Shark-Jumping Update

No link in particular, but just - Wonkette has really jumped the shark. It's always been snarky, but now it's snarky and unfunny, without anal sex jokes.
Oh, wait - this (an actually not-that-atrocious Howie Kurtz article) is the shark-jump (though the NYT Magazine blogger multi-profile is close):
All of which means "the Jon Stewart backlash should start right about now," says Ana Marie Cox, also known as Web satirist Wonkette. "Stewart has pretty much painted a target on his chest with his 'Crossfire' appearance. To say his is just a comedy show is a cop-out in a way. He's gotten so much power. So many people look to him that you can't really be the kid in the back throwing spitballs."
"It's not that young people don't like politics," says Cox, of Wonkette.com. "The way politics is talked about in the media is alienating. They're seeing Jon Stewart as a kind of hero who will lead us out of the darkness." Of course, she adds, "that's not his job."
Hmmm...et tu, Wonkette? Far be it from me to snipe at...wait, no, that's what I do.
Okay - Wonkette, a message to you: we liked you when you made jokes about anal sex. And bringing that whole Jessica Cutler deal to our collective attention was very awesome. But...well, the NYT profile kinda exposed you as a wanna-be "real press" sycophant:
The Wonkette comes off as someone who is the most ripe for backlash - laughing at your readers and ridiculing other bloggers ain't gonna make you too many friends. Not that she seems the least bit concerned about that. Better she gets her invites to the right parties...
Yeah, that pretty much does it.
And now pretending you're a media analyst? Um, no. I pretend I'm a media analyst, but that's my schtick (and, um, nobody believes me). You make jokes about anal sex. That's your schtick (no pun intended).
The blogs are the nerds, honey. You got popular with the nerds by talking to them about sex, and making fun of the Kool Kids to (they thought with) them. And now you decide that you're cooler than the nerds, and wanna be one of the Kool Kids. But that's the thing about the Kool Kids - they don't care about you. They're Kool. The nerds, we're nerds - we take all comers, but ya gotta play nice (yelling is okay - being a jerk is not).

Assignment for the Day

This is important:

-Watch Eminem's new video, "Mosh." I'm serious about this - watch it. This may be very important. It's also kind of exciting.

-Go to MTV.com and vote for it to appear on TRL; note that it isn't listed, so you'll have to write it in. Perhaps let MTV know what you think of cowards, as well.

(Thanks to the Pandagon boys, from whom I more or less stole this post).

UPDATE: Well, it worked; "Mosh" made it onto TRL, and now is a radio-button option, so go back as often as you like and vote for it again.
Also, someone who works for Eminem is smart, and was monitoring the blogosphere today - notice that at MyDD.com there is an ad for the video, and a link to the corporate site, which shows a higher-quality version of the video, and won't go down from too-heavy traffic (also, it's nice that they're providing an alternative to the nice citizen whose bandwidth for the day prolly cost him a pretty penny).

I can't WAIT until Nov. 2

You know, when the West Wing Season Three comes out on DVD. (Does he run for re-election or not? Wait ... what season are they in right now?) (Bartlett CAN'T run for re-election; he already has. The show began halfway through the first term, so the real question is what happens when they can no longer have Martin Sheen as the preznit. -Ed.)

Also, I heard on some cra-cra blog that Jimmy Smits, of NYPD Blue fame, will appear this season and successfully run for the White House. I can't see him as warm/endearing/chess-y as Jed...

Anyway, you read it here first (after I read it somewhere else).


Comment on a Movie

I just saw i {heart} huckabee's. Me - I really liked it. I understand that some people might/may not, but I really did. What I took away from it was, "However you get there, it's best when people are decent to each other, and that's possible." Which is not profound, but is, I think, a lot more difficult to convey and less hackneyed than it sounds at first.
I would certainly encourage people to see the film. David O. Russell is a first-rate talent as a director, and though he's apparently an apeshit-insane-asshole (there was an NYT profile of the making of the film a month or so back; can't find the link, lemme know if anyone can) when making a film, he did manage to get really terrific performances out of a cast of very good actors.
Anyhow, it was thoroughly absorbing and got me out of the "8-Days-Oh-My-God-Just-Let-it-Be-Over" for a while, which is good.
Oh, and if you want to reach near-homicidal levels of rage, read this (or, really, anything that Jodi writes, but this especially). Otherwise stay far, far away.

Endorse This

Hey, check it out! Degs is back. Cool. Good thing a) Starbucks coffee ice cream is hopped up with caffeine and b) I don't know anyone in Boulder yet! Yay!!

So here go the two endorsements for the presidential election (maybe you've read about it; it's 2004 so there's an election on) from, arguably, the two most influential newspapers in the country: the New York Times (for Kerry) and the Washington Post (also for Kerry).

The Washington Post's endorsement was awful. It lacked conviction -- which detractors say has plagued the Post's editorial page for the past, hmmm, four years. It was a lukewarm rebuke of the Bush administration and an even lukewarmer endorsement of Kerry. As someone who was not behind Kerry intially, I can understand the passionless support for the Massachusetts senator some people project. What I cannot understand, for the life of me, is the mild-mannered criticism of the Bush White House. You would think that a group of people who reads the news every day (e.g., the fucking editorial board at a big newspaper) could come up with something a little more barbed than this:
There is no guarantee that Iraq would be more peaceful today if U.S. forces had prevented postwar looting, secured arms depots, welcomed international involvement and transferred authority to Iraqis more quickly. But the chances of success would have been higher.
The only good part of this piece was probably that they used the word cocksureness.

On the other hand, the New York Times actually takes Bush to task. It is a poignant, frank, and scathing critique of the Bush administration and passionately posits that a Kerry presidency will be good the United States. Here's one of the opening paragraphs:
There is no denying that this race is mainly about Mr. Bush's disastrous tenure. Nearly four years ago, after the Supreme Court awarded him the presidency, Mr. Bush came into office amid popular expectation that he would acknowledge his lack of a mandate by sticking close to the center. Instead, he turned the government over to the radical right.
Well Fucking A! Thank you, NYT, for having some ... how you say ... chutzpah.

The documentation of failure and brutal comparisons (Nixonian!) continue through the first half, culminating in this tidy graf:
The Bush White House has always given us the worst aspects of the American right without any of the advantages. We get the radical goals but not the efficient management. The Department of Education's handling of the No Child Left Behind Act has been heavily politicized and inept. The Department of Homeland Security is famous for its useless alerts and its inability to distribute antiterrorism aid according to actual threats.
I can't really say it better than this. (If I could I might be working at the NYT and not, say, for frisbee people... no, no that's not true.)

And then we finally get some good op-ed material that's pro-Kerry (memo to Paul Krugman: read this).
Mr. Kerry has the capacity to do far, far better. He has a willingness - sorely missing in Washington these days - to reach across the aisle. We are relieved that he is a strong defender of civil rights, that he would remove unnecessary restrictions on stem cell research and that he understands the concept of separation of church and state. We appreciate his sensible plan to provide health coverage for most of the people who currently do without.

Mr. Kerry has an aggressive and in some cases innovative package of ideas about energy, aimed at addressing global warming and oil dependency. He is a longtime advocate of deficit reduction. In the Senate, he worked with John McCain in restoring relations between the United States and Vietnam, and led investigations of the way the international financial system has been gamed to permit the laundering of drug and terror money.
It sort of wraps up mostly anti-Bush, but you know what? Fifty percent of America would rather have someone, anyone, else in the White House.
We look back on the past four years with hearts nearly breaking, both for the lives unnecessarily lost and for the opportunities so casually wasted. Time and again, history invited George W. Bush to play a heroic role, and time and again he chose the wrong course. We believe that with John Kerry as president, the nation will do better.
I'm not much of a religious man these days, but I could be persuaded to become one once again if things are looking a) really really good or b) really really bad on November 3.

P.S. Last night when we were drunk Frodo and I promised each other we'd riot if Bush got re-elected. Memo to Agence France-Presse and the Guardian: get your American photogs ready. Some shit's going down.




Oh yeah, now, in addition to the most storied history of any franchise, you also have on your resume the ABSOLUTE WORST CHOKE IN THE HISTORY OF PROFESSIONAL SPORTS.

Fuck you Jeffrey Maier, wherever you are. You, too, can suck it.


Sinclair...Still Sucks

Excellent letter from former FCC Chair Reed Hundt, with one very funny passage:
As a result, advertisers have just as much ground to be wary, and the FCC just as much basis to do its duty, and Sinclair just as much reason to feel the opprobrium of an aroused public, as was the case before this current and suspicious effort to disguise the true intentions of Sinclair.
Oh man...I, uh...the opprobrium of an aroused public?!? That's a bad thing, right? I mean, I feel pretty violated just thinking about Sinclair's feeling the...um, opprobrium, of a, uh, aroused public.

Aroused?!? Reed, I know you're a guvmint man, but seriously...you gotta know what that sounds like.

A-Rod = Cheater

Just for the record, A-Rod is a cheater. Cheater.


Also Pretty Amazing


Now, you might get your hopes up upon hearing that name, but let me assure you that there's nothing contained in the website that is occasionally broadcast from South Florida basements.

In fact, it's just a poll for a Burger King sandwich competition. And it's a huge website, taking a while to load on even a fast connection.

But...there are still certain interesting and hilarious possibilities given how the website works, that must have been in the minds of some of the people who put the site together. And no, not to get your hopes up, it's nothing lewd, either. Just...give it a shot, and see if you figure it out.

Thank You Again, BoingBoing

For this


Ain't that Always the Way?

...from "Manhunt", on Bravo (paraphrasing here, mind you):
I'm kind of at a crossroads in my life, where I can either go further into my physics and astrophysics stuff, or go towards male modeling.
Jon Jonsson was this kid's name. I mean, I can relate.


Fat and Stuff

I was just watching...yes...Fox News, and they had a feature on Blue Cross/Blue Shield North Carolina's beginning to cover treatments for obesity. The two talking heads were the head of BCBSNC and Paul Campos, author of "The Obesity Myth."
The weird thing is that the corporate talking head made a lot of sense, and Campos came off looking like some crank. Searching around a little, it seems he's not really totally nuts, and makes a lot of good points about the bizarre push-pull of American culture deciding that, in a country full of fat people, anyone not skinny as a rail is overweight.
But really, I kinda ended up siding with the BCBS guy - for one, you'd figure that an extra area of treatment that an insurance company voluntarily begins, is prolly gonna save them some money. And for another, he talked a lot about promoting healthier lifestyles and taking preventative measures.
Campos did make some good points, but the fact remains that a lot of people in this country - a LOT - are REALLY FUCKING FAT. And this is a problem. And we shouldn't not discuss it - we should discuss it, and also discuss the aforementioned national psychosis over body image - but he's not talking about it in useful ways.

Jon Stewart = My Hero

So if you haven't already seen it, watch Jon Stewart's "Crossfire" appearance yesterday wherein he destroys Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala. It's really amazing - in one 15-minute segment he pops any illusion that what Begala and Carlson do is anything but the political equivalent of pro wrestling.
He also calls Tucker Carlson a dick. Which is awesome.
And to think that people were concerned when Craig Fucking Kilborn left "The Daily Show" that it might not be as funny anymore.


As Part of My Continuing Series

on web sites that don't suck, and one might not come across in the normal course of your day:
City Population



Alert Reader Mark sez:
There is this great website that is actually based out of a house here in cleveland called musicstack.com. It is basically a nationwide database of about 10,000 independent record stores. You can search cd, tape, vinyl, you name it, and they often have very hard to find recordings of lesser known artists. And it appears to be just as convienient as ordering from

He's right. A cursory search shows prices as good, or nearly, as Amazon, but ridiculous selection. Links on the post below will be switched over when I have time; in the meantime, use above link.


Time Was...

...I actually had the time to post here several times a day. Now, what with having a job and all, I can't. And, to boot, I've gotten pretty lazy with my posting, relying heavily on mostly-excerpted posts from the blog mainstream. For that I also apologize; I kinda feel like this has become a derivative backwater, save for the occasional post on robots.

Which is too bad, as I was starting to get pretty comfortable with a voice and thematic vision for this blog when I went and got myself hired.

So - changes to come. I am going to make a concerted effort to keep content fresh here, and to keep it from being too inside-jokey and self-referential, not because I have any delusions of having or at any point acquiring a larger audience (okay, maybe a little with the latter...), but really because they make the content less good.

To that end, an old-school style post:

Great NEW Albums of Music!

-Cake's Pressure Chief is pretty much like every other Cake album...in that it's not really at all like any other Cake album, in that it rocks really hard, and in that it's far too short. Well, not too short, but you definitely could listen to it for another hour, were it to go on that long. Basically, Cake makes some of the most original music out there, and aspires to pretty much nothing RE: being rock stars. They are awesome, and you should buy this album.

-I just bought Ozomatli's new album. I haven't even listened to it yet (literally, just half an hour ago, bought it), but...eh, figure it's pretty good.

-Kylie. Why I didn't buy Body Language when it came out, I have no idea. Fever was just about one of the greatest albums ever made, so...I dunno, I'm probably stupid, is what I figure. This album is a lot different than Fever - where the first was pretty much an unimprovable synthesis of Euro beats and disco, creating perfect danceable pop gems, Body Language is a melding of Kylie's Kylieness with the best of modern ambient beats and low-key, quality, hip-hop. It's...just really, really good, so good that it ends up doing the same thing as Fever and transcends entirely whatever possible cheesiness might have awaited. Really, just...good. Very.

-Drive-By Truckers' The Dirty South - basically, if you've been an asshole and not listened to me yet and bought everything these guys have ever done, for God's sake, correct that now. They are, I'm convinced, one of the five best and most important bands currently working in rock music. I don't say that lightly, either; if you get a chance to see them (and hopefully Allison Moorer, who's opening on part of this tour) TAKE IT, because they might die in a plane crash or start playing stadiums or something. Really, I can't even begin to describe...every song on this record (and Decoration Day) is a total keeper, and they rocked my face off (read: 5.5 hour show) when I saw them.

-The best political album of the year, and one of the few really great (almost) wholly political albums of the last three years, is Steve Earle's latest, The Revolution Starts Now. Of the 10 tracks, only one is not overtly political (though it's a great track, "I Thought You Should Know"). The title track is great, as are the very affecting "Rich Man's War" and "The Gringo's Tale". The album is a real lesson in how to do political music, as Earle came to his politics honestly, though a hard-lived life (e.g., prison, drugs, etc.) and only now - with a lot of music made, his craft honed, and his positions razor-sharp - does he take on a political album, though he's been crusading for years on anti-death penatly action. But it's not all dour - there's the playful and hilarious "Condi, Condi" (listen to it twice, closely - it is hilarious) and the good ol' literal middle finger of a song, "F the CC." Good stuff, all.

-Also very good and highly worth getting:
  • Mark Knopfler's latest, "Shangri-La." Not his best solo work (that'd probably be "Sailing to Philadelphia"), but that's setting a pretty high standard. A solid effort, his typical guitar virtuousity and a different feel than any album, solo or Dire Straits.
  • Snow Patrol's album, "Final Straw." Delicious rollicking guitar rock and roll music. If you like songs that are good, you will like this.
  • R.E.M. finally has another album (it's been three years, I think?), "Around the Sun." It's very good, and goes further in the direction of discarding individually distinct instrumentation in favor of blended sound. I like it more every time I listen to it, and I like it a lot the first time; this is a pattern, it's been the same with every album post- "Automatic for the People," that they take longer to seep in. Not that they're not as good - on that point I'm not entirely sure - but they're not the jangly little pop songs that R.E.M. used to churn out. Which - just is. Still very good songs. Just different.
All for now.


That Guy

Charles Pierce at The American Prospect has a great piece on Dubya vis-a-vis the well-accepted Political Truth that C-Plus Augustus is the candidate with whom Americans would most like to have a beer:

Who in God's name would want to have an actual beer with George W. Bush?

First of all, he'd be the guy who starts throwing peanuts at the young ladies at the next table. And then, when confronted by, say, the defensive tackle who is engaged to one of them, tells them that you did it. Then he sends a gag gift to you in the hospital.

He's the guy who makes up (at top volume) the stupid nicknames for everybody else at the table and then, in the cold light of an angry dawn, you discover that yours is the only one that stuck.

He's the guy who never drives. Or chips in for gas. He might be the guy who booted in the back seat, but he'll never admit it without DNA evidence.

He's the guy who you find on your couch in the morning, using your mint copy of Blonde On Blonde as a coaster and the afghan your grandmother smuggled out from under the Cossacks as a bib.

He's the guy who eats all the popcorn.

At some point in our lives, we've all had a beer with George W. Bush. We laugh about it now but, let’s be honest, we lost his phone number years ago. He's "That Guy." As in, "Whatever happened to That Guy who got the ribs dumped on his head by the football player?"

"I think he still owes me twenty bucks."

Yes - YES. He is THAT GUY.

Stop Sinclair

Sinclair Broadcasting is at it again:
Between October 21 and 24, Sinclair Broadcast Group will force the local television stations it owns and operates to preempt regular network broadcasts and devote one hour to an anti-John Kerry documentary.

You may remember Sinclair as the same company that dropped Ted Koppel's "Nightline" devoted entirely to recitation of the soldiers' names who had died in Iraq.

Go and sign the petition to Stop Sinclair.


Are we jumping on this bandwagon?

Conspiracy theories are fun. Especially when they explain George Bush's idiosyncratic outbursts and proper pronunciation of tricky words.

And JKD: you're old.


Warning: Bethesda Geek-Out Ahead

So Second Story Books has moved.
This follows my favorite Chinese restaurant being basically booted out of the same shopping center on Bethesda Ave. (though they've thankfully re-opened, many months later, right down the street - Shanghai Village now, formerly China Village, but just as good), and Rio Grande (Bethesda's favorite meat-heavy Tex-Mex restaurant) pulling almost exactly the same move as Second Story, but in reverse.
It was a pretty good move on Rio Grande's part - they used to be basically the center of gravity in Bethesda, but in the last five years, with the presence already of...sigh...Barnes and Noble on the corner of Bethesda and Woodmont, and the redevelopment and population of the preceding block of Woodmont with popular and good restaurants (e.g., Raku, Jaleo, etc.) AND the opening of the super-cool Landmark's Bethesda Row theaters...the writing was on the wall (and the balance sheet, I'd imagine) - and now it's busy again, though I've heard not as good.
So now Fairmont, once bustling, has several empty store fronts...but now it also has Second Story, in addition to Big Planet Comics. Combine that with the Ben and Jerry's, and CalTor being a block and a half away (along, of course, with Night Dreams), and the Fairmont Ave. corridor just might enjoy a renaissance as the UNcool half of Bethesda.
Seriously - all within a block and a half, there's

What more could a loser want? An indie book/record shop? Oh yeah - that's also half a block away.
I've at times lamented the constantly accelerating pace of glitzification of Bethesda - which even in my childhood had some pretty seedy backwaters in its relatively small footprint - but if this coalition of the uncool can hold together, maybe there's a chance at at least preserving some heterogeneity. For the kids, y'know?

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