Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Daily Briefs: Longer and less frequent than the name implies

Posted by on Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 8:12 AM

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The news anchors have all been talking in very scary voices lately. They all sound like Jigsaw, and you're handcuffed to a sink in a grimy concrete bathroom and if you want to survive, you're going to have to do something horrible, like naked-hug Larry King or some damn thing. As an antidote to the swine flu scare, all I can offer you is the serenity that comes from not talking about it. After the jump, a news roundup of items that bear no relation to stories about flu, or to each other. Click here or on America's favorite pastime, video games:

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The permanent Republican majority: Early in the decade, there was this Tamagotchi-grade fad all the kids were into called "being Republican." It came with short-lived mini-fads like "virginity," but at the time, it seemed like something permanent. Like, right after 9/11, I remember thinking, y'know, that this was it, the U.S. was going to be ruled by one single party for the rest of my life, and that party would, contrary to reputation, always be taxing the shit out of me because I'm not rich, and also meanwhile staking some kind of a proprietary claim on my uterus. Keep your rosaries off my ovaries, you guys.

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So then some time passed, some things happened, bridges were burned, the slippery slope, one thing led to another, and now important Republicans have started leaving the Republican party. Yesterday, super-producer Phil Spector switched party affiliations. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and convicted murderer, known for his "Wall of Sound" recording technique, will now caucus with senate Democrats and that crazy motherfucker will run for re-election as a Democrat in Pennsylvania. I know, right? It was the weirdest news, which I heard on the radio of a car that passing by the street corner where I was standing next to a loud jackhammer while discretely smoking some PCP and listening to neo-British Beat combo Graham Day and the Gaolers through some cheap, crackly earbuds produced in one of the Pacific Rim countries busily doing to South Korea what South Korea is busily doing to Japan. Realizing I may have gotten one or two of the details wrong, I went to Phil Spector's website intending to nail a few things down before posting this piece, but his bio page is strangely incomplete.

I may be only weeks away from my killing spree: Here's a story about Kansas City that I noticed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a newspaper I've decided not to hate since the article was written by the Associated Press, called "Penny-pinching fun in Kansas City." You just know there was a headline writer who wanted to append four or five exclamation points to the end of that. What penny-pinching fun does the Associated Press recommend that people enjoy in Kansas City? Baseball, barbecue and jazz. LOOK. I love jazz as much as the next bespectacled asthma sufferer with high-water pants, carpal tunnel wrist braces and a fondness for National Public Radio. But I actually live in Kansas City, and the only time I'm exposed to jazz, ever, is during the the half-second it takes me to lunge across the room and snap off the opening theme to the Walt Bodine show.

But barbecue? That's just an offensive stereotype at this point, like saying that people from North Dakota dislike bathing. Why didn't they just make the new performing arts center in the shape of giant ribs, like the ones that tipped Fred Flintstone's car over? And you can't even say, "Oh, well, that's just how it is when you live in a tourist town," because optimistic hotel taxes notwithstanding, we don't live in a goddamn tourist town. Hey, you guys, you wanna know a really good place to visit when you're in New York? The STATUE OF LIBERTY. If you do nothing else, go look at that. I hear that all New Yorkers have a miniature Statue of Liberty somewhere in every room of their houses, it's like the little Buddhas in Thai households.

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