Sunday, April 27, 2008

Don't blame me, I voted for Chocolate Thunder

We watched Wrestlemania 2 yesterday. I hadn't seen it since 1986, when I was too young to appreciate the absurdity of the following match:
A boxing match between Rowdy Roddy Piper and Mr. T.
Guest ring announcer: Joan Rivers
Guest commentator: Susan St. James (from Kate & Allie)
Guest timekeeper: Herb from the Burger King ads
Guest judges: NBA star Darryl "Chocolate Thunder" Dawkins, Cab Calloway, and G. Gordon Liddy

We live in the best of all possible worlds.

(Some facts about Darryl Dawkins: He was the first guy to shatter the backboard with his dunks. The first time he did it, Kansas City Kings player Bill Robinzine was standing under the hoop and had to duck for cover. Dawkins named the dunk the "Chocolate Thunder Flying, Glass Flying, Robinzine Crying, Babies Crying, Glass Still Flying, Catch Crap, Rump Roasting, Bun Toasting, Thank You, Wham, Bam, I Am Jam." He later named other dunks the Rim Wrecker, the Go-Rilla, the Look Out Below, the In-Your-Face Disgrace, the Cover Your Head, the Yo-Mama, and the Spine-Chiller Supreme. He also told the press that he was an "alien from the planet Lovetron," he spent the off-season practicing "interplanetary funkmanship," and his girlfriend on Lovetron was named "Juicy Lucy." I almost like sports now.)

Thursday, April 24, 2008


1) This week's Louis Black turd-dump. Pick your poison.
Clunky sentence construction? "Central to my thesis here is the argument that if you examine any major historical event closely, you are going to find an enormous collection of bits of information that don't fit in with the overall theory of what happened."
Foolish absolutist pronouncement? "The U.S. Constitution can be read and misread any number of ways." Since Black uses the word misread here, it follows that his use of read must mean read correctly. In that case, there are NOT any number of ways to correctly read the U.S. Constitution or any other text, goddammit. The words are on the page. Read them closely, re-read them, and figure it out. Tricycle does not mean banana, unless the author tells you it does.
Very completely totally redundant word choice? "All too often, those on every side of every argument confuse the two (reality and opinion), using completely loaded language to bless themselves and validate their causes." What does the word completely add to that sentence? How about both sides of an argument instead of every side of every argument? How about letting an editor look over your column? I promise you he or she will not rob you of your writerly essence by cleaning up and tightening your prose. Your answers to questions nobody asked will remain pungently fecal (fecally pungent?).
2) My professor in my Lit Studies for High School Teachers of English class was trying to remember Crispin Glover's name today. He described him and some of his films but couldn't quite pull his name out of the ether, so I said "Crispin Glover?" Only three other people in the class had heard of him. He was in the Charlie's Angels movies, for cry eye! One girl turned to me and said, "Crispus Laughlin?" Then she had me write his name down on a sheet of paper for her, presumably for impending investigation into the Glover oeuvre. Very odd. This is my only class where people have a vague impression that something happened on earth before No Doubt became famous. I figured Crispin Glover had a place in the English major pantheon. Come on. This class pledged love for Little Richard last week. I honestly don't know what's going on. I'm learning interesting, baffling things about twenty-year-olds every day.
3) This morning, while walking to class, I noticed a burly athletic type hurriedly walking through campus while eating a large piece of bright-pink cake on a paper plate. What? Cake is not your typical on-the-go foodstuff, especially when speedwalking, double especially when the eater is hypermasculine and the eatee is bright pink. He had a huge bite precariously perched on his little plastic fork, I'm talking HUGE, pretty much half of the entire piece of cake, and when he brought this enormous bite to his mouth, it slipped off the fork and landed on the dirty ground. He then yelled, "Aw, FUCK!" and stormed angrily along. I can't tell you how happy this whole scene made me.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Danny Federici 1950-2008

The E Street Band organist/pianist/keyboardist/accordionist died last week, giving me an excuse to post more YouTube clips.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Louis Black Poop-Stained Poop of the Week

The gag is that I don't always do this every week. Here's this "week's" narcissistic bilge:

"Wouldn't we all actually be better off if, instead of grading the morality, humanity, and righteousness of all others, we instead worked upon improving ourselves? This would mean actually working on change rather than anointing ourselves, judged against the standards of those of whom we disapprove. The too easily and consistently glib will accuse me of doing exactly what I condemn here, but that is just a kind of lazy desperation to dismiss troubling arguments. I condemn no person or persons, nor do I celebrate or redeem myself in any way. Of course I wish I were a better person. Of course I am just as trapped by my emotions, experiences, and self-centered ways when dealing with the world as anyone. No Zen loss of 'self' here. No large-picture arguments against selfishness or in favor of losing identity or addressing the defining oneness of us all."

Troubling arguments? The only thing troubling is how this guy writes all the time and never improves. You'd think he'd accidentally stumble into a coherent sentence once in a while.

Here's a bonus boneheaded play from last week:

"Usually in this column, I at least try to cover every minor thoroughfare branching off from the highway of the main idea, mostly to protect the argument I'm making from being dismissed too easily because of a factor not considered or a potential not discussed (of course, many of my ideas are dismissed, so the emphasis here is on the 'too easily'). What follows is just a brief checklist on some positions, so no discussion is fully rounded or being too carefully presented."

You protect your ideas from being dismissed too easily by smothering them in incoherent, irrelevant digressions? Give clear, well-constructed sentences a try some time. It will probably work better. Maybe people dismiss your ideas because they can't find them.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Belated Krautrockdolences

Klaus Dinger, former drummer of Kraftwerk and one-half of Neu!, died last month.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Louis Black Syntax Atrocity of the Week

The set-up: Black wrote his column this week about how so-called solutions to the illegal immigration "problem" (his quotation marks, though I agree with his use of them) would cause a lot of damage. In his introduction, he writes that most people, regardless of political ideology, feel that the U.S. government is broken. He disagrees with these people, with one caveat. This caveat gives us our Louis Black prose nugget of the week:

"(As always, I exempt the current administration from this discussion because there is nothing you can say about it that is so bad that I won't agree with you -- but rather than interpreting it as symptomatic of whatever one's beliefs are about federal failures, I still view it as an extreme, diseased aberration that, as with cancer, has its origins in many different political trends but is solely owned by none of them.)"

So, cancer is caused by a combination of political trends? What? Did you hear the news? Tony's uncle died today from cancer of the testicles. They think it was caused by a combination of stagflation, Orange Alerts, and speculation about Anderson Cooper's sexuality.