The MacLamity

The News That Stays News, Reported Live

Thursday, April 28, 2005

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Liking American Music Club never won me any friends, or made my friends like me more. The person I took to a Mark Eitzel concert, along with the 9,000 people waiting before Central Park's Central Stage for Lisa Loeb, sat through Eitzel's cow-like wailing and semi-competent guitar strumming with the patience and abstraction of a fakir on a bed of nails. I play the songs that soaked up days of my teenage years to hearing ears that wish they were deaf. But the good thing about American Music Club, is that after people laugh at your pathetic attachment to American Music Club, American Music Club is still there to give you solace. Those were a rough few years when they broke up. Eitzel came up with ONE good song away from the band, as far as I can tell. And that was a cover. I was afraid of the reformed AMC's new album. But then I found out you could stream it for nothing and also that it's really good. Right up there with "Mercury."

Your broken heart might bring you to heaven/But it will not bring you another morning with Kathleen

If you want to see something patriotic/Then there's a stripper...

We're so small compared to our hearts/We're so small compared to our alibis/I didn't mean to make you cry

You say that weakness is only a way to give your heart to your enemy

Why do I waste time with people who'll never love anyone/My only sin/I started hating my own skin

The music they'd play there would be Dinosaur Junior and the people who'd work there would be super skinny and super unfriendly and that would make me happy/And what really kills me that I'm lonely when I'm talking to you

I don't want to hurt you/But if i do I'll pay
And these are just the lyrics! Sorry, if you're eyes glazed over. I feel kind of bad as you to struggle to come up with a vague compliment to cover the embarrassment of the shit I listen to. I swear, these guys are geniuses.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

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Charles Saatchi sells the Young British Artists whose prices he did so much to inflate. ie. Hello painting.

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Harry MAtthews is so cool, it doesn't really matter what he wrote. There's nothing like inheriting a ton of money to make you an intriguiing avant-garde artist.

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"Suicide was my Sydney. And I say that with no offence to the good people of Sydney intended."

Monday, April 25, 2005

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Like his novels, it seems that Bellow's past was dominated by individual hyper-dense memories which, like those Hawking holes in reality, had the power to swallow up (and sum his) his entire experience. You can see him returning to the same points in his letters to Philip Roth. For some reason the thing I remember best about 'Humboldt's Gift' is when one character reminds another character how obsessed he was with a National Park Service sign showing the stages of the lives of the beaver, only feet away from the beavers themselves. The beavers had their whole lives mapped out for them just over their head, the entire time. It's a powerful image. I imagine Bellow's skill was not just to recognize it as powerful. But to see the many angles at which it could refract the light, and choose the right one according to the story.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

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What more proof do we need of the end times? (Cf. Revelations)

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John Bolton's trouble in the Senate is a watershed moment of sorts. Originally, Democrats objected to his loathing for the U.N., on the grounds that it's a poor ambassador who openly seethes with disgust for the institution he has to negotiate with. And that was fine. Good point! But it suggested that the confirmation hearings were going to be dull and pompous. Things got interesting, and the Democrats gained traction, when the argument shifted from Bolton's opinions of the U.N. to Bolton's nasty-boss grandiosity. It is -- O happy day -- a real problem for Bolton
that he
"sought to remove two intelligence analysts who refused to endorse a speech he was preparing on Cuba's weapons capability."

"harassed [a former subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Kyrgyzstan] over work-related matters more than a decade ago"

"twice clashed angrily with Thomas Hubbard, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea."

"he was a 'kiss-up, kick-down' boss and a 'bully'"
And the list goes on and on of all the things ass-licking, irritating, selfish and impolite bullies usually get away with as they set their minds to climbing the corporate or bureaucratic ladder.

In case there was any doubt that Bolton is an asshole Scott McLellan (unwittingly) confirms it by using one of two classic arguments that office bullies use to rationalize their bullying "John Bolton is someone who has a long record of getting things done, and sometimes that's going to make people mad." The other rationalization, by the way, is "I speak my mind. Some people don't like that about me. But I think it's important. I don't have any time for people who beat around the bush."

I imagine that these confirmation hearings will be put to use to prove something about the divisiveness of American politics. But I also hope that they serve notice to the Napoleons of the office: The personal hurt you cause can harm you in the end. Those heads you stepped on on the way up can bite you, just when you're near the top, and when you have the longest way to fall.

And that means you: Fred McMurray in 'The Apartment'


P.S. A guy in USA Today makes the point that Bolton's problem was not being nasty like Fred MacMurray in 'The Apartment,' but being inefficiently nasty and insufficiently ruthless:
Dobson says one facet of the charges against Bolton that may be building opposition is that his alleged boorish behavior often failed to achieve results. "Part of this story for many people is that Bolton appears to have not been good enough to actually get rid of the people he went after," he says. "If he was a first-rate infighter, they'd be gone. Then people might say that, even if they disagreed with Bolton ideologically, that here's a guy who's tough enough to get the job done."

Thursday, April 21, 2005

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New pope, this, coincidence? Surely not.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

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MY DAD LAST NIGHT: I think, well, I think you need a conservative pope before you get a liberal pope.
ME: It didn't work with John Paul II though, did it?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

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One book at least that redeemed the 80s

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One difference between bloggers and mainstream media reporters.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

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Cod changed the world. Maps changed the world. Maybe. Maybe not. But when shipping containers are changing the world we know that our standards for what counts as a change in the world are pretty low these days.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

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Would you pay for this man to have sex with you? Would you pay for a book written by this man about how he's a Jewish, high-class call girl in London? Thousands upon thousands may just have (even though the blog is free).

Monday, April 04, 2005

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To frubble, to wibble, with a metamour: the Edward Lear-like lexicon of Polyamory suggests immaturity rather than either a sense of fun or depth of emotion.

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For a Chomsky fan George Kennan's NSC-68 memo is something like Adam and Eve biting into the apple: it is the birth of all the evil in the world, the explanation for it, and the proof that there is a purposeful force behind it. I didn't know something as legendary and potent was allowed online. Just linking to it makes my vestigial Chomskyite feelings quiver.

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Is Putin Moscow's Thatcher or Moscow's Caligula?

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"Saint John Paul II, intercede for the health of your son". How quickly can Jean Paul II, the all-time fastest saint maker, becom a saint himself?

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On Saturday's sunny afternoon I watched a man half-listen to his wife and half submit to the fascination of a book he'd just bought. It's title, in French, was Why We Should Say No to the EU Constitution. He read it intently while she talked. Occasionally he'd give her a nod. Based on this, it's hard to say what is more fucked the "Yes" campaign in France or the couple's marriage.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

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One more reason not to work with or for Tom Cruise: extended scientology tours.