The Evil Of Two Lessers

Here’s something I first started writing about a year and a half ago, as kind of a foreword to today’s staggering blaze of ignorance:

For the last seven years, I have, for professional reasons, paid an unhealthy amount of attention to politics. I have observed every little thing from all angles. The more I work in this capacity — incessant omnipartisan public interaction on the Issues — the more I learn how subjective everything is. Read what Actual Real Genuine People think — not polls, not selective Man-On-The-Street stuff, not what press releases and allegedly underground blogger-press tells you. (And much as I love the Internet Bypass of the Old Media, it has made it painfully easy for Issue Loons to limit themselves to news-sources they agree with while declaring themselves well-informed.) Find out what people, unbidden, anonymously, really think when they share their passions. That’s the only way to elude the media Heisenberg Principle.

What you will find out is that all Important Issues have very, very bright people and shockingly obnoxious assholes — some of them are both — advocating all sides with equal vigor and equal wisdom and equal eloquence and equal convincing-ness. (BTW, bashers, “media bias” just a convenient excuse for you lazy Issue Loons to use when explaining why the whole world doesn’t see things your way.) Issue Loons are no different than baseball fans, and those who prefer the Red Team or the Blue Team are exactly the same, mentally, as the dyed-in-the-wool supporters of the Red Sox or the Yankees.

Now, considering that the walls of right and left are thus broken, here’re the best bits of political knowledge I’ve got to share: Nothing is True, Everything Has Happened Before, and Nobody Is Any Smarter Than Anyone Else.

Nothing Is True: I don’t mean nothing is factual. I mean that there is no Great Truth. Abortion is wrong, and so is banning the procedure. Reefer is bad and harmful and enhances creativity and improves food, sex, and Futurama. George Bush is a fascist dictator who will ruin this country forever and the antidote needed to the general culture of cynicism and an unelected boy king and a regular guy who lacks pretention and sheds real tears, albeit less often than his predecessor shed the crocodile kind. Letting people fend for themselves in an uncaring world is deplorable, but so is stealing from the ants to feed the grasshopper. The world was much better five, ten, twenty, fifty, one hundred, and two thousand years ago, and no it wasn’t. Yes, things have been bad before, but never this bad.

Jesus. People and their revealed truths. Shut up. Stop demanding that normal people be unhappy until your respective teams have won. At least fans of the Yankees and Red Sox have the decency to keep their misery to themselves. They don’t run around demanding that people with no interest in baseball should write panicked letters to the newspaper about how another Yankees Series title will destroy the economy of the city of Boston and turn the Charles River into a flood of raw sewage.

Everything Has Happened Before: Read up on Presidential campaigns. Old ones. Bust out the WayBack Machine; this race is actually very similar to the one in 1800 – Jefferson was called an agent of the French, Adams was accused of wanting a monarchy. Sound familiar? For more than two hundred years, American Presidential candidates have been promising the end of the world if their opponent was elected, and it hasn’t happened. I’m breaking the cycle – no more buy-in for me. Gonna have a drink, and sit in the sunshine, and let the panicmongers panic each other. Leave me be, y’all, I’m going to be happy. Who the President is is as irrelevant to my little life as who wins the Bassmasters Classic. (Yeah, yeah, I know. “Poisoned water!” “80% tax rates!” “Concentration camps!” “Nuclear War!” You’re all bothering me, which you have no right to do. Hush. Go sit outside until the grownups are through.)

Nobody Is Any Smarter Than Anyone Else: I was like all the Issue Loons, once; and I still am a little, but I’m trying to quit. (Admitting you have a problem is the first step.) I had my Issues. I did my proselytizing. I Believed stuff. And I, like all other Issue Loons, was an asshole. I thought I was smart enough that other people — obviously not as smart as me — should listen to what I said, and heed my Important Wisdom. But then I realized that that was presumptuous, egotisitcal, and seriously fucking rude. To lobby someone to go your way is to openly admit that you believe you are smarter than they are. Might as well just be honest and put it that way: “Support Bush/Kerry, because I said so and I’m smarter than you.” This is why I’m not telling the Issue Loons they’re wrong — some of my best friends, as the cliche goes — just to leave the rest of us out of their hobby. We of the Silent Majority don’t look down our noses at people who don’t grok the NFL or the S&P or LINUX or birdwatching, you don’t do any more kvetching about what fools voters (or nonvoters) are, or demand that we watch this ad or read that article. I’d even take the lead on signing a treaty.

(Article One: Otherwise normal people trying to terrify otherwise innocent people into voting for their team will be fed to small, aggressive sharks. Slowly. That panicmongering shit drives me nuts. Don’t ruin my good day because your team dropped behind in the standings.)


So that brings me to this election. The lingering Issue Loon in me needs to note that I’m double-extra appalled at the repulsiveness of the Red and Blue candidates for the Big Job. From my perspective, here’s the difference between the two guys:

  • Assclown B is taller

    That’s the list. Everything that matters enough to me to shift my vote, they’re in agreement. There is a truism in advertising that says that the more time and money spent differentiating a product from a competitor, the more similar the products really are. We are effectively faced, come November 2, with the choice of Bud Lite or Miller Lite, Coke or Pepsi, Ford or Chevrolet. I’m sure people smarter than me see differences between these two rich ruling-class shit-don’t-stink preppie clowns – though I guarantee you those smart people won’t see the same differences – but I don’t. Bring me somebody with radical new ideas, and I’ll listen.

    I feel better now. I’ll return to comedy and leering tomorrow, I promise.

  • On To "E"

    Ended

    Good things about Wrecks Grossman’s ACL injury:

  • Higher draft choice will result in shot at Mike Williams or Mark Clayton
  • Sundays now free for golf
  • Reluctant, disloyal gimmes in weekly pool
  • Beat the Packers already (Though that’s not looking like the achievement it was a couple weeks ago — they’re teetering on the edge of a glorious Dark Age)

    Evade! Evade!

    ABSF is perhaps the finest piece of comedy bah-gawd GOLD I have seen this year.

    Watch out for that tree…
    Watch out for that
    (WHAM!)
    Treeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee


    Explain?

    The following search terms showed up in this months B&T record, and while I can sometimes tell how they got here, I have no idea what they were looking for originally:

  • lodi dodi military term
  • hooter brown drunker
  • grails that fuck
  • animated rope reactor garden hose
  • badass-sailor
  • dripping blood tut
  • al-kinda

    Election

    I have heard a lot of tedious yammering lately about What The American People Want. It seems we want a number of things, some of them pointless, some of them hideously expensive, some of them in conflict with other things we are told we want. I have my own theory, however, on what The American People want, and it is to see Assclown A and Assclown B sewn into a sack and dropped into the ocean from a helicopter.

    I am confident my proposed referendum would win in a landslide, if only the biased media would talk about it.


    Emergency

    How do I go about placing LaTroy Hawkins under a citizen’s arrest?

  • Week Three

    The full test of the Million-Dollar Hexing System is Sunday, as I have benched the Bear defense, cut David Terrell, and started Desmond Clark. (Proper research requires a control group, and my usual tight end is on his bye week.) If last week’s results hold true, the Bears will hold Minnesota below seventeen points, David Terrell will set numerous records, and Desmond Clark will be struck by a meteor and vaporized on his way to the Metrodome. I’m also starting David Carr, as a favor to personal friend and Chiefs fan Captain Matt, so expect Marc Bulger to shake off his elbow problem and take his first big step toward Canton.

    So much for my fantasy preview. On to this week’s doomed picks:

    1: Houston over KC
    2: Washington over Dallas (MNF, point total 36)
    3: Raiders over Bucs
    4: Steelers over Team Wannstedt (Rookie QB vs Super Dave’s latest Chosen One. God is sending a hurricane.)
    5: Tennessee over Jacksonville (This week’s flipper)
    6: Giants over Cleveland
    7: Cincinnati over Baltimore
    8: Vikes over Bears (Come on, jinx!)
    9: Colts over Packers
    10: Seattle over San Fran
    11: Rams over Saints
    12: Atlanta over Arizona
    13: Eagles over Lions
    14: Denver over San Diego

    1 1 2 1 # 6

    One year. She’s still scorching, and he’s still hilarious. (If you’re still not sold, watch the version with enhanced audio. Go pee first.)

    I’ve never had a journal where I could read back over the course of a year, so looking back over the ways in which I made this year seem exciting is a new thing for me. Some of it seems to have happened farther back in the past than it did, some of it seems much more recent than it is. It is – for lack of a better term – weird-ola to read.

    I opened shop here hoping to limber up some muscles I hadn’t been using much for the previous year or so – to “power up the creative reactor,” as the (depressingly) late Ralph Wiley put it – and I think I did that. I’ve enjoyed it as much as I have any exercise I’ve had in the last ten or fifteen years. I like rising to a challenge. It’s a rare feeling for me, but a nice one. I’d like to get accustomed to it.

    I write more in this than I expected to, or maybe “write different” is a better term. I find myself doing more essaying and less rambling than was foreseen. (I’m as surprised as anyone else.) I do feel, now, that I fully understand the bits of “On Writing” that I didn’t believe before. I’ve also got a skosh more confidence in my ability to wrote something much longer, though I’m not yet sold anyone beyond you six regulars will like it. Maybe that’ll come in Year Two.

    I s’pose I should celebrate this birthday somehow, y’know, do something notable in observation of this landmark. Can’t think of what, though. What’s appropriate? “Paper” might be traditional, but it doesn’t seem right. You can’t buy a blog a drink, and it wouldn’t appreciate a nice rack. (Well, this one might.) It won’t go out and get Full, nor is a backrub going to make much of a gift. Can’t take it out to play eighteen on me, or stand it to a lapdance, or smoke some pig and hang out, or whip some computer ass at Perfect Dark. No point to jewelry or chocolate. No ears to sing to, no breath to blow out the candles. No backslap. No hearty handshake. All my birthday and anniversary options are shot. Happily, it’s no fonder of birthdays than I am. It’s probably in a bleak mood, kicking back on the server thinking “One down, only forty-five more to go. If I’m lucky.”

    (Am I anthropomorphizing a computer program, or am I just projecting?)

    Hold up. I got it. I already wrote it, even. More proof of King’s theory. Hit the lights. Everybody ready? A one…

    A two…

    A three…

    1 1 2 1 # 6
    1 1 2 1 # 3
    1 1 # # 8 4 1
    # # 6 4 2 1

    Hurry if you want some cake.

    My Oh My

    Red and white/blue suede shoes
    I’m Uncle Sam /how do you do?
    Gimme five/I’m still alive
    Ain’t no luck/I learned to duck

    Check my pulse/it don’t change
    Stay seventy two/come shine or rain
    Wave the flag/pop the bag
    Rock the boat/skin the goat

    Wave that flag
    Wave it wide and high
    Summertime done come and gone
    My oh my

    I’m Uncle Sam /that’s who I am
    Been hidin’ out/in a rock and roll band
    Shake the hand that shook the hand
    Of P.T. Barnum/and Charlie Chan

    Shine your shoes/light your fuse
    Can you use/them ol’ U.S. Blues?
    I’ll drink your health/share your wealth
    Run your life/steal your wife

    Wave that flag
    Wave it wide and high
    Summertime done come and gone
    My oh my

    Back to back/chicken shack
    Son of a gun/better change your act
    We’re all confused/what’s to lose?
    You can call this song/the United States Blues

    Wave that flag
    Wave it wide and high
    Summertime done come and gone
    My oh my
    Summertime done come and gone
    My oh my

    Words by Robert Hunter
    Music by Jerry Garcia

    Incoherent With Joy

    It would be fairly easy, this morning — and those locals among you know just how major a statement this it — for Lovie Smith to be elected mayor.


    I have come to a decision: As a minor act of civil disobedience, I will, from this day forth and unilaterally, spell “Farve” correctly.


    Two things I have heard today, repeatedly, from sniveling Packer fans:

    1) “Urlacher blocked Farve in the back and the refs didn’t call it! Urlacher gets special treatment from officials!”

    2) “Oh, so, now you’ve won what, four of the last twenty? Big deal.”

    Two things I have said today, repeatedly, in response to sniveling Packer fans:

    1) “Yes, he did. Be thankful. I think he got a pass because the tiny push from behind was obviously in lieu of blocking him straight on and head-up the legal way, whereupon Brett would have been taken off the field by a medical helicopter. Also pretty sure you don’t want to get into the issue of officials favoring superstars, since I believe the NFL rule book must have been specifically amended to legalize holding in protection of Brett Farve.”

    2) “You probably don’t want to get into a discussion about long-term won-lost records about this, either. Just say yes. Believe me. You don’t want to know the Bears’ lead in the all-time vs. record. Take my word for it. You also don’t want to know how the 19 games immediately preceding Farve’s arrival worked out for your boys. Honest, you don’t.”


    My favorite quote of the weekend came from Rex Grossman, who was told after the game that some Packers had recently dismissed the idea that they considered the Bears a rival: “I bet it’s more of a rivalry now than it was Saturday.”


    Confession: I goofed. I, personally, almost cost us the game. I sat the Bear defense (one fumble recovered, two interceptions, ten points against, 404 total yards allowed, and a goddamn touchdown) and cut Desmond Clark (two catches, 43 yards) with an eye toward inspiring them to new heights. That part of my plan worked.

    But…I also left Roy Williams (four catches, 73 yards, two touchdowns) on the bench in favor of David F. Terrell (carried once, 15 yards, fumbled) — an error I will not make again.

    I’m considering parlaying my fantasy magic into some kind of consulting business. (“It’s like this, Red: $15,000 in weekly fees means I sit Daunte. Don’t dismiss me – look what happened to Kurt Warner.”)

    I Think I Left Off On D

    DOA:

    Confidence Pool Picks

    Calibration: 1 is least confident, winners are picked straight up. (No spreads.)

    15: Washington over Giants
    2: Chiefs over Panthers
    6: Colts over Titans
    13: Green Bay over Chicago (This one hurt, but I figure I can’t lose – I’ll cheerfully trade the points for a Bear win.)
    7: Steelers over Ravens
    5: Atlanta over St. Louis
    11: Jaguars over Broncos
    10: Saints over San Francisco
    4: Lions over Texans (I have flipped on this one maybe 75 times.)
    14: Seattle over Tampa Bay
    16: Patriots over Cardinals
    3: Buffalo over Oakland
    8: Dallas over Cleveland
    12: Jets over Chargers
    9: Bengals over Team Wannstedt
    1: Eagles over Vikings


    Doubtful:

    GUYS WHO ARE GUARANTEED MAJOR INJURIES BECAUSE THEY ARE MY WEEK TWO FANTASY STARTERS:

    Marc Bulger (QB-STL)
    Edgerrin James (RB-IND)
    Corey Dillon (RB-NE)
    Muhsin Muhammed (WR-CAR)
    David Terrell (WR-CHI)
    Jason Hanson (K-DET)
    Daniel Graham (TE-NE) Pending successful free-agent signing, otherwise starter will be Desmond Clark (TE-CHI)
    Steelers (D/ST-PIT

    GUYS WHO WILL HAVE MONSTER SHOWINGS THIS WEEK BECAUSE I AM SITTING THEM:

    Onterrio Smith (RB-MIN)
    Steven Jackson (RB-STL)
    Jeff Garcia (QB-CLE)
    Roy Williams (WR-DET)
    Bears (D/ST-CHI)


    Dirty Whore Diary evolved into Just One Bite some time ago, and now contains less and less smutty prose. Strangely, I’m not disappointed. I think it’s because the — insert a word here that means “nonsexual,” an erotic-language version of “Gentile” — posts contain such riveting honesty. And this one gave me a tiny crush. Anyhow, she’s earned a place on the menu-bar thingus to your right.


    Disinterest:

    I read that a new poll shows the presidential race tightening in Illinois. This is revolting and unacceptable. We have avoided the usual tedious election-year political advertising blitz so far — God bless you, Jack Ryan — and I cannot emphasize strongly enough that the strategic disregard of our state must continue. This has been an unusually peaceful election cycle in which to watch television, for which I am more grateful than words can express. Whatever I need to do to make it stay this way, up to and including the commission of a felony, I am ready to do. Eternal vigilance is the price of not being annoyed to death.


    Diary Of A Temp contribution:

    Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
    Harry Potter Personality Quiz
    by Pirate Monkeys Inc.


    Diet:

    This is the last expected weekend of Diet Vacation before the launch of Operation Eighty Pounds: Phase Two. Stage One of Phase Two is slated for a straight run 9/20-10/22. Stage Two runs 10/25-11/20. Then, dammit, we’re in the two-month Bermuda Triangle of between-meal snacking.

    Things are going reasonably well, pants-size-wise, all things considered.

    (Okay, startlingly well. Give me a break – I’m only comfortable trumpeting my own accomplishments if they’re minor and/or invented.)

    Co-workers have begun to notice and comment, which is nice, I think, except I’m never sure of how to respond to things like “Are you losing weight?”. Rejected options:

    “Um, yeah, I think so.”
    “Yes. Thanks for checking me out!”
    “Yes, and let me tell you about it at tiresome length.”
    “I sure am, baby!” (To be accompanied by coquettish posing.)
    “A little. I guess.”

    I need an answer that doesn’t invite followup questions or comment. Tied for least favorite: “You look great” and “How are you doing it?” One isn’t something I’m capable of responding work-safely to, and the other is going to lead to a long discussion about carbs and Fats Goldberg that I’d rather not have when I’m trying right then to employ the damn methodology.

    Or maybe food-deprivation combined with the three notches my mood drops just by being at work makes me grouchy.

    S-O-F…S-O-F…S-O-F…

    Ivan

    I read yesterday that a direct hit from Hurricane Ivan could flood the below-sea-level city of New Orleans. Think “biblical proportions”. Among the more impressive concerns:

  • Flooded refineries will lose their product to the floods in the streets. Petrochemical products are generally flammable and generally float.

    Badness Potential: High

  • A direct hit from a storm surge of greater than twenty feet would drain Lake Pontchartrain – twenty-three miles across the Causeway – into the city.

    Badness Potential: Ridiculous

  • Severe flooding in bayous would flush out poisonous snakes and fire ants, the latter of which protect themselves during floods by forming giant ant-balls and floating with the flow. (Imagine having a few of those fetch up against the islanded roof you’re sitting on waiting for drainage. No, wait, don’t. You’ll never sleep again.)

    Badness Potential: Off the chart

    Furthermore, I am concerned about the city’s emergency management preparedness. Specifically, their evacuation plans. Fortunately, with Ivan still 12-14 hours off, there is time for me to dispatch a stern memo.


    To: Ray Nagin, Mayor, City of New Orleans
    CC: Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Governor, State of Louisiana
    Fr: Al
    Re: Ivan-Evacuation Priorities

    Ray-

    After witnessing all the typically biased and uninformed media coverage urging the city to help evacuate children and the elderly ahead of Ivan — as though Jesus didn’t give us hurricanes to deal with just those demographics — I felt you might need assistance reordering your priorities for the next twelve hours, evacuation-wise. The city has enough rabble. I expect the following five critical evacuations to be accomplished more or less immediately.

  • The shuckers at the Acme Oyster House. You are authorized, by my authority, to utilize any force necessary short of deadly.
  • One hundred dozen fresh beignets – half sugared, half plain – from Cafe du Monde and twenty gallons of Arnaud’s turtle soup. In the event of the city’s total destruction, there is nothing more critical than samples from which our scientists can reverse-engineer.
  • Chef Jacques Leonardi and Chef Austin Leslie from Jacques-Imo’s. Do not wait for an order of fried chicken. I appreciate the thought, but it does not travel well.
  • A senior bartender from Lafitte’s, plus the bartop. Bomb yourself a helipad as close as you like, so long as you do so north of Bourbon Street.
  • Bella Luna, in toto. I don’t care how you do it, just get it done. You’ll need to arrange for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to preserve the view.

    Keep me posted on your progress.

  • Forsooth

    I went to the Bristol Renaissance Faire Monday. This wasn’t something I’d been to before — traveling north of Gurnee Mills puts me into Speed Queen BBQ’s gravity well, from which I am nearly unable to escape — and I was looking forward to it. Here’s what I knew going in:

    1) They sell mead.

    2) People come in costume.

    Beyond that, the Ren Faire was uncharted territory.

    We pulled into the parking lot and were directed to a space at the end of a row of cars facing the main gate. We were wondering at what point we would see someone in costume. Then we parked next to a Range Rover filled with Harry Potter movie extras and piloted by what appeared to be an elderly Klingon.

    I am well-known for my general disinterest in dressing in elaborate costumery. A Halloween costume for me generally means combining clothes I already have with a jolly hat or minor prop and spending the evening enduring a lot of eye-rolling. So when I was told that people came “in costume” I was expecting more or less normally dressed people sporting novelty headgear or perhaps a person wearing a cloak over his Bucky Badger tee-shirt. I was prepared to participate in this with a paper crown, or perhaps even a jaunty green Robin Hood-style skypiece complete with feather. What the hell, right? When in Rome.

    It was immediately apparent that this was not Rome. People were appearing in outfits into which had gone more money and workmanship than goes into the average Kia. There were princesses, and kings, and faeries, and village idiots, and wizards, and knights, and people in what I suspect was the business casual of the time. I turned to my companion and said the first thing that came to mind:

    “It’s Dorkstock.”

    I don’t mean that in a nasty way, of course. I like dorks. Some of my best friends are dorks. A case could — and doubtless will — be made for my being a dork. But to be surrounded by so many *intense* dorks…it was a little odd. It was like being at a Star Trek convention or a political rally: Everyone there cared very, very deeply about something I had never really thought much about. (For reference, this is the kind of dorkage I could get into.)

    But I digress.

    We paid the entrance fee and strolled into the Faire itself. After the walk from the car, I was in need of liquid refreshment. I had been intrigued by descriptions of mead, and bought myself some. It came iced, in a very small plastic cup. (I had hoped for a large stein and a souvenir wench.) It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t strong, but swallowed fast enough provided a nice little buzz. The aftertaste is honey and Listerine.

    I, my excellent companions, and my buzz sallied forth into the meat of the Faire. After maybe ten minutes of walking around, I had come to a conclusion about the Faire: Renaming it the “Bristol Renaissance Mall” would be neither inappropriate nor unjust.

    I had been told there was shopping, and food, and shows. The proportions of these had been left to my imagination, and I had – uncynically, for those of you who think I never do anything that way – assumed that those proportions might be, say, 20-20-60 in favor of the entertainment. After all, they do charge to get in.

    Not so.

    The entertainment — all of it I saw very good — had been stuffed into the space left over after Peasant Hut Of Pizza and Ye Olde Sushi had staked their claims. I had been looking forward to roast beast and wood-oven breads and such, and I got a themed food court. I was so disappointed I could hardly finish my second ice-cream crepe with strawberries and third Michael’s Harde Ade of Lemons.

    To aid digestion, and because I was with Honey, we next went shopping. Another shock: Rustic the facades may be, but the Ren Mall stores might have a higher average price-per-sale than the Shops at Bellagio. Anytime you wish to drop three bills on a drinking cup or a full yard on a sword, holla. I can hook you up. (Ditto for custom-made hot uncomfortable ugly clothes.)

    I tempered my shock in the period manner, (more mead and some cheese fries), and had a sit for a little people-watching. Among the things I noted:

  • The only people not cadging money from visitors to the Ren Mall were the village idiots and the beggars. Irony makes me happy; everyone else was working the room for tips like a casino waitress with a coke habit.
  • Slavegirl chain mail bikinis were wrapped about three types of slavegirls: The unsuitable endomorph, the borderline underage hot-nerd, and the truly marvelous. The latter, cheerfully, were the dominant grouping.
  • I would like very much to hear the merchant’s barkers earlier in the year, when they’re hungry. On the last day, they’re phoning it in.
  • There needs to be a legal cutoff age above which you are not allowed to dress in costume unless you are, provably, a superhero. I would support a Constitutional amendment on this.

    Finally, if my experience at the Bristol Renaissance Mall can serve to teach you anything, it is this:

    If you are looking to get halfway to shitfaced in a double-time hurry, you cannot make any more valuable move than buying your chosen drink by the quart and hanging it around your neck like a bassoon.

    Bless you, D, that’s a trick that’s going to make visiting Grandma a lot easier.