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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Fourbucks

It all started with Wish You Could Be Here, my first real, personalised travellogue for Sundries readers.

It was my way of showing you South Florida as if you were by my side:

Just you and me, in our red Alpha Romeo convertible, looking at the palm-happy vistas, as I whispered this or that tidbit about the sights.

And, oh how we did laugh!

But it's been a while since my last travellogue, in fact, since the Castro Death Watch outside Versailles restaurant in Little Havana, not to mention perhaps my favourite cinemahouse travellogue, The Premier Way.

Instead of a full-blown travellogue, today I offer you a little look into one of my favourite local haunts.

Starbucks.

Erm, I mean, Fourbucks as an internet pal of mine calls it.

'Cause, you know, you never leave without them having relieved you of at least four bucks. Duh.


MY LOCAL STARBUCKS





Anything which caters to the masses, as Eastern seaboard elitist snobs would have it, is supposed to incur nose-crinkling distaste.

Starbucks WOULD normally fall into that category, but for the simple fact that without Starbucks, most Americans would still be thinking Maxwell House is the best cuppa joe they could have.

Ugh. Thank God I wasn't around back then. Well, not much.

This is the entrance to one of my local Starbucks.

I have so many, that it's hard to keep count because of their ubiquitousness. But this is definitely one of my favourites because in the town where people-watching is our birthright, one gets to fills one's boots here.

This photo captures the best of what Starbucks represents, not only for my area, with its palm trees giving you that lazy tropical feel, but for yours too.

The "characters" you see, are archetypes to be found at any Starbucks around the United States.

From the Beckham-haircutted, intellectual lesbian reading Gertie Stein to the left (I checked as I passed by), to the Gold's Gym rat checking out the latest issue of "Gods of Muscle" magazine.

A pair of young lovebirds to the back, and an older lady, sitting quite alone, completes this universal scene.

They are cleverly flanked by someone's spiffy white Beemer, which I don't know how they do this, but a brand-new BMW or Mercedes always seems to be parked in front of every Starbucks I have ever been to.

Maybe they're rented, like the '57 Chevies on Ocean Drive?

I wouldn't put it past the image-conscious Fourbucks.

Never mind, let's go inside!





When entering a Starbucks branch, you should heave your shoulders back, and stride briskly into the joint, as if you owned it.

Prada bag and Cazal sunglasses are optional, but take it from me, it's indispensable to that Rich Bitch image.

And before you ask, no that is not me sallying into Starbucks, doing exactly what I describe above.

But it COULD be me, if I suddenly lost all concept of good taste wearing that atrocious Vera Wang floral pantsuit.

And neither am I located in the group of lounging South American lizardesses, to the far right. How do I know they're South American?

Well, not only are they cultivating that on-holiday, crossed legs pose of pampered ennui, but who else would be wearing tip-to-toe denim in 90F heat?

Anyway, I could hear their Argentinian accent a mile away.





And like all good denizens of the Republic of Starbucks, they expect to be entertained for free.

Similar to highly taxed Swedes, we are damned if we're forking out one red cent more for extras like jazz, or in this case, the suicidal college music of an one-man band.

Check out the girl sitting to the left, hanging on his every note. Must've been the girlfriend. Or wants to be.

Ooh, but what's this? Does my little eye spy the New Zealand Peaberry blend, just arrived? I gotta gets me some of these!





All Starbucks have a strict no-disturb policy.

Basically, if you are in, no one is going to ask you to leave or even ask you to purchase anything to sit down. Sometimes for hours.

This is the major difference between them, and say, a Viennese café, where you can stay all day, BUT you at least have to get a Kaffe mit Schaum to cover your cheapskateness.

On the other hand, they don't provide you with reading material like newspapers, or even (at Demels in Vienna), embossed notepaper to write letters.

If you want to read, or write, you have to supply your own.

This is when you assume the "Starbucks pose", illustrated by this green-t-shirted man above.

This consists of:

(1) hunching over
(2) lowering your chin the better to ward off intruders
(3) fingering a tome of your choice, lost in your own world of Tolkien or Jackie Collins

Or, in my case...





...Bernard-Henri Lévy's "American Vertigo".

You know you're in trouble when fellow progressives pan your book, like Garrison Keillor's dictum on American Vertigo in the New York Times:

"Thanks, pal. I don't imagine France collapsing anytime soon either. Thanks for coming. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. For your next book, tell us about those riots in France, the cars burning in the suburbs of Paris. What was that all about? Were fat people involved?"

I let out a snort of hilarity so loud, the Argentinian women looked up momentarily in shock.

Evita wouldn't have snorted. She would've sniffed.





Hours and hours, I am at Starbucks, but I confess even I have to relinquish my beloved books for more stimulating company -- like the numbing amounts of entertainment to be had online in the internets.

Unfortunately, Starbucks is tethered at the T-Mobile teat, so if you want to have connectivity, you're going to have to shell out U$9.99 for an 24-hour pass, although your first time connecting is technically free.

(When I was signing up, I didn't click on "Free Day Pass", so I got charged the 10 bucks, darn it all)

To sustain oneself, there are espresso brownies, Pepperjack cheese and turkey sandwiches.

And note to cheapskates -- like me:

If you're in near closing time, you could get freebies since they throw them away before closing. Same goes for the New York Times -- you think I'd pay for a rag which features Garrison Keillor??

Lastly, of course, there is the reason why Starbucks exists; their overburnt, overpriced coffee, shown here atop my laptop.

That's right, because I just don't care if my keyboard gets fried with spilt Mocha Frap Venti.

Yes, Fourbucks is not cheap, in either its comestibles or its wi-fi, but it does have one thing going for it.





It's not Panera. Ick.

I'm such an Eastern seaboard elitist snob.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Girlie

I recently mentioned in the comments that, however black-and-white clotheshorse I may be, I have a fondness for all things pink.

Not just any old pink either, but pink with a vengeance, as my mother calls my hotcha mama laptop cover.



Bite me, that's so purrrttttty!

See, in the modern age, we women are bombarded with gadgets, which are the male version of accessories.

But you know, that may be an overly simplistic, and indeed sexist way of looking at the world.

Who's to say that men can't love tie pins like JFK's PT-109 keepsakes, or drawerfuls of handkerchiefs, or indeed, a shoe rack which would pale in comparison to all 6 or 7 of mine?

And who's to say that I can't covet gadgets and electronic geegaws until my fingers bleed from looking them up on eBay? Hmm, hmm?

Fortunately, my digits might be spared more mauling now that I have found THE ULTIMATE WOMAN TREASURE TROVE OF SHINY PRETTY GADGET STUFF ON THE INTERNET.

Shiny Shiny.

Just LOOK at this Snoopy mouse collection, still only available in Japan, especially the pink one!



I think I'm in love.

ScarlettSusi, the authoress of the Shiny Shiny website, pulled out the definitive quote on the matter:

"When you're tired of Hello Kitty, you're tired of life, as Oscar Wilde once said."

A Tasty Burger

I am credibly informed by my ISP that they will be shutting down tonight, starting at 2 AM (in less than half an hour!), to perform "upgrades".

And yes, my use of inverted commas does suggest a very cynical view of these upgrades, which I think is just a smokescreen for someone taking the night off. Or worse.

I'll compose a better blogpost tomorrow, but in the meantime, I cannot let a day pass by without mentioning my newest Blogad campaign, over at...

Rantburg.

Rantburg is the more civilised version of Little Green Footballs (quelle horreur!), and truly qualifies as the ultimate insider blog.

Having perused it long enough, and commented even during my off-months on Sundries, I can truly say, it is a pleasure reading Rantburg every day.

It's all the news, without the excess ego-blogger baggage, and a heck of a lot more Joan Blondell, than anyone ever needs.



Welcome 'burger-nation!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Vamp



Why are there no more vamps in Hollywood, or indeed, around the world anymore?

Look at Theda Bara, the woman whose name was popularly believed to have been an anagramme made from then best selling pulp novel, "Arab Death".

(She'd probably have to go into hiding for that, these days)

The closest thing to the vamp character, which so delighted the cheesy tastes of the 1920s male audience, is perhaps Angelina Jolie -- she of the Billy Bob Thornton vial of blood around her neck, and those impeccably evil lips of hers.

But even then, one gets the merest hint that it's not exactly a put-on, but rather, a lifestyle choice -- the exact opposite of the campy schlock of a true vamp.

Theda Bara owes something of her craft to man-eaters like Mata Hari, or the willy-snipping revenge of Lorena Bobbit, who not coincidentally, has very sunken, demonic eyes too.

The whole incarnation of the vamp, is a completely modern creation, which you can see reflected in the photograph above...

One that even today, doesn't look terribly dated, if only for the torpedo cups Theda Bara wears with such gravity-defying sexiness.

Perhaps, in terms of sheer ghastliness on screen, no one has held a candle to Theda's ilk since then, than Helena Bonham-Carter.



Any woman with that much kohl under her eyelids, is automatically a vamp diva. Or just dirty.

I miss the days of the vamp, without ever once wanting to look like one.

A) I'm too fair. B) I'm too clean. C) I want to devour men's wallets, not precisely their bodies.

If not for me, then for others though.

But the silliness, the self-conscious "devourer of man" antics, the look of steely death warmed up:

That fun, is gone forever from our screens.

Goodbye Theda Bara. Hello Scarlett Johanssen. Sigh.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I Choose Mozart

(Welcome Peaktalk readers! Whaddayaknow, my first quote. And warm greetings to Immodest Proposals readers too!)

As if the turpid stream of nonsensical outrage regarding the Pope's citation, then apology about Islam last week, were not enough, fasten your seat belts, people.

We've hit another bump in the cultural road less travelled!

Today, the Berlin operahouse, the Deutsche Oper, has announced that they will be cancelling their showing of Mozart's Idomeneo, due to concerns about its final scene possibly upsetting Muslim sensibilities.



Not that "high" European art, as it is sometimes referred to in other countries, is popular in the Middle East, or even in EU-aspirant, Turkey.

In fact, unlike the Far East of China, Japan, and South Korea, where their citizens embrace our cultural expressions to such an extent they are almost the majority in symphonic orchestras, the entire Muslim umma has virtually no formal, or consistent relationship to the world of Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven, Tintoretto, or Diaghalev.

This is, of course, unless they emigrate and therefore begin to assimilate into their new lands in Europe, whereby Muslim children begin to be educated about our art, our history, our shared cultural expectations, so that hopefully, it becomes their art, their history, their shared cultural expectations, too.

You must be wondering to yourself, what exactly is the beef this time, that the Deutsche Oper were told their showing of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's 200 year old opera, would cause such consternation, NOW?

It is because of this:
"The controversial scenes in the opera are a change from the original libretto, in which a Greek king is forced to execute his son because of a vow made to the sea god, Neptune, but is reprieved at the final moment by the god's clemency.

In the planned Deutsche Oper production, Idomeneo appears to escape his vow and the dominance of religion by appearing onstage with the severed heads of Jesus, Muhammad, Neptune and the Buddha on chairs."

First, allow me to admit to you that I've never seen Idomeneo, even on DVD.

But, as an one-time Florida Grand Opera season ticket holder, I am an opera aficionada.

My blogfather, JSU, and his An Unamplified Voice opera blog listed first in the blogroll to the right, are further testaments to my love, if perhaps not obsession with, opera. My parents, in their heydey, were simply gaga about it.

So this topic hits very close to my heart, and is not just a reactive clash of civilisations tirade.

Many years ago, as a little girl, I went to Brazilian director of opera, Gerald Thomas' production of The Flying Dutchman by Richard Wagner, where the characters were dressed up as Nazis.

This was considered daring, prescient even (the film Richard III was going to do something quite similar, in the near future) albeit in the traditionally artistic leeway we give our artists, few people gave vent to outrage that a well-loved opera, was being changed this way.

It was, after all, an artistic vision, and like anything concerning that hallowed field of human expression, those that oppose artistic visions are often seen as regressive, not to say, highly unsophisticated.

You either like it, or lump it, but you do not change it.

This Mohammed-Idomeneo controversy is even more telling, considering that the production had intended for the severed heads of Buddha, Neptune, Mohammed AND Jesus to be portrayed.

(I think the Berliners did an awful injustice by not including L. Ron Hubbard if you ask me, but who am I to suggest improvements to the libretto?)

Now, you may think, as I do, that this messy bloody portrayal of severed heads is a visual too far.

Just thinking of it, reminds one all too vividly of the Nicholas Berg decapitation; which those of us who once have seen it, will haunt our nightmares forever.

But it is artistic license, and as such, we in the West are used to it.

Furthermore, we are used to having the image of the Christ used in every way. In fairness, his ubiquitous likeness is what helped to spread Christianity to begin with, and it is manifest all over its most Christian lands.

But blasphemy it is, nonetheless, when you use Jesus Christ's image in a licentious, derogatory, or demeaning manner.

But you don't see more than a whelp of distaste come from Christians, whenever Kanye West decides to crown himself with thorns, in a cover of Rolling Stone magazine, do you?

Though the protests which swilled around The Last Testament of Christ were vociferous back in the day, Martin Scorcese didn't even think of cancelling his film, in polite haste at the opprobrium, did he?

And all too soon, Madonna's happy little frolick on NBC will be broadcast, where it will show her being nailed to a cross, Jesus-style.

Reactions from Christians will no doubt be widespread and swift. But having a fait accompli on our hands, we will vote with our clickers and tune out...

...not threaten the lives of these addlepated producers and middle-aged teen impersonator.

(Just once I would like to see Madonna traipse around on stage singing about how she's the concubine of the Prophet Mohammed, and look at my burkha-bustier. But will she? Of course not. Her reward would not be cancellation, but decapitation and she knows it)

There is a reason Idomeneo was cancelled, and that reason hasn't to do with being concerned about upsetting:

- The Buddhists

- The Gods of Mount Olympus

(And certainly not) - The Christians

We Jesus Freaks, as Ted Turner so loving calls us, are especially used to being insulted.

No, the only reason this opera was cancelled was because German security services were concerned that they could not protect the lives of the audience and Opera officials, should they stage such a production.

Because the Muslims would, well we don't know what they would do exactly, but if past reactions like the killing of Theo Van Gogh are anything to go by, their extremist elements would not leave us in any doubt as to their displeasure.

My friends, Europe is under seige.

And here, you won't hear me say that it is because of Islam. It is not that.

It is under siege because the Old World, previously so sure of itself, so full of artistic buoyancy that nothing was considered too outré, too intellectually stimulating, is now as awkward, as diffident, as an 8-year old arriving for its first day at school.

If it were just a case of nerves, that would be one thing.

But when lack of chutzpah devolves into cowardice, that's when we all of us in the West, have a problem. A big problem.

Because multi-culturalism, with its warm embrace of understanding of all cultures, races, and creeds, is the status quo in Christian Europe, we are loathe to show ourselves in any light, which would shatter this mirror of humanity.

This is no bad thing, mind you, within limits.

But multi-culturalism, and its derivative impulses, is canabalising Europe.

It's allowing the old continent, and its many descendants, to eat itself from within, so that nothing but a skeleton will remain of its former vigourous ideals.

Stand up for yourself, Europe, my old stomping grounds, my old home!

Use the same arguments you use about Christianity, about freedom of expression, about artistic werewithal, about Islam!

This isn't about purposely insulting people, but knowing that your ideals either mean something to you, or they just plain don't.

And if they don't, at least be honest, and do not come running yet again, to the children you pupped around this world, when you are in need of help.

Because the United States might be experiencing the same clash of wills of these disparate civilisations, but Americans have a much deeper understanding of what brawn it takes to defeat your foes.

It is not with honeyed words, with placations, with compromising your ideals yet again, that you will remain free.

It is with making sure you know who you are, and standing up for that with all your might.

If you stand up for one, then stand up for all. If you stand up for none, then don't make an exception for just the one. That is intellectually dishonest, and you know it.

Everything you say you hold dear, is incrementally being debased not by others, but by yourselves.

Watching you debase these ideals, is like watching a danse macabre from afar -- a bunch of old bones rattling around, pretending they are having the time of their lives, when in fact, their death rattle is over.

Because the subtext of what you have done in this particular situation is that you have chosen fear over art, silence over expression, cowardice over originality.

And I'm terribly sorry, Europe, but I choose Mozart.

UPDATE: There has been a sign of life from the old corpse about this affair, thankfully. Not only have many in the intelligentsia denounced the impulse to cancel the opera, now Chancellor Angela Merkel said unequivocally that, "Self-censorship out of fear is not tolerable". Brava! Maybe it's just a sentence, but there's a gushing well of courage in dem dar hills. And it's spewing forth as we speak.

FRIDAY 29 SEPTEMBER UPDATE: Hold the burka-bustiers! We might have a change of heart from the brow-beaten Deustche Oper. They say they might stage Idomeneo, if "sure of safety". That's as courageous as we are going to get, in this day and age, in Europe. We'll take it.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Ultimate Two-Faced, Scoundrel, Thief, Liar, Killer Dictator Reading List

Have you ever perused books on Amazon, and clicked on someone's suggested reading list, alongside the page?

I love doing that, for the simple reason that as a Brit, and now as an American, I love lists. Lists are our shared cultural heritage, which strikes other cultures as ineffably strange, and even a little twee.

Me, I love culling lists, love numbering them, love arguing about them.

Ever since I read David Wallechinsky's "Book of Lists", that compendium of list-goodness, there's never been a list I have been able to pass by without peaking.

So when I saw this photograph of Hugo Chavez at the United Nations last week, I knew there was one list that was missing.





The Ultimate Two-Faced Scoundrel Thief Liar Killer Dictator Reading List



HUGO CHAVEZ SUGGESTS...

Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance (The American Empire Project) by Noam Chomsky


MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD SUGGESTS...

Hitler's War and The War Path by David Irving


BASHAR AL-ASSAD SUGGESTS...

People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present by Howard Zinn


ROBERT MUGABE SUGGESTS...

Days of War, Nights of Love : Crimethink For Beginners by Crimethinc


KIM JONG-IL SUGGESTS

Bomb the Suburbs
by William Upski Wimsatt


OMAR HOSSAN AL-BASHAR SUGGESTS...

Death Blossoms: Reflections from a Prisoner of Conscience by Mumia Abu-Jamal


MOAMMAR QADHAFI SUGGESTS...

How to Rule the World: A Handbook for the Aspiring Dictator
by André de Guillaume


FIDEL CASTRO SUGGESTS...

Let's Go To Cuba by Unknown Communist Party Apparatchik Who Has Since Left on a Raft (foreward by Pedro Almodovar)

(Castro would also like to suggest "Three Guys from Miami Cook Cuban" but he can't do so publicly, coño esta Mafia de Miami)


You'll notice that our modern-day selection of dictators, even the New Kids on the Block, in Thailand, is by force, necessarily slim pickings these days.

That's because dictators, coup merchants, blood-thirsty generalissimos have been at a discount since the 1980s.

Almost every continent on our planet, has seen one old murdering mook of theirs, overthrown, discredited, strung-up, muzzled, or in the case of China, reformed.

Take a look at the List of Dictators (more lists, yippee!) and see for yourself.

Finally, if perchance you disagree that a certain man above belongs to the category I mention, and furthermore, you are the kind of person who is screaming as I type,

"Where is George W. Bush???!"

All I have to say is:

A) Dude, he doesn't read.
B) He deposes dictators not installs them.
C) In 2 years, he'll be gone.

Good luck, Venezuela, trying to get rid of your own hyper-macho, venom-spitting clown.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Have You Seen One Yet?



Not 2 years away, but some people have already put up their political preferences, on the long-suffering form of the ole, family car.

Before I launch into my spiel, allow me to say that I will NEVER understand why people put bumperstickers on their automobile's paintwork.

I mean, even the Lyndon Larouche nutters.

Either you have money to burn, since a paintjob can cost in the thousands, or you just don't give a fig. Either way, you scare me.

My first sighting of a Hill for Prez '08 bumper sticker came on 17 June 2006, according to my camera's info.

At 11:11 AM, no less!

That's the traditional Armistice hour, although these things proclaim a war cry, not a friendly truce.

The next time I saw a similar bumpersticker, was on a Mercedes pulling into mega-exclusive L'Ermitage, a gated community of homes in Coconut Grove.

Caddies. Mercs.

But so far, not a rusted-out whoopdee in sight bearing Ms. Rodham's bumper sticker. Now why is that, do you think?

In case you are wondering where you can get these bumper stickers, here is a handy list for you Hillary supporters:

- Via Irregular Times

- Via Cafe Press (touting their Anti-Bush accessories, fashionista-alert!)

- Via DemStore

The latter of which, has the precise bumpersticker sighted above in the carpark.

The Irregular Times link also offers some clues why Republicans (excuse me, Neanderthals; when did they change the name? I'm always the last to know), hate Hillary.

They include:

"No, let's get real: the real reason Republicans can't stand Hillary Clinton are simple and threefold:

1. Hillary Clinton is a woman (the gall!)
2. Hillary Clinton has a backbone (the nerve!)
3. Hillary Clinton demands respect (the arrogance!)

The Republicans who keep pushing onward with their Hillary-hating campaign, years after her tenure as First Lady ended, just can't handle the idea of a strong, independent woman. They can't handle it, just like they can't handle the idea of women as human beings in general, so they'll try to tear her down.

But isn't it about time the Neanderthals finally got a good electoral slap about the cheeks? Isn't it time that the rest of America showed the Republican regressives that we've moved beyond gonad-based politics?"

Gonad-based politics. Gotta love it.

I wonder what they'd say, if someone told them many Republicans would happily vote for a Condi Rice ticket, without a blink.

Sure, many would not.

But it's not because of Condoleeza Rice's uterus -- but because they don't consider her up to the job.

That's the only thing that counts in choosing a President.

'Cause you know, we're not choosing a woman, but a leader.

Whilst you're polling people, ask Margaret Thatcher how well she was "liked" by her opponents.

Then ask her much she cared.

That, was a leader -- not self-pitying Fallopian tubes trying to win a popularity contest.

RELATED READING

Two Very Different Points Of View

Saturday, September 23, 2006

So Not Sexy

Have you ever seen a photograph, or a television advert, or perhaps just a person across from you in an obviously sexy pose, and thought:

This is SO not sexy.

Meet Luis Figo, Portugal's iconic midfield soccer player.



I mean, where does one start?

An internet pal once questioned why I had once thought Figo was handsome, because in her estimation, "dude, he looks like the Fonz".

I have to admit for a fondness for Portuguese men, who are a poor woman's Italian version of a beefcake:

Every bit as swarthily handsome as their fellow Latins, but without the self-aware narcissism of the young, studly, Italian male.

But, and no offence to any Portuguese and Italian reading this, neither Portuguese nor Italian men retain their outrageously good looks, as they grow older.

In fact, they become hideous.

The features which once stood out as beacons to us hovering, female gypsy moths, become overly pronounced, heavy, too Magnon, without the Cro.

Poor old Figo (pronounced Fee-gu) is a case in point.

Sure, once upon a ransom, he might've been quite the dish.



But unlike British or French men, whose beaky or horsey-faced appearance seems to age more gracefully with the years, other nationalities just become a shadow of themselves.

Before you know it, they DO become the Fonz.



Ayyyy.

But let's get back to that first photo, up top.

I don't know how it is with you, but in my 31st year, my face is still recognisably "me".

And yet, that "me" is not the one you would see before you now, if you were to meet me.

That person I see, is the me I remember, at 16.

For you see, all of us have in our mind's eye, a picture frozen in time, of how we look like to ourselves.

This goes a long way to explaining why men like Figo and women like Sharon Stone, continue to believe they are in their physical prime, and pose in overtly sexy ways long after those cheesecake shots made anyone's pulses race.

It's a psychological impasse which prevents us from seeing how different we look, as we age, just as it takes a special record-playback audio device, to hear our voices as they sound to others.

For Figo, he is the eternal dashing footballer from Portugal, lying recumbent on the floor, as a smoke machine juts out fumes, trying its level best to envelop him with an aura of hunkhood, which that chinese moutache, those pendulous jowls, that Morticia Addams widow's peak, sadly belies.

The whole pose looks straight out of a film noir potboiler, taking itself much too seriously -- not a saucy cat like Joe Namath wearing hose, conscious of his own ridiculousness, and therefore, the sexier for it.

So, here's a tip for Figo.

Relax.

Enjoy your blonde Swedish wife who will be with you even when your jowls drop to the floor, and your eyebrows grow bushier than Leonid Brezhnev's.

Just for God's sake, enough already with the sexy pics.



I may hurl.


RELATED READING

A Female Football Fan Names Her Top 11 Best-Looking Footballers of World Cup 2006

Yes. Figo made it.

Consider yourself warned.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Don't Look Now

(Welcome Reader_Iam readers!)

But guess who...





...looks a heckuva lot like her grandma, down to the unfortunate Bouvier perm.





Yes, young Rose Kennedy Schlossberg recently made Wonkette's turgid little gossip column, because she was seen photographed next to a friend, the latter toking on a hookah, up in Harvard where she was enrolled this summer.





But it wasn't some obsessively stalking papparazo, the likes of which used to haunt her grandmother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (most famously, Ron Galella), who it was who took these two photos.

It's actually from her own entry, in Facebook.

Now, I don't know about you, but just thinking of JFK's grandchild having an entry in Facebook, is rather discombobulating.

What next -- Thomas Jefferson's descendants seen hitting on a crackpipe in MySpace?

(By the way, I might be Youtubing these days, but I refuse to Myspace or Facebook, or Friendster myself like an internet party whore. If you want me, you know where you can find me. On Yahoo Games playing Literati)

If young Rose partook of the hookah, it is not known, but you can amply see that the girl has not rid herself of the Irish Curse, since that is, as Wonkette barely contained herself long enough to mention, not a grape juice bottle she's toting.

On the day when Representative Patrick Joseph Kennedy (D-RI), loudly proclaimed that he has a mental illness -- he's a lush -- just further proof that the Kennedys and the bottle are tied together ever since handle-barred moustached PJ Kennedy the Elder, made a killing serving up pints in a tavern in Southie.

We won't even mention the whole Seagrams saga during Prohibition, and that creepy, old Joe Kennedy.

Dirty money always comes back to haunt you. Always.

Of course, stories of Jacqueline Kennedy's smoking 2 packs of Kools per day, were legendary, and she once plaintively asked, just before dying from Non-Hodgins lymphoma, "What was the use of all the jogging and yoga, then?".

Well duh, if you hadn't been such a mega-mundo chainsmoker...like Audrey Hepburn, who was born and died at remarkably similar times (and who also defined brunette elegance for the ages), you just both might be alive today.

...quite possibly listing Ahmadinejad and Monica Lewinsky as your buddies, on an online journal, like Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg.

And erm, the Marquis de la Fayette.

(His interests: "dead presidents, france, kicking ass, zombies". Uncanny, me too)

Let me just say that I personally think there's nothing wrong with drinking or smoking, although, I do neither.

Okay, the odd Veuve Cliquot now and then, and though I do have a collection of hookahs I started after my trip to Turkey in the late 90's, this is no way makes me a hypocrite.

Anyway, I didn't inhale or swallow.

I say, if the young girl wants to imbibe during the best years of her life, aged 18, get off her back.

You think the scions of America's political houses should be held to a higher standard than you or I, chugging back Schlitzes at Hooligans?

I find that silly, unreasonable, and quite possibly, unsophisticated.

Besides, how cool is it to see JFK's granddaughter lolling around barefoot, in her Harvard dorm, as an overdressed black girl in pearls takes a toke of some Mexican red nearby?

I'd have paid good money to have seen Robert Lincoln do the same, my friends.

And so would you.

ADDENDUM: See, if Rose Schlossberg had been sent to the Sorbonne, like her grannie had been, she might be freely imbibing her tipple of choice, without one degenerate bicurious blogger batting an eyelash.

Speaking of scions of famous families, here is none other than the lovely granddaughter of Princess Grace of Monaco, Charlotte Casiraghi, doing just that, aged not even 17 in this photo.

I see her as an opium smoker, myself.





Which is surely what Princess Madeleine of Sweden (who completes our trio of well-born lovelies) must've been toking, when she was photographed with neither hookah nor champagne flute.

But rather showing off another kind of wine rack.





Whoa. Marie Antoinette, eat your heart out.

Related

Young Jack
The Schlossbergs And The Kennedys And Obama

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hold The Pepperoni

Sometimes, in this crazy, messed up world we live in, one comes across something so archly amusing, that you wonder, how can heaven's comedy clubs top this?

(Groucho had better have a new joke, 'cause we've all heard the Aristocrats! one)

Rarely have I laughed so much, and yet, been so touched by the genesis behind the idea, than when I chanced on this site, today:

PizzaIDF.org

That's right, for a few shekels from your hard-earned trust fund, you too can send an Israeli Defence Forces military man or woman, a pizza.



Mmm, mmm. Pizza!

Is there a better, more self-contained steaming pile of edible goodness in this world, than a pizza?

I challenge you to find one, although I will admit to extreme fondness for shepherd's pie.

Still, the Italian's greatest culinary gift to mankind is so much more universally tasty, than our lowly meat pie.

Whether you take it with plain cheese (my fave)...

With pepperoni (not bad)...

With no tomato sauce and four cheeses (white pizza)...

With just a slathering of olive oil and basil (pizza Margherita)...

Or that special Argentinian version I had in Buenos Aires once, consisting of a boiled egg, pineapple, and ham (blech! and yet, so very good)...

...pizza travels as well as a Fuller Brush salesman to a sheep convention.

Now, I don't know what delivery time is in Israel, or if you get a freebie if it's over 45 minutes, but even factoring the traffic and missiles during rush hour, it must suck to be a pizza delivery guy, there.

Except when your job consists of feeding your troops, who are your front-line of defence between you and oblivion.

Then, frankly, even if the soldiers stiff you with a two bucks tip, it's okay.

They'll get you next time.

Look at these soldiers, enjoying a much-needed respite from Hizboombah's rockets. They look almost happy.



Thus is the miracle of dough, some tomato sauce, and a bit of rolled up cheese.

Now, I know what you're thinking.

What if these brave lads and ladettes, don't go in for pizza?

It happens in the best of families, you know -- dementia.

But fear not, because they do have an alternative.

If you want to, instead of sending the IDF a pizza, on you, you can send them a burger instead.

That's right, a juicy, flame-broiled, extra onions, mucho ketchup, hold the kosher pickle burger, YUM.

BurgerIDF.org

I'd part the Red Sea for a burger, just about now, to be honest.

In any case, you can see the dedication, consideration, and kindness given to the soldiers, from the three folks who thought up this scheme.

Gives fast food, a whole different colouring than the McLibel crowd can ever comprehend, doesn't it?

But you know, this begs the question:

I wonder, what do Hezbollah, Hamas, or Al-Qaeda and their supporters, send their troops?

Other than a one-way ticket to hook up with 72 black-eyed virgins, in that great comedy club in the sky...

UPDATE: Here's a site from what seems a new blogger from Israel, a self-described American oleh. He blogged about the PizzaIDF.org idea, and perhaps my link is his first, so mazel tov!

Also, to those of you who are interested in the prices, because if there is something as universal as pizza, is having to fork out dough of another kind to pay for it, here are the list prices:

Pizza & Soda for a patrol
1 pizza pie & 1 bottle of soda
(5 soldiers)
$16.95

(Not bad!)

Pizza & Soda for a section
2 pizza pies & 2 bottles of soda
(10 soldiers)
$31.95

(You can't feed 10 people with $32 from Big Cheese, down here; this is a steal)

Pizza & Soda for a platoon
6 pizza pies & 6 bottles of soda
(30 soldiers)
$89.95

Pizza & Soda for a company
18 pizza pies & 18 bottles of soda
(90 soldiers)
$269.75

(Bang for your buck, pun very much intended)

A Full Month of Pizza
1 pizza pie & 1 bottle of soda
each week for a month
(Tell us how many months,
and you will be charged monthly.)
$61.95

(That's a square deal, as they used to say in gangster movies in the '40s)

All of this, and PayPal, too.

What a crazy, wonderful, awful, terrible, delicious, unforgettable world.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Meep Meep

This made me laugh.



And this.

Pope Benedict's Real Apology

(Welcome Anchoress readers!)

Last week, a squirrely German professor with more hair on his head than any 79-year old should have a right to, met his soundbite match.

The Catholic Pontiff, so recently elevated to the Throne of St. Peter, used an official visit to his old home, Bavaria, to reference a Byzantine emperor's words on Islam...

...thus giving this long-dead Paleologue monarch more Google hits, than he's had in a frikkin' long time.

Instead of plaudits from the pundits for making them scramble to their Encyclopaedia Britanicas, which would've been the reaction of almost every one in this world, save wild-eyed fanatics, we have had:

  • Thousands of protesting marchers heaping condemnation without having read a single word of what Pope Benedict really said, let alone understood it


  • Said Pope burnt in effigy in a host of Muslim cities around the world


  • Dozens of Christian churches torched and/or desecrated (hey, there's a choice?), no matter if they're Roman Catholic or what


  • An Italian nun killed in Somalia


  • And as we know with extremists, that's just for starters.

    This little contretemps, unlike even the recent Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, has staying power in the form of an elderly German man who makes for a good punching bag excuse for the Arab street to vent.

    But don't you expect one single iota of forgiveness, re-evaluation, and dialogue FROM THESE PROTESTERS, about this.

    Oh no.

    Only the Pope, and thereto his Christian minions the world over, must abjectly apologise for words not his own, and thoughts he didn't endorse.

    Here's what we'll do, then.

    Let's craft Pope Benedict's apology as these fanatical adherents of what is, we're constantly being told, a gentle, peace-loving religion, would like to hear.

    So here goes an attempt at mollifying the sensibilities of the outraged; the disaffected; the just plain cheesed off.

    (I included in the latter category, those around the world who may not necessarily be Muslim, but for whatever reason, found themselves with elevated blood-pressure after Pope Benedict's address in Regensburg University.

    They are legion, and they have blogs too, you know. Link me!)



    "My dear brothers of the Book, I, Benedict XVI, would like to personally apologise to each and every one of you to whom I have offended by my callous citation of Manuel II Paleologue's libellous attack on your noble, peace-worshipping religion.

    Of course, we all know that my true feelings on Islam mirror very closely what the Byzantine emperor said, since I consider my religion superior to yours in every way.

    In fact, you correctly surmised that I used a common journalistic trick of scrounging up a quote that reflects your own world view, and using it for good effect to make a point.

    This, of course, allows me to say what I really truly feel, whilst looking "neutral" throughout.

    Nevertheless, it was wrong of me to be so candid, and I take any punishment your more vigourous co-religionists mete out at Christians around the world for my hasty judgement on Islam, with bowed head, the better to be chopped off at your later convenience.

    Allow me to also apologise to Muslims the world over who feel hard done by the Jewish people, for not going out whole-hog alongside your venom towards Israel, considering I once donned the garb of a Hitler Youth.

    I mean, come on, you should expect more from the Panzer Cardinal, right?

    Furthermore, should you consider it worth your while to enter the Vatican during my Pontificate, we promise not to screen, racially-profile, or strip search you in any way, shape or form, the better so you can come near me and show me your appreciation for my words.

    Although it is true that you do not allow us into Mecca...though any Crusader...infidel...unbeliever will be killed if found inside the hallowed city, and we do let you into our holy places, with no questions asked (except the solicitation of a few coins from your oil-rich purses), we understand that certain people consider us unclean unbelievers who defile the very ground we trod.

    Why do we do this, when you are so adamantly strict in your own practises?

    Because we're stupid -- and therefore exploitable, but you know, in a GOOD, gomint cheese type of way.

    Please note that whilst I am the spiritual leader of 1 billion Catholics on our shared planet, that I consider myself the real leader (Führer!!) of all those who you hate the most, save the retard in the White House and his lickspittle in London, not to mention that vegetable and his successor in Jerusalem.

    Thus, my words carry supreme weight with all Christians, and you should punish us all for my despicable words about Islam, that shining beacon of tolerance and kindliness as shown throughout history.

    After all, who amongst us can forget your respect of the fellow peoples of the Book in your countries, when their dhimmitude was held in legal protection -- whilst we murdered and killed Jews and non-Catholics wantonly, for ABSOLUTE YONKS...back in the day.

    Ah, but what a day! Good times.

    So, please once again accept my deepest, humblest and sincerest apologies for my words on Islam, that noblest of all religions, whose sheer weight of historical triumphs over peoples bodes well for mass conversion in the future.

    Further to this, I would like you to know, that should the Caliphate once again rise up, and take the word of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) throughout the lands it once reigned, and where the ignorant live without its sacred knowledge, that I shall be your first convert!

    If spared.

    Thanks to all for your collective attention to my ex-cathedra, but abundantly heartfelt apology.

    Thank you and drive home safely -- you're the only ones who can afford to."

    Well, if the Vatican Office of Communications is so rude as not to compose this simple, but complete apology, which billions of protesters have awaited with anxious patience, then you know, SOMEONE has got to do it.

    And hey, might as well be a blogger.

    Just don't let on I'm a woman.


    UPDATE: Watch the original speech in German

    RELATED READING

    The Essential Differences Between Modern Christianity and Modern Islam

    Why are We Afraid of Benedict XVI?

    Friday, September 15, 2006

    A Horse Of Course

    (Welcome Ace of Spades and Dr. Melissa Clouthier readers! You have filthy minds, all of you. Just like me)

    Let me ask you:

    What is the one thing you recall about Catherine the Great, from your sleep-induced memories of High School history class?

    Yep, me too.



    Rarely has one woman had to deal with such slanderous gossip as her constant companion in history books, as this outstanding lady monarch, has had to.

    Yet, if there's anything to be learnt by this story, is that people who undergo harsh winters might just think certain relationships are normal. We can all get a little crazy shut in 6 months out of the year, right?

    Sure, winter sometimes does things to you.

    Things like naming your daughter Wolf; suicide; and of course, nookie with your horse.

    Well, have I got a story for you!

    You might remember that Denmark was in the news earlier this year, for considering providing its handicapped citizens with official prostitutes, on the taxpayer's dime.

    After all, handicapped people have needs.

    This is not to make light of their needs, but frankly, the idea that the state should subsidise those needs, trips over the light fantastic of moral turpitude.

    But if you thought "Social Worker with Privileges" was a dazzlingly civilised concept, you might be interested to know that the land of the sex change, Denmark offers another highlight in its tourist package:

    Animal bordellos.

    (Come on, you know you want to repeat it out loud, in a weird, midwestern David Letterman, "Uma. Ophrah." type of way)

    According to this article in Aftenposten, Norway's second largest newspaper, Denmark is the first stop for Norwegians, in the little talked-about sex-with-animal farms.

    "Neither Denmark nor Norway has a prohibition on sex with animals, as long as the animals do not suffer.

    On the Internet Danish animal owners advertise openly that they offer sex with animals, without intervention from police or other authorities, Danish newspaper 24timer reports."

    As long as the animals do not suffer, this is the line that kills me.

    You can't so much as cough on a fox in Britain, anymore, or wear your grannie's chinchilla, without PETA staging a protest outside your walk-in closet.

    So where have they been all these years, when Scandinavians decided to pork your porker?

    Presumably holding a vigil for Germaine Greer who dared to criticise Steve Irwin for his love exploitation of animals.

    By all means, kick a guy when he's down under, but do not go after those who hanker for some lovings from a lemur.

    If this blogpost has whet your interest in animal brothels, say no more, here's what it'll cost you:

    For a mere U$85-170, which is teenage-Thai chump change, you too can hook up with My Friend Flicka, in Denmark, since there is no legal prohibition against bestiality either there, nor it is believed, in Norway.

    See, the law is kinda fuzzy on this point. It's a grey area, if you will, full of nuances.

    When asked if animal bordellos were illegal in Norway, their Norwegian Food Safety Authority Section Chief for Animal Welfare (a bureaucratic mouthful), Torunn Knævelsrud, said,

    "It is difficult to say yes or no," Knævelsrud told Aftenposten.no.

    He added that as long as the animal was sheltered, fed and cared for properly, there is nothing to prevent animal bordellos from existing in Norway.
    "It could be that the animals don't really care," Knævelsrud said.


    If a little fox is said to care whether a pack of hounds and aristocratic fiends in red coats are chasing after him, then I think it's safe to assume a chicken would mind if its tuchus was being penetrated, don't you think?

    Not that I'm judging animal sex tourists, oh no!

    We must create a climate for tolerance, and understanding.

    So before you condemn the wackiness of such a situation being in legal limbo in two of the most advanced nations on earth, just remember that llama herders in Peru had to, BY LAW mind you, be accompanied by their wives, during any trek lasting overnight.

    Those men just couldn't be trusted in cold, lonely nights to go without the comfort of a warm beast -- which is an awful way to describe your missus, but there it is.

    If the Peruvian parliament could pass such a law to ostensibly protect the llama from abuse, YOU'D THINK the cradle of welfare-civilisation that is Scandinavia, could too.

    Everyone knows Winter whips the llama's ass.

    UPDATE: Fortunately, due to this reportage, the Danish Parliament is delving into the matter.

    A Danish daily newspaper called 24timer decided to investigate the issue. Apparently a few hours of searching the web revealed 22 Danish websites advertising bestiality and even managed to arrange meetings two animal sex providers. 24timer indicated that most customers of the Danish animal sex industry are from Germany, Sweden and Norway and one German website refers to Denmark as an “animal whorehouse”. Next week the Danish parliament will decide whether legal measures should be taken in regard to bestiality.

    I'm sure Germaine Greer will neigh weigh in on the side of the horsies, any moment.

    Monday, September 11, 2006

    Remembering Angel Perez



    This is Angel Perez Jr., of Jersey City, N.J., a photo whose face shows him crystallised for all time, when he was only 42 years old.

    Angel died in the World Trade Centre attacks on September 11, 2001, after having worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, for a few years.

    I am honouring him today, as part of the 24 hour 9/11 tribute, by the 2,996 project. I am the 2479th blogger, to have signed up.

    UPDATE: Due to the perhaps expected volume, this site has been down all day. Here is an alternate site, which lists all 2996 victims and their accompanied blogger commemorator.

    When I signed up for the project, I thought I could choose from perhaps a list of available persons who sadly perished that day.

    In my mind's eye, I was going to choose a young British girl, perhaps from the south of England, and who had, just maybe, not led a very heralded life -- a mirror, as well as the polar opposite of myself.

    But upon hitting send, a name came up already chosen for me.

    And you know what?

    That's exactly as should be.

    On that day, no one chose to die or to live.

    No one chose to be half-way up the stairs or half-way down the street.

    No one chose whether they'd ever see their families again, or whether they'd have a chance to say goodbye properly, like everyone of us desires to do, at the moment of our death.

    So it is only proper and fitting that by the same randomness of circumstance, or perhaps if you bear for a moment my religious tenets, by the inscrutable workings of Providence, that I was given Angel Perez as my honouree.

    I have to say, it's been a hard slog to get any information on Angel. Phone calls were not returned, emails led no where, and though some people had memories, not all who were there, seemed to have particular memories of him.

    Remember, a lot of people have since moved on in the intervening years, and some, well, they just never thought to pay much mind to those who in a split second, might be gone forever.

    This isn't evil. This is human. We some of us do it, even now.

    But perhaps this is exactly what makes Angel Perez such a representative member of the fallen victims of 9/11.

    He was Everyman.

    The guy who passes you by the hall of your office building, with a shy smile of greeting.

    Or handing you some serviettes, in the falafel stand down the corner.

    Maybe he's your neighbour, who you've sworn you would visit one of these days, if ever you had the time for more than an off-hand wave in the mornings, as you both rushed to work.

    There are Angels everywhere.

    And since September 11, 2001, our heaven has one Angel more.

    If you have the time, please leave as many messages of condolence as you can, in the comments section.

    I will pass them on to his family, and friends, with loving thanks to all.


    OTHER BLOGGERS ARE REMEMBERING...

    Michelle Malkin honours Giovanna Porras of Peru

    The Anchoress honours Firefighter, FDNY Squad 1, Matthew David Garvey

    Blogmeister USA honours Louis Steven Inghilterra

    Before And After

    See if you can spot what is wrong with the first photograph of a South Florida Blockbuster shop's display of the Paul Greengrass film, United 93...

    BEFORE





    AFTER





    ...and what is missing later that weekend.

    Can you guess what happened?

    Tuesday, September 05, 2006

    Go Canes!!

    Ahh, September in America.

    You know what that means, right?

    It means, after the frivolities of summer, of the beach volleyball parties, of the Coppertone coconut smells, of the summer family getaways lasting 10 hours straight, it finally means -- FOOTBALL!

    And if you're a big college town, as Miami undoubtedly is, this means, COLLEGE FOOTBALL!

    Unfortunately, I couldn't be at the Big Game tonight, at the Orange Bowl. But as I was passing by the University of Miami today, I did get a taste of the insane fun that an UM v. FSU matchup means to us.

    Look at these Cane Crazies below, showing their school pride on our elevated subway, Metrorail.





    The guy wearing the C waved and threw kisses at me, as I stopped at the red light. We're hooking up after the game.







    Wherever you went, around 3 in the afternoon today, you saw the hugest University of Miami "hurricane" flags, showing off their school spirit.



    Now, some of you who may be FSU or Gators, may find these photographs insulting.









    Fortunately, I include in the same shot, a guy in a huge 4x4 showing off his "Cuban Pride" sticker. VAMOS CUBANITO!








    Finally, this is why I wasn't able to be at the Big Game in person, tonight.

    Because we're having primarily elections on Tuesday, 5 September.

    And guess what? I'm doing my civic duty, and being a pollworker from 5 AM to 10 PM Tuesday.

    Why so long? 'Cause I'm the Clerk, that's why.

    And I hope, a Happy Hurricane, though things are looking tight at the moment.

    GO CANES!!

    UPDATE: "They" hadn't won at the OB since 1978. Oh well. Them's the breaks.

    Saturday, September 02, 2006

    Death Of A President

    It was only a question of time.

    All of us who have studiously avoided watching the machinations of West Wing, that programme which was a not-so-secret wish fulfillment of Democrats regaining control of that location they most covet, the Oval Office, have known it would happen one day.

    And coming on 10 September, 2006, in the Toronto Film Festival, that "it" has finally happened:

    A "fictional documentary" of the assassination of the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, will be shown to an already sold-out Canadian audience.



    Now, I don't know about you, but I am as game as the next person for a mockumentary.

    Some, like This is Spinal Tap, which I finally did see upon the urging of a few readers, can be heaps-loads of fun, and can make subtle, but affectionate fun of the genre which they are portraying.

    Some, like Dark Side of the Moon, attempt through real interviews with such worthies as Henry Kissinger and Buzz Aldrin, to give an alternate reality to the credibility of certain fact -- in this case, by suggesting the various Apollo moon landings were a Stanley Kubrick creation in a Hollywood studio.

    What these two films share in common, however, is a light touch.

    Comedy, not controversy, is their main goal.

    That was the impression Barbara Streisand and husband, James Brolin, wanted to create, when they trotted out their own prime-time endeavour on President Reagan, until it was pointed out to them that perhaps making fun of a dying man who had long battled Alzheimers, wasn't in the very best of taste.

    After much pouting by the songstress that her film was being dragged through the gutter by the "Republican spin machine", CBS ixnayed the project, until it was finally trundled off to a bad time slot on an even worse premium movie channel.

    Few saw it, and even less cared about it.

    Especially after President Reagan succumbed to his illness, just a few short weeks afterwards.

    But this 90-minute film showing the purported assassination of the sitting US President seems to have loftier goals than just a comedic kick in the pants of a much unbeloved president.

    Death of President is slated to be shown on my homeland's More4 cable channel, an offshoot of Channel 4 (the "alternative" channel), later this October.

    And channel controller, Peter Dale, has made it perfectly clear that the War on Terror is the main impetus for a fictional documentary of this explosive type.

    He says:

    "It's quite clear from the film that the story is a reaction to American foreign policy, in particular the War on Terror and how it's subtly, or quite dramatically, changing the politics and internal culture of America.

    I'd like people to think at the end of the film about what, domestically, could be the consequences of our involvement in the Middle East."


    I'm sure Mr. Dale, where he to be interviewed by me as to the exact meaning of what he says, would be horrified at the suggestion that his last sentence leaves an open-ended question.

    Is he suggesting that President Bush should be assassinated for what many consider his botched handling of the War on Terror?

    Of course, he would counter that neither he, nor the director, nor the channel suggest anything of the sort: that merely, this documentary was made to show what COULD be a possible result of such foreign policies.

    It's almost as if some intrepid filmmaker decided to show what would happen to another daring filmmaker, say, oh I don't know, Theo Van Gogh perhaps, whose controversial documentaries about Muslims, later resulted in the Dutchman's harrowing street corner death, at the hands of an Islamic fanatic.

    But something inside me tells me few filmmakers would have made such a mockumentary, primarily because of the colleague factor, but also because suggesting possible physical backlash for their ideas, is not something any civilised human being could condone.

    And this is where our fictionalised documentary, steps over that ethical line.

    If the premise of the documentary is to make you think what would happen to a President who pursued a foreign policy not in synch with many people's ideals, then it is almost impossible not to believe that it is being suggested that an assassination is the logical consequence of such policies.

    From logical, it is but an AK-47 step to justified.

    It is PRECISELY this cause and effect angle, that is the most troubling to me.

    I have to admit, that I have had dreams since 2003, about President Bush being assassinated when travelling abroad.

    Whenever I turn on to CNN in the mornings, I half-expect to hear the fateful newsflash -- "The President Has Been Shot".

    Though many people say that Richard Nixon was infinitely more hated in his lifetime, even the counter-culture generation didn't have the gall to put this wet dream of offing the Prez, unto celluloid.

    No.

    It took our generation, raised on the clever graphics of Photoshop, the slick cutting of MTV, and the Bush Derangement Syndrome of Michael Moore acolytes, to put this germ of an idea into reality.



    Let me remind you of a incident which happened in 1977, in one New York publishing house named Viking.

    At the time, they handled Jeffrey Archer's publications, and did very well by them, indeed.

    But that year, the later disgraced Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare, published a noveleta called, "Shall We Tell The President?" -- whose plot revolved around the imaginary assassination of President Edward M. Kennedy.

    (In case you missed it in your 80's history class due to Tab overdose, Teddy Kennedy succceeded President Jimmy Carter as POTUS in 1980. Hah)

    The book was largely panned, not only for being a rush job which showed in its writing, but because as can be imagined, various people found the premise of the book to be in the poorest possible taste.

    Fancy Teddy Kennedy being assassinated!

    Is there no end to the suffering of poor Rose Kennedy??!!

    From Pete Hamill, to Art Buchwald, to Gore Vidal, everyone of intellectual standing rubbished or ridiculed Archer's little reverie, as nothing more than pulp fiction.

    And then there was Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who had the misfortune of actually working as editor at Viking at the time.

    One acid tongue even levelled a not-so-veiled attack on the former First Lady, then in her second widowhood, that "anyone connected with Viking's publishing of this book, should be ashamed of herself".

    An unfair characterisation, because Mrs. Kennedy, whose pink Chanel suit and pillbox hat had once been covered with her slain husband's blood one fair Dallas afternoon, threatened to resign from Viking, if the publishing house went ahead and printed Archer's book.

    They did. And almost immediately, she went over to Doubleday.

    The moral of the story is this, with rhetorical flourish:

    When is a scenario, a step too far, even for fiction?

    Which voices of protest will be raised when transgressions of good taste and decency, are crossed?

    And will it be the same voices as the ones who evinced themselves scandalised, in almost identical circumstances in the past?

    Somehow, I highly doubt it.


    PHOTOSHOP ADDENDUM:



    Hush.

    For my first Photoshopping attempt, it's fantastic.


    FOLLOWUP READING

    How Channel 4 Assassinated President Bush

    Death of A President: Political Pornography

    Kill the President: Why Not?

    Fun With Real Audio (And Winamp Too)

    Don't think that I have given up on my Sundries.

    I haven't. But things are...hairy.

    Other than profuse, heartfelt apologies, and many bashful stares at my feet in embarrassment, however, there is nothing that I can add to that statement.

    Just bear with me. I promise I will be more diligent in my blogging duties, in short order.

    In the meantime, you'll be happy to know that I am having a blast with my new Dell computer.

    Mama mia, I went from a Ford Pinto to a Maserati, just like that!

    One of my favourite little proggies which I now enjoy on Windows XP (I had previously had the realiable but old-fashioned Windows 2k Pro), is the whole Media Centre suite, which includes the fun add-on of

    Windows Dancer

    In case you don't know of this add-on, it's a little moving icon which actually boogies as you play your songs on your media player of choice.

    I've downloaded most of them, but I confess, my two favourites are below.



    Meet Chanel. She likes long walks on the beach, bubblebaths and Andre 3000.

    A bit like me, only with a heckuva lot more rhythm.




    But this is the piece-de-resistance dancer.

    Yep, your average American white guy, doing the mashed potato, after having quaffed a bowlfull of the stuff.

    If you ever feel down, say after hearing they've solved Poincare's Conjecture, just when you were THIS close to solving it, just download these little extensions and watch lively pint-sized creatures cut the rug on your monitor.

    A smile was raised, and thereto, my spirits.


     




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