Hypocrisy aside, I like the guy now that I've read his deeply captivating love letter emails. Finally, one of those Republicans seems to feel genuine emotion, like their distant cousins, the humans.
Who would have thought we'd ever see the head of the GOP Governor Association pen the words: "Please sleep soundly knowing that despite the best efforts of my head my heart cries out for you"? I mean, the dude quoted Corinthians -- and the Thorn Birds! Good for him.
Although when Sanford tenderly reveals that he relaxes on island idylls by curling up with Alan Greenspan's "The Age of Turbulence" and then takes a break from his romantic break to recommend it to his mistress, you remember that, Oh right, this is also the guy who took a stand against the "tyranny" of Obama's economic stimulus by refusing to accept money for poor people in his state. Maybe that's what happens when are you so in love the rest of the world just doesn't matter...
What I meant was...Holy War! Shockingly (or not, I suppose), it turns out that as the War in Iraq was unfolding, the Defense Department decided to adorn its intelligence updates with pictures of war machines overlaid with Bible verses. Ephesians, Isiah, etc. -- you know, the light stuff, like: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the
day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you
have done everything, to stand.” Speaking of bombshells, these images are all from an explosive GQ article about the legacy of Rumsfeld, which is appropriately titled And He Shall Be Judged.
Beyond the news peg of this story, which is that a German court intervened against the compound married name Frieda
Rosemarie Thalheim-Kunz-Hallstein, the article also notes that "Germany takes a highly regimented approach to naming." All children’s names
must be approved by local authorities, and "there is a reference work,
the International Handbook of Forenames, to guide them." This is what we need! So that, like our German friends, we can restore order to the proliferation of goofy names. You know the ones. I introduce a motion to have such a handbook here, and offer an ammendment such that this book can never contain the names Keenan, Arrow, Lacee, and of course, Trig, Willow, Piper, et al. All yays? Motion accepted!
Last year, my pal James Verini wrote an extensive piece in Portfolio about the problem -- and related policy hypocrisy -- that allows the entire discussion of "border protection" to be exclusively focused on the drugs coming in (along with their attending violence) while ignoring the southward trafficking in the weapons that fuel that violence. Basically, no one here has been willing to admit that the United States is arming its adversaries in the self-proclaimed drug war.
Not any more. Newly minted Homeland Security Secretary has announced that, as the New York Times put it: "what leaves the country is as much a risk to their security as what comes in." Now, there will be inspections going south. That won't stop gun nuts and gun shows from selling customized Colts like the El Presidente (to add that personalized touch your gangland assassinations). And there won't be enough resources to scrutinize. But it's a good start, as evidenced by the fact that just a few hours before Napolitano arrived at the border for photo op, an American couple going south was stopped and found to be carrying 10 grenades; $122,000 in cash; a barrel for a sniper
rifle; a cache of high-caliber ammunition; and their five year old child!
You know what I'm talking about. Not Animal House. Or Revenge of the Nerds. Or Better Off Dead. That's 101. I'm talking about Ski School. And Ski School 2:
And I'm not talking about that fake shit, Hot Dog, The Movie. This is the Ski School franchise. Starring this dude:
To see my man in action, please enjoy the Ski School trailer. So much crazy hijinks on the slopes -- and I'm not just talking about skiing with a bandana!
Diligent observers will notice that this is also Chainsaw, from Summer School, starring that other faded 80s giant, Mark Harmon. So, what is our old friend up to now? I am glad to report that Dean Cameron continues to entertain us, now with a live show he wrote and performs wherein he recounts his counter-scams of some Nigerian scammers:
While waiting to say his 4 lines each week on the ill-fated 2003 NBC
Drama Mister Sterling, Dean Cameron received email from a Nigerian
con-artist posing as the wife and son of a dead Nigerian leader. After
writing back as a sexually confused Florida millionaire, whose only
companions being his cats, houseboy and personal attorney Perry Mason,
Dean embarked upon a 9-month correspondence with the con-man.
There was a This American Life segment recently, called The Enforcers, along similar lines. The story told there was about the community of aggressive counter-scammers, centered around sites like 419eater, who bait the scammers into doing silly, and dangerous, things themselves. Chainsaw's show seems to be more about developing a fraudulent, but somehow ongoing relationship with this person who was out to defraud him. Or so I'm guessing. I haven't seen it. Just missed an LA show, alas. Guess I'll have to wait until the next local isntallment, which is on April 20th -- Hitler's birthday! (A coincidence, I'm going to guess.)
And so the world was treated to a little snicker, courtesy of erstwhile international action superstar, Jean Claude Van Damme, aka The Muscles from Brussels. As Sarah Ball at Newsweek found out, Van Damme is back. Or rather, he never left. When not playing a former New Orleans cop who just moved with his pet rabbit to Columbus, New Mexico to work for
the border patrol (The Shepard, 2007), Van Damme has been quietly collecting his thoughts to embark on the introspective magnum opus we've all been waiting for. That vilm is done and it is called JCVD. I will admit that I missed this breaking news from two weeks ago nearly altogether. Van Damme's too quick for Ol Sleepy Bearman! However, some quick rearguard research showed that "pundits" in "the media" missed the point entirely. Of interest was not Van Damme hitting on the reporter. (Ever see that dude's hair back in the day? He'll be hitting on 22-year-olds forever.) No, the real news here was the resurgent brilliance of Jean Claude Van Damme as a post-meta-recursive-hyperpersona-media mastermind, now reborn as JCVD. I haven't seen this film. And I may never see it, although it is out. The smell of genius may be too strong to get that close. Oh sure, we can let Van Damme's marketing people describe JCVD as "an action-packed, comedic satire of the life of movie hero
Jean-Claude Van Damme" wherein JCVD, playing himself, "finds himself out
of money, fighting for custody of his daughter and losing every good
action role to Steven Seagal." Or we can just let JCVD speak for himself:
Q: There's a monologue in the film about being a washed-up action star. Did you improvise that?
A: I like structure—like driving: go past the school on the street, stay on the right side, no hitting the car, go in right, you'll see a big church, stop and take a left, and you'll have it. By doing this I'm giving a structure of life, a path of light, and showing what happens between me and me, which is something very beautiful.
Q: Beautiful? Why?
A: I really opened myself up in
"JCVD." I peeled back the skin of the fruit, cut the pulp and then took
that very hard seed. In this film I cut that hard seed, and inside that
seed was a kind of liquid cream substance of the man I am...
BONUS YOUTUBE PUZZLE: Ten point to anyone who can say how many steps it took to get from there to here:
Special guest poster Ranger Rick is now with us. Here's her first post:
I have to go downstairs to watch the snow piling up in front of the midtown Manhattan office building where I work; since I sit at a cubicle and all the offices with windows have their doors shut and locked tight, the blizzard outside is largely a thing of my imagination. And since, in my imagination, the chance exists that I will be sleeping here tonight, curled up in a tiny ball beneath my desk amidst the crumbs from my morning muffins, I thought I'd take this opportunity to go rogue and post my first blah blahs here, because Josh said I could, although I'm still not sure why.
I read this editorial from young David Brooks in the NY Times today, and must confess to being a little confused about what he's saying. We've all acknowledged now that the "Freedom Speech" Bush delivered on Thursday, "Freedom" having defeated "Liberty" by the score of 27 to 15 (see below), was largely just a weird little piece of political posturing (unless we are William Safire, and then we compare it to Lincoln), but in this essay, Brooks is either saying that 1. it will, by the very nature of having escaped from Dubya's pursed little lips, change the nature of American foreign policy for years to come, or 2. because of the nature of American foreign policy, it will forever be remembered as the biggest load of horseshit in history. I can't tell, though, because sarcasm is so very hard to judge when being delivered by pasty white men in the pages of the NY Times, which side Brooks is on. I sort of want to take it as a slap in the face to the current administration (though, to be fair, that's how I want to take everything), but in some ways it could be construed as a very optimistic look at putting deeds with our words-- "walking the walk," as the Christians would say-- and how this administration and those that follow now have a unique opportunity to change the world.
Towards the end, Brooks says,
The speech does not mean that Bush will always live up to his standard. But the bias in American foreign policy will shift away from stability and toward reform. It will be harder to cozy up to Arab dictators because they can supposedly help us in the war on terror. It will be clearer that those dictators are not the antidotes to terror; they're the disease.
But honestly, can you really imagine Bush and etc. discussing how to respond to some sort of aggressive Syrian whatever, and being all like, "Dude, maybe we should get Saudi Arabia to lean on them or something before we invade!" and an undersecretary of defense slowly raising his hand and saying, "But sir! The inagural speech!" and Bush hanging his head, shaking it quickly back and forth to clear the now-verboten suggestion from the air and laughing, "Oh god. You're right. I'm such an idiot, I'm sorry"?
Yeah. Me neither. And I don't even really understand how this stuff works all that much.
The Zombie Zeitgeist A full scale movement is on the lurch. But why the best zombie movie ever made a video game?
Believer interview with Mark Allen Digital artist and awesome gallerist Mark Allen talks about Tekken Torture Tournament and other projects where people were wired to machines and did strange things in public.
Believer interview with Marjane Satrapi Enlightening Q & A with the Persian cartoonist, memoirist, quick conversationalist in which she declares: “THE WORLD IS NOT ABOUT BATMAN AND ROBIN FIGHTING THE JOKER; THINGS ARE MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT.”
Yeti Researcher Yet another 100-page issue of the world's top academic journal devoted scholarship about the Yeti, Bigfoot, Sasqatch, and other mystery primates worldwide. For researchers and lay audiences alike, the latest YR features a history of Sasquatch sightings in southern California, an update on the wily orang pendek of Sumatra, and a new look into Teddy Roosevelt's obsession with bagging a Bigfoot. As Editor-in-Chief, I promise you won't be disappointed.
Panda PowerPoint! I guess I don't mind being "the entertainment" when it's at Mark Allen's second annual Holiday Fry-B-Que. Presented: preliminary findings from my ongoing research into the most charismatic megafauna of all: Giant Pandas.
McSweeny's Presents: The World, Explained | Dec 9, 2006 For those who missed it, there will be more. World, Explained is going strong! Money was raised, laughs were had, and for those paying attention, small amounts of useful information about things like the aurora borealis were transmitted. Plus: Michael Cera = lovably funny. And Nick Diamonds' renditions of Dumb Dog and Hanging Tough are still in my head. As is that horribly catchy Fresh Step jam.
Jest Fest at Skylight Books Somehow I wound up hosting the 10th anniversary jubilee for Infinite Jest at Skylight Books. Because who doesn't love a jubilee, right? Despite being delirious with Hepatitis A (that's the mild, non-lethal kind; I'm not at risk for Hep B since I always go the needle share and choose clean-looking prostitutes), I managed to not mis-pronounce anyone's name and make an erudite joke and poke gentle fun at Michael Silverblatt.
McSweeny's Presents: The World, Explained | June 10, 2006 Number Three! Last one was sold out so we moved to a slightly larger theater. Andy Richter hosted, and his opening exegesis of CSI: Miami warmed the people up right. Evany Thomas presented her very scientific findings on the Secret Language of Sleep; Starlee Kine bared her neuroses to the world (or at least the 300 people in the audience); Josh Davis showed video of his 135-lb self sumo wrestling a 550-lb opera singer from San Bernardino; and Davy Rothbart closed it out with some Found Magazine magic. Grant Lee Phillips, Sam Shelton and Zooey Deschanel provided the music punctuation! I can still hear their rendition of We Are the Champions.
McSweeny's Presents: The World, Explained | Feb 11, 2006 The second in our series of precision comedy and fact-based entertainment extravaganzas benefiting 826LA. Patton Oswalt was kind enough to host, and Jon Brion joined in on the piano and guitar as thematic accompaniment. Presenters included: David Rees, Michael Colton, John Hodgman (along with his hirsuit troubadour, Jonathan Coulton), and me. Plus: a fashion show of exciting multi-user garmentry.
Little Gray Book Lecture at Galapagos How to Observe President's Day. Jonathan Coulton's technical wizardry has made this entire show available online. The summary from PRX: Sarah Vowell, John Hodgman and Joshuah Bearman on Presidents' Day, along with a fifteen-piece marching band and a new song about all forty-three presidents. My contribution? Yes, from Yeti Researcher. Again. Actually that was the first one. So I have only five stories!
July 25: TJ to LA -- A Night McSweeney's Readings I was honored to be part of a strange triptych along with Salvador Plascencia and Josh Kun. Sponsored, somehow, by La Ciudad magazine, we all packed into Beyond Baroque with no air conditions. 150 people showed at 7 o'clock on a Friday evening, which we took as a good sign of something. Sal held up and anxiously discussed drawings from his novel, Josh delivered an essay on the Dr. Moreau of Tijuana, and my shtick (again) was Pac Man and metaphysics, this time with fun slides.
October 8th: Skylight Books w/Stephen Elliott Fun times were had by all. Someone in the audience actually mistook me for an expert on the psychology human character. We ate shrimp cocktail and drank cheap wine and laughed at Bush and celebrated the certainty of right besting wrong in American democracy. A lot of good that did.