August 6th, 2003

flavored with age

Bathroom and other updates

- The bathroom ceiling remains in a state of disrepair. We got a message on the phone yesterday from the landlady about when they're coming to fix it, but the combination of her terrible cell phone static and her thick Panamanian accent rendered it totally incomprehensible.

- Lara, Steve and I went to see "In the Heat of the Night" last night at the Movies in the Park festival. We went to see "West Side Story" last year, but left disappointed because it was so crowded that we were sitting, roughly, by the Sears Tower, and couldn't hear a thing, which is a bit of a hindrance for a musical. This time, however, it was pretty good -- the sound was incredibly improved, we got there early enough to sit close to the screen, and we brought a nice picnic dinner. It was a lot of fun, and it's free! Thanks, Mayor Daley!

I used to watch footage of people praying in Mecca, and I thought, man. There's no way you could ever get 5000 Americans to sit still and be quiet for five minutes like that. Surprisingly, though, the crowd at the Movies in the Park was pretty quiet and well-behaved, although way too many people succumbed to the temptation to yammer on their cell phones. Hey, nimrods: it's outside, but it's still a movie. So shut the fuck up.

- Do any of you have "smooth jazz" stations in your cities? It's basically jazz with all the confusing, difficult, interesting parts removed. They play it sometimes at restaurants when they feel like they need to play music, but they don't want anyone to actually listen to it lest they become a disco. It's the ultimate inoffensive music; it seems calculated to appeal to everyone and no one at the same time. I have an unshakeable mental association of smooth jazz with cabs, because pretty much the only time I ever hear it is in a taxicab at 2:30AM when I'm coming home from a bar or a club. As a result, every time I hear smooth jazz, it makes me want to go to sleep. I am assured, however, that many people actually enjoy this music, and listen to it voluntarily; the smooth jazz station here, WNUA, is extremely popular. It strikes me as the yuppie equivalent of KMEO, the station my mom used to listen to when I was kid growing up in Arizona: they played, basically, home Muzak. It was all popular hits of the recent and distant past, played by a crappy studio orchestra, with all the basslines and percussion removed.
flavored with age

The right man for the right wing

With Colin Powell, the last moderate in the Bush administration (and the fact that anyone would consider Powell a moderate is indicative of what a fucked-up gaggle of neoconservative lunatics this cabinet really is), declining to return, America is asking: who is he kidding with this “spend more time with my family” crap, when we all know that he was forced out faster than a turd after the Hombre Hambre value meal at La Migra Café?

Ha ha! I kid because I hate. What America is really asking is, who will be Powell’s replacement in the increasingly inevitable second term? Here are the leading candidates.

1. CONDOLEEZZA RICE. The most overtly Stalinist member of the Bush team is also the obvious choice to replace Powell. She’s telegenic, she’s ideologically pure, and best of all, she makes the testicles of foreign leaders recede all the way up to their lungs out of sheer terror. She’ll have to get rid of the Enemies List she carries in her breast pocket, and her handlers will have to work on the “I see your head on a pike” look she normally sports, but the job is hers to lose. Also, she would have the funniest name for a US Secretary of State since the golden days of Abel P. Upshur, Elihu Root and Philander C. Knox.

2. PAUL WOLFOWITZ. With Wolfie heading up the diplomatic corps and von Rumsfeld in charge of the War Department, we’d get a one-two tandem the likes of which have not been seen since Goering and von Ribbentrop. Also, there is a slight chance that, given his popularity with young neoconservatives, he might inspire a group of blonde teenage girls to form a club called “Wolfman’s Wenches” and produce a mildly pornographic calendar. This might seem unlikely at first, but keep in mind, I am a very lonely man.

3. RICHARD PERLE. Why not just come right out and admit it?

4. OL’ DIRTY BASTARD. Now, I know what you’re saying. Dirt McGuirt is a Democrat! Well, I have news for you: he actually voted a straight Libertarian ticket in 1996 and a pick-and-mix combo of Reform, Temperance and American Raving-Derelict in 2000. Like Colin Powell before him, Big Baby Jesus is a strong, popular black man who has reached fame and maturity without ever having bothered to develop a political ideology. He can offer the G.O.P. street credibility and the spokesman for young urban voters they sorely lack; they can offer him parole and three cans of Strongheart dog food a day. But is he qualified as a diplomat? Come on. Who doesn’t love the ODB? I have it on good authority that even contentious French foreign minister Lionel Jospin likes it raw, baby.

5. HENRY KISSINGER. The most notable gap in Bush’s plan to recycle all the worst cabinet officials of the 1970s. An attempt was made to bring H-Bomb Hank into the fold as the head of a committee investigating the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, but his name was withdrawn when the American public reacted badly to a fact-finding mission being headed by a murderous, egomaniacal demon in human shape who would have to undergo intensive psychotherapy just to work his way up to being a pathological liar. However, these same traits are absolute boons to a Secretary of State. As cowardly as the French, as arrogant as the British, as aggressive as the Germans, as duplicitous as the Russians, and yet still uniquely American in his disregard for the basic human dignity of other people, Henry is tailor-made for the job.