Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday is Recycling Day

"I Know This Much Is True" (Originally Published, 9.14.07)

I know that her favorite movie is Billy Elliot ... I know she loves Irish Breakfasts but usually only takes one or two bites of the blood pudding ... I know she has endometriosis, and is usually in pain because of it ... I know she likes the pictures I take of her ... I know she loves Firefly, but only got into it recently ... I know she's always wanted to play the lead in Gypsy, but not as much as she'd like to play Sally Bowles ... I know that she absolutely kills when she does Liza's version of Cabaret at karaoke, and that I can't wipe the smile off my face when I see and hear it ... I know that there was once a black man in her bed (inside joke) ... I know that she'll drink Dewars and water but prefers single malt ... I know that she would die for any member of her family ... I know that her favorite perfume is Chanel #5 and she usually quotes Marilyn Monroe when asked about it ... I know that she'll often go to sleep in a tank top and underwear or pajama pants but wake up naked ... I know she hates Miami ... I know that she always, always smells good ... I know she watches House religiously, even the repeats ... I know she's had a lot of pain in her past, but handles it with an astonishing amount of grace ... I know she didn't used to be a dog person but now loves them and misses Brian in particular ... I know that she desperately wanted more people at her wedding and wished that my tux had fit just a little better (I agree on both counts) ... I know that she wants nothing more on her birthday than to have all her friends together ... I know she finds a metaphor in bamboo and loves New York deli-bought flowers ... I know that when she talks and listens to you, she makes you feel like you're the only person in the world ... I know that she wants Natalie Portman to play her in the movie ... I know that she is singular ... I know that she hasn't always had such a great handle on how to eat edamame ... I know she'll try any kind of food at least once ... I know she worships at the altar of Eddie Izzard and never gets tired of watching Dress to Kill (she can make the "Fuckin' French" face like it's a career) ... I know she loves Zero 7 and Blue Six's Close to Home ... I know she does a mean impression of Sia ... I know she hyperventilates in the presence of Jeffrey Steingarten and is practically on a first name basis with Wylie Dufresne ... I know she sometimes exclaims "Hi baby!" when she first sees me, in a pretend Southern drawl ... I know she's as comfortable eating Bar-BQ with her fingers and drinking Budweisers in Brooklyn as she is elegantly dining at Gordon Ramsay in London ... I know she looks adorable in her undies that say "Cheese" on the front with a picture of a mouse, and "Quackers" on the back with a picture of two ducks, but not as adorable as she looks in her leopard-print ones ... I know she smiles when she's nervous ... I know she drinks water from the opposite side of a cup when she gets the hiccups, and swears that it works ... I know that there is no greater home entertainer and party host among all the discovered worlds ... I know that she knows that penguins love tamales ... I know she appreciates Wal-Mart ... I know there's a Nicole Miller dress she's dying to get ... I know that Greece changed her ... I know the summer when she was 19 did as well ... I know she's family ... I know she likes it when I sing Green Day ... I know that she and I have the same tattoo ... I know she's a New York girl at heart ... I know that losing her grandmother devastated her, and having gotten to know the woman myself, I understand why ... I know she's my lobster ... I know she wants a Vespa ... I know she sat through all four Alien movies as a favor to me and liked three and four best ... I know she loves both the film and book version of The Motorcycle Diaries ... I know that she considers herself a "musical theater geek" ... I know she does a pretty damn good impression of the "Meatwad Dance" ... I know she likes Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir (excellent and inexpensive!) ... I know she actually cried during the third Lord of the Rings movie ... I know that she loves to remind me how old she was when I was a senior in high school (eight) and that the day of her birth, unbeknownst to me at the time, was a very special day in my life ... I know she understands that to know about the giggle loop is to become part of the giggle loop ... I know she also understands the significance of a stuffed sea lion named "Toast" ... I know that there's an almost unbelievable coincidence between her wedding ring and mine ... I know that the aforementioned Brian once probably gave her a concussion ... I know she appreciates Garden State in a way that I might not be able to ... I know she likes to have a hand placed gently on the small of her back when you're walking side-by-side with her ... I know that she's wanted to go back to school for quite awhile ... I know she cusses like a truck driver ... I know we once wound up getting food poisoning together (nothing brings you closer) ... I know she's secretly not an athiest ... I know she's not a bitch -- she's bitchin', but she's not a bitch ... I know she's reveled in being the cool and concerned stepmother ... I know she was once the cutest waitress/countergirl in Fenwick Island, Delaware and that because of those days, she now avoids blackberry brandy ... I know that her eyes are hazel to green (depending) and have one large fleck of dark color -- like the eye of Jupiter -- in each ... I know she loves being a muse ... I know that she smiles, though her heart is aching ... I know she likes sea urchin and octopus salad ... I know she can't eat walnuts, scallops or shrimp ... I know that her allergy to the last of those three won't stop her from putting a shrimp head on each finger and making them dance ... I know she gets most, but not all of my jokes, and that she's better for her lack of absolute comprehension in this matter ... I know that no one -- no one -- looks better getting out of bed and walking across the room to the bathroom in the morning ... I know that she understands what the loss of my best friend did and continues to do to me ... I know that very few people give her the haircut she asks for ... I know she has a thing against pigeons ... I know at least 20 things about her that I would never mention publicly ... I know that there are two pictures of our feet together: one taken on a chair-lift in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, the other on a hammock on a tiny island in the Caribbean ... I know that her showers last longer than most baseball games ... I know that I melt every time I think of her singing "You are My Sunshine" to me ... I know that whenever she liked something, she used to say "It makes me happy" in a little girl voice, but that she doesn't say it much anymore -- and maybe I should've noticed that ... I know that Cruel Intentions is her favorite bad movie ... I know that she loves Jeff Buckley ... I know that she gets a kick out of going back to the Bowl Grill in Reading, PA whenever she's home, just to show off a little ... I know that she's more supportive than she needs to be ... I know that she loves the smell of cocoa butter ... I know that she enjoys the fact that one of her brothers is a brilliant pyromaniac and the other is a musical genius who loves chocolate milk ... I know she falls asleep in the middle of the bed when she's drunk, then mumbles to herself ... I know she'll watch While You Were Sleeping and You've Got Mail whenever either is on, and that it cheers her up when she's crying and I say, "Don't cry, Shopgirl" ... I know that she knows as much about me as I know about her ... I know that somewhere out there, there's an asshole who got a pretty good amount of money for her first engagement ring ... I know that, if I actually owned one, I would in fact allow her to wear my fraternity shirt right-side out, in spite of the rule against such things ... I know that, for all I know, she might have let me win in Trivial Pursuit ... I know she would've voted for Billy Mack's "Christmas is All Around Us" if given the chance ... I know about Bree ... I know that Denny Crane makes her laugh hysterically ... I know that she likes the Tommy Gnosis version of Wicked Little Town just a little more than the Hedwig version (I agree) ... I know that there isn't much in this world sexier than her singing Joydrop's American Dreamgirl while riding in the car ... I know that she wants to finally get her driver's license ... I know that she loves the Geico caveman commercials ... I know that she'd like to be either Holly Golightly or Inara Serra, just without all the prostitution ... I know she gets a kick out of it when I call her Starbuck ... I know she could watch YouTube videos of the Tini 500 all day ... I know she loves my family, and not simply out of obligation ... I know that she remembers exactly where we were when I told her I loved her, and what it felt like -- and that I remember when she whispered it back to me ... I know she enjoys telling people how 9/11 brought us together ... I know she loves sundresses and silly hats ... I know she speaks French better when she gets a little tipsy ... I know she still remembers dining at Cafe Marly, by the light of the Pei pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre, and that we weren't supposed to be eating there in the first place ... I know that she's always been something more than what people expected ... I know that she's all I know ... I know that she's never teased me for being obsessed with Strictly Ballroom ... I know she can decypher the tattoos on my forearms, and loves not just what they say but how they look ... I know her father's nickname for her ... I know the secret recipe ... I know of her affinity for Dagny Taggart ... I know that the best meal she ever ate involved Wagyu beef, oysters, great wine, a truly wonderful server, myself and Drew Curtis ... I know that she knows what happened to me the day after that particular dinner, and likes telling people all about it ... I know about her cowlick, and what a pain she thinks it is ... I know about the difficulties she had as a young girl, taking care of her mom-mom ... I know she knows what kind of BEAR is BEST, and that she, like me, is personally invested in Jim & Pam's relationship ... I know that I have her name tattooed on my left shoulder ... I know she once did a play with a guy in a gorilla suit ... I know she once did another play where one of her lines was "How's your tallywhacker hangin'?" ... I know that she'll probably never forgive me for divulging that ... I know that she sometimes shakes her butt like Cameron Diaz in Charlie's Angels when she's feeling especially goofy ... I know she'll probably never forgive me for divulging that either ... I know that she thinks she's the uncoolest person on the planet, which in fact makes her exactly the opposite ... I know she doesn't much care for white chocolate ... I know she loves Phish Food ... I know that she was kind enough to clean up after her idiot husband when he threw up all over the corner of the bathroom at her cousin's house ... I know that the same idiot husband has held her on the floor of their own bathroom several times as she's thrown up ... I know that he's watched her doubled-over in pain on that same bathroom floor because of her endo, and cried because he felt powerless to stop her from hurting ... I know that he once refused to leave a doctor's office until that doctor promised to help stop her pain ... I know that she won the karaoke competition onboard the Norwegian Sun during our cruise, and that she instantly became a shipwide celebrity ... I know how beautiful she looks when she's sleeping ... I know that she's Defying Gravity ... I know that if it hadn't been for her, I probably wouldn't be writing this right now, and I certainly wouldn't have my own website on which to put it ... I know she has crushes on Jon Stewart and Captain Malcolm Reynolds ... I know she thinks it's her sister who got the booty ... I know she believes that I've taught her a tremendous amount, when in reality it's the other way around ... I know she's always been my happily ever after ... I know that there are a thousand things I'm leaving out ... I know that in spite of everything I know, she remains a mystery to me ... I know that I've hurt her, and that she's hurt me -- but that I don't care about the latter anywhere near as much as I do the former ... I know that I'm sorry ... I know that I love her more than words could ever express ... I know that in the end, none of this matters much ...

I know that I have to let her go.

Truth and Consequences

This only works if you're honest.

One of the reasons I've enjoyed putting this little blog together for so long is that it's allowed me the chance to write about a host of topics that I feel I need to write about -- whether it involves voicing my admittedly inconsequential opinions or simply working through my own personal traumas. I've always been as open and fearless as I know how, and that's what's made the nonsense here occasionally worth stopping by for (or so I'm told).

Lately, though, I've been covering up a lot. I've held back both professionally and personally because I feel like it would be prudent to actually concern myself with the potential negative consequences of continuing to put it all out there online. The reason I'm doing this now, as opposed to having done it a long time ago, is that for the first time since starting this site, there's very real instability in my life. A genuine sense of not knowing what the next day will bring on almost every front. The economy has stripped media jobs clean, making it tougher to nail down the kind of serious work that would support, say, an eight-month-old baby girl -- and I have no doubt that I've paid a certain price for some of the things I've said publicly and in spectacular fashion (which is not to say that I regret any of it; I don't). Meanwhile, the ongoing drama that has been my and my wife's relationship over the past few years has reached a point of critical mass.

Which is what led me to post a column yesterday morning at around 5:30AM called "Here's Where the Story Ends." (A good rule of thumb: Always react with trepidation to anything published in the wee hours, when the person writing it isn't in the best frame of mind.) Those who subscribe to this site's RSS feed received this piece, but found that it didn't actually exist on the main page. That's because within minutes of posting it I thought the better of my actions and took the thing down.

I did this because it just hurt too much to put feelings into words -- which for me generally makes the tenuous blur of thoughts within my own head into a concrete reality -- and because I wasn't ready for the readers of this site or the inevitable Facebook crowd to draw battle lines and offer opinions on a situation that's both painful and personal. I didn't want to create a maudlin and grotesque spectacle -- and I still don't.

But I've never held back or kept anything hidden, and I'm not sure I should start now.

I have to be honest.

So, beneath this post is the one I published yesterday and quickly removed.

The truth would've come out one way or the other anyway.

Here's Where the Story Ends

Anyone who's followed this site regularly over the past few years knows that my relationship with my wife, Jayne, has seen its highs and lows.

On more than one occasion, I've written about my love and passion for, and loyalty to, the woman who's been my partner for seven years -- while also documenting the painful trials our marriage has endured. Jayne is and always will be my one true love -- my one real romance. In many ways, she's the best thing that ever happened to me.

We've been through so much together. It's almost impossible to imagine my life without her in it.

And yet that's exactly what I'm now going to have to do.

In spite of the birth of our new baby, Inara, whom we both love more than anything in this world, Jayne and I have come to the conclusion that we just can't continue being married to each other. If this sounds vaguely familiar, it's because about a year-and-a-half ago we were on the verge of separating and only managed to salvage things at seemingly the very last minute. At the time, I honestly felt that we'd make it -- that we loved each other and would pull through as a couple. I know now that this was nothing more than wishful thinking on my part, based on the most idealistic of notions: faith, love, belief. I know now that we've been living on borrowed time for years, and that no amount of work on the part of either, or both, of us can save what is hopelessly broken.

It's hard to fathom how two people who once cared for each other so powerfully -- who looked out for each other's best interests and shared a common dream of growing old together -- can now watch the future they planned for die. It's even harder to fathom how that future can be scrapped a mere eight months after the most joyous moment in their lives as a couple: the birth of their little girl. But, to be honest, I'm through looking for answers. At some point you have to give up and accept the reality of the situation, and I guess I'm finally there.

Jayne's hurt me in ways that many would find shocking and unimaginable; she's done things that have changed me fundamentally. I have to assume that if you asked her, she'd make the same claim about me. The bottom line is that the relationship that once brought the two of us so much happiness now brings only pain, and while I've always been willing to work through our issues and fight for our marriage, I just can't do it anymore. I'm exhausted and sad and angry and heartbroken and, well, done. I'm just done.

I have no idea what the future holds for me at this point -- aside from a decision to leave New York with Inara, temporarily -- but I know I'll be okay. I'm sure Jayne will be too. I'll miss her so much. I'll miss us. I'll miss our family. I don't want to love her anymore, but I guess that it's inevitable. What I finally understand, though, is that in the end it doesn't matter.

Love isn't enough. It never was.

Listening Post

It speaks for itself.

Here's Foo Fighters, doing an astonishing live version of Over and Out.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Listening Post

Love the hell out of these guys.

It's Cold War Kids, with I've Seen Enough.


The story of the month.

By the way, has anybody checked out that Billy Mays guy? You just know he's got a child dungeon in his basement.

The Huffington Post: ShamWOW Pitchman Vince Shlomi Arrested for Battering Hooker/3.30.09

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

Erase the Music

Ya know, it's unfortunate that another once-popular media title has gone belly up.

That said, Blender was exactly as advertised -- it was the Maxim of music magazines -- and the guy in the comments section of this story who compares it Creem should be fed to the angry ghost of Lester Bangs.

Folio: Blender Magazine Folds/3.26.09


"If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them."

-- The Crow (1994)

It may not make an ounce of sense, but I somehow never thought this day would come.

I knew the facts. I'd followed the daily battles. I understood the reality of the situation. And yet I'm not sure it was ever possible to truly accept the notion that someone like Amanda Amos could lose her fight for life -- maybe because she had so much life, and it seemed a staggering implausibility that anything, even leukemia, had the power to take all of it.

But on Wednesday, the disease that she had been fighting valiantly, and with a level of dignity that would put most of us to shame, did just that.

Several months ago, I mentioned Amanda's battle with cancer on this site; I suggested that everyone read the series of blog posts she'd written chronicling her early medical care and surprisingly heartening state of mind as she faced an uncertain future. It continues to be some of the most life-affirming stuff I've ever read. Throughout the course of her treatment -- which brought with it good days and bad -- Amanda always kept her sense of humor, her sharp wit, and the powerful personality that made her so beloved by those of us who first met her at Pajiba.com and who continued to hold her tightly in our thoughts as the difficult days passed, one at a time.

Once again, it's simply impossible to come to terms with the death of someone who was so filled with life. It's both heartbreaking and humbling. If an Amanda Amos can be taken from this world, what guarantees do the rest of us have? If she can leave behind a loving husband and young child, and the universe doesn't lash out at the injustice, is this life really worth living?

I get the feeling that Amanda would've answered, "absolutely."

I think she would've said this because she knew that the love she created and leaves behind -- for her family and with her friends and admirers -- isn't going anywhere. It's what lasts. It's what will outlive us all.

We were all lucky to have her -- even if only for a little while.

Pajiba: RIP Alabama Pink/3.26.09

Amanda's Husband's Blog

For Amanda


Listening Post

You've gotta love the Vines. Their debut album was called Highly Evolved, and yet they haven't really evolved at all in the seven years since that release. Their first two singles were Get Free and Outtathaway, and now their new single, from the album Melodia, is a combination of both those titles: Get Out.

Oh yeah, and as always it doesn't even break the two-and-a-half minute mark.

You know what, though? It's a great fucking song anyway.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pulling Weed

Any more questions as to why a supposedly irreverent news-comedy show on CNN would be doomed from the start?

Media Bistro-TVNewser: CNN Edits Out Marijuana Segment from D.L. Hughley's Final Show/3.26.09

Prompter Discourteous

I don't write about politics quite as much as I used to, and with good reason: There's so much outright insanity coming from the far-right these days that if I let it get to me and chose to rail against it, I'd never get anything else done.

Case in point, the latest "scandal" cooked up and milked dry by the relatively small but painfully loud contingent of Fox-fed crazies: the fact that Barack Obama uses a teleprompter.

To call this supposed controversy a non-story would be an insult to water-skiing squirrels. I'd get into exactly why it's so thoroughly ridiculous -- such a desperate and laughable grasp at straws from a Republican party looking for anything to hang around the neck of a popular opposition president -- but Bob Cesca hit all the notes on this subject perfectly in his latest piece for the Huffington Post.

The fact is that reading a prepared statement from a teleprompter is no different than reading from notes written on a couple of sheets of paper sitting atop a podium -- each being something that president after president has done for years. And yet, in a move that's mind-boggling in its ironic absurdity, given that they spent eight years making excuses for the most ineloquent and incurious president in modern history and four months supporting a moron from Alaska who could barely string a coherent sentence together, there are people out there claiming that Obama's use of a prompter somehow proves he's a Stepford-esque blank slate.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you paranoid psychopath Glenn Beck:

"So I mean, it really bothers me, this teleprompter. It bothers me that this man doesn’t -- this man is always on prompter. You want to talk about a Manchurian candidate -- that’s it! Who’s writing every word for this man? Is it bothering anyone else but me? We have a fraud in office, at least that’s the way it feels to me."

Aside from the fact that Glenn's been forgetting to take his meds again, what this hysterical statement proves is that the extremists on the right aren't just out of ideas for the country -- they can't even come up with a respectable point of contention in the face of their adversaries. Really? The use of the mysterious alien technology known as a "teleprompter" makes Obama a threat to our American way of life? That's all you've got?

You know what's really funny?

Ten bucks says Beck read this nonsense off -- you guessed it -- a prompter.

Please folks, come up with something decent to rally around -- something besides teleprompters, "Going Galt" and that idiotic "Tea Bag Revolution." Otherwise, shut the fuck up and let the rest of us get back to our lives of trying to feed our families while paying to bail out the companies whose unregulated, Bush-era greed sunk this country.

(h/t Cesca)

Whatever Ailes You

And here I thought it was trying to figure out how to ambush Anderson Cooper in the men's locker room at the gym before he has time to cover up.

The Huffington Post: CNN President Jon Klein Jokes that Fox's Roger Ailes is His "Single Most Important Problem"/3.25.09

Quote of the Week (Honorable Mention)

"If suffering through a Britney Spears concert will raise one more dime to help Republicans take back the House, then I'm glad Cantor's willing to do it."

-- An anonymous Republican leadership aide after learning that House Minority Whip Eric Cantor was in the audience at Britney Spears's show in Washington, DC on Tuesday night, supposedly at the request of a GOP fundraiser

"I Meant to Do That"

We pretty much knew that ineffectual RNC Chairman Michael Steele was a walking caricature; what we didn't know was that he's a caricature of Pee Wee Herman.

Just listen to this horseshit and try not to laugh.

Listening Post

Here's a spectacular version of one of the 80s' best and most enduring songs. It's the Psychedelic Furs -- such as they are in the new millennium -- doing Love My Way acoustically.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Project Office Mayhem

Your assignment, as usual: Quietly put the following link up on every computer in your office, then crank all the speakers to full volume.

Mischief points: 105

Peeping Daffy

Tuesday Wednesday is Recycling Day

"I'm Mark Foley, and I Approved this Message" (Originally Published, 10.1.06)

Foley for Congress Commercial -- Take One

Sweeping Music/Opening Montage of Patriotic Images -- Dissolve to Foley on Capitol Steps

Hello, I'm Congressman Mark Foley.

I'd like to talk to you about something that's important to all of us.

Our children.

Throughout my distinguished career, I've always made children a priority. From my work as the head of the Congressional Caucus on Children's Issues, to my personal, hands-on experience with teenage boys, I've always...



Foley for Congress Commercial -- Take Two

Sweeping Music/Opening Montage of Patriotic Images -- Dissolve to Foley on Capitol Steps

Hello, I'm Congressman Mark Foley.

I'd like to take a minute to talk to you about something that's important to all of us.

Our children.

Throughout my distinguished career, I've always made the well-being of children a priority. I got head from children with issues...



Foley for Congress Commercial -- Take Three

Sweeping Music/Opening Montage of Patriotic Images -- Dissolve to Foley on Capitol Steps

Hello, I'm Congressman Mark Foley.

I... uh... I forgot my lines, can I get a page to bring them to me?



Foley for Congress Commercial -- Take Four

Sweeping Music/Opening Montage of Patriotic Images -- Dissolve to Foley on Capitol Steps

Hello, I'm Congressman Mark Foley.

We all want our children to grow up healthy and strong -- especially our young boys. Mmmmm... young boys.



Foley for Congress Commercial -- Take Five

Sweeping Music/Opening Montage of Patriotic Images -- Dissolve to Foley on Capitol Steps

Hello, I'm Congressman Mark Foley and I'm from Florida.



Foley for Congress Commercial -- Take Five

Sweeping Music/Opening Montage of Patriotic Images -- Dissolve to Foley on Capitol Steps

Hi there folks, I'm Mark Foley... and I'm running for Archbishop.



Foley for Congress Commercial -- Take Six

Sweeping Music/Opening Montage of Patriotic Images -- Dissolve to Foley on Capitol Steps

Hey, that fat bastard Hastert said it was okay!



Foley for Congress Commercial -- Take Seven

Sweeping Music/Opening Montage of Patriotic Images -- Dissolve to Foley on Capitol Steps

Hi folks, I'm Mark Foley... and the only thing I fuck harder than male congressional pages, is the Republican Party...



Foley for Congress Commercial -- Take Eight

Music: The Miracles' (I'm Just A) Love Machine/Opening Montage of Mark Foley in Bermuda Dancing with Jim McGreevey and Various Shirtless Boys -- Dissolve to Foley Sitting at Office Computer (Right Hand is Hidden from View)

Hi, I'm Mark Foley.

So I secretly lust after teenage boys... so what. The truth is that as a Republican, as long as I self-righteously stand against the twin-scourges of abortion and gay marriage... and of course fight to keep a feeding tube stuck down the throat of any Floridian who happens to be in a persistent vegetative state... the rest of my brain-dead constituency will be sure to keep my political career going in some form or another. Sure, I had to tender an obligatory resignation. I'll lay low for awhile, then reappear and issue a heartfelt mea culpa wherein I say something about having sinned against God and looking for forgiveness and blah, blah, blah. The Florida voters and the GOP will probably give me another chance. I mean, come on... the guys at the top of my party's food chain knew what I was doing and kept it quiet. I know we're religious and all, but who would've thought we'd officially adopt so much Catholic Church doctrine.

Look... our party's given you George W. Bush, Tom DeLay, Rick Santorum, Duke Cunningham and a guy who tells Patrick Leahy to go fuck himself and shoots old men in the face. Our unopposed rule has seen the 9/11 attacks, two wars, the loss of our respect and moral authority around the globe, too many scandals to mention, and the drowning of New Orleans. Yet look who's still in control. You guys are like the victims of spousal abuse... you just keep making excuses and coming back for more. You let this happen.

So vote for me, or don't. Remember, this is Florida... I'll get elected regardless.

Music Swell -- Voice Over

"This message brought to you by Boy Scout Veterans for Truth."

Contact Mark Foley at www.myspace.com/congressman4boyz



Who Watches the Newsmen?

I honestly have better things to do these days than constantly pick on CNN, but Jacki Schechner sent me the numbers from Monday night's cable news prime time lineup and, well, damn.

Listening Post

Because there's no such thing as a bad Ben Folds song -- here's Landed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Exact Change

It's admittedly been pretty quiet around here over the past couple of days -- and as it turns out there's a good reason for this.

Most of it has to do with some big changes coming to the life of your humble narrator. It's nothing I want to get into right now, but I'm sure I will in the very near future.

Regardless, thanks for continuing to read.

Quote of the Week (Early Contender)

"I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us ‘having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,’ and the people – we the people – are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country."

-- Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Dingbat), of course, possibly inciting violence and definitely inciting right-wing idiocy

Monday, March 23, 2009

Listening Post

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned my love for Disintegration-era Cure. Here's a live recording of one of that album's best songs: The Same Deep Water as You.

Quote of the Week (Early Contender)

"So it's time to admit it: We're fools, protagonists in a kind of gruesome comedy about the marriage of greed and stupidity. And the worst part about it is that we're still in denial — we still think this is some kind of unfortunate accident, not something that was created by the group of psychopaths on Wall Street whom we allowed to gang-rape the American Dream."

-- Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone: "The Big Takeover" by Matt Taibbi/3.19.09

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Listening Post: Saturday Night Sadist Edition

If you take nothing else away from the Listening Posts I'm always plastering this site with, take this:

David Baerwald's 1992 release Triage is, without a doubt, the best album 99% of the public has never heard. It's a masterpiece of misanthropy -- a beautifully dark and almost joyously nihilistic treatise on politics, power, and popular culture, from a songwriter who deserves to be recognized as one of the best of his generation. Baerwald has always had a knack for imagery -- he was one of the "Davids" responsible for the David & David classic Welcome to the Boomtown -- but the textured, almost tactile soundscape he creates on Triage is a staggering achievement. Admittedly, it's not an album for the faint of heart. From the haunting and distant trumpet wail that opens A Secret Silken World (a song about sexual sadism), to the monotonous drone of Nobody (a song about an LAPD cop who's lost all faith in his ability to make a difference and seeks only to hide from the encroaching darkness), to the fragile fade-out of Born for Love (the album's one truly hopeful note and, not coincidentally, the one it ends on), Triage is an emotionally draining listening experience. But make no mistake: It's one that's also eminently rewarding, specifically because it's such an uncompromising vision.

Here now, the opening and closing tracks of David Baerwald's Triage, complete with lyrics (and excuse the silly wallpaper slideshow).

First up, what may be the most mesmerizing and disturbing song ever written about the seductive dangers of Los Angeles after the sun goes down: A Secret Silken World.

I took a ride with a sadist on a Saturday night.
His teeth were like diamonds in the dashboard light.
He knew a place nearby, we took a right at the light.
And I smiled 'cause I'd never ever been there.

He said "When I was your age, I was a millionaire.
Those were the days of Woodstock and I was there.
It's such a drag about the forests, such a shame about the air.
But when I was your age I was a millionaire."

Don't you love this kind of lazy kind of night?
Don't you love it with a stranger when the time is tight?
Don't you love a little struggle?
Don't you love a little fight?
Don't you feel like the devil on the blue moonlight?
On a lazy kind of night.

The seats of his car were like a woman's skin.
Made me think about all of those places I'd been.
Made me understand murder, and the nature of sin.
I leaned back and I listened to his music.

He said, "Things would go better if you'd be my friend.
You don't have to like all the means to your end.
I don't want to boast, I don't mean to offend.
But things would go better if you'd be my friend."

Don't you love this kind of lazy kind of night?
Don't you love it with a stranger when the time is tight?
Don't you love a little struggle?
Don't you love a little fight?
Don't you feel like the devil on the blue moonlight?
On a lazy kind of night.

There's a secret silken world of sex and submission.
Of vodka and handcuffs and acts of contrition.
Your enemies succumb and the ladies all listen to the tales of your woe and your secret ambition.
And your hopes and your dreams and your pain and your perdition.
The secret silken world of sex and submission.

She looked more like a plate than a scared little girl.
Her pupils were pinpoints as she fingered her pearls.
It was crossing my mind to maybe give it a whirl.
'Til I noticed her fingers were trembling.

She said, "I've never liked boys, I much prefer men."
She must've liked the way it sounded, she said it again.
The car headed north up Beverly Glen.
I was taken by surprise with nausea.

Don't you love this kind of lazy kind of night?
Don't you love to hurt the weak when they refuse to fight?
There's no need to be judgmental, no need to be polite.
All you need to know is that might equals right.
On a lazy kind of night.

Next up, the simple beauty of the album's closing track: Born for Love.

Every morning when I rise.
I wipe the sleep out from my eyes.
And ask myself the question why.
Why was I born?

I go out wandering the ripped up streets.
Bodies on the sidewalk huddling for heat.
The whole world's looking like some losing streak.
Why was I born?

Then I get home and you're not there.
But your clothes are hanging and your scent's in the air.
If it ain't an answer, I don't care.
Why I was born.

I was born to love you.
I was born to love you.
I was born for love.

Last year I saw those pearly gates.
I tried to shove my way through, they said, "You gotta wait.
You gotta get some questions straight.
Why you were born."

They said, "What do you think, that this was made for you?
Why should anyone care what it is that you do?
The course gets set, you gotta see it through.
That's why you were born."

I got up, I saw them all.
All God's creatures great and small.
And it came in clear as a local call.
Why I was born.

I was born to love you.
I was born to love you.
I was born for love.

Saturday Morning Cartoons

To this day, I still use the phrase "Go back and take your medicine" all the time in conversation.

From 1956, here's Wile E. Coyote and Bugs Bunny in To Hare is Human.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Final Sit Rep

Wow. Just wow.

Frakkin' excellent -- absolutely frakkin' superb -- and I can't believe it's over. Not that they'll read this, but I want to thank the cast and crew of Battlestar Galactica for five great years.

For one last time: So say we all.

Listening Post

I've been waiting for new music from these guys for four years. Here's the title track from the forthcoming Doves album, Kingdom of Rust.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

He Said Twat?

Stephen Colbert continues the recent tradition of Comedy Central stars making a mockery of NBC during interviews. Seriously, Zucker must be locked in his office with his head in his hands by this point.

You Don't Mess Around with Jim!

Remember that loudmouthed tough guy in elementary school who finally got the living shit kicked out of him one day, then ran up the street and only then -- when he was a safe distance away -- turned around and started yelling back insults through his tears?

You know, the guy who only grew a pair once he was sure the kid who beat his ass was well out of range?

I'll bet Jim Cramer remembers him really, really well.

The Huffington Post: Cramer Attacks Stewart on Today Show/3.19.09

Grateful, Dead

For whatever odd reason -- I suppose that this is just the way things work with the internets -- I've gotten a sudden spike in sales of my memoir, Dead Star Twilight. Obviously, I want to thank everyone who's bought and downloaded a copy of the book over the past several months; It's sold far better than I ever expected, especially for something that's been promoted, for the most part, only through this site and viral word of mouth.

If by chance you haven't nabbed your own copy of Dead Star Twilight, all you have to is click here (or click the link in the right-hand sidebar) and follow the instructions to have a PDF file of the book immediately downloaded to your computer for your own personal use. You can print it, read it off your laptop, or transfer it to a portable device; whatever works best for you.

Please keep in mind that it's your book purchases and donations that have kept this site going for the past year or so -- and that every bit of support that's come in has been appreciated by your humble narrator in ways he could never properly express.

I hope you'll continue to make my little experiment in online self-publishing a success.

For those new to DXM who have no idea what the hell I'm talking about when I bring up Dead Star Twilight, I've posted a few links to various excerpts -- as well as the unofficial iTunes soundtrack -- below. Take a look and if you like what you see, buy yourself the complete book.

DST: Ship of Fools/2.22.08

DST: Welcome to the Monkey House/6.4.07

DST: The Ex Files/6.7.07

DST: Imperfect Strangers/8.30.07

DST: With Love and Resentment, Your Past/9.5.07

DST: No Place Like Home/9.29.08

DST: Listening Post: Memoir Edition/1.27.08

DST: Soundtrack/4.7.08

We now return you to your regularly scheduled nonsense.

Project Office Mayhem

Your assignment, as usual: Quietly put the following link up on every computer in your office, then crank all the speakers to full volume.

Mischief points: 73

Walken is Not Amused

Listening Post

You've got to hand it to Mae -- they've hit on a really clever way to both get their new music out there and help a few people in the process. After splitting with Capitol records, they're releasing a new song every month in 2009, making it available for a dollar a download, and donating the profits to various charities.

This was the first song released this year; the video features a news report of Mae helping out Habitat for Humanity in their home state of Virginia. The song itself begins at about the minute-and-a-half mark, and it's as cool and catchy as anything from the band's last album, Singularity.

Here's The House that Fire Built.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Money Shot

I'd like to say unequivocally that it wasn't me. I'm not sure anything could get me to call Sanchez.

The Huffington Post: Caller to CNN's Rick Sanchez Says AIG Executives Should be Put Against a Wall and Executed/3.18.09

(How much do you love that picture by the way? He looks like a rush chairman welcoming the first group of female co-eds to arrive at the big frat mixer.)

The Glenn Beck Show Generator

Swallowed as a single, sour dose, the average episode of Glenn Beck's nightly cable show goes down like liquid acid and produces just about the same result. To the uninitiated viewer, watching an hour of Beck's psychotic ravings, crackpot conspiracy theories, maudlin tales of personal tragedy, and generally demented sky-is-falling routine must feel a little like stepping out of reality and into a Dali painting. But while no one jumps the crazy train as far off the rails as Beck these days, there is a certain method to his madness -- you just have to take a couple of steps back and look at the big picture for it to come into focus. As with any kind of seemingly incomprehensible insanity, there are patterns amid the chaos; the hallucinatory mania that fuels Beck's delusional behavior actually adheres to a pretty strict set of rules, even if those rules are based on fantasies and thought processes only Beck himself understands.

In other words, there's a blueprint to his batshit luancy. His shows follow a relatively by-the-numbers formula. In fact, once you crack the code of crazy, just about anybody can put together an episode of the Glenn Beck show.

Give it a try yourself. Just follow the simple multiple choice format below.

Open & Welcome: Glenn says hello, thanks everyone for watching and spends a few minutes...

1. Repeatedly asking the director to zoom in on his face while he screams about how the United States is on the "road to socialism."

2. Misappropriating the works of Ayn Rand.

3. Adjusting himself in his seat and creepily stroking his nipples while making faces which would indicate that he's taking no small amount of pleasure in it.

Glenn then welcomes his first guest (who agrees with everything he says):

1. Dennis Miller

2. Art Bell

3. His psychiatrist

Followed by a second guest (who disagrees with everything he says):

1. Dennis Kucinich

2. Al Sharpton

3. Shepard Smith

Glenn points his doughy finger and tells the guest he's/she's...

1. An enemy of the state.

2. A "scumbag."

3. Melting right before his eyes.

Then, apropos of nothing, he compares Barack Obama to...

1. Hitler.

2. The 9/11 families -- whom he still hates.

3. Troy Sullivan, the kid who lived up the block from him as a child and would come by when no one was home and make him dress up in his sister's clothes for "afternoon tea," although there was never any tea -- just pain, so much pain.

...And blames him for...

1. ABC's decision to cancel Twin Peaks.

2. His erectile dysfunction.

3. Everything.

Glenn then boasts about...

1. The overwhelming public response to that ridiculous "912 Project" initiative.

2. The numbers his show is pulling down at Fox, particularly in comparison to what he was getting at CNN.

3. What a friend he has in Jesus.

...And introduces a brand new segment of the show with the obligatorily muscular sounding name:

1. "The War Chest"

2. "The Men's Room"

3. "The Tool Box"

The goal of which is to...

1. Map out various apocalyptic scenarios since the inauguration of Barack Obama, as a service to America's paranoid survivalist sociopath community.

2. Prove that the moon landing was a hoax.

3. Impress Sarah Palin.

Next, once again apropos of nothing, he blurts out something random and completely irrational, like...

1. "There it is! Do you hear that? Don't tell me you can't hear that!"

2. "We surround them!"

3. "The government!"

...And claims that _____ is _____:

1. FEMA/constructing internment camps for America's dwarf population

2. global warming/bullshit

3. he/so fucking high

He then begins to cry uncontrollably because, in his personal life...

1. His wife Tania is finally divorcing him.

2. His AA sponsor committed suicide.

3. The hemorrhoids are back.

Finally, he composes himself, smirks, chuckles, and reminds viewers that...

1. He's so fucking high.

2. Due to a tachyon bombardment created by Ozymandias, he doesn't, in fact, have the ability to see the future.

3. It's all an act to get ratings.

Glenn thanks his sponsor...

1. Entenmann's

2. Supercuts

3. Zoloft

...And plugs his...

1. Book.

2. Radio show.

3. Ears against the voices.

Close & Goodnight: Glenn says, "Thanks so much for joining us tonight, and remember to tune in to the show tomorrow for..."

1. "Day 1,113 of my sanity held hostage."

2. "My exclusive interview with an angry chimpanzee dressed as Lyndon LaRouche."

3. "The end of days."

Toss to Special Report with Bret Baier, go home and sleep it off.

Listening Post

These days, Danny Elfman is known mostly as the composer of some of the film world's most recognizable scores, but to anyone over the age of, say, 35, he'll always be the frontman for Southern California weird-rock geniuses Oingo Boingo.

Here now, my two favorite Boingo songs on the same clip: Stay, followed by Nothing Bad Ever Happens to Me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday is Recycling Day

"Cali-FUN-ication" (Originally Published, 4.28.08)

Some people think that life in California is easy -- but it's really hard work.

We've got board meetings.

Lots of board meetings!

We're always playing catch up.

We're really just a bunch of pencil pushers.

We work with some real characters.

We're always working weekends.

We burn the midnight oil.

Hey, it's a dirty job...

...But somebody's gotta do it.

So, if this looks like your kind of work, we've got just one question for you:


Q & A-hole

Question of the day: Is there anybody named "Tucker" who isn't a complete fucking tool? Think about it -- Tucker Max, Tucker Bounds, and of course, this douche.

The Huffington Post: Tucker Carlson Rips Jon Stewart for Cramer Interview/3.15.09

Listening Post: St. Patrick's Day Edition

I have a feeling this song is going to become tradition around these parts on St. Patrick's Day. It's Dropkick Murphys, with I'm Shipping Up to Boston.

Monday, March 16, 2009

"Action" News

Aww, this is really perfect because they have so much in common: they're both CNN anchors, they're both pains in the ass, and they both love John Roberts.

The Huffington Post: CNN's John Roberts and Kyra Phillips Dating/3.16.09

(Oh, I kid. They're nice people. Congrats, you lovebirds.)

Black and White and Dead All Over

In honor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer becoming the latest newspaper to vanish into the virtual world, here's the smartest take on the future of print journalism you'll read all day.

Clay Shirky: Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable/3.13.09

Quote of the Week (Early Contender)

"There‘s also circumstantial evidence, not proven by any means, but nonetheless some pretty compelling circumstantial evidence of Saddam Hussein‘s Iraq being involved with the people who perpetrated both the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center and even the Oklahoma City bombing."

-- Raving neocon psychopath Frank Gaffney, on last Thursday's edition of Hardball, proving my point that it takes complete detachment from reality to be an even mildly shocking voice on the right these days

(h/t Cesca)

Get Rich and Die Tryin'

***OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT: "Wide World of Justice" Presented by ESPN, Spike TV, and the Bloomberg Financial Network***

(The following is the property of the above networks and may not be reproduced or rebroadcast in any way without the express written consent of the owners.)

Intro Music: Ministry's Thieves

Frank: Good evening, everybody -- and welcome to another exciting edition of "Wide World of Justice," presented by ESPN, Spike and of course, the Bloomberg Financial Network. I'm Frank Flotsam.

Todd: And I'm Todd Jetsam, thanks so much for being here -- and what a show we have for you tonight.

Frank: You got that right, Todd. Tonight, the we bring a little street justice to a man who we think has really earned it -- because Lord knows he didn't earn the 165-million dollars in bonus money, funded by you the taxpayer, that he just handed out to his executives at AIG.

Todd: Of course we're talking about tonight's guest of honor -- AIG Chairman Edward Liddy.

Frank: And here he comes now!

(Chorus of boos can be heard from the crowd; screams, shouts, and obscenities)

Todd: Oh, they don't like him very much, Frank.

Frank: No they don't, Todd.

Todd: Now Mr. Liddy is being led through the crowd here in front of the New York Stock Exchange -- he's in a steel cage that's been placed on top of a wooden cart being pulled by a specially selected group of Wall Street Journal op-ed columnists. It's a good thing he's in that cage too, because it looks like the crowd doesn't want to wait for the show to begin -- they want blood right now!

Frank: Unfortunately, since the Journal people aren't protected, they're pretty much fair game and, am I seeing this correctly? Yes, speaking of which, it looks like the angry mob has already dragged away Stephen Moore, the senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal, and if I'm not mistaken... wait... yes, that's his head we're seeing being tossed around like a beach ball.

Todd: Right you are, Frank. I recognize those stupid little glasses. Not a very dignified way for a Wall Street Journal reporter to go out.

Frank: Guess that's one "deadline" he had no trouble meeting (laughs)!

Todd: (Laughs) You better believe it. Okay, now it looks like we're just about ready to begin here -- and not a moment too soon. The crowd here is going absolutely crazy. They're throwing... what is that? Frank, what is that they're throwing at the cage containing Edward Liddy?

Frank: Oh my God -- they're throwing their tax returns at him!

Todd: Well, I'd say they're ready to give him the ultimate "retirement party," eh Frank?

Frank: Yessiree, Todd. Okay, the cage has been opened and Liddy is now being escorted up the steps of the Stock Exchange and to the platform. He's being led by police, and of course by the cast of The Real Housewives of Orange County -- who themselves will be put to death by honey-and-fire-ants a little later today at the after-party for this event. What do you think, Todd -- you think the ants will eat through collagen and silicone?

Todd: (Laughs) Well, we'll see, my friend.

Frank: Indeed we will!

Todd: Alright, Liddy has now been walked to the middle of the platform. The crowd still going wild here. He's been chained to a large wooden pole in the center of the platform, and now the executioner -- or as we call him, ironically, the "executor" -- is making sure Liddy's bonds are nice and tight.

Frank: Edward Liddy and strong bonds? Now that's funny. But if I can say, Todd -- Liddy looks absolutely terrified.

Todd: Yes, not the kind of Wall Street welcome he's used to.

Frank: The microphone is now being brought in so that Edward Liddy can speak a few final words before we give him the old 401 K.O. He seems to be struggling against the chains. Alright, let's listen in.

(The crowd noise dies, there's the sound of feedback, then silence for a moment.)

Liddy: No! We had to do it! We were required by law to pay out the 165-million in bonuses to our executives! WE HAD TO RETAIN TALENT!

(The mob begins shouting at him.)

Frank: (Laughing) Sorry, pal -- I just don't think that's gonna fly with these taxpayers.

Todd: A hundred-and-seventy billion dollars for AIG in a citizen-funded bailout -- and remember, this is a company that lost 61-billion dollars last quarter, and he's trying to make the case that there's talent that needs to be held onto? And it's going to cost 165 million of our hard-earned cash?

Frank: You know what we say to that, right Todd?

Frank and Todd: FUCK HIM! (Laughter)

Todd: Obviously, the executor not swayed by Liddy's pleas for understanding and leniency, to say nothing of more money from Congress.

Frank: Nope -- the executor now grabbing his ax with both hands. It looks like we could be just seconds away from the end, here. This one could be over fairly quickly.

Todd: But wait! No, he's dropped the ax and is reaching for... what is that? IT'S A 2X4 COVERED IN BARBED WIRE! Oh, he's going to make this one last. And now he's -- yes, he's LIGHTING IT ON FIRE!

Frank: Look at the look of fear in Liddy's eyes. The crowd is just loving every minute of this. It makes sense when you think about it, I mean, when they leave here it's not like they're going anywhere since they're jobless and their homes have been foreclosed on.

Todd: Makes for a very angry audience, Frank. They're chanting "justice" now, over and over. Listen to that.

Frank: And the executor is raising the flaming 2X4 and...OH, he brings it down hard on Liddy's head. That is not a pretty sight. For you parents with small children watching in the store window of Best Buy because you don't have homes, I really hope you covered the eyes of the little ones. This is not for the faint of heart.

Todd: And Liddy has now slumped against the pole, but he's still bound remember. He doesn't seem to be dead -- just stunned.

Frank: Yeah, about as stunned as America was when it found it that it'd have to foot the bill for this guy's incompetence and excesses (laughs).

Todd: And the executor has now stepped aside and is letting the rabid throng attack Liddy. My God, they're crawling onto the platform and are giving him paper cuts with their pink slips. Oh the humanity -- he's screaming in agony. Someone's poured what looks like battery acid on him. Yes, his flesh is melting away.

Frank: And -- wait. Is that an alligator?

Todd: It's a madhouse! A madhouse!

Frank: We'd better "bail out" before the bitter end finally comes, folks. But we want to thank you for watching tonight.

Todd: Please join us next week when our "guest of honor" will be none other than CNBC's Rick Santelli!

Frank: Until then, from the both of us here live at the burned and bloodied front of the New York Stock Exchange, this is "Wide World of Justice." Have a great night!

Todd: Good night, everybody! (Barely Audible: Holy shit, was that his leg?)

Outro Music: Notorious BIG's Mo' Money, Mo' Problems.

Listening Post

My Vitriol is one of those bands that should've been England's next big thing here in the states. They write great songs with grand, powerful hooks; are terrific live; and are fronted by a singer who looks like a cross between Sanjaya and an emo Johnny Mathis.

There was a time -- specifically right after 9/11 -- that their album Finelines rarely left my CD player.

From that record, here's Always Your Way.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bill O' the Belt

For obvious reasons, I don't pay much attention to anything Bill O'Reilly says.

He's little more than a puffy buffoon doing a nightly Vaudeville routine and I've always sort of felt that to rage against his silly shtick would be to give his opinions validation they don't deserve. O'Reilly's a comedian, nothing more -- and his bombastic sense of self-importance just makes him all that much funnier and renders his views that much more inconsequential.

Admittedly, though, over the past couple of months an interesting thing has happened: Bill O'Reilly has become something of a kitschy comfort. The far-right, which once hijacked run-of-the-mill conservatism, has itself been hijacked by farther-right splinter cells pushing anti-Obama-themed lunacy so outrageous and unhinged that, by comparison, O'Reilly looks like the voice of reason -- a harmless relic of a bygone era when all it took to get a spiteful mention in Media Matters was a little fact-twisting and interview intimidation. I mean, think about it: Compared to the laugh-out-loud ridiculousness of the "Tea Bag Revolution" and "Going Galt," Rush Limbaugh's hostile takeover of the GOP, and Glenn Beck's Hyde Park-style paranoid ravings about the impending collapse of civilization, O'Reilly seems positively timid -- like William F. Buckley hopped up on Red Bull.

Bill O'Reilly was never very dangerous to begin with; now he's seen himself outnumbered and thoroughly outgunned a host of Crazy Come Latlies willing to go the extra mile and tread delusional ground even he wouldn't dare set foot on. It's getting really fucking insane out there and, quite frankly, O'Reilly just isn't detached enough from reality to keep up.

But like any burlesquian hack worth his salt, O'Reilly still has the ability to entertain on occasion.

Take last Friday night, when, during the always amusing "Talking Points" segment of his show on Fox News Channel, O'Reilly warned of a "vast left-wing conspiracy" of "organized zealots" participating in a "daily morning conference call" designed to coordinate their pinko communist message and, more nefariously, dole out punishment to any media outlet not expressing full support for President Obama's plan to subvert our freedoms and turn America into an Islamo-socialist amusement park called "Jihadland." This little exhort -- delivered, as usual, with just enough false modesty and contrived acquiescence to be able to claim a lack of bias -- was pretty good stuff on its own (regardless of the fact that it had been cribbed wholesale from the Politico's resident silver spoon-fed douchebag, Ben Smith, who broke the "conference call cabal" story three days earlier). But then O'Reilly turned his ire on the actual individuals supposedly behind the call -- and that's when things really got interesting.

See, one of the occasional hosts of the morning conference call O'Reilly was talking about -- the 8:45AM teleconference of largely Democratic labor, health care, and environmental lobbies -- is none other than my good friend Jacki Schechner. Or as O'Reilly put it, in the kind of repulsed tone usually reserved for phrases like "Nazi sympathizer" or "registered sex offender": "Former CNN reporter Jacki Schechner." He repeated this ostensible epithet twice -- "Once again, a former CNN reporter" -- just to make sure the point was sufficiently hammered home that Fox's competition was and is a corrupt hive of gutless liberalism.

The icing on the cake, though -- really, the admittedly ballsy pièce de résistance of low blow pseudo-journalism -- was the picture of Jacki that O'Reilly's producers had chosen for the segment. Let this be a warning to anyone even tangentially involved in partisan politics these days: Your Facebook photos can be used by your enemies as a weapon against you. In Jacki's case, The O'Reilly Factor nabbed a picture off the internet of her at her birthday a couple of months back -- wearing a big hat covered in pink fur. So what you essentially had was a stern and serious Bill O'Reilly talking about some left-wing elitist who spends her days mounting attacks on freedom of speech from a K-street office, while onscreen was a photo of that very woman, looking like the grand marshal of a gay pride parade. As underhanded agit-prop, the kind of thing Fox just excels at, it was tough to beat.

I've since talked to Jacki -- who incidentally works for an obviously commie front organization called "Health Care for America Now" -- and she needless to say is shocked to have drawn the wrath of O'Reilly. Her response to the use of the pimped-out photo is mostly casual defiance. "Screw it -- it's a good picture," she laughs. But what she's not laughing at is the hate e-mail, Facebook messages, and phone calls she's been deluged with since the segment ran two days ago; all from O'Reilly's little myrmidons; all telling her in no uncertain terms that she should move to Cuba if she feels that health care is something everybody is entitled to.

The reason Jacki Schechner was specifically targeted by O'Reilly shouldn't confound anyone; it has everything to do with her former affiliation with CNN. There's a gargantuan amount of irony in the fact that someone who was fucked so royally by the network can now be impugned for ever having worked there in the first place. You'd think it would be harder for Fox to paint Jacki as being representative of some kind of liberal agenda at CNN considering that CNN let her go. But then again, this is Fox we're talking about. Logic and reason don't seem to be very big buzzwords with those folks.

If this is merely the first shot in a protracted battle between O'Reilly and "former CNN reporter Jacki Schechner," then Jacki will probably be called on to issue some kind of official statement about the whole stupid mess. For the record, I've already offered her a suggestion.

"O'Reilly, that's the sexual harassment guy from YouTube, right?"

I mean, you don't really think Bill O'Reilly deserves to be taken seriously, do you?

Listening Post

It's no secret that I worship at the altar of Greg Dulli; whether with the Afghan Whigs, the Gutter Twins or, this band, the Twilight Singers, the man manages to tap into the darkest parts of the human soul and somehow produce something that's beautiful in its resignation that we're all basically animals. He turns sickness into sensuality.

Here's Candy Cane Crawl.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sit Rep

***Spoiler Alert***

So for the record, I loved the "choose your side" way of setting up the final battle (which, judging by the previews for next week's series finale, will be a doozy). It was such over-the-top drama, but it worked perfectly.

Also really liked the flashbacks. I'm not sure how much they added, but there was something sad and powerful about each of them and together they acted as a terrific reminder of how much you've cared about these characters for the last six years and how much the entire landscape of the show has changed since the miniseries. (I have no doubt that Lee and the bird will be especially important next week. Thoughts? Theories?)

Finally, what could be the most cryptic yet prophetic line from last night: Anders saying, "Find a Perfect World for the End of Kara Thrace."

What does it all mean? We'll find out next Friday night. See you all there.

Potty Train in Vain

Saturday Morning Cartoons

This clip was voted #4 on the list of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time, as judged by a large cross-section of professional animators.

From 1952, here's Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century.

Friday, March 13, 2009