January 22nd, 2007

aging gracelessly

You know who loves these diary entries? NO ONE

- Lileks today is so all-over-the-map cranky I'm not even gonna touch him. You guys go ahead, get your hands dirty, I have work to do.

- Speaking of which, you will rarely hear me complain about anything related to freelancing, because hey, it's paid writing work, and you know I love that doremus. I'm even getting my business cards finally, and they say, right on there, "I write things for money". But my work-work, my day job, has been ridiculously busy lately, and when you combine it with the fact that I get home and have to put in about 6 hours on blog, High Hat, music reviews, trade pieces, and other freelance work, I'm getting that burnt-out, unhealthy two-full-time-jobs feeling.

On the other hand, anyone who actually DOES have two real full-time jobs will no doubt be laughing bitterly at my soft-ass ways. Also, the minute freelancing hits a dry patch, which it always does, I'll be right back here whining and complaining about being broke and wishing to hell I could get some more writing work, so feel free to just go ahead and say now that I am a big fat hypocrite. For now, I'll just have to cut back on something to carve out more time; it won't be my girlfriend or a social life, since I don't have either, and it won't be drinking, because, honestly, who's kidding who? I'm sure I'll just curtail something that's unproductive, wasteful and bad for me, like excercise, sleep or therapy.

- One of the upsides of all this freelancing, though, is that I can finally splurge on stuff like trying to buy things on eBay. I say "trying" because I am the worst eBay shopper in the world, having failed to master the art of having my whole life revolve around checking in on my auctions five minutes before they end. Thus, I'm constantly being sniped out of the stuff I want. Also, I tell myself I'm "thrifty", because I won't bid on stuff that goes over a certain price, but like as not I just buy these things at full price from Amazon if I don't win the auction, so there you have it: further proof that I suck. I'm even contemplating buying an Apple laptop on eBay, but I'm hindered by the high number of low prices, at which my brain keeps coughing up the truism that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. On the other hand, I'm still getting tons of good results out of Paperback Swap, and would be enjoying Freecycle more if they didn't always offer stuff like Homer gets out of the Springfield Shopper in the trampoline episode ("Homer, please don't bring home any more soiled mattresses").

- Resolved: Harry Knowles has absolutely no right to be famous. This is what the internet has wrought: a gross, sex-obsessed fanboy toad no better than Comic Book Shop Guy has been elevated to the level of a Caesar. It's WRONG, I tell you.

- donutresuscitat has brought to my attention that the conglomeration of G.O.P. nerds at National Review's "The Corner" blog have actually taken to using 'Remember Valencia' as a spur-on-the-troops slogan in our War on Global Terror. The reference is to the bogue destruction of the California suburb via suitcase-bomb on 24, and to me, is illustrative of what a goddamn dreamworld these pud-pulling fearwallahs are living in. Even in the superattenuated anti-Commie hysteria Golden Age of Ronald Reagan, you didn't have a bunch of douchebags going around yelling "Remember Lawrence, Kansas" at the Marines.
flavored with age

You CAN bullshit a bullshitter

I've been trying to enjoy the first few seasons of Penn & Teller's Bullshit lately. I say 'trying' because it's not easy. At times, the show is delightful, and I still revel in debunking on general principles, but there's two things that really bug me about the show.

First of all, there's Penn Jillette's relentless libertarianism. Now, it's pretty safe to say that I used to fairly idolize Penn Jillette. He was a big goofy-looking dude (he's far and away the winner in the 'celebrity I most resemble' sweepstakes, if other people are any guide) who knew a bunch of cool tricks, was fearless and outspoken about his political and philosophical views, he had a low tolerance for obvious nonsense, and he was obsessed with Uma Thurman; what's not to love? Unfortunately, as time has gone on, he's displayed some tendencies that are less lovable. He's a bit of a blowhard, as are all really opinionated people, but with a nasty edge of self-righteousness; he's polyamorous, which is fine, but always brings me down when people talk about it a lot, which he does; and he's a die-hard ultra-libertarian, a devotee of Ayn Rand, and (!) a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. This comes through way too often in the show; he's quick to talk up the lack of peer review when he's debunking intelligent design (as well he should), but he's equally quick to ignore the presence of peer review when he's debunking global warming. He's also constantly critical of people who cynically peddle nonsense in order to make a buck, but it seems not to have occurred to him that as much money can be made off of environmentalism, recycling, and alternative fuels, there's a lot more to be made off of the industries they're meant to correct, and that just maybe all the people who are saying global warming is a myth have something to gain from their stance as well. (To his credit, he's owned up to having his head up his ass on second-hand smoke.) I know his standard disclaimer -- "We're as biased as anyone, but at least we admit it" -- but I don't see that as any less of a cop-out than if an evangelical said it.

Beyond that, though, it can be an enjoyable show -- depending on who's writing it. BS's writing staff is wildly inconsistent, coming up with hilarious and insightful lines and cutting jokes one episode and wheezing out hoary gags, puns, and one-liners that seem like they belong on Animal Planet home video shows the next. I want to like the show -- I mean, I really want to, not just because I like Penn & Teller, but also because it's one of the few skeptical voices in mass media -- but in the end, I really don't.
stella stella can't you hear me yella


Ludic Log weekend catsup:

Saturday featured the usual plate of funny lists and cultural sausage. Len Bob says check 'em out.

Sunday was my second-ever mp3 blog, featuring seven selections with 52 as the theme. Get these songs while they're hot; I take 'em down after a week.

Today features the least funny thing I can ever remember writing, but read it anyway because I'm desperate for hits.

Also, your thoughts: should I put the new Ludic Log schedule (humor Monday, fiction Tuesday, comics Wednesday, politics Thursday, wild card Friday, lists Saturday, mp3 Sunday) on the site somewhere? Or, fuck it?

Monday Poll! Monday Poll!

Monday Monday Monday poll!

Poll #911690 These Polls Are Making Me Thirsty

Considering the huge downward* spiral I'm in these days, I've been thinking about aquiring some more bad habits. What should be my new vice(s)?

prostitution (demand)
prostitution (supply)
drugs (cocaine)
drugs (heroin)
drugs (hallucinogens)
drugs (speed)
drugs (downers)
drugs (other)
petty crime
major crime
some deviant sex thing
other (see Comments)

What was the most embarrassing thing about the 1980s?

neon-colored clothing
Robin Williams' career
junk bonds
hair metal
the Burger King "Herb" campaign
cola wars
how everyone in America was doing tons of coke
the fact that I am too young to remember them
everything about the 1980s was awesome
other (see Comments)

With new technologies, I am:

an early adopter
a late adopter
a non-adopter
an AC adapter
do what now?

If you were traveling around the world, and money and time were not an issue, how would you travel?

By plane, because I value speed, efficiency and horrible back and leg cramps
By train, because I enjoy the genteel feeling of olden days and the smell of other people
By bus, because I like the camaraderie of travel and am cheap
By car, because my privacy is important to me and I like destroying the planet
By boat, because there's nothing like wide-open space, the beauty of nature, and drowning
On foot, because I like to leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but memories and also I am nuts
I wouldn't

Who is the least funny person you can think of who is famous primarily for being funny?

*: No, I said downward. Not this guy.