Monday, March 31, 2008

Yeah, So, Optimism Abounding

I don't know if the Walt "Clyde" Frazier reference in the title really comes through in print.

Anyway, as I blog, Aaron Heilman is wrapping up the Mets first victory of the season. (I'm not too concerned about jinxing the victory after MMG was teasing Diesal during the Giants' playoff run with the "book the tickets to Green Bay" jabs.) I'm really encouraged by several aspects of today's game:

1) Johan pitched. 7 innings, 3 hits. I'll extend this optimism to the whole starting pitching staff (Heilman just ended the game with 2 Ks and a comebacker). I have a lot of confidence in Pedro to pitch well, I like Oliver Perez, and I have been the official driver of the John Maine bandwagon for two years now. Also Mike Pelfrey is tall.

2)David Wright is hitting 3rd and Carlos Beltran is hitting 4th. That's great. I'm glad they're not trying to front like Delgado still deserves to be the number 4 hitter. If and when Alou comes back, they could even put him in the 5th spot and Delgado in the 6th. Wright and Beltran both had 2 doubles apiece today. And D-Dub had the game breaking hit with a bases loaded double from the 3 spot. Clutch.

3) Luis Castillo got on base 3 times today. He had 2 walks and a bunt base hit. He also stole a base. That's a number 2 hitter. I thought he was much older, too. He's only 32. That 4 year contract makes a little bit more sense now (not much more, though).

4) Angel Pagan (oxymoron) continued his hot hitting from spring training and had an RBI double. I'd like to see more of a platoon in right between Ryan Church and Endy Chavez. If and when Alou comes back, they're gonna have a lot of bench outfielders. I'm not sure what they're gonna do with all those guys. I can't imagine that Alou and Church are gonna be carved in stone by any stretch of the imagination, however.

5) I have a fair amount of confidence in Jorge Sosa, Aaron Heilman, and Billy Wagner. A fair amount. Six innings out of a starter with a lead will win them a lot of games.

My first in stadium game is April 10th vs. the NL East champion Phillies (I just threw up in my mouth a little bit). I really hope the little parking lot by the subway station is open, but I don't think it is anymore.

Side Notes: Blastings Milledge hit a home run and scored the go ahead run in the Nationals victory over the NL East champion Phillies (someone just ran up and kicked me in the nuts), on a hit by Paul LoDuca. Since he's going to play every day, I can almost guarantee a very good year for Milledge. Both Kerry Woods and Eric Gagne blew 3 run saves in the same game today. Looks like 101 years for the Cubs. The Diamondbacks are really good. I'm watching the Twins and Angels right now. Livan Hernandez (of the Twins, who knew?) has turned into his half brother El Duque (minus the never-ending injury problems). Livan no longer throws fast, he's just a crafty, location, speed changing pitcher. Also Carlos Gomez looks really good in that Twins uniform. Gomez is currently 2 for 2, by the way, with a double and a run scored and a really nice bunt base hit. He's fucking fast, too. I like him, but that was a fucking great trade. (Imagine for a half second, though, Milledge, Gomez, and Beltran in the outfield.)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Beatles Instrumentals

The Beatles, in my opinion, are among the greatest composers of the 20th Century.

Much has been written about their catalogue of songs but there are two rare songs that I thought I'd showcase here on Wheeeeeeeere's Luke?. There's nothing particularly earth shattering about either but they are catchy and rare, in that they are both instrumental (I think the only two instrumentals that they released).

First up is Cry for a Shadow. A very early song, recorded in 1961 in Hamburg, Germany. George Harrison wrote this song with John Lennon as a parody of The Shadows - a British Band at the time. It is the only song in The Beatles' repertoire to be credited to Lennon and Harrison alone. It's a catchy little tune, check it out:

The second, Flying, is off of their 1967 LP - Magical Mystery Tour. The footage of this, included in the movie, Magical Mystery Tour, is from Stanley Kubrick's movie 2001: A Space Odyssey (featuring trippy images of Iceland). Also of note is that it's the only song that is credited to Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey except for Dig It, off of the Let It Be album.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Classic Video: David Wright rules

There's something gay about this.

This video isn't really "classic" in the Webster's sense, as in it really only appeals to Mets fans. (Note: I haven't actually gotten to watch the thing because my computer is having PMS or something.) But I feel like with Opening Day soon approaching (for the Mets, that is, as I'm well aware that the Red Sox and A's allegedly played a few games this week at like 6 in the morning somewhere far away from Manhattan and, thus, inconsequential), a baseball video is appropriate.

The key dialogue here, which I obtained from the excellent Y2K, demonstrates some of David Wright's awesomeness, which I'm certain Side Bar and I will elaborate on to an annoying degree as the upcoming season progresses. Basically, Dave (yeah, first-name basis, bitch) is chatting with Dontrelle Willis and fat Ryan Howard about I don't know what (having not seen the vid, as I said), and somewhere this exchange occurs:
Willis: Who's one of the toughest pitchers you've faced in the league, man, and why?
Wright: I would say you, but I own you.
[Willis and fat Ryan Howard crack up]
Ha! It's funny 'cause it's true!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I Like David Brooks

David Brooks is the New York Times op-ed columnist I tend to jibe with the most. Also I really like him on the Chris Matthews show on the Sunday morning triumverate of Chris Matthews (Tell me something I don't know), Meet the Press (Mr. McCain, this is what your aide said in late 1989...(reading an entire speech made by some guy at an 8th grade graduation, and then 5 minutes later)...How do you respond?), and McGlaughlin Group (Issue one, on a scale from one to ten, with one being zero chance and ten being absolute metaphysical certitude, what is the chance that Hillary Clinton steps down before the convention?).

Anyway, David Brooks's column from today, The Long Defeat, explains why Hillary Clinton can't win the nomination, and also why she's not going to quit. I can't put it any better than he did, so I won't. Just read it.

A horse walks into a bar starts a blog. His first commenter asks, "Why the long post?"

This had me cracking up.

Though it's been some time since the heralded bloggers at Where's Luke? engaged in a proper pun war, I continue to keep my ear to the ground. Coming to us from Mental Floss is a list of finalists for the Best Pun in the World.

Some of them are quite good (I particular like "E"), though I firmly believe that the true measure of a great punner is his ability (or hers -- hat tip to Faith who held her own, admirably) to come up with consecutive great puns in a short period of time, as opposed to seeking out the "Ultimate Pun." In many ways, having that as a goal would detract from the enjoyment of puns, I think. As alluring as the concept of achieving the Ultimate Pun is, it strikes me that that would kill punning entirely. It'd be like having your penis somewhere inside Angelina Jolie -- why would you ever bother putting it anywhere else? Just kill yourself, man, you've reached the mountaintop.

In any event, I think the best pun we saw in our war was this one (which was focused on shoes, for you memory-impaired folks like me):
The Notorious LJT said...

well done faith, you're punning with the grownups now.

next thanksgiving you can move from the *keds* table and eat with the adults.

I guess I'm somewhat obligated to offer a pun somewhere here. So I figure the newfangled medium on which we've been writing and you are now reading (which at times has been referred to as the Information Superhighway) would be a pretty good topic. After all, it's rife with all kinds of possibilities. Hey, it might just *net* us a few new visitors, who will forever be caught in our *web*.

Two obvious ones down. Let the war begin.

[Pic is from When Worlds Collide.]

Sunday, March 23, 2008

WTF Commercial: Planter's Peanuts

I know this commercial has been out since the Super Bowl, but it has gotten a lot of play during the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

I can't quite explain how I feel about it. Which I guess is a good thing. I'm mesmerized by its...oddness or something.

I guess I was just wondering what y'all thought about it. I mean, unibrows are great for comedy, no arguments. People falling/tripping/running into things? Also a good bet to make me laugh. I mean, I know the chick is hideous -- that's the point, I suppose -- but I guess this is a good follow-up to Chuck's whole Funny = Hot posts. Chuck, I ask you: Since this chick is funny, is she therefore hot? And if so, how bad do you want to bang her? (For the record, as for me? Yes. Yes I wouldn't bang her! Didn't see that one coming, didya?)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Dear Chuck, Duke lost, love West Virginia (and Maryland)

If I had photoshop, I'd've put the West Virginia game score, but ultimately, the sentiment is the same.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world (the good part) thinks that Duke losing is awesome. Almost as awesome as this dog:

And yes, I know I used that title in the comments for the last post. I don't care.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Why doesn't CBS understand this NCAA-college-basketball-tournament thing they've been covering since, like, forever?

Enter "Duke sucks" in a Google Image Search, and this is #9. WTF?

Tonight, as I watch at 8:36 p.m., the score of the North Carolina vs. Mt. St. Mary's (or whatever school) game is 80-52. This has been the featured game since the 7:00 start. It's still on.

I understand that schools like UNC have a large fan base. However, while that utter-blowout-and-therefore-uninteresting game is proving every single person who filled out a bracket correct (There has never been a 16-seed-over-1-seed upset.), there are three other, vastly more interesting games going on. One is 8-seed Oregon vs. 9-seed Mississippi St. (8-9 games being closer because the teams are -- shockingly? -- more evenly matched); another is 6-seed Oklahoma vs 11-seed St. Joe's (not that close at this point, so not so much of a problem with it not being on); and the last is 13-seed Siena up by 10 against 4-seed Vanderbilt. As the Dude once said, "That's interesting, that's fucking interesting, man!" But is that the game CBS chooses to display? (No.)

Last night, the first game on CBS's schedule was 2-seed and all-time-media-fellating-team-that-everyone-else-everywhere-in-the-world (except douchebag rapists who went there) despises, Duke (Except fucking Chuck, who has inexplicably liked Duke since I've known him. In fact, I'm all about removing him from this blog simply for that. I haven't even said something like that about his yankee-liking, so that should give you some idea of the absurdity of his liking Duke.) vs. Belmont.

Yes, the game turned out to be pretty awesome. But that's not the point. No one thought Belmont would give Duke a game. At the same time as that game, 6-seed USC faced 11-seed Kansas State. To the untrained eye, that might not be that appealing, but that game happened to feature the two most exciting (and probably best) players in college basketball: USC's O.J. Mayo (Why, if your first name is O.J. would you go to USC, I might ask. There was a certain Heisman Trophy-winning...) and K-State's Michael Beasley.

So, CBS chose Duke over the two most exciting players in the game facing each other for the first and only time.

Okay, now as I have been typing this, CBS has switched over to the Vandy-Siena game. Whew. I hope UNC's lead is still safe. (It's 94-52 now. Yes, since a few paragraphs ago, UNC went on a 14-0 run.)

The media's affair with Duke is well-documented, so I feel no need to give three examples or anything. Just Google "Duke sucks" or something and you can see (above).

But it still baffles me that CBS, despite having been the network covering the NCAA Tournament since before I can remember, doesn't understand that most people don't watch college basketball except for this tournament. And the thing we all love most about it is upsets. We know that a 16-seed isn't going to beat a 1-seed. We also know that 12-seeds often beat 5-seeds. We know that the 8-9 matchup is the closest, and generally leads to some very exciting games.

What's most exciting about the tournament? The buzzer-beaters. And just today, there were two (kinda). One involved 12-seed Western Kentucky winning on an unbelievable 3-pointer at the buzzer over 5-seed Drake (which ear-raped my bracket, thanks Drake); the other was 13-seed San Diego over 4-seed UConn (which did like a priest just touching my penis -- rather than making me suck his -- kind of thing to my bracket; I had UConn losing next round.).

Ultimately, I guess this is just another fruitless plea to the national sports media to do better. Plenty of sites devote all their energy just to that, and they're worth reading and supporting. But this is just my nickel minus three. (Let me know if that's stupid. I saw a commenter make it somewhere and thought it was clever. Maybe it isn't. But if it is, I'm gonna use it all the time and never admit that I read it anywhere. Except here, I guess.)

Oh, and one last thing.

I haven't done a Friday Classic Video in a while, but I feel like this one is pretty cool. You've all seen the 2 Girls, 1 Cup thing. Wait, I mean, I've seen it, because I'm not a pussy. The other writers of this blog are, in fact, pussies for not watching it. Both of you other readers who actually have penises (or vaginas, but watched it nonetheless, and therefore aren't "pussies" because while your womanhood endows you a vagina, within that vagina lie more balls than my co-writers have put together) would enjoy this.

This does not in any way show the actual video, but if you've ever seen that angry German kid watching that other thing and screaming like Germans are wont to do, this will be pretty funny.

Two Girls, One Angry German Kid - Watch more free videos

(Another stunner -- we've never had a "Lebowski quotes" tag?)

Funny = Hot: Part Deux

I'll stick with Janeane Garofalo as the person who's good looking-ness increases the most because she's funny, but the rest of you are calling for a recall, then I'll offer a couple more. One at Open Bar's suggestion, and another who I'm now going to put into the number one spot, that I assume will also be assailed by my blogmates. So fuck you guys in advance.

Addendum #1 - Amy Poehler

Amy is cute as a button. Are buttons cute? What does that even mean? Interestingly she's the most versatile cast memeber on SNL because she's not traditionally good looking, in the sense that she plays a lot of teenage boys on the show, and her best character, Caitlin, (Rick, Rick, Rick, it's only 8 hours 'til uncle Rob's wedding and I get to be a bridesmaid walking down the aisle all ba-da-da-da, ba-de-da-da. That doesn't translate as well in print) is like a 9 year old girl. But then since she is so funny, bam, hotter. Also she's married to Will Arnett, who was in Arrested Development and Blades of Glory, so that's extra bonus points. Did you see their Gap ad over Christmas time? So cute.

The new #1 person whose hotness is increased by her funniness - Kathy Griffin

First of all, before you get all riled up about this, Kathy Griffin is 47 years old. She's not gonna win any beauty contests, but the fact that she is hysterically funny makes her mad cool, and therefore much more attractive than she would otherwise be. The focus of that point being the "otherwise would be". PS - Watch her reality show if and when it comes back on the air. Awesome. Or if you can catch one of her stand up routines on like the Bravo channel then watch it. I know I know, you're saying, "I'm not gay. I don't watch Bravo". Well, maybe you should start.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Birthday To Us

This esteemed online publication is one year old today.

Happy Birthday to us!!!

Funny = Hot

I'm prepared to offer several examples of some ladies who are made hotter by the fact that they are funny (incidentally, this is the first post with the "hot women" label. I, for one, am surprised). The idea is to do this in countdown form with the number one person being the one who gains the most on her attractiveness relative to her objective beauty, though we'll see how that actually works out.

Anyway, I feel I'm pretty close to proving this theory: Funny = Hot. I think the reason that funny ladies are good looking is because finding someone funny is finding some sort of common ground. Also people who are funny have to be pretty smart, and intelligence is definitely attractive. I'm of the opinion that life is pretty absurd in general, so people who seem to have come to the same conclusion are all pretty cool in my book. And then once a woman is cool, it's just a short step to becoming attractive.

Number 4 - Chelsea Handler

Ok, Chelsea Handler is good looking to begin with. But then when she starts talking shit on her talk show, Chelsea Lately, on the E! channel, and she's goddamned hysterical, and you want to leave your life as it is and in a reverse Eat, Pray, Love (no one else watches Oprah?)type of situation, head out to LA and marry her. By the way, if you're wondering who Chelsea Handler is, you should watch her show on the E! channel. It's stupid funny.

Number 3 - Sarah Silverman

Sara Silverman is also pretty good looking to begin with in my opinion, but I've heard differing views. Interestingly, the people who think she's not funny at all also tend to be the people who think she's not good looking. I think this serves to prove the point. I can understand if you don't think she's funny, but for me, she's one of the funniest people out there. It's like you see a beautiful rose out in a garden and then that rose starts cursing at you and talking about fucking Matt Damon, and it's just really funny to me.

Number 2 - Tina Fey

Dude, it's definitely the glasses here. Glasses are really sexy. Also the funny thing. And she doesn't take herself too seriously, obviously. I mean, a good portion of her show, 30 Rock, is about how lame she is and how she generally sucks at life (shout out to MECG's sister CC, for the "sucks at life" reference).

Number 1 - Janeane Garofalo

Janeane is objectively kindof funny looking, but I've always thought she was really funny and, as a result, kindof good looking. She's recently gone a little bit crazy with the outspoken uber-liberal thing. That's less funny, and also less attractive.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Whoa No Shoot

I don't know if anyone else is interested, but I'm kind of fascinated by Bear Sterns - they had been the # 5 Investment Bank on Wall Street until quite recently - going under.

Their stock had peaked at, like, $170 a share in 2007 and yesterday, it was sold for $2 per share. Having been going, very part time, to business school for four months I can tell you that that's a lot less.

So what happened?

I don't profess to have a deep understanding of the financial markets, by any means but I'm going to take a shot at what happened, as I understand it - albeit in overly simplified terms - and anyone that understands it, please jump in.

Bear Sterns is an Investment Bank and basically what that means is they have a shitload of other people's money (billions) and they take that money, invest it and try to make more.

One of their investments was in the the subprime mortgage market. When Fannie Mae or Countrywide or whoever, sell all those mortgages, they are owed billions of dollars by home owners/mortgagees (collectively). They're taking a risk people can't pay them back - the higher the risk you won't pay them back, the higher the interest you pay because it's more of a risk. And when you're a pretty high risk, they call you subprime and charge you a very high rate.

All of this debt is amassed by the mortgage companies and because they don't want to take all the risk themselves, they sell it off to investors and pay them a percentage in order to take the risk from them (if people start defaulting, they lose the money too.)

With all this debt, they essentially made towers of debt and I-Banks bought the debt at some level on the tower, accepting the risk of the people defaulting on the loans, picture this:

If you have the blue layer, you may get paid, say 10% interest on your level and there is a 3% risk of people in your section defaulting, you reflect that on your balance sheet as a 7% profit margin (as long as people don't default); if you're red it may be 8% and and 2% for 6% profit, etc.

Basically what happens is even if these banks weren't in the blue, where losses due to defaulted mortgages were actually paid out, they still took a balance sheet loss because they were getting paid as if there risk was the red level but the risk was actually in the blue level now because after part of the blue level was eroded the red had to drop down - closer to the actual risk of mortgage defaults - which is less of a profit than they said they were making, and now they have to write that down on their balance sheet as a loss.

Multiply that by four kajillion, and that's a big loss and because Bear Sterns had put too many of their proverbial eggs in the proverbial subprime basket, when people started defaulting due to the slumping housing market, BS had to write down like a trillion dollars (it may be in the billions but I'm not going back to look it up and, anyway, the point is it was a lot of money).

Investors started freaking out and were no longer trying to invest with Bear Sterns as well as pulling money out and, with their funds in jeopardy, their stock price plummeted.

All this led to the choice of going bankrupt or being bought out.

They went with terrible option B, which is how JP Morgan was able to purchase the decades-old former Wall Street giant for 1.2% of it's peak value in 2007.

Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Leprechaun Brothers!

While one of us oughtta be hard at work on a recap of this Saturday's epic St. Patty's Day festivities, I figured I'd wish everyone the luck o' the Irish on this special day with what is a likely re-creation of me trying to sing Danny Boy, along with LJT and Side Bar. (Chuck is on the piano, natch.)

[Thanks, Neatorama!]

Friday, March 14, 2008

Billy Crystal is dead to me, too.

So this should absolutely go in the "Comments" section, but it is so fucking irritating to me that I had to post it to the site lest anyone miss it.

Open Bar did a fine job of walking us through the dreadful publicity stunt cooked up by the Yankees and the Billy Crystal people, so I will not re-hash that here. The only thing I want to add, though, is that this over-the-hill douchebag who makes a federal case about being such a die-hard Yankee fan is actually an owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

What is that? Is he a passionate fan of the game or a dispassionate investor looking to make a few bucks? You are welcome to look at baseball as a business and make a financial investment, knock yourself out. But you can't be all high and mighty about your fan-dom on the one hand, but also own part of another team. "I remember my first trip to Yankee Stadium when I was seven, the grass, the sounds, the smells." Eat me. The smell was some fat guy who had just puked on your shoes, and the sound was a drunk guy cursing at Phil Rizzuto.

(Side note: That's another thing I hate: stop romanticizing shit just because it happened a long time ago. I remember my first trip to Shea: we sat in the fucking nosebleeds and snuck in cans of RC Cola because our parents were kind of cheap, and me and Open Bar got lost in the parking lot because he was an idiot who couldn't follow our dads who were directly in front of us until they weren't. But I digress (side note (x2): OB -- that would actually be a halfway-decent post; if each of us told that story based on our very different recollections of the events).

And please, don't write back to me and tell me that "it's ok, he loves the Yankees, and the Diamondbacks thing is just an investment," etc., etc. Bullshit. That's just crap. You are never going to see Open Bar or me investing in the Atlanta fucking Braves.

In sum, My Giant sucked and Billy Crystal should have been shot for City Slickers 2. Stick to the Oscars, grandpa.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Billy Crystal is dead to me

Walt Clyde once met the Giant. Send over the pic!
Oh yeah, and that movie sucked.

As you may have heard, long-time yankee fan Billy Crystal led off in today's spring training matchup with the Pirates.

60-year-old Billy Crystal literally batted in a game against major-league pitcher Paul Maholm. He struck out, of course, but I have to ask WHY? WHY DID HE GET TO DO THIS?

I understand it was his 60th birthday, blah blah blah. But this is some serious nonsense. A publicity stunt? The goddamn yankees need publicity? Really?

He's a big yankee fan, fine, I know. I actually enjoyed 61*, which he directed. He seems to be a genuine fan of baseball, and I particularly love the scene where he and Bruno Kirby (R.I.P.) hit some balls in the batting cage in When Harry Met Sally ("You made a woman meow?").

But there exists an opportunity for non-baseball players to play baseball with their favorite teams. It's called Fantasy Camp. Every team has one (I think). You may remember the old Seinfeld where Kramer goes to yankee Fantasy Camp and gets into a "brouhaha" after plunking Joe Pepitone ("He was crowding the plate!"), which ends with him punching Mickey Mantle in the mouth.

I really don't mean to be a fun-hating anti-yankee jerk about this, but seriously, letting Billy Crystal hit in a real spring training game (that might be an oxymoron, yes) is retarded.

First of all, it's movie-star Billy Crystal, not some Make-a-Wish kid who's about to die. Let Billy Crystal throw out the first pitch or something, sure. Let him lead yankee Stadium in "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the 7th-inning stretch. Or, even better, get rid of that big-eared jackass who still does "God Bless America" every fucking game because, lest you forget, george steinbrenner and the yankee organization are way more patriotic than you are.

"It's just one at-bat, let it go," you might say. Yes, it is just one at-bat. But to some double-A player trying to make an impression, that one at-bat might make a huge fucking difference. Major League Baseball is a multi-billion dollar organization, and the yanks are the biggest team. Any player in their system has a chance to earn shitloads of dollars, and every one of those players deserves a shot at that far more than some aging has-been comedian multi-millionaire.

Again, the yanks don't need the extra publicity. If you want baseball coming up with offbeat ways to promote itself, the minor league system provides you ample opportunities. And some are quite timely, as well. (No actual hookers? Come on!)

In conclusion, Billy Crystal can suck my farts. Okay, maybe he isn't totally dead to me (he was Miracle Max, after all), but he's certainly mostly dead.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Shitequette part II

Notorious did a bang up job of outlining the rules of shitequette a while back. (Jeebus, looking at the picture still makes me sick) I feel like I have to add a caveat, though to smaller bathrooms.

It's simple, two, three...(You give us the tapes, we take the tapes to the record company, we get a record contract, we pay you back your money. We're guaranteed to get a record contract. Our stuff's that good. OK, I don't know this industry jargon, YP, MP, all I know is that the magic, the heart and soul that is on those tapes...that's ours, and you don't own that.) Sorry, I got carried away.

If there are 3 shitters (same rule for urinals, incidentally) then this should be easy. If you go in and there is no one in there, then you may choose either shitter #1 or shitter #3. You MAY NOT, barring wide scale grossness in both other stalls, choose #2. What the eff, people? This should be easy. Then if there is one person in there, presumably in #1, then you should go to #3. Simple concept.

The only time you may choose #2 is when both #1 and #3 are taken. The caveat is if someone absolutely destroyed one of the end shitters and didn't clean up after themselves leaving it clogged or otherwise unusable. You may not break this rule even if there is a moderate cleanup effort involved before you can get down to business. You're going to have to determine for yourself the difference between moderate and unreasonable cleanup job. Follow the fucking rules, people.

Patriotism Waits For No Man.
subtitled: Spit It Out, Dude.

I'm sorry, this is really arbitrary. This is especially arbitrary for those of you who don't work in a school and hear this every single day, but it's just getting on my nerves so I have to vent it. Here's how most people say the pledge of allegiance:

"I pledge allegiance (pause) to the flag (pause)of the United States of America (pause)(pause) and to the republic (pause) for which it stands (pause) one nation (pause) under God (pause) indivisible (pause) with liberty (pause) and justice for all."

Dude, seriously, this is very annoying. And, in my opinion, it takes all of the spirit out of saying the pledge every single day when it's said in such a meaningless fashion. The pledge is one sentence, it should sound like one sentence. It's also pretty packed with ideas in that one sentence, so its meaning should be clear. Here's my suggestion:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, (pause) and to the republic for which it stands, (pause) one nation, under God, indivisible, (pause) with liberty and justice for all"

That's where the natural breaks of the sentence are. Then we don't lose the ideas in the pledge. I need this to be part of Barack Obama's change campaign.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fuck Hillary Clinton

Man, I really can't stand Hillary Clinton anymore.

And, it's not because she's a woman, or a Clinton, or a baby boomer. No, none of those things.
It's because she fucking sucks.

Here's the most recent reason why: In an interview last week (and I don't know why it's taken a week to get out), Geraldine Ferraro (former first woman-ever VP candidate in 1984 and a staunch Hillary Clinton supporter and campaigner) had this to say about Barack Obama: "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color), he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

What? Obama has nothing else going for him except being black - really? Hmmm. That's pretty bold talk, especially from the first woman VP candidate who just happens to be supporting the former first woman president candidate - who just happens to be the first First Lady presidential candidate.

Was it an angry outburst, quickly recanted? Geraldine, what do you say?

"Any time anybody does anything that in any way pulls this campaign down and says let's address reality and the problems we're facing in this world, you're accused of being racist, so you have to shut up. Racism works in two different directions. I really think they're attacking me because I'm white. How's that?"

Sounds like you can spell mea culpa without Geraldine Ferraro to me.

So what did Hillary have to say about all this nonsense? Hillary, who demanded that some lady get kicked out of Obama's campaign for calling her a 'monster'. I mean, maybe she just meant the cookie monster or the sock monster or something, is that such a mortal sin? Well, Hillary didn't take it that way and Camp O felt her pain: the woman resigned.

Was she irate? Indignant? Disugusted?

"I do not agree with that," she [Clinton] said. "It is regrettable that any of our supporters on both sides, because we've both had that experience, say things that kind of veer off into the personal. We ought to keep this on the issues."

Monsterism is clearly out of bounds, but a little racism? Eh - whatever.

Fuck you Hillary Clinton and fuck you too, Bill.

There's this, but there's also Bill dismissing Obama's SC win - saying Jesse Jackson won in '84 too; them sending the pictures of Obama dressed up in Kenyan clothing (and *Muslim*); Hillary saying "He's not far as I know".

I find it hard to believe, but I really feel like Hillary Clinton is employing her own 'Southern Strategy'-lite. I mean this isn't Ronald Reagan going to Philadelphia, Mississippi, to announce his presidency and affirm his commitment to 'states' rights'. But she's intentionally appealing to the middle white America's remaining racism.

They're not running against Barack Obama, they're running against 'that black (and maaybe Muslim) guy', Barack Obama.


Monday, March 10, 2008

The Oldest Profession: Governor of NY?

I am going to spend the next 30 minutes or so "live blogging" the Eliot Spitzer news conference in which he is expected to announce some form of involvement in a prostitution ring in and around New York.

2:15p. Listening on Newsradio 88. So far, the only disclosure is that Spitzer is "involved" in a prostitution ring.

2:19p. Nothing yet, but shades of Jim McGreevy are everywhere. If Spitzer announces "I am a horny American," I am going to shit myself.

2:28p. Maybe he's getting cold feet . . .

2:31p. After a sports update, we learn that Johan had a nasty day against the Sawx, so that's nice. Still nothing on Pimpzer . . .

2:39p. I am already bored of this story. It's going to be a long news week.

2:51p. New details: Spitzer may have been a client of the prostitution ring that was broken up in NYC last week. Cell phone records may have connected him. No press conference yet.

3:04p. Spitzer was apparently known as "Client Number 9." Are they going to start calling him Love Potion Spitzer? No? Yeah, that was pretty weak.

3:05p. Apparently there are some reports that he is not going to remain as governor.

3:12p. Newsradio just broadcast the very end of Spitzer's remarks . . . I have no clue how they didn't get the beginning. He did not resign (apparently), and did not take questions. He said he needed to spend some time with his family, regain their trust, etc.

"Hi Honey it's me . . . well I have good news and bad news . . . "

Ok, so, worst live blog ever. His speech was like 40 seconds, 3/4 of which the radio station missed. They can't all be gems.

Shifting gears here, the potential headlines for tomorrow are phenomenal. Here are a few ideas:

  • Eliot's Mess
  • New York Head Going Down
  • You Gotta Be Spitzin' Me!

Let's get some others from this crowd . . .

Friday, March 7, 2008

Ran(t)dom musings . . .

I have been absent from our e-shout out book for some time now, so I have a fair amount of random stuff to say (side note: there cannot be more than two or three people who read this blog who did not catch that reference, but for your benefit: about 15 years ago, my brother and I began inviting people over to our house on weekends, summers, etc., just to hang out, and our family's basement became one of a few de facto social gathering places in town for our group of friends. One summer we introduced a log/journal -- it was called the "shout-out book" --- for people to sign and write stuff in when they visited the basement. The book still exists somewhere, and maybe we can post a few pages to the site one of these days). Anyway, here is a borderline coherent rant of the things I have been thinking about for the past few weeks (sort of like when I was doing a "Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down" column, but for this week it's all thumbs down):

The Texas Democrats. Is it me, or is taking fucking forever to count the delegates from the caucus portion of the vote that took place in Texas on Tuesday night? How many people were there? Just write down all the people who voted for Barack, then all the people who voted for Hillary, and count that shit up. What am I missing? Also, I understand that the Texas nominating mechanics are very complicated, but I understand this much: 2/3 of the delegates are apportioned by the popular vote, and 1/3 of the delegates are apportioned by caucus. Doesn't that mean that if Hillary won the popular vote by about 4 percentage points (she did), and if Barack won the caucuses by about 12 percentage points (so far, he did), then didn't he get more delegates in Texas? Stay tuned . . . we should know by about halftime of the Sugar Bowl.

The Mets. The Mets are down to three healthy players, and it looks like they will open the season by fielding a team with David Wright covering the left side of the infield, Jose Reyes covering the right side of the infield, and Angel Pagan patrolling the entire outfield on his own. In fairness, who could have possibly predicted that Moises Alou would get hurt and not play a full season? It's going to look like a T.B.O. team on a Saturday morning during the high holidays (thanks, I'm here all week). I think Open Bar is scheduled to pitch the 6th inning against the Tigers this weekend. I am not worried yet, but I fully expect to be linking back to this post on May 17 when the Mets are 20-22.

Michigan and Florida. Let's say you are a school teacher. Shit, some of you are school teachers. You have 50 students in your class. You assign each student a day to do their book report. Some students get their own day, others will present their book reports in groups of three and four. Also, there is some random Tuesday in February, a day when you know in advance that you will have nothing else to do, so you assign 22 students to do their book report on that day. Now let's say that two of the students, call them Florence and Michael, when you assign them their day in April or whatever to do their book report, tell you to go fuck yourself. They say, "no, uh-uh, fuck THAT Mr., I'm doing my book report in February with all the other kids!" You warn them that if they really go ahead and do their book report in February, instead of in April like you assigned them, they are going to fail. "I don't care," they say defiantly, "you ain't my mother, Mr." So they proceed to present their book reports in February. Nobody listens, because you've sent the other 48 students to recess to make sure Florence and Michael get no attention for their obstinate behavior, and -- as you warned Florence and Michael -- they both receive failing grades on their book report. A few months later the day comes when Florence and Michael were supposed to do their book reports in the first place. They are both feeling kind of unhappy about the failing grade you gave them, so they start whining about wanting to do their book report again, but this time for a real grade. If you let them go ahead, and give them the grade that they earn on the April presentation, or if you grade them based on their February presentation -- in fact, if you make them any kind of accommodation at all -- aren't you (a) kind of a huge pussy, and (b) going to lose all credibility with the other 48 students the next time you assign due dates for book reports? I think so.

Nick Kristof. I apologize in advance to everyone with a shred of compassion or concern for human rights and social justice. I know full well that our generation's reaction to genocide in African nations will be compared to the American reaction to the holocaust 60 years ago . . . too little, too late. I know all of this, and I am sure I will regret this post in a few weeks (or a few minutes if Hasdai or Goldie gets a hold of it and/or me), but right now I cannot help myself: I am begging, absolutley on-the-knees-hands-thrown-up-in-surrender begging Nick Kristof to shut up and settle down for just five minutes. God forgive me, I need a fucking break. I am sure that Obunduletarumina Rokatilingijunobrum or whatever the fuck is a horrible dude, and no doubt the Bush administration's lax attitude toward voting irregularities in the southern provinces of Namibia in late 2005 are to blame. I am also sure that aid worker Hotellerangi Babatoranji has shown Kristof first-hand examples of the freedom fighters from the north routinely slaughtering babies and feeding their parents to warthogs while systematically drinking all of the water themselves so that the southerners cannot have any. And no doubt this all dates back to some tribal conflict between the Azamagooths and Chizzlewinks 1300 years ago. I get it. It's fucked up. Do your best and move on. Would it fucking kill you to write something about Canada? Jesus.

I'm done.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Hillary, Step Aside

When considering whether to add your name to this site, ask yourself what Hillary Clinton's campaign would be demanding of Senator Obama if she held the lead in delegates that he currently holds over her.

Done? Good. Now go here, and sign this.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My New Favorite Band: Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire is the greatest band of the new millenium. By a long shot.

Here's what I want you to do. Go out and buy their first album, Funeral. Listen to it over and over until you absolutely love it because it's unlike anything you've ever heard. Process in your brain how inventive this band is, and all the different sounds that are coming into your ears. Think about how this is one of the most groundbreaking albums you have ever heard.

Then, go out and get their second album, Neon Bible. Do not get this album until you already love the first one. I'm thinking of your best interest here. I want you to love that first album. I want you to understand how great that album is before you get the second one. That way when you're in love with the first album, when you are hoping that their sophomore effort doesn't disappoint, when you believe that the first album is the best album you've heard in the last 10 years, when you can't wait to listen to what else they have, then listen to the second album.

Yeah, we're mouth breathers, but our album will kick your album's ass.
You wish you had Napoleon Dynamite as your bassist.

That way you'll be blown away by the fact that the second album is even better than the first. Amazingly, it's much better. It's akin to knowing in your heart that hamburgers are the greatest food on Earth, and then trying a cheeseburger for the first time. It's similar, it's almost the same, yet somehow it's infinitely better.

I don't want to try and describe the greatness of this band. I was railing on a little while back about how there's no more important music. Well, now we have at least this one band that's still making important music. I at least have hope that someone out there still cares about good music. And at least that's something.

Although I'm a little bothered by the fact that I know (well, I'm assuming) that most of you have never heard of Arcade Fire. There is no radio station that plays good music any more unless it's over 10 years old. There is no TV station that is going to back this band up until they become the most important band out there. In 1991, MTV would have made this band the next U2. Instead, they're just going to be a band with a huge cult following, a ton of groundbreaking music, and not much more to show for it.

But you can at least do something about it. Go buy their albums. Follow my advice about listening to them, and start to love life again.

Barack, Hillary, and aliens

(click on it)

Hay Dios mio!

Well, it looks like Hillary has won Rhode Island (Providence is a shitty city, by the way, don't bother stopping there when you're on your way to someplace better), Ohio (who is dead to me, I mean, come on! Those jobs aren't coming back. And I haven't forgotten 2004, you homophobic pricks. Oh, and the Bengals suck. But not as bad as the Browns. And fuck Ohio State with an Motaba-infected serrated knife to the ear.), and Texas -- although Barack will likely end up with more delegates there.

Maybe it's the two bottles of wine, but I'm feeling exhausted by this whole thing already. It's been exciting and whatnot, no doubt, but it's starting to look like this whole Democratic primary thing is gonna go on for the next three friggin' months:

Wyoming (3/8)
Mississippi (3/11)
Pennsylvania (4/22)
Guam (wait, Guam?)
Indiana (5/8)
North Carolina (5/6), which is a fucking awesome state
West Virginia (5/13)
Kentucky (5/20)
Oregon (5/20)
Montana (6/3)
South Dakota (6/3)
Puerto Rico (6/7)

Just shoot me in the pancreas already. Neither of them can get enough "pledged" delegates to secure the nomination before the convention in Denver, so it's gonna come down to the Superdelegates. Which is a stupid thing. Not that this hasn't been said before, but if Barack has won more states, the popular vote, and more delegates, yet somehow the Superdelegates hand things to Hillary, I think black folks might be a bit upset. And hey Hillary people, good luck winning in November if black people don't bother showing up because they hate you.

And also, now that she's (probably) won both Ohio and Texas, I've been led to believe that the Clinton folks are gonna spout some bullshit about how she won all the "big states" like Texas, Ohio, New York, California, New Jersey (my bad, though I did vote), etc... and somehow that means that she'd be better off against McCain. I reject this on its premise. A pro-Apartheid manatee -- as long as it headlined the Democratic ticket -- would win California and New York and, at minimum, enjoy a huge advantage in the other "big states" she won. So it's not like John McCain is gonna beat Obama there come general-election time, so why is that a huge deal?

I know there are glaring weaknesses in my arguments above, but I'm tired. I've just watched this primary crap for the last seven hours, I'm a bit burned out.

Oh, and the last part. Aliens. I actually really like aliens, I guess. The movie Aliens was excellent. I think it would be cool for everyone if we met some aliens, as long as they were cool and not suck-on-my-face-while-they-gestate-inside-of-me kind of aliens.

But there's one guy out there who hates aliens. And I mean hates aliens. His name is Chad. And here is his story.

[Thanks to for the video and Alien Loves Predator for the comic.]

Oh, and FUCK THE GODDAMN MTA for the new fare hikes, which make absolutely no sense and totally screw over those who regularly ride the subway (New Yorkers) in favor of those who actually might buy a $2 single ride (tourists and dumbasses).