Tuesday, September 23, 2008

If Obama met Bartlett

This is hilarious. In it, Barack Obama, the man who would be president, meets Jebediah Bartlett, the man who we all wish was president but can't be because he's fictional. Gets a little preachy at the end (it is Maureen Dowd, after all) but overall, quite amusing.

Best lines (all, needless to say, from Bartlett) include:

"As a Democrat I was surprised to learn that I don’t like small towns, God, people with jobs or America."

"I’ve been a little out of touch but is there a mandate that the vice president be skilled at field dressing a moose..."

"I’m supporting McCain. He’s promised to eradicate evil and that was always on my 'to do' list."

"I’ve been married to a white woman for 40 years and I still don’t know what she wants from me."

"The people who want English to be the official language of the United States are uncomfortable with their leaders being fluent in it."

Tell me about it (especially that last one).

"What's a Wonderwall anyway?"
- Travis, Writing to Reach You

Playoffs? Playoffs?

Guess who's going to be attending the first ever Major League Baseball playoff game in the city of Tampa (well, technically, St. Petersburg).

That's right baby!

Look for me in the stands. I'll be way out in the left field nosebleeds, but I'll be there.


"Baby even the losers get lucky sometimes"
- Tom Petty, Even the Losers

Sunday, September 14, 2008

R.I.P. David Foster Wallace

Recently, I spent approximately 6 months wading through Infinite Jest, the sprawling novel encompassing addiction, commercialization, Canadian terrorism, and ultimately the deadening of the modern soul by David Foster Wallace. Alternating between poignance, humor, and absurdity, it was one of the most frustrating and fascinating books I've ever read.

Wallace was found dead Friday, from an apparent suicide. Beyond the above, I'm not familiar with his work, and certainly have nothing insightful to say that others can't say far better. But in his honor I wanted to post a few of the simple little truths Wallace lists in my favorite passage of Infinite Jest:

"You do not have to like a person to learn from him/her/it."

"Loneliness is not a function of solitude."

"Logical validity is not a guarantee of truth."

"You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how little they do."

"It takes great personal courage to let yourself appear weak."

"It is permissible to want."

Corollary to above: "Perversely, it is often more fun to want something than to have it."

"There is such a thing as raw, unalloyed, agendaless kindness."

"It is simply more pleasant to be happy than to be pissed off."

"There might not be angels, but there are people who might as well be angels."

"No single, individual moment is in and of itself unendurable."

And finally:

"Sometimes, human beings have to just sit in one place and, like, hurt."

(Additional reading here.)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I hate to say it...

...but Charles Krauthammer is absolutely right. This whole "OMG Palin didn't know what 'The Bush Doctrine' meant LOL" business is a ridiculous example of precisely the wrong way to go about combating the choice of Alaska governor Sarah Palin as number 2 on the Republican presidential ticket. It seems to me that any reasonable person who watches the clip of Charlie Gibson asking Palin whether she agrees with the Bush Doctrine should think her reaction to the question was perfectly legitimate, regardless of whether they agree with her response. (Disclaimer: I have not seen the whole interview, and maybe the context leading up to the question clarifies, or perhaps further obscures, its intent.)

Don't get me wrong: I still don't know that much about Palin, and thus far, I'm not a fan. In the clip, she comes across as overly confrontational and at one point almost contemptuous of Gibson. But in my opinion, there is clearly going to be a backlash against liberal reaction to this so-called gaffe - I believe that was Newton's Third Law. This is playing right into McCain/Palin's campaign narrative of liberal media bias, and more people are going to come to Palin's defense than are going to deride her. There are plenty of right ways to go about discrediting Palin as a vice presidential candidate, but this is not one of them.

Now if you'll excuse me, there are more important things to attend to, like Game Day. Go Dores!

"Feels like there's nothing to explain
One more or less it's all the same"
- Screaming Trees, More Or Less

Monday, September 08, 2008

Cahuenga langa langa shoebox soup

Just wanted to throw up a quick link to yesterday's Leonard Pitts column. Not because it's particularly spectacular as far as Pitts columns go, but because it reminded me of a scene from an unfinished screenplay known to myself and two readers as Cherry Cream Soda, which, if ever completed, would probably be the most surreal sci-fi horror romantic comedy-drama ever committed to film. This post will mean absolutely nothing to anybody else, so to those readers, I apologize. Please return to your lives.

Oh, and also, coconut sex with a mongoose.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Vanderbilt is the Answer

I knew I picked the right university to attend. How else can you explain Vanderbilt being ranked number 42 (!) among world universities? Douglas Adams would be so proud.

"You didn’t get to heaven but you made it close"
- Coldplay, 42

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

My double take of last night

Probably the most interesting strategy for wooing voters I have seen during either convention this year occurred during Joe Lieberman's speech last night. After describing Barack Obama's time in the Senate as one that existed mostly along party lines, he compared Obama (unfavorably) and by implication McCain (favorably) to a previous president who had worked across party lines to accomplish some great things. That president? Bill Clinton, one of Lieberman's former partymates and the Republican party's Antichrist for the past 16 years.

I had to rewind the speech to make sure that had actually just happened. You could tell that many Republicans in the audience didn't quite know how to respond, which was amusing.

So, to review Lieberman's point for Republicans who might have missed it: McCain is better than Obama because McCain is more like Bill Clinton. Take that as you will.

On an unrelated note, there needs to be a term like "double take" for having to rewind your DVR to make sure you heard something correctly. Any thoughts?

"I know what I did and why
But that don't mean I can't regret it
when I'm watching my TV all night"
- Kevin Devine, Not Over You Yet

Monday, September 01, 2008

Mike's Car Turns 100

In honor of the recent 100th birthday of Mike's car, "The Blog to End All Blogs" is extremely proud to present...

Mike's Car
A Career Retrospective

April 1997: It was love at first sight, much like Yossarian and the Chaplain. The salesman at the Saturn dealer asked Mike if he would be interested in looking at one of the previous year's models, and took him to a dark blue 1997 SC2 with 130 test drive miles on it. Mike drove it off the lot that day.

June 1998: Application of the only bumper sticker Mike's car would ever bear causes Bill Gates to nickname it "The Vandelay Mobile". This same month, the newly christened Vandelay Mobile ventures out of state for the first time, heading to Baltimore to witness an Orioles-Braves interleague matchup.

September 1998: Mike's car makes the first of many voyages to Stafford, VA, where it receives a free, professional quality detailing job by a young man who would later take to referring to himself as "Other White Meat" in the blogosphere (and hopefully nowhere else).

May 1999: Mike's car is sidelined for three weeks by its first major injury If we ignore the infamous "Traffic Cone Wars" of October 1999 (which Jeff inarguably won), this is also Mike's car's only major injury.

July 1999: Mike's car hops a truck bound for Laguna Hills, California, knowing it won't stay there too long, because...

August 1999: ...it's subsequently bound for Nashville, Tennessee, bearing two Mikes. This represents Mike's car's first major road trip, but certainly not its last.

May 2000: Mike's car puts up tent stakes in Nashville while Mike heads to Laguna Hills for the summer. This will is the longest Mike and Mike's car have been separated, but come autumn, they renew their relationship as if nothing has changed.

October 2000: Due to Vanderbilt's instantiation of Fall Break, Mike's car embarks on the first of many road trips from Nashville to Washington, D.C.

February 2001: On a whim, Mike's car accompanies Jeff's car (may it rest in peace) on a midnight road trip around central Tennessee. This road trip is later immortalized in the Jimmy B and the Fortune 500 song Destination: Nowhere, allowing Mike to forever claim to be a "published songwriter".

May 2002: Mike's car makes the first of many trips from Nashville to Atlanta, for the sadly-now-defunct Music Midtown festival, before heading up to Washington, D.C. (again) for the wedding of the aforementioned Other White Meat.

May 2003: First, Mike's car heads to Florida for the first time for senior week. (It foolishly assumes at the time this will also be its last voyage to Florida.) Then, it heads back to Nashville briefly, and then conveys now-college-graduate Mike to Louisville, Kentucky and then (again) to Washington, D.C.

October 2003: Mike's car makes its first voyage to Houston, Texas, by way of Nashville. It has no idea at the time just how much time it will spend in that city.

August 2004: Mike's car arrives at the graduate student apartments at Rice University for an extended stay.

February 2006: After making a brief stop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Mike's car returns to Florida, this time to the Tampa area.

August 2006: Mike's car makes its first Tampa-to-Atlanta road trip, then heads on to Nashville to allow Mike to participate in Ben's wedding. (Mike's car was sad that it was unable to accompany Mike to Jeff's wedding the following year. It never quite forgave Mike.)

September 1, 2008: Around 5 PM, on US Hwy 19, near the thriving metropolis of Leesburg, GA, Mike's car turns 100. As in 100,000 miles. 100,000 crazy miles.

Clearly, Mike's car's career has been chaotic and unpredictable. What do the next 100,000 miles have in store? Only time will tell. And time, being intangible, is remaining silent at the moment.

"Let's go get lost anywhere in the U.S.A."
- Red Hot Chili Peppers, Road Trippin'