Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Heroes 002: Sylar's The Illest Power-Plucker From Here To Gardenia

Nicely done, "Heroes", nicely done.

You kept things moving along just briskly enough, gave us just enough cool dynamic (Hey, you got Sylar in my Noah! You got Noah in my Sylar!) to keep us from realizing that so much of it makes no sense.

Good first. Always the good first:

1) Mohinder. Totally absent excpet for his super-annoying voice over powers. This is always good and leads to enhanced coherence.

2) Trace-nikkica. The final scene when she met with creepy fertility doctor Zimmerman ("You're the one from Beverly Hills") served the triple functions of (1) actually paying off yet another Ali Larter look-alike character AND (2) bringing back the long-abandoned subplot, first put forward in Season 1 by Linderman, that Jessikki had been genetically planned to create Michah, AND (3) suggesting the much more interesting premise that there might be more than three of them wandering around. Soon enough I'll be referring to the character as Alice-BrandMandy-ikk-essic-tracegelina-Sue. Which will not be convenient. I'll need to make a macro.

3) Sylar/Bennett. Whenever you get two of the most interesting characters together, you're going to have enjoyable scenes. "You drink decaf, right, Noah?"

4) Ando. "I'm being awesome!" Yes, you are, Ando. However briefly, yes you are.

Now for the silly.

1) Claire's Biological Mom. How did Claire's parents know about her? When did they find out about her? When why where how hooooooooo??? Blah. You see? You see? They just throw stuff at the wall and hope that previous episodes don't stick.

2) Micah is super-orphaned and sitting lonesome in the most poorly-attended funeral ever. Where is his cousin? We all done with that? What about Ohura?

3) Moment In Which We Are Supposed to Forget About Superpowers I. Bennett, to the Haitian: "I'm just keeping him around until I find his weakness. And then I kill him."

Haitian, thinking: "Dude, I negate powers and you have a gun. What are we waiting for? Let's walk in there and then bang bang bang bang."

It could have become a Doctor Evil/Scott Evil thing pretty quickly, that's all I am saying.

4) Moment In Which We Are Supposed to Forget About Superpowers II. Hiro, you travel through time. You do. That's the damn power. Now go back in time and tell your stupid self not to open the safe, which is the one very simple think your dead dad Mr. Sulu told you NOT to do. Problem? Totally solved.

Now for the purely annoying.

1) Sylar/Bennett. Look. "Heroes" writers. Fellas. You have to decide what is up with Sylar, mmmkay? He's a great psycho, and his whole thing was that he was driven to be more, that he has some pathological need to be seen as special. Hence, all the brain slicely pokey power-stealy unibrow-eyeglare-y. And yes, he's had mommy issues, but if he was confronted by Ma Patrelli and freed, he'd open her head and take her precognitive dreams. Likewise, if he were teaming with Bennett, he'd stick around just to have access to the superpowered pu-pu platter that the bank heist represented, but he'd damn sure make sure he killed Bennett and sliced open every last head like so many ripe papayas. And the Sylar we know would NEVER go willingly back into a cell after taking a power. That's just nonsense.

2) Hiro. Remember Future Hiro, with the soul patch and the leather and the ass-kicking? It is time to start evolving Hiro in that direction. This cutesy push-the-glasses-up-act-like-an-eight-year-old is really starting to wear thin. Also, his speedster nemesis has the most awkward looking run ever when slowed down by the Haitian. And she is cross-eyed (see photo, above, if you doubt me). Really bad, dull, repetitive stuff from what used to be one of the best characters. Let's let Hiro evolve, please.

3) Alice-BrandMandy-ikk-essic-traceygelina-Sue. Hey, remember when Jessica/Nikki's split personality was caused by an abusive father, and not by some form of genetic tampering? Oh well.

4) The Company. I'll save my manifesto regarding the fact that nothing about the Company makes any sense at all for a later date. But just ponder for a moment that we know that Bennett was trying to protect Claire from the company until Claire was taken by the Haitian to Ma Patrelli who was also protecting her from the company but who we know now is actually on the board of directors of the Company and then Bennett teamed up with the Haitian to bring down the company even though we know the Haitian reports to Ma Patrelli of the Company, though in that one episode he betrayed the Company by not taking Claire's memory and then warning her about the Company. Got that? Me either.

5) Parkman. Just last week I was wondering about his wife and kid. Apparently they have simply been painted over by a Brittney Spears-obsessed Sudanese gent with precognitive drawing abilities and something on his walkman that makes your soul go away (I am guessing Nickelback). If only it were that easy to paint over our memories, "Heroes" writers. If only it were that easy.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Real Cool Hand - Paul Newman RIP

Let's take a moment to consider one of the greatest actors and movie stars who ever lived.

In The Hustler, 1961

In Cool Hand Luke, 1967

In The Sting, 1973

Friday, September 26, 2008

No No No No No Nonsense

While you're waiting for the next installment of the debate between me and Riggstad, why not enjoy this argument between John Cleese and my favorite Palin?

(Of course, if you are not waiting for the next installment, then feel free to sit in the comfy chair.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Heroes 001: I Could Use A Little Lesshinder

OK, I'm taking a break from alienating my conservative readers and getting back to the basics.  

No, not poker.  TV.

"Lost" may not be back until February, but that doesn't mean that I can recap the other byzantine supernatural episodic show that I watch.   Unlike "Lost", which built upon a fabulous first season and rebounded into a mystery that deepens with every new installment, "Heroes" built upon a fabulous first season into a cheeseball explosion of silliness and missed cues, to the point that I am now watching the show as a comedy.  Honestly, the second season of that show made so little sense that I think it might have been a $700 billion bailout (Yeah, I'm still alienating some of you.  I can't help it!  I can't!).

Here goes:

The stuff I liked about the first two episodes of Season 3 of "Heroes".

1) Syler picking Claire's brain. That was the kind of stuff that we had in season one, just totally wrong type of stuff.

2) Some of the special effects.

3) Ma Patrelli. The fact that she's Sylar's mom was not bad. That's one I didn't see coming.

4) Super fast chick.

5) Scorpionface.

Here are the Big Problems:

1) Internal Inconsistency. There is seemingly no attempt from season to season to remember what went before, or why. So, we have blonde actress playing a completely different character, which I assume is tied plot-wise to Nikki/Jessica, but quite frankly I think it is possible that they cast the actress and forgot that she's already been on the show as somebody else. To illustrate this chronic problem, I give you today's episode of "This Week In Mohinder"

Mohinder: Ow!

Inky Sue: Oh my God! I'm sorry! Also, boobs!

Mohinder: I just dropped off Molly at the mumble mumble. So don't worry about her. She's going to mumble mumble and will be mumble.

Inky Sue: Great! Now you can cure me of my inky eyes!

Mohinder: NO! I AM QUITTING!

Inky Sue: What? Why?

Mohinder: Because in all my time, I haven't found one clue that would allow me to make progress in removing powers from anybody!

Inky Sue: But . . . you you you developed just such a serum! It was last season! About 3 days ago within the chronology of this show.

Mohinder: . . .

Inky Sue: It was from the blood. It was a Chanti virus extract.

Mohinder: . . .

Inky Sue: The Chani virus? Named after your sister? You developed an antibody from her blood that would take away someone's powers?

Mohinder: . . .

Inky Sue: You used it on Jessica/Nikki? You had a crisis of consious about using it on Micah's cousin?

Mohinder: . . .

Inky Sue: You were working for the Corporation, and in fact still are?

Mohinder: Grapes?

Inky Sue: I'm getting frustrated now! You get the inky eyes!!!

Mohinder: Arrgggley.

Inky Sue: [Calms herself]

Mohinder: What just happened?


Mohinder: How did it stop?

Inky Sue: I . . . just calmed myself down. Which is weird, because that was the only function that my brother served. He died about a day ago. Pretty lucky I can do it all by myself now with no explanation, huh?

Mohinder: Whatever. I just figured it out! It's in the blood!


Mohinder: I'll just use your blood to make a serum that gives people superpowers!

Inky Sue: But you wanted to take them away!

Mohinder: Whatever! [Injects himself] What could go wrong? Hey! I'm strong! And on speed! And YOU HAVE BOOOOOBS!!!! Hey why are grubs growing out of my back??

Audience: YES!! Goooooo grubs!

Join us next week on "This Day In Mohinder" when Mohinder says nothing of value!

Other examples: 

* Peter has totally stranded his Irish girlfriend in a hell future.  That's fine by itself, but the show isn't dealing with it.  At all.  We're never going to revisit this in any meaningful way, or deal with what that means for Peter's character.

*  Is Parkman's wife still pregnant?  

*  Does Parkman know that Molly has been shipped off to mumble mumble? Are he and Mohinder still living together? Are they still in love?

*  Claire said she "always loved" Peter. It did not seem platonic. Have the show creators really forgotten that Claire is Peter's neice? It's actually possible.

*  Are we just going to leave all the secret items of the secret Company from the end of Season 2 down under the basement there? That's the plan is it?

It's not that these things are not being dealt with. They are just forgotten. Major motivations. Major plot devices. Blazzle-poof. Gone. Never mind.  Also, if Claire can't ever be killed, then the whole Sylar stalks her thing from Season 1 means nothing in retrospect.  Total defusion of tension  On that subject . . .

2) Total Defusion of Tension.  Some of these people are so powerful that they either kill the dramatic tension or make the tension seem contrived.

a) Claire. Claire's blood can bring anybody back from the dead. So, death no longer means anything at all. Ned Ryerson the Goldboy is dead? Not for long. Nathan is dead? Nah. The whole world dies? Just whup up a Claire's Blood Milkshake.

b) Peter. Let's see, you can change your appearance, stop time, time travel, teleport, fly, invulnerable, lightning hands, prophetic dreams, invisible, a whole happy meal of other powers. You want to stop your brother from saying something.  Just shooting him in the chest with a gun is your best answer? Truly?

c) Hiro. Same deal. Also, when did he get functionally retarded? Just open the safe you were told not to open, and, once opened, putting it back in the safe is not an option.

3) Stereotype. Parkman has found his own Magic Negro. How swell for him. This isn't going to be painfully sucky.

And can I just sing a brief ode to the dumbness of Matt Parkman?  He realizes that Peter is the most powerful person in the world, suspects him of foul play, and then just confronts him about it.  Alone.  In a closet.

Enjoy your desert, Matt.

4) Repetition. The "future we must prevent" storyline was fun the first time. But come on, there have to be other stories to tell. We're just going to keep running through the same fun thing over and over and over until it tastes like truck struck weasel? Who's running the show? M. Night Shamalyan?

Oh, and in this week's episode, we learn that Peter just basically stranded Claire and everybody else in a hellish future that no longer exists. I guess that's a new hobby of his. Fun.

5) Overacting. My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

6) Repetition. The "future we must prevent" storyline was fun the first time. But come on, there have to be other stories to tell. We're just going to keep running through the same fun thing over and over and over until it tastes like truck struck weasel? Who's running the show? M. Night Shamalyan?

Oh, and Peter just basically stranded Claire and everybody else in a future that no longer exists. I guess that's a new hobby of his. Fun.

In short, Season 3 is (so far) a bit better than Season 2. But who would you brag to about that?

Monday, September 22, 2008


In 1998, I was working in Indianapolis with my buddy and room-mate Ben. It was a paying gig, that's all that needs to be said. Databases were filled with stuff that I doubt anybody has read to this day (the company went belly-up in the dot-com bust and is now defunctified enough to make George Clinton proud).

We were at a bar down in the Broad Ripple area watching a swing band (the Swing Rays) do their swing thing, and it occurred to me that I was watching some people who were good at what they did do what they were good at for a living. An inspiring sight, if you've ever seen it. If you'd like to see such a sight, a Detroit Lions game is not the place to start.

In any event, the Swing Rays seemed to be having a fine time, making the hep cats and chill kittens whirl and spin, and I was struck by the fact that, for all my talk about fancying myself a writer, and for all my buddy Ben's talk about the same, neither of us had taken any steps to become the writing equivalent of the Swing Rays.

The next morning, on my way out the door (we worked different shifts) I told Ben that he needed to look at my computer. I'd left something for him. Five sentences.

"It's a fiction jam," I said. "You go up, choose one of the sentences, discard the rest, and write a page based on your choice. Write whatever comes into your brain. Then I'll write based on what you wrote. Then you. We'll see how long we can keep the jam going, and we'll see which one of us is Trey and which one of us is Mike."

It is 2008. The jam is still going.

Ben chose the sentence about the man who woke up to discover that he'd become a pair of sandals (I think it was a riff on Kafka). I have no idea what novel I'd be writing if he chose one of the other sentences. I wonder what they were, and where they went. Would they know my name, if I saw them in heaven?

We jammed for about 5 pages, and then it fizzled, or so I thought at the time. That original file died with my old computer. Po too wheet?

A year later I was married and Ben was in Los Angeles delivering pizzas. He called me out of the blue and told me he had something for me. It came about a week later, a series of pages clearly modeled on our forgotten 5-page noodle.

I liked what I read, but it made no sense. It was all urgency, no explanation. All question, no answer. All drive, no shaft. All Kool, no Aide. You see?

I did something different, which proved to be the difference. I didn't take what he had written and write after those pages. I wrote around the pages. I filled in little details. I deepened relationships. I took suggestions from dialogue and made them literal. In other words, I took the idea and I played with it, to see what would happen. A true fiction jam. I sent it back.

And that's how it went, until we had forty pages of crazy snarl with my attempt to organize it. At that point, we did the only thing we could do. We went to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We went to Dollywood. And there, among the porcelain Elvises (Elvi?), we talked about the book for hours and hours and hours and came away with . . . something. Some central ideas. Some forms to build on.

I wrote. Ben wrote. I wrote some more. And some more. And some more. Finally, I stopped, too. I didn't know where to go with it anymore. And Ben was in Ukraine.

The DNA of that forty pages remains. I mentioned earlier that I'd figured out the plot. Now I've structured that plot into story form. The order in which the details, the secrets, the revelations, become clear to the reader. That germ of an idea, which Ben thinks he chose at random (and maybe he even did), is now 89 separate parts, with 29 parts already written or partially written. Almost all the principal writing will be my work, but there is no way to not give Ben an author's credit. And it's only right, anyway. When you get down to the nubs, the big idea is that the universe is a piece of collabarative art.

You may have noticed I'm back at the tables from time to time. You'll see me around as long as I keep on target like my name was Luke Skywalker.

I'm targeting 2009 to complete my first novel worth publishing.

It's called Subject to Infinite Change.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Talk Like A Pirate Day

Here goes:

"We would like to thank our customers for their patience, loyalty and support, as well as for their understanding that we are doing everything we can to correct this situation. The staff and management of UltimateBet are fully committed to providing a safe and secure environment for our players, and we want to assure customers of our unwavering resolve to monitor site security with every resource at our disposal."

What? What? Did I do it wrong??

Arrrrr . . . .

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Vote Goat 2008: The Debate 001

Since throwing my hat into the ring, I have received your support, some praise, and some jeers. It's been quite a ride. But there is one thing bothering me.

NO DONATIONS. Come on, people! These presidential bids don't fund themselves.

I've also been talking to many of you, and some of you have come to realize that I am a hopeless hippy-drippy with slush for brains who is almost certainly voting for B. Rock Obama.

None of you whom I have talked to have disagreed with me more often, or more hilariously, than Riggstad.

I made a lemur image for Riggstad. He's a good fella. And being able to disagree with one another without being disagreeable inspired both of us.

Why not debate?

So the ground rules are simple.

1) Each of us prepares five questions. The questioned party gives their considered answer. After this, the asker is allowed a rebuttal. Finally, the questioned party gives a final answer.

2) We must at all times try to be very partisan.

3) We must at all times try to be funny.

4) "Nuh-uh" and "Yuh-huh" are appropriate rebuttals. (Also acceptable: "Your mom.")

Obviously, this will be an ongoing series. Anybody taking us seriously will be arrested.

I'm a gentleman, so I let Riggs go first. Here we go.

Riggstad Question 1:

The last 8 years, this country has seen... the worst attack on our country. A very unpopular war. A huge and growing deficit, unemployment, unprecendented gas prices, the worst mortgage crisis in history, famine (OK, maybe not famine), and the largest of our financial institutions going bankrupt and needing to be bailed out by the government.

That said, how does beating LeBron James (which he did, btw; that's pretty phat) in a game of horse qualify Obama to be president?

Julius_Goat Answers

OK, first of all, Obama beat LaBron and that isn’t getting major ink? That’s just a travesty. I bet LaBron would break McCain’s kneecaps in half, then posterize him for all eternity. You want to beat McCain in Horse? Hook shots, baby. Add to that the fact that we know that HORSE is the true test of poker skill and every single degenerate should be screaming “YES WE CAN” in their ghey chat boxes right now.

But there has been nothing really, and I know. I’m obsessive. So how bad is that? Palin caps a moose and every red blooded redstate male swoons and throws out their Viagra refills, but Bama busts Bron Bron and can’t pick up the female vote?

That’s sexist.

As for qualifications, it is the most pressing and pertinent question facing Obama, and the one that, should he properly answer it, will win him the presidency.

There has been a lot of ink spilled about experience, and I think with good reason, but I believe we must go to the root of the issue: WHY do we value experience?

I submit that we value it because experience, at it’s best, leads to better judgment when facing hard decisions and tough experiences. Experience in live play makes you a better live tourney player, one hopes, because you have faced certain tough experiences before.

Unless, of course, you are a lemur.

Sometimes experience leads to the kind of contemplation and learning that results in prudence and judgement. Sometimes, it merely leads to old age.

In my opinion, somebody who has watched the tragic unfolding of events that you detail in your question, should have learned something from supporting the policies that led to or exacerbated many of these horrid results. Instead, he talks change out of one cheek while filling the other with promises to keep the same damn Bush policies as before.

This is not prudence.

On the other hand, one can have little experience and still have good instincts and judgement. We see this at the tables as well, though less often. Sometimes a young guy comes in and, having devoted his whole short life to the game, manages to show the old guys a thing or two.

Barack Obama’s vision of a United States unified by a common goal, his clear intention to modify failed policy or scrap them completely, and, yes, his ability to inspire by his words, all make him easily the more qualified candidate to my way of thinking. I have no doubt that he will make mistakes, but I have little doubt that he will make less than the guy who wants to make the same mistakes we’ve already made.

Riggstad Rebuts

As always, the left answers the question by pointing to the right. No press? I bet McCains knee caps break. Who cares? LeBron let Obama win because his agent told him how much money he would lose to the tax increases on the “wealthy” imposed by an Obama white house. Hoping for a little back scratch I guess.

The “root” of the issue with experience is not why we value it. There is no question of why we value it. “At it’s best”, is the best you can up with? At its best it instills confidence in ones ability to make the hard decision. To choose based on past experiences, and not sheer popularity. Past experiences that have proven which decisions create desired results versus those that we just don’t know what will happen.

Experience is often brushed away by those who don’t have it as not being important or on the top of the list of most desired attributes. But who would you choose to stake in the WSOP ME for 10k of your own money? The player who has played in it the last 10 years and has multiple cashes? Or would you go with the internet pro who hasn’t played one live hand of poker in his life? This is your last 10 thousand, and your house depends on it.

I agree with you that experience is lost on some. Sometimes prudence and good judgment are the results of such experience. And sometimes it is lost on the incompetent

We have seen what lack of experience has brought the last 8 years. Bush had almost zero experience with Foregin Policy. Do we want to do that again with yet another candidate who has almost zero experience? I thought we wanted to get away from the same?

riggstad: You assert that McCain talks change out of one cheek, and fills the other with promises to keep the same policies. Everyone knows he only has one cheek that can be filled with anything while the other is filled with puss and a swollen gland. Your point is hurtful and childish. I thought we were done with the name calling after the lipstick on a pig comment?

There is no doubt that good instincts and judgment are good attributes to have. But core competencies cannot be had without solid experience. Good Judgment is ok when sitting at a 2/5 table at the Venetian. And great instincts may even win you 5 buy-ins at the 20/40 limit tables over at Caesars. But when it comes to defining threats against our nation, and which way we will steer the countries economy in order to regain the faith and confidence of not only our citizens, but those of the world, experience is what will count.

Instincts and judgement alone will lead to the gamble more often than not in tight spots. I doubt we want that again. You say so yourself.

Finally , you speak of Obama’s vision of a United States unified by a common goal. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even your own party has marked differences on how things should be. If you can’t unify your party, how do you unify a country?

Julius_Goat's Final Answer:

I will address the vision of unity first.

First of all, it isn’t my party. I’m not a Democrat. I’m simply not supporting the Republican.

Second, of course there are differences between people in the Democratic party. There are differences between people, period. The point is not that we have differences, the point is that we stop focusing on them so damned much and focus on our common purpose.

The winning method since at least 2000 has been to shine a light on our differences, to create fear based on those differences, and to exploit that fear on election day. That’s why, in my opinion, we have all this talk of “elitism” as a bad thing, all this false outrage at mockery of small towns that frankly is not there.

Unity is not the same thing as lock-step robotic precision agreement on all issues. It’s a messier and more beautiful thing than that. And there can be unity, not just between factions within the Democratic party, or between Democrats and Republicans, but between all of us.

We have more in common than we have in difference. We really have forgotten this as a nation I think, during this Red vs. Blue madness. The divisiveness of the discourse.

I think Obama himself said it better than I possibly could when he accepted his nomination.

America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough
choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out
ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight
years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has
also been lost is our sense of common purpose - our sense of higher purpose. And
that's what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America's promise - the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our
insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public
life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional
values. And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas,
then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don't have a record to
run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

You make a big election about small things.

Next, the experience thing.

The root of things matters. By “root” I simply mean “reason.” I think that reason for a thing is usually important when discussing the value of that thing. Therefore, I must disagree that looking to the root of our value of experience is not in itself valuable.

I guess you see McCain with multiple cashes. I don’t. We can get into that in the future.

Would I stake the multi-cashed pro who had played the WSOP ME for ten years over the newbie internet pro? You bet. But I would stake the newbie internet pro over a guy who had played the WSOP ME for ten years if he kept busting out on the same boneheaded play, and was announcing his intention to double-down on his failed strategy.

And that is what we are talking about. A guy who took 300 bb all in with an inside straight draw and is still trying to tell you why it was a good play. You compare Bush to Obama. That’s hilarious. So, McCain voted with Bush, wants to keep Bush’s policies, both domestic and foreign, but Bush’s record should be a cautionary tale to us . . . about Obama, who disagrees with those policies, who in fact has been against them and wants to take us in a different direction. And the reason for this strange conflation? Both of them lacked experience. Hands played. It appears that you equate Bush’s failings not to his policies, or his judgment, or his inability to change course based on new information, but to his lack of days he’d put in prior to taking the big job. Now, before 2000, Bush had been a governor of one of the largest states in the union, in population and land mass, for six years. That I must assume equates to you lack of experience to hold the presidency. I’ll just hold on to that one for a later question, perhaps. Just tuck it into my pocket here.

So, success is not a factor of the decisions you make, but how long you’ve been around? I am not following the logic. Wrong is wrong. Stupid is as stupid does.

You can look at Obama and say that the Office of the Presidency is not an entry-level position. Fair enough. It’s also not a retirement watch to be gifted to the guy who’s been around the longest.

And I think McCain has got 467 sunflower seeds packed in there.


Julius_Goat's Question #1:

How do you address the growing speculation that John McCain actually died in November 2003, and is now a Muppet being animated by Pixar and the Jim Henson Corporation?

Stay tuned . . .

Sunday, September 14, 2008


One of the great ones is gone.

RIP, David Foster Wallace.

Friday, September 12, 2008

And the Hits Just Keep On Coming

"I am prepared. I am prepared. I need no on-the-job training. I wasn't a mayor for a short period of time. I wasn't a governor for a short period of time."

-- Sen. John McCain, quoted by the New York Times, during the Republican presidential primaries.


In a forthcoming book by Fortune columnist Matt Miller, The Tyranny of Dead Ideas, Sen. John McCain's chief economic adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, "makes it clear that the next President is going to have to raise taxes," according to Joe Klein.Said Holtz-Eakin: "If you do nothing on the spending side, you're going to have to raise taxes whether you're a Republican, a Democrat or a Martian."He then immediately makes it clear that the "spending side" part of the argument for cutting taxes is "nothing more than a political fig-leaf" covering up basic arithmetic. The growth of entitlement programs and spiraling health costs make it nearly impossible to cut spending for McCain's proposed tax cuts.


The Los Angeles Times notes that this week news organizations and independent watchdog organizations "seemed to reach a consensus to say 'enough' to the McCain camp's efforts to demonize Barack Obama.""It got so bad... that FactCheck.org -- one of the nonpartisan journalism websites heroically trying to strain truth amid all the sound and fury -- had to put out an extraordinary news release. It chastised John McCain's campaign for -- now get this -- distorting FactCheck's debunking of distortions."In a related article, the AP notes that "even in a political culture accustomed to truth-stretching, McCain's skirting of facts has stood out this week."


"Show me where I've ever said that there's absolute proof that nothing that man has ever conducted or engaged in has had any effect or no effect on climate change."-- Gov. Sarah Palin, in an interview last night on ABC News.

"A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I'm not one though who would attribute it to being man-made."-- Palin, in an interview with Newsmax on August 29, 2008.


"No sane American or European leader would ever, ever, ever give an answer like that. You do not get into hypotheticals about nuclear war. You just don't. Palin references the Cold War. The only reason the Cold War stayed cold is because our leaders understood the stakes of getting things wrong and saying things that could lead to catastrophic nuclear war. During the Cuban Missile Crisis every word, every public statement, and any message that the Kennedy administration sent to the Soviets was checked, double checked, and triple checked to make sure it was sending precisely the right signal. This is what you are forced to do when you have thousands of nuclear weapons and so does your opponent. The stakes are simply too high. And yet there is a nominee for the vice presidency of the United States who may one day have her hand on the button and she is casually talking about potential catastrophic nuclear war."

- Ilan Goldenberg, the policy director of the National Security Network

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Still Sailing

McCain continues to evade the issues like Barry Sanders breaking 17 tackles on the way to a 2 yard loss.

At a rally in Virginia, Obama speaking of the McCain policies, said: "You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It's still going to stink."

A McCain spokesman calls the pig-in-lipstick reference "offensive and disgraceful," claiming that it an obviously sexist comment, obviously directed toward Sarah Palin. Obviously, because of Palin's remark in a speech about lipstick . . . you know, the one where she, um, compared herself to a dog. Which was great, I guess.

You know, they are right. Such a comment should never be . . . oh . . .

Oh, it's just too embarrassingly easy, really. They are being hypocrites if their lips are moving.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sailing On The Hypocra Sea

It's not so much about being honest, as it is about being not honest.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Twirling, Twirling, Twirling Toward Freedom

My fellow Americans,

It is with great pride, and an unquenchable thirst for power, that I accept the Pokerblogger Party nomination for President of the United States. I haven't checked the polls recently, but given the popularity of poker and the declining popularity of Scotty Ngyuen, I'd say I have this one sewn up.

I'm not going to take a chance with my running mate, though. No hardened Washington insider with power white hair or newcomer former sports anchor from Anchorage who's governed less people than she has moose in her kitchen. No, no no. I want somebody with experience, somebody with results. In these high-pressure times, we need LJ for (+E)VP, because we need somebody we know is ready, and will never, ever, ever, ever, ever fold to any pressure.

And now, for my campaign promises.

I promise to shave every day.

I promise to do [thing or action] in the case of [your pet issue]. This [issue or action] is the most [message of hope or object of fear of your choice].

I promise to build a wall around the entire United States so high and so wide that it blots out the sun, and to arm that fence with acid tipped lampreys. Not for immigration, we'll still allow that, but to prevent skin cancer. If Canada lips off about it, we'll just say it's a privacy fence.

I promise to put every baby to work. They have gotten a free ride long enough.

I promise to put an oil derrick in every living room in this country. The only reason we haven't found oil in Columbus, Ohio, is because we haven't drilled DEEP enough, that's all. If one drilling operation every acre isn't enough, we'll do two. I am committed to sticking drills into every square inch of ground until we aren't addicted to oil anymore.

I promise to fight a REALLY popular war, like against The New Kids On The Block, now that they're back in defiance of all that is good and holy. I think we can take them, and we'll use the funds from the pay per view to build me a really nice swimming pool.

A lot of people ask me what I'll do in my first hundred days. Well, I'll tell you. Scooter races around the oval office and non-stop kegger. Are you invited? Depends. Did you contribute to the campaign? I'll take five buck donations, ship to either Tilt or Stars, and you're in. Hundred bucks, you can stay in the Lincoln bedroom and steal as many towels as you want. Five hundred bucks, and you can stay with Lincoln. Anything more than that, and Lincoln might follow you home. That was enough money back in his day to buy a fine buggy and a lifetime supply of top hats. All contributions are tax-deductible, unless it turns out they aren't. When I'm president, I'll have staff to check on stuff like that.

My second hundred days, that's when I get down to business. First, we have to take up the matter of the income tax. I want to change the carpet, and if you are going to take up the carpet, first you have to take up the tax.

Next, I eradicate the UIGA. Gone. We'll impose a reasonable rake on clean, regulated online tables that have been sprayed for roaches and Ultimate Bet pros.

Next, I have lunch.

After lunch, I take a nap.

After the nap, I appoint my cabinet. I may even dust my cabinet. Let's face it, my cabinet is a mess. After I've done that, I'll probably need some Secretaries.

Secretary of the Treasury. Waffles. We have been horribly mismanaged and are over a trillion in debt. That's just not good bankroll management. I need somebody who can get us to break-even.

Secretary of Education. Fuel likes to educate people from the rail, and of course Astin would make sure that the cafeteria food is healthy and delicious. Let's get them both in there. I know, I know, they're Canadian, but it's just Sec. of Education, and let's face it, we just don't pay attention to that. Straight talk, my friends.

Secretary of Transportation. All the donkeys who have ever bluffed into my sets with air. Yeah, they know how to ship it from all over the world.

Secretary of Agriculture. Co-secretaries Blinders and Hoyazo. I figure we make these two share the same office, and the resulting shit-storm will produce a fertilizer so fine and rich, we'll be able to grow corn and lentils in the Mojave. So, that's the energy and food crisis solved. Next!

Secretary of Eating Baked Beans While Sitting On Bill Frist's Head. Bayne. He asked for a job that he could do while still playing poker, to make it worth his while. Done, done, and done.

Attorney General. Huh, I can't think of anybody. If only our group included some lawyers. Oh well, no Constitution to defend after Bush anymore, anyway. Too bad, as I enjoyed bearing arms while not being held without charge. Maybe we can have rights during I Love The 90s Revival week.

Secretary of Labor. Recess Rampage. That guy knows how to grind, so it stands to reason he'll know grindstones.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs. As a family values candidate, I really don't think anybody should be having affairs, especially not the brave men and women of our armed forces.

Secretary of Energy. Poker Grump. If he can apply the energy he expends on playing poker for hours each day all over Nevada and churning out dozens of quality posts each day to our energy crisis, (or at least to harvesting all that Mojave corn), we'll be free of foreign oil by March.

Secretary of Defensiveness. Anybody who is offended by these jokes.

And so, in closing, I say to you, we are a nation, and unity, also independence, and with the tradition, and with the blessing of God, for our Founding Fathers, true freedom in this land, the people of this great nation, hard work and common sense, experience that can change you, hope that is vetted, moving forward or at least sideways or perhaps just strolling around, a chicken in every pot and a really nice set of luggage for anybody who votes for me.

End transmission.

I'm Julius_Goat, and I improved this message.