“Well, they don’t know their history very well, because if they think about it…it is very American to talk about secession. That’s how we came in being. Thirteen colonies seceded from the British and established a new country. So secession is a very much American principle.”—Ron Paul, equating Rick Perry’s talk of Texas seceeding from the United States because 5% of Americans got a 2% tax hike to the War of Independence, during which 100% of colonials were taxed without any role in their government. Yep, totally American. Totally.
“First of all, the Ewoks do not suck… The Ewoks are awesome. They look like teddy bears and fight like the Viet Cong. If given the choice between living among humans for the rest of my life and living among Ewoks, the choice would be it’s not even a choice. Ewoks every time. What I’m saying is that the Ewoks are better than you.”—Sean T. Collins on some random comment on Lost, via Fluxtumblr
“For this, some American version of a “Truth Commission” is probably the best solution. Many other countries would not bother. America — to be true to itself — must. This will matter in the world’s eyes. More important, it will matters to us.”—James Fallows
So, let’s see, we got what exactly out of waterboarding Khalid Shaikh Mohammed 183 times? I mean, other than some sort of perversely thuggish fratty joy? It hardly even seems interesting. Imagine if all 24 episodes of all seven seasons of 24 consisted solely of Jack Bauer waterboarding the same scumbag over and over again in some basement somewhere, never getting anything but meaningless blather, turning at the end of every hour to a glass window, behind which stands some blank cipher in a three-piece suit giving him the thumbs up. Seems more like reality to me.
Of course, this one little fact is a drop in the bucket of what’s in these goddamn torture memos. What these people have done in our name. Goddamn.
This is a pretty explosive article, and if more people knew who Jane Harman was, it’d probably be front-page news. Granted, the reporter relies solely on anonymous sources, but if this story is true, it shows just how pathetic and corrupt the Democrats were as the Bush administration steamrolled its way to infamy. The fact that the story involves Israeli intervention in Congressional leadership posts is almost beside the point, but I’m sure this alone will cause conspiracy hounds to howl.
This song is such a piece of shit. So why can’t I stop listening to it? It’s so goddamned horrible, somehow worse than the original 80s slow jam (albeit without all that shoo-bee-doo-wap shit), but there’s something about the cheesy synth drums and slow-pulsing bumping that has me breezing through this Friday afternoon.
Jesus, I think I’ve listened to it like 15 times in a row. What is wrong with me?
I think it’s the lyrics that get me. I love trying to dig Lil’ Kim out of the background, saying stupid shit like “he even got my screensaver on his iPhone” or “he a thug so I hit him on his gmail / his sense of humor got me writin L-O-L” or even better, “he wanna kiss my sexy lips / and download me on his floppy disk / Lil’ Kim is the only one on his mind / he wanna come through and put me on his hard drive.”
I mean, WHAT!?
And then there’s T-Pain, autotuned to fuckall, cheesdicking this chorus (if my transcription is correct):
Shorty I been lookin at these pictures of you (CYBER-SURFIN!) So when you gon call me (WHEN YOU’RE FLIRTIN!) When you gon come through (WHAT’S YOUR FANTASY!) All I wanna do is download When you gonna let me download? Shorty up Shorty down low When you gonna let me download?
HE SINGS CYBER-SURFIN! HOW CAN YOU NOT FUCKING LOVE THIS SONG?
“His designer’s sensibilities were shocked, he says, when, one afternoon, he opened a test version of a program called Microsoft Bob… The welcome screen showed a cartoon dog named Rover speaking in a text bubble. The message appeared in the ever-so-sedate Times New Roman font.”—WSJ on the history of Comic Sans. Holy shit! I never new that font was associated with MS Bob. That just doubles the awesome of my awesome hate for it.
“It seems like the Republicans, now centered heavily in the South, have found their issue to come back into power in the US — building up a head of steam to leave the country altogether.”—Josh Marshall
This is definitely a perspective that’s been missing from most coverage — some of the pirates are trying to stop illegal activities by ships dumping and trawling in their waters, as the collapsed government can do nothing. Written a few months ago:
As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.
Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: “Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it.” Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to “dispose” of cheaply. When I asked Mr Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: “Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention.”
At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia’s seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish stocks by overexploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m-worth of tuna, shrimp, and lobster are being stolen every year by illegal trawlers. The local fishermen are now starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: “If nothing is done, there soon won’t be much fish left in our coastal waters.”
"American movies and TV are enjoyed all over the world, in record numbers. It’s only TV pundits who still tie the American identity up with cars. When people in other countries think of America, they think of Tom Hanks and Friends, not Ford and Chrysler. MTV and CSI, not GM.
We need to help the Americans who work in the auto industry. But because they’re Americans. Not because they’re in the auto industry. There’s a difference.
When will America in general - and the media in particular — get over its snobbery? Why is a person who builds a car no one wants to buy somehow “better” or more “American” than a person who builds sets for a TV show with millions of fans worldwide? Why is a tool belt in Detroit more American than a tool belt in L.A.?”
Eric and I recently discovered a shared fascination with the slew of impossibly named NPR hosts we listen to every day: Renee Montagne, Steve Inskeep, Corey Flintoff, Korva Coleman, Kai Ryssdal, Dina Temple-Raston.
In fact, we’ve often wondered what it would be like to be one of them. A Nina Totenberg or a Renita Jablonski. A David Kestenbaum or a Lakshmi Singh. Even (on our most ambitious days) a Cherry Glaser or a Sylvia Poggioli.
So finally, after years of Fresh Air sign-off ambitions, we came up with a system for creating our own NPR Names. Here’s how it works: You take your middle initial and insert it somewhere into your first name. Then you add on the smallest foreign town you’ve ever visited.
So I’m Liarna Kassel. And Eric is Jeric Bath. I even have a new nickname for my little brother in Dylsan Rosarita.
Ian Frazier brings the Quad Cities to the New Yorker this week in a piece inspired by that advertisement about the farm boy who wants to impress the Italian supermodel by learning Italian:
LESSON 1—Beginning conversation; basic nouns and verbs. Memorize the following vocabulary: Hello! — Ciao! name — nome telephone number — numero di telefono to live — vivere Quad Cities — Città “Quad” Valentino — Valentino ag school — scuola agraria to be — essere stock-tank de-icer — macchina che toglie il ghiaccio dal serbatoio dell’abbeveratoio Fall Fashion Week — Settimana della Moda dell’Autunno
Sample sentences. Practice saying these out loud:
Hello! May I have your name and telephone number? Ciao! Potrei avere il suo nome ed il suo numero di telefono?
My name is Stan, which is a nickname for Stancil. Mi chiamo Stan, che è il diminutivo di Stancil.
I live on a farm near the Quad Cities. Vivo in una fattoria vicino alle Città “Quad.”
They are Moline, Rock Island, Davenport, and Bettendorf. Sono Moline, Rock Island, Davenport, e Bettendorf.
Not many people know what the Quad Cities are. Non molte persone sanno cosa sono le Città “Quad.”
East Moline is technically one of the Quad Cities also, but it’s usually left out, because that would make five. Tecnicamente, East Moline è una delle Città “Quad,” ma di solito si omette perché sennò sarebbero cinque.
Am I going to be the only one very bummed when they cancel Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles before Season 3? I came to this show the opposite of a fanboy — thinking it looked ridiculous at first, and not even watching until months later on Hulu, starting more than halfway through the first season. But I’m in full-bloomed addiction now.
The ending of Season 2 was a great mindfuck, full of beautiful possibility. Will I get to see what’s next?
If you haven’t watched T:SCC, it’s trippy and confusing and full of conspiracy, but you’d have guessed that. What you might not have guessed is how rock solid it nails the family drama, how much it’s about this fucked up single mom and her too-smart-for-his-own-good son, how much of the show is based upon the pressure this family must bear. Cancer, stepdads, lying girlfriends, it’s got it all.
And it walks its own line on that human/robot knife-edge that BSG usually managed to nail. But a good chunk of me prefers how Terminator makes it uncomfortable: in BSG, the robots are either can openers or else they’re indistinguishable from humans. In T:SCC, even when they look human, they’re not, and you can’t forget it. The bizarro sexual tension between John Connor and Cameron is far more fucked up than anything BSG threw at us on that front.
In BSG, it was always the doom of the human race, but it was 30,000 deaths waiting to happen. In Terminator, it’s the doom of the human race, but it’s one death, one person, representing the hopes and dreams and insecurities and frailties of humanity.
The cast is great, with Summer Glau from Firefly as the she-T, and Garret Dillahunt as Cromartie/John Henry. Dillahunt was fucking fantastic as Walcott in Deadwood, was spot-on in a few episodes of Damages, and is creepy as hell as Roman on Life, another show I love but which is about to be canned any second. Anything he’s in gets my attention.
But I’m telling you: The Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles is the real deal. Like some twisted cross between Lost and BSG, without all the God bullshit, it’s just people and machines, destroying each other, philosophically.
But I think it’s a goner. Friday nights, it’s pulling in a few million. Not enough, I guess, for a badass show about hot pants robots and family psychodrama.