FauxPolitik

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Don't Start: I know, I know. But replace me with Mike Ovitz? No offense to our immigrant ancestors and the perils of Ellis Island, but the guy's name is a patronymic, minus the nymic. Besides, he'll never be able to compete with my wit, charm, and ability to predict major political movements with roughly 15% accuracy.

Watching a bit of the GOP convention. Reminded tonight that Liddy Dole embodies condescension the way Nixon did paranoia, or Clinton smarm. Every audience seems, from her tone, to be composed of third-graders. Slow ones.

So what have I been doing? Taking my son to beaches and parks. Cooking great dinners (tonight's featured home-made baba ghanoush). Trying to shoehorn in some deadlines. Not much, but it has been a life of distraction, to say the least. Spending all day with a three-year-old takes its toll on one's . . . you know, the thing with the thinking about stuff for longer than . . . um . . . attention span! That's the ticket.

This caught my eye today. Mister Prime Time is prepping to drag his aged body back on the gridiron for more beatings:

After three seasons away from the NFL, Deion Sanders signed with the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday.


The seven-time Pro Bowl cornerback passed his physical and signed a one-year contract laden with incentives. He will practice with the team for the first time Wednesday, and expects to play in the Ravens' season opener Sept. 12 against the Cleveland Browns.

I always thought Deion was a hot-dog player who managed some clever picks downfield but was too often a no show in plain old coverage. I wouldn't have wanted to pay his salary at his peak. Now? I wouldn't give him league minimum.

Lesson For The Day: When drunk, and being driven home, should you feel the sudden need to puke...DO IT INSIDE THE CAR.

"On a mission from God": It's a funny phrase when Jake and Elwood say it, but it's less funny when Stephen Baldwin is saying it about why Bush should be re-elected. To be more accuarate, the actor-cum-Jesus-freak said: "I'm here to try to support faith-based politics. I'm going to vote for the guy who will truly be led by God."

Yes, yes...but whose god, Stephen, whose god? Cause, my god expresses His will by chucking glass coke bottles down from the sky onto my noggin. And the GOP convention has a roof over it so ...

Monday, August 30, 2004

Mr. Ovitz likes chocolate-pistachio-biscotti, not pecan: Wheeww, where to begin? Week 2 of our management re-vectoring (Mr. Ovitz's term) is underway and with Enobarbus still missing in action, ol' Razor has been running around trying not only to put up at least a few posts here and there, but keep the biscotti-maker (Mr. Ovitz assures me there is a tax benefit to it somewhere) running in an efficient, Six-Sigma manner. I saw the pistachio on sale, in bulk, at BJ's and figured, "Hey, Mr. Ovitz will appreciate my thriftiness." Well, as he likes to say: "That idea was somewhere on the spectrum between stupid and fucking stupid." But, he always smiles when he says this, so I know he's just busting, like colleagues do to one another occasionally.

Mr. Ovitz and I thought it would be good for me to spend just fifteen minutes or so today on posting and keep most of my focus on special ordering the Maybach with the platinum inlays, not the white gold. It's just that, well, that's another $15,000, and we've already spent our projected ten-year budget in the past two weeks, and ummm...well, it doesn't do to complain too loudly to Mr. Ovitz...he says the "whine tones" disrupt his chakras.

Still, I know that once we have all the necessary equipment in place, and the atmosphere to his liking, Mr. Ovitz will be ready to come into the office and get us that link to Instapundit he promised. Mr. Ovitz said he and Reynolds are "sympatico" as they both attend the Kabbalah Centre pretty regularly.

Ohh, there's the timer, it's important to get the biscotti before they get too "toothy". I'll post soon with some really cutting-edge stuff ... you're gonna love it.

Smooth as the mottled flesh on the underside of your grandmother's arm: And if you don't like that kind of metaphor, you're sure to hate these. Seriously though, it's the 2004 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, and it's funny, funny, funny. Project: come up with the most god-awful introductory sentence to a book. Try it at home!

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

"I've never seen a white man run that fast.": No, this wasn't said about me concerning my reaction to "The Munsters" being released on DVD, and being sold at Best Buy. Rather, it reflects the fact that a white guy won the 400m in Athens, leading the USA to a 1-2-3 sweep of the medals (and beating his two black teammates, as well as several other black racers, including the person behind this quote). Interesting.

To make things more interesting, a white girl won the 100m sprint on Saturday, beating all comers, who were all black.

Lithuania, Puerto Rico, Italy: all whooping our ass in basketball with white, Eastern Europeans, hispanics, and latin lovers, respectively.

People are already crowing about how these victories are "shattering stereotypes". I suppose they are, but do we really need the sub-text? This isn't new ground, but imagine articles being written about how amazing it was that a black guy won a Nobel Prize in chemistry. Picture the quote from some Russian scientist: "I've never seen a black boy distill a chemical so ingeniously."

Anyway, our USA basketball losses have nothing to do with race, and everything to do with a lazy contempt for practice and the team concept. Also, the fact that they can't hit the broad side of a barn beyond ten feet might be a contributing factor.

As for the white folk winning the sprints (and not just the usual middle distances, i.e. 1500 meters): there's no answer. More importantly, there doesn't need to be a question.

Monday, August 23, 2004

I assume this is how it went down:

Ass't. Curator: "Hey boss, you know that world-famous painting, "The Scream" that we have in our lobby?"

Curator: *sigh* "Yes, what of it man?"

A.C.: "Well, in curator school one of the first things they told us was to purchase this thing called ummm, theft insurance, for the collections, and especially for renowned pieces like this one. Also, you know, this one was stolen before."

C: "Yes, well, I'm sure they teach you all kinds of neat things at curator school, but I am off to the Lagerfeld Fall Collection show. Ta."

A.C.: "But,...but..." Slumps off into his closet-sized office.

Silly curator school.

Sea Change for North Korea?: Interesting letter from a recent visitor to N. Korea. His purpose was to deliver wheelchairs to the victims of the trainyard explosion that occurred some months back (and I complain when my grande mocha takes too long at S'Bucks - I suck).

While the author notes with an equal mix of surprise and joy over a relative boom of capitalism cropping up in the country, what I found most amusing was his description of the consequences of more money: more traffic.
-- We observed our first car accident in Pyongyang. Never thought I would see that, but a further sign of the amount of traffic on the road.

-- An interesting corollary concerns traffic safety. The Korean
Association for the Disabled is distributing a fold out brochure for adults and children that teaches basic traffic safety tips for both pedestrians & drivers. We noticed something interesting that I have not seen in other countries: about 50 m before a pedestrian cross walk (which itself features a familiar blue triangular sign) the Koreans have a red triangle that warns the driver of the coming pedestrian crosswalk. Very caring.


As we all know, and they shall soon learn, even prosperity has its costs.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

I thought this died out in the 80s: Actually, I thought this died out with KISS (the original incarnation). But apparently, the concept of outlandish and ridiculous costumes for musicians is not over. Worse, these guys obviously take themselves seriously, while KISS was all about the fun of it all. Well, anyway, the link gives one man's opinion as to the top 10 worst black/death metal costumes ever. Very scary, but not for the reasons the bandmembers probably hoped.

Ovitz Update 1: Well, it's day 2 of operations under the skillful guidance of Mr. Ovitz. We didn't have any posting yesterday as Mr. Ovitz (he prefers a more formal moniker) and I had to hash out a variety of details, such as business cards, a full-scale media blitz announcing his arrival, and well, the umm, no more mentioning of the "Sensitive Matter"(which, due to its sensitive nature, I cannot elaborate, except to say it has something to do with follicles or the lack thereof - I've already said too much).

Today has been a bit slow as I've had to run a few errands, you know, just to get Mr. Ovitz acclimated and to let him focus on his job at hand. Dry cleaners, Starbucks (twice actually, see, "double soy does not mean one-and-a-half soy" - my mistake, totally), and some Chinese herbalist (see "Sensitive Matter" above). However, with those things out of the way, I'm totally committing the next three or four hours to...oh...ummm, okay, I have to run. Forgot about the car wash. Catch you all after lunch, for sure...

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Why?:

* Why, when you call businesses and get their voicemail system, do they insist (still) on saying that "Your call is very important to us"? Isn't it kind of like "If you have to ask 'How much?' you can't afford it"? If you have to repeatedly tell your customer that their call is important, and you insist in doing it in an automated, bored, vanilla voice (with no hope extended of actually connecting you to someone), is it really that important? If your call were truly important, wouldn't you have a live person to answer the phones 24/7?

** Along those lines...Why do voicemail systems have to give you a litany of instructions after the voicemail message (i.e. "If you'd like to leave a message, stay on the line, otherwise hang up or press "0" for more options."). Don't we all kind of have it figured out by now? Beep, then talk. That's really it people.

*** Why is it so life-or-death important for countries to host the Olympics? I'm convinced it only matters to IOC and its host country counterparts, that get to share in the spoils (I mean, of course all the corruption has been taken out of the process, I'm just speculating here). Just look at Greece. The Olympicos have torn the hell out of the country, de-spoiling probably countless classic archaelogical sites forever, while spending billions of dollars on security for a bunch of games and the people who play them. The whole country was getting shellacked with criticism for not being ready, which only increased the frantic efforts of the government to further impose upon the lives of its citizenry so that they can essentially leave the country for a month while the hordes of foreigners invade to make a big mess, and then leave. I mean sure, a new subway system is nice and all, but who really thinks the Greeks will have the money to keep the thing operational afterwards? An apt analogy can be made with the GOP and Dems conventions, to be sure.

I need some answers here...

Beautiful: Really, really great photography of our world and the people and animals that inhabit it.

Link props to FAZED.

Masthead Change at FauxPolitik: Our loyal readers have no doubt noticed a paucity of posting of late. Our once earnest up-start, Flyer, has essentially ceased to exist (blogwise that is). Enobarbus, who last month spoke of a changing work environment and the need for a much-deserved "vacation" has apparently been unable to wrest himself from the Craps tables at Foxwood. Remember, the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem. Eno, I'm ready to listen, when you're ready to talk.

So, in an effort to shore up our operations, I've invited Michael Ovitz (former head of CAA [note the classic, understated elegance of its webpage], former No. 2 at Disney [note the classic, understated...ummm, well]) to take over the strategic vision of FauxPolitik, so I can focus more on quality and quantity of posting, bringing you the unique mix of politics and pop culture, that you've come to rely on.

When Michael first approached me about the job, I was taken aback. Did he really have the availability and more importantly, desire, to devote himself to the behind-the-scenes operations, while leaving the limelight to yours truly? But then, it seems, he has some time on his hands. And no fear of a gay mafia here, nipping at his heels, trying to thwart his much-deserved comeback - after all, Sullivan is on vacation.

But what about his lavish tastes? You've heard of his near-obsession with office re-decoration, hipster parties on the company dime, and personal jets. While FauxPolitik has a healthy ROI, it's due in large measure to my steady hand at cost control, keeping the investors happy without sacrificing quality. Could this marriage work, or was I being blinded by the bling?

Well, like in professional sports, it's about winning now. I knew that we could do fine and well plodding along in the middle tier of blogs, showing steady, if non-dazzling growth, but to make it to the Show, to the Big Time...in short to be like VodkaPundit, we needed Vision, and Vision, my friends, don't come cheap - and more importantly, I needed an invite to next year's Vanity Fair Oscar Party. Ovitz was my man.

We did a two-year deal, with renewals built in, stock options, Spago account, and AmEx Centurion Card. I.M. Pei was not available on short notice for the new headquarters, but we're taking bids.

It's an exciting time here at FauxPolitik, I hope you enjoy the ride. I'll provide exclusive "back room" updates from time-to-time, but for all the change, things will stay the same: Same insight, same humor, same love. Give it up for M-Ov!

Heroes and Killers: Ever start wondering about Dr. Mengele's professional training or his rank in the Waffen SS? Well, here's your site. Not quite sure whether Pol Pot killed one-third or one-quarter of his country's population? Again, you're in luck.

The site is called "More or Less" and it's dedicated to providing short, quirky bios of some of history's most dastardly villains, as well as our most inspiring heroes, such as Mandela, Walesa, and Dr. Albert Schweitzer.

No flash, no dazzle, just solid, brief biographies of people who have made a difference (for better or for worse) over the past century.

Monday, August 16, 2004

FauxPolitik: A magisterial tour-de-force, with a coruscating cracking pace...: Funny article on the language used by book editors and reviewers when distilling a book down to its essentials, so that the book can be instantly categorized and processed (i.e. chicklit, britfic, killerchiller, etc.).

Known as "reviewese", it's the industry shorthand for those who, ironically I suppose, don't have time to really read through something to come to an understanding of it. Sort of like giving a pitch on a movie you want to produce: "It's like Die Hard meets Moulin Rouge, with a touch of The Station Agent, you know?".

Anyway, you'll never read a book jacket the same way again.

Linkprops: A&L Daily - a darkly earnest, heady mix of penetrating insights, if there ever was one (see how much fun that is?).

Friday, August 13, 2004

Raise the terror warning to red!: Comes now one of the more alarming, and at the same time, pathetic, examples of what our Dept. of Homeland Security is capable of.

Seems the cover of a book that a person was carrying in his backpack was a bit too much for the security peon - see, it was a comic book (okay, a graphic novel, but I'm trying to make a point here). And it wasn't say, "Super Osama and his Band of Merry Car-Bombers", but rather a certain well-developed massive sword-brandishing chick with bad intentions on her mind.

My response: "Well, let me call the ACLU and have them come down here, and see what they think about your attempt to confiscate a book that was not in the plain sight of others due to your feeling it's not appropriate." And I pull out my cell and start scrolling down the list - ACLU-NJ is at the top, actually, before 'Amanda' and 'ardaniel' since it sorts alphabetically.

He gets all pissy at me and says, "Don't you understand this is for your safety?"


I suppose the fear was of too many teenage boys rushing to one side of the ferry to get a look.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

God Save Me: I don't think I can suffer another mention of Barack Obama as long as I live. Here he is, folks, the Great Black Hope of the Democratic Party. He's obviously smart, good, looking, and adept at modulating his liberalism for white audiences, and he seems disinclined to take the route of Al Sharpton or Louie Farrakhan or the Jesses Jackson, as a rabble rouser, hustler, or pimp for the professionally disgruntled. Still, he's not Jesus, after all, despite what TNR's fawning coverage implies.

And this brings me back to a subject I broached around the time I predicted Kerry would pick Edwards and softsoap us all at the convention: Why is the party of blacks and women so white and so male at the top of the ticket? Friends, they don't come any whiter than John Edwards. Except for maybe John Kerry. Imagine either of them actually listening to Wyclef. It would no doubt bring back vivid memories of college-day rumbles with black townies. Oh, wait -- wrong generation. John and John were of the original gotta-have-black-friends generation, a sort of undergrad version of radical chic. (Think Howard Dean, asking for black roomies at Yale, then bragging about his connection to the negro world for the next thirty years.)

It's going to change, I'm sure. The Dems are already philosophically beholden to black voters. Any significant defection would set back the party for the next generation. But at some point the minority vote will start to ask, a little more loudly, "How come you never pick us?"

This is where Obama comes in. The Democrats would never think of saying it, but they really do think that, so far, all the national figure blacks in the party couldn't be trusted with the keys to the 'vette. In Obama, they may have seen someone they can feel comfortable with.

But, by the time he's ready to run, will they have hyped him to death? Made us all sick of him?

Accessory to a crime? Get a makeover. I think our society is really just fundamentally flawed. No, not because we're obese, or drunk, or gay, or even addicted to carbs. It's because we all are absolutely sure we're deserving of celebrity, and that any misfortune, no matter how grave, is an appropriate launching point.

One of the latest is certainly the Scott Peterson trial, and the mistress-du-jour, Amber Frey. Some may remember when she was first outed when the case was relatively new. She was wan, with a bad dye job, and just well, normal. Now? She's got the $300 cut, dye and style job, the sleek black pantsuit, and handlers to drive her, escort her, and speak for her. WTF?! She's just someone who went on a few dates with the guy then started taping her phone calls once she learned he was married. She's an accidental tourist in the cable news cycle, yet she feels the need to evidently hire an image consultant so she doesn't look like white trash.

Some more fun examples: Paula Jones, before....then after.

Linda Tripp, before and after.

The best part is that once they're in the limelight, they can't possibly let go. They NEED the attention...more, they DESERVE it. Because, because...they happen to have been groped by someone, or they were friends with someone, or because the roulette wheel of life stopped on their number for all the wrong reasons, and not only are they not shying away from what should be abject embarassment, they're running headlong into the maelstrom. Of course, they'll ACT as if the media are a great intrusion on their otherwise happening life, but still, they'll deign to speak with you and 20 other talkshows - no outlet too small.

So, once you're known, you have to capitalize, right? Wouldn't want to let yourself whither away back into 9-to-5 trivialities like working and taking care of your children. Kato Kaelin would not approve.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Don't say we didn't warn you:: The aliens are coming, and you better get ready (and just so you know, they're coming in a 28-mile wide spaceship, powered by nuclear fusion, so it glows from within).

Or maybe the aliens have already been here, and we're all irretrievably marked by them, presumably for easy pickings when they come back.

Of course, this assumes we last that long. You know, with the giant tidal wave and everything.

That is assuming we don't all kill eachother over our near-empty oil reserves. We're talking Planet of the Apes time.

Fear not, however, because the government is monitoring all of our thoughts, and will be able to stop us and/or kill us before we do anything rash.

There...don't you feel better?

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Our back-up name was "Scratchy Pants": Ever wonder how certain companies got their names? Well, neither did we. Anyway, some people do, and for those people, they have a website.

Learn why a computer company is named "Apple"; why a copier company is named "Canon", and why "Novell" was purely an accident. This is edge-of-seat stuff, people!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

What am I missing?: The plots that were revealed on Sunday, with a dour Ridge explaining the necessity to NOW raise the terror threat and NOW disclose the details of intelligence that we've had, at least in substantial part, since 2000 or 2001. The best the gov't. can say is that some of the recon on possible targets was performed by Al Qaeda as recently as January of this year.

Nothing has been said that the intelligence showed that the attacks were likely to occur in July or August. Nothing has been shown to evidence that the terror warning now is more helpful than in February or May.

To W's credit, he didn't have this broadcast during the Democrat Convention, but maybe this was done as a ramp-up to the Republican Convention in NYC in a month's time.

You know, I hate the conspiracy theorists who say that "Bush Lied" and that Halliburton is running the country, but when you see things like this, and the apparent lack of a satisfactory explanation, you have to lose faith.