musical interlude

Okay, this is ridiculous. All you people who are friends of mine who live in New York ought to be ashamed of yourselves. The Decemberists are a band so awesome it hurts me, and they are so widely acknowledged to be awesome that I am almost embarrassed that I am so into them because it undermines what shreds of indie cred I actually have leftover after spending the majority of my indie cred on the cojones it takes to walk around Manhattan wearing Converse All-Stars and unnecessarily geeky glasses. And The Decemberists are playing a concert next Wednesday, October 5th, and I have tickets to that concert, and NONE OF YOU PEOPLE like this band enough to go see them with me.

... or else, hope against hope, you just didn't know about the concert? And you didn't know I had an extra ticket? And you really want to go with me? And you're going to email me now about it?

Correct answer.
also let me know if you like josh ritter, death cab for cutie, or andrew bird. 'cause they're on the horizon.


manifestations of my personality as determined by online quizzes, and how I feel about it.

what flavor of tic-tac are you?: “fresh mint”
I don’t really like being told that I resemble a vaguely defined menthol flavor. At least with spearmint and cinnamon and the others you’ve got a sort of Frege-style referent when it comes to the flavor description, but “fresh mint” is totally noncommital. Also, I’m a little disturbed by the claim that my best match among the other tic-tac flavors is “Orange.” “Fresh mint” sounds sort of toothpaste-y, and we all know that toothpaste+orange juice = ew. This does not bode well for my love life.

wat demon r u?: “u r a vampire! the greatest of the demons!!! night walker and drinker of the elixer of life.”
I m a vampire! R u a vampire? You know what? Being a vampire is a-okay with me. Vampires get to wear cloaks, which is a sartorial statement I am willing to stand behind. Technically speaking, I was operating under the assumption that the elixir of life was something intimately related to the philosopher’s stone (thanks, Harry Potter and Paulo Coelho), but maybe that’s the difference between an elixir and and elixer: one is mythical, and the other one is just, you know, blood.

what name is best for you?: “Nimue”
True story: one of the other options was “Pipijznock.”

are you a true punk or just a stupid poser?: “you are a true punk”
I really think there’s middle ground to be had here. Could I be a non-stupid poser? Could I be an untrue punk? I disapprove of the dichotomy that the author of this quiz is trying to create. It’s polarizing attitudes like this one that cause so much strife in our great nation today. America is stronger than that. We are a proud and multifaceted people, united by our common love for freedom and ramen noodles and Lindsay Lohan.

what form of self-mutilation are you?: “you are hair pulling”
All the other options – cutting, burning, self-breaking of bones, reopening closed wounds – are violent and totally destructive. And then there’s me, being all “oh I need to feel! I am so numb and alone, I need to cause pain! I need to know I’m alive!” And I do that by… pulling on my hair? That’s like cruising Washington Square Park at 2am for a bottle of extra-strength Tylenol.

??what alcoholic drink are you??: “you’re most like: a Cocktail”
The double question marks that both precede and follow the title of this quiz fooled me into thinking this was an extremely urgent question that needed answering immediately. “What alcoholic drink am I?” I cried, and went diving into such alcoholic questions as: what is your favorite movie? And then I get this totally unacceptable, totally noncommittal “you’re most like: a Cocktail” crap. I mean given the extraordinary range of idiotic drink names – everything from Harvey Wallbanger to the painfully obvious Sex On The Beach – I was really expecting something more. In fact, this is so bad that I refuse to accept it. I’m going to self-identify as a Dirty Vodka Martini With Extra Olives, and let you extrapolate pervily from that what you will.

what type of killer are you?: Ninja
Can I be a Vampire Ninja? Because holy crap. That would be awesome. You just can’t get cooler than a Vampire Ninja. Also, I wouldn’t have to buy new clothes. Black is the new black. Miuccia Prada said so.

Oh, and because I arbitrarily declared Tuesdays to be glossary day, today's word is:
Vampire Ninja (VAM-pyer NIN-juh), n. Definition: me.


hijinx, re: the flammability of oxygen

It's like a gift.

Hurricanes AND buses, rolled into one devastating news story! Thanks, Fate. You totally rock, what with helping me keep my blog thematically consistent and all.

Bus Carrying Elderly Storm Evacuees Explodes Near Dallas (NYTimes)


i think i like the new version better

From a manuscript I am editing:

I am suddenly filled with that sense of peace and meaning which is, I suppose, what the peons have in mind when they talk about the practice of the presence of God.
It is worth noting that in the actual quotation, the word is "pious," not "peons."


it's tuesday! that means it’s GLOSSARY DAY

Today’s theme: words I helped make up

bironic (bye-RON-ick), adj. Ironically bisexual.
source: “wow, that guy in the flowy white shirt with the blow-dried hair is very Byronic.”
“what does that mean?”
“reminiscent of Lord Byron (1788-1824), archetypal romantic poet.”*
“oh. I like my meaning I just made up right now a lot better.”

This word is so good that I really think it’s more than enough for today. You know that you know at least six people to whom this term applies. Five are girls from college who liked to make out whenever they got half a beer in them and knew that people were watching, and the sixth is that guy who always made you feel a little weird whenever he told you your hair looked really good today, and could he touch it? And he told you that all the freaking time.
Anyway, tell your friends & neighbors. Let’s get “bironic” in the OED.

*It is interesting to note that Lord Byron was, in all likelihood, both Byronic and bironic. This fact makes me inordinately happy. Check it out:

He kind of looks like Jude Law, now that I think of it.


Dear Peter Pan Bus Lines

Hey Peter Pan Bus Lines!

You know what was awesome? I was riding one of your buses on Friday when all of a sudden I was distracted from the bootleg episode of Scrubs I was watching on my laptop - it was Episode 104, "My Old Lady," which is totally one of the best because the lady who plays Mrs. Landingham is in it - don't you love Mrs. Landingham? I mean how can you not? Anyway, I was distracted because for some reason the bus was pulled over by the side of the highway, and generally speaking that doesn't fit into the sort of thing I find normal when I'm taking the bus somewhere. Especially because there were some state trooper cars with flashing lights, and when I looked out the window I noticed that our driver was being breathalyzed and given that follow-my-finger sobriety test. I was like OMG. Seriously. Oh. Emm. Effing. Gee.

That was pretty cool, Peter Pan Bus Lines (do you let people call you Pete? Do you hate me for asking?), but it was not nearly as cool as what happened next. What happened next was that a state trooper wearing a hat and reflective sunglasses - at night! So badass! - got onto the bus and stood up at the front and said "okay, who called the cops?"

Ha ha ha, Peter Pan Bus Lines! Our driver was driving so badly that someone on the bus called the police to report him! It's so Agatha Christie - the call was placed... from inside the manor! And then it turned out that while our driver was not drunk, he was in possession of significant logbook violations, and was not in a fit state to drive, and the besunglassed state trooper decomissioned him! And then we got to wait for an hour for a new bus driver, who when he showed up was groggy from having been woken up in the middle of the night - all because you, Peter Pan Bus Lines, in your infinite wisdom, do not see fit to have backup drivers waiting just in case your logbook-inadequate drivers are caught in their schemes! Oh you are wily. I wish I were a Bus Line, and I could be as wily as you.

Anyway, I just wanted to say hi, and see what's up with you. When this horrible bus experience happened I totally thought of you because, you know, I was totally on one of you buses, so I had to drop you a line. I mean, it was like fate or something. I hope everything by you is awesome. Me, I'm taking the train from now on.



Tom Coburn cares. He really cares.

Even though I find his glasses to be insufferably goofy-looking, and the photoshop job on his author picture makes him look like he's wearing Revlon SuperLustrous Lipstick in Hawaiian Coral, David Brooks sometimes pulls out the guns that I wish I had:

John Roberts Jr. Aw, shucks. This has been a humbling experience, Mr. Chairman. To think that a boy from an exclusive prep school and Harvard Law could grow up and be nominated for the Supreme Court - it shows how in America it's possible to rise from privilege to power! That's the hallmark of our great nation.

So while, of course, I can't talk about specific cases, or any emotions, weather patterns or sandwich meats that may come before the Supreme Court at any time between now and my death in 2048, I do want to reiterate that I feel humbled by this experience. I feel humbled that my wife is dozing off behind me. I feel humbled by this committee's inability to lay a glove on me. And I feel modest. You see this suit? I skinny-dip in this suit. That's how modest I feel.

Tom Coburn Well put, Judge Roberts. Yet when I think of the polarization that still divides this great nation ... waaaahhhh ... waaaahhhh. (Senator Coburn breaks down weeping.)

Jeff Sessions This may be a good moment to remind my colleagues on the other side of the aisle that in this country unelected judges don't write the laws. We have unelected lobbyists to do that. Under our system, judges merely interpret the law and decide presidential elections.

Specter Senator Sessions, let me interrupt you right there. We're not here to argue among ourselves and ignore the nominee. We're here to deliver 30-minute speeches disguised as questions and ignore the nominee. So let me turn to Senator Bid--

Coburn And when I think of the flaws in the reconciliation process! And the gerrymandering! Oh, the suffering! Oh, the humanity! Waaaahhhh ... waaaahhhh. (Senator Coburn collapses and is taken back to his office on a stretcher.)

It's brilliant, really.



today's glossary theme: words I only know because I spend all day obsessively refreshing Gawker et al., and which lead to confusion when I use them in conversation with friends who have, you know, lives.

biotech, (bye-oh-TEK) n. alternate spelling of "beeyotch" or "biotch" or "b-yotch" or whatever, pronounced in conversation as "bio-tek," aka a shortened version of something I'm guessing they teach at Apex Technical.
Source: overheard in ny.

federletus, (fed-er-LEE-tus) n. 1. the reason Britney got fat. 2. the embryo that will eventually grow into the stupidest yet most oddly attractive (in a rodent-skank kind of way) and richest trailer-baby ever. odds are good it will be named London. which, yes, is better than Cheeto, but it makes me think of those allegedly hot twin brothers, one of whom was apparently on Seventh Heaven or something.
Seventh Heaven --> Ashlee Simpson --> blonde lip-syncher of slutpop, examples of which are totally at the top of my itunes most-played list, even though i pretend to be all hipster and really into The Hold Steady or whoever --> Britney --> federletus.
it makes sense in my head.
Sources: gawker, trent, perez, pretty much fucking everywhere.

humpy, adj. some attribute possessed by Ted Casablanca. unclear whether this is a positive thing ("he is so humpy. i want to hump him") or a negative ("he is so humpy. he tries to hump everything." alternately: "he is so humpy. like a humpback whale.").
Source: defamer.

lilo, (LIE-low) n. LIndsay LOhan. not that borderline offensive, borderline autistic disney character. please. why would i IM you about a disney character reportedly making out with Bruce Willis? actually, that would be sort of awesome. i would totally IM you about that.
Source: perez

lovesit, (LUVZ-it) ejac. (not that kind, sicko) contraction of loves+it, as in "I loves it!" It's not an invitation for you, towards whom I feel affection, to plop down on the sofa.
Source: trent.

Maer Roshan, (somethingsomething ROSH-in) n. editor-in-chief of Radar. not even i get it. i mean, i get the magazine. it's neato. i just don't get the obsession. also: how the heck do you pronounce "maer"? is it like the lady horse, or like ex-jennifer-love-hewitt boyf john?
Source: gawker. why?

manorexia, (man-or-EX-ee-ya) n. contraction of man+anorexia. what Ethan Hawke has. also probably Carson Daly, but no one actually cares about him anymore.
Source: the ether? gawker stalker?

manpris, (man-PREEz) n. contraction of man+capris. calf-skimming pants worn by men. in particular, k-fed, who also inexplicably pairs them with white athletic socks and flipflops. why has no one investigated whether or not he buys those special japanese socks which are designed for flipflops, or just goes for the old reliable big-toe scrunch? i smell the greatest dissertation defense ever.
Source: the fug girls

skeletwins, (skell-uh-TWINz) n. lindsay lohan + nicole ritchie. fuck you, rachel zoe. fuck you, internet, for enabling me know who rachel zoe even is.
Source: trent.

more to come, no doubt. Next Tuesday.


on social norms

haha. no one actually cares. if you do, i moved it here.


not to mention

also in Fetus news: they say if you're making them mad, you're doing something right.

all hail

Holy crap! Somehow I completely failed to notice that my abortion craigslist personal ad achieved Best-Of status!

Anyway, now my own brand of lame liberal satire will be preserved for all posterity. Check it out here. In terms of internet fame, I am such a rock star.

Autographs available on request. You must provide your own fetus.


does it count as prostitution if your pimp is not-for-profit?

Liz, my Boston correspondent, stumbled across this brilliant posting on craigslist Boston.

For every first-date that I go on as a result of posting this, I will donate $50 to the American Red Cross. I'll do it through work, and my employer will match my contribution... so just by going out with me once you are helping to donate $100 to the Hurricaine Katrina Disaster Relief Fund.

So even if you end up hating me, think I'm rude, fat, ugly, boring, smell bad, and the thought of going on a second date with me sends chills up your spine and makes you want to puke*, you can sleep soundly knowing you've done your part to support victims of what is likely the worst natural disaster to hit America since the founding of our country.

In all seriousness, I hope to raise a fair bit of money doing this. I have several friends who lived in New Orleans who lost their homes and most of what they owned last weekend.

A bit about me: I'm 26 (as of a week ago), 5'10", 165lbs. (in shape... make it to the gym a bunch), have brown hair and eyes, have a job, and have a picture I will send when you send me yours. As much as this is a way to help victims of the hurricaine, I am also looking to meet someone I really click with, so only write back if you're single and at least interested in the possibility of a serious relationship (no pressure, though... I'm about the most laid back guy you'll ever meet).


* Note: I am not rude, fat, ugly, or boring... and I promise I smell fantastic.

As McDonald's would like me to say, I'm lovin' this. I doubt Dave (inability to spell "hurricane" aside) is interested in trekking down to NYC for a date... the transportation cost alone would sort of negate all the good he'd like to do. But I'll be up in Boston next weekend, and Liz has floated Dave's way the tempting offer that he can go out with both of us at once in exchange for him upping his donation to $200. We'll see if anything comes of this.

And no, while Liz is very pretty, I don't think there will be anything going on that, say, a God-fearing Republican wouldn't approve of.


...and the other cheek

It's no secret to the rest of the world that right now the United States is royally fucked up right now. Leaving aside the likelihood of long-term economic devastation due to the loss of one of our major port cities, or the embarrassing rise in oil prices due to our inability to extract ourself from an extraordinarily indulgent user-to-quantity ratio, or the unprecedented and monolithic backlash on the part of the news media - indisputably the most important opinion group in the nation - against the president and FEMA (Maureen Dowd called the agency's head, Michael Brown, a blithering idiot) - leaving all that aside, we are suffering most right now in the eyes of the international community because of how easily we proved that it takes little more than water to reduce an oblivious, prosperous, egocentric nation to sub-third-world conditions.

As of today, the death toll is estimated at 10,000, with a further estimate that for every body found, there are 2-3 more still trapped in attics, floating in the floodwaters, or simply hidden in the devastation of the city. Waterborne pathogens are proliferating, there is no safe drinking water, and even those refugees who are hundreds and hundreds of miles away are suffering from rashes, respiratory illness, and - no joke - trenchfoot. For once not taking their cue from the president, the American people are responding admirably - already this is relief mission is better-funded in terms of civilian donations than September 11 or the December '04 tsunami. But money alone isn't enough - patrolling, healing, rebuilding - this all takes human bodies, and those are hard to find. Over 500 members of the New Orleans police force - ranked up there with New York, LA, and Chicago in terms of hard-boiled, take-no-shit police ability - have quit or simply walked off the job, overwhelmed by the situation, the devastation, and what was being asked of them. At least two officers have killed themselves. And it's no better for people who are already out - hospitals throughout Louisiana are understaffed, overfilled, and finding themselves unable to cope with the influx of hundreds of thousands of patients who are in need of immediate treatment.

Here's where Cuba comes in. Castro has offered to send 1586 doctors to the United States to help bring our citizens out of this living nightmare. The US has a longstanding history of not giving a shit about Cuba, and snootily turning the other way when they offer to help us out. Usually, that's not so bad - economically and militarily and politically they don't have much to offer as a nation. But 1586 doctors is something they have that we don't have. 34 tons of medical supplies - that's something we could use. There comes a point where the government has to decide whether it wants to preserve the lives of its own, or if it wants to preserve a grudge.

It's likely that in this case, as with everything else for the past week, it'll choose wrong.


let's take a break from my Katrina obsession for some fun with memes.

Total volume of music files on my computer: 3561 songs, aka 14.99 gigs, aka 9.8 days of continuous music. approximately two-thirds of which I have never listened to.

The last CD I bought: I have this very music-obsessed friend, and I am in turn obsessed with introducing him to new music. The last ten CDs I bought have all been for him, and without fail he's already heard of them. Most recent: The Notwist, "Neon Golden." He hadn't heard it. He liked it. Score!

Song playing right now:It's 3:27am and my apartment has thin walls. I am rocking out to the sweet strains of my air conditioner. 73 degrees, low fan, baby.

Five songs I listen to a lot these days: According to iTunes, my top five most played songs are:
1. "Winter" by Joshua Radin
2. "Our Way To Fall" by Yo La Tengo
3. "I Will Follow You Into The Dark" by Death Cab for Cutie
4. "July, July" by The Decemberists
5. "If I Could Turn Back Time" by Cher
As Ernie says, one of these things is not like the others. Also in heavy rotation: "Too Drunk to Fuck" by Nouvelle Vague. Highly recommended.

Quantification frame courtesy of Leila.


it's about time.

The US has accepted Canada's offer of help, and four ships and three Sea King helicopters are headed to the gulf coast next week to assist in rescue, relief, and reconstruction.

Full story here.

"no aid will be refused"

LJD(1:13:46 PM): as your foreign correspondent, I should also point out that yesterday morning, the Canadian PM offered to send basically the entire canadian military to help out
LJD(1:14:04 PM): and bush was all "thanks but no thanks"
Me(1:14:38 PM): Asswipe
LJD(1:14:54 PM): Martin was like "hey, we got ships, we got planes, we got helicopters"
LJD(1:19:22 PM): well, I'm going to go to the humane society and visit some kittens

six of one...

From the NYTimes:

The president was grim-faced as he prepared for an aerial tour of the flood region, and he expressed ambivalence about his journey. Before he departed for the region, he told reporters in Washington that "I'm looking forward to my trip," but later, in Mobile, he said, "I'm not looking forward to this trip."

Strong leadership. Mmhm.


I love you, Jack Shafer.

I love you, Paul Krugman.

I love you, Anderson Cooper.

I love the anger. I love the barely suppressed impotent rage. I've got nothing to offer - I'm sitting here with a 32oz bottle of Fiji water and a low-fat muffin from Starbucks and I'm moving commas around on recipes for quail - but the people who matter are doing good things.

nothing up my sleeve

Oh those brilliant Californians. On Thursday the State Senate passed a bill legalizing gay marriage - not just civil unions, those PC updates of "separate but equal," but actual marriage - and it was done as an independent legislative action, not as the result of a court order. And it's being totally buried in the news cycle by all the (justifiable) Katrina coverage.

From the Washington Post:

Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) noted that in recent months, Canada and Spain have adopted same-sex marriage. The United Farm Workers endorsed the bill, as did Los Angeles's new mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa.

"This is not radical. This is not vanguard," Leno said. "We're part of something bigger than ourselves now."

It's sad that it takes the largest disaster in our nation's history to distract folks from the abomination against God that is gay marriage (seriously, God is all "why am I being abominated against? Stop it!"). But it's great that California is saying fuck all, we're going to do the right thing. I don't know how Schwarzenegger can quash this without making himself look even worse than he already does with regard to issues of sex and sexual orientation. GLAAD must be having a field day.


too little too late

David Corn in The Nation:

a moment like this shows Bush's weaknesses. He was late to respond (again!) and his rhetoric was hollow (no surprise). Yesterday he declared, "America will be a stronger place for it." Puh-lease. Did he ask his speechwriters for the most empty platitude they could concoct? Then today he proclaimed there would be "zero tolerance" for looters. But if I were stuck in New Orleans, waiting for help from a government that had failed me, and my family was without water, food or clothes, I'd grab what I could from where I could. I'd worry about payment later. Sure, some looters are criminals exploiting the emergency. But many are people trying to survive. Who would watch their kids go hungry rather than break a window at a Winn-Dixie? Not me. Call me pro-looting-when-it's-necessary.

When Bush is insensitive when it comes to the war in Iraq, an action he spearheaded, we can justify it as defensiveness, a stubborn refusal to back down and admit he was wrong. But insensitivity to the victims of a natural disaster that can't in any real way be blamed on anyone - that shows his (and his administration's) true colors. There's only so much we can take.

hell hath no

The situation in the Superdome is escalating. The newsmedia seems to have shaken off its sympathy filter and is finally paying attention to the sub-human conditions of the over 16,000 people who are imprisoned in a football stadium that is rapidly succumbing to rising floodwaters. From the LA Times:

"We pee on the floor. We are like animals," said Taffany Smith, 25, as she cradled her 3-week-old son, Terry. In her right hand she carried a half-full bottle of formula provided by rescuers. Baby supplies are running low; one mother said she was given two diapers and told to scrape them off when they got dirty and use them again.

At least two people, including a child, have been raped. At least three people have died, including one man who jumped 50 feet to his death, saying he had nothing left to live for.

It's beyond horror. The refugees who are trapped in the Superdome (they're not allowed to leave - there are metal barricades, soldiers with machine guns, and helicopters patrolling the area) are given two 9-ounce bottles of water a day. They are not being told what's happening either on the outside or the inside.

People should not be dying now. The storm is over. This is a big nation. We are a country who master the control of large groups of people - we successfully interred thousands of Japanese citizens for no reason at all. We virtually exterminated the native human population. We shepherd old people and infants through metal detectors, having browbeaten them into accepting as a good thing this violation of their rights and their personal space. How is it that we are so good at efficient cruelty, but so inept when it comes to efficient good?