Monday, July 30, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
[this post goes out to MyDogIsChelsea, who is cruelly laid up with strep throat for the second time this summer. Lame! Way lame!]
After 30 years of listening to public radio, I have come to the conclusion that it sucks.
With that said, let me jump immediately into the qualifications:
- Public radio sucks objectively, not comparatively. Indisputably, it shines like a precious diamond in the vile wasteland of ClearChannel-era commercial radio, not to mention television, newspaper journalism (with a couple of exceptions), and magazine journalism (with a handful of exceptions).
- This American Life does not suck.
- Michael Feldman does not suck.
- Many individual public radio stations produce solid local content, or curate unusual or interesting content. I happen to listen, for my sins, to Oregon Public Broadcasting, which does neither well and thus especially sucks.
OK, moving on to the evidence. Here is why public radio sucks:
1. It is stuck in time. The hot new show, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, is as old as the century. This American Life, though still lovely on a good week, can no longer be considered fresh and hip eleven years into its tenure. What I can expect to hear on any given Sunday is almost exactly what I could expect to hear when I entered graduate school in fucking 1991. This makes public radio essentially an oldies station. Ergo, it sucks.
2. It is not public. Programming is flagrantly directed by what can gain corporate sponsorship -- announced in a steady stream of commercial advertisements -- and by what can be funded through sucking up to grant-wielding foundations. Not that any of this craven behavior stops the agony of:
3. Fundraising Weeks. Talk about sucking. God. Public radio fundraising is embarassingly inept. It demeans all who take part and all who listen. Sucks! Sucks! Sucks! In recent years, it has taken me months to get back in the habit of listening to the radio after fundraising weeks. I think I am wising up.
4. It is devoid of surprises. Public radio cleaves to the notion that formula creates comfort, so its shows march through their formats in a dull lockstep. Now, this is all fine and good in pleasant fluff like Car Talk, which has broadcast essentially the same show every week throught my adult life. (Car Talk has more ritual incantations per hour than the Roman Catholic mass.) In news programming, though, it is kind of disturbing. It isn't too hard for a regular listener to predict what the news will be before turning on the radio -- which means that is ain't really news at all, doesn't it. And finally:
5. Liberal Bias. Where is it, anyway? I can turn to any other media outlet if I want the bland, reckless, willfully ignorant false moralities of conservative so-called thought rammed down my throat. From a medium that professes to a little intellectual rigor, I expect a bracing liberal perspective. But I ain't hearing it.
That is all.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Oh my. I had bought them within 15 seconds, and there were already people disappointed that they didn't get there soon enough. ("How much did you pay?" asked one sad woman. "Not very much!" I chirped. Which was terribly unseemly. I was wrong to gloat.)
Check out this haul!
That's, like, fifteen POUNDS of Legos. Which is awesome because, um, you know, kids. Kids love Legos! Gotta have toys on hand for when kids visit!
So I get home, and there's this antique-store find in the mail from occasional L&TM5K commenter Dug:
SUWEEET!!! And this isn't just a postcard, it's one of those booklets with 20 gatefold images inside, including not only such gems as the (former) Greyhound station and the judging of the Rose Festival floats, but also this one of Laurelhurst Park, a mere four blocks from Castle5000:
What a gem! It will hold a place of honor in the boring postcard collection.
So anyway, it seems like the second-hand gods are taking good care of me today.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
It's also hard to explain what makes a postcard boring. The two of us don't always agree on whether a given postcard really qualifies. We can spend a lot of time arguing about this.
Although there are no universal rules, common characteristics of the properly boring postcard might be:
- it shows an "attraction" that no one would ever actually want to visit
- the attraction lacks visual interest
- the attraction is something that is common as dirt
- a genuinely interesting attraction is made to look uninteresting
- the image is poorly photographed or framed
- text on the postcard carries an unintentional pathos or irony
I should mention that this (fantastic) collection concept did not originate with us. For sheer postcard tedium, I highly recommend the books Boring Postcards, Boring Postcards USA, and Langweilige Postkarten, all by Martin Parr.
If you would like to start your own collection by receiving a genuinely boring postcard in the U.S. mail, send me an Email with your name and address. We'll set you up.
Monday, July 16, 2007
All About Fashion
Fashion is really just another way to get you to buy shit you don't need. But if you have an interest in clothes and the money to spare, more power to you! I bet you look great!
- Kind people.
- People who are interested in things.
- People who are competent.
- Bookish people.
- Disingenuous people.
- People who are indiscriminately insulting.
- People who use the phrase "fashion faux pas."
- Snide bloggers
Michael5000's Fashion Tips
- The older you get, the less writing you want on your clothing.
- You are more attractive when you are comfortable in shabby clothes than when you are uncomfortable in expensive clothes.
- If you are in food service, many of us do not want to see your undergarments.
- Men: Women pay attention to your shoes. It's weird, but there you go.
- Women: If you choose to dress like a hooker, you will attract men who are attracted to hookers.
- Beware of all enterprises that require new clothing.
- It's better to leave something to the imagination. Yes, even with your beautiful body. Trust me on this.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
In the late 90s, when I watched television on a regular basis, we were often treated to commercials for a soft drink called Surge. It was Coca-Cola's answer to Mountain Dew, a beverage which in my childhood was purchased only by the elderly but which by 1995 or so, on the strength of its near-lethal caffeine content, had penetrated the lucrative market of marginally-employed slacker dudes.
Surge had an uphill battle in its quest to catch up with Mountain Dew, both because of its late arrival in the marketplace and because it apparently tasted something like, as The [Cherry] Ride recently wrote of a different soft drink, "someone drank a pepsi, ate a sno-cone and a handful of smarties and threw it up all into [one's] mouth." So Surge advertisements came thick and fast. They all followed the same basic plot line:
- Group of marginally-employed slacker dudes set up vaguely Xtreme-sportsy obstacle course.
- Bottle of Surge is placed at finish line.
- Lead slacker dude bellows "Surge!!!" in a tone that suggests that he is extremely stoned, suffering an aneurism, or both.
- Slacker dudes rush towards Surge bottle, pell-mell, to a lite speed-metal soundtrack.
- Lucky winning slacker guzzles the Surge beverage in a fashion that, in the real world, would rupture his stomach from the Xtreme carbonation.
Here's an example that someone, presumbly for very good reasons of his or her own, posted on YouTube:
Now, you probably see where I am going with this. I can't hear Mr. Bush and his cronies discuss the "surge" policy in Iraq without immediately thinking of this ad campaign.
You can imagine a line of American soldiers -- whom I certainly wouldn't call "underemployed slacker dudes," but who by this time I imagine look and feel similarly bedraggled -- lining up at the border. "General Petraeus" (whose name, one notes, it appears to be administration policy to utter as often as humanly possible) can be the guy who shouts "Surge!!!!!" Then the wacky misadventures begin.
Well, you hope for a peaceful resolution. But you fear they'll get stuck guzzling the heinous overcaffeinated beverage. So to speak.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
The rich tradition of Oklahoma football now includes one of the most punishing losses in the history of the college game.The Sooners lost an entire season.When the NCAA announced Wednesday that it was vacating all of Oklahoma's wins from the 2005 season because three players accepted improper payments from a car dealer, the hallowed program took a historically uncommon hit.The Sooners' 8-4 season becomes 0-4. A come-from-behind win over Oregon in the Holiday Bowl? Never happened.
Monday, July 9, 2007
Saturday, July 7, 2007
Colorado: 3 new counties (Pitkin, Hinsdale, Rio Blanco) for a total of 46 (18 to go)
Wyoming: 1 new county (Lincoln) for 12 (11 to go)
Idaho: 5 new counties (Bear Lake, Franklin, Caribou, Banock, Power) for 31 (13 to go)
Utah: 3 new counties (Dagget, Rich, Cache) for 22 (7 to go)
With these new 12, I'm up to 935 counties (out of 3131 in the U.S.)