January 30, 2007
EULOGY OF THE DAY: R.I.P. BARBARO:
Just heard the news. Feel sick. Like a time-lag kick to the stomach. So sad no longer to have the beloved underdog Uberhorse to root for. Such a glorious beast. Such a sickening feeling when he pulled up lame at the Preakness--when the most exciting 2 minutes in sports suddenly gave way to the most horrible single moment in sports. Mortality stealing the show, an unannounced longshot entry. The race itself suddenly an afterthought. And then the surprising signs of hope. The dire prognostications giving way to expressions of guarded optimism. The falling off the radar—encouraging the assumption of steady progress. And then, after almost 9 months, the sudden miscarriage of our fondest hopes. The kick to the stomach anew. The fate of the exquisite equine reminding us that most true stories don’t have happy endings. And--as it's said on "Brian's Song" by way of Ernest Hemingway-- all true stories end in death.
Really really sad. It feels less like the death of a horse than the death of innocence.
I notice that I am not alone. No one has had the heart to write the headline straight. Barbaro Dead. It’s all euphemized by “euthanized.” It’s all " Barbaro Loses Fight for Survival." Or "Barbaro's Battle to Overcome Injury Ends."
He spoke to our inner child. And we can't bring ourselves to break that little person's heart.
P.S. OF THE DAY:
For those interested, I wrote a little musical tribute to Barbaro. I think you can listen to it at:
Press the little red arrow next to "Requiem for Barbaro." It's sort of imagining one last leisurely lap around the ontological track.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"I just want to tell you, I didn't do it," Addington recalled Libby saying. "I didn't ask what the 'it' was."
So in the two most publicized special prosecutorial investigations of this generation, we've gone from "It depends what the meaning of "is" is" to "It depends what the meaning of "it" is."
Ah language! Ah epistemology! Ah humanity!
FAQs of the DAY:
Can I please speak to the manager?
Does my ass look fat?
Where is the love?
Do you want fries with that?
Can you spare some change?
Why do you have to be like that?
LFAQs of the DAY: (L is for Less).
Why is there something instead of nothing?
What to do, after the break-up of a long relationship, with the memories, the history, the untranslatable gestural language of an intimacy?
Are you always that short?
SUGGESTED BAND NAME OF THE DAY:
PEEVE OF THE DAY:
Bedside lamps that thwart rather than facilitate reading because they cast light directly downward towards their base.
NEWS ITEM OF THE DAY:
13% of Americans have not heard of Global Warming.
Wow. They must be listening to their Educaterer-in-Chief.
This news itself might be more frightening than the destruction of the ozone layer and the melting of the polar caps.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DAY:
His vaunted equanimity fell under a heavy barrage of solecisms, misnomers and malapropisms.
RHETORICAL PLAY OF THE DAY:
Finally a smart, media-friendly response to the Bush-Cheney "opposing the surge would embolden the enemy" rhetoric courtesy of Joe Biden:
"It is our failed policies that are emboldening the enemy."
The full quote was: " It's not the American people or the U.S. Congress who are emboldening the enemy," said Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., and White House hopeful in 2008. "It's the failed policy of this president — going to war without a strategy, going to war prematurely."
BRIEFLY CONSIDERED BUT HAPPILY REJECTED NICKNAME OF THE DAY:
For Gilbert Arenas--African American superstar of the Washington Wizards NBA Basketball team: The Grand Wizard.
Actually, maybe it's not so bad. Maybe it's a gesture of rhetorical defiance. Of subverting the racist oppressor by appropriating his terms. African-Americans have successfully employed whit strategy with the language used by white racists towards them (The N word), but to also appropriate the words white racists proudly use as honorifics for themselves could be interesting.
BRANDING IDEA OF THE DAY:
Starbucks new slogan should be "Give up. We've got you surrounded." Or maybe, simply: "Resistance is futile."
"IS IT JUST ME OR...?" MOMENT OF THE DAY:
Check out this ad.
Gorgeous. But hauntingly if inadvertently reminiscent of the Twin Towers going down, no? Like a performance art terrorist spectacle.
NAME OF THE DAY:
Casomir Funk. Polish biochemist who --according to Michael Pollan in his NYT Magaizine cover article on the perils of nutritionism--discovered what are now known as vitamins.
AMAZING LINGUISTIC MOMENT OF THE DAY:
I was just watching the Nets-Nuggets game and I can't be 100% certain but I think, indeed I'm pretty sure that I just heard Marv Albert utter these immortal words: "The Nets-sational Senior Dancers! Yes, come see the Nets-sational Senior Dancers!"
POLITICAL COMMENTARY OF THE DAY:
My thoughts on Bush's speech. (Full disclosure: I couldn't bring myself to watch it and have only been able to tolerate the most perfunctory skimming of the text.)
OK, seems to me, here was his thought process as he tried to get someone to write this thing for him.
"Ok, gotta remind 'em we're at war. If there's one thing that has given my administration meaning, it's always being at war. Not the war the evildoers started. The war I started in response to the evildoers. You know. With the Other evildoers. Sure it turned out they had no relation to the first evildoers. But war is war. And we are at war. And therefore you can't criticize me without endangering the country. See I am the decider and I say we are at war against the evildoers. And you can't end the war..cause then I won't be able to say "We're at war." And I like saying "We're at war." I like it a lot. Cause, you see, I like being a war time president. (Hey, much better than being a wartime soldier! Hehe) And we have to stay the course with the war I started in honor of the people who have fallen in the war I started. Cause it makes me feel imporatant, see. You see, I'm a war time president. And--like I say-- I like being a war time president. Cause it let's me just keep saying we're at war. And we have to stay at war...to honor the people who have fallen in the war. But for some reason people keep forgettting we're at war. OK, so it's very important I remind them we're at war. Cause I'm not just the Decider-in-Chief. I'm the Educatorer-in-chief. OK, now in case they don't buy this ...well... I have to think up some other stuff. Stuff to distract them from the war that I've been using to distract them from all the other things. Like some side show of domestic initiatives everyone knows I have no intention of really pursuing. And, uh, Let's see what else ya got, staff... Oh, there are some heros out there? Good, let's brainstorm a list of heros. I like heros. Who do we got? Oh yes, get that tall African basketball player. And that New York City subway savior. Good. I like saviors. And that brave woman. I like brave people....Whoo-wee!
More and more he has had recourse to this peevish, churlish spoiled prince brattiness. No Daddy. I am the decider. I get to decide if we go to war. I get to decide if we add more troops. I get to decide what I'm gonna do with this job you got for me. I get to decide what rights people have. I get to decide if the Constitution applies. I get to decide if I have to listen to you or not. I get to decide if i have to listen to the American people or not. I get to decide if I have to listen to the law or not.
I sort of regret not watching it, cause it seems like the agony of enduring that sustained exercise in intransigence, disingenuosness and maddening intellectual dishonesty would have been more than compensated for by the pleasure of seeing Jim Webb administer a brisk, manly nine minute tongue lashing to the bratty princely Prez.
PRINT MEDIA CRITIQUE OF THE DAY:
I'm usually a big fan of the New Yorker and I recognize it's a hell of a lot easier to criticize than to create. But that said, last week's issue has struck me as really uninspired...at least so far. A banal article about an ambitious football player and his utterly conventional post-gridiron career aspirations and a long article that said in essence "Sometimes doctors make mistakes diagnosing patients." So at least through the first two articles, it's "Some football players aren't total meatheads." and "Doctors aren't perfect." That's pretty much it. What was alienating about the two articles was that you somehow got the sense that the writers thought they were saying something interesting, unusual and maybe even revelatory when in fact they were just saying something pretty trite in a fairly eloquent manner.
At least that's how it seemed to me.
This week's issue, on the other hand, looks very promising.
FRAGMENT OF THE DAY:
He liked the start of her personality.
RANDOM SINGLE SENTENCE PORTRIAIT OF THE DAY:
He would give endlessly so long as he was not asked to give completely.
NOTE TO THE READERS OF THE DAY:
Caveat Lector: The following contains some sport-related material and may not be suitable for the sports-allergic or otherwise sports-averse.
VERBAL GENUFLECTION OF THE DAY: FEDERER IS BETTERER
Wow. Actually stayed up and watched the men's Australian Open finals match between Federer and Gonzalez live. It was so rivetting, I almost forgave the Aussie's for scheduling it at such an inconvenient hour.
First set was extremely close. Gonzo actually kept pressure on Federer and matched him shot for shot. In fact, he held two set points and would probably have won the set if he had challenged a call that turned out to have been mistakenly ruled in Federer's favor. After Federer dominated the tie breaker, a certain inevitability crept into the proceedings. He was, strange to say, routinely flawless. He hits pretty much all his strokes (forehand up the line, forehand cross court, backhand up the line, backhand cross court, volley, overhead, backhand overhead, half-volley, serve, second serve, lob, shots that don't have names yet etc.) as well as anyone has ever hit any of them and moves with a grace, speed and uncanny sense of anticipation that simply boggles the mind. Just to clarify: His first serve is about as good as Sampras's (not as fast, but--in its varied spin and location-- every bit as effective), his second serve is as good as Sampras's or McEnroe's, his forehand is as powerful and precise as Sampras's or, for that matter, Gonzalez's, his backhand is as precise as Rosewall's or Borg's and as powerful as Agassi's or Lendl's or Petr Korda's, his touch at net is comparable to McEnroe's and the precision and power of both his volley and his overhead are comparable to those of Sampras, his court coverage is as about as good as Nadal's or Chang's or Hewitt's (not that he's as fast, but he anticipates as well as or better than any of them and, hence, gets as good a jump on the ball as anyone I've ever seen). In short: It's just unfair.
Here's the ultimate tribute to Federer: Gonzalez looked incredibly impressive losing to him in straight sets.
Some more quick observations before going off to see the Outsider Art Fair (to be followed by the Insider Art Exhibit at MOMA):
Federer systematically exploits small advantages of position like a chess grandmaster or more accurately a super computer program designed to crush a chess grandmaster. He is inexorable. Exact. Flawless. But he somehow combines this almost mechanical perfection with remarkable grace and panache.
He is so precise and freakishly accurate that on the rare occasions that he did challenge a call (an act he hates, becuase as he says, revealingly, you look like an idiot if you're wrong), he was never wrong. In fact,. the shots he hit that were ruled out and that he challenged were all shown to be in by less than a centimeter. Cumulatively. He is not only the best tennis player in the world but arguably the best linesman too.
He says in a pregame interview "I am very very dominant" in such a matter of fact way not only can't you argue with it, but it almost sounds humble. It almost sounds like he's selling himself short. Imagine being able to say that without irony or inaccuracy! Dang. Maybe I'll have it put on a t-shirt. "I am very very dominant."
In a rare, truly human moment (one of his first since crying last year at the same ceremony), Federer tried to tell a Joke after the match. In the post-match ceremony, Federer gestured to Rosewall and said he was honored to be the first person since him to win the tournament without losing a set and asked the diminutive Aussie tennis legend to please stand up to be acknowledged. Of course he was already standing. No one realized he was trying to tell a joke. So he just said, never mind. Cyborg telling joke. Does not compute. Does not compute. Alter program.
He is clearly a more complete and beautiful player than Sampras ever was. He can simply hit winners from any angle on any shot from any position on the court. It is almost impossible to force him into a position where he has to hit a merely defensive shot. In vanquishing both Roddick and Gonzalez (formidable adversaries at the top of their games), he has gone a ways towards overcoming the most viable objection I can think of to his being crowned the greatest ever: Namely that he hasn't had to rise to the occasion of a true challenge. While it is true that no one has come forward to put consistent pressure on him and force him to have his greatness forged in the crucible of a true and sustained rivalry (as Sampras did with Agassi, Becker with Lendl, McEnroe with Connors and Borg etc.), he has risen to each local challenge that has been put before him and consistently elevated his game in the biggest matches. Yes, it would be great if a true and worthy rival came along (and Nadal or Gonzalez might yet turn out to be one), but it is not reasonable to hold him accountable for that absence. It is not as if he is playing in an era devoid of excellent players and it is not his fault that he is so clearly superior to all of them.
KNICKS NOTE OF THE DAY:
From ESPN’s Chris Sheridan:
"David Lee is such a ferocious rebounder, they'd be calling him DaWhite Howard in New York if only Isiah Thomas would let him start. I drove up to the Knicks' practice fortress this morning in an effort to better understand Thomas' reasoning on this issue, because frankly I think he's digging his own grave by continuing to bring Lee off the bench. New York dropped to a season-low eight games below .500 entering Friday night's game against Miami, and the only player on the roster playing well enough to save both of Isiah's jobs is being unnecessarily held down for no good reason, as far as I can tell.
So what is the reason, Isiah? Why isn't David Lee starting? "He's doing well right now, right?" Thomas replied. "When a guy's doing well in the place that he's at, that means he's probably in the right place. And you run the risk once you move him someplace else that he may not do as well. Right now, he seems to be doing OK, so I think I got him in the right spot."
From Digital Napkins' and Random Act of Commentary's Teddy Vegas:
That is the dumbest argument I’ve ever heard. It argues against the very notion of promotion. By Isaiah’s logic, any rookie who’s doing a great job in his bench role should stay there. Forever. So no rookie would ever develop into a starter. And hence into a star. So Michael Jordan stays a sixth or seventh man (as he was during his rookie year) for his whole career? I don’t want to always be doubting Thomas, but Isaiah be talking some straight up nonsense right there. Pure, undiluted shizazz.
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Posted on 1/30/2007
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January 24, 2007
MOTTO OF THE DAY:
You only have one life to live--and that's rounding up to the nearest whole number.
OUTRAGE OF THE DAY:
Speaking of lives to live:
25 American soldiers were killed yesterday in Iraq. That's 25 young lives wasted. Destroyed. By arrogance. Stupidity. Ideology. Incompetence. Dishonesty. Denial. And blind faith. If there were the vaguest precedent for or plausibility to the project of turning three historically warring ethnic factions into a viable and stable democratic state, one might be able to listen to the maddeningly circular "we must stay the course to honor those who have fallen" rhetoric of our leaders with something other than white hot rage. But there is not and so I can't.
ARTISTIC DYNASTY OF THE DAY:
Thomas Pynchon's niece, porn director Tristan Taormino, recently won an Adult Video Night award in the Gonzo category--"Gonzo" referring to hardcore films that do away with the flimsy pretext of a narrative (as quickly as its leading ladies get rid of the flimsy pretext of their clothing) and cut straight to the carnal chase. So within a single family, we have critically acclaimed masters of both the most complex and least complex of narrative forms.
And, no: I didn't watch the Adult Video Night awards! I read about them in the venerable (or is it venereal?) New York Post.
MEDIA MOMENTS OF THE DAY:
The Colbert-O'Reilly reciprocal visits to one another's shows.
If you were looking for the brilliant balls-of-steel subversiveness Colbert displayed at the Washington Correspondent's dinner, you might've been a bit disappointed. Indeed, the dynamic here was somewhat different. While it was largely a case of mockery masquerading as homage-- there seemed underneath it all to be an absence of real enmity. Indeed, one could detect a certain genuine affection for the "Papa Bear." Was this a case of Colbert crossing over from brave iconoclast to borderline collaborationist? Certainly, that's far too harsh a criticism--one based on a misunderstanding of the nature of the exchange. At the end of the day what those back-to-back visits constituted was nothing more than an entertaining branding exercise for the both of them. A chance to expand their audiences, boost their Q ratings and sell lots of books--as they gazed into the mocking mirror of their own deformity. A few highlights from the exchange:
O'Reilly: You owe your entire existence to me. Is it hard being you?
Colbert: It's hard being me being you.
O'Reilly: Don't you owe me tons of money?
Colbert: I would if I were imitating you. But I'm not imititating, I'm emulating. That;s an important distinction. Do you know what the difference between imitation and emulation is? If I were imitating you I'd owe you a bigt royalty check. But because I'm "emulating" you, I don't.
Colbert: Have you ever thought of going under cover as a secular liberal? (He then presents a photoshopped image of O'Reilly dressed up in leather chaps like some guy in Village People.).
Colbert: I want to bring your message of peace and love to a younger audience, people in their 50s and 60s, who don’t watch the show.
FURTHER COLBERT COMMENT OF THE DAY:
Colbert is a terrible interviewer in the traditional sense. It's way too much about him and his schtick than about his guest. (Stewart, on the other hand, actually shows some interest in his interlocutor's views and beliefs). That said, it is fascinating to try to figure out what his guests are making of him. They seem to have an ever-changing estimation of the extent to which they feel they are being mocked and the extent to which they feel they are being genuinely supported.
Sometimes it's great to see true ugliness encounter the parody of ugliness--and the way the latter can draw out the true hideousness of the former by the illusion of complicity. Sort of like Borat.
POLITICO-COMEDIC NEWS OF THE DAY:
No doubt as an overcompensation for having invited Colbert to the Washington Correspondent's Dinner last year, the White House Correspondent''s Association has decided to offer the honors this year to no less than Rich Little. As if one could possibly imagine less than Rich Little. In fairness, they tried to get someone a little more edgy and contemporary, but Henny Youngman wasn't available.
Something about Stephen Colbert giving way to Rich Little brings to mind Stephen Colbert losing out to Barry Manilow at the Emmys.
CULTURAL REFLECTION OF THE DAY:
I just heard a rap song--that was trying to be all charming and seductive...and the entire lyrical content, endlessly repeated was:
"I got me some stash
Pocket full of cash..
Just saw me a big ole ass..."
Then it was followed by a song that just kept repeated the subtle brilliant rhyme:
"Don't tease me, bitch
Strip Tease me, bitch."
This is what passes for romantic poetry today. Somewhere Yeats and Wordsworth and T.S. Eliot are turning in their graves. Not to mention Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Rogers and Hammerstein and John Lennon.
I wonder if there's a couple somewhere who hears this song and gets all sentimental. "Oh, honey, they're playing our song!"
Oh play it again. I'm getting misty.
GEOPOLITICAL STORY OF THE DAY:
"Developing Geothermal energy on a widescale basis wouldn't take a lot of money. It's not like this requires billions of dollars to accomplish," said Tester, who helped develop thermal energy technology in the 1970s.
Which is precisely why it doesn't stand a chance for now. Our president likes things that take hundreds of billions of dollars to accomplish. Or, as in the case of Victory in Iraq, that take hundreds of billions of dollars not to accomplish.
The idea of pursuing an alternative energy strategy that takes almost no money to accomplish and that would prevent us from fatal oil-driven hundred billion dollar follies is simply considered un-American.
I wish I could type the sound of gnashing teeth.
CLINICAL ASSESSMENT OF THE DAY:
His mood could have been described as morbid lugubriousness punctuated by flights of mere malaise.
EUPHEMISM FOR STUPIDITY OF THE DAY:
Let's just say she goes to bed each night with her brain really well rested.
CLASSY SPECTACLE OF THE DAY:
Donald Trump, toupee toussled, eyes puffy and face puckered like an anus, claiming "I'm not surprised Rosie (O'Donnel) said that. She's a loser. She's a totally unattractive person--both inside and outside. She's just a total loser."
SHAME OF THE DAY:
That I sullied this blog with a mention of Donald Trump.
CELEBRITY OPINION OF THE DAY:
Model Gisele Bundchen Blames Families for Anorexia.
Gisele Bundchen has entered Brazil's growing debate over anorexia, saying families are to blame — not the fashion industry.
"I never suffered this problem because I had a very strong family base," the supermodel told the local Globo newspaper on Friday. "The parents are responsible, not fashion."
ONIONESQUE (SHALLOT-LIKE) ADDITION TO CELEBRITY OPINION OF THE DAY:
In addition to blaming the families for not showing the values and support necessary for young people to avoid this unfortunate condition, she blamed parents everywhere for not giving birth to tall, preternaturally thin beauties who can eat whatever the hell they want and still be gorgeous.
"If the parents really loved their kids, they would've given them better genes with better metabolisms," explained Bundchen.
BEGRUDGING ADMIRATION OF THE DAY:
In a way I respect people who have PCs and not Macs. They’re looking to buy a computer, not a lifestyle.
SINGLE SENTENCE SAD STORY OF THE DAY:
(Or symptoms of temporal dysfunction).
All those years when he was with her, he wanted so badly to have a dream in which he kissed her with all his heart but he was never able to have that dream about her until she was with someone else.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DAY:
Dreamscapes. Displaced parallel childhoods. A little to the north, west, east or south of my town. Or perhaps not directionally displaced. But a childhood taking place in a reconfigured topography. Transformed to the verges of familiarity. To the brink of the recognizeable.
COMMENTS FROM THE READERS: (Read and learn)
Hey, man, like my favorite marxist I could never be a member of a club that would have me as a member (and they better get their hands off my member while we're at it), so I can't comment on your blog, but surely, Shirley, you know that venison, beef, and pork are all French words imported by that 1066 crowd. As the new rulers, they got to eat the good stuff while the wide-Angle-Saxons just raised it for them. Imperialism of the table, n'est pas? Lamb must come along later, same with, turkey (Incorrectly assumed to have originated in Turkey)
Your friend Rachie has two comments on your most recent blog:
1. There's nothing random about stuffonmycat.com. A cat is not a phone; no one has ever had an urge to put office supplies on their phone; everyone has the urge every day to put office supplies on their cat. (Do you have to be a Cat Person to understand?)
2. You probably meant 'bull,' not 'steer,' since steer are male bovines who are castrated and raised specifically for their beef--an intermediary category, eh?
SINGLE SENTENCE RANDOM PORTRAIT OF THE DAY:
Once he heard that life is for the living, he knew he was in trouble.
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Posted on 1/24/2007
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January 16, 2007
IMAGE OF THE DAY:
Teddy Vegas and The Truth.
(Taken outside the U.S. Airways Arena in Phoenix.)
HEADLINE OF THE DAY:
Over the last couple of days, Bush and Cheney --no longer even giving lip service to being humbled by the recent Democratic landslide in the mid-term elections--have made explicit what has hitherto been implict: They will go ahead with the "Surge" in Iraq regardless of whether America and Congress support it or not. The only truly honest and accurate headline for these developments would be: "Bush and Cheney to Nation: Fuck you."
RHETORICAL INANITY OF THE DAY:
Condi Rice saying Bush's proposed surge isn't an escalation of the war effort. When pressed for what it was if it was not in fact an escalation, she replied: An augmentation. I suppose if troops are killed during an augmentation instead of an escalation, then it isn't a death, it's merely a casualty.
METEOROLOGICAL ODDITY OF THE DAY:
Went to Phoenix. Freaking freezing. Phreezing Phoenix in beautiful Arctic Arizona. I wanted to call room service and say, "can you send up some space heater, penicillin and a trio of nurses? Thanks."
I want to have a t-shirt made up. " I went to Arizona and all I brought back was this crappy case of pneumonia."
INTERESTING AWKWARDNESS OF THE DAY:
Weird when everyone in your row of seats on a plane decides to take advantage of the aisle seat occupant's bathroom trip to make use of the toilet as well. Feels funny to all be lined up next to one another waiting for the facility--your uncomfortable proximity in your seats transposed to your uncomfortable proximity on the line. The nature of your relationship transformed by the awareness that you are going to be doing your private business on the same seat in direct succession. And that you are all standing there, trying to act natural, despite your awareness that you are all working to monitor and master your endogenously arising urethral or colonic exigencies. By the time you return to your seats together, a new intimacy and a new awkwardness have been forged.
ENTERTAINMENT PHENOMENON OF THE DAY:
Watching movies with no audio. Deprived of the environing seductions of sound, you become acutely aware of how silly and contrived motion pictures are.
FURTHER BUSH OBSERVATION OF THE DAY:
Fascinating during the "60 Minutes" interview how, instead of giving good reasons and a compelling rationale for his escalation of the war effort, Bush repeatedly talked about the importance of his giving good reasons and a compelling rationale. In addition to the inane sophistry of this rhetorical strategy, he had the infuriating audacity to describe what he was doing as "educating" America. The implicit condescension would be laughable if it weren't so maddening. He's not only the Commander-in-Chief he avered. He was the Educator-in-Chief as well. Or, I would, suggest, the Educaterer-in-Chief.
FREUDIAN ANECDOTE OF THE DAY:
A colleague told me about entering the room of his 5 year old son and being shocked to discover him standing there naked with his penis tucked back towards his behind. It was a sort of inverted "Crying Game" moment--with a pedophilic twist. Anyhow, when he asked his son about it, he said that his sister had just come into the room and he didn;t want her to see his penis so he hid it. I found it fascinating that he didn't have the fig leaf impulse. Instead of finding something to cover up his penis, he merely turned his 5 year old penis into the visual equivalent of a 5 year old vagina. Somehow the thinking was that while it was embarrassing to have his penis seen, it wouldn't be embarassing to have what appeared to be a female pudendum on display. I was going to suggest to the colleague that he tell his son that his sister is always hiding her penis from him--but I thought the better of it.
Male. Female. Presence. Absence. The visible. The invisible. Concealment. Discosure. Identity. Difference. It's all right there.
LINK OF THE DAY:
For sheer randomness, it's hard to top this one. Stuffonmycat.com. Thousands of pictures of things placed on top of peoples' cats. As a colleague suggested, what's next: Thingstotheleftofmyphone.com? I checked, and sadly, that has url has already been taken. But Thingsjusttotherightofmyphone.com is still available.
TELEVISION OBSERVATION OF THE DAY:
While in Arizona, trying to get to sleep early for my early morning work presentation I stumbled upon CSI: Miami and was struck by the rivetting creepiness of David Caruso. He's like a pervert empath. His basic attitude towards the crime victims seems to be: "I feel your pain. And I want to fondle your pain. I want to take your pain and gently, sensitively penetrate it from behind."
INDIGNITY OF THE DAY:
On the flight out to Phoenix, I was seated in front of a couple of loud, idiotic, incessant talkers. They spoke at such a high volume that for a while I thought they were with a third person who was extremely hard of hearing. Anyhow, I literally had the thought that if --heaven forbid--the plane were to go down, I would want to turn to them and have my last words on earth be: "Thank God. You're finally going to stop talking!"
FRAGMENT OF THE DAY:
So often the impulse to say, "I wish you had known me when I was alive."
POLITICAL OBSERVATION OF THE DAY:
Dems have to fight the right war at the right time and oppose the wrong war in the right ways. They are in a tough spot with regard to resisting the "surge" as the Bush junta has the first mover advantage...having set up the terms of this geopolitical military reality the same way they set up the rhetorical playing field in the 2004 election. It's gonna be really hard to deny the administration the troops they want--as their desire to avoid sending more troops into "harm's way" will be spun as their choosing to put the existing troops "in harm's way."
LINGUISTIC INQUIRY OF THE DAY:
When an animal of the cervine variety is grazing in a field, it's called a deer. But when it's on our plate, it's called venison. When an animal of the bovine variety is in nature, we call it a bull or a cow, but when it's on our plate it's beef. When an animal of the porsine persuasion is rolling around its mud waller, it's a pig. But when it's on our plate, it's called pork.
When that little feathered beast is running around its coop, we call it a chicken. But when it's on our plate, we call it...uh, chicken.
Why? Why no change in the vital versus the edible form of the flesh in this instance? There is a similar failure to distinguish with other birds (Turkey stays turkey, duck stays duck) and with fish. Is this about status? Are fish and birds seen as lower life forms than large mammals are and hence not worthy of a terminological adjustment to honor (or is it to disguise?) their transition from creature to food?
But wait: Doesn't the case of lamb undermine that theory? Even though it is a large fellow mammal, we call it lamb both on the hillside and on the grill.
AMBIGUOUS COMPLIMENT OF THE DAY:
He looked great in a gorilla suit.
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Posted on 1/16/2007
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January 11, 2007
BUSINESS NEWS OF THE DAY:
Right after introducing its dazzling new iPhone iPod, Apple Computer announced that it was changing it's name to simply Apple. In a related development, Blackberry maker Research in Motion announced that it was changing its name to simply FUCK'D.
TRUISM OF THE DAY:
Whoever said laughter is the best medicine has obviously never had a herniated disc.
AFTERTHOUGHT OF THE DAY:
I may have put that (or something like that) in the blog at some point in the recent past. If so, let me apologize and retroactively submit the Nietzchean concepts of forgetfullness and repetition as my "Themes of the Day." And let me also blame it on the Vicodin.
IRONY OF THE DAY:
Last night I was busy watching the out-of-touch, blindly steadfast, intellectually minor Queen of England as played by Helen Mirren and missed the out-of-touch, blindly steadfast, intellectually minor President of the United States as played by some confused looking guy with funny eyebrows.
That said, I must applaud Bushie's plan. Secure Bagdad!!! Brilliant! Why in the WORLD didn't someone think of that sooner??
OBSERVATION OF THE DAY:
Ultimately, the only relevant questions in psychology are: What do you want and what are you willing to give up in order to get it?
RUMINATION OF THE DAY:
I still insist on asking for a small or medium regular coffee rather than a tall or grande americana at Starbucks--the gratuitous gesture of protest by the unhappily colonized consumer. But I am beginning to suspect that it's more rebellious to use the proper Starbucks vocabulary while making the two finger quotation marks gesture. Or maybe it's most rebellious to simply use the terms themselves without comment or histrionics. Indeed, my question really is: Is conformity the new rebellion?
POLITICAL OBSERVATIONS OF THE DAY:
a) The soaring encomia for Gerald Ford were thinly veiled indictments of George Bush. A legacy of honesty, decency and humiliy versus a legacy of deception, callousness and faith-based arrogance.
b) The sordid cell phone video of the Saddam execution with the guards chanting "Moktada! Moktada! Moktada!" (for the murderous Shiite leader) ressembled nothing so much as a terrorist snuff film and delivered the brutal and sad verdict on the war: We have replaced a secular murderous tyrant with a religious murderous tyrant.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DAY:
He had an unerring instinct for calling at precisely the wrong time--"precisely the wrong time" being defined precisely as any time he happened to call.
REPRESENTATIVE ANECDOTE OF THE DAY:
Saddam and the black-masked hangmen quibbling like 4th graders in the moments before his execution. "YOU go to Hell." "No YOU got to hell!" "Mommy, he started it." "No mommy, HE started it." The juxtaposition of the most solemn and macabre and the most silly and undignified must have been something to witness. And yet, an appropriate summation of Saddam's bizarrely contradictory life (and perhaps, to some extent, of all of our bizarrely contradictory lives).
Which suggests the aphorism of the day.
APHORISM OF THE DAY:
Pettiness: The lasting human legacy.
PET PEEVES OF THE DAY:
a) It's a bad sign that my most frequent e-correspondent this week is a guy I hardly know who, during his exotic trips, sends extremely long mass mailings that are intended to romance some woman on the list of addressees. I resent both reading e-mails that clearly are not really addressed to me that put me in the position of the involuntary voyeur.
b) Witnessing the sickening viral like spread of a new business cliche "Out of Pocket." A cliche that rankles even more than the ordinary cliche for being a solecism, a linguistic abuse, a shameless semantic perversion. Indeed, "out of pocket" originally meant that you'd laid out a certain amount of money out of your own pocket in expectation of reimbursement. But now it's been misused into the corporate vernacular as meaning "I'm not around" or "I'm away"--as if normally, they worked not in an office, but a pocket. It makes one almost nostalgiac for the good old linguistic indignities of "irregardless" and "infer" (when "imply" would be the proper term).
DESCRIPTION OF THE DAY #2:
At the 40s era Salon big band benefit, there came a moment when each of the lovely young ladies who had graciously agreed to dance with the strange old man suddenly realized that that pungent aroma they were smelling was emanating from him and that they they were stuck with it for the duration of the song. You could see the moment the realization registered (oh THAT is where that acrid smell is coming from!) and the associated attempts to disguise their disgust in the interests of protecting his feelings. Like so many things, it was funny and horrible and touching all the same time.
REFLECTION OF THE DAY:
James Brown, Gerald Ford and Saddam Hussein. Another unlikely triumvarate enters eternity. One couldn't be blacker. One couldn't be whiter. And the third couldn't be crazier.
RIGHTEOUS MEDIA MOVE OF THE DAY:
The NYT publishing photos of all 3000 servicemen killed so far in Iraq--thus putting an undeniably human face on this unconscienable fiasco. And just in time for us to announce that we're sending another 21,000 troops into the fray.
BEHAVIORAL ANALYSIS OF THE DAY:
The two forms of food-dropping denial. One is the famous "five second rule", wherein you acknowledge the drop but remain in denial as to its hygienic implications. The other is dropping food in one's own residence and remaining in denial about its having happened at all. You know: Someone drops a food item in his own home, gives a brief, perfunctory glance downward, doesn't see anything and so rationalizes that maybe it didn't really happen. This second form of food dropping denial has the more troubling characterological implications.
I suspect these two commonly operative modes of food-related denial have their corrolaries in the interpersonal realm.
UNFLATTERING SELF-REVELATION OF THE DAY:
In my most bitter of moments, I want to rename my blog The Teddy Vegas Book Depository and take Lee Harvey Oswald-worthy verbal sniper shots at the passing procession of life.
NEW YEAR'S MESSAGE OF THE DAY: (VALUE MAXIMIZATION OF THE DAY)
"I just wanted to wish you a happy and healthy new year. And in case I don't speak to you during this calendar year, let me also take this occasion to wish you a very happy and healthy 2008."
RANDOM SINGLE SENTENCE PORTRAIT OF THE DAY:
He loved to invoice promptly.
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Posted on 1/11/2007
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