I’ve been reading a really trashy biography of Frank Sinatra by Anthony Summers. It’s a fun read but it goes into Sinatra’s sex life in exhaustive, and exhausting detail, while omitting minor details like how important Frank was to American popular culture and music. The fact that he supplied hookers to JFK trumps that and it is, of course, fascinating in a lurid sort of way.
Silvio Berlusconi risked renewed criticism of his selection of candidates for election when he unveiled a list that included a MissItaly contestant, a former TV weathergirl and a showgirl turned dental hygienist.
year the Italian prime minister hastily dropped a group of showgirls
from his list of candidates for European elections after his wife said
the move was “shamelessly trashy” and demanded a divorce.
Berlusconi, 73, who describes himself as a “single man” after the start
of divorce hearings, has returned to the fray before important regional
elections by putting forward Nicole Minetti, 25, the daughter of an
English dance instructor who settled in Rimini and married an Italian
businessman, Italia Caruso, a former Miss Italy finalist, and Giovanna
Del Giudice, who worked at a nightclub frequented by Berlusconi, became
a weathergirl on one of his TV channels and was among the women
hurriedly dropped from his list of candidates last year.
And we Americans think that *our* pols are low and depraved. Silvio has taken depravity to a whole new level. I’d like to thank the Italian Prime Minister for making our horndog pols look like pikers.
I wonder if Silvio is consciously emulating the Chairman of the Board or if he simply cannot help himself. I suspect it’s the latter although Berlusconi might be more accurately described as the Chairman of the broads.<rim shot> He’s starting to makeAndreottilook good and that’s bad:
Amanda hears something in his voice, there at the end, and while her
question is good — “What is this to you?. Did you lose someone on that
train?” — his silence is better, and his eventual answer is best: “I
losteveryone on that train.” So awesome. Now, I don’t trust
him one inch, because he seems just as one-track as anybody else you
can’t trust on this show, and that’s clearly not the real whole answer
anyway, but as a thing for a person to say? Dude, I went from total
hate to total love forLee Adama just based on him saying shit like that.
Spoilers within. Daniel in a tank top, in bed? How did I so please you, fandom gods?
Robert Marshall got himself into hot water earlier in the
week for stating that disabled children were a form of divine retribution
against women who had undergone abortions. Initially, he stood by these
comments. Then, he kind of blamed himself a bit. However, when none of that
seemed to be working, he took vestige in the time-honored tradition most pols
avail themselves of: He blamed the media.Specifically, in this case, he blamed
Marshall isn’t the first one to pull the “I didn’t really say
everything I said” defense out of his hat. When I advised a student paper a few
years back, we had a president who not only said she didn’t make specific
comments to a reporter, but issued a university-wide press release essentially
saying, “Kids are kind of dumb and while they try really hard, they just don’t
understand ‘big people’ speak.” Unfortunately for her, we had recorded the
phone call. She eventually just shut up about it.
For me, the big issue isn’t that people are picking on the
kids or the media again. That’s something that could be said every minute of
every day. The bigger issue for me is this: at a certain point, people need to
be willing to stand behind their words, own their actions and deal with the
When I was a reporter, I remember going to a meeting at a
local church once in which the church was doing something that was controversial
(the action escapes my memory). One woman spoke out passionately, including
telling the priest, “Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block!” When I
approached her to get her name so I could quote her, she blanched.
“You can’t put my name in the paper,” she exclaimed. “I
don’t want you to quote me!”
She was willing to condemn a priest in public, scream up a
holy storm and vociferously voice an unpopular opinion, but only if she didn’t
have to own up to those comments.
A few years later, I had a student who railed angrily on her
Web site about a conservative student on campus. The vitriol was something to
behold. When the conservative kid found out about this, she linked to it,
posted it on a number of conservative blogs and suddenly my student was the
target instead of the hunter.
“She can’t do that,” the kid wailed. “That was PRIVATE!”
“Uh, you put it on the WORLD WIDE Web,” I explained. “Which
part of ‘world wide’ don’t you get?”
Apparently, most of it, as she continued to complain to
anyone who would listen.
People fail to understand the First Amendment and its
tenets. The concept of free speech is that no government agency can use prior
restraint to prevent you from expressing yourself simply because it might
disapprove of the content. It does not mean there are not ramifications for
For example, the state of Wisconsin can’t stop me from
writing something particularly anti-government on this site. Or something
racist. Or something sexist. Or something just plain stupid. However, as the
owner of the site, Athenae could stop me. Or she could let it go and allow the
posters to castigate me. Or someone could post my stuff to a site along with my
email address and phone number, thus leading to some grammatically incorrect
calls and emails telling me to do something with my head and my ass that defies
the laws of physics.
My point is that people need to stand behind what they say
and be willing to accept the consequences for what happens. A number of years
ago when I was a TA, I was in the middle of a dispute with several other TAs with whom I
did not see eye-to-eye. The leader of this group was trying to get me to side
with her and I kept politely declining, despite her ever-increasing shrill.
Finally, she left and I turned to my office mate and let loose with a stream of
obscenities regarding this woman who was driving me up a wall.
He politely waited until I was done and then told me, “You
realize that’s my fiancée you’re talking about.”
At that point, I was screwed and I knew it. I didn’t try to
back off of my comments or make something up.
I simply said, “Ah… shit.”
He never really forgave me, which hurt me a bit because I
liked him, but I understood. I said something, there was a consequence and I
dealt with it.
I’ve said many things I’ve not been proud of and have often
not covered myself in glory.
However, accepting that backlash is not only possible but
probable, I’ve learned it’s always best to make sure you’ve engaged your brain
before putting your mouth into gear.
Obama earned nearly universal praise for his performance at the
House Republicans’ annual retreat in Baltimore last month, when he
abandoned precedent and let the TV cameras capture his 1½-hour exchange
with GOP lawmakers.
This time, the president
won’t have the advantages of a lectern, a raised stage or a single
camera trained on him the entire time, but he has proved more adept on
the fly than all but a few politicians in recent memory. So Democrats
are exceedingly confident that their man will own the room. But is
there a chance they’re too confident?
10:47: What Obama has done here is fascinating. He’s making a public
demonstration of the competence and bipartisanship of the Democrats. If
Republicans were smart, they’d walk out. They’re about to get their
asses handed to them. A walk-out would make change the story. But, you
know, they’re Republicans. They’re gonna try to bully their way out of
Remember the Danziger 7? They were the New Orleans cops accused of murdering people on the Danziger Bridge in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood. A state court dismissed charges against them in 2008 but the Feds launched their own investigation into the episode and subsequent cover-up.
The case exploded yesterday when the police Captain who investigated the incident pled guilty to obstruction of justice and admitted that it looked like a “bad shoot” from the git go. This is the *perfect* witness for the Feds: he knows all the details and wasn’t one of the shooters.Here’s a link to the front page story in this morning’s Picayune.
Background: Tony Kornheiser, who is a passable sportswriter but a
horrendously bad TV/radio commentator and who is mainly known for having
Brett Favre’s five-dollar-footlong farther down his throat at all times than just
about anybody, recentlymade this stunningly stupidass comment about Hannah
Hannah Storm in a horrifying, horrifying outfit today. She’s got
on red go-go boots and a catholic school plaid skirt. Way too short for
somebody in her 40s or maybe early 50s by now. And she’s got on her
typically very, very tight shirt. So she looks like she’s got sausage
casing wrapping around her upper body. I mean, I know she’s very good,
and I’m not supposed to be critical of ESPN people, so I won’t … But,
Hannah Storm, come on now! Stop! What are you doing? … [She’s] what I
would call a Holden Caulfield fantasy at this point.
He later pretended it was ooh, edgy:
While waiting for Tiger Woods’ first public appearance since his sex scandal broke, Kornheiser told
his radio audience he’d called Storm to say he was “a sarcastic,
subversive guy” and was sorry.
He’s so real, man, he’s so out there, it was so subversive. What a fucking sophomore. ESPN suspended the sexist jackass not because hey, he’s a
sexist jackass and also not funny or interesting in any way, but
because he was criticizing one of their own people.
Kornheiser then repeated one of his radio mantras: “If you put a
live microphone in front of someone, eventually that person will say
something wrong.” That’s true of all the radio greats like Stern, Imus
and Limbaugh. (Though Kornheiser doesn’t have the national following of
those hosts, he’s a fantastic radio personality.) And, ironically, what
usually gets those guys into trouble is the stuff you wouldn’t have
found offensive upon first listen.
The Mannheim Steamroller FUCK? First of all, Rush Limbaugh and Don
Imus and Howard Stern are professional dillweeds, not sportscasters. They are paid specifically to piss people off, not to talk about sports. And how is what Kornheiser said NOT offensive on first listen? Let me put this in terms even a Neanderthal could understand: How hard would you kick his ass if he said that about your daughter? If the answer is VERY HARD SIR, it was probably offensive.
Second, there is nothing inevitable about saying something pervy
and stupid into a live mic unless you’re a stupid pervert.Yeah,
everybody’s gonna slip up and let a curse word through or screw up a
score or something, but it’s not just a matter of time before a
perfectly normal person becomes an asshole. It is, however, often a
matter of time before an asshole reveals himself as such.
Third, naturally it’s all the network’s fault:
On a given radio show, Kornheiser might say similar comments about
any number of people. He got in trouble this time because ESPN has a
strict policy about criticism within the network. Other personalities
have been felled by the rule before, so the suspension itself wasn’t
all that surprising.
It may have a drawback though. Before, the insensitive comments were
heard by a select few in the D.C. area and people who frequent sports
blogs. Now, they’re national news.
Well, if on a given radio show Kornheiser says shit like that, maybe
it’s time for ESPN to think about benching him permanently. And wow,
it’s a major bummer when attention is drawn to powerful people acting
like jackasses, huh? LEAVE TONY KORNHEISER ALONE!
Note to Chris Chase: I’d be more worried about Hannah Storm’s state
of mind than Tony Kornheiser’s. Once the latter is off the cover of
FAIL Monthly, he’ll be right back to making awkward, obvious
observations and telling jokes that aren’t funny, and nobody will find
that the least bit offensive. Though they should.
No amount of public pressure is going to get the votes, because we
are dealing with folks who just don’t care what you or I think. Period.
I’m to the point now that I think the Senate is only floating the
public option to fire up the House and make them more opposed to any
bill without a public option, so that way they can blame the house for
no bill passing when the Senate public option effort fails.
know it is fashionable to beat up on Joe Lieberman, but honestly, I’ve
seen nothing the past few months that makes him any worse than the rest
of the centrists. If anything, he is just more upfront about the fact
that he is just doing things to piss people off. Evan Bayh is so upset
with the lack of bipartisanship that he is going to quit and reward the GOP with a seat for their obstructionism. That is the kind of quality thinking we get from the centrists.
basically, we successfully vilified the insurance companies, got the
house to pass the public option, got the public to support a public
option, and ten unnamed Dems in the Senate will scuttle it, leading to
the inevitable death of the whole bill in the House. And should a
miracle happen, Bart Stupak and the C-Street goons are waiting in the
wings to get their fetus fetish on.
I wish Obama would live up to the reputation the wingnut bloggers have given him and just nationalize the whole damned thing.
Here’s where I start to go off the rails with this shit. I really think we as a country have a lethal tendency to take what we think we can get and be satisfied with it. On a personal level I don’t have a problem with the strategy of learning to love what you have, instead of pointlessly yearning, but by and large we really do believe every asshole and his brother when they tell us that something is impossible.
Public option? Not enough votes. Single payer? Never happen. Fight poverty? Shut up, hippie, be realistic. There’s a wall here. You can’t get over it or under it. Go home.
When people say this, we LISTEN. Dear God. The only possible response to someone telling you not to do what you know in your blood and your bones is the right thing to do isfuck you I’mma be over here working if you have something to contribute then gimme a call but for now get out of my face. But we listen. I can’t … what are we really afraid of here? Losing? We’re going to do that anyway. We are doing that anyway. Sitting still is losing. Sitting still, by its very definition, is losing.
And we have utterly no way of knowing if the people who are saying this is all we can get are right in any meaningful way. Absolutely no way of knowing. So why believe them? In fact, as far as health care is concerned, there is a pretty good reason in the form of every poll on the planet to know they’re wrong. Yet all it takes is somebody saying, “Eh, it’s not politically feasible” and off we go, right past denial and anger and bargaining straight into depression and acceptance.
I almost called myself a reanimator but since I lack Dr. Frankenstein’s powers I decided not to. Recreator sounds quite weird enough, y’all. It makes me sound like the Jahweh of re-runs. Or is the proper term recreationist? Probably not, sounds more like Darwin denial to me…
Now that I’ve mucked about with word play, off we go. TheTreme filming was something of a clusterfuck, which I know is quite typical. That’s why they call it show business with the emphasis on the latter. If anyone else decides to do some extra-ing, I have one piece of advice for you: do not work your day job if you have a night shoot. I essentially worked a 16-17 hour day, which was kind of like being a junior associate at a New York law firm. I was bone tired when I left. I’d rather be bone idle…
We arrived at Washington Square Park in the Marigny and saw a long line snaking out of the tent. I was a bit confused because we’d been told we would be treated as first class extras whatever the hell that means. Just as I despaired of ever getting out of that line, a chick with a clipboard showed up and said: “Are there any Krewe members? If you are follow me.” So, we got cuts, which I approved of. This episode set the tone for the evening: sometimes we were special and other times we were rabble. I’m not fond of being rabble even if it’s sporadically rousing.
We got in the tent and ran into our peeps: the sub-krewe of PAN. We all had paperwork to do so we could get paid for being told to hurry up and wait. They fed us but tried to reserve one line for musicians only. One of the Krewe du Vieux members glared at the kid with the clipboard and said: “Fuck that. I’m staying on this side of the line.” Said clipboard kid meekly retreated in the face of his righteous indignation as well as his elaborately decorated hard hat. I had Joe Sixpack on my side and it felt frakking good.
The oddest part for me was seeing our new mime, Chris. My dear friend and blogging colleague the late Ashley Morris was the mime in the 2006 parade. Ashley’s spirit hung over the whole enterprise for his sub-krewe mates. Krewe du Vieux and Ashley are synonymous for me. I joined PAN through Ashley after jokingly asking him “who do you have to kill or fuck to get in.” He laughed and said: “I know a guy.” Despite his reputation for bluster, Ashley was a master finagler and that’s how I ended up in the cold in Faubourg Marigny as an extra last week.
Krewe du Vieux is a home made parade with rough satirical edges. The 2006 parade was an emotionally charged event since it was the first public post-K Carnival event. The overall theme was C’est Levee and PAN’s take on that theme was Buy Us Back, Chirac. It’s a good thing that Black Jacques was still Prez: let’s get cozy with Sarkozy doesn’t pack the same wallop. Anyway, we all dressed up as various Frenchy types: aristos, priests, maids, Breton fishermen and our Captain as Napoleon the First and his wife as Jeanne D’Arc. Now that’s leadership, y’all. <humming the Marseilles>
The float builders did a good job depicting our rickety old float. In fact, too good, as I said before KdV has a handmade, homemade feel to it and this float was slick. A few pictures including our mime and Jeanne D’Arc:
Dr. A took the photos on her iPhone which along with the stage lit streets gives this an eerie feel but 2006 was an eerie time so it fits. Call it Adrastos noir…
The Treme assistant directors’ attempts to manage the KdV people were amusing and, occasionally, infuriating. They didn’t seem fully briefed that we were there because we were the real deal and as such were quasi technical advisers. We didn’t do it for the money: we did it for love of our Krewe and, some of us, out of love for Ashley. That meant that we were quite prepared to bolt when they asked us to do something *extra* ridiculous and it nearly happened when we were finally called to the faux parade route. The AD told us to march in front of our floats, which led to a heated exchange that I gleefully joined in. We *always* march behind our float and when we told the AD that he balked so I said: “We won’t do it but if we did you’d be mocked in New Orleans. So much for verisimilitude.” He relented after a flurry of similar comments from my krewe mates. Score one for the locals.
They preferred that we not drink during the shoot but we are enterprising people and, in the interest of realism, hit the bars on Frenchmen Street. It was pretty weird entering a bar clad in my clerical robe complete with staff and beret. Dr. A was a pre-revolutionary French fop. We look ready for the guillotine, don’t we? Let them eat not only cake but wigs…
The rest of the shoot combined repetition and boredom. It was also cold and windy on the street that night. We had a few more minor run-ins with the AD assigned to us but he eventually realized that we were not normal extras doing it for, uh, extra money. The problem was that by the time he figured that out, the shoot was nearly over. C’est la vie or is that C’est levee?
The biggest problem with the shoot involved the people who were cast as crowd extras. They looked like hipsters at a rave, which is not the Krewe du Vieux crowd at any time but particularly not in 2006. That crowd consisted of hardcore New Orleanians who were back in the city, struggling to rebuild: the hipsters floated in later. Dr. A looked at the crowd and said: “Where are the black families and gay men?” An odd juxtaposition to be sure but both groups are heavily represented in a typical KdV crowd. And the Marigny has a big gay population, which made the gutterpunks and hipster doofi in the crowd even more ridiculous. No drag queens or costumes along the KdV route? Poppycock.
Parading over and over again was dull but necessary. I do, however, think that some of our footage will end up in the show since rumor has it that there *may* be a KdV sub-plot. Additionally, there was a set-up involving Steve Zahn’s character in the crowd. The good news is that Zahn looked more like a normal KdV viewer than the hipster doofi around him.Treme star Wendell Pierce also marched with PAN’s teevee band, the Stooges Brass Band:
Poor Wendell, they made him a trombonist who are the butt of jokes in the horn playing community. It is, however, an easier instrument to fake than some other horns. I didn’t meet Pierce, the look on his face made it clear that he was there to work and not to fraternize with various odd faux French people. I respect that. Me, I was there to mill around and freeze my ass off.
In the end, I’m glad I was an extra on Treme. It was more work than play but I’ll be dining out on some of these stories for years; especially the ones I cannot write about. Juicy, juicy, juicy. But my lips are sealed or is my keyboard is locked? Whatever.
I’m not sure, however, that Treme will be as note perfect about post-K NOLA as The Wire was about Baltimore. Yes, I know it’s David Simon’s show BUT Balmer is *his* town and now he’s at the mercy of research and local advisers. The parade we shot is likely to look like every other Mardi Gras parade ever filmed as opposed to the dignified frenzy (an oxymoron but true) of Krewe du Vieux 2006. It’s a detail and maybe a small one but you know what they say about the details and the devil. Among his local writers, I hope that Simon leans on former Picayune columnist Lolis Eric Elie who knows a great deal about many of the sub-cultures that make New Orleans so interesting as well as infuriating.
Finally, PAN was not the only KdV sub-krewe represented: Spermes, TOKIN and Comatose were there as well. We made a lot of Spermes jokes over the course of the evening; especially over their trademark spermatozoa staffs. I approached my friend, and fellow NOLA blogger, Hammhawk and asked him if they were all now donors since it was so bloody cold. Then we tried cross-breeding a Fleur de Lis with his Spermes, uh, pole:
This is the most interesting thing I’ve encountered all week. I’m fascinated by how people have an effect, how they move events and issues toward a discernible goal, how they produce, how they are viable, what lessons they can teach.
First off, this is not merely an attempt to suck up to theboss lady. Rather, it’s a confession that, once again, I fail miserably at “getting” hockey. Even during theUS/Canada match the other night, I was more interested and amused by the online response of the faithful who were live tweeting it than I was in the actual game. (I wonder, do “real” hockey fans even use Twitter?)
I don’t know, maybe I should try more than just every four years, or actually attend a live game. Meantime, in my defense, I can offer that two songs I absolutely love areabout hockey. Below, the dearly departed Warren Zevon’sHit Somebody:
Of course, Zevon was no slouch; still I can’t help it — Jane Siberry’sHockey is my favorite of the two. Surely, we can all agree that this is a lyric for the ages:
“This stick was signed by Jean Beliveau
so don’t fuckin’ tell me where to fuckin’ go”
In the spirit of full disclosure, the folks I’ve shared the song with who actually are hockey fans find it far too twee. One of them even said the use of the word “benched” with respect to Richard’s historicsuspension was downright revisionist history that completely invalidated it as an artistic effort.
See? You guys arehardcore! I’m gonna stick with figure skating…
A Christmas trip to visit his great-grandmother in a nursing home
sparked an ongoing service project for 10-year-old Lorenzo Little.
His trip to Heartsong Nursing Home in Belleville left an impression.
“(Residents) always look so bored,” the Janesville boy said.
“So I thought that at home, if I enjoyed my Wii, why wouldn’t they enjoy a Wii?” he said.
He talked with his parents, Greg and April, about his idea during the car ride home.
With their help, Lorenzo’s goal is to raise money to put Nintendo
Wii gaming systems in as many area assisted living and senior centers
as possible. The “Elder-Wii Project” already has raised enough money to
buy and deliver one Wii to the Heartsong Nursing Home.
Lorenzo started by calling family and friends to explain his project and seek donations.
“I ended with about $300 in a month,” he said.
He’s also been a guest on The Stan Milam Show on WCLO radio and has a Facebook fan group with more than 150 fans.
Lorenzo delivered the Wii to his great-grandmother’s nursing home
last month and showed her how to bowl and box on the gaming system.
He’s raised more than $600, and a second Wii soon will be delivered
to a yet-to-be announced senior home in the area. He’s working on plans
for his third donation.
Lorenzo and his parents are planning fundraisers to start in spring.
GameStop in the Janesville Mall is working with the family to supply