Monday, March 31, 2008

If you don't know your party's extension, please say "Get Fucked" now...

...and one of our representatives will be with you shortly.


In her most recent column, Miss Manners comes through with useful advice for the harried 21st century human. Quel surprise! a reader shares this little discovery:

"A friend revealed that ... after being in a one-hour loop of voice-recognition commands for customer service of a major airline, he shouted an obscenity into the phone.

To his surprise, he was immediately connected with a supervisor, who solved his problem.

Last week, after a bout with an answering service that didn't recognize the words help, operator, live body and the like, I, too, cursed into the phone.

To my shock, the phrase worked with my health insurer..."
Wow, who knew that a timely use of expletives could get you immediate service? In my own personal experience it's more likely to get you arrested, but we're in a brave new world here, people, a world where even my skills may finally be appreciated.

As for what the two words were, I'm assuming the PhoneBot 2000 recognizes the sadly unimaginative Fuck You, but I wonder if it could also recognize the more colorful colloquies of an Al Guthrie or Ray Banks.

As I am always looking for ways to make your lives better, let's put together a list of Tourette's-like expletives we can test.

Here's one: George Bush!

And is there a combination of curses that will make my clients stop acting like dicks? I'd pay good money for that.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result."

That's a quote from Winston Churchill, a man George Bush compares himself to even though the only shot W's ever heard was the sound of Jack splashing in a glass.

Now, Hillary and W have something other than the Iraq misadventure in common. They both have bullshit on their boots.

Hillary has told the story over and over, how she had to duck and run from sniper fire in Bosnia. She tells it and laughs, dismissing the incident as just another example of her experience, the kind of pluck that makes her ready to rock "on day one."

Except, it's not true.

The first person to call her on it was Sinbad. Fucking Sinbad. You know you're in trouble when Sinbad drops a dime on your wide ass.

Hillary now says in an interview with our old friend Richard Mellon Scaife, the man who gave us Troopergate, Ann Coulter and the grand Vince Foster Murder Conspiracy, that she "misspoke" and she was "sleep-deprived" and she made a mistake, and then added "It proves I'm human, which you know, for some people, is a revelation. "

No, Hillary. If you ever uttered a genuine, untested syllable, that would be a revelation.

Hubris, deceit, condescension and arrogance. After 8 years, I think I want something different in our next Commander in Chief. But then, I've always been a dreamer.

UPDATE: Scott Bateman of Video Dog has just the right clip. It's amazing how detailed Hillary gets when she misspeaks.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wow, this feels great on my abs!

I can see why women might be interested in this chair. But does that guy really mean abs or does he have, as I suspect, a speech impediment.

Something else to keep you entertained until I can find some decent rant time.

Damn, this working for a living is tedious.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sweet Jesus, this is awful.

I mean, this is so wretched that I could not possibly let it pass by without comment.

But where to start? With the singing? With the dancing? The lyrics? Maybe the creepy green screen snafu on one woman's dress?

John McCain needs help, but I don't think this is what he had in mind.

I have to go lie down now.

Funny, they actually expect me to work for this paycheck.

Very long hours and some impossible deadlines have made me so fucking slack that I disgust myself.

Later today, if I can steal a few moments from the cubicle farm.

As Oscar Wilde said, "Work is the curse of the drinking class."

The blogging class, too, it appears.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thank the Onion...

...for making this blogging stuff as easy as point and click so I can get back to work.

But before I go, I met a novelist last night who was discouraged because she'd written four novels, sent one of them out and had it rejected.


That's right. Two times. Two friggin' times.

Can you beat that? Sure you can. I have no idea how many people passed on Beneath A Panamanian Moon before St. Martins picked it up, but it was enough to fill a freight elevator, of that I'm sure.

So share your war stories. I know you've got 'em.

Talk to me.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A look back.

Fifty-eight years ago tomorrow, a 24-year-old woman went into labor. It wasn't an easy push and sometime in the day the doctor told the father, smoking cigarettes in the waiting room (as was the custom), that it would be a while and he should go home and wait for the call.

So the father, thinking he had time, went bowling.

That's when I made my debut, and as the family story goes, my mother was in such distress that my grandfather filled the hospital hallway with his voice, his loud French working man's voice.

"Somebody better help this girl!"

I've written several times about my father, but not much about my mother, and maybe that's because we've had a much more complicated relationship.

My mother got married too young and wondered all her life what she'd missed by hitching herself to a man who worked 70 hours a week and moved the family once a year. There were long stretches of her marriage where I know she was restless and unhappy.

As a boy who adored his father, I saw her unhappiness as disloyal, a betrayal to a man we owed everything.

I'm older now, and know that things are never so simple. No one can look into another's marriage and see the truth of it. No one. Not even a son.

I got some important things from my mother. In a house with few books, she was the one who encouraged me to read. When she thought I was too young to see the James Bond films, she had no trouble with me reading the paperbacks.

She was behind my first guitar. She was the one who sang Peggy Lee in the kitchen. She was the one who loved movies.

I remember helping her feed clothes into the wringer so we could hang them on the line.

I remember chasing an escaped canary through the house with her, laughing until our dog jumped up and snagged the bird from the air. The dog was as surprised as anyone. The bird, pried from the dog's jaws, was rattled but unhurt.

I remember my mother visiting school and the girl next to me leaned in and whispered, "She looks like a movie star." And she did.

So why am I writing this? I was moved to after reading a beautiful piece about Obama's mother in the Times. It's a revealing article. You can read it here.

My mother is 82 now, and doing OK. She made it through that day 58 years ago, as did I.

So, this birthday is as much hers as it is mine. Happy birthday, Mom. I hope we have many more together.

It's Peeps Time!

Tomorrow, the Ides of March, is Peepsfest 2008 at Market Sreet Books in Chapel Hill. A full day of peep-related activities and enough peeps to give an army of dental hygienists the vapors.

Check it out here.

And thanks to the hundreds of friends who sent me the peep show pic.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Choose your path wisely.

According to the NY Times, this is Ashley Alexandra Dupre, the woman Eliot Spitzer met in the Mayfair Hotel. Being in advertising, I make no moral judgements about what Ashley has done to pay the rent and fuel her dreams.

The professions have far too much in common.

Here's a bit of bio from her MySpace page:
"When I was 17, I left home. It was my decision and I've never looked back. Left my hometown. Left a broken family. Left abuse ... I have been alone. I have abused drugs. I have been broke and homeless. But, I survived, on my own. I am here, in NY because of my music."
You can listen to her music here. You can even buy a song of hers for a lot less than $4000, but then, you don't get the lyrics and liner notes, do you?

Let's be honest here. Whatever stupid young men do, pumped full of streaming hormones, we do in the hopes of meeting a woman like Ashley.

Some men go to Wall Street, earn millions selling financial instruments secured by subprime mortgages, and get to sneak off on the sly with the Ashleys of the world without the FBI poking their noses in between the Mayfair's 400-count cotton sheets.

However, if you eschew the big bucks, go into politics and make it your life's work to hold others to high ethical standards, then Ashley is off-limits to you, my friend. W-a-a-ay off limits.

It's something to think about on a Thursday afternoon.

P.S. Then there are those of us who come to our senses, find a beautiful woman closer to home, marry her, have children, and live golden lives, tanned by the daily blessings of domestic sunshine. And we never once think of the Ashleys of the world. Not once.


A hero for our times.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mo Blues

Another cube monkey day with my head down and my ears on. Here's what's on today's shuffle:

Snooky Pryor
Otis Redding
Etta James
Shirley Brown
Josh White
Sonny Boy Williamson
Bo Carter
Sunnyland Slim
Kim Wilson
Hubert Sumlin
Slim Harpo
Willie Mabon

and more. So much more.

Play the blues, little children, play the blues.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

In the interest of fairness.

In the past year, I've made fun of Republican freaks caught with their pants down, from Ted Haggard and Larry Craig to David Vitter and that guy in Florida whose first defense against a possible mugging is to offer the mugger 20 bucks and a hummer.

But now it's a Democrat, New York governor Elliot Spitzer.

Like most people, I liked Spitzer because, unlike the Republican freaks, Spitzer went after the privileged and powerful. But like the Republicans, he couldn't keep his pants zipped.

You all know the details by now. In fact, it's all we're going to hear about for a few days, I'm sure. But there was something in NPR's coverage this morning that made me laugh. They said that part of Spitzer's time with this call girl, whose hour cost more than my first three cars combined, was spent bickering over money.

Hell, I can stay home and bicker over money.

It's a busy day today, so play nice.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Dance Party!

Working way too hard right now, but while on the outside I am a cube-dwelling copy drudge, on the inside I'm a maniac, a maniac, on the floor.

Here's who's been playing in the ballroom of my brain this afternoon. How about you?

Hammell on Trial
Jeffrey Lewis
Tom Petty
The Hot Club
Pearl Jam
Foo Fighters
Fingers Cut
The Flaming Stars
The Dead Brothers
Royal Crown Revue
Better Than Ezra
The White Stripes

Improve your sanity!

Less Talk! More Music!

Sing to me.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Planet's Asshole of the Week.

It's been a full week of contenders. From Hillary's "as far as I know" moment to the collected neocons spending 3 trillion dollars of our money just to make Iraq safe for the president of Iran.

Here, after actual moments of thought, are the nominees for Asshole of the Week.

President Bush channels his inner Ashlee Simpson. At least when he's dancing, he's not telling us about all the things we have to understand. Yes, George, we know. It's hard work.

Tom Friedman. Watch for his eloquent Suck. On. This. moment in this clip. You know, this guy's made a ton of money by being wrong about Iraq. Maybe he'll kick in a few million, just because. I once respected this guy. I must have been drunk.

The unknown asshole who shot Eve Carson. The piece of human detritus who murdered the student body president of UNC took a life of great promise. Anyone want to bet that when they catch this punk, he'll be a total waste of oxygen?

The unknown asshole who bombed a recruiting office in Times Square. Hey, pal, you want to protest war and the military, isn't it ironic you that you blow shit up to do it? Jesus, what an asshole.

But the Asshole of the Week Award goes to the Palestinians who celebrated the murder of eight divinty students this week. How much of an asshole do you have to be to dance over the shooting of innocents? Apparently, these guys know.

Happy Friday, Planeteers. May your weekend be completely devoid of people like this.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The hawks were right about Iraq.

Back when the Iraq War was just a fevered dream in the minds of great strategic thinkers like Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney, they foresaw the president being greeted in Baghdad with flowers from Iraqi children and cheers from a grateful public.

They were right. The Iraqi government rolled out the red carpet for the president last Sunday. A military band played the nations' national anthems, and officials kissed the president in a warm welcome.

What? You didn't hear about this? Oh, maybe because it wasn't our president. It was Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iran's president got the flowers from the children. He rode in an open car through Baghdad as thousands cheered. He got the smooches of friendship.
You remember Iran, right? A charter member in the Axis of Evil. Nuclear-minded mullahs with the ambition to toast your children? Remember them? Seems like Iraq loves them some Ahmadinejad.

Meanwhile, our president can't even ride in an open car in Washington.

Speaking of those great thinkers, remember when they told us that the war wouldn't cost us a penny? Really. They said it would all be covered by Iraqi oil. We would pay nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada. Bupkis. It would all be a glorious free ride.

Now, a book is out that adds up the cost of W's Big Adventure and comes up with a whopping 3 trillion dollars. I've said this before, but it deserves to be said again, I'm not good with money. When I have it I give it away. When I had no money, I bounced a few checks. But I've never bounced a check for three trillion dollars.

That's a boatload of zeros, my friend. That's a boatload of wrong.

Wonder what we could have bought with $3,000,000,000,000? Bob Herbert gives us a partial list.
"...the money spent on the war each day is enough to enroll an additional 58,000 children in Head Start for a year, or make a year of college affordable for 160,000 low-income students through Pell Grants, or pay the annual salaries of nearly 11,000 additional border patrol agents or 14,000 more police officers."
Just in case you missed it, that's for what we spend each day. But we won't get any of that now. Nope. What we will get for our 3 trillion dollars are veterans with long-term injuries, families with an empty chair at the table, broken marriages, broken hearts and a broken military.

Oh, and an Iraq that welcomes the president with a red carpet, flowers and marching bands.

Just not our president.

Man, those neocon hawks are smart. No wonder the New York Times hired Bill Kristol to write a column for their paper. Because he's smart. Real smart. And if you doubt that, just ask him.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The kid catches a break.

Molly is back on her feet, has a job she'll start on Monday and as of this morning, has a car. It's a 1995 Toyota Camry that our mechanic says is in great shape.

And so are we.

You've got to take the wins as they come.

As far as I know.

I've been a loyal Democrat for 36 years. I've worked the phones, registered voters, walked the precincts, written letters and donated money. But after last night, I'm beginning to doubt my affiliation.

I'm not a Clinton supporter. I don't think she can win a general election and I've always suspected that her political career was more about her than it is about us. Last Sunday on 60 Minutes was the moment that confirmed my worst suspicions.

When asked if she thought Obama was a muslim, she said he wasn't, "as far as I know."

As far as I know. The readers of this blog know the power of words. A lot of us make our living with words. So, "as far as I know," was calculated to leave the door open, just a sliver, and still give her deniability.

This is what we've learned from Karl Rove: In a close election, you don't have to prove charges against your opponent. All you have to do is cast doubt. "As far as I know" was meant to cast doubt. The photo was meant to cast doubt. The lapel pin and pledge flap was meant to cast doubt.

After 30 years of Milton Friedman economics and Lee Atwater politics, we need something else. What we don't need is a continuation of Rovian political gamesmanship.

But it seems to work. And if Clinton wins with these tactics, I will quit the Democratic party and I'm sure I'm not alone.

I predict that if Hillary wins the nomination, the party will fracture, McCain will win and we'll have another 4 to 8 years of disastrous foreign and economic policies.

My only hope then is that Victory gin will be cheap enough to keep away the chill.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Is there anything more beautiful...

...than the spectrum of light shooting from a peep's ass?

I don't think so.

Just 4 more days to send your Peeps Parody Album Cover to:

Peepfest 2008, Market Street Books, Letters Community Center, 610 Market St. Chapel Hill 27516.

Lone Star Court Rules Against Giant Texas Dildo.

Just a day before Valentine's Day, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, usually just to the right of Torquemada, ruled in favor of personal dildos and other doodads, and against a giant Texas dildo, Attorney General Greg Abbott. That's him up there, thinking about all manner of perversion. You can tell by the smile.

Before this ruling, dildos and vibrators were illegal in Texas, even if you promised to use them only on your shoulders and neck like the woman in the ad. But the court nixed the ban saying it infringed on Lone Star citizens' right "to engage in private intimate conduct in the home without government intrusion." In other words, get their freak on without Greg Abbott peering in between the shades.

Greg Abbott, not one to pull out early, insisted he'd petition the court to think about the curse of dildos again, and what their legality could mean to Texas. Greg insists that if Texas allowed dildos, it would surely lead to "consensual adult incest or bigamy."

That's right. If you allow rubber putzes in the bedroom, the next thing you know people are going to be sleeping with their sisters, marrying multiple sheep, voting for Democrats and who knows what all.

The horror.

Greg Abbott, Attorney General of Texas. What a giant dildo.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A great way to start the week.

How did I miss this? Apparently, there's a movement the cognescenti call sleeveface. It has everything I love in a movement. It's aggressively democratic, taunts copyright, is completely useless and totally amusing.

And it uses album covers. As you could tell from my foray into peeps parody, I love album cover art.

Check it out.

Thanks go to my old friends over at
First Draft for this. They're also aggressively democratic and immensely amusing. If you haven't visited First Draft, I hope you'll drop by.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

More peeps.

Fun with Photoshop! Yay!