Friday, July 23, 2004

Phileas, C'est Moi

Posting from a lovely house above Monterrey Bay, but it's a bit Fogg-y (there, that's the terrible pun out the way). I have not read anything recently, save the "funnies" on the left hand column of the Wall Street Journal, and that recent hissyfit that Ralph Nader threw on the phone at Salon. Having also recently finished Bruce Shapiro's excellent investigative journalism compendium I am not that shocked by how boring and humourless the sh**kickers of yore have become - Brit Hume, now of Fox News, was also once quite the digger.

Still, much more interested in talking about how great San Francisco is, and how the Napa Valley needs more kids. But Gringcorp has a sleeping figure to attend to, and will bid all adieu...

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Heeeee's Cheesy!

Posting from a spanking new G4 Powerbook. Nice. Had to brag about that.

So, John Edwards praising Tony Blair as a model statesman. Wrong on so many levels.

There are the superficial parallels with the cheese-meister Kerry has adopted as a running mate. Both are lawyers, and both have young families they trot out before cameras at the slightest opportunity. Both have this slightly religious, slightly sincere demeanor. But to say that Blair has apologised over the WMD thing is going a bit too far - Blair has simply been a little less smug than he was after Hutton.

As a way of embarrassing Blair into remembering that he really shouldn't be making nice with the Republicans it is sort of neat. As "Evil" John E's first stab at this foreign policy business it was fairly well-thought. Providing Bush doesn't manage to get Blair to turn on Edwards (unlikely) it might just work. But, ya know, it's just wrong.

For the record, BTW, Robin and I were little more than acquaintances. But they always say you should blog from experience, and that was my take.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

P Diddy's One Would Have Been Better

Butler, that is. This morning's pun centres on the Butler Report, which has just appeared, and is summarised in the Guardian. Britain has a streamlined version of the many Iraq evidence enquiries that the war threw up in the US. The difference is that under the UK "constitution" the idea of entrusting parliament with an enquiry is plainly risible - few members have the requisite capacity for independent thought. Sure, senators and representatives can be a mite pompous, but they can be fairly searching.

Under the UK system, the Prime Minister first appoints a judge from Ulster to investigate how a BBC journalist's claims, that the government distorted evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass-destruction, contributed to the death of one of this journalist's sources. The eponymous Hutton Report was about as rough on the government as might be imagined from a former brief for the government in the Widgery Enquiry into Bloody Sunday.

Then, Butler, a former civil servant and now head of an Oxford College, was appointed by Tony Blair to look at the intelligence dossier behind going to war. He has followed the Senate's lead and decided that it was all the fault of the spies. Fair play, no-one wants to bring down a government, and the spooks do tend to produce some fairly shoddy goods at times. And then we take it as gospel, egged on by lurid reports to the House of Commons.

But here's the line that gets me:

Lord Butler acknowledged that calls for the resignation of the incoming MI6 chief, John Scarlett, JIC chairman at the time of the dossier's publication, would follow publication but said he hoped he would stay on. "We have a high regard for his abilities and his record," the report said.

So, he won't dump on the prime minister, realises the dossier's claims are ludicrous, has to dump on the spies, and then says of the top one, and I paraphrase, "he's a thoroughly good egg, and shouldn't have to fall on his sword." I mean, Gringcorp has had personal dealings with Lord Butler, and finds him to be pleasant and sharp enough, although his palliness with his subjects is a tad obvious (watch his "Me and Bill Clinton 4 Eva" routine). But he's patrician to the core, and far more at home with the civil servant chums that concocted this farrago, under political pressure or no, than the unwashed that doubted its veracity the moment it was uttered. Somehow Gringcorp is angry but not surprised.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Uncle Monty Would Approve

So, going into the the all-star game, the the Times goes with this soooooper-saucy headline about Mike Piazza's relationship with balls. Looks like it forgot about the sensitivity of the issue post-Belle & Sebastian kerfuffle. The sponge/stone conundrum (as Withnail & I's Uncle Monty would pose it) would seem to be settled.

And sorry to go all Portal of Evil on you for a moment, but Roger Clemens' wife's website is soooooper-demented.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Pity The Pretty Horses

Ray Kelly has done a sterling job of persuading the Daily News that all manner of black-clad hell is going to descend on the city for the GOP convention. Apparently he realises that the transparently demented Ed Koch ads may not be enought to keep New Yorkers from having a sneaking sympathy for the anti-GOP crowd. The way to get round this is to paint the protestors as animal-hating scum.

Now preventing some privately-educated, hoodie-wearing nihilists from taking shots at police, and their animals, is a good thing. The fact that these anarchists usually commute in from Westchester, seat of their teenage angst, while the professional global protestors are more likely to spend their time finding interesting ways to disrupt traffic, is lost on the News. Tips lifted from "the internet" are likely to be garbage.

The News is leagues ahead of the Post in providing thoughtful local coverage. The Post tends to resemble Fox News, with Page Six and a police blotter bolted on. So, a pity to see Mort's men following the NYPD's talking points so unblinkingly as well.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Cross Burning

The benefit? Ah yes, the Koncert For Kerry benefit, loosely organised around a Brooklyn-despising routine from David Cross. First off, not enough Ted - three songs where he beats the s*** out of his geetar was fun, but left us aching for more. Hehehehehe. But the greasy Sadaam Hussein lookalike with the limey accent (we think it's genuine) rocked all over the sweaty floor, and the Capitol Years put up one of the most valiant struggles we've ever seen against Southpaw's dubious acoustics.

Not being a tinkle, or Mr. Show fan, we will forbear comment on whether the comedy was any good, although the angry atheist entertained us while we tried to semaphore desperately our need for a drink to the 'Paw's indeifferent wait staff. But we think they got the balance right, although a desperate need to vote out Bush seemed to be the hallmark. Still it avoided smelling of Red Wedge, which, given the Leo/Weller comparisons, was achievement enough.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Larry The Wind, High. Low.

A quote from the first Frank Black solo album there. And a characteristically tortured way of saying I saw the John and Teresa show on Larry King last night. Well I was making a salad, but I heard it. See, John can sometimes tilt his head and look sensitive, and smile a mean dopey smile, but errs more towards adorable than charming. And adorable is a tad redundant now we have the Edwards-childs.

But back to the way he talks. It really is like a stepfather trying to be affable, possibly to a stepdaughter's smack-addicted no-good fiance. Yes, that strained. I think Chris Suellentrop's Slate piece has it about right. Especially the monstrously laboured humor. How the grim demeanor goes down with the 99% of the population less flippant than me is anyone's guess.

Quick piece of alien-on-alien carping here, but will Teresa's otherwordly (i.e. definitely not Kansas) accent put anyone off the ticket? Again, hard for me to tell. I can't get Mistress Octopussy, queen of the circus, out of my head. Trying now to think whether anyone apart from Mrs. Adams got to be a Bond Gurl twice...

Thursday, July 08, 2004

God rates fags

Or cigarettes, in English English slang. Phillip Morris is considering using Fair Trade tobacco, or tobacco bought ethically from sustainable sources, in its fags, or tabs, or growlers, or bines (top Huddersfield slang, that). They already do it with coffee, which makes you a bit loco, and would now do it with the death sticks.

This has struck people as a little disingenuous, as this lovely piece in the Guardian notes. Some might call it Greenwash. Although it was a tabaholic until last October, Gringcorp bears the merchants of lung cancer no ill will, and likes to see it as a gentle bit of reverse culture jamming or whatever. Thing is, the Marlboro man is probably completely serious.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

King Tubby

I like Michael Moore. A lot. And I think that the Moore-haters are humorless drones. But I love this nickname

Big shout to the Stewie Griffen fanlisting - currently (re)considering me for inclusion.

The Black Keys? They were pretty good, but even though the World Financial Centre Plaza was a lovely place to watch the sunset, I'm not sure it worked for fuzzy juke-joint blues. Still, that's what you get for not paying to go to concerts. I might make an exception for the John Kerry benefit on Friday, campaign finance restrictions upon foreigners permitting, but only because Ted will be there.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

No, HE's my President

So, after the holiday break, there are many things in Gringcorp's in-tray. An awesome rooftop party for its birthday (I would thank the party responsible, but they must remain even more anonymous than the Gumby. I.e. a little). Watching the fireworks from a Cobble Hill rooftop. The Nathan's pilgrimage. Finally watching Farenheit 9/11 (big cheers from BAM. Surprisingly lucid). The cheesiest man in the world as prospective VP (he does at least do much better than Dubya all the things Dubya is meant to be good at).

No, I want to take a look at Mr. Tim Brown's excellent Last Word, whose July issue is up now. Tim has a blog as well, but the blog mostly seems to be about bubble gum and farts. I discovered the Last Word on Portal of Evil, a deed that Tim would no doubt blame on the right-wing establishment in Kentucky.

Tim has been cross about bullying, school uniforms and republicans since 1993, and would be at least State Senator right now if he was not so enamored of Explosions. And Damage. It's nice to know that Progressives (he seems to prefer it to liberals) can still make soome noise in Red states, and be extremely rude and ornery at the same time. I salute you.

Tonight, we rock Battery Park City with the sound of the Black Keys.

Friday, July 02, 2004

I hope you choke on the prawn sandwich

Thanks to Batgirl for emailing me this from Counterpunch, which I always forget to read. This a very local story about the Atlantic Yards Development, dressed up as an attack on the New York Times.

Now, Times-bashing is incredibly boring, and usually only reinforces the paper's self-regard. I think it would keep up its preposterous campaign to be taken seriously as this Olympian, impartial paper of record regardless. But this series of positive stories about the development, including a really weird one about the truly terrible Atlantic Center Mall, is worth eamining. [Side note about that mall: it has an Old Navy, Pathmark and a Circuit City, as well as some other really cheap joints laid out in the most cramped and confusing way possible. You feel as if you're walking around a hospital. The counter-proposals usually include knocking it down - very funny].

Nice to see some heat about the development that doesn't come from the sports writers. Mike Lupica in the Daily News did dwell on it a few months back, and managed to cut through some of Ratner's Nets-coming-back-to-Brooklyn-and-replacing-theDodgers crap. I also thought that the coalition between Nets fans and the Park Slope crew was doomed to fail (too many sniggering hipsters). But hopefully the Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn Crew can put some more heat on starry-eyed reporters. After all, bringing the mighty Tish James over was always going to be the easy bit.

The headline, by the way, refers to the last Ratner to overexrtend him self. He was Gerald Ratner, owner of a chain of British Jewelry stores, who once decided to refer to his own product as crap. In fact, he noted that a prawn sandwich would cost more and last longer than some of his earrings. He was fired. Even though he owned most of the company. The chain is now known as Signet.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

The Old Pat

See? Overexposed. This new game show can only end badly, I fear. Mr. Kiernan will leave, end up a Hollywood Big Shot, and then go the way of Bob Crane, leaving us to te tender mercies of Kristen Shaughnessy and Gary Anthony Ramsay.

Anyway, this is all I have to say on the matter. Time to watch that Michael Moore movie like everyone else.