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Friday, October 31, 2003

WHY I HATE MY UNION
I pay over $300 a year in union dues and I’m not sure what they do with that money beyond take out ads on the subway and man phone banks during election season. OK, they also send out a full-color newsletter that reminds us for whom to vote. (Of course, there are those crappy dental and vision plans and prescription coverage, but I’m guessing it’s more efficient to have an HMO handle that -- at least they won’t tell me who to vote for.)

So I get a call last night that goes something like this:

“Scott?”

“Yes?”

“How are you?”

“I’m doing well,” I answer, “How are you?”

“Scott, I’m calling from DC37 to let you know we’re supporting Eric . . . uh . . . Jalula?” She stops. “Wait,” she adds, cupping the phone in her hand. “How do you say that?” I hear her muffled voice calling to someone in the room.

She’s asking me to vote for incumbent Council Member Eric Gioia, which is actually pronounced “Joy-a.” And I was actually planning on voting for him anyway.

“It’s Gee-oy-ee-a,” a man tells her.

“Scott?” she returns, “I’m reminding you to vote for Eric Gee-oy-ee-a for City Council -- can we count on your support?”

“Sure,” I say, not wanting to argue. It was dinnertime. I let it hang there for a second.

“Great,” she responded, adding quickly at the end that I should not vote for “3-4-5.”

By “3-4-5,” I think she meant to tell me not to support propositions 3, 4 and 5, which make changes to the city charter.

Proposition 3 proposes changing the city charter to allow for non-partisan city elections. In a non-partisan election, there are no Democrats or Republicans, just candidates. Municipalities in progressive states outside the stuffy northeast have them. The interest groups that stand to lose by instituting non-partisan elections are, obviously, political parties.

Opponents of Proposition 3 claim first and foremost non-partisan elections “threaten workers, minorities and the poor,” as DC37 explains on its website. This is because minority candidates get support from the major parties in order to run, and eliminating this avenue for support means that minorities and the poor will not be able to compete.

Of course, there is way to win an election that doesn’t involve benefiting from a single lever or paying one’s dues in party politics; it’s called campaigning, and if one is willing to energize volunteers with ideas and actually get out to meet voters, it’s not difficult to win.

DC37 is also against Proposition 3 because, as it explains, “Under the current system, New York voters know what to expect: A Conservative Party member is ultra-right wing. A Republican will generally cut taxes and eliminate vital jobs and services; there are exceptions, and DC 37 supports Republicans who prove they support public employees. And we know well that a Democrat will likely support programs for middle-class and working families, the poor and members of society most in need. No smoke. No mirrors. No guessing game. All the cards are on the table.”

Granted, it’s an easy shortcut to look for the “R” or the “D” rather than listen to what the candidate actually thinks, but this doesn’t make us more informed as voters. And as Fusion candidate Fiorello LaGuardia once said, “There is no Democratic or Republican way of cleaning the streets.”

Seeing who opposes Proposition 3 makes me want to support it even more. Fuck you, DC37. It’s times like this when I wish New York was right-to-work.

I want to look at the other propositions more closely later, perhaps on Monday I’ll write about it. For now, though, know that Proposition 4’s adjustments to procurement procedures and Proposition 5’s proposal to streamline commissions and boards is bad; all three propositions “could produce an era of more layoffs, more contracting out, and less jobs and services.” I really fucking doubt that. Thanks, DC37, for the enlightened commentary.

Oh, and did I happen to mention that 125,000 DC37 employees paying $300 a year amounts to $37.5 million?

Thursday, October 30, 2003

GENDER GENIE
I ran my post below on inmate "tobacco" through the Gender Genie. Then I put Jen's earlier post about Denmark in it as well. The results? The Genie guessed I was female and Jen was male. Hmm.
SMOKING, CONTINUED
Because they are also places of work, smoking is banned at New York City detention facilities, as well. Black Table features a nice investigative piece on the length inmates will go to replicate that taboo sensation, including a how-to guide to making cigarettes out of spinach and toilet paper: ". . . inmates have turned to common items to get their fix, crafting smokes from dried spinach, spices and even coffee grounds. And . . . prisons have cracked down, with Kansas prison officials removing spinach from the prison menu during a 1994 crackdown, trying desperately to stop the practice. In an interview with the Associated Press, explaining the change to prison menus, Sgt. Ruth Divelbiss commented, 'It smells terrible. You can't print what it smells like. When you don't have tobacco, you do what you have to do.'"
DENMARK DISPATCH
So, first the UN is officially not happy about Denmark's increasingly Draconian immigration laws. Then the Danes decide (again) that they are not happy about the EU. For that matter, the US might not be happy about the EU pretty soon. (And did you know that the female Defense Minister from Norway is angling to become the next Grand Poobah of NATO?)
What's more, the sparklingly clean and plasma-ad bedecked new Copenhagen Metro seems to be a wash. As usual, random loony behaviour runs rampant. And on top on everything else, Lego is laying people off!

Oh, and it's already winter there.

UNITED NATIONS: FLOUTING LAWS ALL OVER THE WORLD
The United Nations, chartered to "to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained," has been ignoring New York City's stringent ban on smoking in the workplace until now, which has made diplomats "fume": "At a meeting of the General Assembly's committee on budget and administration on Wednesday, several delegates questioned the legal basis for Annan to put out such an order without a vote from member states and demanded a legal ruling."

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

THE NATIONAL LABOR COMMITTEE GETS RESULTS
P. Diddy has been taken to task by the National Labor Committee, a non-profit that defends workers' rights internationally, for using Honduran sweatshop labor for his Sean John line of clothes. In their letter to him, they asked him to work with the plant to clean it up and guarantee the rights of its workers, adding, "we must state very clearly that neither the . . . workers nor we ourselves are asking for you to pull your production from the . . . factory. Quite the opposite. These women need these jobs—but they also want to be treated as human beings and not animals." Today he promised to get to the bottom of the allegations, saying "I'm giving a promise here, in front of all of you, that if there is any wrongdoing, I will discontinue my relationship with the factory."

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

THE HOKEY POKEY
Apple Computer and Timbuk 3 apologist James Lileks fisks the Hokey Pokey: "Is the turning one’s self around the Hokey Pokey? No. The turning around is clearly separate, otherwise we’d sing You do the Hokey Pokey by turning yourself around or You do the Hokey Pokey which, to be specific, consists of rotating your body either clockwise or counterclockwise or something like that. But no. The actual mechanics of the Hokey Pokey (or, as we call it here, the Unconvincingly Amateurish Lancing) are never described. Worse yet, that’s what it’s all about."
TODAY IN HISTORY
In addition to being Jen's birthday, today marks the 40th anniversary of the demolishing of the original Penn Station, which led to the establishment of landmarked sites in New York City.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
Breast cancer kills men, too. Learn more about it.
OBITS
Rod Roddy, the voice that yelled "Come on down!" on the game show Price is Right has died. Items of interest to note: he suffered from breast cancer, which apparently affects 1,500 American men each year; he had colon cancer surgery on 9/11; and he replaced Casey Kasem on the television series Soap, which is how he broke into superstardom.

Monday, October 27, 2003

MORE
More about the prerecorded voices on the new R142, R142A and R143 trains can be found here and here, and Miss 6 Train's personal website is here, but it totally sucks! If you know her and Eric's E-mail, let me know, because I want to see it!
THAT LADY ON THE 6 TRAIN
You know, the one whose voice announces the stops . . . she's always writing the Times reminding everyone that she's a real person -- she's Jessica Ettinger Gottesman, a Bloomberg radio personality (the guy on the Lexington line is also a Bloomberg announcer). First, a letter to the editor on January 18, 2002 in response to an op-ed about the recorded announcers on the new fancy train cars. Then she's boasting about it in her wedding announcement. Then again in today's Metropolitan Diary: "I'm an East Sider and I ride the 6 train almost daily. I hear that woman announcing the stops as they come, and I also hear her voice coming up into the street, in my neighborhood through the grates at the Lexington Avenue and 77th Street stop. She does sound sort of familiar and friendly. Every now and then I realize it's me, but my friends insist I sound nothing like her." I guess if I were the voice on the 6 train, I'd be bragging, too, though, so who am I to judge?

Friday, October 24, 2003

PICKING UP THE SLACK
I used to really like Dennis Miller. From Weekend Update to Dennis Miller Live, I thought he was one of the wittiest, most sardonic comics around. But now Dennis has been converted to conservatism and he's become a hard-core Bush apologist. Read this article from AEI online. When asked about John Edwards, Miller replies, "There are enough litigious people in this country. I don’t need the Commander in Chief serving papers on our enemies: “You will be deposed, Mr. Hussein!”

See, this is a really lame joke. He's arguing that it would be a bad idea for us to elect a lawyer as president. Forget that OVER HALF of all U.S. Presidents were lawyers. The line is not even funny. Dennis used to be so much wittier, but now he just seems hell bent on proving that you can't be a funny conservative. He's doing a killer job, I gotta say.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

PROGRAMMING NOTE
Unless FRANK picks up the slack while we're away, there won't be any Desk Jockey posts for the next couple of days. If our thousands of dedicated readers are dying to read something, check out the links at the Incorrect Music website. The Engrish.com site is a nice place to start.
AW, GEEZ . . .
Jen and I are traveling to Seattle tonight, where the city just received its most rain ever in a 24-hour period: 5.02 inches on Monday. And now there's flooding in Washington state.
FUGAZI, THE COTTON MATHER OF ROCK, HAS DESTROYED THE D.C. MUSIC SCENE
The Washington City Paper, in this past week's cover story, is blaming Fugazi for making D.C. "a steady diet of boring": "Let's face it: If Cotton Mather had ever gotten around to forming a post-punk band, that band would have been a lot like Fugazi: moralistic, uptight, and inordinately fond of delivering hectoring sermons from the pulpit—er, stage."
ELLIOT SMITH IS DEAD
Elliot Smith has died, an apparent suicide.
LAW FIRM JOBS SUCK
Well, mine is not that bad. This the exception to the rule, I'm afraid. My inside sources at Paul Weiss confirm that the now-infamous "Sushi Memo" is 100% real and was actually an assigned task. And this is why we go to college...

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

HEH

Robert Smigel is funny. See for yourself.
I WAS GOING TO SAY . . .
I was going to write "The Stupidest Motherfucker Ever," but I read some of the family's quotes and felt bad: "A teenage passenger trying to subway surf on a C train was killed yesterday when he hit his head on a girder, plunged to the tracks in a Chelsea tunnel and was run over by another train, transit officials said." Maybe his friends qualify as the stupidest motherfuckers ever, though, considering that they didn't let anyone know that their friend had fallen off until the next station, by which time the boy's body was run over by an E train traveling behind the C: "The students 'were just too late' in contacting subway employees, [NYC Transit spokeswoman] Ms. [Marisa] Balde said. Although it was unclear at what point Eric sustained his fatal injuries, she said transit employees could have radioed in immediately as soon as they learned someone was on the tracks, and the E train could have been stopped before it left West Fourth Street." Bonus points to the friends for appearing on the 6 o'clock local news saying that he had just been riding "between the cars" when he slipped and fell. Stupid. Fucking. Kids.
GOOD NEWS FROM NORTHERN IRELAND
The IRA is disarming, devolution will continue and elections will take place on November 26, according to the Guardian: "The prime minister's official spokesman said: 'Potentially, this could be the most significant day in Northern Ireland since the Good Friday agreement.'"

So I took it upon myself to ask Jen, our resident Northern Ireland expert (relatively speaking, of course), what these developments mean. We spoke today via E-mail.

S: But what will last [regarding these developments]?

J: It's hard to say. Basically, what you're seeing here are the republicans takes steps to disarm their critics (punny, eh?) and thus revive local self-governace through Stormont. The scandal last year was a critical point - the IRA could have decided to fuck it all and refuse to budge further without concession from the Unionists and the Unionists could have refused to negiotiate with SF on any terms as a result of their underhanding dealings. The situation is always tenuous, as the two sides have different long-term interests (to slap down the other and take control once and for all) but share similar short-term goals (peace and prosperity for the province).

S: Is this the best thing?

J: For now, yes. The only way to keep moving forward is to allow people in the province to govern themselves. Rule from Westminster is clumsy and obviously biased, and it pleases no one at the end of the day. It's not just an abstract problem of representation, because things tend to get out of wack when there's no accountability (as happens when rulers are not elected).

S: Should Northern Ireland become independent?

J: To me, it's silly. The population is too small, the institutions well-organized already, the economy too linked to the UK, etc. Devolution, though it may not satisfy the hardliners, is the best of all worlds.

S: Is this [happening] b/c of the EU?

J: I'm not sure what you're referring to exactly. If you're suggesting that nationalism per se has been dampened by the homogenization of Europe via the EU, I say maybe. Ireland and the UK are not very "European" places though, and NI certainly isn't there yet. For the most part, I'd chalk it up to general social progress there -- the ever-lessening memory of abuse in the minds of people our age and younger, a better local economy, and broader educational access. Violence and civil unrest seem silly when you're driving a Volvo and sipping lattes, no?

Monday, October 20, 2003

PERSPECTIVES
This year's Arab Human Development Report, about which Thomas Friedman wrote excitedly yesterday is being covered in some rather different ways depending on where you are.

The Arabic News online lead paragraph: "Arab states need to close a 'growing knowledge gap' by investing heavily in education and promoting open intellectual inquiry, say the authors of the second Arab Human Development Report, published by the United National Development program on October 20."

The Associated Press lede: "A group of Arab experts issued a report Monday that finds the Arab world lacking in three areas they deem fundamental to development: freedom of expression, access to knowledge and empowerment of women."

The Middle East online lede: "Arab regimes have taken advantage of the US-led 'war on terrorism' to adopt extreme security measures eroding civil and political liberties, a UN report said Monday."

And finally, the Washington Post lede, with the headline "9/11 Restrictions Harm Arab World, Report Says": "Progress in the Arab world is being hindered by the Bush administration's post-Sept. 11, 2001, tightening of visa restrictions and the U.S. government's treatment of terrorism suspects, a team of Arab intellectuals contends in a new report to be released today in Jordan."
CHINATOWN BUSES
Jen and I have wondered whether Chinatown buses drive too fast. After going to and from D.C. this weekend using one of the buses, it's a tossup. We were through the Lincoln Tunnel in three-and-a-half hours, and that was with some mild congestion on the NJ Turnpike just before the roadway splits in two. But I just checked on Mapquest, and it looks like we were pretty much within the bounds of "safe driving" -- 225.76 miles in an estimated 3 hours, 44 minutes using this route (the same one the driver took):

1: Start out going East on H ST NW toward 7TH ST NW. 0.04 miles
2: Turn LEFT onto 7TH ST NW. 0.22 miles
3: Turn RIGHT onto NEW YORK AVE NW. 4.73 miles
4: Take the exit on the left toward BALTIMORE. 0.52 miles
5: Merge onto MD-295 N. 27.03 miles
6: Merge onto HARBOR TUNNEL TRWY/ I-895 N (Portions toll). 10.41 miles
7: HARBOR TUNNEL TRWY/ I-895 N becomes I-95 N (Portions toll). 58.93 miles
8: Merge onto I-295 N toward NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE/ DEL MEM BR/ NJ-NY. 6.43 miles
9: I-295 N becomes NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE N (Portions toll). 73.03 miles
10: NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE N becomes I-95 N (Portions toll). 39.63 miles
11: Take the RT-3 exit- exit number 16E- toward LINCOLN TUNNEL. 0.60 miles
12: Merge onto I-495 E (Portions toll). 3.72 miles
13: Take the exit on the left toward 10 AVE/ POINTS NORTH/ WEST SIDE HWY. 0.09 miles
14: Stay straight to go onto DYER AVE. 0.14 miles
15: Turn RIGHT onto W 42ND ST. 0.24 miles

Total Estimated Time: 3 hours, 44 minutes
Total Distance: 225.76 miles
METROPOLITAN DIARY MAD-LIBS
Adapted from today's column:

I recently attended a [insert event] at [insert name of swanky hotel]. The [event] was preceded by a continental breakfast. I was putting some [insert international food spread] on my [insert international food] when a man sitting next to me, who was reading a [insert exotic locale]-language newspaper, asked in very broken English what the [insert simplified explanation for exotic item embedded in the international food spread] in the [international food spread] were. Thinking that he might not be familiar with the word for it, I said that it was [insert simplified explanation for international food spread]. "[Insert correct term for orange pieces in international food spread]," he said, smiling. And then, to my surprise, he said, "[insert race- and/or class-defying signifier that would belie stereotypical expectations and signal to correspondent that all New Yorkers are more cosmopolitan than one would initially suspect]?"
O'REILLY UPDATE
The NPR ombudsman says that Terry Gross was unfair to him.

Friday, October 17, 2003

THE NORTHEASTERN ESTABLISHMENT IS SLUMMING IT
And if you're not careful, I will David Brooks you over the head with insipid commentary on NASCAR infield culture: "Thousands of people mill about, from middle-aged couples clutching 'I Got Wrecked on Redneck Hill' T-shirts to florid-faced partygoers downing blackberry and lemon Jell-O shots while a band energetically plays 'Sweet Home Alabama.'"
FAIR AND BALANCED FRIDAY
The rule of threes: do three snarky posts about the President make one a card-carrying liberal? As promised, a "fair and balanced" Friday . . .
THOSE WHO FEED TERRORISTS ARE JUST AS BAD AS THE TERRORISTS THEMSELVES
President Bush, remarking on the economy and the "War on Terror" in San Bernardino, California, noted that the U.S. has "sent a message understood throughout the world: If you harbor a terrorist, if you support a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorist." Hmm . . . interesting . . . ever see what the UN's World Food Program (to which the U.S. is the leading provider of food aid) contributes to, say, Syria? Does this make the U.S. a bunch of terrorists?
"COWBOY UP"
Ever the cowboy: "Canberra had worked hard in recent years to appease Asian anger over a 1999 comment by [Australian Prime Minister John] Howard describing Australia as the United States' regional 'deputy sheriff'. . . . Bush fanned the flames further this week when asked if Washington still viewed Australia as a deputy sheriff. 'We don't see it as a deputy sheriff, we see it as a sheriff - there's a difference,' Bush said."
BUSH VISITS PHILIPPINES; HOUSES DESTROYED
Filipino officials are clearing slums in advance of President Bush's abbreviated eight-hour visit to the country: "On a recent morning, Dela Cruz and her neighbors were awoken by a government official yelling into a megaphone: 'It's your choice, but you have to go. Either you tear down your houses yourself, or we'll tear them down for you. President Bush is coming!'"

Thursday, October 16, 2003

IT HAPPENED SO FAST, THEN NEXT THING I KNEW . . .
First there's no global warming. Then you snark about Joe Wilson's wife. Then you link to the second Andrea Peyser column in a week and next thing you know, it's neo-conservative day! I'll try to be more fair and balanced tomorrow, I swear.
OUT OF MY LEAGUE TODAY
Too many links to things I'm either unqualified to write about or uninterested in, but this (the second link to an Andrea Peyser column this week, natch!) is the most Encyclopedia Brown thing I've read since, well, Encyclopedia Brown! Encyclopedia Brown in the Case of the Yellow Panties!
I'M NOT EXACTLY WELL VERSED IN THE INS AND OUTS OF THIS ISSUE
. . . but are Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson being somewhat Jerry Springer by appearing at a National Press Club function to accept a "truth-telling award"?: "Wilson was most emotional when addressing his wife's exposure. 'I'm sorry for that,' he said, looking at her and fighting back tears. 'If I could give you back your anonymity . . . I would do it in a minute.' She sat quietly, wiping away a tear, as her husband added, 'Frankly, frog-marching is too good for those who decided that their political agenda was more important than either American national security or your life.' . . . Valerie Wilson would not talk to reporters and attended the event only after receiving assurance that she would not be photographed." (I found this link at Romenesko.)
WITH ALL THE TERRIBLE NEWS OUT THERE, HERE'S SOMETHING POSITIVE
In the midst of ominous signs and terrible news everywhere, at least there's something positive: maybe global warming is not the threat the media makes it out to be. Three cheers for coal! (I found this on Arts & Letters Daily.)
PATHETIC
Although they've named the guy who RUINED THE CUBS CHANCES AT FINALLY RETURNING TO THE WORLD SERIES, this story is just pathetic. You'd think the Cubs were cursed or something. But then again, it is certainly convenient to blame it all on someone else.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

OH . . . IT WAS JUST THE CUBS
That's right -- NBC pre-empted tonight's West Wing because of Game 7.
WEST WING: SCRUBBED!
What is going on with this week's West Wing? It's not being shown! And it's been scrubbed from the episode capsules on the website! Someone look into this!!
IS IT JUST ME OR . . .
Is it just me or is the media being a little overprotective of this guy? "The Associated Press, like most local media, was holding off on naming the man . . . who deflected the ball just as Cubs outfielder Moises Alou appeared to be about to catch it for a second out in the eighth inning of Tuesday night's game. The Marlins ultimately scored eight runs that inning on their way to an 8-3 win over the Cubs, sending the series to a final seventh game tonight. . . . The man works at a consulting firm in the suburbs, and a spokeswoman there said he did not go to work today because of the incident. The father said his son was not available to talk."
FROM THE MARLINS' POINT OF VIEW
"That fan saved our season," said Luis Castillo, who hit the foul ball.
THE BIGGEST IDIOT IN THE MIDWEST
I think that if a ball came at me I'd probably run away. At the very least I know I wouldn't have jeopardized my team's chances at making the World Series. I think Chicago fans agree: "For his part, the man stayed in his seat for another inning, despite taking a large amount of verbal abuse. Several fans were ejected for trying to have a go at the man. For his protection, security guards escorted the man to the holding area during the ninth inning. Cubs security chief Mike Hill refused to give out any details about him, but did say the team gave him a new coat and led him out a different exit after the game so no one could recognize him."
THE CUBS MUST WIN . . .
The stock market needs it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

ETHAN HAWKE IS EITHER INCREDIBLY STUPID OR INCREDIBLY INSANE
He's saying that he cheated on Uma Thurman because he assumed she was carrying on with Quentin Tarantino. I'm voting for the former. Lamest. Excuse. Ever.
THEY MAY BE 40 YEARS BEHIND US IN TERMS OF SPACE TRAVEL, BUT . . .
. . . the Chinese are enjoying the best of contemporary western culture as we speak.
IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING
In case you were wondering what the New York "street" thinks of the game three dustup, it's something along the lines of this: "Even before he tossed senior citizen Don Zimmer to the ground like a rag doll, Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez acted like a psycho, threatening to launch fastballs into the heads of Yankee batters. Had he one-tenth the self-control of a preschooler, he might have felt remorse for sending an old man to the hospital. Instead, he's proud." And that, columnist Andrea Peyser writes, is bad for the children.


ASSIGNMENT
Here's an assignment for someone, but I'm not sure who wants to take it up: deconstruct this Al-Jazzeera story.
A HEADLINE WRITER'S DREAM STORY
"Justices Look at Online Porn." In case you were wondering, it's a story about the Supreme Court agreeing to hear the government's appeal of a Third Circuit ruling that portions of the Child Online Protection Act are unconstitutional.

Friday, October 10, 2003

WRITE YOUR OWN METROPOLITAN DIARY ENTRY
Use our handy fill-in-the-blanks guide (OK, OK, I cribbed from this):
"Walking along [insert Upper East Side locale here], I watched the [insert name of swanky co-op here] doorman walk to the edge of the sidewalk and turn in toward the building. No sooner did the doorman turn around when a [insert subject, e.g., dog, little child, happy proletarian] [insert cloying action]. As soon as the [subject] [action], another little [subject] [action] amid a gale of delighted giggles. They were soon joined by [insert another subject, e.g., matriarch, patriarch, benevolent employer] and walked down the sidewalk happily embarking on their errands. As I neared the doorman I [insert condescending action] at him, delighted by his antics. He looked at me and, with a very serious face and a twinkle in the eye, said, [insert class-defying witticism here]."
"COOL CITIES" UPDATE
And now we finally find out what "cool cities" means: "Cool cities are defined as places where people with talent and imagination can find work, cultural, and recreational opportunities." And it's worthwhile to note that such opportunities are more plentiful in Houston (no. 7) than New York (no. 9) or Los Angeles (no. 12).
MOVEON.ORG WANTS YOU TO FILL OUT AN AFFIDAVIT
In order to uncover who is behind the Plame leak, moveon.org has developed an online affidavit for you to send to the President to show that you're not to blame. THAT'S STILL NOT AS GOOD AS OUR IDEA!!!!.
A MODEST PROPOSAL
Why doesn't someone start a futures market to figure out who is behind the leak in the Plamegate controversy (or "Plame Game," if you prefer)? We're looking at you, Iowa Electronic Markets. Also you, Hollywood Stock Exchange. And while we're at it, when is the American Action Market going to be up and running? That site is actually nutty enough to take on this issue! This is the chance to figure this one out!
O'REILLY BEING A SUPERFREAK
The full interview is up, in case you're interested. (I wouldn't recommend it.)

Thursday, October 09, 2003

IT'S LIKE A KEG PARTY AT BOO RADLEY'S HOUSE
A former Pakistani restaurant in Lower Manhattan is now a speakeasy called "The Cell". And as the urban legend goes, the establishment's former owners vanished right after 9/11, as in "[c]ash-still-in-the-tills vanish": "Word has it they were photographing the Manhattan monument located less than a block away. To illustrate their evil intentions, the owner likes to show his guests a twin towers poster he found hanging on the downstairs wall."
"COOL CITIES"
At no. 19, Phoenix (my hometown), ranks just behind Hartford (no. 18) in the top twenty "cool cities." Huh? (This will either be explored in more detail or altogether dropped, perhaps mercifully.)
Page Six reports a "CAMEL CRISIS":

"CAFÉ St. Barts owner Leslie Nilsson hit a snag in her effort to find winter outfits for her female waitstaff. Nilsson settled on equine-themed jodphurs and riding boots, but quickly received a written counter-proposal from staffers objecting to the horsey duds: "They're too tight, too revealing, and the source of both visible panty lines and camel toe" - an unsightly affliction recently chronicled in the hit song by Fannypack. Nilsson has offered to remedy things by buying the waitresses their choice of camel toe-killing panty hose."
QUICK BYUNG-HYUN KIM UPDATE
Boston fans can breathe easier: Byung-Hyun Kim isn't even on the roster for the Yankees series.
THE BEST THING ABOUT ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER SO FAR
. . . is that he's scaring the Canadian film industry: "The election of Arnold Schwarzenegger as California's governor has sent a shiver through the Canadian film industry, which is worried the superstar and former body builder could flex his new political muscles to try to keep movie production in his home state." Protectionism! Sounds like fears about his rabid conservativism are unfounded.
CUTTING TAXES WORKS
How many times do we have to tell you?! Cutting taxes stimulates growth.
BILL O'REILLY VS. TERRY GROSS
I was only half listening to it yesterday, but Bill O'Reilly was going nuts on Terry Gross on yesterday's Fresh Air program. I anxiously await the transcript. I am told that her infamous interview with Gene Simmons, in which the KISS 4,600-women-bagged superstar openly talks about "open legs," is the only interview not archived (some guy has a transcript anyway, along with an MP3, if you're really curious), but after reading the Gene Simmons interview I can tell you that Bill O'Reilly sounded crazier! Bonus points: Indymedia goons who think Terry Gross is an O'Reilly-like warmonger.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

THE OTHER BIG TIGER STORY
More details have emerged not about the Las Vegas tiger but rather the one found in the housing project in Harlem: 1) the tiger kept in the apartment was the man's "only friend"; 2) the man is also believed to have hosted a llama in the apartment; 3) the ironic tabloid twist -- it was a kitten that blew the tiger's cover.
ANOTHER DONOVAN MCNABB STORY
And it's hard to resist this one: "Why, it's not every day a boxer enters the ring to the sound of Eminem's '8 Mile' ... mixed in with 'Hava Nagila.'" Bonus points for compiling a short list of current Jewish sports figures (Shawn Green and Gabe Kapler I think I knew, but Jay Fiedler, too?). Extra bonus points for the olfactory description of the gym: "cumulative odor of BO mixed with vomit mixed with Ben Gay mixed with stale urine."
ALRIGHT, WHO IS THE LIAM NEESON IMPERSONATOR?
Has it really come to this? Lloyd Grove reports that "those savvy folks at PM, the trendy nightclub in the Meatpacking District, were completely snookered by a Liam Neeson impersonator who showed up after midnight Saturday and wangled a $200 bottle of Jack Daniel's for himself and a pal."
LET'S NOT FORGET THE YANKEES
What are they, chopped liver? According to Britney Spears, yes. Out on the town (and, according to those silly Visa ads, against owner George Steinbrenner's express wishes), "[w]hen Giambi and Jeter tried to approach Spears and say hello, they were rudely stopped by Spears' bodyguards. 'Britney's not having any of that tonight,' one said." She must be a Twins fan.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

ONE LAST BYUNG-HYUN KIM THOUGHT
This assessment hits the nail on the head: "[m]aybe Byun-Hyung Kim rendering himself persona non grata by giving the finger to the Fenway Park crowd Saturday night was the best thing to happen to the Red Sox in this series."


NOW THIS IS WHERE IT GETS INTERESTING
And this may interest about two people in the world, but I just discovered that former Tommy Boy president Monica Lynch, known to us here as the Executive Producer of Jock Jams (and, by extension, Jock Rock and the other one whose title I can't remember), is the same Monica who is a really great DJ at the best radio station in the country, WFMU. See, there's something to that Jock Jams hunch I had today . . . Here's an interview with her if you want to learn more. Nothing about Jock Jams, of course, but it gives some insight. And finally, here's a 1993 article about Tommy Boy that is interesting in and of itself.
AND!!!!
Jock Jams Vol. One is RIAA safe!
BLAME HAL LEONARD
So this is how high school and college marching bands everywhere get on the Jock Jams tip!
IT'S JUST AS WELL
I definitely root for the guy, I guess in a Donovan McNabb kind of way, but the prospect of Byung-Hyun Kim's season being over is probably just as well. Blowing games in the World Series is one thing, but carrying the weight of a decades-long inferiority complex is entirely another. Watching him pitch for the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium in a pressure-filled situation will be the sports psychodrama of the century, and I don't know if any of us will be able to stand it. And I'm not even a Red Sox fan . . .
WHICH WAY DO WE GO?
Today's theme could go two ways now -- either meditating further on the subject of "Jock Jams" or delving into the Byung-Hyung Kim issue. Let's start with the latter.

Ingrate Byung-Hyung Kim was notably absent in the ninth inning as starter-turned-reliever Derek Lowe masterfully froze the A's batters with those nasty pitches that cut back in over the plate. As an Arizona Diamondbacks fan I know all too well what Red Sox fans meant when they said after the Hillenbrand-Kim trade that any pitcher that has problems against the Yankees can't be good. Who knew that come October we'd see the scenario actually play out? My prediction is that we won't see Kim pitch at all against the Yankees. I suppose we'll see.

Now for Jock Jams. Jock Jams was such a brilliant piece of branding that I can't even pass by Michael Jordan's Steakhouse now without having "Rock And Roll Part Two" or "Pump Up the Jam" invade my thoughts for the next two to four hours. Just look at the list of songs and you smile. It's the quintessential bombastic professional sports soundtrack. Forget any of the pansy-ass popular music of the last three decades. If I had a time capsule, Jock Jams would be the only CD in it.
WHOOMP OR WHOOT, HERE IT IS
Whether it's "whoomp" or "whoot," Bostonians were feeling it last night, following their 4-3 game 5 win over the A's. Following the lead of other municipalities that have not experienced sports success in some time, Red Sox fans resorted to the time-honored tradition of flipping over vehicles to express their euphoria. In Amherst, revelers went one further, attempting to turn over a car with its occupant still intact.

Monday, October 06, 2003

CENSORSHIP IS OVER!
In permissive Norway (!). This means you can see ultra-violent flicks like Robocop 2 and Miller's Crossing, as well as Blaxploitation films like Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold. The rest of the list is here.

Friday, October 03, 2003

7 TRAIN -- THE "INTERNATIONAL EXPRESS"
Three big John Rocker-sized cheers for the International Express, while we're at it. It's Jen's and my home train.
JOHN ROCKER'S STATS
I bet you never realized that Rocker's ERA for the last season he played in the majors (for the Rangers) was an unenviable -- although fitting -- 6.66.
AH, THE MEMORIES
The National Post has a nice roundup of sports figures' major racist, homophobic and anti-semitic gaffes. Bonus points for including this major typo in the lede: "Dumb statements costing sports figures there jobs is nothing new." I had forgotten about many of these stories. Good to catch up.
SUPPORT, OF SORTS, FOR RUSH LIMBAUGH FROM AN UNLIKELY SOURCE
And if I were him, I'd tell John Rocker not to bother. "All I will say, is people need [to] stop being so sensitive," says Rocker about the Donovan McNabb flap. Yeah, sure, he's one to talk! Rocker adds that Limbaugh knows better than to "intentionally, blatantly make a comment like that to intentionally offend somebody." Sure, John -- intentionally offend somebody like this?

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