hint of sexual
excitement, no matter how much nudity and sexual violence he put on
screen, doesn't mean that Eduardo's hatred is justified. Not all of us
are perverts. Some of us can look at female sexual parts and say, "Oh,
what do they mean in the context of the picture?" Like in those crazy
scary scenes in Clockwork Orange where we're being invited to BE the
anarchistic rapist whose victims secretly enjoy what he's doing. That's
just bad film making. Nobody thinks that way. Which is why Ben "the
under-aged virgin conservative" Shapiro hasn't even thought to put
Kubrick on his list.
But you put him on your list, Eduardo. You got a problem with
Hitchcock's double-breasted blondes, we know. Do you also got a problem
with Kubrick's women who really really want to have sex, even though
the only thing that really matters is what real men agonize about? Like
what's going at Jupiter? And all the sci-fi movies that get spun off
from that one really dumb movie starring a computer? Whose progenitor
you contemn, while 90 percent of what you like is derivative of his
Tell DRV we're anxious to have an intimate word with him too. We know
how smart he is. How cultured. How ready for real dialogiue with IP.
Man to man.
old NFL? Running to victory? Shades of Jimmy Brown.
I'll confess right up front that there's a conservative
political bias in everything I'm about to say regarding pure sporting
events. So discount away. But I think what I have to say is still
Here in Mrs. CP-land, it was a great football weekend, notwithstanding
the loss by the Ravens. With the sole exception of the Ravens-Colts
outcome, the headline of this week's playoff games was the "Defeat of
the Pundits." (Actually, even the Ravens game was a kind of pundit
defeat, but I'll postpone that discussion till later.)
All told, four networks were covering these games. Each with an array
of former players and coaches who are presented as, and have abundant
credentials as, football cognoscenti. The NFL Network. ESPN. CBS
Sports. Fox Sports. They all have a panel of experts who know absolutely more
than we fans know about everything associated with NFL football -- the
technicalities of offense and defense, the experience of being on the
field as participants, the realities of the lockerroom versus the media
buzz and the Vegas odds. We should trust them, shouldn't we? Believe
them? Bow to their wisdom? Of course we should. But we don't. We have
our own opinions.
Isn't this analogous at a very deep level to the difference between the
progressive and conservative views of who should be making decisions
in the United States? The progressives believe that the right
combination of experts and education is superior to the ignorant
opinions and emotions of the voters, who -- as in the current
healthcare bill debate -- can and should
be defied in order to do what's best for people who don't know any
better. That's why government should grow and control more of our
lives, because we're the ones who really can't and shouldn't be
Conservatives say, on the other hand, experts are never as
smart as they think they are, and somehow or other, for whatever
irrational reason, individual liberty and actions are more potent and
productive in the end than a consensus of know-it-alls. Which is why a
handful of experts can't be permitted to run everything based on the
notion that they always know better than 300 million of the rest of us.
It's been said before -- we've
said it before -- that sports are a microcosm of life itself. If the
experts of NFL football were right, three of the four games played this
weekend would have turned out differently. New Orleans, having lost its
last three regular season games and all its 'momentum,' would have
fallen to the offensive pyrotechnics of Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald,
and the Arizona Cardinals. Any other outcome would be unprecedented in
NFL history; no team that has lost its last three games at the end of the season ever won a
Dallas would have stomped the Minnesota Vikings, who
struggled in itheir final regular season games, ominously repeating the
record of Brett Favre's last season performance with the New York Jets.
The 40 year old Hall of Fame quarterback may have everything else, but
he no longer has the stamina to play a 16-game season without getting
tired out and reverting to his career-long bent for interceptions.
by the way, aren't the Cowboys completely AWESOME? the MOST talent in
the NFL, the MOST ambitious owner, the MOST perfect timing in peaking
just as the season ended and the playoffs began. Vikings = Roadkill of
the Dallas Juggernaut. Did we mention that the Dallas Cowboys are
And, oh yeah, the Jets. Lucky win against the
Bengals. Decent defense but no offense. Against the best offense in the
league. Watch Philip Rivers -- good as Manning -- take them apart. It'll be ugly.
After a morning of watching all the pundits predict the annihilation of
the Vikings, with so much emphasis on the ascendancy of "America's
Team" (nostalgic much?) as Super Bowl favorite, man by man by man, that
even a meticulous observer would have thought the whole Vikings team
consisted of Brett Favre and the defense's front four, Mrs. CP
congratulated me for my predictions of how the individual experts would
predict the winners of the games. (I got all five of the Fox predicters
right, man by man by man.) Then she said, "But there's a reason they
actually play the games."
She was, as usual, right. Experts don't know shit about real life. The
Vikings annihilated "America's Team," just as the momentumless New
Orleans Saints had splattered the Arizona Cardinals. And then there
were the Jets.
Another of Mrs. CP's phalanx of new teams replacing the Michael Vick
Eagles. She likes that Mark Sanchez, just like she likes Flacco and
Ryan, and Stafford, and the other baby quarterbacks. (I'm not jealous; I'm still trying to remember who it is that's old enough to remember the 'America's Team' con as well as I do.) Me, I don't care
that much about Sanchez, but I'm enjoying two (two!) retro defensive
teams that take me back to my own youthful NFL loyalties. (Hey! The
Vikings front four. Gash us for ten yards, we'll retaliate with minus
fifteen yards. Page Eller, Larsen, and Marshall.) And this Jets defense
under Rex Ryan, son of Buddy Ryan. This morning, somebody on ESPN put
it in perspective: nobody knows how much focus and determination it
takes to play defense like this on every single play in a game, knowing
that the offense can't even do that much with the advantages you get
It's old-fashioned is what it is. Watching the Jets play the Chargers
(whom I've never really liked, for no particular reason except an
archaic prejudice against the airy-fairy, no-hit passing offenses of
the old AFL) was like watching an oldtime NFL team do simple murder
with a few plays run again and again on offense and a "we'll kill you"
attitude on defense. It helps, I admit, that Rex Ryan is the son of the
infamous Eagles' Buddy Ryan and his provocative football philosophy;
the four things you need to succeed in the NFL are defense,
defense, defense, and nothing else.
It adds a certain mystique that Rex Ryan
apparently has one of his dad's old drinking buddies stationed up top
to assess the viability of challenges, who responded to a clear
challenge imperative last week and another this week by missing the
play altogether because of a tricky darts shot in the booth. Not that
Rex would ever mention such a lapse. He thought his punter's heart
arhythmia last week was "funny." Funny, too, how things work out. Those
who ignore the actual "foot" aspects of the game of football sometimes
prosper. The ad hoc, 40-year-old Jets punter excelled last week, while
the Chargers' all-pro, state-of-the-art field goal kicker melted this
week when the pressure was really on. Ryan probably doesn't know about
either of these developments. He smiles a lot. It's good to be dumb and happy. Like
John Madden talking about Thanksgiving drumsticks.
Reminiscent of a time warp. Makes me feel young. Or at least younger.
rooting for the Jets. But I'm also rooting for the Saints. And the
Vikings. And the Colts.
Which is a first for me. There's never been a time when I didn't have a
real rooting interest for or against in the final four teams bidding
for the Super Bowl. From my perspective all the 'villain' teams are out
of the tournament. No Patriots. No Steelers. No (consistently
overpraised) Chargers. No Giants. No (johnny-come-lately) Cowboys. Wow. No bad guys.
can live with a Saints championship (they've never won or come close).
I could get a faint thrill from a Vikings championship (Purple People
Eaters II won't make up for four lost Super Bowls in the 70s when I was an avid fan, but...)
The Jets would be a huge and welcome underdog story, even though
they're from New York. Hell, they've had to play in 'Giants Stadium,'
lo, these many years. All of these would be great American stories of
persistence, dedication, hard work, traditional values, and the
typically American triumph of an inspired underdog.
And then there are the Colts. Which is a different kind of American
story. I said earlier I'd explain why the Colts are also a defiance of
the pundits, meaning conventional expert wisdom. Yes, the football
experts predicted that the Colts would beat the Ravens. And they did. A
win for them, eh?
No. Accepting that notion would also require ignoring a lot of other
expert discussion that's been going on for weeks. For example, the
Colts screwed up (Conventional Wisdom!) by choosing not to play their
first stringers, including Manning, during their last two games. They
were somehow culpable for not seeking the undefeated season the experts
wanted. They were therefore riding for a fall.
Notice how the "momentum" argument has failed across the board
throughout the playoffs, despite the near unanimous endorsement of the
experts. I think this is intensely relevant to our current national
I'm not generally a fan of the 16-game season, but in one respect it's
superior to the old 14- and 12-game seasons of the NFL It's more like
life. It's too long to permit a single sustained arc of brilliance.
Just that much too long. In
real life, we never always
win. We go through valleys, sometimes the valley of death, before we
achieve the ultimate objective. In NFL football, toward the end of the
season, it may be appropriate to take a breather, the way a
prizefighter may take a round or two off before the championship rounds
when he's well ahead on points. This isn't an institutional or cultural
decision. It's an individual
You see, in life, the points are never awarded for being
undefeated. They're awarded for winning the supreme prize, which in NFL
football is the Super Bowl. Yeah, I know Peyton Manning looked grumpy
when he got called out of Game 15. Did that doom the Colts? No.
The rest of the team needed the rest. Maybe not Manning. The rules of
common sense and experience and good practice and prudence and smart
organization apply to everyone but the clear exceptions that are the
backbone of American exceptionalism.
America is a story of democratic unity and tremendous shared effort. It
is equally a story of individual genius.
That's why the pundits were also wrong about the Ravens-Colts game.
They cast their punditry as a matchup of rosters, coaching staffs,
strategy, and, yes, momentum. In those terms, one could argue the
Ravens won. The vaunted Ravens defense did exactly what it wanted to do
and what had suceeded for them during the season. They covered the
Colts receivers like blankets. Ray Lewis had a great game. Ed Reed had
a great game. There was only one difference. Peyton Manning. Who did
exactly what he had to do to win. Throw perfect passes into the
tightest possible coverage. And score critical receptions.
All of which is in stark contrast to the pundit debate I admit,
guiltily, I listened to before the event on the subject of "Who is the
best quarterback in the NFL? Brady or Manning?" This and that, that
and this, to and fro, fro and to, but ultimately it has to be Brady because of all those rings.
Just a coincidence that Brady has always been surrounded by a
Bellichick team that always has the best players at every position.
Three Super Bowl rings make you a better quarterback than one.
The experts know, don't they? Which brings me back to my main pundit
point. And to a lot of points that won't be popular. There are only two
greatest active quarterbacks in the NFL. Stats have nothing to
do with it. It's all in the eyes. (And Mark Sanchez may get there eventually, but
Flacco won't. Look at the eyes.) Manning and Favre. But most of all Manning. The teams
around them come and go, and they will win or lose based on how well
their teams rise to the occasion. But the critical issue is and will
always be their command of the situation.
It's an American thing. Jerry Jones would never control Peyton Manning
or Brett Favre. That's why he has Tony Romo instead. He'll never
understand what he is missing. Why he'd be better off with Donovan
McNabb. A quarterback who'd rather lose in the good graces of his boss
than win because he can do no other. The difference between primo and
Why the experts are all, always, wrong. And simultaneously, what's so
endlessly right about America. We have a unique national talent for
producing Peyton Manning.
Which is why we all win no
matter who wins the Super Bowl.