Monday, February 28, 2011

General Sheen

(Thanks, Votar!)

Quote of the Year

"These insults are the rocket fuel that lives in the tip of my sabre."

-- Charlie Sheen

Please, somebody give this guy and Mel Gibson a show together.

Headline of the Week (Early Contender)

The Huffington Post: Meredith Vieira Polishes Colin Firth's Oscar/2.28.11

Quote of the Day

"Another big loser was Kirk Douglas, who terrified the shit out of everyone and then wouldn’t leave. Child birth videos are more comfortable to watch than that was, and probably have better jokes."

-- Brendon at What Would Tyler Durden Do? on last night's painful, damn-near unwatchable Academy Awards show

Yeah, just about everything that came out of Charlie Sheen's mouth during that Today show interview this morning could qualify as a Quote of the Day, but this almost made me choke on my coffee.

Listening Post

Brand new Peter Bjorn and John.

Here's Second Chance.

Time to start chasing the cheese again, lab rats. Happy Monday.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Quote of the Day

"I'm Joel McHale -- or, as Charlie Sheen refers to me, Mordechai."

-- Joel McHale at yesterday's Independent Spirit Awards

Sunday Sacrilege

"I am ecstatic to tell you all today that we have beheld the awesome visage of the supreme architect of the cosmos, and we have murdered Him... We finally got the son-of-a-bitch."

The Onion: NASA Completes 52-Year Mission To Find, Kill God/2.23.11

Friday, February 25, 2011

Quote of the Day, Jr.

"There is a difference, however, between radical politics and this kind of a response to a demand to assassinate the first black president of the United States. He needs to resign."

-- Andrew Sullivan on Rep. Paul Broun

A reader of Sullivan's runs down Broun's history of inflammatory, irresponsible and outright lunatic rhetoric over the past couple of years, just in case you needed a refresher on what kind of asshole we're talking about here.

By the way, Broun is now saying that he was "stunned" when he heard the question and that it's an "abhorrent" thing to suggest. So in case you're playing along at home: stunned at abhorrence = laughter. Keep that in mind.

Homo Invasion

The Onion: Marauding Gay Hordes Drag Thousands of Helpless Citizens from Marriages After Obama Drops Defense of Marriage Act/2.25.11

Red-Headed Stepchild

This is just all kinds of inspired. Archie reimagined as a modern teen melodrama.

Charlie's Angel

So just out of curiosity I decided to click over to Bree Olson's Twitter feed to see if she'd posted anything interesting about Charlie Sheen, given that she's one of three women currently vacationing with him in the Bahamas.

She's really going out of her way to do him a favor with this.

Of course, she's really going out of her way to do every other man on earth a favor with this.

Porn stars -- always the life of the party.

(Adding: This just about made me spit iced tea all over my computer. From @pourmecoffee, via Twitter: "CBS should send Martin Sheen upriver to get Charlie, like an errand boy sent by grocery clerks to collect a bill.")

Conversion Chart

John Roberts is kind of an arrogant tool. Not saying he's a bad guy all the way around, because he isn't. But, yeah -- arrogant tool.

And now he's converted to Scientology.

The salient quote in this interview:

"It's really interesting to work for a place that has the vision of one person that immediately gets disseminated to everyone across the board. You don't have a huge flow chart that goes through myriad branches before it goes down to the troops. Basically you have Roger, and then a couple of people he has as his trusted lieutenants, and then there's the rest of us. There's very little left to interpretation when it comes to what we're doing. Everybody gets the message. That message is really just: cover the news. Tell me a story."

Right, John. That's precisely the message.

Roberts and L. Rog Ailes: Practicing KBW (Keep Bullshit Working)

The Huffington Post: John Roberts Talks Fox News, Kyra Phillips and Getting Away from the Anchor Desk/2.25.11

Quote of the Day

"Who is going to shoot Obama?"

-- Question asked by an attendee at a town hall event hosted by Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun on Tuesday

What's more alarming than the question itself (as it likely came from one of Oglethorpe County's many redneck dumb-asses) was the answer (which came from a member of the United States Congress).

Broun didn't immediately denounce the remark -- he didn't even say, "Look, regardless of how angry you are you can't ask me something like that; it's unconscionable to even make a joke about the assassination of the President of the United States, especially in the current political climate and given the recent shooting of an elected official who sits about fifty feet away from me in the House."

No, as you might expect, Broun entertained the staggeringly irresponsible comment by responding with a tepid, "I know there’s a lot of frustration with this president. We’re going to have an election next year. Hopefully, we’ll elect somebody that’s going to be a conservative, limited-government president that will take a smaller -- who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare."

Seriously, Broun's answer shouldn't surprise anyone -- after all he's the spineless asshole who spent the last State of the Union address doing this.

(Update: In addition to TPM now reporting that Broun himself laughed at the question -- as did the rest of the audience at the meeting -- the Secret Service is releasing information about the commenter. It describes him as an "elderly person," with another audience member calling him "some old man." Surprise!)

Listening Post

I posted this when it was first released a little more than two years ago, but it remains one flat-out, bad-ass monster of a song and I really felt like hearing it this morning.

Crank it to 11 and have a happy Friday, kids -- it's Shiny Toy Guns' Ricochet!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A High Sheen

I'm honestly not sure there's any cocaine left in the world right now. Like, if you were to call your dealer and try to get an 8-ball, no matter where you happen to live, he'd have to respond with a dejected, "Nah, dog, sorry -- got none." And when you asked why, he'd answer, "Dude, Charlie Sheen. Did you hear that crazy eighteen minute rant when he called into Alex Jones today, yo?"

Now let me break out my crystal ball and predict that by this time tomorrow CBS and the producer of Two-and-a-Half Men -- whom Charlie called a clown and hit with an indirect anti-Semitic slur during today's little on-air meltdown -- will finally have thrown in the towel and canceled the show.

Really, you have to hear this to believe it. This motherfucker hasn't felt the lower half of his face in a week.

TMZ: Audio of Charlie Sheen Call To Alex Jones/2.24.11

(Update: Not that you needed to be Kreskin to see it coming, but I told you so.)

(But Wait, There's More: Never one to let good judgment come between his rampaging id and a really, really bad idea, Sheen wrote an open letter in response to the shutting down of Two-and-a-Half Men. It reads:

"What does this say about Haim Levine (show creator Chuck Lorre) after he tried to use his words to judge and attempt to degrade me. I gracefully ignored this folly for 177 shows ... I fire back once and this contaminated little maggot can't handle my power and can't handle the truth. I wish him nothing but pain in his silly travels especially if they wind up in my octagon. Clearly I have defeated this earthworm with my words -- imagine what I would have done with my fire breathing fists. I urge all my beautiful and loyal fans who embraced this show for almost a decade to walk with me side-by-side as we march up the steps of justice to right this unconscionable wrong.

Remember these are my people ... not yours...we will continue on together...

Charlie Sheen"

Yeah, so, there's that.

By the way, Sheen's in the Bahamas right now with marijuana magazine model Natalie Kenly, porn star Bree Olson and -- bafflingly -- his ex-wife Brook Mueler. First of all, holy shit is this guy Caligula, and second, as a friend of mine said, what's the over-under on him coming back to the states in coffin at this rate?)


Quote of the Day, Jr.

"I don't know if anybody's ever asked you directly, sir, but are you a lizard? ... I just want to know if he's a lizard who's tasted human flesh."

-- Louis CK to Donald Rumsfeld during an interview this morning on The Opie and Anthony Show

Louie's subtle and not-the-least-bit-subtle shots at Rumsfeld during what had to be the weirdest press junket appearance in recent memory constituted one for the ages. This is why Louie is probably the funniest and most vital comic working today.

Picture of the Week

Equally brilliant is the headline for this over at SomeeCards: "Man Asks Yahoo Answers for Help with Being the Biggest Asshole on Earth."

Mutt of a Joke

The thing with the dog had me laughing uncontrollably last night.

Quote of the Day

"Could you explain Wisconsin? It's all political, isn't it? This is just 100% politics... There is no budget crisis in Wisconsin... Have you looked at the list of the top ten donors to political campaigns in America -- the top ten highest? Seven of those ten donate to Republicans; the other three that remain of those top ten, they all donate to Democrats and they're all unions. Bust the unions -- it's over. I'm not taking a side on this -- I'm telling you what's going on... These are the facts but people don't want to hear the facts. Facts are troublesome creatures from time to time... To pretend this is about a fiscal crisis in the state of Wisconsin is malarkey."

-- Shepard Smith

As usual, Shep is the lone voice of reason at Fox News. He and Juan Williams, during this exchange on Studio B, hit it on the head. Regardless of your thoughts on unions -- whether you love them or loathe them -- everything he's saying about what's really driving the battle in Wisconsin from the Republican side is absolutely true.

Listening Post

New music week continues with a vengeance -- and this one makes me happier than Haley Barbour at a Cracker Barrel buffet.

It's the latest from everyone's favorite misogynist prick, Greg Dulli, and the Twilight Singers.

Here's On the Corner.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Slur Is Born

Chances are by now you know that earlier today President Obama did something pretty much guaranteed to cast a hush over Firedoglake at least through late tomorrow afternoon: he announced that the justice department was no longer going to defend the constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. The law bans the federal recognition of same-sex marriages, and Obama's unwillingness to renounce it has produced cries of "traitor," and ludicrous comparisons to George W. Bush for months into years now.

Well, surprise -- Obama proved those assessments wrong. And he did it not simply by pushing back against a law that was immoral from the beginning; he did it by making a decision that he believes is right for America, even if he claims to be conflicted over whether he personally agrees with it. That takes brains, balls and a kind of character that's been sorely lacking among many of our elected officials. Obama's made some bold moves while in office and he's dropped the ball in decidedly indisputable ways -- but this time he knocked it out of the park.

How can you tell?

Because yapping dingbats like Fox's Monica Crowley are experiencing full-blown on-air apoplexia at the news. In fact, Crowley cranked her transistor radio of a brain up to 11 during a conversation today with equally vapid FNC spokesblonde Megyn Kelly and invented a brand new meme that you'd better start getting used to, because you're guaranteed to see it turn up all over the fucking place in short order. She likened Obama's move to that of a dictator, calling him -- wait for it -- "Mubarak Obama." Never mind the tired, face-palm-inducing invocation of Obama's scary foreign-sounding name or the shameless hypocrisy of the fact that two weeks ago people like Crowley were calling the real Mubarak a cherished ally and cowering in fear at the potential rise of an unpredictable democracy in Egypt; why let a little thing like reality stand in the way of a good turn of a phrase?

Regardless, Obama just proved his progressive mettle -- and in doing so unfortunately fired a fresh volley in the culture war and opened himself up for a whole new world of shit.

(Update, 2.24.11: Oh look, here's a surprise -- despite offering the required meek praise for Obama's decision, Greenwald still isn't satisfied and is playing contrarian just for the fuck of it.)

The Name We Do Not Speak

Just go here and click the corresponding links.

Seriously, this kind of thing is the definition of pathological.

Koch Fiend

In the immortal words of Flounder: Oh boy is this great.

The Huffington Post: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Gets Punk'd by Journalist Pretending to be David Koch/2.23.11

The salient quote from Walker to "David Koch", involving a potential trick that might act as an end-game:

"An interesting idea that was brought up to me by my chief of staff, we won't do it until tomorrow, is putting out an appeal to the Democratic leader. I would be willing to sit down and talk to him, the assembly Democrat leader, plus the other two Republican leaders--talk, not negotiate and listen to what they have to say if they will in turn--but I'll only do it if all 14 of them will come back and sit down in the state assembly. They can recess it... the reason for that, we're verifying it this afternoon, legally, we believe, once they've gone into session, they don't physically have to be there. If they're actually in session for that day, and they take a recess, the 19 Senate Republicans could then go into action and they'd have quorum because it's turned out that way."

That plus "David Koch" calling Mika Brzezinski a "real piece of ass" -- and Walker agreeing -- make this all kinds of entertaining. Not necessarily any sort of bombshell, but damn entertaining.

(Adding: Important to remember that the Beast was founded by Matt Taibbi, hence the level of misanthropic gonzo journalism on display in this little stunt.)

Image Enhancement

She'll probably balk at the attention, but seeing skin that fair suddenly go flush is kind of a gorgeous thing, so I'll take my chances: Christine Tomaszewski is one of my favorite people in the world, for a whole host of reasons, some of which will become incredibly obvious the moment you see her work.

See, she does with images what I could only dream of doing with words. She takes photographs that are lovely, evocative, hypnotic and profoundly moving, often at the same time and in ways you can't fully explain.

But even more impressive than her talent is who she is as a person. To call her intriguing would be an almost criminal understatement -- and maybe that's why I want to pass along not just a glimpse at what she does but at the kind of artist and human being she is, the way she looks at the world.

Christine's stuff -- and her take on it -- is featured in a lengthy interview posted this morning over at Artful Mistakes. Do yourself a favor and take a look.

I have a well-documented bad habit of caring for women who prove themselves to be nowhere near as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside. Christine isn't one of them.

Artful Mistakes: Christine Tomaszewski, Satirenoir/2.23.11

Listening Post

Damn what a week it's shaping up to be for new music.

This is already being circulated everywhere this morning, and with good reason -- as usual it's an another stellar effort from a group that's established itself over the last decade-and-a-half as probably the best rock-and-roll band on the planet.

Here's Dave Grohl and the mighty Foo Fighters' brand new single, Rope.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bonus Quote of the Day

"A federal judge on Tuesday threw out a lawsuit claiming that President Barack Obama's requirement that all Americans have health insurance violates the religious freedom of those who rely on God to protect them."

-- From the Associated Press

I just can't make that any funnier than it already is.

Forrest Rumsfeld

Asking for Donald Rumsfeld's opinion on the best way to handle the current crisis in the Middle East is like asking me for my secret to making a marriage last. The man fucked up literally everything he touched during his tenure as Secretary of Defense -- presiding over and playing architect of one of the most shameful, even criminal follies in American foreign policy history -- and yet because he's hawking a book right now, the TV news talking heads are treating his thoughts on the recent turmoil overseas as if they have even an ounce of credibility behind them.

Now comes this little revelation: A memo gleaned from Rumsfeld's own archives, written in 2003 to then Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, that provides a window into the kind of breathtaking incompetence Rumsfeld's name would ultimately become synonymous with.

Seriously, read this and try to convince yourself it wasn't written by an 8th grader barely passing social studies.

Explain to me again why this asshole isn't right this very second being violated by the Sisters in a prison laundry room somewhere.

(via Andrew Sullivan & Benoit)

Quote of the Day

"But best of all may be that The Real Housewives Of Miami will forever erase the unfair image that television has created of Miami as a corrupt hellhole of narco-traffickers, serial killers and transvestite porpoises. At last we will get recognition for our unacknowledged but indisputable achievements: Our indolent trashiness. Our incandescent superficiality. Our establishment, beyond the shadow of a scientific doubt, of the inverse ratio of breast silicone content and IQ points."

-- Miami Herald TV Critic Glenn Garvin

It was only a matter of time before they brought Real Housewives to my hometown. Setting a season of this vapid abomination in Miami is as obvious as sending the crew of Intervention to an Indian reservation.

Tuesday Is Recycling Day

As a follow-up to the conversation that's been going on in the comment section of yesterday's Quote of the Day from Cesca, here's one of my earliest takes on the progressive tendency toward self-defeat.

"With Friends Like These..." (Originally Published, 8.21.09)

"So progressives are now in revolt. Mr. Obama took their trust for granted, and in the process lost it. And now he needs to win it back."

-- Paul Krugman in an editorial in today's New York Times

I'm not one of those people who listens to right-wing radio, even occasionally, looking for something to piss him off. If I wanted to make myself angry for no good reason, I'd call my estranged wife -- or maybe put on a Phish record.

That said, I was flipping through Sirius XM radio a couple of days ago when I stumbled across the America Right or "Patriot Radio" channel. The show that happened to be on at the time was something called The Wilkow Majority (I'll give you a minute to shake your head at the right's ongoing and obligatory need to cast itself in the most muscular terms possible) hosted by a guy named Andrew Wilkow. What separates Wilkow from the rest of the crazy-come-latlies out there in conservative radioland is his belief that he's, well, a punk.

I'm not kidding.

Both Wilkow and his producer, an at one time faux-hawk-sporting kid named Nick Rizzuto, have gotten it through their heads that they're the personification of the right's new school -- and that the new school they represent also happens to be the logical next step in the evolution of punk. They've even started a website called "Conservative Punk." If this sounds fucking laughable, believe me -- it is. Do yourself a favor and don't think too hard about trying to fit the square peg of punk rock culture into the round hole of unabashed capitalism and conservatism; I tried for awhile and it only made my head hurt. Jello Biafra and Henry Rollins are turning over in their graves at this ridiculous conceit and they're not even dead yet. You almost have to give credit to the right's lack of shame when it comes to attempting to co-opt some of the better trends of the left while forcibly trading off its own misdeeds, clumsily trying to shove them under the banner of its enemy and hoping that no one notices how full of shit the whole notion is (Hitler was a leftist, racism is a liberal ideal, etc.).

Needless to say, neither Andrew Wilkow nor his remora, Nick Rizzuto, is a punk. To twist a somewhat legendary phrase: Boys, I grew up with punks. I was good friends with punks. I was a punk (and according to some, still am). You're no fucking punks.

The reality is that, after taking a quick glance at his website, Wilkow looks like he could be just about any other right-wing talking head. This is especially amusing when you consider the fact that he is actually quite a bit younger than the usual suspects and yet still looks like your basic perpetually middle-aged white guy who hasn't been blown since college. I guess that's what being Sean Hannity's hand-picked protege does to you. (Now's a good time to once again remind you that a guy who counts his introduction to Hannity among the greatest moments in his life also considers himself an up-the-establishment standard bearer of punk rock's new blood. You've gotta be fucking kidding me.)

All very easy shots at Wilkow and his show aside, though, I have to admit that while listening to him for a few minutes the other day, he made a surprisingly good point -- one that I sort of made here earlier in the week. I guess we're both on the same "Punk Rock Manifesto Weekly" mailing list.

The Wilkow rant in question had to do with the tendency of liberals to seemingly revel in martyrdom and self-sabotage -- their propensity to almost embrace their roles as losers and to be able to snatch defeat from the jaws of even the most assured victory. The crux of his argument was this: The Democrats have near-complete control of the government right now -- from the White House to the Hill. Legislation-wise, they can accomplish practically anything they set out to, and yet they're somehow content to bitch, moan and blame Republicans for standing in the way of progress when in reality no one's completely blocking their path. Worse than all of that, and this is something Wilkow didn't broach but I will: Liberals can't help fighting amongst themselves. It's as if it's ingrained in their DNA to never completely agree on anything. And we've all seen how well that strategy works when it comes to pushing through an agenda or, you know, winning elections.

A couple of days ago I published a piece decrying the Democrats for not being willing to take off the gloves and get their hands a little dirty when it comes to battling the Republican noise machine trying to thwart them at every turn. My point was that there won't be much solace in being able to say, "Well, at least we stuck to the ideals that make us better than the GOP automatons," four years from now if nothing got done and a Republican president is back in office. I'm not saying that there can't and won't be disagreement and dissent; I'm saying that in order to get the job done and give Barack Obama the clout he needs to move his agenda forward by leaps and bounds, there has to be, to a large extent, a united front to face the consistently united front staring you down from the other side of the aisle. To paraphrase The Godfather, as far as outsiders are concerned, you never take sides against the family.

Sure this is slightly robotic and seems to stand against everything left-wing America stands for, but guess what? It fucking wins.

Sometimes you've gotta look at the big picture -- and if there's anyone who can't seem to do that because they're too busy picking every little thing apart just to prove how intellectual, analytical and multi-faceted they are, it's liberals.

Case in point: today's New York Times editorial by Paul Krugman.

First of all, let me state unequivocally that Krugman's a genius; he's one of the smartest people around, and his views are always worth listening to. Let me also make it clear that I'm not suggesting that any side of the political spectrum let its leaders get away with anything and everything. The good of the nation should, for all intents and purposes, trump the good of the party. My argument is that the battle lines are so clearly drawn these days, the alternative for either party is so far removed from its own desired reality for the country, that each side has to be willing to accept that a big picture victory, even a partial one, is infinitely better than a complete loss. The Republicans realize this; the Democrats seem not to. Krugman's editorial, which takes President Obama to task for supposedly betraying the progressive base that helped put him in office, is a perfect example of the self-defeating splinter cell tendency of left-wing politics. Yes, Barack Obama seems to have slipped comfortably into a more middle-of-the-road stance than much of the left-leaning electorate would've liked, but make no mistake: a New York Times editorial from one of the leading liberal voices in America declaring that Obama has lost the support of progressives and now has to earn it back accomplishes nothing aside from doing the job of Republican strategists for them.

An editorial like Krugman's is every conservative's wet dream -- because those on the right know that any well-publicized dissension within the Democratic ranks makes Obama look weak and proves their point to those on the fence: that even when the Democrats have what they need to run the government their way, they can't make it happen. They can't seal the deal, despite having everything on their side.

As Wilkow said, they're born losers.

Right about now, the Democrats need to take a hint from a recent song by Green Day: Know Your Enemy. At the very least, know who he is.

Of course, Green Day actually have something in common with Andrew Wilkow: They're not real punks either.

And, in case I'm not being pointed enough, there's this:

"Why We Suck" (Originally Published, 10.31.10)

I'll make this really quick.

I may not have made it to yesterday's Rally to Restore Sanity, but I watched just about every minute of it on TV. While I did this, I of course engaged in the post-modern news and opinion-gathering technique of monitoring the pulse of those who were either there or were watching at home by logging on to Twitter and Facebook. And quite a bit of what I saw, to be honest, left me wanting to throw my laptop through a window.

I don't mean to pick on him personally, but professional disgruntled liberal standard-bearer Peter Daou's take on the rally was typical of what was popping up across the left-leaning Twitterverse, and it was essentially that what Stewart, Colbert et al were doing was unfocused, unfunny and desperately in need of some good, old-fashioned 60s-style civil rights march muscle -- that because it wasn't overtly political or especially pointed or even "entertaining" it was a missed opportunity.

And that, in a snapshot, is everything that's wrong with the left these days. Not only is nothing that's done with its general interests in mind ever enough, it's so utterly self-obsessed with what it thinks is best that it's more about personal satisfaction -- me, me, me; keep me happy; give me what I want -- than it is about actually moving the country in the correct direction.

Let me be really blunt: Look, you petulant fucking children, you overly analytical jackasses looking down disapprovingly from Olympus, willing to sacrifice some progress in favor of none whatsoever, it's not always about you.

What Stewart and Colbert did yesterday was exactly what needed to be done right now, and it wasn't about keeping you entertained or engaged; it was about the 215,000 people who turned out to provide a show of force for the beliefs that for the most part you claim to espouse. It was a victory for what Progressive America is supposed to stand for of the highest order imaginable -- and that should never be forgotten or devalued.


DXM: When Complaints Go Marching In/8.31.10

Rave Review

Whew, dodged a bullet on that one.

The Huffington Post: No Brain Damage from Ecstasy, New Research Shows/2.20.11

In a related item, party at my place this weekend.

Listening Post

Yeah, it's always nice when Radiohead releases new material -- but I'm actually even more excited to hear new stuff from these guys.

Here's Elbow -- Neat Little Rows.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Quote of the Day

"I've never really been clear about the endgame for this gang. What do they intend to achieve? If it's accountability at all costs, do they recognize the repercussions -- if successful -- in taking down the most liberal president in generations? I think they do because, despite being kneejerk opportunists, they're smart. And if they're willing to destroy progress, whatever the speed, with their 'everything is a scandal' approach, can they really call themselves 'progressives?'"

-- Bob Cesca on Saint Glenn Greenwald and the perpetually outraged children at Firedoglake

Listening Post

This could very well be the most visually stunning music video of the last few years -- and together with the menacing drone of the song itself, it proves that even after all this time, Massive Attack still sit at the top of the trip-hop heap.

Here's Atlas Air.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Nowhere, Man

Listening Post

How new is this?

As of this posting, there are only 302 views of it on YouTube.

Happy Friday, kids -- it's brand new Radiohead.

From the album The King of Limbs -- officially available today -- here's Lotus Flower.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Cold Comfort of the In-Between

A couple of days ago I posted an excerpt from my book, Dead Star Twilight, part of which had only been available for purchase and had never been featured on the the main DXM page. Well, tonight I've decided to follow that up with another excerpt from the book -- one that acts as a kind of companion piece.

While earlier in the week you got to read about a dinner date my ex-wife Abby and I went on in New York City just a little over a month after the 9/11 attacks, tonight I'm going back to about a year before that night. The last time Abby and I had seen each other before our dinner date was at a party in Los Angeles at the home shared by me and my wife at the time, Kara. The party was being thrown for a friend of ours' birthday; Abby happened to be in town, so she came along with the guest of honor.

The following takes place in January of 2001.

My drug addiction is at its height.

I'm doing as much as $200 worth of heroin a day.

Deep Dark Truthful Mirror: January, 2001

About five minutes later, the doorbell rings.

I make my way around the guests, across our living room and to the foyer. To say that my heartbeat throttles up each time I hear the bell would be a gross understatement. With the bustling and cool sounds of the party at my back, I take a deep breath -- hold it -- open the door.

Standing in front of me is Brando.

I exhale.

"I thought you were Abby."

"Which Abby -- your ex?"

"How many Abbys do I know?"

"She's gonna be here tonight?"

"Oh yes," I say.

He flashes me a broad, toothy smile.

"Dude, your ex-wife and your new wife in the same room together. I'm suddenly glad I came."

"I can't believe I'm friends with you."

I step aside and let Brando in, then head toward the kitchen to get him a cocktail. Like me, he favors gin and tonics. When I return to the living room, he and Kara are laughing together. Once again, a matter of propriety: Kara would never publicly be rude to a friend of mine, especially not at a party she's hosting. It also doesn't hurt that Brando's almost impossible to dislike, even if you know that your husband's got a bad habit of doing heroin around him. Kara doesn't currently blame my friends for my drug use, which is actually wise on her part. However, it doesn't take much to gather that the favor shown to them can and will disintegrate in short order if I continue down this path.

Speaking of which --

I pull Brando off to the side, which conveniently allows Kara to continue her power-mingling. I hand him his drink and lower my voice, trying not to seem too shady.

"I've already had three of these," I say, tapping the side of his drink. "I'm ready for something stronger."

"Shit, with Abby and Kara here together? I don't blame you, kid."

I make the slightest motion with my head. It says it all: Let's go.

Brando smiles. "To the Bat-cave," he says.

I make one call to Isa to get her E.T.A. It's not for at least another half-hour to forty-five minutes. Perfect. I may be willing to take a minor risk to replenish my high, but I'm not fucking stupid enough to leave Kara and Abby unattended. Propriety or not, the results could be disastrous. Kara stands a good chance of keeping it together. Abby, however, is a different story. The irrepressible passion that makes her incredible in bed also makes her as volatile and dangerously unpredictable as a suicide bomber.

Less than a minute after I get off the phone with Isa, Brando and I are out the door and trotting back to the garage, which is just behind my apartment. The sliding door goes up. We get in. My freshly washed and waxed car, which I had backed into the garage, is pulled straight out. Despite the chill in the night air, the windows go down and the sunroof opens as the vehicle slides down the driveway along the side of my apartment building. It emerges, brilliant white headlights flaring, from the thin space between the building and a large hedge which separates our property from the one next door. It really does look like we just pulled out of the Bat-cave. Arriving partygoers, walking along the sidewalk directly in front of the apartment, jump out of the way as I gun the engine, turn the wheel and speed off into the Los Angeles night -- tires screaming.

"What did you tell Kara?" Brando shouts over the wind and the sound of the stereo, which is pumping Girls Against Boys' Park Avenue.

"We were going to get more beer."

"Think she bought it?"

"Hope so."

Brando laughs, bouncing up and down in his seat like a kid.

"You're fuckin' dialed-in, brother -- you're dialed-in, I tell you," he says, spouting L.A. lingo I'm almost sure he invented himself. He sticks his head out the sunroof and shouts/sings:


I let out a maniacal laugh, shift -- force the accelerator almost all the way to the floor. Wilshire Boulevard goes by in a blur of color and light.

The buy is simple. Even simpler than usual. Get to the Westlake District. Make the deal. Head back home. Stop quickly to actually do what I said I was going to do -- pick up beer. The entire trip takes twenty-five minutes.

We pull the car into the garage and spend about ten more minutes sitting in privacy, smoking the fruits of our labor. Thirty-five minutes total. Right on time.

Abby's about to arrive and I'm as high as the sky.

This whole situation tonight is completely fucked-up. Now, thankfully, so am I. Yes, yes, yes, Reality is so much better when you're not facing it sober.

Once again, the will of the gods. This has all been preordained and everything is proceeding as they have foreseen -- according to their divine plan. Five minutes after Brando and I walk in the back door and put the beer in the refrigerator, the doorbell rings. This time there's no racing heart. There are no nervous deep breaths. There's just me and the glorious, satisfied calm I've inhaled into my system. I give Kara the required smile of solidarity, edge through the crowd -- which has grown quite a bit over the last half-hour -- make my way to the door and open it wide.

Isa's there, smiling.

I wish her a happy thirtieth birthday and give her a hug, inviting her to come inside and enjoy the cool fucking party in her honor. As she steps aside, there's only the sight I had been anticipating and dreading in equal parts all night -- that is until I carpet-bombed my apprehensions into complete submission.

Abby gives me a tight little smile and silently nods her head in what looks to be a strange sort of acceptance of the discomfort of the situation. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Kara watching me -- waiting to see what I do and how I do it. I smile, careful not to make it seem either too inviting or too bittersweet. I lean in, wrap my arms around her and pull her close -- squeeze then release.

"Hi, Ab."

"Hello, Chester."

She's wearing a black coat over a red button-down blouse and a pair of jeans with black high-heels. Her hair is shorter than I remember. Tonight's little excursion to the other side of the tracks has all but guaranteed that my stomach won't be tied in nervous knots at the sight of her, but the overwhelming desire I feel whenever Abby is in my immediate presence -- that's something even the drugs can't calm.

I invite her in -- into the lion's den -- and take her coat. For what it's worth, I understand fully that this unexpected planetary alignment is a hell of a lot harder on her than it is on either Kara or me. We have the home-field advantage. She's the outsider. I'm almost sorry she's not on drugs. I watch her quietly and coolly move her eyes over the candlelit elegance of our apartment as she enters. She's sizing things up, like a stray cat that's wandered in and is proceeding deeper into unknown territory with caution and restraint. Still, if she's trying to project a subtle air of confidence, she's not failing. In this room full of people, she seems to silently draw attention to herself. I'm not sure whether it's an innate magnetism or the fact that Kara has probably seen to it that almost everyone at this party knows exactly who she is. If the latter is true -- and I wouldn't be surprised if it is -- then I'm going to find myself walking an even finer line than I thought tonight. I won't let Kara ally her forces against Abby. At the same time, my overall loyalty has to lie with my wife -- my current wife. I can't allow either of these women -- or both of them -- to create a spectacle.

My diplomatic solution: Act like absolutely nothing is wrong.

I close the door, then turn to make my way through the polite and stylish throng -- guests talking and holding drinks -- with Abby.

"Come on -- meet Kara," I say, gently putting my hand on the back of her arm. I'm fully aware that my thumb makes a tiny, involuntary circular motion against her skin as I do this.

I hear her take a sharp breath -- hold it. I can't tell if it's from our sudden contact or the entire situation. "Can't wait," she says as she releases it.

"That's the exact same thing she said about you -- and it sounded like bullshit coming from her too," I say, threading the two of us through the tight spaces between guests and keeping my focus forward at all times. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Abby continuing to look around -- inquisitively inspecting. The flickering candlelight casts deep, long shadows in all directions. They alternately illuminate and swallow faces and create living art on the high walls. Poe's Amazed drones beautifully from the stereo.

People part for us like the Red Sea. Their heads follow us as we move past them. They all seem to be waiting for the moment when the Irresistible Force meets the Immovable Object. It becomes perfectly clear: Kara has told everyone here what's going on. As much as I love her, the realization makes me shake my head and suppress a grimace.


The last of the crowd parts and there, in the clearing, is Kara. She's standing with Isa, the two of them talking and laughing. She's wearing skin-tight black leather pants and a sheer white tank-top with nothing underneath. She looks -- for lack of a euphemistically appropriate term -- really fucking hot. I shoot a quick glance in Abby's direction and do a lightning-fast double-take when I notice her eyes.

Oh, holy shit.

I abruptly stop, take her by the arm and hold her back -- firmly. She turns and looks at me with a smile that's almost admirably subversive in its projection of complete innocence.

"What?" she says -- a tiny hint of playful sweetness in her voice.

I just stare into her eyes.

Jesus fucking Christ.

"Nothing," I say. "Nothing at all."

I'm not doing this. Not here. Not now. Not this close to Kara.

I turn and lead Abby one more step forward. Here goes nothing. Almost everyone at this party is pretending like he or she isn't watching -- but almost everyone is. I can feel a roomful of eyes.

Who to introduce to whom. What does Miss Manners say about a situation like this? Simple, don't get yourself into one.

"Abby, I'd like you to meet Kara."

Abby extends her hand and Kara smiles and takes it. Abby manages another tight-lipped smile. Kara smiles back. I hold my breath and wait for time to stop and the universe to collapse in on itself.

"It's really good to finally meet you. We're so glad you could come tonight," Kara says, wrapping her other hand around Abby's and giving it the kind of engaging, two-handed shake that screams sincerity.

"Thank you for inviting me."

Such innocuous conversation and such fucking hysterical subtext.

Kara asks Abby how her flight was. Abby says fine -- tells Kara that we have a beautiful home. Kara says thank you -- offers Abby a drink. Abby says no thank you.

And that's when I know for sure.

I glance across the room and find Brando. He stops chatting up a great-looking brunette I don't recognize just long enough to give me a confused look -- he shrugs as if to ask what's wrong. I simply shake my head. Just then, Kara -- in what appears to be a respectable attempt at congeniality -- offers to show Abby around the apartment. In the short time she's been in our living room I've already caught a whiff of passive-aggression emanating from my ex-wife like gasoline vapors. Left unchecked, this could explode into a very bitter, very public tantrum at some point during the night. For now, though, I choose to leave well-enough alone and see if the Greasers and the Socs really can play nice. Abby follows directly behind Kara as she navigates the guests, the two of them disappearing into the dining area. Everyone watches as they pass and titters in their wake. Everyone probably marvels at Kara's graciousness and calm in dealing with this uncomfortable situation -- just like Kara hoped they all would.

I'm left alone with Isa -- which is exactly what I wanted.

I take her by the arm.

"Can I borrow you for a minute?" I say through a forced smile of clenched teeth, pulling her into the dark of the downstairs hallway directly off the living room.

I stop and turn to face her.

"Are you fucking crazy?" I say.


"What's she on?"


"Don't who me. You know exactly what I'm talking about. What is Abby on? Her pupils are the size of saucers and she's not drinking. There's no way Abby would walk into a situation like this stone cold sober. The only thing that would stop her from drinking right now is not needing to."

So much for feeling sorry for her because she isn't on drugs. And the hypocrite of the year award goes to --

Isa just shakes her head and sighs, resigned. She focuses her eyes over my shoulder -- on the guests behind me in the living room.

"What is it with you two? Why are you both such pains in my ass?"

"It's ecstasy, isn't it," I say.

There's an interminable pause.

"Mushrooms," Isa finally says. She takes a sip of her drink and I hear her casually crush a piece of ice between her teeth.

I close my eyes and exhale through my mouth loudly. I'm not high enough, apparently.

"You let her come here tripping?"

"Hey, don't look at me. I'm not responsible for your ex-wife."

"She's staying with you, Isa. Is she so wily that you couldn't keep an eye on her for a couple of hours?"

"She got them from John. I think he was kind of hoping to sleep with her if she got fucked-up enough."

"Who the fuck is John?" I say, trying to stop my voice from turning into an effeminate squeal.

"Nobody. Some guy."


I'm shocked that I feel a sudden twinge of jealousy shoot through me like electricity. As far as I'm concerned this gives me a second reason to kick the living shit out of this John guy if I ever meet him.

"Sweetie, I'm the idiot." I'm gripping both of her arms for emphasis. "I'm the one who does irresponsible, stupid shit. You're supposed to be the smart one. I don't like you stepping on my territory. Now we've got to get her out of here." I let go.

"She'll be fine. She's very subdued."

"Yeah, so are most spree killers, until something sets them off -- then you don't want to be anywhere near them."

"Just leave her alone. She's gonna walk around quietly and no one will be the wiser. Make a scene and who knows what'll happen. Did I mention how tired I am of you two by the way?"

"Leave her alone? She's hallucinating. She already thinks Kara's a dragon lady. Chances are she's actually seeing it right now."

As if on cue, I glance over and see my wife, who's buzzed on two martinis, and my ex-wife, who's tripping on mushrooms, come around the corner and back into the living room.

This is all kinds of fucking perfect.

I fall back on the drug-induced haze in my own brain to help me bring a perfectly insouciant smile to my face as they spot me. Out of the corner of my eye I see Isa look at them, then back at me, then shake her head and walk away -- probably back toward the bar. I just keep right on smiling. Kara is willing to play the polite and pleasant host to Abby, but only up to a point. Her canteen of goodwill is only so big and there's no telling how long she's going to have to wander through this barren desert tonight, so she'd better pace herself. This is no doubt why she's now leading my ex-wife in my direction -- to pawn her off on me. The expression on Kara's face as she approaches -- with Abby safely behind her -- is, I have to admit, a hilarious mask of faked cheer. She's giving me a pronounced, toothy grin that seems to say exactly what I was just thinking a moment ago: This is all kinds of fucking perfect.

Of course Kara doesn't know the half of it, unless Abby began running her fingers over the knives in the kitchen like a baby playing with a rattle for the first time: With a noticeable combination of excitement, confusion and wonder.

"It looks like we're starting to run low on hors d'oeuvres," Kara says through her exaggerated smile. "I'm going to get some out of the fridge, 'kay? Here, why don't you show Abby around a little bit more."

And with that she steps out of the way and the woman I promised my life to years before her is once again standing in front of me, her face suddenly looking to me like one of those paintings of the puppies with the big eyes. I'm sure that right now to her my face looks something like this too, if not worse.

I shake my head and shove my hands into my pockets -- sighing -- as Kara steps away. All I can think to do at this point is scream, "Serenity Now!" like Frank Costanza on Seinfeld. That's really all that's missing from this entire experience.

Abby continues to throw her gaze around in every direction -- likely absorbing all the pretty shapes and colors in my apartment -- as she takes the final step to fill the space between us.

"Nice place you have here, Chester," she says, glancing around one last time then turning to look directly at me with a big smile. "And she's just lovely."

My expression is blank. My shoulders slump. I need more drugs -- no sane person would deny me that right now.

"Glad you think so, Ab."

"No, I'm serious. It really is a beautiful home you've made here," she says, nodding and smiling and nodding and smiling.

I already know what's coming. I know where Abby's going with this and, high as a fucking kite or not, I don't want to be around when she gets there. I can't leave her alone, though. So I just stare ahead and wait for the inevitable. It's on its way.

"Yeah," she continues, looking around again and nodding and smiling and nodding and smiling. "A really beautiful home. A gorgeous wife. A perfect life."

I concentrate on my breathing.

Here it comes.

"Everything is just perfect," she says, nodding and smiling and nodding and smiling.

Closer --

She once again looks directly into my eyes. Her pupils are monstrous. They've practically swallowed all of the hazel surrounding them like two black holes. Mine, meanwhile, are the size of pinpoints. Together we just about even out to one normal, sober person.

There's suddenly silence between us.

Come on, spit it out.

"Of course, I did happen to notice my shelving units in your perfect little kitchen," she declares with a stab of pure satisfaction.


I close my eyes, inhale deeply and try not to choke on the air in the room. I'm about to do something incredibly dumb -- which is pretty laughable, considering that I can't imagine anything dumber than being on heroin while your ex-wife, who's tripping, is wandering around a party with your new wife: I'm actually going to debate this with her.

"Those aren't your shelving units anymore. I got those, remember?" I say calmly.

"Which you never paid me for."

"You're really gonna do this here -- right now?"

Her expression changes -- her brow pushing down on her eyes. She blinks rapidly and heavily. She glances around at the floor. I don't know if this is just some effect of the drugs -- her drugs -- but I can't deny that she suddenly seems very, very hurt.

Enough of this.

I reach out, take her arm and lead her through the guests, pushing her gently in front of me. As we move in the direction of the front door, for a brief moment I allow myself the thought of simply turning her, marching her up the stairs and into the bedroom, stripping her naked and making love to her.

Let's settle this like adults. Let's settle it the way we always have.

We make our way to the door, open it and step outside. I'm not even going to bother concerning myself with what anyone at the party might think about me being outside and alone with my ex. I couldn't give a shit at this point. Once we clear the windows, I turn her around and look right into her huge, pixyish eyes.

"Alright, come on -- let's get this over with," I say.

"Get what over with?"

"Just say what you want to say so that we can try to put it behind us and have an uneventful rest of the evening."

As these words come out of my mouth, I immediately regret them. Abby takes full advantage of the opening I've given her.

"Put it behind us?" she sneers. "It looks like you've had no trouble doing that."

"What do you want from me, Abby?"

"I want you to take some goddamned responsibility."

"For what?" I say, trying not to sound too shrill. It isn't easy at this point.

"For what you did to me. For what you did to us."

"And you've decided you want this mea culpa right now?"

"I think the poetic justice is kind of fitting." She stands with her fists planted into her hips.

"What do you want?" I'm practically spitting the words through gritted teeth. I take a step toward her. "Do you want me to march right back in there, shut off the CD player and say, 'Scuse me, folks, can I have everybody's attention?'" I hold my arms out wide at my sides. "'I am an asshole. See that beautiful young woman right over there? I cheated on her, took her for granted and robbed her of her heart, soul and innocence and crushed every dream she ever had. Because of that, I don't deserve any of the luxurious trappings you see all around you here tonight. Now if anyone needs me, I'll be hanging in the upstairs shower.' Is that what you want?" I say, then before she can even respond the way I know she will -- "Don't fucking answer that."

"This could've been our life, Chez," she says -- with something bordering on desperation. Her face becomes a mask of hurt again.

I turn and look over my shoulder at my apartment. My gorgeous two-story place in West Hollywood. It is indeed perfect.

"No, it couldn't have," I say, almost wistfully. I'm suddenly exhausted -- I feel my whole body sag. "I mean, look at me, Abby. You know me better than anybody -- even better than Kara. Do you really think all that domestic bliss in there is me? This whole place is Kara. This whole life. I mean, it's beautiful and I like it, but make no mistake -- I had nothing to do with creating it. All I do is help pay the bills and try to stand up straight and smile pretty when company comes over." I'm pacing now. I feel like I'm sinking into the ground. "Jesus -- Kara was pissed that my credit wasn't good enough to get an even bigger and nicer place. That's me, Abby -- the guy with the lousy credit and the sordid past and the metric ton of emotional baggage. This?" I thrust my arm in the direction of my attractive home and the social event filled with attractive people that's going on within it. "This is all just a floor show."

"We could've done it together."

A tired chuckle escapes my throat. "You're dreaming."

"I know. I always was."

The overwhelming sadness of this simple, tragic statement hurts like hell. There aren't enough drugs in the world to bury my sorrow under.

"I'm sorry, Abby, I really am."

"I know you are, Chester. You're always sorry."

There's no venom in her voice. This isn't an attack or indictment -- it's simply the truth. I used to half-joke that my personal mantra was, "Apologize Often, Change Never." It's funny for a while, until you find yourself looking down at the face of someone who reaped the cruel reward of loving a person content to live life by such a pathetic standard.

There's a sullen hush between us. A moment of silence for the death of youth, innocence, love, hope -- everything we once had and were. The moment feels like it goes on forever. I can't pull my eyes away from her.

"You look great," I say softly, breaking the stillness.

"Thank you. So do you." Abby reaches out and runs a hand across my stomach. "You're too thin, though."

"Thanks, Mom. I really wouldn't trust my eyes right now if I were you."

Despite her best efforts to remain somber, an adorable and mischievous smile slowly creeps across her face.

"Uh-huh," I say, nodding. "I can't believe you came here tripping. Tonight just wasn't challenging enough already?"

The corners of her mouth drop. Her face expresses something beyond burden. God only knows what I look like to her right now.

"Believe it or not, I'm worried about you," she says.

"What's to worry about? Haven't you seen my apartment and my wife? Everything's just marvy. You said it yourself."

"What's wrong?" -- quietly.


I want to tell her. I want to tell her that I'm high and I'm scared. Instead, as usual, I say nothing. I'm terrified of doing drugs. I'm even more terrified of not doing drugs.

"We should get inside -- it's chilly out here," I finally say.

"Not to me. I'm a New York City girl."

"Yeah, I know. I'll have to come visit you sometime."

We turn to walk back inside.

"Don't even think about it," she says. "I moved there to get away from you. Stay out my city."

* * *

Multi-Media: As a little something extra to go with this particular excerpt, here are the three songs mentioned within the piece:

Elliott Smith -- A Fond Farewell (title)

Girls Against Boys -- Park Avenue

Poe -- Amazed

Not Available for Embed -- Click Here

Search and Destroy

It should be beyond dispute by now that Glenn Beck's batshit crazy shtick is just that -- shtick. But I'm really starting to think that he's actually trying to make his audience of paranoid pensioners terrified of absolutely everything.

The Huffington Post: Glenn Beck Goes After Google/2.17.11

(Update: Cesca makes a really good point -- one that I'd initially considered but was naive enough to quickly dismiss as over-the-top -- that by demonizing Google, Beck is basically telling his minions that any information gleaned from it that debunks his ridiculous conspiracy theory matrix should be questioned. In other words, it can be translated into this cliché: "Don't you get it? You can't trust Google. They're in on the conspiracy!")

Quote of the Day

"I don’t go around denouncing people."

-- Mississippi Governor Haley "Boss Hogg" Barbour on the request that he speak out against a push to create a state license plate honoring Confederate general, slave trader and KKK Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest

Last night on CNN, John King let a spokesperson for the NAACP and one from the Mississippi chapter of the Sons of the Confederacy go at each other; the result was entertaining, although not really all that surprising.

Unfortunately, what King didn't do was ask the question I always want to see put to one of these stars-and-bars-saluting clowns whenever he tries to defend the memory of the Civil War-era South, making the tired argument that the Confederacy is an "important part of our nation's heritage" and deserves to be paid tribute to. Just once I'd like to hear someone say, "Do you believe that the South was wrong -- that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of the Civil War?"

I guarantee the response would be the kind of tap-dance that'd put Stepin Fetchit to shame.

Gone in 20 Seconds

I touched on this briefly yesterday but it's worth elaborating on a little bit: Last night journalist and dick Nir Rosen was on Anderson Cooper's show to apologize for comments he made via Twitter about the recent sexual assault of Lara Logan. He took responsibility, called himself "a jerk" -- which, as alluded to above, doesn't even begin to cover it -- and once again announced that he had resigned his position as an NYU fellow.

What he didn't do, though, is really explain why he said what he said.

And you know something? I honestly believe that's because he can't explain it.

Asking somebody why he or she posted something really dumb on Twitter -- or anyplace else on the internet -- without giving a second thought as to the consequences of those actions is like asking a four-year-old why he wrote on the wall with a crayon. The answer will always be a dispirited, "I'on't know."

Last year I wrote a piece published here and at HuffPo that took a look at whether technology had advanced past our ability to think and to control our own rampaging impulses.

Here's what I said at the time:

"Through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter -- and, yes, even through texting, e-mail and blogging -- we've removed the need for context and contemplation as a prerequisite to opening our big mouths and can now spout an opinion to each other or to the world, occasionally with dire but all-too-avoidable consequences, without giving it, literally, a second thought. We've fractured and fragmented our communication skills to fit the new model of speaking -- one that only requires 140 characters, with as few vowels as possible. Our brains haven't evolved as quickly as our ability to express ourselves. We're officially a nation of knee-jerks...

Just a decade ago -- maybe even less -- the notion of taking a little while to think things over before rendering a decision still seemed like the wisest course of action, an action in and of itself. Now? Take even a day or so to measure your options and it's considered glacial -- because 24 hours, one full news cycle revolution on cable and in talk radio and the span in which 850-gazillion tweets were fired back and forth on Twitter, is like an eternity to us. While you were sitting there analyzing, Mr. Smarty Pants, everyone else was actually doing."

Particularly with Twitter, which is a form of communication that's just about as id-friendly and as instantaneous as it gets, we can now broadcast whatever idiotic impulse we have to the entire world.

Unfortunately, as was said so perfectly in The Social Network, "The internet is written in ink." Those little words on that little screen on your smart-phone may feel like the ultimate form of ephemera, but once they're out there -- they're out there.

Rosen just learned that the hard way.

Listening Post

I have no idea if this video will ever officially be released -- as of now all that's available online are the various leaks of it -- but at some point you get tired of waiting and just say screw it.

Damn is this an 800-pound gorilla of a song, one of the best tracks about fame to come along in years.

Here's Kanye West, featuring Jay-Z, Rick Ross and a ferocious Nicki Minaj -- Monster.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Quote of the Day, Jr.

"God is not capricious. He's given us a creation that is dynamically stable. We are not going to run out of anything."

-- Republican State Rep. Mike Beard of Minnesota on God's infinite largesse and why it should put our minds at ease about strip mining the planet

He's right, you know. The supply of stupid in this country alone is apparently limitless.

Logan's Shun

It's good to know there are some subjects on which both extremes of the political spectrum can find common ground -- like the best possible time and way to shoot off your mouth and make a complete fucking ass out of yourself.

As word broke yesterday afternoon about the sexual assault of Lara Logan in Cairo last Friday, a few of those who dwell comfortably in the Timbuktu region of political thought came out of the woodwork to offer their sage opinions on the matter; as usual this amounted to fingers typing against keys before even the first couple of brain cells had been engaged.

From the left, here's journalist, NYU fellow and apparent insensitive tool Nir Rosen on the Logan attack:

"Jesus Christ, at a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger."

"Look, she was probably groped like thousands of other women, which is still wrong..."

"Yes yes its wrong what happened to her. Of course. I don't support that. But, it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson too."

And from the right, the always thoroughly insufferable stupidity of Debbie Schlussel, taking the opportunity to once again rail against her favorite boogeyman, Islam:

"So sad, too bad, Lara. No one told her to go there. She knew the risks. And she should have known what Islam is all about. Now she knows... How fitting that Lara Logan was 'liberated' by Muslims in Liberation Square while she was gushing over the other part of the 'liberation.' This never happened to her or any other mainstream media reporter when Mubarak was allowed to treat his country of savages in the only way they can be controlled."

For the record, Rosen has since apologized profusely and quit his job at NYU, saying that he brought shame on himself and his family; Schlussel will never apologize -- ever.

Oh, and Lara Logan is scheduled to be released from the hospital today.

Quote of the Day

"You guys are evil... Canada's the best country in the world. We go to the doctor and we don't need to worry about paying him, but here, your whole life, you're broke because of medical bills. My bodyguard's baby was premature, and now he has to pay for it. In Canada, if your baby's premature, he stays in the hospital as long as he needs to, and then you go home."

-- Justin Bieber on the U.S. healthcare system, in an interview with Rolling Stone (and no, this isn't satire)

I'm not even going to get into whether I agree or disagree with any of what he's saying, but dear God did this kid just open up a world of shit.

Tune in tonight at 5pm to see his perfectly coiffed little head right between George Soros and Mohamed ElBaradei on Glenn Beck's chalkboard with the words "Prince of the Coming Caliphate" scrawled overtop of it. Hell, Beck may even try playing Baby backward to see if it says, "I buried capitalism."

Either way, good luck dodging the fire, Biebs.

Listening Post

When all else fails in creating a DIY video for a song, fall back on anime. Regardless, this song is good enough that just about any video would work for it, and to be honest this one's not half bad.

Here's Conjure One, featuring the criminally elusive Poe on vocals -- Center of the Sun.

And below, as a bonus, it's the same pairing doing Make a Wish.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Risky Business

Jesus, this is really shocking stuff -- a grim reminder of just how dangerous the job of an international correspondent can be, particularly a female correspondent and particularly one who regularly and courageously puts herself in the middle of some of the most violent, calamitous situations on the planet in order to bring the news home to the masses:

"On Friday February 11, the day Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stepped down, CBS correspondent Lara Logan was covering the jubilation in Tahrir Square for a 60 MINUTES story when she and her team and their security were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration. It was a mob of more than 200 people whipped into frenzy.

In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers. She reconnected with the CBS team, returned to her hotel and returned to the United States on the first flight the next morning. She is currently in the hospital recovering.

There will be no further comment from CBS News and Correspondent Logan and her family respectfully request privacy at this time."

I've taken a couple of shots at Logan in the past, mostly because of statements she made which implied that journalists should defer to the those in positions of authority, but obviously what's happened to her is just sickening and unconscionable.

I wish her all the best.

18k Goal

I watched this live the other day and meant to put it up because it's honestly the best damn goal I've ever seen.

Apparently a lot of other people feel the same way.

All hail Rooney -- now you can knight him and let him kiss the queen.

The Week: Wayne Rooney's Jaw-Droppingly Good Winning Bicycle Kick Goal Against Manchester City/2.14.11

Assistant To the Quote of the Day

"Oh, it’s huge—it destroyed my family. I’ll tell you right now—the damn show destroyed my family. And I sit there and go, ‘Yeah, you know what? Some gave all.’ It is my motto, and guess what? I have to eat that one. I some-gave-all’d it all right. I some-gave-all’d it while everybody else was going to the bank. It’s all sad."

-- Walking punchline and word salad connoisseur Billy Ray Cyrus in GQ magazine, blaming the success of Hannah Montana for the downward spiral of his daughter, Miley

Yeah, and who put her on TV, grabbed onto her coattails and rode that rocket all the way to the bank?

In fact, you really think you'd be sitting there in that big house talking to GQ while sporting those ridiculous Juan Juan highlights and that obscenely expensive Gucci leather jacket if your daughter hadn't become the world's most powerful teenager?

Those Achy Breaky Heart residuals only would've gone so far.

But hey, this gives me an excuse to dig into the DXM archives and pull out a classic.

"Cyrus the Virus" (Originally Published, 6.17.08)

Back in high school, a friend of mine and I had a kind of litmus test -- an instant and surefire barometer -- used to determine whether someone was a complete fucking idiot.

That test: sunglasses indoors.

I'm not talking about the person who walks inside from a sunny day and happens to leave his glasses on for a few minutes; I'm talking about the one who seems to go out of his way to purposely keep his eyes covered in the hope of, I'd imagine, escaping detection from that flock of adoring fans and the strobing flashes it'll soon be aiming in his direction.

Whenever my friend and I spotted this special brand of clown, one or the other of us would make a point to walk up to him and say something like, "Hey, you know, if it's too bright in here we can have somebody turn the lights down for you."

Sunglasses indoors screams one thing: douchebag.

So it's no surprise that during his interview this morning on the Today show, Billy Ray Cyrus kept his oversized neo-Elvis shades on the entire time.

Which confirms something I've suspected for quite some time but have hesitated in officially declaring.

Billy Ray Cyrus is the world's biggest douchebag.


From the over-the-top Beverly Hillbilly aesthetic -- the blonde highlights, ridiculous soul-patch and Gucci calfskin jacket meets University of Tennessee t-shirt he wears without even the slightest hint of irony; to the preening, ego-laden seriousness with which he takes his role on Nashville Star; to his insistence on spouting trite "country wisdom" every chance he gets -- as if he's still some dumb-ass hick living in Appalachia and not worth a goddamned fortune; to his comical belief that Achy Breaky Heart was actually some sort of cultural touchstone; to the fact that he's the father of America's most virulent social disease -- Miley Cyrus -- and a guy who's managed to shamelessly exploit his daughter merely for the opportunity she's handed him to thrust his own worthless ass back into the spotlight; everything about Billy Ray Cyrus's ill-advisedly inflated sense of his own self-worth makes him a walking joke -- a living, breathing advertisement for the necessity of safe and legal late-term abortions -- the kind of guy that, if you wanted to create a "douchebag army," you'd need only a tiny sample of DNA from.

This morning on Today, Cyrus was in fine form -- which means that he was a pompous idiot. As he adjusted himself on the high stool opposite Meredith Vieira, assuming the one-foot-on-floor and the-other-on-rung-of-chair pose common to douchebags everywhere -- as if he were a J. Byron model, circa 1979 -- I waited patiently for him to apologize for his appearance. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he might have recently undergone some sort of eye surgery that had left his pupils dilated and therefore required him to wear sunglasses at all times. But no -- of course not. He was simply wearing them because he's just that cool.

Once again -- douchebag.

Vieira began the interview by asking him about the full-length feature film he's now shooting with his retarded daughter and will soon foist on a defenseless American public.

Cyrus did a quick shake of his chemically straightened mane and said, "Yeah, it's gonna be great. We've got a great director, a great script, a great team of folks, and we're shooting in the great state of Tennessee."

I'm kidding about none of this and, as such, would highly recommend that Billy Ray invest some of that money he's making in a fucking thesaurus. And for the record, that "great director" he's talking about is Peter Chelsom, who helmed the forgettable TNT/TBS staple Serendipity and the atrocious Beatty/Keaton/Hawn "comedy" Town & Country, which was released in 2001, making it the second unfunniest thing to happen that year. In Cyrus's defense, I'm not sure that anyone who was raised thinking The Dukes of Hazzard is the height of artistry would be qualified to recognize a decent director when he sees one.

Vieira then brought up, of course, the almost baffling success of his kid, Miley Hannah Cyrus Montana.

"Condé Nast says Miley will soon be worth a billion dollars," she enthused.

I held my breath and waited for Billy Ray to respond with an angry, "What'd you call my daughter?!" But no such luck. Instead, he flashed a full row of those perfectly capped teeth and reacted with what I guess was supposed to be pride but what looked eerily lupine. Suddenly, the utility of the sunglasses became obvious, as they were probably hiding the big-ass dollar signs in his eyes.

After awhile, Vieira finally got around to the heavily promoted nexus of the interview: Billy Ray Cyrus's supposed "first public comments" regarding the media-driven scandal over his daughter's sexed-up spread in Vanity Fair. At first, she asked Cyrus whether he was even there when the most controversial of the controversial photos was taken -- the one with Miley looking like she'd just woken up after a one-night-stand with the Joker. Billy Ray insisted he wasn't, adopting a sudden air of bullshit humility as he quietly proclaimed that, at the time, he had to get to Washington where his presence was required at a gig honoring U.S. troops returning from Iraq. He dropped the troops at least one more time before the end of the interview.

When asked if he thought another of the photos -- the creepy-as-hell shot of his daughter draped over him while he stared pensively into the distance, presumably at the big bag of money off-camera -- was a little too explicit, as some have suggested, he basically didn't even bat an eye (at least not that I could tell with the sunglasses on).

"Nah, I think it just shows a daddy that loves his daughter a whole lot," he said, then added, apropos of nothing, "We love acting. We love music. We love each other."

"Well, thanks for not making that whole thing any weirder," I said out loud as I sat on my living room couch, munching Funyuns.

Vieira then asked why Cyrus didn't fight back against the accusations of those who found the picture offensive. Cyrus, as expected, responded with some good old-fashioned frontier gibberish: "My daddy used to say that the more you stomp in poop, the more it stinks."

It was right about this point that my intestines began moving up through my throat in an effort to mercifully cut off the oxygen to my brain.

The whole thing ended with Cyrus offering one more pearl of wisdom regarding the whole miasma. "You git knocked down, you git back up," he said, smiling with apparent pride at his own profundity.

"Good advice," Vieira responded, returning the smile.

I'm pretty sure my jaw went slack, I lost control of my bladder, and the upper part of my body tipped sideways until it plummeted into the couch like a falling redwood.

And all of this was before Today brought out The Clique Girlz -- three bleach-blonde 'tweens named Paris, Destinee and Ariel who look like Hot Topic exploded all over them and whose music is about to "take America by storm."

Wanna guess whose tour they've already opened for?

Congratulations, Billy Ray, you pass the test with flying colors.