Thursday, November 29, 2007

I Heart Huckabees Was a Terrible Fucking Movie

So, I was reading about the Republican debate last night, and I got to thinking about this old Onion article, specifically, as it relates to Mike Huckabee. I know "What kind of a country..." is one of the most over-used beginnings to a rhetorical question in this, the Age of the Bush Doctrine, but still: What the fuck kind of country allows a hard-core nutter like Huckabee (anti-evolution, pro-guns, anti-abortion, pro-Guantanamo, anti-gay, anti-First-Amendment, anti-stem-cell-research) to assume the mantle of the nice-guy, uniter candidate on the following twin bases? He can make a decent Chuck Norris joke, and he doesn't want to stab all undocumented Mexicans in their hearts.
At this point, I can't prognosticate as to which congenital liar the corn-shuckers are going to pick out of their teeth and spit back at our fat, dumb country, but let it be said, you won't unite me into your camo-wearing, Darwinism-denying, Jenny Craig administration, asshole. And, as for you, "liberal" media, yeah, I'm sure you're right; this time around the guy you want to get a beer with isn't going to turn out to be the next guy to put roofies in our PBR.

Speaking of rednecks, this reminds me: I stopped in a gas station restroom somewhere between Austin and San Antonio last week, and as I was engaging in my business, I heard a guy say to no one in particular, "You think in Mexico, they got bathrooms that say bannoh on top and bathroom underneath it?" As I went to the sink to wash my hands, he repeated this probing query into world cultures, and, I noticed, this time to me specifically.

Now, I weighed my responses. I could've said, (1) "Que, puta? No hablo Ingles;" (2) "Dude, look at me. Do you really think I'm on your team?"; (3) or nothing at all. I went with (3), but he kept on keeping on, and even added, "What the hell is a bannoh anyway?" This part I didn't quite understand. He hates Mexicans so much he's unable to logically reason that they would have a separate word for the very facility we were standing in? Shit, that's some hate.

Anyway, I ended up telling him, "it means bathroom, and wherever you're going with this, I'm probably not going to agree with you."

Then he lost his shit and slurred, "I'm entitled to my opinion!"

To which, I naturally responded, "And I'm entitled to think you're an ignorant redneck." And then I got the hell out of there, hoping he wouldn't spray buckshot into my face. Anyway, the point is, I messed with Texas, and it felt really fucking good.

did i do thaaaat

for whatever reason, the following information hit me pretty hard:
Jaleel White is 31

i mean, the olsen twins being old enough to buy and sell a multi-million dollar townhouse is one thing, but when did urkel age?

i gotta go lie down or something.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

U to the N-izzo

yeah, i like jigga-man. "threat" on the black album is one of my favorite songs featuring sound effects (shooting bullets) and i think american gangster would be a worthwhile purchase. turns out i'm not the only korean who appreciates hova. ban ki moon, yes, the secretary general of the UN, issued the following statement about jay-z:

i’m proud that this award has been given to Jay-Z for his work with the United Nations and MTV on “Water for Life”.

My man Jay-Z has been a wonderful partner to the United Nations, and a champion of those in need around the world.

More than one billion people have no access to safe drinking water. Two billion lack adequate sanitation. As a result, thousands of children die every day from diseases that could be prevented.

When world leaders adopted the Millennium Development Goals, they pledged to change all that. They promised, by the year 2015, to cut by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water.

Let us hold them to that promise.

Let us free all those without water and sanitation from this hard knock life.

Let us give them water for life.

hey, who said blacks and koreans can't get along?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Cheezburgers Made from Soy, and Other Myths

So, 'Pockets and I are spending the holiday in San Antonio, which for some reason has embraced the suicidal gray and chill of an Bay Area morning. Surely, this is the slow descent to hell Nancy Pelosi and her ascendant San Francisco "values" portended.

We left early Wednesday afternoon-- bracing for the rowdy, pre-tryptophan crowds--but SFO was a ghost town. The plane ride was memorable only because the mustachioed flight attendant passed out cheeseburgers he insisted were made of soy, despite the 42-point-font "beef" stamped on the wrapper. I love watching people wage losing battles: a whole bunch of perturbed maybe-vegetarians drew the mistake to his attention, but he insisted the label was a misprint. Even an appeal to his co-flight-attendant yielded a dismissive "you must be hallucinating," but he stuck to his guns.

We changed planes in Houston--Bush Intercontinental--where the picture above was taken, and my question to you, reader, is not what's up with the airport bookstore which, along with no fewer than 12 ideologically like-minded great works, put the following books on display in the window? See here, here, and here. (I like that the author of the first two lives in a "secure, undisclosed location," simultaneously paying homage to his bloodthirsty demigod and luxuriating in the paranoid fantasy that he might be some suicide bomber's prime target.)
No, my question is when did George H.W. Bush become motherfucking John Henry--chiseled abs, broad shoulders, Saddam-like stature and all? A man who's most memorable for vomiting on the Japanese Prime Minister and for evoking a Mr. Burns-esque sense of human decay has now been reimagined as some sort of frontier hero. Ninja, please.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

holidays are coming up

i know none of us can believe how close it is to christmas, but c4ts, i think i found the right gift for you.

it's only a magnet, unfortch.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

what the fuck is david brooks yapping about - part 2

in this part 2 of what appears to be an infinite-part series, i again examine the latest and greatest david brooks column in the new york times and ask the question we've all been wondering: what the fuck is david brooks yapping about? of the innumerable unfortunate fallouts of sasha frere-jones's "miscegenation" article in the new yorker is that it encouraged david brooks to put his two cents in. typical david brooks, his two cents arrived about 6 weeks too late. but he'll have you know, he's hip, he's with it.

i can't even muster up the energy to write about his column. as usual, it boggles my mind that he has this incredible forum and he wastes it on nonsensical drivel like this:

But cultural history has pivot moments, and at some point toward the end of the 1970s or the early 1980s, the era of integration gave way to the era of fragmentation. There are now dozens of niche musical genres where there used to be this thing called rock. There are many bands that can fill 5,000-seat theaters, but there are almost no new groups with the broad following or longevity of the Rolling Stones, Springsteen or U2. (emphasis supplied)

It seems that whatever story I cover, people are anxious about fragmentation and longing for cohesion. This is the driving fear behind the inequality and immigration debates, behind worries of polarization and behind the entire Obama candidacy.

oh hey, look at me! i'm david brooks! i'm on pbs! look how nicely my scant knowledge in music and politics dovetails!

anyway, this gawker post does a better job than i could. besides, is there a better tag than "bozos in paradise"? hehe.

Monday, November 19, 2007

random endorsement

i admit, the blatant product placement on 30 rock bugs me (e.g. snapple, verizon, stupid seinfeld bee movie), but i was pleasantly surprised by something recently and i have to tell you about it, dear reader.

as i wrote before, i hit a snag on my way home from vacation. essentially, my luggage was lost somewhere in brazil because my originating airline (TAM) neglected to transport it to my destination airline (delta). i've had airlines lose my luggage before, and the only way for me to check its status was to either (1) religiously log onto a website and enter the case number or whatever they give you or (2) call a 1-800 number and waste about 30-40 minutes of your day, at which point you end up talking to a random, unconnected individual at a call center nowhere near where your luggage probably is. with option (1), unless the news is good, you really have no relief, and with option (2), whether the news is good or bad, the person at the other end of the phone probably can't do much.

while trying to figure out whether my luggage was insured, i discovered that american express had this program called "global assist". as molly pointed out to me, the main character in the talented mr. ripley goes to the amex office a lot (y'know, cause he's an aspiring debonair international man of mystery). sure enough, the "american express clerk" receives billing in the movie.

long story short, you can outsource this entire process! a very patient and helpful woman from american express called delta on my behalf everyday, then relayed the information to me. i think i saved about 2-3 hours in the aggregate.

look at all of these other things they'll do on your behalf--for free:
  • We’ll provide you with the contact of family and/or friends in the event of an emergency situation.
  • If you lose something while traveling, Global Assist will help you search for the lost item. We will need to have basic information about the item and where it was lost in order to provide the fastest service.
  • Global Assist provides help in arranging bail by locating bail bond agencies that take the American Express Card.
anyway, you probably won't see me blogging much about any product (aside from delicious stephen colbert's americone dream), but the next time you have your bail arranged through amex, i think you'll thank me.

Friday, November 16, 2007

go blue

i blogged a long time ago about "the hunt", one of my favorite columns in the NYtimes. the most recent one features a girl (umich grad! woot!) who's looking for a 1-bedroom apartment in which she could create a second bedroom by building a wall. sounds pretty good. then the usual folly ensues, where we discover people's hidden prejudices and sheer stupidity.

i highlight only the best quotes:

A wall divided the living room, creating a third bedroom. The guys were investment bankers, “and were making way more money” than she and the friends she was planning to live with earned, Ms. Stephens said. (Two-bedrooms in Stuyvesant Town start at $4,025.) The wall was so nicely installed it looked like “part of the original structure," she said.

It was on to Brooklyn. “Every place I looked, I looked because people had told me about it,” Ms. Stephens said. “It was all hearsay: So-and-so is living in this neighborhood; you should look there. I guess we were looking in Park Slope. We didn’t know much about Brooklyn.” But it felt far away, and nothing there seemed worth the price.

[Ed note: these girls were willing to spend nearly $2,500 for a 1-bedroom. What were they looking at?!]

Ms. Stephens had Stuyvesant Town in the back of her mind. Now that she was certain she had a roommate, they could afford a one-bedroom. With a wall, of course. Ms. Pakfar wasn’t sure what Stuyvesant Town was. “I had seen it in a cab going down the F.D.R., and I always thought it was projects,” she said.

Both are happy in their new home. “It feels very grown up and clean,” Ms. Stephens said. Some of her colleagues and former sorority sisters also live in Stuyvesant Town, so “I have neighbors I know, which is nice when you are moving away from home.”

[Note to self: don't go to Stuy-town]

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


So, hype's a funny thing. On Friday I went and saw Swedish sensation Jens Lekman (pictured), a crooner with a melifluous voice, ecstatic musical arrangements, and a rabid following. I've been digging his last album Night Falls Over Kortedala, a worthy follow-up to the collected here-and-there's of Oh You're So Silent Jens. But a strange thing happened at the show. Well, two strange things really. First, there was this old dude in a rumpled white button-down, sandals, and jeans, hand-clapping like Hillary Clinton at a Baptist church, while beatifically grinning and looking around the room for validation or partners--not sure which. That was kind of strange.

Secondly, I realized that, wait, Jens kind of sucks. Well, not totally. The points above still stand, but his live show exposed something incredibly off-putting about his craft and about his personality: the man has the thoughts of an awkward, daft fifteen-year-old (on haircuts: "It's like a religious experience."), and feels the need to channel them into the most saccharine of lyrics. I'm not sure why this hadn't really bothered me before. Maybe I chalked it up to ESL issues, but standing there, taking in his set--the mics turned up a bit too high, static disrupting the joys of his cute, flower-uniformed violinists--I started to feel embarrassed for him:

Tram number one is full of fun/
Tram number two is couchie coo/
Tram number three has misery/
Tram number four knocks at your door/
Tram number five, I'm still alive/
Tram number six, I think I'm fixed/
Tram number seven/
Tram number seven to heaven

I'd been swept up in the hype.

Then on Sunday I went to see extremely hyped film, Michael Clayton, prepared to be disappointed despite (in fact because of) the critical drool it's inspired, but then another strange thing happened. It was an astonishing. I've little new to say about it, other than the fact that I am thankful there are movie stars like George Clooney around, ones who risk their movie star goodwill for films that our fat, dumb country won't go see. How long can that possibly last? As the writer's strike drags on, and an increasing emphasis is put on the bottom line (especially with b.s. fears that piracy is cutting into studio profits) how many movies for adults can we really expect in the coming years?

In the near term, at least, we have an adaptation of Ian McEwan's heart-strangling masterpiece; P.T. Anderson's latest opus, a reimagining of Upton Sinclair's Oil!; The Coen Brothers' adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's grim No Country for Old Men, for them a return to Blood Simple days; and a new work by Sidney Lumet. With the exception of the first, which likely will get the Titanic schmaltz treatment, none of these films will justify the cost of making them. For Hollywood then, what's the incentive not to make Saw V?

Monday, November 12, 2007

emerging markets - part 3

argentinian humor?

these purple blossoms were everywhere.

san juan! freaky. at the museo nacional de bellas artes.

and yes, i had to check out evita's mausoleum at la recoleta cemetary.
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emerging markets - part 2

puente de la mujer. apparently it's quite an engineering feat - it's supported only on one side and it connects the main part of buenos aires with a developing neighborhood.

click on this photo and you'll see why this was my favorite internet cafe.

paris hilton's legacy in buenos aires.

the same bridge at night.
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emerging markets - part 1

virtually every park was teeming with stray animals. i particularly liked these enormous cats. the funniest part was that a kid came around this park with a cat in a giant clear plastic bag, apparently attempting to drop the cat off at the park. that is, until a police man saw him and shouted, "hey, what do you think you're doing with that cat?!"

um...yeah. i wish i could say this was the only time i saw a doll like this. anyway, this was at the big touristy san telmo antique market on sunday.

...and here is courtney love's antique stand, apparently.

church in san telmo

don't cry for me...sao paulo?

hello dear reader, sorry for the lack of blogginess. i was on vacation. now, i know that's not an excuse since c4ts managed to blog across america, but i was feeling lazy and low tech-y. anyway, the vacation started out gloriously--went to buenos aires, stuffed my face with just sinful amounts of beef and wine (bargain basement prices!), gallivanted across town, sat in the hooligan section at a soccer match, slept to my heart's content, and just when i thought, what a lovely vacation (i'll post photos of the fun part, but no photos of food bc i feel uncomfortable breaking out my camera in restaurants), the airline gods intervened and decided that the fun must come to an end, and in a spectacularly disastrous fashion. the formula for such fun-ending is as follows:

1) book your flight out of buenos aires on a barely functioning airline.
2) make sure you make your connection to nyc in sao paulo, at a barely functioning airport.
3) realize - after your airplane has landed at a different airport (campinas?) than its intended destination - that you are 20 minutes away from missing your flight to nyc...the ONLY flight to nyc that day.
4) finally, after landing at the correct airport, finally, neglect to pick up your luggage bc you foolishly believed, as you were told, that your bags would be waiting for you beyond customs.
5) realize this list is both long and boring and just let people know that you were delayed for 24 hours in sao paulo, finally arrived in nyc at 8am and got to work 2 hours later.
6) you are hopped up on caffeine yet borderline comatose.

and your bag is somewhere between brazil and here...

huh what? kanye's mom died?! omg, giuliani won the coveted 700 club vote? oh wait, maybe he won't be prez?

Monday, November 5, 2007

I Learned It By Watching You

So, it's only sensible that as my homeland descends into typicality, I should feel the urge to blog about it. However, I didn't opine on the state of Pakistani affairs when the chief justice was sacked initially several months ago; nor did I weigh in when Generalissimo Musharraf reneged on his promise not to stand for reelection whilst in uniform. I suppose I was a bit blog-shy because my posts about the dead Pakistani cricket coach yielded little attention from you, fickle reader.

Alas, that said, this news is a big deal, or at least the MSM is making it out to be. I remember when I was a kid it was a big deal when anything related to Pakistan made its way into the newspaper; now Pakistan's as big a story as the Duke rape scandal (though not quite as big a story as the overdose death of a soft-core pornography star). Before the blowhards and alarmists of the world come to completely dominate this story, let me wipe some of the saliva from their glee: It ain't no big deal. Sure, Musharraf's suspended civil liberties, quashed thousands of dissenting voices, made a mockery of the terror threat by exploiting it for political gain, asserted himself in the workings of a so-called independent judiciary, and willfully misinterepreted the Constitution.

But it's how we do in Pakistan; it's how we've always done, and nothing about it should be unfamiliar to those of us who've lived in America the last six years.