I was coming back from lunch today, and on WTOP they had the President's statement on the death of Terri Schiavo. Here's the conversation I had with the radio. W in italics.
Today, millions of Americans are saddened by the death of Terri Schiavo.
"I'm not. The whole situation is sad, but her death was inevitable and long overdue."
Laura and I extend our condolences to Terri Schiavo's families.
"'Families.' Hmmm. At least he's not leaving anyone out."
I appreciate the example of grace and dignity they have displayed at a difficult time. I urge all those who honor Terri Schiavo to continue to work to build a culture of life...
"BOOOOOOOOO! Radical Christian code phrase!"
...where all Americans are welcomed and valued and protected, especially those who live at the mercy of others.
"How about welcoming gay people? Or the poor?"
The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak.
"Does not torturing people have any place in our civilization? Guess not."
In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in the favor of life.
"Weren't no serious doubts or questions here. Only those created by your nutbag friends. Every doctor or judge who actually was close to this thing had no doubts or questions."
The most solemn duty of the American president -- come on up, guys -- is to protect the American people.
"Um, what? He's not going to..."
Since September 11th, 2001, we've taken bold and vigorous steps to prevent further attacks and overcome emerging threats.
"OH NO HE DI-INT! He's invoking September 11th over this?!?"
We face a new and different kind of enemy. The threats today are unprecedented. The lives of our citizens are at stake. To protect them, we need the best intelligence possible, and we must stay ahead of constantly changing intelligence challenges.
"Dude, what? What's going on here?"
So last year I issued an executive order creating an independent commission to look at America's intelligence capabilities, especially our intelligence about weapons of mass destruction.
"Oh. New topic. Never mind, then. Nice segue."
I was unexpectedly invited to Wizards-Hawks last night. With the lack of hockey, I hadn't been to the ol' Phone Booth in quite a while, so it was nice to go downtown, visit Capital Q, and take in a sporting event, even if it was from the very top row of the upper deck behind one of the baskets. The Wiz won, but it was much more interesting than it should have been. Trailing the worst team in the league, at home, with two minutes to play? Not so good.
I think I was the only person in the building wearing Caps gear (my windbreaker). Not that I'd expect a lot of it at a Wiz game, but you usually see at least a few. Not this time. Plenty of Nats hats, though. I didn't poke around Modell's, but looking in the window from out front I saw one Caps outfit on a rack of kid's clothes. There's probably one rack of jerseys off in a corner somewhere, but right now it's mostly hoops, plus Nats gear.
Other random thoughts: Gilbert Arenas is a hell of a ballplayer. Kwame Brown, not so much, though I'm sure when the Wiz finally trade him or he leaves as a free agent, he'll blossom. Tony Delk isn't as old as you think he is; Tom Gugliotta is, though.
An OK crowd for a mid-week game against the last place team, but a bit disappointing considering it's their best season in years. I hope they'll be able to sell out playoff games.
Hey! It's International Blog Comment Week! I know six people read this blog; it's there in my server logs. Say something, dammit!
(Thanks to Elisabeth for the graphic.)
But evolution is JUST A THEORY! The blogroll was obviously created by someone intelligent... um, never mind.
About time I added the Rude Pundit and Wolcott. I've also added a NoVA/DC section, which is now home to DCist and Why I Hate DC. I also fixed a few bad URLs; if I've missed anything, please let me know.
And that's saying something, isn't it? A woman whose grandfather was in a certain hospice in Florida was unable to reach him in his dying moments, thanks to the Terri Schiavo circus.
As much as I agree with August that this should keep the parties involved from sleeping at night, sadly I think it won't. They've long ago blocked out any understanding of how their stupid righteousness unfairly hurts others. Look at the lawsuits by tort reformers, or people who are picketing the abortion clinic one day, inside it the next. It's all about them them them and screw everyone else.
Mean ol' Blork is forcing me to do this one.
How many books do you read a year?
Not nearly enough, assuming we're not counting Dr. Suess and Sandra Boynton. Between having a two-year-old, and becoming an avid reader of the blogs and other on-line sources, I don't read that many books anymore. Maybe three or four a year if I'm lucky. Oh sure, I have a big stack of books to read and a big list of books I want to buy, but that doesn't mean I actually read them. I do read every issue of Wired cover-to-cover though.
What is the last book you bought?
Neuromancer, William Gibson.
What is the last book you read?
The Game, Robert Benson.
List 5 books that mean a lot to you or that you particularly enjoyed.
The Fool's Progress, Edward Abbey
Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak
24/7, Andres Martinez
A Glimpse of Nothingness, Janwillem van de Wetering
Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
Who will you pass this on to? (3 bloggers)
How about my much more well-read co-blogger Rob, Mediocre Fred, and Quev, who needs a reason to post something. (I'd pick Rachel but it would probably just annoy her, seeing as she posts about books all the time.)
I found this lengthy article in the NYT Magazine a good read. There is a great deal here to chew on, but I found one part particularly depressing: a view towards building (or possibly tearing down) relationships with "unbelievers":
... later, when Tom flipped to another passage from a recent sermon. '' 'Some seed fell among the thorny weeds, and the weeds grew up with them and choked the good plants,' '' he read, quoting Luke 8:7. Then he added his exegesis: ''We've had friends who were not Christian, and for me they were like the thorny weeds,'' he said. ''We've had to commit ourselves to friends who could help us grow spiritually.'' The following night I heard this same message, communicated more explicitly, at Radiant's youth service. ''If I asked how many of you have close friends who are unbelievers, a lot of you would probably raise your hands,'' the pastor told the crowd of about 150 teenagers, most of whom looked dressed for a rock concert. ''I'll tell you right now, if one of you is a believer and the other is not, your relationship is doomed.''
This seems to me to be a rather unhealthy attitude for friends, let alone citizens of a pluralistic democracy, to take. I understand that Evangelicals are called that for a very good reason, and I am aware that it may be unfair to tar an entire phenomenon with one quote. I also admit that I am predisposed to dislike these sorts of megachurches. All that being said, however, I wonder if it is not possible to grow spiritually by nurturing relationships that might in fact challenge one's beliefs? Furthermore, one hears as a constant refrain the strong desire to avoid guilt-tripping their
customers congregants. I never imagined the process of transcendence would be so comfortable. Hallelujah and pass the latte!
Cross-posted over at Kermit's place...
Couldn't wait for LFF: via , Dwight Meredith discusses tort reform champions Bush, Santorum, and DeLay... and their lawsuits. Particularly interesting that Bush sued a rental car company when someone driving one of their cars had an accident with one of his daughters, thus embracing the rule provided by Bloom County, "Never, ever sue poor people."
Via Blork: Celine Dion is apparently unhappy with her audiences at Caesars because they're all drunk and tired. They're not "real fans" who were determined to see her, but maybe just bought tickets on a whim. Well, duh. Perhaps you should have spent some time in Vegas before singing on to this deal, maybe check in with Gladys Knight.
On our last Vegas trip we spent a fair amount of time at Caesars, plus the Flamingoooooo is affiliated with them, and thus saw a lot of promo clips for Celine's show. I admit that I would attend if given free tickets, to see the pseudo-Cirque du Soleil over-the-top production. Celine's songs? I'd be gritting my teeth. And yeah, I might fall asleep while she belts out "Cause I'm your LAAAAAAAAADAAAAAAAAAAAYYY" while tall women with four-foot-high headdresses slowly walk past her down a big flight of stairs. That part didn't look all that exciting.
Probably should have done this on Thursday, but somehow the fact that I'd be AFC all day Friday escaped me.
Blah blah blah, Terry Schiavo. I bookmarked various posts all week, but it's all been said over and over. The levels of lies, hypocrisy, and disregard for the Constitution are staggering. Excellent catch-all post at Obsidian Wings. And a post from this weekend at Steve Gilliard wondering just how far they'll go. If that's too much to read, go for the cartoon version.
Meanwhile, there's still suggestions of shenanigans in the 2004 election, but who wants to report on that? That would be crazy talk.
Holy crap, a contribution by a reader! Andrew F. suggests Bush Greenwatch, because between this Schiavo crap and the mess in Iraq, it's hard to keep track of just how badly this administration is screwing up the environment.
At last we have a worthy successor to Henry the Puffy Taco in the category of "Mascot I've never had my picture taken with but really need to." The Danbury Trashers of the United Hockey League have a mean-ass trash can for a mascot.
I wonder if, instead of punching him in the nads, little kids try to put empty cups and sticky cotton candy cones down his gullet.
The Nationals' super-secret new mascot will make his/her/its debut Sunday, April 17, the Nats' first day game, or "Kids' Opening Day," as they're apparently calling it.
Yes, I will be there. No, I didn't buy tickets for that game as soon as I found this out; it was already part of my 20-game package.
I haven't been watching much of the NCAA tournament, but I did catch the end of West Virginia-Wake Forest last night. I was at a friend's house; there was a minute on the clock, and I said I was going to leave just as soon as the game was over. That only took 2 overtimes, about a dozen timeouts, and half an hour.
During the late stages of regulation they mentioned how someone from Wake had been complaining of disrespect because they were a #2 seed. I am no fan of yipping about disrespect in sports, but the absolute lamest kind is whining about one's seeding in the NCAA tournament. Whether you're a 1 or a 16, your mission is the same: win 4 games and get to the Final Four, win 6 games and you're a national champion. Think you were seeded too low? Shut up and prove everyone wrong by winning your games. Think you should have been a #1? If so, why are you worried about having to play a #15 and a #7 in the first two rounds, rather than #16 and #8? Shouldn't you be prepared to take on all comers, since you think you're the better team?
And sure enough, whiny-ass Wake Forest proves why they should have been a #1 team by losing to seventh-seeded WVU in the second round. Dorks. Maybe in future seasons I'll remember this for entering bracket pools: team whines about seeding, they lose in the second round.
Teams who whine about missing out on the tournament altogether can cram it, too. Shoulda won more games! About the only legitimate gripe is the team from a small conference who wins the regular season with a good record, but loses in the conference tournament and then doesn't get an at-large bid.
We went to Benigan's for happy hour yesterday, what with it being St. Patrick's Day and all. I swear I am not making this up: They actually played "Dragostea din Tei," better known as the Numa Numa song, on the in-house sound system. I had to restrain myself from singing along and doing the Numa Numa dance; a few more green beers and perhaps I would have.
I suppose that should be subtitled "Actual Friday Edition."
Lots of talk about torture lately, particularly of a generally respectable conservative blogger looking at the pre-execution torture of an Iranian convicted of murder and saying, basically, wouldn't it be great if we did that here? Criminy, this so-called great civilization of ours is going downhill in a hurry. Kieran also has a great post about the idiocy of debating minutia of what's torture and what isn't ("Is jamming needles under the fingernails really torture?" "I dunno, why don't you come over, we'll jam needles under your fingernails and then you can decide").
The Lighter Side of LFF: Love that free advice to Democrats from conservative pundits; Obsidian Wings has some we'll surely hear soon. Michael Jackson's behavior of the past few years explained. And look, someone else appreciates Tom Brookens!
I have often repeated, "I'll believe DC has a baseball team when I'm in my seat on Opening Day and the players are running onto the field." Yesterday we determined that if and when that happens, said seat will be section 502, row 6, seat 16. w00t!
Tom Boswell steps up to lay a whoopin' on Angelos. Will the rest of DC's sports punditry step up? Or are they too busy babbling about college basketball? Does Kornheiser still think he's too cool to support the Nationals?
Yet again, a Friday full of meetings keeps me away from the blog, so belatedly here are the few items I had saved up. "Linking Fool Monday" just doesn't have the same ring.
The "retired" Billmon has started posting again. His suggestions for further anti-AARP campaigns are quite entertaining. (Wanted to post this last week, but it was coming up with a DNS error at that time.)
Catching up on Wired dept.: another pro-nuclear power article. w00t!
Finally: Last Sunday we were flipping channels and went by Iron Chef America, where DC celebrity chef Roberto Donna was taking on Morimoto. We didn't watch; just not in the mood for Iron Chef at that moment. But I wish we had; apparently Donna paid little attention to the clock, and failed to get several of his dishes completed in time. D'oh! I've always been surprised we don't see that more often; I've always figured they give the chefs a little overage time to slap stuff on plates. Donna must have been pretty egregious to have three out of five dishes disallowed.
Full page ad in this morning's Post sports section: "We don't want to STOP the Nationals from being show on TV, we just want to make sure we're paid a crapload of money first."
He's done a fine job of squandering what little goodwill he had left among DC baseball fans. When the Nats first became official, I figured I'd still go up to the Yard once or twice a year--nice ballpark, interesting team. These days, I'm more like "To hell with O's."
Other Nats biz: single-game tickets were on sale yesterday, and at NatFanatics someone reported getting lower-level seats for a couple of games. But there had been reports that the entire lower level had been sold as season tickets. What's up with that? Just a rumor? They sold all lower-level tickets allocated for season tickets, but held some back for single-game sales (and failed to properly express that earlier)? The team claimed to have sold the entire lower level for season tickets to drive sales, then miraculously found some more just in time for Saturday?
Oh, the friggin' bankruptcy bill. Through all the crap of the past four plus years, I've maintained a sliver of hope that our elected officials would do what's right at least every once in a while. That hope has been crushed. This is blatant class warfare. Good summary from Echidne, good commentary by the Rude Pundit and Wolcott.
A root cause of mounting consumer credit card debt is the failure to teach young people how to handle personal finances. Seems like everyone I know has been through the cycle of running up credit cards right out of school, then spending years paying them off once they finally wise up. It would be an amusing backlash if the Dr. Phils and Suze Ormans of the world starting telling Americans, "Credit cards are evil; you should avoid them altogether," and people actually listened.
(And if Americans need to be punished for mismanaging credit cards, why exactly should we trust them to handle their own Social Security?)
The Giuliana Sgrena incident is a big story right now. Was it an ambush or a checkpoint that they failed to slow down for? Probably the latter, that was indistinguishable from the former. The Christian Science Monitor brings us an article on the logistics of checkpoints in Iraq, and how they can be difficult to pick up at times. Add to that the fact that Iraqis have a habit of driving by government-type buildings at speed, because in the old regime slowing down near them made you suspicious.
If there were just one or two incidents of innocents being shot at checkpoints, I'd be more accepting of it being a consequence of the fog of war. But it keeps happening, and it makes me wonder why the Army doesn't adjust their tactics (e.g. don't set up an American checkpoint 200 yards after an Iraqi one, don't set them up next to Saddam-era gov't buildings) to try to prevent these incidents.
I am probably the only one who finds this interesting, but whatever: just as a post about the Quizno's spongmonkey ads led to a rash of hits from searches about those ads, so has my post about the Numa Numa guy and non-English pop songs led to a lot of hits from searches with terms like "numa numa" and "my ya hee." It's good to be ahead of the pop-culture curve, I guess.
I also get an alarming number of searches for "Dark Magician Girl" (and of course now I'll get even more since I'm writing that term again). First I thought it was just some kind of weird one-off, but it's come up often enough that I had to find out what it's about. Apparently the Dark Magician Girl is a character on Yu-Gi-Oh, a Pokemon-style cartoon/trading card game, thus guaranteeing that these searchers are disappointed when they arrive at this site. So, the obvious question: what are these people looking for? Information on the character? Do they think she's hot and want pictures? Actually, I don't want to know.
I was going to do this on Friday, really I was, but then I got trapped in meetings all afternoon. I have too many links piled up to wait another week.
Holla to all the Koufax award winners, but especially to Digby who won the well-deserved Best Writing prize. Seems like I link to him every week. Here's a couple now: thoughts on what we've wrought in Iraq and how it will effect women there, and on the tribalism of the American South, and the southern conservatives' need to have it their way, all the time.
And if things in Iraq weren't bad enough, apparently the Powers That Be are under-reporting casualties. I saw some Republican talking head or other the other day saying how we shouldn't worry about the numbers of American dead and wounded, because it's all worth it and it's wrong to reduce it to numbers. Look, would bringing this lovely "democracy" to Iraq be worth it if every single American soldier was killed in the process? Obviously not. So there is a limit, somewhere. You can argue over what that limit is (and some of us would argue we're well past it), but don't try to pretend any amount of loss is justifiable.
Red vs. blue? Try Homer states vs. Lisa states.
Michael Moore noticed a long time ago that lighters were still allowed on planes, even though they could be used to, you know, set crap on fire, including shoes filled with explosives. More dangerous than a nail file, probably, but still OK. Moore chalked it up to the tobacco lobby's influence, and held it up as proof that the government cares more about corporate profits than our safety. They finally got around to banning lighters on flights last week. Yay, progress.
Items that showed up in e-mail: Sports Announcers, with profiles of baseball's great voices. Irregular States: Virginia, a listing of progressive organizations, blogs, etc. in the Old Dominion. And Tor forwarded Axworthy's letter to Condi Rice that's been making the rounds.
Finally: I don't mean to diminish any injuries suffered in this incident, but still, it's not every day you read about a subway axe fight.
Although I've been hiding out trying to get work done over the past few weeks, I have been an attentive reader of a most excellent series on how to approach the problem of terrorism, written by Kalkan. I think he basically hits all the right notes, and has articulated an approach I have long considered to be the most efficacious. Kalkan, however, has argued the matter in a manner far superior to my own inadequate ramblings. Given also that his writing was partly in the context of a conversation between myself, Andrew Fields, and Vostok, I'd like to again contribute to the first part of the conversation, and respond to Kalkan's opus in a later post. In the interests of brevity I will take up only two ripostes by Vostok which I found particularly unpersuasive.
First: Here Vostok explicitly makes the claim that "suicide bombs and terror martyrdom" are phenomena completely dependent upon new beliefs.
If I read him right, Vostok is claiming that these are tactics used only by those invested in ideologies such as Wahabi'ism, and other virulent strands of Islamicism. While I appreciate the particular weight that "martyrdom" holds in this problem, I think that these phenomena are tactics primarily born of advances in technology, and adopted partly due to strategic asymmetry. Research into increasing the levels of explosive power while decreasing the amount of explosive material needed for a given charge enabled suicide bombers to exist. This is a problem new to our lifetime largely because certain technical problems were solved during our lifetime. One of the first organized groups to take advantage of these technical advances, Palestinian suicide bombers, did not identify themselves as militant Islamicists, but as nationalists. The complex superstructure of after-life rewards and religious martyrdom identified so closely with today's Al Qaeda and their ilk was not a salient feature of that organization. Perhaps by focusing too much on the narrative plots used for justification and recruitment, such as the now infamous heavenly harem of 70 doe-eyed virgins, we fail to appreciate that these tactics really are a potential weapon for any group engaged in asymmetrical conflict, and in contexts where dissent is necessarily violent due to lack of political presence. All of this is not to dismiss the particular problems posed by militant Islam, especially by its embrace of these tactics, but merely to point out that these tactics are not new phenomena, nor ones that will disappear after this particular conflict of ideologies is finished. In light of both present and future problems, I think the pragmatic and over-arching approach argued so well by Kalkan provides a particularly strong way of framing this issue.
Second: At the end of this post Vostok seems to take great delight in the cleverness of daisy-chaining textual links. Taking issue with my off-the-cuff suggestion that we engage more fully with domestic Islamic charities as part of an overall strategy, Vostok has done an admirable job in trolling the internets for particularly disturbing examples of these sorts of organizations. Apparently these citations are sufficient evidence to fairly call this idea "crazy".
I clicked all three words and saw the neat trick, but I failed to see much of a counter argument. I had considered responding to this only by pointing out that, by the implied "logic" of this move, Vostok ought to dispense with any thoughts of marriage, had better sell off his car immediately, and never, ever, EVER take a train.
Of course there are risks involved with any strategy, and Vostok's worries about the constitutionality of directing funds to Islamic charities are legitimate, but I don't see why we shouldn't try to shoot every arrow in our quiver, especially ones that demonstrate the more generous side of our culture and beliefs. Most of these organizations really can communicate, motivate and organize in ways unavailable to either the U.S. government, or to other NGOs. I think its worth taking the gamble.
Cross-posted over at Kermit's place...
Closer to home in a different way: one could have an argument as to who the most famous person to come from my hometown is. Some would say Jean Stapleton (better known as Edith Bunker), though she wasn't born there, just moved there later. The more sports-inclined among us would argue for Tom Brookens, who was a utility infielder, primarily for the Tigers, in the 80's. Tom's backyard adjoins my mom's backyard (his place is considerably larger); his nephew (later drafted by the Royals) was on my Little League team, and Brookens and Alan Trammell came to one of our games during the MLB strike of 1981. Every spring throughout the 80's, the Tigers would trade for a third baseman or bring someone up from the minors; by mid-season, that player would be injured or terrible, and Tom would be back out at third base. When the Tigers traded him to the Yankees on the downside of his career, a disappointed Trammell called him "the lungs of the team," as opposed to the heart. Whatever that means.
Since retirement, Tom's been raising his kids and coaching their high school softball team. Now that his youngest is about to jet for college, he's going back to baseball: he's been named manager of the Oneonta Tigers in the NY-Penn League (a team so poor, evidently, that they don't have their own web site). Good for him. I'll have to see when they'll be visiting the Aberdeen Cal Ripken Vanity Team and yell "Go Trojans!" at him.
Some baseball thoughts. First, I am pleased to report that some friends and I will be heading to Chicago the weekend of April 9. Otis and I decided we were tired of saying we've never been to Wrigley Field, and we had to do something about it. Last Friday, Cubs single-game tickets went on sale. We sat through hours of the "virtual waiting room," watching various games get listed as sold out, until I finally picked up the phone and got through on the fourth try. Bleacher seats, even. Can't wait. (Pete Dagher, if you're out there, drop me a line.)
Closer to home, I caved and bought a 20-game plan for the Nationals. Plan B, for those in the know. Section 515, row 4--up there a little ways, but right behind home plate. I'm quite pleased. I only wanted to buy 10 games, so I'll be selling off a number of these; if you're interested in possibly grabbing some up, shoot me an e-mail. I'll probably post some on the board over at Nat Fanatics as well.
I am anxiously awaiting receipt of the tickets, as well as the chance to buy seats for Opening Day. 20-game holders are supposed to get first crack at those (after 81- and 41-gamers, who already have them). I am worried that the math involved may not leave enough seats for all the 20-gamers should we all want them. People on Nat Fanatics and on the Nats e-mail list are more optimistic than I am, and think it's guaranteed. I hope they're right.
Catching up on Wired department: Meet Control4, a company making home automation affordable. About time. The technologies involved have matured a great deal and don't cost that much any more, so you ought to be able to have a doo-hickey to control all the lights in the house without spending a hundred grand.
A fine case against Social Security privatization: who wants to manage that on top of all the other crap you've gotta do? Consider also how badly Americans manage their 401(k) plans, often turning down free money.
The average American knows crap about investing. If we put everyone in charge of their own Social Security, a lot of them will screw it up. We'll either bail them out, costing even more money, or let them languish in poverty. I don't like either one of those outcomes.
Someone just referred me to the Good Eats drinking game. That jogged my memory that I wanted to post one of the greatest inventions of my college days: The Wile E. Coyote Drinking Game. Equal credit to Big J who helped come up with it.
While drinking and watching Road Runner cartoons, everyone is assigned one of these six categories, by choice or by random selection. When your category of woe befalls Wile E., drink.
But it just got a whole lot better, because I caught the last couple innings of the Nationals' first spring training game on MLB's video feed. Nats 5, Mets 3. Ahhhhhhhhh.
32 days to Opening Day, people. We're gonna make it.
I became enamored of the Good Doctor's writings, as I'm sure many do, in college. On a friend's suggestion, I picked up Campaign Trail '72 and immediately went all gonzo. I believe I walked up and down my freshman dorm reading Thompson's letter to John Chancellor (from which the title of this post comes, as well as the term "neck-pipe") to anyone who would listen. I consumed as much of his work as I could, and briefly entertained dreams of becoming a crazy bastard author myself. Like many collegiate dreams, they went by the wayside due to being a big wuss and finding more practical things to do. But I kept reading Thompson's work when new stuff came out (I was thrilled when The Rum Diary was published in full), and enjoyed his perspective. Thompson knew just how evil the world can be, and that things can always get weirder. Apparently he decided it had gotten too evil and too weird, and it was time to go. I don't necessarily respect that decision, but it was his to make. Mahalo, Good Doctor.
The only good thing to come from Thompson's suicide? The news that he wished for his ashes to be shot out of a cannon at his funeral. Now THERE's the HST we all loved.
Kieran at CT posted on the NY Times' article on the Numa guy. Apparently yong Mr. Brolsma has stopped enjoying his 15 minutes of fame, probably because too many people have commented on the video as "look at this goofy fat kid." But he's doing something that's supposed to be funny, and it is, so by focusing on the fact that he doesn't look like Antonio a-Banderas, those commenters say more about themselves than anything else. (Good post to similar effect at Waiter Rant, which is a good read end-to-end).
I posted about this at Utne, and a member from the Netherlands replied "Oh god, please don't tell me that that Romanian evil has crossed the ocean." Apparently, the song is quite the hit in Europe, complete with competing cover version and debate over which is better. But there's no way this song would be a hit in America. I've long wondered why Americans are so intolerant of pop songs in languages other than English, and have never found an answer other than "We're a bunch of provinical jingoistic boobs." The Spanish-language pop acts we do have only have crossover hits when they sing in English (Ricky Martin, Shakira, Enrique Yglesias). The only recent exception I can think of is the Macerna, and even that had a dumb-ass female English vocal overdub version that ran on MTV. (Of course, I don't listen to much top 40 radio, so for all I know there could be a song in Swahili or something at the top of the charts right now.)
When I was in Germany a few years back, I was subjected to the horrors of "The Ketchup Song." Dopey catchy tune, goofy dance that any moron can do, sung by three hot chicks--should have been a huge hit here. But since it was in a weird Spanish-English-Sugar Hill Gang hybrid tongue, no such luck. I think I heard it exactly once while in the US. So the Numa Numa song? Techno beat, sung in Romainian by three goofy guys? As if.
Last week was one of those weeks where I had little to say and no time to say it. Then I discovered that an upgrade run by my host left me unable to log in to Moveable Type. That has been fixed, fortunately, and I'm in a writing mood, so I'll dump out some stuff that may have otherwise waited until LFF.