Here’s one of those heartwarming stories about an exchange student from Turkmenistan in North Carolina learning about democracy, volunteering, baseball, etc and for a moment you think, “hell fuckin’ yeah, America IS the land of opportunity!” - but then you catch this at the end:
He’s discovered a love for fast food (“Burger King is the best”) and especially for hot dogs. He’s gained 25 pounds since his arrival.
And you remember our country is Willy Wonka’s factory with the roof ripped off. Happy Halloween, y’all.
NYTimes via Amy’s Robot: “Some 1,446 families entered shelter in September, city officials said. That was the highest number in one month since the city began keeping track 25 years ago. In each of the past three months, the city has seen record numbers of families admitted to shelter.”
Can you define what a remix is, in the context of your new book, Remix? Is it the multiple-creator model of Wikipedia? GPS on cameras that pinpoint photo locations on Google maps? The jackalope?
All of these are remix, as all of them take as their challenge how to engage with the creativity or innovation of others, and add something useful and new to it. Remix is to culture what web 2.0 is to the Internet: a practice of building upon what others have built, with minimized control over how others interact.
Has Colin Powell redeemed himself at all, in your eyes, with his recent Obama endorsement?
No, not at all. I was just shocked at the unanimity of people on both sides of the fence, the McCain people and the Obama people, who fell over each other to say, “But he’s still a very trusted and highly credible individual.” I thought there was a question posed during his appearance on Meet the Press—which I wouldn’t say was a hard ball, but maybe a wiffle ball down the middle—when Tom Brokaw asked, “Do you have any regrets?” And Powell said, “Those people who think that I could have stopped this war by resigning have no basis in fact.”
Well, that may or may not be true, but my feeling is whether or not it could have stopped the war, it could have saved Powell’s reputation, and I’m at a loss to understand what greater good was served by him…
It’s the last day of the Donors Choose Blogger Challenge and YM looks secure for the bronze in the Topical/Local Blogs category. “Public Interest Photographer” Ralph Alswang and Apartment Therapy are numbered too large to overcome but at least the Mommy blogs are beneath us where they belong. (I’ll ask again: Where was Curbed this year??) I threw in another $450 of redistributed wealth (social!) for a final push, hope you can spread a little too.
Where have you gone, Tamir Goodman? In the 1940s, they called it “Jew ball” - emphasizing teamwork, crisp passing and defense. No doubt this style of play was a key factor in the creation of the State of Israel. Now I bet you’re boom-ma-knock-em-beggin’ to see cool old photos of Jewish basketball teams.
You’ve merged music and comedy with Spinal Tap as well as your own albums. Is it difficult to keep it rooted so it doesn’t veer off into Dr. Demento “Witchdoctor” comedy territory?
No, my wife polices me strictly. She’s a very talented singer, songwriter, and musician, and she said, with typical British disdain, that it was okay for me to dip into funny music, but it damn well better sound like music.
To quote AC/DC, “Rock ‘n’ roll is just rock ‘n’ roll.” But judging from High Level Detainees’ album Songs of the Bushmen, it appears you think it can be much more. How does your music prove that AC/DC is just plain wrong?
Well, first of all, most of the music on Bushmen isn’t rock and roll, so maybe they’re still right. Also, when you’re that loud, who cares if you’re wrong? I do think music can be an effective form of satire. I was raised on Tom Lehrer and Stan Freberg and memorized most of their stuff, which I didn’t do with the spoken-word comedy I loved at the time. So, just from the standpoint of colonizing brain cells, music seems to be an effective way of making a point.
In the last few months, an oft-bandied-about thesis is that this is the most important presidential election ever. Your feelings are clear, but are you just pulling for your guy or do you agree with that?
I’m not even really pulling for “my guy.” I said at the beginning of this year that my vote was available to the first candidate in either party who said something substantive and cogent about the failure of the federal levees in New Orleans and the need to rebuild the coastal wetlands. That offer still stands. As to the importance of this election, I’d put 1860 up against it.
OK, but let’s separate the meat from the cheese and get to the real issue. When will I be able to walk down the Avenue of the Americas waving my Israeli flag without fear of being called a dirty Zionist pig? THAT, Ms. Shafrir, is the question I beg for an answer.
I’m sort of grasping for what to say right now. You see, I giggled at this and then scampered off to Google and found … I’m still trying to process. It’s like a Glaring Omission as imagined by Maddox (remember him? "His postings circulate on the Internet through word of text. One person discovers the site and forwards a link to others with a brief message like, "this is so funny," or "check this guy out."”) and penned by Joe Comfort. I submit:
I wanted that lead and mercury and all the broken and rotting teeth out of my mouth. He refused. So I said to him. In a very loud voice. Why is it that a brother in law who just spent 27 years in jail for murder. When he got out he asked to have all his teeth removed, and they did it. The dentist got so scared that he agreed to take my teeth out.
The Civilian Observer Ride Along Program provides the public with an opportunity to observe police officers on patrol. Members of the public ride with officers in a patrol car for approximately two hours, witnessing first hand what a police officer on patrol encounters during a tour of duty. The program is open to anyone with valid photo identification over the age of eighteen. This past year 1,657 local community members, university students, law enforcement officials, and visitors from the United States and abroad experienced what it takes to patrol with New York’s Finest.
This was unintentional but YM has taken up residence on this Fimoc post. If you ever wanted to get interactive with the gang, here’s your chance. We’ll be fielding questions for the next 30 mins. Don’t all click at once.
Last Saturday, Jews around the world began reading the Torah once again. But Nextbook columnist Liel Leibovitz was busy making his own creation story – by playing Spore, a new video game where players give life to new organisms and guide them through the evolutionary process. Playing God, even in a virtual universe, has long held fascination for ordinary humans, as Leibovitz writes: “Mindless happiness was never enough for us; what we wanted was to know as much as the Man Upstairs.” You can read all about Leibovitz’s take on Genesis in his new religion column at Nextbook.org. Every Friday, he’ll be offering a fresh take on that week’s Torah portion, and how it connects to popular culture. In his next column, for instance, he talks about what the story of Noah can teach us about the upcoming presidential election. It’s not an ordinary “portion of the week” sermon, but – in typical Nextbook fashion – a new spin on biblical commentary and Jewish ideas.
I was toying with a similar idea (ask Eli!) on Simchat Torah, although I think I would have gone with a Torah portion/police blotter angle but realized I wouldn’t actually follow through with it.
· John Bogle (hey I know that dude) says eat the young: “As the layoffs descend on New York, with even mighty Goldman Sachs announcing in October that it would ax 3,000 jobs, the city must retool. This presents a golden opportunity. We have quite enough lionizing of the notion of ‘success’ as popularly defined, by a certain kind of material wealth, fame and power, the kind of success, in other words, that we have come to associate with Wall Street’s wizards. Our obsession with these flawed markers of success has, in turn, led to far too much young talent flooding into a field that inevitably subtracts value from society.” [Forbes]
· Fuck ‘em, Christ, Pop ‘em: “In discussing the difference between a star and a hero, a football Sunday is a pretty good place to start. The NFL uses the violence of its game to lionize the participants in a way that baseball, basketball and hockey cannot match. The NFL is packaged and sold with theme music that sounds borrowed from an old Napoleonic march. Its players are cast as warriors, its coaches as generals. John Facenda’s voice-of-God tone wouldn’t have worked half as well anywhere else.” [Boston Herald]
· But try finding Joe on Sunday: “At both Ohio stops Sunday, McCain continued to lionize ‘Joe the Plumber’ — Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher — who confronted Obama about his tax plan on Oct. 12 in suburban Toledo. ‘He’s getting smeared for revealing Sen. Obama is for redistributing the wealth,’ McCain said. ‘We’re not going to redistribute the wealth, I’m going to create wealth for all Americans.’” [Plain Dealer]
Damn Balk, if you’re trying to make us cry, it’s working! We recently met people who have had their "routine" pancaked so we feel ya. Since YM’s philanthropy is all-encompassing, if you paint a picture, we promise to buy it. Take care, dude. Stay inside the lines.
One of the best things you can do for an impoverished community, especially one that used to depend so heavily on tourism, is to spend your money there and support the local businesses. That’s how we approached the Arts Alive Fair in Bay St. Louis this past weekend. You needed a brochure map to find the homes that were participating but that would be too sensible so we drove around until we found a sign stuck in a yard. We hit the jackpot on out first try. (This was probably carryover from Katie’s big slots winnings - $50! - at the Hard Rock Biloxi the night before.) We met Lori K. Gordon, an accomplished mixed-media artist who’s been featured in the Smithsonian and on MSNBC and NPR, at her makeshift studio in Clermont Harbor near a saltwater marsh. (Here’s a picture of her with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter.) It sits next to her MEMA cottage, a marginally better set-up than a FEMA trailer and obviously a temporary solution but she was just accepted for home-building assistance after two years on a church waiting list. That’s how slow the recovery process remains today for a lot of people. We stayed and chatted for about an hour, said goodbye after buying over $200 worth of her art.
I still find Nick Sylvester, the YM blogger who almost was, to be one of the more entertaining writers out there. Here he takes on the Phillies with “A Non Fan’s Notes, Etc.”
So maybe this isn’t specific to Philadelphia. Maybe this happens in Boston and Tampa and wherever else baseball is played these days. In fact it can’t be just a Philly thing, at least not entirely. Nobody likes a frontrunner or fairweather sports fan, especially one from his own town. I imagine this is a sports fan’s nightmare: You show up for “work” (watching the game) every day (game), you struggle with a team for 168 nights and an interminable off-season reading gossip on Deadspin, “your” team finally does something right such as getting itself to the Big Game, the Fall Classic, people start throwing “World Series” themed cocktail parties you’re not invited to, your favorite bars grow more crowded with people who still have the tags on their just-bought jerseys (unintentionally, though I’ve heard this is a thing, and I know what it means) of players whose first names they can’t remember, and there you are—there you fucking are—unspeakably angry at these people because they are freeloading on all the “work” you did the last six months, watching the game, supporting the team, while these Non Fans were doing whatever people do if they don’t watch sports (you don’t know, on account of being a lifetime sports fan). Scott Rolen or Sonny Rollins or Rolling Rock or Sitting Bull hits a home run, the team wins Game 3, the group of vaguely attractive women behind you who haven’t been watching the game at all are suddenly jumping up and down and hugging each other and you are livid, as these people have no right to be excited, not a single fucking right at all.
Now that I think about it, this is pretty much a subplot to every major sports movie I’ve ever seen (I’ve only seen Fever Pitch). But to get to why I am even writing this down, why I am feeling so utterly vexed right now as this team progresses through the World Series, I do believe everything is a little more precarious in Philadelphia, with Phillies fans and fans of Philadelphia, with fans “from Philadelphia” and fans “actually from Philadelphia,” on and on and on.
I’m sure there’s a Springsteen song that includes the line “and those jobs are never coming back” or something like that. While it’s sad to watch certain parts of New York society slowly ball into a steel town, I think Choire is onto something. After the first dotcom crash, Chris Gage and I used to talk about going to Apex Technical in Chelsea. Our plan was to open a high-end custom go-kart shop in Darien, CT after completing the auto tech and body repair tracks. Then we’d get a series on one of those Discovery channels. We got as far as the end of the block. But the message is there. It’s never been more clear than now for media types and others in similarly fucked industries: go learn a new trade. Or better, start your job search here.
Interoffice Memo and More Radar Coverage: apparently, I’m going to now get paid by them for a July-ish invoice (Charles Bock’s advice actually went something along the lines of “take the money and run, kid.” Little did he know…). A call for old, outstanding invoices was sent out today and I plan on taking them for all $13-er, $792 that they owe me. $792, right? Right. Anyway, everyone knows the old Jedi Mind Trick: you will pay me more money than you owe me. We will pay you more money than we owe you.
This is worth noting only because we need to take the Komrades back from Operation: House Party out to celebrate their victorious, charitable outing. Drinks are, as always, on me, but as always, none of you would ever make me pay for a drink in good conscience. So really, drinks for you, on you. L’chayim.
“Every January, the Kiwanis Club would assemble a stripped-down GM Suburban and park it on an ice-covered lagoon in a local park. Then, to raise money for charity, residents bought tickets and tried to guess the exact date and time that the vehicle would plunge through the melting ice during the spring thaw.”