Friday, October 31, 2008

The problem with outing community organizers

If you offend community organizers, who runs your campaign on the ground?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Legislated Nostalgia

I first came into contact with the idea of legislated nostalgia from the Blur album, Modern Life Is Rubbish. Inside the booklet was this definition: to force a body of people to have memories they do not actually possess.

I identified strongly. I was suddenly nostalgic for a 90s era Britain, when I was in fact a teenager living in the Midwest. I had never been to Britain. I was suffering the effects of legislated nostalgia.

The Word Spy has a different definition: Nostalgic images or ideas presented in such a way that even people who weren't yet born seem to "remember" that time.

Is this how we are viewing Mad Men? Do we collectively feel as though we remember a time when women were secretaries or mothers and men had the corner offices and all the power? When abortion was illegal, when it was socially acceptable to be racist and anti-semitic? When television advertisements might have just been a fad? When clothing was a bit more modest and Kennedy was president? When The Beatles were all alive and making music?

Do I "remember" the 1960s despite being born in the 80s?

Meg Cabot NaNoWriMos! And other prepatory comments

I've written before about my admiration for Meg Cabot and all the writing she does. Well, it turns out she is participating in NaNoWriMo this year too! And she hates the revision process! I can almost imagine myself writing 50,000 words, but the editing is something that might be out of reach for me.

Two days out and I'm excited. I have already opened a Google Document entitled, "National Novel Writing Month" that currently has no words in it. I work all day Saturday (8-4) so I might not get a head start, but I'll attempt to persevere.

I was thinking today that I'll probably be better at this because I've gone to university. Not for any good reason other than I know I can sit down and write 5000 words at a time. And that I am capable of pulling an all night then going to work the next morning.

Al Franken will eat your children and then fart on your face

There are attack ads that misrepresent people's voting records, and I can accept those. The other attack ads are the ones that make the case that not only is this person unfit for office, we should kill them the first chance we get. They are such a terrible human being that we can't have them breathing air any longer. Seriously, why hasn't this guy been at least arrested?

To sum up the ad: Al Franken will expose himself to small children and pregnant women, take your money, your job, your retirement, and eventually a kidney.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Open Letter to CNN and iReporters

Dear CNN and iReporters,

Most of what the iReporters report on is not news. I generally don't care what normal people say. I can call my parents and grandparents. I can overhear this in public places. Most of the people I know are "normal".

iReporters, besides giving an outlet for "normal" people to react to big news (which, hello, blogs do) they also provide an outlet for stupid news.

Enter the 2008 Kitty Caucus. Or the CNN iReport page.

In case you don't want to click over, I'll spoil it for you: these cats "vote" by pooping into designated boxes. I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but ew, really? This is what constitutes lighthearted election news?

I'd more likely accept some pictures of a cat with an Obama button on her collar, or a dog wearing a McCain shirt. There are so many cute things you can do with animals.
Please do not involve their litter boxes.

This is just one of the many examples of non-news running on the iReport. Can we scrap the whole project now?

Thank you,

A person who enjoys news but not cat poop

We get the message, but what else does the PSA tell us?

Neil Patrick Harris is a highlight. Isn't he always?

Harrison Ford is funny. What was the last thing we saw him in?

Tobey Maguire is looking thin. Is he in anything new? I heard he's only slim if he's going to be in a movie.

Tom Cruise -- you had time for this?

Will Smith is just chilling.

What is with all the McCain supporters in this? Please, Jason Segel, tell me you are not a McCain supporter.

Zach Braff is lookin' like a hot mess.

Oh, Pinckneyville, IL -- You Are So Witty

Above is a photo from the Pickneyville, IL parade. Racism does not go quietly.

Last night I talked to someone who was worried that Barack Obama was going to get shot. He was also afraid of the Bradley effect, but I already blogged about how this is just not a thing

The guy I talked to did not know about the plot two guys cooked up to kill 88 people and die trying to kill Barack Obama. The two guys were smart enough to know they were too stupid to get close enough to kill him, so they were prepared to accept martyrdom.

These threats clearly exist. Lets all be careful, okay?

Quote John McCain Unquote

I didn't know until the debates that people over 60 knew about the air quote gesture! Thank you, John McCain, for proving me wrong.

Six days out and I'm sick of this election. John McCain is wearing on me. Sarah Palin has annoyed me since early September and that has festered into a deep hatred. I'm not alone. But this is not a reason not to vote. Neither is complacency in the polls. We can not have four years of an air quoting John McCain Wonkette featured this video as a public service announcement.

It doesn't matter if we're all for Obama (to use their words) "so deep in the tank that most of [us] have drowned." Don't you want to be able to tell people that you voted to elect the first black president of the United States?

Also, don't you want to leave work early to airquote vote unquote despite having done so ealier that day, or three weeks before to start drinking?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mad Men Not Going To Die Early Death

Mad Men is not in as much danger as I thought. I wrote previously about Mad Men, concerned as I am for its fate. It might be another Arrested Development; critically adored, smart, and cancelled.

But its ratings are up! It has the largest high income viewship of any cable show! Almost half the people watching earn $100,000 a year. That certainly isn't me.

Of course, the most important part of the entire episode is that Peggy and Pete finally talked about everything. It had been a long time coming, and I think that's partially why people tuned in. That and the SNL skit.

Theological implications of Pushing Daisies

Pushing Daisies airs on ABC...on some night I don't know. I watch via It is another one of those shows that are in danger due to poor ratings.
It's a good enough show, and its quirkiness may be what keep some viewers away. But what I find more interesting than anything else on the show is the theology (or lack thereof).
Ned can bring people back from the dead by touching them. He touches them again, and they are dead once more. If he brings the person (or animal, plant, et cetera) back for more than a minute, something of "equal life value" will have to die.
Whenever Ned brings someone back, they do not remember anything after they are dead. They remember nothing. Doesn't this imply that there is no afterlife? And if there was one that they are convienently "forgetting," shouldn't the soul remember it?
None of the characters talk about the lack of afterlife. It is glossed over. There is not a good article about what the makers of Pushing Daisies were thinking, what kind of decision making process they went through to decide on no afterlife mentions. Is it simply so that the show can maintain its light fluffiness?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Found Art and Unintelligible Graffiti

I love graffiti, but I do not like unreadable or unintelligible graffiti. This is more my style. If you are going through the trouble to ink or spray paint, think about your message first.

In the English Building at University of Illinois, the bathrooms are covered with the similar graffiti.

Dr. Pepper is annoying me

This is the Dr Pepper can I grew up with. It s nice, simple, and instantly recognizable.

After many years of this design, Dr Pepper decided to make a change. As an adamant Dr Pepper drinker, people were concerned with my reaction to this new design.

I really didn't care all that much. They kept the maroon, the simplicity, and decided to go with a new marketing campaign.

It's a little old fashioned, a little darker, but hey, it is still nice looking.

That leads me to this monstrosity:It is supposed to be modeled after a football. It just looks ugly. Seriously, what part of anyone thinks this is a pleasing thing to consume? Where was the marketing department? I understand that Dr Pepper has some sort of promotion with football, but really. Please stop marketing this as "Limited Edition Football Can Inside!" when I purchase my drug of choice.

Let's revert to the New Old Can once more, please Dr Pepper?

The Post Where I Decide To Participate In NaNoWriMo

I knew National Novel Writing Month was coming up, because I remembered someone from my dorm participated in it. I never found out if she finished though.

The set up: begin writing a novel November 1st. Write 50,000 words by midnight, November 30th. That's 1666 2/3 words a day, approximately three pages. I can maybe do this. The focus is on quantity, not quality. Just put something out there. If your novel isn't done, that's okay. You have 50,000 words of one.

I'm out of college. I write this blog, but that's my only project that consistently uses my thought. The blog might suffer, but I see it only suffering down to one post a day.

I'll use GoogleDocs to help me out. I use a computer at work (don't worry, they encourage surfing the web) so I'll be able to take advantage of the time there. All that's left is for November 1st to come around and I can get started!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Don't You Forget About Me

The best part of this sketch is Bill Clinton, hands down. I do love me a good Bill Clinton impression.

It does raise the question: what will Barack Obama say in those thirty minutes? And more importantly, won't I be at work when they happen?

The Vet Who Did Not Vet

This is absolutely adorable. Huffington Post likened it to School House Rock, but I think its more Dr. Seuss.

Mad Men post: 2 in 1 (Conservativism explained by Mad Men, Mad Men on SNL)

This is my all time favorite scene from Mad Men. Most conservatives today just want to get back to the period that is being played out in the show. Peter Campbell, almost certainly a conservative who didn't want Kennedy elected, wants to get back to a time that existed about 60 years before that. Conservatives just want to get into the unreachable past.

Mad Men, desperate to bring its ratings up, had two seperate skits on SNL. This is the funnier one:

I also read What Would Don Draper Do? I hope Mad Men doesn't pull an Arrested Development and get early cancellation. Basically, Don Draper is the biggest badass, despite all his identity issues. Peggy is pretty much the second biggest badass. Girl has her own office! Only woman in the whole office that gets to call the men by their first names! Snaps!

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

It's supposed to be modeled on Laura Bush's life; the story of a woman who accidentally kills a classmate when she's 17, becomes a librarian, and marries into a politically influential family. Her husband, after a DUI becomes a born-again Christian. How awkward.

Alice Lindgren (later Alice Blackwell, after she marries) is not the most interesting character in the book, although at times she is compelling. Nor is it her husband, the president of the United States. Its her grandmother, the lesbian whose lover performs Alice's abortion, her grandmother who reads and offers insight. The grandmother is different than everyone in the family. Unfortunately, she's not in the book very much.

Alice looks up to her grandmother, but she isn't different in the way her grandmother is. She works hard. Blending into a wealthy family is strange for her. The first night meeting them she gets completely drunk and tells her future husband, "Rich people are bizarre!"

The other interesting part is how ridiculous she thinks the quest for legacy is. That is, after all, what the entire Bush administration has been about. She thinks its childish, to worry so much about how people will think of you 100 years from now. What no one points out is that the man most remembered from the 20th century is probably Adolf Hitler. It is easier to be remember for the bad than the good.

She doesn't vote for her husband, either time. She doesn't agree with his positions. But she stands by her man. For about 300 pages she is the long-suffering spouse.

Its strange that this would come out at the end of the Presidency, much like W has just come out. No one listens to Bush anymore. But I did read this with more interest than any of his recent speeches, which is good for Sittenfeld.