Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Ah, It's Tasti with an "I"

So, plenty of cops with helmets and big brown sticks, and a phalanx (always wanted to say that in a way that was close to its proper meaning) of scooters to the SE of Union Sq, with NBC, ABC and Noticias 41 news trucks far from the action on the NE. Down South, everyone mostly giving each other leaflets, or selling those Ban Bush t-Shiirts. Noble exceptions, the African-american gentleman holding, large, professionally-done "Love Jesus and George Bush" signs and getting shouted at ("Sick, sick, sick", I think they settled on), and the Falun Gong people, holding a quiet, effective, dignified protest that had nothing to do with the business at hand.

The Anarchist Scum From The Midwest That Don't Understand That Hating Republicans Isn't The Same As Hating Property people are late coming up from downtown...

Pity The Firemen

We've decided to pop out for Tasty-D-Lite (sp?, believe us we've tried to google it) and anarchy in a moment. Before that we bring you the MSG-sponsored New York Alliance for Better Choices adverts, which get more and more mournful every day. The latest seems to suggest that if we want the New York Jets to play in New York, we must in some way want to kill firemen. Reminds us of the South Park "you don't hate children, do you?" ads, to be honest.


What sort of lame-ass convention violence blogger are we? We missed, of course, the scooter-cop beating, which NY1 reports, as well as the Times, ferchrissakes. Also the A31 thing will be bringing misery to Union Square in 45 minutes. Crikey, but it's no excuse, really is it? Not when the Voice is running commentary on the scooter incident. Shall we just retreat to a bubble with only Josh Marshall( in New York right now, and missing the Washington Post quite badly, by all accounts) for company? Or shall we start paying attention?

Gringcorp may go for a walk...

The Strokes They Know Nothing

Lord love a duck, you've got to love the New York City cops, who are singularly failing to go crazy-eight bonkers on protestor heads. Video-nastying, yes, as Slate's Bryan Curtis notes, but videos have been used against students in the UK, and everyone seemed to get over it, including a few people now working as civil servants.

We had the opportunity to amble past a sort of rapid response unit - a few vans parked in Union Square ready to respond to trouble - last night. And it felt very cool when some of them went haring off and there were helicopters overhead - super-apocalyptic when things looked like being too gentle. We also appreciated the blimp flying overhead Sunday.

So, barring anything further we will file this under Gringcorp-paranoia, and move on to the most elegant way people can draw attention to ultra-right crazies wrapping their platform in a 9/11 cloak.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Eat My Post

"I'm goin' back to New York City, well I do believe I've had enough."

Mr. Dylan, of course, was bang on the money. The threatened chaos has yet to occur, as the New York Times apparently concedes. NY1 found a flaming dragon, and the arrival of El Presidente may ratchet it up, but the horse-mauling black-clad fiends seem to have stayed in Nebraska, or whatever

Anyway, back in Park Slope, the residents of the area seemed to have had a grand old time at the protests, if the crowd at the quite lovely Convivium is to be believed. But one of them does not seem to have been able to vent sufficient steam at the Bush-child. He decided to get rather huffy at the scatty, but pleasant, staff for making him wait too near the door. After a heated altercation, he stormed off claiming that he would ruin the restaurant's reputation on the Internet, including the AOL forum, among others. The owner, rather sensibly, laughed in his face.

The man claims to live round the corner, and said "you lose". Well Gringcorp is also in the hood, and waiting for your posts, Mr. blowhard.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Boss Tweeds

Originally uploaded by Gringcorp.
Proof positive that Chileans are square. Lovely people, just all golf club members.

A Thousand Hearsts

We rather fortuitously finished David Nassaw's excellent biography, a choice driven by a summer visit to San Simeon, and the article by Lewis Lapham in Harper's about the "rise of the Republican noise machine". The link between the two is Lapham's slightly contradictory contention that the rise of this machine, one intellectually incoherent, can nevertheless be viewed as a single movement.

But even the briefest examination of William Randolph Hearst's activities in the 1930s would provide us with a picture of a wealthy paranoid crybaby prepared to wrap, admittedly less consciously, self interest in broad, sometimes incoherent political clothing. I make, as Nassaw maintains Hearst did, a distinction between his personal and commercial activities. Certainly it is the latter that the current Hearst Corporation, and its current tenant at San Simeon, want to emphasize. Lapham, torn between trying to minimise the modern right's vigor, and wanting to present it as a new phenomenon, allows us to remember the rich, manipulative, tycoons and heirs of days gone by.

But another point is worth considering. With Hearst's brand of journalism you knew what you would get, even if some of it, for instance Easley's anti-communist raving, was probably made up. While writers on the left today currently bewail the slant of the right-leaning press today, they would be a great deal less upset if they had as well-funded, fearless and progressive a set of allies as the Hearst papers were in the 1900s. And that, dear reader, is why the Times and CNN feel the need to lend credence to the nonsense pumped out by the Swift Boat people. Remember the dictum that Hunter Thompson is fond of assigning to LBJ, who was believed to have accused an early political opponent of carnal knowledge of his livestock. An aide said "but that's not true". Said LBJ "let's see the bastards deny it."

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Testy Times

Not a good day for dementia-bound Baroness Thatcher, former subcommanandte of the UK. First her son Mark is arrested in South Africa, charged with plotting a coup in Equatorial Guinea. Then her favorite newspaper, the Sun, shows remarkable equanimity at Mark facing justice in a country ruled by what it suggests is a testicle-eating despot.

Then her best friend, retired Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet has his immunity from prosecution lifted. You'd think we'd be in an ideal position to see how the local populace has reacted, but we've been sleeping. We'll ask the transport minister at dinner.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Billy Would Burn Us

Originally uploaded by Gringcorp.
So, we were in a strange city, but next to a mall. Did we boycott it, or did we decide that what wasn't good enough for Brooklyn was good enough for Las Condes? The need for a tie drove us into the arms of the latter ideological camp. Note the excellent brand name selections.


Originally uploaded by Gringcorp.
Apologies to people at the sharp end of a 2MB attachment we sent out about the proposed Atlantic Yards stadium. It can be downloaded from here. But it really is worth noting that people who think that Park Slope can avoid being turned into some brutalist hybrid of downtown Brooklyn and Madison Square Garden are rather deluded.

Take, for instance this view from our hotel window. (Thanks, Flickr!). We think you'll agree that the only trully fun bits are the mountains rising above Las Condes.

Camp Commandants

We may be in Chile, but we're still keeping an eye on the Apple, particularly the Post's revelation that there is already a ginormous holding centre ready for unruly protestors close to the GOP convention. The Times relates, with a pretty straight face, that the entire convention will stay on orange alert, despite there being no specific information:

"Have we collected intelligence that there is going to be a hit in the financial district during the Republican National Convention?" said Pasquale J. D'Amuro, the assistant director in charge of the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "No. But intelligence we have collected indicates that Al Qaeda still desires to attack both domestically and abroad. They want to kill Americans."

Glad to see the internet connection at the Feds' NY bureau is up and running...

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

I Dream Of Jezebel

We promised ourselves we'd stay away from the intense internecine warfare in the Def Leppard blogging community. A mixture of bad karma, the possible threat of being caught in an old-fashioned flame war, and the fact that we should be keeping an eye on police-driven fear in NYC before the convention (actually we're safer now, apparently) are the main reasons.Then a post that isn't from either of you comes winging over.

Valerie draws our attention to her most recent musings. Her pet theory is that the Tauntings Of The Juke Joint Jezebel are not those of a Brit, but an American, possibly Jeanne. Now Gringcorp has little to offer by way of Jeanne-authentication, but we can sniff a limey out pretty thoroughly.

While we understand that there has been much comment in the Lepblogging community on the correct use of sh*t against sh*te (excuse our modesty), Jezebel's use of the latter seems to be easy and unforced, and very British. Also, no American with anything beyond a superficial grasp of politics would rely on CNN for their news - not when there are excellent commentators like ourselves out there. So, we'll have to contradict you there Valerie even if you are our fourth reader.

So, we should try and get back into the whole Kerry war thing to rebolster our gravitas. If you dig it, for intemperance few exchanges can match the Michelle Malkin/Chris Matthews spat (we'll link to her version here).

but we'll leave you with news that Queen are the ones that have been chosen to bring rock to Iran. We think that rock pigs everywhere can salute that.

Gringcorp is off to another continent till Sunday. Stay nice.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Everybody Off The Island. Now

We think Mr. Joshua Marshall of Talking Points Memo is a rather smart observer, and will not follow this up with some attack that we've finally managed to cobble together on his recent posts. Nope, in this post, the man in DC has finally laid down the reason for why the NYC cops' cracking-heads-insurance-policy might be needed for next week's GOP convention. Because the Republicans want it to kick off...

Just remember, Gumby Fresh stoked your paranoia first.

Hot Diggity

The answer to the teaser from last week is that Mr. Cooper is a foreign policy advisor to Tony Blair that said something rather rash about neo-imperialism being occasionally a good thing. He is described in rather sinister terms as a guru, but appears to lack and svengali-like powers. Thus, Larouche mentioning him in every reference to Tony Blair strikes me as a tad odd.

Hmmm, calling Lyndon Larouche "a tad odd". Next startling observation - the New York Times is a tad tardy in reacting to fads, and bears, Popes and woods are never clever devices for signalling that one has stated the obvious.

Been away from the papers, mostly, and so will only note that as of 1.42pm EST, the United States has won 0.19 medals per million citizens, while the United Kingdon has won 0.3. Uh, like, go team UK.

And prop of the day goes to the Gowanus Yacht Club, which was a delightful place to celebrate the nice weather. Would have been the manic cheese lady at Bierkraft, but we shall wait for a pictchah for that one.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Kickin' It

We've decided to stay on this pre-convention fear-cranking tip, because the New York Times has now decided to take over the wheel. Yes, the article in question, asking what mischief the scary anarchists might be planning, is mercifully short on anonymous police department sources. But, it has still decided that trashing Starbucks (sorry, "damaging businesses") and chucking rocks are the logical progressions from staging sit-ins at corporate parties and yelling at delegates.

Prime example - the way that public protest leaders have said "if the cops do this, and the idiots do this, then there's going to be trouble", is rarely taken as a call for responsible policing tactics. Moreover, the protestors can't promise there won't be any trouble, because no-one will deal with them ever again if things go wrong. The cops, though, get insurance for being sooooper bad-ass. Apparently it worked in Miami, and Newsday likes the heavy metal style just fine.

We'd like to comment clearly about the Guided By Voices show at Pier 54 last night, but have never seen or hear the work of Mr. Pollard's crew before. Suffice to say we loved the tunes and the weather, hated the lack of booze at the event, but noticed that most of the punters seemed to get what they came for, especially the guy who sang along with all the words, only before Robby-boy even sang them. Think Inconsiderate Cellphone Man, only indie.

Props to the Brass Monkey nearby, surprisingly decent drinking in the Meatpacking District.

Tomorrow, what does Lyndon Larouche have on Robert Cooper?

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Beat The Press

More inanity from NY law enforcement, joined by the FBI, which is telling NY1, and anyone else who'll listen that the protestors are reeelly into Molotov cocktails and extreme violence this season.

Fair enough so far, but they've now got their hands on the Tom Ridge playbook - something bad is going to happen, we just don't have specifics. Two very important differences - the first of which is that even the most ardent anarchist you can imagine is not bent on mass murder - indeed to have "terrorism" experts in on monitoring the protestors would seem to be slightly outside their remit.

The second issue we've got is that word is the Feds and sundry other law officers have been actively monitoring protest groups for a while, and if one of them has gone nuts then it shoulld have word on it. These are Americans that will be suspicious of a G-Man infiltrator if he keeps cutting his hair but generally quite inclusive. We put up with vague warnings (albeit with less and less patience) because we assume that getting intelligence on foreign suspects is kind of tricky.

What we should expect from the GOP convention is truly hard to guess. But cranking up the fear has few productive outcomes, particularly for the city government. Gringcorp for one is thinking about finally getting a home phone line that week. But that's because he fears dreadlocks on a white man.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The Hardest Button To Button

We don't know where to start with New York City's superbly silly discount buttons scheme for people who want to protest the convention nicely. This has the stench of a post-menopausal lady in marketing whose smile never leaves her face deciding that all these demonstrators need is love and shopping. Even Mayor Mike found it hard to plow through the farrago of feeble one-liners that constituted an announcement.

Gringcorp says that this is a step up from the truly disturbing Ed Koch ads telling us to be nice to the republicans (view the MPEG here. That said, a gigantic placard at the Port Authority saying "Go Back to Berkeley You Stinking Trotskyite Scum" would probably have been a step up from Demented Ed.

Now we are not up to speed on how one proves one's credentials in leftist circles, but we bet wearing a badge saying "I'm a screaming Quisling that prefers buying cheap goods to busting pig heads," is gonna get you exiled to the outer circle of the anarchist campfire. Anyway, the only goods that the GOP demonstrators would buy are in Park Slope, or maybe Williamsburg, if you are the type that believes in "protest art."

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


Mmmmm, this Karen thing is much, much sicker than I thought...if BLONDREDHEAD RULES was on the money. Still, what is misery and discord in the trad-metal community, but grist for some meretricious puns.

Pour Some Invective On Me

Who knew Def Leppard fans could be quite so bitchy? We have been amused for much of the afternoon by the altercation between Jeanne and Karen, a spina bifida sufferer who is accused of exploiting her disease to get close to the band. Juke Joint Jezebel tries desperately to mediate, and then savagely turns on all visitors. Such willful squandering of goodwill could only come from followers of a band whose one-armed drummer was arrested for spousal abuse.

Holding Palast

Thought we'd give props to Greg Palast, who we like to thiink of as Michael Moore with facts. Palast once got accused by the Labour officials of hideous sex offences, after exposing the antics of Labour-connected lobbying firms (apologies for the use of a WSWS site - it has the best summary we've seen). We thought that it would be a good time to look at his dispatches from Venezuela, where he has struck a fairly pro-Chavez tone, as his latest column shows.

But in our humble opinion, Mr. Palast may be out of his depth in Caracas. He is an amazing person to document the precise links between policy and corporate cash, and we've been consistently impressed at how he's skewered Enron, Southern and other corporations we follow by day. To say that a US administration made up of oil men would have a bias in favour of oil companies that want to maximise their profits from production in Venezuela, is an obvious, if regrettable, fact. Palast decides, however, that the confllict is between good, redistributive Chavez, and bad, Jag-driving plutocrats. Good and bad works when chasing corporations around the margins of the law, but is less enlightening when it comes to making an informed comment on a truly disfunctional society.

Where do the sacked clerical workers at PDVSA fit in? Can Chavez implement land reform properly? If Palast thinks that swapping a capricious and unstable plutocracy for a capricious and unstable left-leaning strongman is by and large a good thing, then say it already, or prove that Chavez isn't capricious and unstable. That Jag-driving pigs (Prezza excluded) form an unholy global alliance is not the discovery we had hoped from Greg.

Monday, August 16, 2004

More Hastings, Less Speed

We were never quite sure why Max Hastings ended up as a semi-regular columnist at the Guardian. Max, a former Telegraph and Evening Standard editor, would seem to be an odd fit at the Guardian, not so much for his views, which were, as this entry points out, somewhat at odds with his right-leaning former proprietors, but for his interests, which run to military history and the countryside. Both capture a relatively small portion of the attention of the average Guardian reader.

Which is why Max seems to be having so much fun there, taking pops at fellow Guardian columnists for the relish with which they support windfarms and new house development on England's fair fields. Max' thing, much like George Monbiot, and environmentalist, and fellow Guardian writer, with whom he shares a few beliefs, is to try and maintain the most reasonable countenance possible while seriously sticking it to the man. Max seems to realise it here, pausing mid-rant to calm down, but still deciding that Polly Toynbee is motivated by an extreme hatred of Tory-voting rural folk.

Also from the UK Sundays, first we discover that the foreign secretary is a potty-mouthed crybaby, now the home secretary is a home-wrecking shagger. Cor.

Back to Brookie for a moment. We were on our way to Dumbo yesterday (ABC Carpet & Home and ONE MEEELION hipster galleries, if you must know), and had the misfortune to walk through the oh-so-futuristic "Metrotech Center". This, dear Park Slope residents, is what Mr. Bruce Ratner plans to build on your northern border. While the NBA has approved Brucie's plan to buy the New Jersey Nets, and move it to one of the few parts of the outer boroughs that wouldn't benefit from a gigantic stadium, there is still a bit of fighting yet to do.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Luke Donnellan's World of Leopard Seals - RIP

It is with great sorrow that we report the closing of Luke Donnellan's World of Leopard Seals until further notice. While at times we may have given the impression that Mr. D was a dangerous charlatan more interested in getting tourists to visit Australia than in advancing the understanding of spotty pinipeds, we appreciated the spirit in which this information was somewhat inexpertly rendered. He will be missed, like a rash.

Gringcorp would like to be able to say that Death To False Seals will still be around to give you the truth on seal-related stuff. But, like a spoiler political candidate, it will probably fall on its sword.

Gumby Fresh will be observing several hours blog silence as a mark of respect. Oh yes.

Me! Pick Me!

Turns out that McGreevey picked his very good friend, an Israeli poet, to be Homeland Security co-ordinator, even though the poor chap did not even have security clearance. Looks like McGreevey Watch was closer than it thought...

Leaflet of the day - Jews for Jesus handing them out inside the subway (not fair!), headlined "Atheist", which was why we picked it up. Adopts a more-in-sorrow-than-anger approach to us deniers, and the website claims that the Da Vinci code is all true.

Runner-up, Yvette Clarke, out shaking hands on Bergen street. Is she the new Tish James?

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Conspiracy Unmasked

According to Bloomberg, Jim McGreevey "earned the Democratic nomination by defeating Lyndon Larouche supporter Elliot Greenspan in the June primary". Now that's just plain spooky. We guess he came back more powerfully than we possibly imagined....

Now that Jim's adland-friendly marriage has been revealed as a sham, Gringcorp is seriously considering relocating its biotech operations from New Jersey. It may be good enough for NRG Energy but not for us.

Don't Greeve For Me...

Jim McGreevey is apparently set to resign as governor of New Jersey, following accusations from an aide that involve sexual misconduct (very legal-friendly, non?). This doesn't involve corrpution allegations, although Jimbo has been surrounded by some very dodgy characters. So much so, that the Times once ran a feature noting that it was trying its hardest to recover a mantle that Rowland's Connecticut seemed in danger of taking.

While in recent months we have only occasionally seen ads exhorting tourists and biotech firms to come to Jersey, we still remember Jim's demented TV ads which saw him spewing insane stream-of-consciousness chatter at a camera located in the passenger seat of his car. He made that hack Pataki look like a corpse, and we loved him for it, even though, as disscussed below, we can't vote, and if we could we would be devoting our energies to bringing down Clarence Norman's Brooklyn Democratic machine. But it's a shame to see such a genuinely wired pol come apart in a miasma of crookedness and touched bottoms.

Cripes, It's The Rozzers!

Someone arrest the Lyndon LaRouche crazies on 16th street. They are the new Al Gore, soliciting donations, nay, aggressively soliciting contributions from aliens without permanent resident status.

We normally dislike not being a citizen, since at least half the fun of caring about politics stems from having a chance to do something about what you've been whining about for eighteen months by voting come November. But it is rather fun to dismiss the clipboard-toting fundraisers by quoting election law at them. This says that only citizens and those with permanent resident status, and not foreign nationals, may contribute, or be solicited, for donations, as this little primer notes. Some of them start hitting up our companion for more, or suggest a little lateral transfer of funds. Mr LaRouche-crazy began babbling about PACs being exempt (WRONG!), and boasting about the number of contributions he got from Germans (COOL! NOT.).

Mr. LaRouche, who inhabits this little demi-monde where his extensive network of fellow loons writes in with useful tidbits, makes reasonable money from his "Executive Intelligence Review", and once produced an interesting little tract called "Children of Satan" that assessed the impact of Richard Strauss on neoconservatives. This subsequently blew up big, in the New Yorker and WSJ, among others, although Justin Raimondo rather intemperately disputes the timeline.

Our tuppenceworth? Mr. LaRouche is a Limey-hating nut that shouldn't be asking us for money. Although anyone with such a shaky grasp on reality that they think Prince Philip ("Phil the Greek") is one of the shadowy rulers of the world probably has trouble getting to grips with election law.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Not Hobo-Humpin'

Crikey, we almost forgot. We saw Jeff Daniels shooting The Squid And The Whale right at the end of our street. He had to turn round from shooting a doorstep scene when an ambulance would not be turned back by the clipboard-wielding functionaries, and went cruising down sixth avenue guns blazing. A "Cut" then proceeded. We haven't read the book, but look forward to the film, even though Bill Murray is no longer involved. Apparently the borough didn't treat him too well when he appeared at BAM.

Straight Outta Birmingham

The only entertining thing that happened to us was catching Saturn 3 on IFC last night. Farrah Fawcett (in space! in the future!) falls so in love with a rather decrepit Kirk Douglas that she turns down the sexual advances of Harvey Keitel. Keitel proceeds to invest his sexual longing into an evol robot. Without a do-dah. Douglas is made of sterner stuff and kills them both. The robot gets dumped into freezing liquid gas, and survives, just like Terminator 2.

And now, like George Clooney's character in Out Of Sight, we must say "let's go to Detroit" (or rather the suburbs, using NWA, hence the title of the post, yes it's rubbish). Unlike Jack Foley, we have no Buddy Bragg to say "now you're talking", but we do have the Everly Brothers (lost you all? Gooood...), and will have a go at posting by email. TTFN

Monday, August 09, 2004

Max Power

Mostly, Gringcorp approves of David Aaronovitch, the columnist who was nicked by the Guardian/Observer from the Independent a few years back, and has rapidly become better than Will Hutton. But we try and catch the comment every Monday, and love most of their columnists. There is the occasional slip, such as Peter Preston this week noting that Terror attacks make George Bush more popular, and trying to suggest that maybe, just maybe, Osama was a Republican (we seem to remember one extremist newsletter making a similar point, saying that George Bush was so insensitive that he was bound to hasten an apocalyptic clash of cultures, while Kerry was obviously too sly. But Google has not summoned it for us.).

But we digress, so back to Mr. A, who posits that Spiderman 2, to which his child had dragged him (he wanted to watch the Door In The Floor, we bet), was a useful way to put forward the thesis that the powerful could not stand by in the face of danger, therefore PROVING the Iraq war right. Two complaints there, the first of which is that there have been infinitely better ways of exploring this "how can the powerful react when confronted by evil?" question, of which one is Serpico, which we serendipitously caught at the Film Forum Sunday(you saying this post is contrived, child?). Serpico, which had more moments of comedy than we remember, and a few stretches of silly dialogue to which the 80s were not kind, asks what you do with a message (there was widespread corruption in the 1970's New York Police department. Like, Duh), when the messenger (Al Pacino, looking more like a pirate than a hippie), is not to the liking of higher-ups. Bury it, then arrange for him to be shot in the face, in that order, apparently.

The second main objection to the Spiderman 2 theory is that, contrary to what Aaronovitch asserts, Superman has indeed been there in his second installment. Superman II also featured General Zod. Kneel before General Zod!
(Aug 10 - Oooops - www.generalzod.net just got taken down)
Also in the Observer, Jack Straw, UK foreign secretary, and the man who believes he is the equal of Colin Powell, tells the BBC to f*** off. True fact.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Curses! No Shemales!

Originally uploaded by Gringcorp.
Gringcorp had resolved yesterday to visit the Jugfest sponsored by L Magazine, which was set to feature FOUR jug bands, $1 Rheingolds (I'd say the relaunch is going swimmingly provided they keep flogging it off cheap) and a real live SHEMALE, but ended up going drinking instead. But, since Southpaw is round the corner from our new apartment, we still made a late appearance. Too late for the charming Allanah Starr, unfortunately, although Ms. Starr did leave some publicity material behind...

As for the jug bands, we were kinda surprised that it sounded mostly like the music from "The Sting" - we were expecting things to be a wee bit more hillbilly. We only missed Bill Carney's Jug Addicts, which is a pity because we are a big fan of Mr. Carney's Les Sans Culottes. Bill was at the bar talking about the law, which is his day job. He made it sound rather fun, although we must stress that we overheard him rather than talked to him. The other bands were fun, although apparently jug bands mean you have to do this really daft dance involving moving your arms like you're running while shaking your booty. We guess they all saw it in The Sting....

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Die, Barn, Die!

Yes, the practice of ridiculing the New York Times for hopelessly missing out on cultural advances may be easy, but it's still satifying. Today, the reporter from the Metro section walks by a breakdancer in Union Square and decides to start a revolution. "Breakdancing is back," they breathlessly report, "at last we will have a busking medium that will take on those pesky mimes, silver-painted statues, and Peruvian pan-pipers in the battle for our change." I was hoping that one of the people they interviewed would make up some stuff, but it seems to be pretty straight.

Still, a quick stroll through the iTunes store shows that such luminaries as the Freestylers, Cannibal Ox, and of course the Beastie Boys have been blithering about breaking over the last ten years. The guys behind Big Beat at Skint were pretty fond of it as well.

Palid stuff, mind, next to Spin's recent article on LA's "Clown-dancing and krumping scene". Bonkers, but the NYT has already picked up on Madonna picking up krumping. Krumping is the new breakdancing, apparently, so the Times article should have been going on about how breakdancing never went away. Like the Beastie Boys, or Marmite. Or it could posit that it hibernated in Brighton for a while (per the Skint view of breakdancing history).

All withering comments from true scenesters much appreciated...

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Extracting The Michael

I was grabbed by another of those "we commissioned an independent report on ourselves and it says we're great" releases today. This one's from the International Finance Corporation, the arm of the World Bank dedicated to the use of private finance in development. Just that little mission statement gives you an idea of the amount of hating that the NGOs get in against it. It also provides a useful home for talented graduates, or retired businessmen/pols, from less-developed countries.

So, the IFC realises that its standard argument - that private capital, and big infrastructure projects, improve lives - has not convinced many people. So, instead of just saying "everyone that hates development go and live in the scrub for eternity without the internet" (which is tempting, if rather symplistic), it decides to commission a report about how well it is doing in financing oil and gas a mining projects. The report is written by a former Indonesian Mining minister. Riiiiiiiiight....

Look, time to realise that these reports rarely improve an organisation's culture, and have little PR value. The only reports that I've seen that are hugely savage about the subject/client have been ones about grave crimes that happened decades ago. rather like Bertlelsmann's holocaust report. Fifty years seems to be the earliest these things become useful.

Also, check the newest Seal Blog out. Gringcorp has set it up to counter lies about seals in the media.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

A New Force In Seal Fancying

From the California coast, just north of Cambria, and not stolen from the internet. Yeah, take that Luke! [Update: If any of you guys visiting from Israel/Bezeq would like to explain why this post is so interesting, please let us know in the comments. We're stumped, but you're accounting for most of our traffic right now. Ta.]
Originally uploaded by Gringcorp.

Give Me Liberty Or Give Me News

Right, time for an unpleasant and unwarranted attack on AM NY, the free daily published by Tribune/Newsday, which has decided that it will make its reputation by bringing down the Statue of Liberty Foundation leadership. It is very important that the freebies start to offer more than wire service reheats - hello Metro, whose first issue's publisher's letter seemed to patronisingly suggest that young people liked Eminem and didn't want their news to be too challenging, as Gothamist noted. Nevertheless, AM's front page (a click will download a pdf, hopefully), thrust in my face when I got off the subway, suggests that it needs some perspective. There was an awful lot going on NY yesterday, what with the Terror Alerts (Genuine or not? I don't have the time or expertise to judge, but still love Howard Dean for being all grouchy and sceptical about it. Persuading a couple of congressmen too dump on a trustee's head doesn't make it. Even if you do note that the Daily News encouraged people to donate to the Foundation.

Couple of boasts -

1) got listed, albeit automatically, on Queerfilter (although the site seems to be down right now.
2) won a bottle of Merlot by predicting that Kerry could not get a 10-point bounce out of the Edwards selection
3) Scored some cool elephant seal pictures to take on the Leopard Seal scum, although Mr. D seems determined to llet his site become a haven for viagra peddlers. Anyway, with luck, the photo in question will be posted above

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Where Would Napoleon Go?

No internet cafes anywhere in Southern California. But much cultural feeding. First, Gringcorp rocked out to the accessible techno stylings of Miss Kittin, who has recently tried to smile more and be less of a frosty German beat domiatrix. This was at the Key Club, the Sunset Strip club that is the new Viper Room (as far as Gringcorp's rather oiled cred radar was concerned), ready to lead the charge against resurgent Silver Lake (yes Gringcorp is bicoastal in making up stuff about neighborhoods).

But, more significant was the pilgrimage we made to the San Dimas water park Raging Waters, the inspiration for "Waterloo!" from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Put simply, Raging Waters is the coolest thing in all of California, apart from Amoeba Music, even though (as the Fast Rewind trivia fiends note) some park in Arizona called Sunsplash was used. Napoleon and Gringcorp are on the same page here.