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May 23, 2011 - May 16, 2011

Thursday, March 04, 2010


Eavesdropping
on CP's Email


A Beatles cover CP likes.

QUICK MARCH. So. CP got pissed. Why? Because he's never been a nice guy. I could have told you that. Mrs. CP is a saint to put up with him. But he's also fair sometimes. Which is why he gave me permission to reproduce part of an email exchange he had with Eduardo, who said:

I know you are disappointed by the Stones/Beatles bickering in the comments section, but I couldn't walk away without one last jab at Harkin.  That whole exchange is a perfect example of why I don't like the Beatles or their fans.  And it really doesn't have a whole lot to do with their music, as Harkin pointed out but doesn't quite understand.  Sorry to sully your comments with more shenanigans.

But anyway, just wanted to mention that at work I sit next to a gentleman originally from Philly who is in his early/mid fifties.  I asked him, out of the blue with no background on the question, who he would rather listen to for a music marathon driving in the car: the Beatles or the Stones.  He narrowed his eyes at me a bit in a "what are you, kidding?" sort of way and emphatically said, "The Stones!"  He went on to say some slightly derogatory things about the Beatles similar to what I've said, but his overall point was that the Stones are truly rock and roll while the Beatles aren't.  His best comment was when you hear a Stones song you turn it up, and you don't do that with a Beatles song.

And I had to ask my coworker this while my branch manager, who sits next to us, wasn't around, because he is a huge Beatles fan, whom he speaks of so reverently you'd think he was speaking about Jesus Christ.  He's a nice guy and everything, but if the topic of music is brought up around him it inevitably leads to him talking about how "all" music after the Beatles is just a pale imitation of them, etc blah blah yadda yadda.

PS - I... petition you... [for] an essay on your feelings for Beatles fans.

CP responded thus:

It's not your fault. Sometimes -- what with blizzards and seemingly endless computer woes -- I get grumpy.

I'm not really sure I have that much to add to a Beatles discussion. I'm not an expert on the nuts and bolts of music, but it is my understanding that the real skeleton in the Beatles' closet is the Beach Boys, whose sophisticated harmonies the Beatles copied in service of hippies rather than surfers. There's an album called "Pet Sounds," which got lost in the Sgt Pepper craze, that some folks think embodies everything the Beatles subsequently did. But I'm not the person to make that case.

I have no objection whatever if you want to expand your comments and anecdotes into a Beatles post. Mostly all I can offer is a few remarks that agree entirely with what you said and how you've characterized it.  My favorite Beatles recording is Twist and Shout, which wasn't their song but indicated the road not taken -- a hard rock Lennon-led band with some balls instead of wet panties. I also liked a couple of the songs Lennon did solo -- not the lyrics because he was the most imbecilic lyricist ever -- but a song like "Working Class Hero" had an edge that anticipated (dare I say it?) punk. But then Yoko put his balls in a jar and that was all she wrote.

Basically, my own reductio ad absurdem of the Beatles-Stones rivalry was that the Beatles were for girls and the Stones were for guys. My sister was in college the same time I was and I'll never forget the first time I visited her -- the dorm hall was filled with music hardly anyone played in my freshman dorm -- Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Laura Nyro, Donovan, and the Beatles. It wasn't long before I just HAD to get out of there.

The other point I'll note is that the Beatles were done in 1971. Completely. Much of the enduring Stones canon came after that. They continued to comment on the life I was leading, including my corporate life and my private defiance against my own generation, the determination to survive their slick nihilism. The Beatles became nostalgia for those who, unlike me, didn't hate the sixties or hadn't actually lived them. To me, they've sounded nothing but dated for the last 35 years. They seem to me not timeless but absolutely time-locked. That's why I feel animus for their legion of fans. Did I mention how much I hated the sixties? Why would anyone lionize such pap -- generally nonsensical lyrics, pop melodies that translate okay to elevator music, and a "taking ourselves way too seriously" ambiance that never once rose ABOVE their time but only reflected the utter self-absorption of a pretentious and contentless adolescent tantrum.

It's interesting -- and I can't explain why -- that there have been so few successful covers of either the Beatles or the Stones. Have you heard Britney Spears' cover of Satisfaction or, even worse, Rod Stewart's cover of Jumping Jack Flash? I honestly do like GNR's cover of Sympathy for the Devil. And there's one Beatles cover I think was genuinely superior to the original -- Sinatra covered "Something" (not the studio cut, which was better, but this is a fair facsimile) in a very late album of his called Trilogy. It was lovely.

You see? That's just about all I have to offer on the Beatles. Unless I were to dig a lot deeper, which seems like kind of a grim chore.

Again. Not your fault. You have nothing to apologize for. Sometimes I'm just in a bad mood. I'd be very interested in what you have to say. Your perspective is different from mine, but, I suspect, strangely complementary. And I'm thinking -- as I think about it -- what you have to say is almost certainly worth saying. Okay?

CP is as CP always was. Something of a visionary and something of a prick. As opposed to me. Who was always much more the latter than the former.

P.S. Did anyone else notice that the "Quick March" didn't include word one about "Paint it Black" and the girl of CP's dreams? I don't know about you, but I'm feeling sort of cheated. I know the guy and haven't ever heard this story. If Brizoni wants to show off his cojones, this is what he should be demanding in his impetuously impetuous way.

UPDATE. More email. Eduardo replied:

I don't know why anyone would lionize such pap, either.  My branch manager I mentioned was very excited that the "Rock Band" series of video games had a special edition coming out that featured nothing but Beatles music. Not because he plays video games or anything, but because he overheard his son talking about it and envisioned some type of Beatles renaissance occurring b/c of this game, and that all the kiddies out there would discover what real music is, not like modern music anymore, and I guess listen to Sgt Pepper and the White Album over and over again. But why would someone want their own kid to get into a band like the Beatles? What would the gen-X equivalent be, wanting my kids to worship Nirvana?

You're right, they are time locked, which is one reason I mentioned that I like several other bands of the '60s and '70s. When I hear Beatles I can't help but think about the '60s and drugs; lots and lots of drugs. Can't relate and don't want to relate. But even a song like Paint it Black, which I think was probably an anti-Vietnam ballad, is still a really cool song. I saw some old footage of the Stones performing that live way back in the day on some TV show, and whoever the dude playing the sitar was was definitely the epitome of hippie, but I can still look past that.

But I did forget about Twist and Shout, you're right about that, too. See? I don't even think of that as a Beatles song. I had heard a bunch of their other stuff before I first heard their version of T & S, and I had a hard time believing it was actually the Beatles doing it because it sounded so, well, cool.

Thanks again for laying out so much info on the Stones, though. I feel like I have been missing something. I am going to dig into their music library. I don't know how much I will like it all because for better or ill, my tastes do tend to gravitate toward the '90s alt rock/grunge/whatever type stuff (my favorite band for years was the Smashing Pumpkins), but based on the Stones songs I do know I think I will have a favorable reaction.

There is one Beatles cover I have to send you. It's a live version of Daytripper that Oasis did. I have no idea where or when it was done, or who the person is that sings the first verse (b/c he's not in Oasis), but it's awesome. I don't even like the original Daytripper but I like this one. I think it's better.

CP responded:

Daytripper?

Thanks. Here's another Beatles cover I like.

I hate to postpone or delay, but can I also quote from your latest email? Love the part about Paint it Black.

btw: all the various Stones comeback albums: Some Girls, Tattoo You, and Voodoo Lounge. And some of the albums in between: Goatshead Soup, Black and Blue, Emotional Rescue, and Undercover. Great individual songs on all of them, including Hand of Fate, All the Way Down (Stones rap), Memory Motel, She Was Hot, etc, etc.

Here's the thing. What lifelong Stones fans have realized is that the first hearing means nothing. You can listen to a Stones song and hate it. And then, if you keep listening, it starts to bore into you. I know of no other band to whom this phenomenon applies. That's the secret of Exile on Main Street, for example. You start to realize that Jagger has multiple, quite different falsettos, that Charlie Watts is the best rhythm drummer ever (lots of anecdotal evidence about his dead-on timing), and finally, you begin to realize that the Stones are an amazing synthesis of hard, hard rock and roll, satire, capitalism, endurance, sex (and sex and sex and sex), and Keith Richards (who is still, against all odds, alive). If they weren't so damn English, they'd be an American parable. While the Beatles are an episode of "This Is Your Life." Like, who doesn't remember this? Yawn.

Oh well.

I admit it. I like the Stones too. So sue me.




Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Stones Retrospective -- Last:

The Hurry-Up

Still my favorite Stones song.Why? Petition me to explain why.

CRAPOLA. I don't like the turn this is taking. Commenters firing off at each other over the feeble Beatles vs Stones issue. I cited it simply as an historic fact. Not as a political issue. I was going to lead you through my own life with the Stones. Hoping you'd recognize and empathize with my experience.

Now I'm just going to do a quick-march because I want it done. You can petition me if you want me to tell you more about these sound bytes.

College. There was Sticky Fingers and Exile. The first time I saw a debutante at a mixer was when "Wild Horses" was playing. I couldn't believe graduates of Westover and Farmington were Stones fans. And you have no idea how beautiful they were. Debutantes aren't just rich. They're goddesses.

Fitzgerald. My hugest memory. While I was reading Tender Is the Night, I was also playing "Factory Girl" and "Salt of the Earth" continuously. I was a freshman in college. I ultimately wrote my thesis about Tender Is the Night (and Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse. I loved her writing and stil do. Have you read The Waves? I was a literary motherf...) They hated it; they bashed my brains in. I don't know who I have to thank for this, but somebody pointed out that if Jagger really cared about the forgotten millions, he might not have arranged for a chorus that sang "salt of the earth" like a speedy cereal commercial. Just saying. Read the last chapter of Tender Is the Night. While listening to Beggars Banquet, with a little "No Expectations" thrown in for good measure. See how YOU turn out.

Cars. After college I reverted to South Jersey motorhead. Sorry. One of many regrets in my life. A friend of mine got arrested for speeding because he couldn't contain himself while the Stones song "Heartbreaker" (with your .44) was playing on the radio. Me? I always had the Stones on the radio. Always. Nothing goes with 100+ mph like the Rolling Stones.

Radio. A shout-out to WMMR in Philadelphia. 93.3 on your FM dial. (I have a long and pointless story about the time I lived in Ohio, involving Peter Gabriel, WMMR, and the miserable city of Cincinnati... Wanna hear it? Tell it to Harkin.) Anyway. All of you people who think the Stones were just another band might want to hearken back to WMMR's Beatles-Stones weekends, which eventually gave way to Stones weekends. (They gave up on the Beatles because they didn't have enough songs and nobody really cared anyway.) Think about it. Your favorite band. Could they pump an FM station's ratings for an entire weekend? The "C"s will be at ten on Friday night, the "T"s on Sunday afternoon, and you'll be arranging your schedule around them for all the times in between. Essay? You betcha.

Disco. There was this moment in time when disco was taking over the world. Then the new Stones album was announced. On WMMR. I remember, as if it were yesterday, driving into Center City Philadelphia with the top down while WMMR played "Emotional Rescue" for the first time. I hated it. I loved it. A classic Stones reaction.

Concerts. Every time the Stones came to Philly I went to see them. The Goatshead Soup tour was at the Spectrum. Even WMMR couldn't disguise the fact that the Stones were too stoned to remember their own names then. I was almost arrested at the concert. I was wearing my Dad's fighter pilot jacket, with the P-47 painted on the back, and people kept stopping me to ask if I would sell them some acid. After that there was a concert at John F. Kennedy Stadium, which held 100,000 people and I was all the way at the back. Jagger was just an ant in the far distance. How could an ant galvanize 100,000 people? But he did.

Concerts 2. You get older, you know. You have responsibilities, a house, a wife, etc. Then, after years of nothing, the Stones announce their Steel Wheels tour. Which means you immediately buy tickets and hit the road from Dayton to Cleveland for a chance to see the "greatest rock and roll band in the world." I'd appreciated what I -- by now a corporate consultant -- called the "corporate album," (Dirty Work), but I was wearing leathers and boots when I hightailed it to Cleveland for the Steel Wheels concert. My keenest memory is of a dirty black GM sedan I got behind en route to Cleveland. Someone's finger had done its work on the rear trunk lid. "Stones," it said. My favorite Stones moment ever. The concert? Great. I've never known them to be less than great. And, to be completely honest, it was the best Stones concert I ever saw.

Concerts 3. How many years are we talking about here? I won't kid you. WMMR stopped doing Stones weekends at some point. I stopped needing a Stones song before I could attempt my next personal miracle. But then came yet another Stones comeback (yeah, they've had more than any other band -- Some Girls blah blah Voodoo Lounge, etc.) I didn't want to see the Voodoo Lounge concert. I had, by that time, internalized the Stones. I was old enough not to have to see them. But my significant other at the time knew the Stones were important to me and she produced a pair of tickets like rabbits out of a hat. She was SO pleased with herself. So we went. With the shallowest business associate I ever had. It was raining. I wanted to go home. But then, in a gigantic ballpark, the Stones did their thing. Shallow man and his girlfriend went ballistic: "I HAD NO IDEA THE ROLLING STONES WERE THIS GREAT," they said. Similar things happened with the Babylon tour. I began to think I was a necessary accessory for young people who needed an excuse for falling in love with the Rolling Stones.

All right. That's the quick step version. If you wanted me to draw it all out longer, to savor and play with the moments and explain other contributors to the music of my life, blame Harkin.

Why? I fucking hate Beatles fans. All of them. Forever. That's another essay Brizoni can ask for and probably not get. Do we have some things to talk about? Poke through this history and if there's something you want to know more about, maybe I'll tell you more.

Maybe.

Or maybe not. Anyone want to explain the only Stones cover I've ever liked?



You've got to earn your way to more than what I've already offered. Is that fair? I think it is.





Big Texas Zoni's News Roundup

The kid's fixin' to rustle up a good ol' fashioned prairie hash of current affairs!

YEEEEEHAAA! Believe it or not, InstaPunk readers, the world doesn't stop because the old men don't feel like watching it turn. Introspection, recrimination, and wist (you know, wistful? Full of wist?) are fine and good (and doesn't 15 paragraphs seem like a lot to declare we don't deserve his writing? Reminds me of some quote about protesting too much. Or not enough.) But the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Not sporadic vigilance. Saddle up!

Romney's back. Oh, hell. Evidently, he's gonna waste our time with another run in 2012. InstaPunk had this guy's number years ago:

...it doesn't matter how brilliant Mitt is because HE'S A FUCKING IDIOT. He lives in a Mormon universe where being nice is its own reward, and when the maniac with the K-bar comes for his throat, he'll still be smiling when the arterial spray from his carotid rivals the Trevi fountain for majesty. Romney was born rich, he's lived rich, and he will die rich. At some level, he will never understand that American life is a fight. A dirty, no-holds-barred, scratch-their-eyes-out kind of fight.

As a recovering Mormon, I can corroborate that assessment 100 percent. Mormons are the nicest people around. Best neighbors possible. They have more genuine kind-heartedness than you can believe. Speaking of belief, they believe-believe. The whole Jesus/God/Heaven story is real to them, in that really-real-in-material-actuality way that it hasn't been to the other Christian denominations since Darwin.

That's why Romney can never, ever be President. You can't be the most powerful man in the free world and have your decisions informed by that perspective. The President can't roll the faith dice on behalf of the rest of us like that. Not in a world filled with all sorts of horrible fucks who don't behave like Mormons at all.

Can a conservative Court overturn Chicago's pinko gun ban? Someone more knowledgeable than I (HINT HINT) will have to fill you in on just how corrupt and unfree Chicago is. From what I gather, Daley used the Windy City as a kind of test market for the statist tyranny Obama and the rest of the Democrats are trying their damnedest to legislate.

Some sweaty Chi-town pol whined "If our gun control law is struck down, there will be more guns. Do we want more guns?" YES, you ass. I imagine Chicagoans in whom the spine hasn't been bred out want the hell out of more guns. Or have liberals really not noticed that anti-gun laws ONLY WORK ON THE LAW-ABIDING? An armed society is-- the science is settled-- a polite society. God have mercy on Kennedy's soul if he screws this up. And his mortal ass.

No more Burka in the future Burkastan? I hate to do it, but my libertarian conscience has to object. It's just not OK for governments to ban religious expression like this. Even if it is the expression of a shitty-ass religion like shitty-ass Islam.

Having said that, I love the symbolism of this heated burka ban debate. Ell oh vee ee space eye tee. Em you tee aitch ay eff you see kay ay. I trust I don't have to explain to you that it's not just the burka that's on Europe's mind. I'm calling it Steyn's Razor. Even if they can't admit to themselves that's what they're thinking. And dreading.

They're not really gonna go through with it, right? No way Europe has the stones for even this fairly toothless censure of, for once, a group that deserves it. No way the Old World has enough of its Old Grit left to defy Swar. 35.

10 Rest assured that right is always on the side of the Others who are less white,
11 Less male,
12 Less western,
13 And less advanced technologically. [OK, Islam only gets three out of four. Still.]

It's just not gonna happen. Right?

Health care bill nears Nucular Option. Drudge linked to this with all-red caps, and a picture of a mushroom cloud above it. We, uh, get it. Here's what I don't get. Why all the moping and throwing up of hands? You do know laws can be repealed, right? Even the bad ones. Especially the bad ones. Maybe y'all just don't share my youthful optimism. That'd be a shame. The children are your future, after all. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Emphasis on that latter clause.

Well, I don't know about you, buckaroos, but I'm stuffed. See you back here for lunch? Or whatever the cowboy word for lunch is. Supper? Was that dinner or lunch, for them? Or was dinner lunch? My whole Wild West theme here doesn't lend itself to much scrutiny, obviously.

P.S. Instead of begging, I've decided to threaten. If certain parties don't write their memoirs to my satisfaction and in a goddamned hurry, I will write their memoirs for them.

You want that?




Monday, March 01, 2010


Obama Calls for an End to
Partisan Critical Thought



The stress of dealing with an inexcusably less-than-unanimous body-politic
coats President Obama in a glistening sheen of oleaginous divinity. (IP)

WASHINGTON (IP) - Barack Obama has called for an end to "partisan disobedience and disagreeing with" the president.

From the White House lawn this morning, the president and his life companion TOTUS made the case for a 'trans-political' American discourse.

"In the spirit of bipartisan cooperation, it's time that both sides of the aisle cease all censure, reproof, unfavorable judgment, admonition, animadversion, faultfinding, two-facedness-finding, or three-facedness-finding of ME.

"These changes to our national dialogue are long overdue. We have got to put a stop to any and all other forms of critiquing me, disputing me, or getting in the way of what the American people elected me to do. Which is for me to do what I want, using all the powers the president has at his disposal. And even some he doesn't."

After TOTUS withdrew for a regularly scheduled T-cell test, the president went on to chide the media for failing to "uh, consistently promote an appropriately, uh, reverential attitude towards, uh, ME," and for what he called their role in facilitating "the putting of, uh, ME on, uh, blast."

Prior to this morning's statement, the President delivered his most recent scolding to Republican Rep. Eric Cantor for bringing a hard copy of the Democrats' 2,400-page Senate bill to Thursday's historic health care summit. He was especially offended at Cantor's use of the actual 2,400 page bill as a "prop," likening it to footage of Ground Zero after 9/11, which was "used so despicably by the Bush administration as cynical political propaganda exploiting an alleged attack on the United States never proven in a court of law."

"Representative, uh, Cantor's disgraceful, uh, citation of the, uh, bill is just the latest in a long line of obstructionist Republican, uh, cheap shots," said the president. "It's shamelessly truthful stunts like this that illustrate just how, uh, intrusive and ultimately unworkable fact-based resistance to our reforms could become. Such, uh, openly expressed criticism is a clear, uh, impediment -- a slap in the, uh, face -- to enlightened, uh, governance."

The president then sneered slightly and said, "Frankly, it's starting to, uh, hurt my feelings." The AP subsequently confirmed that the president's feelings have been wrapped in an Ace bandage, modelled closely on the one Shaq is suckingrelying on for his injured thumb, during the latest POTUS physical. Both men are reportedly "smoking more" (miscellaneous substances) as part of their pain management therapy.

Obama's remarks come on the heels of a controversial interview in this month's Harper's Bazaar magazine, wherein he bemoaned the current climate in Washington.

"...uh, uh, let me be clear. I, uh, am the president of the, uh, you know. Which should, uh, let everybody else know it's time to, uh shut up, and, uh, start saluting."

Shortly after the Harper's interview hit the stands, the President was forced to defend his comments.

"Now, I know my critics are saying I'm trying to make this about me. I have not. Do you see a teleprompter anywhere? No. The "Me and I" stuff is always on the teleprompter, and I don't have anything to, uh, do with it. That would be Rahm's fault, and I don't have anything to do with, uh, Rahm except, uh, uh, the occasional sneaked butt in the Rose Garden."

In a subsequent clarifying statement, Robert Gibbs explained that the president's "sneaked butt" remark referred to cigarettes, not clandestine anal sex with the brilliantly patriotic chief-of-staff Fox's yellow journalists keep calling the "Iron Ballerina."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also leapt to the President's defense, issuing the following statement.

"Blah blah unconfirmed accusations blah blah blah defame and smear our DADT president blah blah Rahm is no gayer than blah blah the First Lady's irresistibly huge booty blah blah reconciliation is certain blah smoking has never been linked with gayness blah blah maybe except in ballet and Nevada senators blah blah my president is blah..."

It was later explained by her aides, Brad and Armando, that her comments were misquoted after an unfortunate seizure involving scheduled injections directly into her brain, which is "physically dissonant" from that of other, non-Speakerish women of her age. They were pretty insistent that the word 'vaginal' shouldn't appear in the same sentence with 'brain' with respect to intelligence references. Although the Speaker is now withdrawing her similar objections with regard to Desiree Rogers. Whom the Speaker now concedes may ultimately be reconciled with the words "vagina." injection," and "Rangel," though never with the word "brain," in either case, unless someone happens to understand what she might mean by that. You know. Unless you really do understand. In which case, it just isn't true.

[btw no link has ever been established between Botox and brain damage. Some people are just really fucking stupid. Naturally. Forget we said that. Remember 'Reconciliation' instead. That's the process by which congressional leaders suffering from advanced Alzheimer's continue to fool ordinary Americans by looking like skin-tight ancient cheerleaders. You know. The process by which brain-dead zombies conquer the living through Armani wardrobes and big old tits.]

YOU figure it out. We're just reporting here.

P.S. Pelosi aides inform us, "The Speaker doesn't smoke." She just steams a bit after intense legislative sessions. And the White House confirms that Obama doesn't smoke either. He merely evanesces post-revelation clouds of holiness, a bit like Jesus Christ.

Are we all clear now? Me, I'm Brizoni. Sometimes struck from above by a Higher Power. (Who will be talking to him later about what satire is and is not.)






Winter Olympics:

Summing Up

Seven minutes in. My favorite. Never EVER give up.

OLYMPIAN MEDIA. Quick hits here, after one inital blast at NBC. Baseball players are already beginning spring practice in Florida and Arizona. Maybe I should be more respectful of snow, but after a winter of blizzards, not so much.

NBC. Awful. Exactly the same awful as last time. Which makes it ever so much worse. Even pernicious. Shiftless, ignorant clowns. Nothing about biathlon rifles. Nothing about curling rules (ever), despite hundreds of hours of coverage. (Hell, I'm Scottish and I HATE curling.). Almost nothing about bobsleds; just feelgood crap about bobsledders. Barely a mention of what music was playing for figure skaters. (I was better at that as a resource for my figure-skating-loving wife. Answer? Gershwin's 'Concerto in F.' Happy now?) Worse than that, Al Michaels & Bob Costas always a wrong or false note. Costas such an NBC whore he arranged on camera a cameo role for Lindsey Vonn on Law & Order, the most disgustingly leftwing political TV show on the air. Why did the rest of us need to be smacked in the face with that? The building urgency of not having been allowed to inflict Keith Olbermann on us had to break out somehow, somewhere?

Then the whole Gander story. Narrated by Tom Brokaw. I was well aware of it, happy to be reminded of it, enjoying the retelling. On September 11, 2001, dozens of international flights couldn't land in the U.S. and so landed in Gander, Newfoundland, instead. The wonderful (Scotch-Irish) locals not only handled the sudden influx of jumbo jets but alo took the 6,000 passengers into their homes and lives for four days. Great. Compelling. A fine story to tell on the eve of the end of the Canadian Olympics. Rven if those folks were a whole continent away from Vancouver. And even if it had to be narrated by Tom Brokaw. Brought a tear even in the retelling to my jaundiced old Scotch-Irish eye.

Until we got back to the studio and Al Michaels felt obligated to ask, "Where else in the world could this kind of hospitality and open hearts occur?" Fuck you, Al. Where else? How about HERE, you absolute creep? The story Brokaw was telling involved (among other folks) a pair of marooned parents whose NY firefighter son was in the process of losing his life trying to save total strangers in the twin towers, and YOU want to elevate Canadian humanity above American humanity in THAT context? Really? Way to poison an otherwise inspiring story with your piss-on-America penthouse sophistication. And way to go, Tom Brokaw, for not slapping Al Michaels across the face. Which is why I'll remind everyone under the age of 40 who the old thick-tongued anchor dinosaur called Tom Brokaw is.

Honestly, I've never been able to listen to him without laughing since I first heard Dana Carvey's impression of the great South Dakota dimwit who knows so much less about generations than I do.


I know. I'm a cynic. But I'm old, and I've tenure. I've despised Tom Brokaw
since the '64 Republican Convention. He was always a lefty. He was always
Barbara Walters with a cock if not bigger balls & more baritone. Sorry. To
me, speech defects and bungled educations aren't worth millions of bucks.

Canada
. Big Whoop. Lots of Gold medals. I'd like to say something really touching and friendly about now. But I can't. For the past eight years, they've been assholes. I genuinely liked some of their athletes. But Canadians as a nationality? Screw'em.

The Hockey. I've given up on Puck Punk, who used to explain this bizarre sport to us. I watched the big showdown, and I confess I told Mrs. CP, "I want us to win, but even if Canada wins, they'll still be... Canadians." To her eternal shame, I guess, she laughed.

The Quebecois. I'm referring to the young lady skater whose mother died and then we all just swooned when she won the Bronze medal. Except I actually watched the performances. Our best skater, 16-year-old Mirai Nagasu, skated absolutely better and finished fourth, behind her. Fair? Maybe Mirai should have shot her father. The Korean skater better look out. Our 16 year old is coming for you...

The Korean Diva. Okay. She's lovely. Kim Yu Na. She deserved to win. And I'm relieved on her behalf that her countrymen won't savage her for failing to win the Gold. Which makes me think: Screw every other country, especially Asian countries. Here, we don't punish competitors who fail to do what we think they should do to win. We just make them more famous with tabloid stories about why they lost. Then we follow them with cameras and.. you know the rest. But I'm feeling really bad about the Japanese girl, which is good for me because I don't usually care at all about Japanese feelings. That Mao Asada looks like a lost child to me. She won the Silver medal and never cracked even the slightest smile. Her countrymen don't want to honor her because she lost to a nation that has about the best reason any nation ever had for hating Japan (excepting China, the Phillipines. Australia, the USA, etc). But why does it all have to sit on Mao Asada's shoulders? Me, I'm thinking there's nothing worse I can imagine than an Olympic Silver medal winner who looks like she'd rather cry than be second best in the whole world. Of course, I'm an old guy. I'm famous for my useless pep talks.

The Russian Diva. I have a mental block about his name. Sorry, Mister Putin. He had a quadruple jump. Then he had a "platinum" medal. Get over yourself. Being Russian is curse enough. Sometimes you just lose. Even Dostoevsky knew that.

The Blueberry Farmer. I apologize. Don't know his name. Just to show you I can root for a Canadian. One of them, anyway. He was in four Olympics, his daughters wanted to see his Gold medal, and so he finally won one for them in the fog. Sounds like a Lifetime Channel movie to me. Maybe Helen Reddy could sing the song. Forgive me. I'm absolutely in his corner.

The American Nordic Team: My favorites in the Olympics. Four guys, no attention, no money, no celebrity. Just four medals. And one of them was named Spillane. It doesn't get any better than that.

Shani Davis. Biggest American loser, despite his medals. If Obama were an Olympic athlete, this is who he'd be.

Lindsey Vonn. Lady's Downhill. Gold. American. It doesn't get any better than that. The downhill is the primo event in the Olympics. And she's exactly my height and weight. Which must mean I'm Olympic. Yeah!

Bode Miller. You get hyped and you lose. You come back and you win. Maybe you're an American. Who can now go back to drinking and screwing snow bunnies. Isn't life in these United States wonderful?

Canadian Women's Hockey Team. They celebrated with champagne, beer, and cigars. The IOC is investigating. Leave them alone. During the medal ceremony, Canadian fans started chanting "USA." Result? The Canadian Women's Hockey Team can do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want. Although I'd like to be present when they take off their jerseys.

Apolo Ohno. That little slip of mercury is near miraculous. He reminds me of Seabiscuit ("How far do you want me to take him?" "Till he stops.")

Four-Man Bobsled. Two years ago, the driver (and team captain) was going to quit because he was going, literally, blind. No official Olympic honorific about courage for him. But that's okay. He won the Gold. By remembering not to look at that damned dangerous course and just feeling it instead with his ample American ass. How cool is that?

There's more obviously. Except for curling, I have enormous respect for every participant in every event. I'm still not that impressed with Canada. They want us to know that they're a major contributor to American comedy, which I never doubted. Good. But the opening and closing ceremonies both demonstrated that Canadian contributions to North American music are thin at best. My question remains: Wouldn't you rather be Steven Wright or Groucho Marx than all the Canadian comics that ever were? The answer is yes.

After that, we have everyone else. All the writers but Malcolm Lowry. All the artists. All the musicians. Unless you prefer Celine Dion to Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, and Doris Day. Or Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Young to Aerosmith and the Temptations.

And did we mention Johnny Cash? You'll match that with Sarah MacLachlan?

But I'm not proud. We lost at The Hockey. Despite baseball, football, basketball, and, yes, 80 percent of the home cities in the NHL, here's a squeal you Canadians can envy:


You Canucks don't know what it's like to be us.

Thank God, the Olympics are done.

UPDATE. Two developments. First, I added some links to some of my usual sweeping generalizations. And, second, Eduardo has come in to comment on hockey, which is the only knowledgeable source we have on that sport since Puck Punk quit enlightening us about "The Hockey." Eduardo says:

I don't think the U.S. will ever beat Canada at hockey in the Olympics. The last time we lost to them was, I believe, 2002 and a commentator said it best: "The U.S. wanted to win. The Canadians had to win." For example, I'm sad we didn't win but I haven't thought about it much. If the Canadians had lost, though, their entire country would have serious mental issues, perhaps forever. I mean, hockey is Canada's one and only contribution to the world. They can't lose that. But I'm glad that the entire U.S. has a reason to dislike Sidney "Little Bitch" Crosby now.

What we like: Passion. What we're still missing: Puck Punk.


Oh well. Ou sont les neiges d'antan? (That's for you Quebecois. In case you thought we hate you.)

Well. Truthfully. We don't hate Canada. Just the Quebecois. (Paraphrasing Lloyd Bentsen: I know French. And that twangy, thudding crap you talk is NOT French.) Are we clear on that?




Saturday, February 27, 2010


I'm reminded of...

It keeps getting hotter and hotter. Sound familiar? Except...

WINTER. We're digging out from our third blizzard here this month, and despite all the scientific disclaimers, I keep thinking about this episode from the old Twilight Zone. You would too if you'd had a February like we have.




Thursday, February 25, 2010


HEALTH CARE SUMMIT! Yawn.


SUMMITMANIA. It's a joke. Only point worth making? Haley Barbour's:

"At the meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington this past weekend, it became clear that many states are making progress in health care reform, and governors have many ideas and policies on which consensus could be based at the national level,” said RGA Chairman Haley Barbour. "I am extremely disappointed to learn that governors will be excluded from the Obama Administration's so-called health care summit tomorrow. If there really is to be a serious effort to develop a bipartisan agreement on health care reform, governors are critical to the equation."

This is InstaPunk in Room 2010, placing a wakeup call for the hour and minute this ridiculous show is over. Thank you.






Stones Retrospective 3:

Beatles Versus Stones


TIME IS ON MY SIDE. As the story goes, the success of the Beatles and the Lennon-McCartney songwriting team caused the Stones manager to lock Jagger and Richards in a room and not let them out until they had written a song. That was in 1965. "Heart of Stone" was the first original Jagger-Richards release. Clearly, the Beatles were way ahead of the game. When Sergeant Pepper hit the charts, the Stones responded with the lame Satanic Majesties Request, and it looked as if the Stones were going to flame out as quickly and thoroughly as Herman's Hermits. The Beatles, on the other hand, were rapidly being lionized by knowledgeable music critics. I first heard the 'Pepper' song "She's Leaving Home" in a music appreciation class at my boarding school. The teacher played it for us, with tears streaming down his cheeks, and explained the musical reasons for its emotional power.



Needless to say, this made us deeply suspicious. Which is when the first of many Stones 'miracles' occurred. The truly awful Satanic Majesties was followed, in May 1968, by one of the greatest rock and roll albums ever recorded, Beggar's Banquet. Nothing could ever equal the musical thrill I felt when I heard "Sympathy for the Devil" the first time.


Can't find the original. This one's from the Steel Wheels tour.
It'll have to do. I was there. At the Cleveland concert. 1989.

The entire album was a masterpiece. If you want to see the songs and hear the first few seconds of each, go here. More great songs than most bands produce in a career. A few years after "Heart of Stone" was written in a locked room. Cool. For me it was the moment of imprinting. They would be my navigator, because I understood that in a wild time of chaotic political and cultural anarchy, they were the ones who were standing back and observing, commenting, laughing at it all while they stood at the heart of the insanity. The Jagger sneer wasn't just a stage ploy; it was literate and satirical. Which is why all the many covers they have done are not completely tributes. They're also self-conscious commentary. Why everything the Stones ever record becomes a Stones song, neither elegiac nor safe. I was hooked from that moment on. The Stones were laughing and I could too. What a blessed relief.

It was only the beginning. The Beatles released the White Album, which we bought and played, once, liked, and then went back to Beggars Banquet. Then came Let It Bleed, which my roommate and I disagreed about. He thought it was better than Beggars Banquet. I thought it was only just as good.



A second straight album consisting entirely of classics. Not done very often. Taste them here.

By this time, a kind of feud was breaking out. People who liked the Beatles didn't like the fact that the Stones were now billing themselves as the "greatest rock and roll band in the world." People who liked the Stones were saying, "uh, so? What's the point? 'Rocky Raccoon' is rock and roll?" A divide developed.

Meanwhile, my roommate and I were debating. Did "Gimme Shelter + Midnight Rambler + You Can't Always Get What You Want" exceed "Sympathy for the Devil + Street Fighting Man + Stray Cat Blues?" So we we played them all the time to refine our positions. He thought "Midnight Rambler" clinched it. I thought "Salt of the Earth" did. (More about that later.)

Did we notice "Magical Mystery Tour," "Hey Jude," and "Long and Winding Road" when they came out? Sure. But the Beatles were done. Everybody could see that. Which made the Beatles fans more inflexible than ever. And they were already becoming tools of the system. You know.

In 1970, after a spectacular senior slump, I gave away the Valedictorian slot at graduation to a (presumable) Beatles fan of better character than I was. Which I kick myself for to this day. But when I got home I had the consolation of playing this to my private self when no one else was listening.



I didn't say their influence was always beneficial. I just said they were an influence.





Global Warming Update


HONORARY PUNK AWARD. Lake, our AGW expert, sent me this email today:

Over the last two days, an opinion and then a response were posted on Watts Up With That, the climate change blog.

The opinion comes from Judith Curry, a climate scientist who originally spoke up after the climategate emails were released. She discusses what it would take for trust to be restored in the climate science community. I thought it was a pretty good read, and a welcome admission from a scientist who sounds like she sees the need for major changes. However, there are certainly a couple of undercurrents in the piece: some arrogance, downplaying, and pandering.

On the Credibility of Climate Research, Part II: Towards Rebuilding Trust

The day after, Willis Eschenbach responded. Willis is one of the key analysts in looking at the temperature record across the world, finding the huge issues with the devices, the placement, the record-keeping, etc. He's clearly pissed, and rightly so -- his response is verging on Punk-ness, I think.

Judith, I love ya, but you’re way wrong…

When I read the response, I thought I'd pass it along to you and the site, if you're interested.

Of course we're interested. Here's a slice of what we call punk science, from the second link above:

The biggest problem with Judith’s proposal is her claim that the issue is that climate scientists have not understood how to present their ideas to the public. Judith, I respect you greatly, but you have grabbed the wrong end of the stick. The problem is not how climate scientists have publicly presented their scientific results. It is not a communication problem.

The problem is that 71.3% of what passes as peer reviewed climate science is simply junk science, as false as the percentage cited in this sentence. The lack of trust is not a problem of perception or communication. It is a problem of lack of substance. Results are routinely exaggerated. “Scientific papers” are larded with “may” and “might” and “could possibly”. Advocacy is a common thread in climate science papers. Codes are routinely concealed, data is not archived. A concerted effort is made to marginalize and censor opposing views.

And most disturbing, for years you and the other climate scientists have not said a word about this disgraceful situation. When Michael Mann had to be hauled in front of a congressional committee to force him to follow the simplest of scientific requirements, transparency, you guys were all wailing about how this was a huge insult to him.

An insult to Mann? Get real. Mann is an insult and an embarrassment to climate science, and you, Judith, didn’t say one word in public about that. Not that I’m singling you out. No one else stood up for climate science either. It turned my stomach to see the craven cowering of mainstream climate scientists at that time, bloviating about how it was such a terrible thing to do to poor Mikey. Now Mann has been “exonerated” by one of the most bogus whitewashes in academic history, and where is your outrage, Judith? Where are the climate scientists trying to clean up your messes?

The solution to that is not, as you suggest, to give scientists a wider voice, or educate them in how to present their garbage to a wider audience.

The solution is for you to stop trying to pass off garbage as science. The solution is for you establishment climate scientists to police your own back yard. When Climategate broke, there was widespread outrage … well, widespread everywhere except in the climate science establishment. Other than a few lone voices, the silence there was deafening. Now there is another whitewash investigation, and the silence only deepens.

And you wonder why we don’t trust you? Here’s a clue. Because a whole bunch of you are guilty of egregious and repeated scientific malfeasance, and the rest of you are complicit in the crime by your silence. Your response is to stick your fingers in your ears and cover your eyes.

And you still don’t seem to get it. You approvingly quote Ralph Cicerone about the importance of transparency … Cicerone?? That’s a sick joke.

You think people made the FOI (Freedom of Information) requests because they were concerned that the people who made the datasets were the same people using them in the models. As the person who made the first FOI request to CRU, I assure you that is not true. I made the request to CRU because I was disgusted with the response of mainstream climate scientists to Phil Jone’s reply to Warwick Hughes. When Warwick made a simple scientific request for data, Jones famously said:

Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?

When I heard that, I was astounded. But in addition to being astounded, I was naive. Looking back, I was incredibly naive. I was so naive that I actually thought, “Well, Phil’s gonna get his hand slapped hard by real scientists for that kind of anti-scientific statements.” Foolish me, I thought you guys were honest scientists who would be outraged by that.

So I waited for some mainstream climate scientist to speak out against that kind of scientific malfeasance … and waited … and waited. In fact, I’m still waiting. I registered my protest against this bastardisation of science by filing an FOI. When is one of you mainstream climate scientist[s] going to speak out against this kind of malfeasance? It’s not too late to condemn what Jones said[;] he’s still in the news and pretending to be a scientist[;] when is one of you good folks going to take a principled stand?

But nobody wants to do that. Instead, you want to complain and explain how trust has been broken, and you want to figure out more effective communication strategies to repair the trust.

We l-i-i-i-ike it. We really do. The Honorary Punk Award is yours, Mr. Eschenbach.

Thank you, Lake.





Just because we need it...


CHASING OUR TAILS. I've linked this so many times, but they keep taking it down. Damn the Internet. So. It's here. For a moment. Maybe that's how everything works. Enjoy.

UPDATE. Commenter poetry -- "A cold and a broken. This song is the sweetest musical ache never to depress me."

Why we do what we do.




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