Friday, February 29, 2008

In praise of myself

I pride myself on being aware of my faults and shortcomings, or at least trying to. That way, I can attempt to improve myself, or at least downplay the negative parts of my personality (maybe). Despite my political science undergraduate degree, I probably have an 11th grade understanding of politics. Granted, the average American probably has a 3rd grade understanding, but I could not hold up my side of an argument against more skilled, more involved political people. I could not name more than 15 or so heads of foreign states. In fact, I couldn't even name my local representatives. Yes, the election process is kind of a joke, as this mockery we call a presidential primary makes clear (nothing against the candidates per se, just the way they're being chosen), but I should really know who's making the decisions, shouldn't I?

This doesn't stop me from commenting on political matters practically everyday. For the most part, I try to keep it funny so that even if my commentary isn't up to par, I can at least pass it off as a joke, and people can have a chuckle, or fly into a rage against my progresso-liberistic beliefs. I invented the term progresso-liberistic as a nod to the phrase socio-economic, and I expect royalties if the term should catch on. Sadly, my comedy is sometimes as accurate as my politics, which means there are days when I just seem like a rambling crackpot.

There are times, however, when I really nail it. On January 17, 2006, I had a lucid moment:
Ah, yes, the great rule of law. Here are the "rules" of law for a supreme court justice -

1) Any exception you disagree with will create a slippery slope. Any exception you agree with is based on rationality.

2) Stare decisis and precedent are cool as long as it fits your personal view. It is okay to overtun case law if the majority has a different opinion.

3) You must chronically masturbate your own ego in long-winded, boring opinions, concurrences, and dissents.
Masterful. Brilliant. Accurate. And the greatest of these is love.

As the sharply named Grotesqueticle noted, "I do believe that ChrisV82 just posted the only comment on a blog of any stripe that is true, insightful, and funny no matter where you rest on the political spectrum.

"Game over!"

All hail me!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

When a man can no longer buy a sandwich, he is no longer a man

Terence "On The" Hunt, AP White House Correspondent:
President Bush said Thursday the country is not recession-bound and, despite expressing concern about slowing economic growth, rejected for now any additional stimulus efforts. "We acted robustly," he said.

Jeannine "Y'know What I Mean" Aversa, AP Economics Writer:
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress Thursday that the nation isn't "anywhere near" the dangerous stagflation situation of the 1970s.

With the economy slowing and inflation rising, fears have grown that the country could be headed for the dreaded twin evils of stagnant growth and rising prices known as "stagflation."

"I don't anticipate stagflation," Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee. "I don't think we're anywhere near the situation that prevailed in the 1970s."

Aversa again:
The economy skidded to a near halt in the final quarter of last year, clobbered by dual slumps in housing and credit that caused people and businesses to spend and invest more sparingly.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the gross domestic product increased at a scant 0.6 percent pace in the October-to-December quarter. The reading — unchanged from an initial estimate a month ago — underscored just how much momentum the economy has lost. In the prior quarter, the economy clocked in at a brisk 4.9 percent pace.
* * *
And, even though economic growth slowed, inflation picked up — an ominous mix that could spell further trouble for the economy.

As if the newly confirmed fourth-quarter GDP figure of 0.6 percent wasn't chilling enough, the Labor Department reported Thursday that new applications for unemployment insurance benefits rose by 19,000 to 373,000 last week, more evidence that the general economic sluggishness is spilling over into the job market.
Something stinks and it's not just the toilet after a curry dinner.

The Japing Ape retails for £8.00 in the U.K. In the good old U.S.? $15.00. Fortunately, no one reads books, but what about the cost of bread, milk and eggs? How can I afford a milk and egg sandwich?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Live blogging the Oscars 2008

8:37 - Jon Stewart is doing okay. I guess. I hate when audiences clap for comedians. It's like saying, "I appreciate your concept intellectually, but not enough to laugh."

8:41 - This is boring.

8:45 - You know what the record for the longest blowjob is? However long tonight's show is. Who wants to watch Hollywood suck its own dick non-stop, all night?

8:48 - Fuck it, I'm done. Enjoy this video of the world's most adorable three year old girl explaining Star Wars:



Edit: Is she saying, "It's kind of like A Bronx Tale, but they're selling robots?" Because that would be awesome.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

"I'm glad I could play in Brooklyn." - Pee Wee Reese

I took a trip into Brooklyn yesterday. Brooklyn has been glamorized in songs and in movies, but if you never lived there and you suddenly found yourself wandering the borough, you might wonder what all the fuss is about. I mean, if you went to Coney Island you'd be surrounded by the projects. Not exactly the best way to attract tourists.

Brooklyn is an interesting place. I'm glad I don't live there anymore, but I'm glad I got to live there. It seems like it's all Russians, Armenians, Syrians, Koreans, Vietnamese and the like now, but it wasn't that long ago when people were saying Brooklyn is nothing but Italians, Jews, and Puerto Ricans, so what are you gonna do? That's the march of time. America isn't like other countries, because there is no original culture (unless you count the natives before the Europeans). Immigration keeps the mix fresh. A stagnant America isn't America.

Edit 2/29 - The above paragraph bothers me a bit. First, it kind of sounds like I'm a little racist, which I might be, but I wasn't intending to be there. I have no problem with any of the ethnic groups mentioned, I was just trying to paint a picture of the changing ethnic landscape, and I don't think I did a good job. Second, the "original culture" line is kind of inaccurate; Canada could say the same, for example. Third, this marks the first time I say "and the like," which I use two more times in this entry. I really should proof read before posting.

The only thing I really miss about the changing ethnic landscape is the loss of restaurants, delis, and the like. Lots of places I used to visit are long gone. There are a few left, fortunately. Brooklyn is one of the few places in the country where you can buy bialys. You can't beat Coney Island Bialys & Bagels.



What's a trip to Brooklyn without some pastries?



The place used to be called C&D's long ago, but it's now called Grandma's, probably to be more catchy. It's still the same place where my mom got her wedding cake, and I got my birthday cakes and communion cake. Cake is fine, but there's better stuff in the world. For example, cookies and cannoli.



You can satisfy more than your sweet tooth. How about some fresh bread? Hot and fresh. Plus, it's nearly impossible to find proscuitto bread anywhere else in the U.S.



So you got your bread, got your dessert, now you need some meat. Maybe a little sausage, a little salami, a little cappicola...



Maybe even something a little more exotic? In Philadelphia, they call these "shooters," but I didn't see the Eagles win a Super Bowl, now did I?



This building is located on 74th Street in Dyker Heights, around the corner from Fort Hamilton Pkwy and Bay Ridge Pkwy. It's the last place I lived before leaving Brooklyn.
However, Walter L. Johnson did not care much for Italians, especially poor Italians. The Brooklyn Eagle explained a problem Johnson had with a particular Italian family in Dyker Heights, "...[The property] which at the time was owned by Walter L. Johnson, was occupied by an Italian family, to whom Mr. Johnson paid $600 to vacate it in order that the neighborhood of Dyker Heights, which is very carefully restricted, might have no objectionable features about it."
I didn't even get six hundred bucks to vacate.



We lived on the first floor. You'd think after 20 or so years, that front door would have been fixed, but you'd be thinking incorrectly. This wasn't my destination, anyway. I was heading to my mother's cousin's apartment, where many moons ago I fell down on that small grassy area and sliced my knee open on a broken bottle.



Being around family means being called "Cousin Christofuh" for the duration. Another somewhat unique aspect of New York is, if you're single and not living at home, you will be berated for wasting money and not taking care of your parent(s). What, you're going to get your own apartment? Look at Mr. Fancy Guy over here. Mr. Rockefeller with his millions. Where'd you park the Rolls Royce, eh?

Brooklyn's about more than food and family, of course. Brooklyn has sports, museums, theater, and the like, but really, food comes first. Where else can you get a slice of pizza and hire an attorney in the same building?