December 8th, 2006

party time

Prick Filter

Hey, how about that ludickid? What a jerk, am I right?

You people, I swear...

In other administrative news:

- For those who ain't got the word, please use leonard dot pierce at gmail dot com for correspondence from this point forward.

- We're still taking submissions for the next issue of the High Hat. You've got another week to send your pitches to high hat submissions at gmail dot com; deadline for finished articles is Jan. 24th.

- Chicago, drop me an e-mail: let's get together when I'm in town for New Year's. What say? You bunch of filthy drunks.

Town Hall schtupdate

As amazing as the regular columnists at Town Hall are, even better are the posters. Earlier this year, Town Hall added a comments section, which has really let the shitheads out of the box; it's usually the usual veiled racism, Islamaphobia and gay-bashing you would expect, but sometimes there's more.

I've written before about how the Town Hall crowd is surprisingly reluctant to discuss economics, possibly because their economic ideas all revolve around ideas without much mass appeal. Today, Town Hall second-stringer Matt Towery wrote a sky-is-falling piece about the state of the world; in it, he made grim predictions about foreign policy, domestic stability, and, surprisingly, the economy. He made the extremely noncontroversial observation that America's destiny is linked economically with China's, and that the Asian goliath stands poised to rival or surpass us as a global superpower due to their monetary policy and massive manufacturing base.

Well, this really brought out the squeakers, man. If you thought these people were dumb about politics and policy, wait until you hear them talk about the economy. Their tiny, mommy-protect-me little minds, which operate on no principle more sophisticated than "America is always right no matter what and it's not what we do, it's that we're Americans when we do it" (hence the defense of stuff like torture and theocracy), were totally blown by the outrageous suggestion that another country might be developing a more powerful economy than ours. So they offered up some brilliant suggestions. Let's watch!

Free Trade: Don't care. In my view, no matter what China does with our debt and currency, there will only be positive long term benefit for us. If they hold our notes and funds, we can import more goods for less (acting as a tax cut), and the price of oil drops for us, acting like a tax cut.

Which is great, because this pseudo-tax cut will more than make up for wage stagnation and the loss of real-dollar value that has been steadily increasing since all of our manufacturing jobs disappeared! Apparently, the reason that no one can save money anymore isn't a lack of job stability, flat wages, or a lack of real-dollar growth, but high taxes.

If they release our notes and funds, we start manufacturing and exporting more goods (acting as an economic stimulant)

Just like that! We'll start manufacturing and exporting more goods! Easy! We'll just somehow rebuild all the factories that have closed over the last 35 years, and retrain the whole workforce, and convince all the CEOs who shipped the jobs overseas to hire American workers at the same price. And we will start exporting more goods, because our stuff will be just as good and cheap as Chinese products! Somehow!

Thank God we aren't an Asian country that must always manufacture or perish.

Yes, thank God! We can run on a service industry, which Asian countries can never do, because, uh, because they don't believe in Jesus, I guess.

We can play any part of this game better than they can.

It may appear that they're beating us in terms of manufacturing and monetary policy, but in reality, we are letting them win. We can never be defeated, because we are Americans.

If it makes you feel better, we could add a term to our notes, "FORFEIT in, from, or to China", at any time, and our embargo of Cuba proves we have the stones for it.*

If things get TOO bad, we can just make special money that says "no good if you're a Chinaman", and it will totally work and won't in any way make us a global laughingstock whose economy will collapse overnight! And if we could successfully embargo a tiny Caribbean nation from whom we got virtually no imports, that proves we could totally do the same thing to a country with a billion people who provides the majority of the world's dry goods manufaturing!

Individuals can protect themselves from currency instability by keeping some fraction of their savings in gold and silver coins.

And gasoline! And, uh, dried noodles and firearms! And then we can live forever in the mountains, and forget that we're part of a global economy!

I'm tired of the endless whining. Straighten up and get back to work.

If we just worked hard enough, that would fix the economy. Shut up, all you economist eggheads who study the incredibly complex interplay of global monetary policy and production trends! All we have to do is work harder! IT'S JUST THAT SIMPLE.

This article can be summed up in one sentence. We need another Ronald Reagan.

Boy, I tell you what! Because all the problems the article mentions -- Islamic terrorism, the loss of our manufacting base, the growing shift in global power to Asia, the energy crisis, and spiralling debt -- Ronald Reagan totally solved all those problems when he was president!

*: Seriously, this is perhaps the dumbest thing ever written. This is substantially dumber than people who say we can fix economic slumps by just printing more money.
mmmmm delicious

Me am the Michelin Guide to Fast Food Restaurants of the Bizarro World

PIZZA HATE. It’s always a mystery what you’re going to get at Pizza Hate. Pineapple muffin shake? A bag of lawn trimmings? Nobody knows except the man behind the deep-fryer, whose “Chef’s Special” at $7.95 is the only available menu item. One thing is for certain, however: you won’t be getting a pizza. “WE HATE PIZZA” has been the venerable chain’s slogan ever since 1964, when a court order forced them to change it from “WE FUCKIN’ HATE PIZZA”. In fact, they do not even use the basic ingredients of pizza – flour, tomatoes, and cheese – in any of their recipes.

DRUNKEN DONUTS. No longer simply a favorite of Irish cops, Drunken Donuts has expanded to all segments of the consumer market who enjoy becoming inebriated while eating sugar-saturated, deep-fried dough. Their famous coffee comes with a choice of one, two or three shots of whisky, or the special ‘coffee optional’ version that is handed to you in its own paper bag. Gin-glazed crullers and Jägerrmeister bear claws are big sellers, but the perennial favorite is the Jell-O Shot Donut.

RED MOBSTER. This chain of Russian-style seafood eateries has really taken off since its 1992 debut. Founder and CEO Fyodor “Crowbar” Selenovich cites aggressive marketing, low prices, and the popular ‘warehouse’ area of the restaurant (where diners can enjoy cigars and discounted Rolexes that have recently fallen off the back of trucks) as reasons for its success; fresh herring, dead-eyed and English-deficient waitresses, and no seating with your back to the door also play a part.

SUBPAR. This ubiquitous chain of cold-cut sandwich dispensaries delivers barely satisfying, not exactly delicious sandwiches served up in an untimely manner by unfriendly, half-competent employees. Subpar contrasts itself with the greasy, fatty, recently prepared fare offered by the burger chains; as their memorable slogan has it, at Subpar, you’ll “eat nearly fresh”. All of their bread was at one point freshly baked, and they will sell no meat that wasn’t part of an animal.

BOSTON MARKUP. An upscale convenience-food chain, Boston Markup (which was named not for the city, but for its CEO’s love of the song “More Than a Feeling” is the favorite choice of accountants, financial advisors and investment brokers. All meals come with a full history of the vendor’s profit margin, a financial statement for the previous year, and an opportunity cost analysis of money spent vs. time saved by not simply making the food yourself at home.

GINGER ROGER'S. Founded by the legendary silver-screen dance star in 1936 as an upscale series of themed nightclubs, Ginger Roger's was bought out after tough times in 1979 by a group of Hong Kong investors whose command of the language was imperfect. As a result, it is now a chain of cheap pirate-themed Chinese takeout joints where all the dishes are seasoned with copious amounts of ginger. Do your best to avoid Ye Olde Cap’n Jim’s Walk-the-Ginger-Chicken-Planks.

TAKO BELL. One of the hottest fast food restaurants in Japan finally makes its debut in the United States. Led by their memorable spokescreature Eight-Armed Eddie, Tako Bell presents a full range of octopus- and squid-based dining options, including the Squidchilada, the Calimari Club sandwich, and the inexplicably popular Octa-Roon cookie. The restaurant aims to make suckerfish and other tentacled, suctioned sea creatures palatable to children, so check out the Inky Squirts Playland area.

JACK IN THE HOLE. This southwestern chain has won innumerable design and product innovation awards for its alarmingly accurate re-creation of the prison dining experience. No take-home is available; customers must eat their meals off metal trays under the cautious eye of armed tower guards, and the dining area is racially segregated by prison gang affiliation. A wide selection of steam-tray options are available, as is free soap, toilet wine, and the best sheet cake in town.

MONTANA FRIED CHICKEN. A successful bucket of fowl starts with an original recipe, and they don’t come much more original than Montana Fried Chicken’s. MFC’s method of preparation is a unique interpretation of deep-frying that involves not heating the oil in which the chicken is immersed. The result is a truly unique culinary experience that has nearly one-twentieth as many devotees as detractors, and business is booming despite many lawsuits and health code violations.

WHETHERBURGER. The self-described chain that “put the ‘meat’ in ‘mystery meat’”, Whetherburger offers diners an economy-sized tray of unidentified food items, as well as the chance to guess whether any of them is a burger. Other surprise treats at the chain include the random insertion of ‘prizes’ in takeout bags, kids’ meals, and food and beverage items, and a popular promotion where a randomly chosen customer wins the opportunity to be chef of the day.