Archive for ‘humor’

August 9, 2009

MoDo Covers the Jesse Griffin Scandal

“Gryphen” gets an extension on his 15 minutes of fame courtesy of the New York Times columnist:

Palin is still obsessed with the blogosphere, which recently lit up with a rumor — started by a fellow mavericky Alaskan, who also no longer has his job — that she and Todd were Splitsville.

Excuse me, Ms. Dowd, but is Palin “obsessed with the blogosphere” or is it the other way around? And don’t you share that obsession? Furthermore, ma’am — speaking of “Gryphen” a/k/a former Anchorage kindergarten teaching assistant Jesse Ray Griffin — is it the usual practice of the New York Times to ignore, in its news pages, events which are significant enough to merit commentary from its Pulitzer-winning columnists?

This is from my Thursday account of Griffin’s resignation from Trailside Elementary School:

“Sarah is finished with Todd and has decided to end their marriage,” Griffin wrote at “Immoral Minority” Saturday morning, saying that “one of [his] best sources” had told him the Palins were divorcing. Griffin’s story was immediately promoted by Dennis Zaki’s “Alaska Report” site, which claimed that “multiple sources” had confirmed the report.
Jeanne Devon, an Anchorage Democratic activist who had previously blogged anonymously, also promoted Griffin’s “exclusive” at the Huffington Post. As a result of this promotion, by Saturday afternoon Zaki’s headline, “Todd and Sarah Palin to divorce,” was the lead item at the popular Memeorandum political news site, even though it had already been officially denied by Palin spokeswoman Meg Stapleton.
Griffin wrote on his blog Wednesday, “I stand by every single word” of the original report, which accused Sarah Palin of attempting “to hide a broken relationship” with husband Todd.

You see, Ms. Dowd, how this “exclusive” got boosted up the online food chain so that, within a few hours of an unverified blind-source rumor being posted by “Gryphen” on his Immoral Minority site, it was the hottest story on the Internet. And it was his claim to have an “exclusive” — as if his sources were more reliable than mine — that drew my interest.

Given your Pulitzer-winning reputation for thoroughness, Ms. Dowd, I’m sure you’ll be interested in reporting the whole story about what “Gryphen” wrote on his blog:

“I think that this trend toward real people having real sex is definitely the way to go. . . . when you see a video of an amateur couple having sex you can tell that they are simply doing it for the sheer excitement of sharing their passion with a bunch of middle aged pervs who are going to wank off to their sexual exploits.”
— “Gryphen,” 6/3/07

“If sex is not naughty then it is almost not worth doing. I love kids, but in my opinion they are just a side effect of a healthy sex life.”
— “Gryphen,” 6/14/07

“And your penis will respond more readily if you take it out and put it through its paces more often. Duh! So the next time your girlfriend/wife/mother bust you for watching porn on your computer, simply tell her that you are exercising and you would appreciate some privacy.”
— “Gryphen,” 7/7/08

Yesterday the no-longer-pseudonym-protected Griffin was back to “just asking questions” mode:

My question is. who pays for this? Who sent money to the websites that attacked me to spend so much time trying to cut and paste bit and pieces of four year old posts together in an effort to “prove” I am a bad guy?

It would be embarrassing to admit that the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy hasn’t been hitting the tip-jar with enough frequency lately to keep up with my expenses. So if it suits Griffin’s pathological imagination to suppose that Big Pharma or Halliburton are footing the bill, why spoil the illusion?

I’m sitting here in my silk pajamas, smoking Cohibas and sipping Dom Perignon, all of it paid for by GOP fat-cat donors who don’t mind my slagging John McCain, dissing Charlie Crist and voting for Bob Barr. Meanwhile, Dan Riehl has spent his VRWC loot to rent a beach house in Ocean City and hire the second runner-up in the 2007 Miss Ukraine pageant to attend to his domestic needs. (“No, Katerina, I said very clearly I wanted my sandwich with mustard, mayonnaise and pickles . . .”)

What might arouse the curiosity of a Pulitzer-winning columnist like Ms. Dowd is this question: Why can’t Griffin, who claims to have sources who give him the “exclusive” lowdown on the state of Todd and Sarah Palin’s love life, get his sources to tell him who’s paying Dan and I?

Frankly, despite denials of a Palin divorce, I can’t even get my sources to share the intimate details of the couple’s romantic activities. (7:04 p.m. Thursday: “Todd gives Sarah a playful squeeze.” 8:17 p.m. Thursday: “Sarah sneaks up behind Todd while he’s watching ESPN and nonchalantly begins rubbing his shoulders.” ) So if I, who am supposedly on the Palin payroll, can’t get that kind of dish, why is it that Jesse Ray Griffin’s sources are so reliable, so ubiquitous, so omniscient?

Check the timeline of the “Gryphen” investigation, Ms. Dowd, and see if you can resist the Pulitzer-worthy conclusion that Jesse Ray Griffin is a lying sack of crap with less journalistic credibility than Jayson Blair.

Oh, BTW, Ms. Dowd, we’ve met, although I’m not sure we were properly introduced. When you arrived at CPAC 2007 to cover Dick Cheney’s speech, it was I who volunteered to escort you to the media sign-in table. After the speech, my young friend Ian Schwartz asked me to get you to pose for a photo with him.

Since we’re already acquaintances, Ms. Dowd — shhhh! my wife might get jealous — perhaps I can speak to the funders of the VRWC and ask them to cut you in on this action. Just send Dan Riehl an e-mail and ask for the Griffin dossier, then catch the next flight to Anchorage. Remember to bill it to “Arlkay Overay.”

I’ll phone the Pulitzer Committee and tell them to keep an eye out for your next big scoop.

(Note to regular readers: “Arlkay Overay” is a notorious cheapskate, so please hit the tip jar.)

UPDATE: Dan Riehl links, and remarks:

Nice try, Jesse. But you don’t get to ring the bell to end the fight in this one. There are no referees’s arms for you to flee into, no corner to crawl up in and hide. But you’ll likely find that out for yourself this week. I’m not done with you . . .

Ruh-roh. And Dan quotes Griffin’s latest expedition into Trig Trutherism:

Sarah Palin has used this heartrending diminutive prop with such careless abandon, that even people who once supported her are embarrassed at her apparent disregard for the well being of this baby.
Leaving behind all of the questions about Trig’s parentage, the question we must now ask ourselves is how well is he currently being cared for?
I believe that many people have very powerful concerns for this child.We see him trotted out when Sarah wants to make a political point, or create the warm motherly image for the cameras, but who cares for him while there are no cameras to record the event? (Emphasis added.)

And — who knew? — Jesse’s a huge MoDo fan!

The fact that she wrote about my situation in her column absolutely makes my day.

Stay tuned to RIEHL WORLD VIEW. Meanwhile, the VRWC just sent me a new minion to supervise.

UPDATE II: Now linked at Memeorandum.

August 6, 2009

Known Traffic Menace Terrorizes D.C.

Now I’m on my way to Capitol Hill — texting this post via cell phone while weaving wildly through traffic — and I notice I’m linked by The Sarah Palin Blog:

“Gryphen” is upset that “minions” of “the Palin team” exposed him. So it was okay for him to fabricate a story about the Palins and create a rumor cancer that spread on the Internet. But, it is not okay for someone to expose him.
Gryphen, you do see the difference right? What you did is called – “lying.” What Dan Riehl did is called – “good reporting.” The difference being – now stay with me on this Gryphen – something called – “the truth.”

Hey, where’s the nuance in that? Please note once more that this post is clearly marked “humor,” so I’m probably just joking if I tell you I just had to jump the curb and drive half a block down the sidewalk — stupid tourist bus! — so I’m not late for my next appointment.

Well, that’s all for now. I might need to drive with both hands for the next maneuver. Be sure to check in at Riehl World View for more good-spirited humor.

August 6, 2009

What Stogie Said

“The most important thing about this Griffin affair is that it FINALLY fires a needed shot across the bow of the gaggle of Alaskan PDS bloggers who are obsessed with the personal destruction of Sarah Palin. Those bloggers include Jesse Griffin, Jeanne Devon, Linda Kellen Biegel and Shannyn Moore — obnoxious liars, all.”
Stogie at Saberpoint

BTW, some idiot tried to leave a comment about me getting clocked doing 85 mph in a 65 mph zone, alleging that this proved I was the real menace to society. Rejected.

Fast driver? Guilty, your honor. Safe driver? Completely. It’s that hillbilly moonshiner NASCAR gene. Like that bumper sticker I saw on a pickup truck once: “I’m not speeding. I’m qualifying.”

Of course, if that trooper had been parked somewhere else at some other time, he might have clocked me at 110 mph. (N.B.: “If” denotes a hypothetical, and “might” merely suggests a possibility, and since this is clearly marked “humor,” I’m probably just joking.)

Meanwhile, my bulldog friend Dan Riehl notices that a certain fellow has some curious research interests . . . NTTAWWT. IYKWIMAITYD.

BTW, I’m blogging from the campus of George Washington University, where the Young America’s Foundation is holding its 31st Annual National Conservative Leadership Conference. Just dropped in to say hi to Jason Mattera, who blogged about the massive fail by Campus Progress disrupters.

Meanwhile, the Left is accusing the Right of organizing dissent at congressional town-hall meetings. The great thing about being a Democrat is that no one can accuse you of not having standards. Two of them, in fact!

Me? I’m a one-man angry mob.

August 6, 2009

Libertarian Skinny-Dipping in Daytona: Hayekian Facts vs. ‘Journalism Ethics’

To the commenter who accused me of committing a “travesty of journalistic ethics”:

  • Your comment was rejected. If you want to run me down, do it on your own blog. Flame wars are good for traffic, but you do not have permission to use my bandwidth to malign me.
  • Ethics, shmethics. Truth may not be a journalist’s only duty, but it’s massively more important than whatever’s second most important. If I accurately report the facts, I’ve done my job — and just getting the facts right is hard enough.
I learned this as a sports writer. Simple question: If I’m covering a high-school baseball game, does accepting free food from the booster moms at the concession stand constitute a breach of “journalistic ethics”?

If so, then I kissed ethics good-bye in 1986. But I always got the final score right and you could probably count on one hand the times I committed the true “travesty” in small-town journalism: Misspelling a kid’s name. (Hey, when a kid’s mom calls you up to cuss you out, you remember a thing like that.)

Get the facts right, and how many free hot dogs you eat is your own business. Nobody cares about your opinion of the Calhoun High starting backfield — if this year is like most years, they’re a tad on the slow side — but you’ve got to accurately report the total rushing yardage. (Which, if this year is like most years, won’t be much.)

Because most journalists are Democrats, the political journalist who is not a Democrat tends to be viewed with disdain by the rest of the profession. I’m fine with that. But my political opinions — “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For Bob Barr!” — are not a license for other people to give me lectures on “ethics.”

You Can Quote Me On That
“Ethics, schmethics,” as I told Bob Barr while we walked to the Fish On Fire seafood restaurant from the crappy fleabag hotel (“International Conference Center,” my foot) where the Libertarian Party held its March 2007 national conference of state party chairs.

Certainly, I was no less ethical than Dave Weigel, my co-panelist in the “How to Deal With Media” discussion, which was the purpose (or pretext, if you prefer) of our expense-paid junket to Orlando.

Our publications (Dave was then at Reason magazine) got exclusive coverage without having to pay for our travel, which is a pretty cool deal. Of course, under such an arrangement, you’re not going to do a rip-the-lid-off exposé — “Fear and Loathing in Orlando: A Savage and Decadent Saga of Libertarian Depravity” — but neither are you required to do a total puff piece.

In a universe of facts, not every fact can be reported, and what happens in Orlando stays in Orlando. That’s what I tried to explain to Bob Barr, afterI excused myself from dinner with the LP brain trust, went back to my hotel and returned with a stack of towels.

“You were serious?” said the former member of the House Judiciary Committee.

“Serious as a heart attack, Bob,” I answered, reiterating the plan I’d been discussing with the LP brain trust. “Look, it’s almost 10 o’clock now and it’s about an hour drive to Daytona Beach. We could stop by a fireworks store along the way, head to the beach, go skinny-dipping in the ocean, shoot off about $200 worth of fireworks — have some real fun!”

Did I mention that it was March? Spring break in Daytona, skinny-dipping in the Atlantic with the first member of Congress to bring charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors” against Bill Clinton — and that was before Lewinsky — man, what a story!

However, as I promised Bob, the Daytona expedition would remain strictly off-the-record. If the first three rules of journalism are “Accuracy, accuracy and accuracy,” then the fourth rule is: A good reporter never burns his sources.

So I can’t tell you whether or not the Libertarian Party brain trust took me up on that Daytona road-trip suggestion. (Don’t worry, Mrs. Barr. Bob was accompanied by a professional journalist the entire time. And I’ve got family values.)

However, I remind you of an important corollary to the Fourth Rule of Journalism: A good source never burns a reporter. When I call Bob Barr on his personal cell phone, he takes the call. IYKWIMAITYD.

Hayekian Journalism
This is the kind of keen journalistic insight necessary to advance from being a $4.50-an-hour staff writer for a 6,000-circulation weekly to become a top Hayekian public intellectual.

In a universe of facts, not every fact is sufficiently important to merit inclusion in a 700-word news story. Political news consumers in March 2007 were interested in the Libertarian Party’s prospects for . . . well, anything, really. When the Libertarians have nerds like George Phillies, stoners like Steve Kubby and fanatical purists like Mary Ruwart seeking the presidential nomination, and when the party’s 2008 convention requires six ballots to decide Barr is the better candidate, you can’t be blamed for wondering if they’re really serious about politics.

However remote the chance that the LP could influence the outcome of the 2008 election, serious political news consumers were interested in that stuff. Certainly, those readers had no interest in the trivial matter of whether, shortly after 11:30 p.m. on the evening of Saturday, March 17, 2007, Bob Barr and the Libertarian brain trust were cavorting nude with a half-dozen Purdue University coeds in the Atlantic surf of Daytona Beach.

That’s the kind of sleazy, sensational tabloid stuff that no serious political journalist would be interested in reporting. For less than $10,000.

Neither Confirm Nor Deny, Bob
Hey, I write for money — that’s what it means to be a professional, as opposed to an amateur clown like Dennis “Bozo” Zaki, who actually lied about being a CNN stringer. In the Hayekian universe of facts, a reporter must exercise judgment about which facts are important enough to include in a news story, but I wouldn’t knowingly publish a lie for any sum you could name.

Speculation about the sex lives of Republicans seems to be a full-time career for some people, but until there’s actual proof — a court document, an arrest report, a flight to Argentina — such gossip is no more newsworthy than baseless innuendo about whether Barr and the LP brain trust took me up on that Daytona road-trip plan.

If some “source” ever tells you over beers that, shortly before dawn on Sunday, March 18, 2007, Bob Barr was passed out nude in the back seat of a rented Chevy SUV, while the other members of the LP brain trust were so hopelessly hammered that they’d taken the desperate measure of agreeing to let me drive back to Orlando — well, in a circumstance like that, you’d be obligated to let Bob have a chance to give you an official denial before you’d even dream of reporting such potentially defamatory gossip.

(“No comment,” Bob. Neither confirm nor deny. This will be the most priceless “no comment” in the history of political journalism. And a good source never burns a reporter.)

Likewise with Todd and Sarah Palin. As far as I’m concerned, their love life is not news. But it gets mighty cold in Wasilla sometimes, and there’s a Phantom Fireworks Superstore a block south of Silver Beach Avenue in Daytona, so if the Palins ever want to get some advice from a savvy media professional . . .

Well, should anybody feel the urge to hit the tip jar, don’t fight the feeling. I’m a professional. I write for money. Photography? That’s just a hobby. IYKWIMAITYD.

August 3, 2009

LEAVE JESSE GRIFFIN ALONE!

Time to address something that came up in the comments at a previous post, and deserving of a separate post: People are making violent threats against Jesse Griffin, the anti-Palin blogger who finally published one too many libels and inadvertantly outed himself as a result.

First: Stop the threats, everybody. Some threats were inadvertantly approved in the earlier thread, only because I’m so dog-tired I can barely see straight.

Second: Don’t let Griffin get away with his “martyr for truth” schtick. Anybody with any knowledge of libel law could see that, by passing along third-hand salacious gossip about the Palins’ marriage, Griffin was not merely on thin ice, he was treading water with a legal millstone around his neck. (No, “multiple sources” are not magic words.)

However, given my own personal experience with Internet-induced madness, and given the even more frightening experiences of such friends as Michelle Malkin and Jeff Goldstein, I don’t want to see anyone, even a lying idiot like Griffin/”Gryphen,” suffer threats of personal retaliation on account of what they’ve posted on a blog.

Sometimes, my dear online friends, we need to step away from the keyboard, relax a minute and ask ourselves: “What Would Chris Crocker Do?”

Had to remove some information here, if you get my drift.

UPDATE: One of my sources had a problem with something I’d posted previously here, and it was very important to take it down immediately, for reasons I can’t explain. Because I didn’t have time to go through the sentences and try to find exactly the part that had to be deleted, I just deleted everything below the video.

Better safe than sorry, according to multiple sources. And a basic rule is that a reporter never burns his sources, especially sources who are giving him really great stuff.

By the way, I’m loving how some of the commenters are picking up on the Cargo Cult Journalism trick that Dennis Zaki and Jesse Griffin have used to smear the Palins. It’s the “sources said” voodoo, where the magic words are an incantation empowering you to say anything you want.

It’s a game that’s fun to play. Like you could play it with your wife: “Honey, those jeans make you look fat, sources said.” And then when she clobbers you, she’s violating your First Amendment rights.

July 31, 2009

Everybody’s in Atlanta, why not me?

First it was Little Miss Attila, and now Moe Lane announces his departure to my hometown for this weekend’s big Red State Gathering, where the attendees will celebrate the absence of the conspicuously uninvited Native Son.

Last weekend, after I described my trip to Richmond for Liberty 101 — the Virginia Tea Party Patriots are wonderful people — I got a worried e-mail from Ben Marchi, Virginia state director of Americans For Prosperity, as a result of these paragraphs:

Of course, my feelings were still sore that AFP’s Erik Telford insulted me by leaving me out of next month’s RightOnline National Conference in Pittsburgh with Michelle Malkin. When I mentioned Erik’s name, Ben reminded me that Telford recently made No. 2 on Keith Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World” list. As usual, Olbermann gets the facts wrong — Telford’s No. 1.
That surge of registrations for RightOnline the past two days was caused by my friends signing up for a seminar Telford left off the Pittsburgh conference agenda: “I’ve Got T-Shirts Older Than You, Punk: Stacy McCain Explains Why He Just Beat the Crap Out of Erik Telford in the Sheraton Lobby.” But I digress . . .

So I sent an e-mail back to Ben and explained that I wasn’t really angry at Telford. He’s a nice kid and I was only joking about the beating.

Well, probably joking. It’s been years since I’ve risked an assault charge by giving some ungrateful punk the thrashing he so richly deserved, but just because I’ve become a top Hayekian public intellectual — the pinnacle of journalistic respectability — doesn’t mean my enemies should feel they can grossly insult me without fearing the violent consequences.

These kids, they don’t know from Gonzo. Back in the day, when Hunter S. Thompson was living the precarious and poverty-stricken freelancer’s life, it became his habit to respond to rejection notices and unfruitful job applications with outrageous letters full of hyperbolic denunciations and threats.

People who actually knew Thompson understood that these letters were, for the most part, just writing exercises. A writer improves his craft by constant practice, and if you have just been denied the opportunity to get paid for your craft, why not exercise the rejected skill at the expense of the philistine wretch who failed to recognize your genius?

Long after he became famously successful — genius must ultimately have its reward — Thompson never forgot the experience of poverty and obscurity. For example, one reason he took such great delight in becoming a columnist for the San Francisco Examiner in the 1980s was that, 25 years earlier, his application for a reporting job at the rival Chronicle had been rejected. And then there was this 1972 love-note to a good buddy of his:

“Dear John . . .
“You skunk-sucking bastard . . .”

Hunter S. Thompson, letter to John Chancellor of NBC News, Sept. 11, 1972, reprinted in Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72

Thompson’s unpredictable sense of humor made him a constant source of carnival amusement for his friends. So as Moe and Attila relax and enjoy their cocktails Saturday evening at the Red State Gathering, they should not dismiss the possibility that their conviviality will be disturbed by a sudden Gonzo episode:

“Sweetheart, give me a cold Corona, with lime,” I told the redhead behind the bar, loud enough to be heard by Miss Attila, sitting at a table in the corner with Moe Lane. As usual, Attila was zonked on gin and entirely oblivious. But Moe glanced over and froze with the shock of recognition. I nodded at him and smiled, tossed a $10 on the bar — the redhead was cute and the service was prompt — grabbed my Corona and strolled casually to their table.
Strolling casually was difficult, considering I was jacked up on no fewer than six cups of truck-stop coffee I’d consumed on my 700-mile drive from Hagerstown. I’d made it in just a shade over 14 hours, although I could have done it in less than 11, if I hadn’t been forced to exit I-81 south of Bristol to elude the Tennessee state trooper who blue-lighted me when I flew past him at 110 mph.
With my thorough knowledge of the region’s back roads and a half-mile head-start — the trooper must have been a rookie and was just a tad slow on the jump — I knew he’d never overtake me. But like the moonshiners used to say, you can’t outrun the Motorola, so I’d been forced to park the rented Mustang for half an hour behind a Pentacostal church near Walnut Hill while half the law-enforcement personnel in Sullivan County raced back and forth on the Blountville Highway trying to find me. I sat there on the front steps of the church, reading that morning’s New York Times, smoking Camel Lights and enjoying the show until I was sure they’d called off the pursuit.
Given that the trooper had never gotten close enough to see my tags, I was reasonably safe from further harassment, but now there was a BOLO for the Mustang, so I had to wind my way through backroads until I picked up I-26, then cut back over to I-81 and kept it cool all the way through Knoxville before opening it up again once I made it on I-75.
So it was nearly 8 p.m. when I handed the keys to the valet in front of the Grand Hyatt, grabbed my satchel and tried to be inconspicuous as I pushed through the side door and crossed the lobby to the men’s room.
Quickly washing, shaving and brushing my teeth, I changed clothes and looked as sharp as a CEO when I re-entered the lobby and approached the concierge, handing him the satchel containing my toiletry kit, washcloth and dirty laundry.
“No problem, sir,” he said, handing me a ticket in exchange for a $5 tip.
“You’re a gentleman and a scholar, Reginald,” I replied, with the manic sincerity of a man who’d had nine hours sleep in the past three days, including a fitful 90-minute nap in the front seat of the Mustang in a truckstop parking lot near Adairsville.
Moe Lane knew none of this, of course, and my stroll across the Hyatt bar was supremely casual.
“Stacy!” he said. “What the . . I mean, what’s with the tux?”
Attila stared glassy-eyed, predictably having skipped dinner to start in on the gin at five o’clock. She seemed to be trying to form the words of a greeting, but I just smiled, took a big swig of the Corona and pulled up a chair.
“Oh, my buddy Phil Kent invited me to a state GOP fund-raiser, and I thought I’d swing by over here and see how things were going.”
“Stacy!” said Attila at last, putting her hand on my wrist.
“Sweetheart, how are ya?” I said, but she was too far gone to comprehend even this simple pleasantry, much less formulate an answer.
“Stacy!” she repeated, but then was distracted when the waiter walked past our table. She grabbed him and thrust her empty glass at him, demanding more gin. I turned my attention to Moe.
“Hey, good to see ya, man. Where’s Mr. Erickson?” I said, taking another long drink from the Corona and trying to be as nonchalant as possible.
“Oh, he’s still finishing up at the reception. I’m sure he’ll be here in 10 minutes.”
Still nonchalant, I shook my head and finished the Corona with another long gulp. “Too bad. Can’t stick around. I’ve got to run back over to Phil’s party. But maybe I can drop in and say howdy to Erick on my way out. Where’s the reception?”
Moe told me the name of the ballroom and I nodded as he told me which floor it was on.
“Thanks, buddy,” I said, then reached inside my jacket and pulled out the souvenir Bowie knife I’d bought for $30 at that Adairsville truck stop. Now my eyes gleamed crazily as I briefly brandished the seven-inch blade. “I’ve got some old business to settle with Mr. Erickson tonight . . .”
With that, I stood up and, holding the knife down beside my leg as if to conceal it, walked quickly toward the side door, glancing back just once to see Moe frantically typing a text-message into his Blackberry. Perfect.
Ditching the knife in the nearest trash can — definitely $30 of fun — I headed up the corridor to the pay phones, dropped in some change and made a quick call. After hanging up, I went around the corner, down the hall and turned left, back into the lobby. The concierge spotted me as I strode cheerfully toward him, holding the ticket for my satchel. He took the ticket and handed me the bag with a smiling “thank you, sir.”
When I walked out the door, Phil’s car was waiting. I threw the satchel in the back seat, climbed in and closed the door.
“Stace, old buddy, how’s it going?” Phil said. “It’s been a while.”
“Yeah, too long, Phil. But you know how it is — busy, busy, busy.”
He wheeled the car through the driveway, but stopped when he heard the sirens of the Atlanta P.D. cars that came screaming down Peachtree Street toward us.
“Wow? What’s that?” Phil said.
“Ah, some drunk woman was getting rowdy in the bar. She started talking a lot of crazy stuff about a knife. I guess somebody finally called the cops.”
“Yeah, that happens a lot around here,” Phil said, turning onto Peachtree after the cop cars had roared past.
“Yeah, I said. “It happens . . .”

Merely another hypothetical scenario, you see. No way I would actually do something that crazy. Even if I had time to drive to Atlanta this weekend, the gas alone would chew up the commission check that just came in the mail this morning, and my wife wants to make the overdue car payment with that. On the other hand, if a couple dozen readers were to hit the tip jar today . . .

Well, I probably still wouldn’t drive to Atlanta just for the fun of startling Moe and Attila by my unexpected arrival, but isn’t it important for them to think I could?

(Erick: No need to pay me for promoting the Red State Gathering. It’s entirely my pleasure, you skunk-sucking bastard.)

UPDATE: Thanks to Steve Givler for playing the Grammar Nazi in the comments. “Strode” is just one of those irregular past-tenses that sounds so weird that it doesn’t occur to the ear naturally, and I tend to write by ear, having paid only enough attention in freshman comp class to slide through with a B. Nothing against English majors or Advanced Grammar classes, you understand. Some of my best friends were English majors. NTTAWWT.

July 29, 2009

‘Unseemly obsession’?

Little Miss Attila accuses me of some sort of Freudian complex involving the SiteMeter. Perhaps the Blogospheric Neologian can coin a term for this.

Look, Attila: The writer is ultimately less important than the reader. If it weren’t for readers, no one would bother writing. So the writer who seeks a larger readership cannot be presumed to be engaging in mere self-aggrandizement. Given that there is no TV network, publisher, agent, think tank, advocacy group or political party willing to spend a dime promoting my work to the wider world, the DIY-hype approach is the only alternative to the extreme traffic suckage that leads to blog-death.

Growth or entropy, take your pick. If folks in the newspaper industry had been more attuned to giving their readers something worth reading — something interesting and occasionally surprising — maybe I’d still be getting paid a full-time salary to fill reams of newsprint. Instead, the industry surrendered its fate to high-priced consultants and know-it-all ASNE panelists, so even if I were interested in a return to the dead-tree racket, why rush to be the last passenger aboard the Lusitania?

So I’m flinging pixels across the ‘sphere and, as Chris Muir recently reminded me, trying to have fun.

If you’re not having fun, you’ll burn out. And if you take this politics crap too seriously, it’ll drive you nuts. While I’ve been certifiably nuts ever since that unfortunate 1979 incident involving psilocybin mushroom tea and Bolivian flake cocaine — Just Say No, kids — maintaining a simulacrum of sanity requires that I occasionally get my Gonzo on.

So I indulge in little inside jokes and, as a great philosopher once said, the issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our female party guests.

We did. Or at least Professor Douglas did.

Well, you can do what you want to Donald Douglas, but we’re not going to sit here while you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

OK, that brings us around to Cassandra, who offers a splendid opportunity for double entendre that I’ll uncharacteristically resist. Instead, I’ll take up the comment she left in Monday’s post:

Stacy, if you want to argue with something I actually said, knock yourself out :p I’ll be more than happy to debate you on the merits.
But knocking down straw men doesn’t answer the mail. Kurtz didn’t link to the live video (repeatedly, just in case someone still hadn’t seen it), nor did he equate taking advantage of a crime committed against an innocent woman as part and parcel of “heterosexual male-dom.”

Exploitation is exploitation, ma’am, and your defense of Howard Kurtz approaches the event horizon of that philosophical black hole known as moral relativism. (As Stephen Hawking theorized, when one approaches such a point, time slows down and the force of gravity nears the infinite, which is probably neither here nor there so far as it concerns Erin Andrews, although it would have been a mind-blowing concept to ponder back in 1979.)

In my very first mention of the aforesaid Google-bomb, I tried to employ gentle humor to dissuade the Professor from further pursuing this unfortunate meme. When it quickly became apparent, however, that (a) the MSM were all over it and (b) other bloggers were weighing in on the Professor’s ethics, I felt obliged to address the topic more directly:

Like Dan Riehl and Don Surber, I had no clue who Erin Andrews is before this incident. I feel wrong even blogging about it, and I’m notoriously shameless when it comes to traffic enhancement.

Generally, however, it seemed to me that Donald had gotten himself into a fix where friendly persuasion would achieve better results than a fire-and-brimstone sermon. Even geniuses sometimes make mistakes and, while the professor clearly crossed the event horizon, one can hardly argue that his Icarus-like adventure was entirely fruitless.

Given that I was nearing deadline on a 3,000-word feature about IG-Gate for the September print issue of the American Spectator (subscribe now to the only dead-tree publication that still matters), even while new developments were popping up left and right, not even Hawking’s time-warp theory could possibly provide me enough time to read everything that everyone wrote about this controversy.

Like a sophomore slugging Red Bull as he furiously crams for a test he’d forgotten was this Wednesday, or a hurried tourist rushing through the Louvre (“Oh, look, Seurat!”) during a two-hour tour-bus stop, all I could do was to conjure a rough gestalt impression of what the hell was going on.

Therefore, Ms. Cassandra, please excuse my failure to engage what Conor Friedersdorf would call your “substantive criticisms.” Between one thing and another — reporting IG-Gate, bashing David Brooks, pushing the Best. Book. Evah! — maybe I’m a tad overextended lately. Hell’s bells, I’ve barely had time to deride the “sucker’s rally” on Wall Street!

Speaking of Wall Street, my recent return to biz-blogging means that I now tune my home-office TV to CNBC while working. Tuesday night, while I was writing this (for posting Wednesday morning, when I’ll be getting ready for another shoe-leather trip to Capitol Hill), CNBC presented an hour-long special report:”PORN: Business of Pleasure“:

It was once too taboo to talk about, but not anymore. In the new CNBC original production “Porn: Business of Pleasure” nothing is off limits when it comes to the controversial multi-billion dollar industry . . .
CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, takes an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look inside the multibillion pornography business . . .

Time slows down, gravity nears the infinite . . .

July 26, 2009

That saucy Belvedere

by Smitty

Bob Belvedere had a Gates-aquiddick roundup, with one of those prompt-me titles: “HE FOUGHT THE LAW AND THE LAW WON
How does one not roll out Jello and the boys for a realpolitik take on the classic:

The law don’t mean s**t if you’ve got the right friends
That’s how the country’s run
Twinkies are the best friend I’ve ever had
I fought the law and I won
I fought the law and I won

July 23, 2009

Side-effects of IG-Gate reporting

by Smitty

Stacy is going full tilt boogie on IG-Gate. He’s casting it all in terms of beat reporting and shoe leather. All certainly true. However, DC is not just any town, and even the most hard-boiled, hard-working, hard-headed reporter has to demonstrate a certain savoir faire. We understand, support and accept this.

Unfortunately, Stacy’s mandatory grooming ministrations seem to be raising ire in some quarters.

Daphne, you indulgence is sought in these important matters.

July 20, 2009

What Did I Tell You? Research Confirms DC Drivers Most Dangerous in U.S.!

Via James Joyner at Outside the Beltway:

Riskiest Driving Cities
1. Washington, D.C.
2. Baltimore, MD
3. Glendale, CA
4. Hartford, CT
5. Newark, NJ
6. Philadelphia, PA
7. Elizabeth, NJ
8. Providence, RI
9. San Francisco, CA
10. Los Angeles, CA

More at Fox News. For years I’ve insisted to friends that D.C. drivers are the world’s worst. It is impossible to calculate drive times in the D.C. area simply because of the utter randomness of these brain-damaged motorists. A large proportion of them obviously can’t read English well enough to understands street signs, and there is a constant influx of newcomers who don’t know where they’re going.

If Obama wanted to re-deploy the CIA effectively to save American lives, some of these thick-skulled morons would be snatched off the streets and flown by black helicopter to an undisclosed location.

INTERROGATOR: (Holds up sign.) OK, Omar, what does this say?
SUBJECT: (Trembling.) Uh . . . please, no. I not know dees word. Please, not da shock thing . . .
ZZZZZAAAAPPPP!
SUBJECT: AAAEEEIIII!
INTERROGATOR: OK, Omar. I’ll make it easy for you. This sign says, “Left Lane Closed 1/2 Mile Ahead. Merge Right.”
SUBJECT: OK.
INTERROGATOR: Not, “OK,” Omar. Say it.
SUBJECT: Left Lane . . . uh . . . Left . . .
INTERROGATOR: Left Lane Closed . . .
SUBJECT: Left Lane Closed . . .
INTERROGATOR: 1/2 Mile Ahead . . .
SUBJECT: 1/2 Mile Ahead . . .
INTERROGATOR: Merge Right.
SUBJECT: Merge Right.
INTERROGATOR: Now, which way is your left, Omar?
SUBJECT: Dees way.
INTERROGATOR: Very good, Omar. You’re learning. Remember, just yesterday, you didn’t know the difference.
SUBJECT: (Smiling, eager.) Yes. Yes. Dees one left. Dees one right.
INTERROGATOR: Good, Omar. Very good. Now, one more question. What does ‘merge’ mean?
SUBJECT: Merge.
INTERROGATOR: Merge. Yes, Omar. What does it mean?
SUBJECT: What? I no understand dees question.
INTERROGATOR: When the sign says the left lane is closed, what does it mean by “merge right”?
SUBJECT: Oh! Oh! I know dees!
INTERROGATOR: OK, let’s hear it, Omar.
SUBJECT: Well, da left lane, eet weel clear out, see? So den, I drive up to last orange cone and den put on da right turn signal . . ..
ZZZZZAAAAPPPP!
SUBJECT: AAAEEEIIII!
ZZZZZAAAAPPPP!
SUBJECT: AAAEEEIIII! . . .

Excuse the “Omar,” which should not be interpreted as evidence of anti-Omarism. But ask anybody in D.C. about the hazards caused by morons behind the wheel of cars with “Diplomat” tags. What a “Diplomat” tags usually means:

“This car is driven by the 19-nephew of a vicious Third World kleptocrat. The driver of this vehicle just arrived in the U.S. last week from a country where they drive on the left side of the road, at least if the goat path is wide enough to have two sides. He can’t speak a word of English, doesn’t even understand the concept of ‘no left turn’ and if he dies in a fiery crash that kills you, he will be eternally revered as a martyr in his homeland.”

And you think I’m joking. But the vehicular terrorist/diplomat from Berserkistan is a mild annoyance, compared to such other D.C. driving hazards as the Disoriented Intern Late For Her Meeting, the Tourist Who Didn’t Want to Ride the Subway, and the Post-Traumatic Homicidal SUV Rage Syndrome Sufferer.

Do me a favor: If you are thinking about moving to the D.C. area, or just making a quick visit to gape at the marble buildings that local commuters drive past every day, LEAVE YOUR CAR HOME. Out-of-towners should book their flights into Reagan National, call a cab (say hello to Omar!) and go directly to their hotels.

If Marion Barry were aiming to make a comeback campaign as D.C. mayor, I might actually support him, if he would promise to outlaw car rentals for tourists.