Tom, Jerry & Neo

Wile Neo Coyote.png This morning they’re showing a series of Tom & Jerry cartoons called “The Tom & Jerry Food Fight” (aside: every time I type ‘Tom’ I type ‘Tome’ and have to backspace. When did ‘tome’ become more common for me? goddess (that bitch), what a nerd).

You know when one of them—usually Tom[e] walks the plank or goes off a cliff or what-not—and Wile E. Coyote does this a lot as well—and they don’t fall right away? Usually they don’t start falling until they realize they should be falling!

It occurred to me that the Wachowski brothers just stole Looney Toons physics and applied raining green text-cell graphics to it and zip-bang! A cultural phenomenon!

Good thing that both are Warner Brothers properties, huh?

Hummers Need Love, Too


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Is it just me, or is the bumper sticker (inset, top right) kind of saying “I’m not as bad as I appear?”

Or is it saying “Please don’t hurt me?” I can’t think of anywhere but San Francisco where Hummers are out there equivocating about themselves. I think it’s funny. I think it’s fun.

This monstrosity, measuring 86.5” external width (without mirrors) is parked out back behind my house. It’s amazing, relative to the road and the other cars, how much space it takes up. Truly.

What’s also amazing is that in overall width, it’s only 2.5” wider than my very first car, a 1973 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Convertible. It looked just like these, except it was triple-white, which means white body, white interior, white canvas convertible top. See those panels covering part of the rear wheel-wells? They’re called fender skirts. And the fabric that covers the area where the canvas top folds into is called the boot.

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Damn, I miss that car! But with fuel economy at 8/14, I don’t really miss that car, per se.

Post Hoc Ergo Bullshit

Democracy has one giant flaw. It’s an inherent flaw, not debatable. If you set up a democracy, this feature comes with it. Can’t have one without the other. Calling it a flaw is just our own interpretation of the deleterious effect of the feature.

The flaw? Scapegoatism. Someone to blame. Always gotta have someone to blame. When did the United States not have someone to blame? That’s what the Cold War was all about. Neither side wanted it to end and so it didn’t. Not until the Republicans put themselves before “king and country” and unleashed their evil overmind from the conservative thinktanks they set up in the early 1960s.

You could argue that Reagan’s timing was such; you could argue that Sarah Palin’s Bridge To Nowhere tactic was nothing more than a warmed-over version of Reagan’s “Wall to Nowhere” tactic of “Mr. Gorbachov, tear down this wall!”, when it was collapsing all on its own. But Reagan was willing to make the people of the USSR suffer, was willing to market subprime pride to the American people—and by subprime pride, I mean that American didn’t need to feel better about itself in 1980 so much as it needed to earn the right to feel better about itself— in order to get his way, in order to plot a Republican ascendancy. The health of the American state be damned.

So maybe Democracy can, after all, exist without a scapegoat?

Well, Soviets out, “Liberals” in.

I“ve heard more than one Republican say he thinks of this country’s population not in terms of conservatives and progressives but in terms of Liberals and Americans. Clearly, those Patriots have their scapegoat: Liberals.

Now, there’s a huge difference between scapegoating and paranoia. Paranoia tends to arise when you’re feeling down at heel, under attack, in an inferior position.

Scapegoating, on the other hand, tends to happen when you have the upper hand. It happens as a means of consolidating the power you have, extending the high you get from victory. It’s the first thing you do when you stop being a loser: you distance yourself from as much of your loser-context as you can, inventorying all your mistakes and albatrossing someone else with them.

In other words, Off with their Heads!

None of us is immune to this. It feels like the blacks are doing this, distancing themselves with the bottom of the totem pole by targeting gays. They hide it under religion, but even they admit to a totem pole in the first place and happily claim that they’re no longer at the bottom of it. The unspoken bit there, of course, is that someone else is.

In what feels like Ancient Times, the Republicans had the Contract Out On With America, and in 2004 Bush had his “Political Capital”. Stupid hubris that was unnecessarily glib and necessarily reckless and narcissistic.

That’s what seems to be happening now in the newly re-energized gay population.

But we just lost, you say.

Yes, the Mormons and the Catholics violated their tax-exempt statuses, and of course violated the ten commandments to get Prop 8 passed, but what they did was wake the proverbial sleeping giant.

Protests in all 50 states. Multiple protests. Everyone energized. News organizations taking notice.

People still energized. Protests still going on. Proactivity everywhere. All this energy focused and funneled.

Focused energy the likes of which haven’t been seen in a very long time—long before, well, the entire campaign. Where was this kind of energy before the fact? It wasn’t.

I’m not embittered about this and I’m not armchair quarterbacking. In fact, it’s the opposite. I’m bringing it up here because this was in fact one of the mistakes: there wasn’t enough energy generated and focused before Election Day.

I know it, we all know it. And now that we’re energized, we can do something about it. And by “it”, I don’t mean the election results, I mean the mistakes, the reasons why we lost the proposition of Prop 8.

Especially the Mistakes.

So now that we’ve got the good, good feeling of being right, of being the doing kind, of having awakened, it’s not time to look back. Looking back means facing that past where we made mistakes.

It’s far too easy to look at what went wrong and start to point fingers. It’s even easier to point fingers at institutions on exactly the same principles that institutions can destroy people: diffusing the guilt by spreading the blame (e.g., “It’s just business”).

Why is it so difficult to take our lumps and move on? On the one hand, we always move on, fast or slow, we move on. Everything does. The only constant is change. And Other Aphorisms As Well!

But in our quick-edit MTV world (or, if you’ve seen the latest Bond flick, our flash-edit, Haggis-baggage post-MTV world), you can never move on fast enough. There’s not enough time to wait for time to move you on. Point fingers, lay blame and you’re shiny-new and you“ve become so yesterday!

So look and see what’s going on. Whose fault was it that Prop 8 passed? I spent more than a week winnowing down through muck that I would rather have not gotten dirty with, feeling dirty on behalf of African Americans with respect to Prop 8, ultimately landing on the following scenario: a Californian African American walks into a voting booth and specifically knows how it will benefit him/her personally, specifically, esoterically if/when Obama is elected as POTUS and thus pulls that lever and while still in the mindset of what bounty and electorate can bring, also votes to remove an existing right for a same-sex couple to be married.

It took me days to figure out that that was the single vision-thing that was so upsetting to me. It took me another two days to realize that all the intellectual brute-forcing in the world would never gain me an understanding of what it’s like to be an African American. And contrapositively, any heterosexual African (or other) American voter out there should never have done anything but hedged on what it’s like to be a homosexual and of course ideally have left us to choose to be married or not.

Bygones.

So who are some of teh gayz blaming for life-long religious folks voting against the rights of same-sex couples? Not voters. Not them. Who? Why, gay leadership. Gay organizations. EQCA and HRC.

Yes, that’s right. It’s their fault that Prop 8 passed. Not people who are life-long Christians who voted according to the fears instilled by playing against their life-long fears and hopes by lying Mormons and Catholics and other Christians, by pastors in their churches, by these very organizations from whom they get most of their life-direction.

Noooo, it was the leaders of HRC and EQCA who ran ads that gay activists didn’t like.

So it wasn’t the fault of the gay activist who’s out their protesting and trying to fix things now, post hoc. They’re out their doing it how it was supposed to be done, offing with their headsing and all that duff.

Post hocking ergoing propter hocking.

Blaming HRC because HRC is claiming they had no money to run ads earlier in the campaign. Why didn’t HRC have funds? Because too many people thought the HRC did the wrong thing in going step by step in getting federal legislation passed instead of an all or nothing approach. And what did those too many people who disagreed with HRC do? They stopped donating to HRC!

God, I hate the fact that there are nutso’s out there making me defend HRC. Yes, they have problems. Yes, I never bought into that “fighting for our rights from the inside” argument. But let’s be honest and let’s stop trying to salve our souls and calm our consciences for not having taken to the streets and reached for our wallets before Prop 8 passed instead of carrying out a 50-state bitchfest after the fact.

And when I called out a friend of mine about HRC and about the protests, asking “And will gay masses open a joint account and gang-produce ads and stage mass media buys?” he claimed they couldn’t do any worse than HRC did.

I call bullshit.

And when I accused the whole idea of claiming as proof that HRC was flawed if HRC does die off from lack of funding being self-fulling: “The crux of it is that if you push the notion that HRC is ineffectual and dead, then people will stop donating, which makes it broke which makes it ineffectual which makes it dead.”

His response? “Then something useful will replace it.”

“Something”.

Sounds like a plan.

President Of My Reality

In FDR’s day, a fireside chat was the way to impress upon the citizenry that you were earnest and accessible. Everyone could related to a fireside back then. Hell, the word hearth still has a nearly primordial feel to it. Cozy, warm, one on one or at most a small gathering.

Of course, FDR’s fireside chats were made possible by television, and unlike today when authoring and publishing video content is a click away, generating and broadcasting video back then was a big deal.

Audio-only has always been much easier endpoint to endpoint: easier to record, store, transport, copy, broadcast, archive, playback. All these, coupled with the relatively high information density in audio (music, audiobooks, lectures, etc.), make it obvious that any form of audio-only address would be well worthwhile.

Even predating FDR’s fireside chats, Presidents of the United States have been making weekly radio addresses: radio’s been around longer than TV, of course, and it continues today. But there’s also iTunes, MP3s, Podcasts.

George W Bush’s radio addresses are available as an iTunes subscription (free). If you haven’t subscribed (not just manually downloaded) podcasts before, you really should give it a go. It’s how I watch Rachel Maddow every day: my master iTunes server subscribes to the Rachel Maddow video podcast (full episodes) and I watch it on my HDTV through my Apple TV. I can’t wait to get rid of cable.

But Barak Obama is the news of the day. Apparently when President Clinton was in office, he sent “at least one” email. Ahem. Who knows if W. ever even sent one. Or surfed the web. EVAR.

Today, Obama posted his first weekly video address.

And he did it right:

  • he’s continuing to make Change.GOV the go-to place for his administration
  • his weekly addresses will be, as I said, in video
  • he posted the video to YouTube
  • he provided the video and the transcript to change.gov
  • he’s provided a downloadable copy of the video in HD (Quicktime, MPEG-4, H.264)

They got it all right.

A President of the United States who uses Macs, who uses the Internet and who expects to video iChat with his family when he’s away from home.

A 21st century POTUS.

HGTV—In Bed

You know that old fortune cookie trick “in bed”? (in bed!)

While watching (perhaps too much) HGTV, especially the rota of designer vehicle shows like Color Splash, Myles of Style, Divine Design (love herrrrrr!), Carter Can, etc., I came to realize that the one thing they all have in common is what they call “The Reveal”.

That’s the point in the show near the end when the work is done, the transformation has happened and when the flurries of astonished reactions happen.

There has to be careful editing of reactions, if not outright staging (of home and homeowner) because not everyone can love outcomes that are not 100% in their own control: they have to live with it.

And not all the reactions come out fully-gendered, if you will: Neither ‘Oh my gosh that’s wonderful!’ nor ‘Oh my gosh those colors make my eyes bleed!’

Not right away, at least. The details of what was done don’t get filled in until later.

But 100% of the reactions are positive. At least 100% of the ones I’ve ever seen. And this is no fun, no matter how much I love the hosts. And I do, otherwise I wouldn’t watch them.

So here’s the fortune-cookie-“in bed” game for HGTV reveals: just add “you bitch!” to the end of every exclamatory and you turn praise into horror! That’s all it takes!

Let’s try it out!

  • Oh my gosh, you bitch!
  • I can’t believe what you did to my room, you bitch!
  • I hardly recognize the place, you bitch!
  • Is this even my house, you bitch!
  • I’m speechless, you bitch!
  • It’s fabulous, you bitch! (ok, this one also requires sarcasm, and a bit of eye-rolling couldn’t hurt, either)

And I’m not being sexist here. I think at this point “bitch” works fine for women and men. Especially for the shows I watch. The male designers are either gay (Hi, David!) or you wish they were (Hi, Carter!) or they’re gay and you’re glad they are (Hi, David and/or Carter!)

C’mon, don’t you wanna see David Bromstad cry? I do, a little. I mean, in a punk’d kinda way. IloveyouDavidBromstadandyoucouldtotallyhavemybabies but you’re so fabulous that you could do crestfallen in a way that would stop traffic—in a screamingly splendiferous way.

James Bond v. Paul Haggis

I went to see Quantum of Solace today. I’m not one to go to movies on opening day (yeah, I know how old that makes me sound); hell, I’m not really one to make it to most movies in theatrical release (the upcoming theatrical release of Ciao excepted, of course).

Why today?

Well, why not.

The fog lifted. The headaches suddenly furloughed themselves for the most part: can’t blame the botox nor the topamax because they haven’t had time to get started doing their respective thangs yet.

I felt like crap this morning, to the point of having to cancel a meeting I was very much looking forward to. I slept a couple of hours and woke up feeling much better.

So why did I go to see Bond? Well, I did love the last Bond movie. Daniel Craig is my favorite Bond actor (Connery is Bond Legend). But that alone wasn’t enough. No, I’d read that the new Star Trek trailer was showing before the Bond flick, and I’ve been spending far too much time in the house since I got back from Pennsylvania, so I went.

*Squee!*

The trailer was soooo totally worth it. The shocking, sudden broad view of the Enterprise being built in the shipyard, all scaffolding and partial, but enough of a skeleton there to be unmistakably the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Sure, it’s different to any other Enterprise that’s ever been, but except for the original series’ ship, they’ve all been different.

It was the Berman-era Star Trek that brought the now-familiar glowy-red and glowy-blue motif to all Federation ships, a conceit and a foolish consistency to the point that it created horrible inconsistencies everywhere else in the Star Trek universe.

So for now I’m going to cut the director a break. It’s a beautiful ship and it’s the Enterprise.

Chris Pine is impossibly beautiful, nearly as much so as Paul Newman was in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

I can’t wait.

But back to the Bond flick. I know we’ve lived in this godforsaken MTV quick-edit era for nigh on 30 years now, but the opening car chase and the later climax scene are so scary they look like seizure-tests designed by Michael Bay.

But here’s the part that truly makes me want to barf. And god bless Giancarlo Giannini for trying so bloody hard to make Paul Haggis’ lines sound like something even a Bond-world human being say, but c’mon.

The setup: It’s an overnight flight. Bond is drunk. Mathis wakes up and talks to Bond, trying to console him about Vesper’s betrayal and death (this is not a spoiler, it happened in the last Bond movie).

Mathis: Do you want to try to sleep? I have pills. Bond: Pills? Mathis: I have pills for everything. Some make you taller; some make you forget.

Some. Make. You. Taller. Some. Make. You. Forget.

They fucking pay Haggis for this awful offal.

Dear Joe “Fuck You” Scarborough



Now, I enjoy watching Morning Joe from time to time, but I never agreed with Scarborough when he went off on his sanctimonious ass about the Janet Jackson debacle calling for MTV and CBS to have to pay massive fines.

Poor widdle kiddies have to see things that they’ve probably already seen.

But today, Joe “slips up”, and we get to watch him make a mistake and then talk about how angry his wife is going to be that he said “the word” instead of just “the letter”.

As if the meaning of either isn’t the exact same thing. And both are just noises in the end.

So Joe, put up or shut up. Accumulate the damned fines you called for. And if you don’t have the money, and if NBC doesn’t have the money, then call on your right-wing friends who don’t want to hear such “filth” on the airwaves—those people surely have the money—and take the accumulated funds and donate the total amount to some worthy cause.

Or admit you’re an ideologue and shut up.

As if Joe would ever shut up.