Archive | June, 2009

LOL & the new English

29 Jun

After finding the picture below of a new Pepsi billboard, two things came up for me: Californication and dumbing down America.

They are linked in that the main character of the very engrossing and well-written Californication, Hank Moody, is a writer, and as a writer he has a beef with the new English that relies more on abbreviations than explications or meaning. The more text friendly the sentence, the hipper it is.

photocredit: laughingsquid.com

Hank delivers an especially poignant destruction of LOLdom in one of the show’s first season episodes. The fact that we try to make our sentences, or even paragraphs or pages, of thought into sound bites or textable morsels is definitely not a sign a progress. Please enjoy Hank’s treatise, it is a delight:

Congresswoman blames economy on gays, abortion, and Obama

29 Jun

They say you need a big head and broad shoulders to make it in politics. Maybe the head doesn’t necessarily have to contain anything.

Representative Sally Kern (OK) has finally figured out how we can get out of this economic downturn: stop gay things from happening, quit allowing abortions, and pray a lot.

She issued this proclamation from ther voter-funded desk:

WHEREAS, the people of Oklahoma have a strong tradition of reliance upon the Creator of the Universe; and

WHEREAS, we believe our economic woes are consequences of our greater national moral crisis; and

WHEREAS, this nation has become a world leader in promoting abortion, pornography, same sex marriage, sex trafficking, divorce, illegitimate births, child abuse, and many other forms of debauchery; and

WHEREAS, alarmed that the Government of the United States of America is forsaking the rich Christian heritage upon which this nation was built; and

WHEREAS, grieved that the Office of the president of these United States has refused to uphold the long held tradition of past presidents in giving recognition to our National Day of Prayer; and

WHEREAS, deeply disturbed that the Office of the president of these United States disregards the biblical admonitions to live clean and pure lives by proclaiming an entire month to an immoral behavior;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we the undersigned elected officials of the people of Oklahoma, religious leaders and citizens of the State of Oklahoma, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world, solemnly declare that the HOPE of the great State of Oklahoma and of these United States, rests upon the Principles of Religion and Morality as put forth in the HOLY BIBLE

For a good time, listen to her here. Enjoy.

Gov. Giuliani?

29 Jun

Confirming the notion that politicians need power like fish need water, former NYC Mayor and Presidential candidate (only in Florida), Rudy Giuliani (R) is “thinking about” a run for NY Guv.

This would have been unthinkable last year as he ran for the Republican nomination. Two things have changed over the course of a year: Paterson and Romney.

Gov. David Paterson (D-NY) has such dismal approval numbers that he is falling behind Rudy in polls in a heavily Democratic state. Despite coming after Spitzer, Paterson was well liked and respected. Now, he is being pushed around by the state legislature and his own party. He would be an easy target for Rudy’s vicious brand of campaigning.

Mitt Romney, the former governor of Utah with perfect hair and a Superman chin, is “exploring” a run in 2012. This means he is running in 2012, potentially against other heavy weights like Newt Gingrich and Mark Sanford Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. They are all relatively untainted in the short-term political memory of the American voter, unlike Rudy, who made such a horrible attempt at running for president that he made Fred Thompson look polished. Rudy knows 2012 could be a worse year than 2008.

So, in all, Gov. Paterson look out, here comes Rudy! Now, sir, over here, I am waiving my hand at you…over here, sir.

500 Words on: Caring about the death of Michael Jackson

25 Jun

photocredit: Alan Light

Michael Jackson’s untimely death will undoubtedly bring the usual circus that follows an incidence of this magnitude: rumors about his death, slandering his name, “secrets” revealed, homage galore, and the eventual mythologizing biopic.

The flurry surrounding celebrity deaths is puzzling to many, because, really, how often do we make this much fuss about the death of a soldier, a CEO, or even a Noble Peace Prize winner? Why do we care so much about these people?

Celebrities live a reality that some loathe and others idolize, but everyone accepts it as other-wordly. What a celebrity does today will be broadcast to millions in a few minutes. A celebrity marriage costs millions to join and then millions to separate. The birth of a celebrity offspring is celebrated and publicized like the election of a president. Celebrity feuds reach brinksmanship and coverage reserved for super powers. No one would bat an eye if the butcher across the street released a sex-tape–“Kate Beckinsale did it? But she’s such a nice girl!”

So why are people like Michael Jackson causing so much ruckus? Why are people sobbing across the globe over a man they never talked to? Why are homages paid to these people who dedicated most of their lives to selling their image and their products? Because we feel we know them.

Like an uncle or a childhood friend, we feel we knew MJ, Farrah, Ed. Their lives were broadcast ad nauseum at one point or another, every detail revealed, every sense of intimacy bestowed onto us. We knew their family, their house, their relationships. Like a close friend, they let us hear or see their art, asking us if we liked it enough to buy it. Would we come see them sing? Would we laugh at their jokes? Of course we would! We were friends.

Celebrity creates an odd bond between the celeb and the fan. They will probably never meet, but they don’t have to. They know each other as well as good friends do. They know who they are and what they like. When that is lost, when one leaves the other, the loss is personal.

An intriguing icon like Michael Jackson had a stronger bond with his fans than most celebrities. His most intimate secrets were broadcast to anyone willing to listen or ridicule. We saw him go through his astronomical peaks, and his deep, dark valleys. People talked about whether his marriage was a sham, whether he was a good father, whether he was up to shenanigans–whether he was too smart for his own good and needed help. Many of us felt he did, and we wished we could hadve help.

The loss of Michael Jackson is not just the loss of another celebrity, or even that of a transformational figure. It is the loss of a friend. Many grew up with his music and his influence on pop culture. With Michael Jackson, many lost a childhood friend. We will miss him because we knew him all too well.

Michael Jackson's First Moonwalk

25 Jun

He was a flawed human being, but a human being nonetheless. One should look at his grueling life story, not to excuse him for what he did, but to understand this troubled man.

One thing no one can dispute is that he was a tremendous showman and a musical genius. Hopefully his talent will outlast his shortcomings.

Rest in peace, King of Pop.

Blogging, Iranian style

25 Jun

Not a laughing matter, but sometimes it helps.

photocredit: Moderatorated

Bernanke, GOP's Persona Non Grata

25 Jun

It used to be that the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the Fed, was the guy all the Republicans would invite to their BBQs and country club birthday parties. Not anymore. Ben Bernanke, the former academic and current savior of the American economy, is not liked that much by the GOP. He will be grilled today for his sins.

Bernanke was the architect of Bank of America’s takeover of Merrill Lynch last year. Now, according to e-mails, memos, and rumbling across the hallways, the Republican Party wants his head for apparently betraying their dogma of small government politics. From the NYT:

A memo written by Republicans, citing e-mail and internal Fed documents that were subpoenaed from the central bank, is building a case that Mr. Bernanke was a Machiavellian autocrat who forced Bank of America to go through with a disastrous merger that it no longer wanted to complete.

Republicans are circulating newly unearthed e-mail that suggests Fed officials kept the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in the dark about its efforts to keep the merger alive by informally reassuring Kenneth D. Lewis, the chief executive of Bank of America, that the government would provide the bank with extra help if it was needed.

This is horrible news. What a betrayal! Letting all that money be used to extend the reach of the government’s arm. How treacherous! If only Henry Paulson, George Bush’s Treasure Secretary, hadn’t given hundreds of billions of TARP dollars to banks last year to do the exact same thing could the GOP be really really outraged! I wonder if Bernanke will drop this zinger during his session with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today.

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