Drooling on the Pillow

Saturday, September 17, 2005

911 For The Journal 

Let's hear it for Mr. Snitch! for giving Kendrick Ross, the new publisher of the Jersey Journal a wake up call on the new media.

Mr. Ross is in an interesting position as anyone can see that his paper is hanging on by a thread and he is going to have to make major changes and no mistakes or it will be gone like a frog in a frost. That won't happen if Mr. Snitch! has anything to do with it.

Here's a sample of the unsolicited advice:
4) Stop being a newspaper with a website. Start
being a web presence that also distributes via print.

Your web site needs an overhaul, but that's only because
your attitude toward your website needs an overhaul. By
the time your read this, this post should have been up for a
while. Do this Google search. Does the Journal's site even
show up? If you're not showing up on the web, you're not
showing up for readers your age and younger. If you're not
showing up for readers your age and younger, you won't
have any readers in ten years. And if you don't have any
readers in ten years...
I'm very interested in hearing Mr. Ross' response. Mr. Snitch! has given him a respectful and intelligent earfull. Is he listening?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Bad Behavior And It's Uses 

As noted below, there is a certain expectation of extravagant behavior for actors, writers, musicians, artists and the like. Drinking, drugging, carnal excess and violence are the foundations of more reputations than is talent. It has always been thus. Lord Byron was the sexiest of men, a world class carouser and free with his opinions on many topics he knew little about. There is little doubt that were he alive today he would be very good at getting his mug on the TV. He would be a fixture at protests as well, braving the elements at Camp Casey and amazing the world with his magnificent gestures.

He was also a genius. Like that matters.

Today, amazingly, reputations can be built on bad behavior alone, free from talent, accomplishment, honesty, rigor or intelligence. Put a crucifix in a jar of pee, you're an artist. The whole Paris Hilton oeuvre is based on her promise to be more shameless than you thought possible. It wouldn't occur to most people to degrade themselves to the extent she does, but for adolescents of all ages, she lights the way.

Twenty-five years in the theater will put you alongside any number of barely-tethered egos. I knew a guy who, on the first day of rehearsal would throw a fit. It didn't matter about what. He would find something to object to and go all red-faced and crazy-eyed and start screaming. Things would get broken, people would be crying, fist-fights narrowly averted. After that, he pretty much got whatever he wanted. Anything to avoid a repeat performance.

Another guy would get what he wanted by talking the issue to death. I did a terrible production of Romeo and Juliet with him, me as Mercutio, him as Friar Lawrence. We were running about four hours long (it seemed like twelve) so we had a line-cutting session. Every time the blade hung over one of his lines he would begin defending it and it became horribly plain that he wouldn't stop talking until the angel of death moved on. I wound up losing the Queen Mab speech, but he kept every one of his tedious lines.

Well, this is mostly regret and jealousy. Perhaps if I had been less embarrassable I would have gotten further.

Now I sound like the lady at the Mah Jong table: "Louise, you know what my problem is? I'm too nice."

I expect to be fully recovered from the jungle fever by tomorrow. Coherent thought returns.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Local Politics 

I've been enjoying Tris McCall's account of looking for a new apartment at The Sold Coast.

Today, though, he uses his hall to talk about a council meeting he attended last night and it's just an outstanding analysis of a seemingly intractable issue that's been rattling around for ten years now: Newark Avenue's Restaurant Row.

You don't need to know anything about the issue (or care), but if local politics interest you, you should read it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Cocaine Cowboys 

On the way home from work the injection system threw up the Supersuckers.

Just the cure for the jungle fever deleriums I've had all day.

Did you know they did a more-or-less straight-ahead country album?

It's not great, but it is interesting to hear their sensibilities (let's get f****d up right now) funneled through a different medium, which itself has a long tradition of songs celebrating excess. Sort of like hearing 50 Cent's take on Don Giovanni. There are issues with women in both, I think we can agree, and that's close enough that some damn fool is going to do it or something like it some day.

Here's a taste:

Powered by Castpost

Pity Party 

Sick as a dog the last two days. I don't know what this is, but I wouldn't wish it on Howard Dean. Despite that fact, I am at my post at work because there were hardware 'issues' that, for some reason, required my attendance.

That's okay, but I'm not getting anywhere near enough sympathy here.

Those three characters on the left are going "But Mike, the Active Directory PCs have to be run through the same KVM switch!" and I'm showing an uncharacteristic moment of exhasperation.

Normally, I'm as stoic as they come.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Let's Get Ready To Rumble 

Rock stars and hot young actors are famous for their transgressive behavior. Trashing hotel rooms, public sex, foul mouthed rants and pharmaceutical near-misses are the cliches and, in fact are expected elements of their glamour. Mere surliness or occasional rudeness will get recognized for what it is, but bad behavior on an operatic scale does nothing but enhance their reputations.

George Galloway, surely one of the most repugnant and odious creatures ever to defend the indefensible, goes far, far beyond standard American formations of The Madness of the Left such as Cindy Sheehan and even pro-active leftists like Michael Moore. No stumbling around mumbling Chimpy McHitler for him. George rolls up his sleeves and actually goes to work for some of the most violent, brutal and totalitarian thugs in the world. In fact, for all I can see, he goes to bat for pretty much all of them. He is hip deep in the Oil For Food scandal and is, to my mind, the most unembarassable man in the world.

His style is more bullying than clever, but he is a nimble guy and trained in the British parliamentarian mosh pit. Thus, he ran circles around stumble-tongued U.S. Senators last May.

Now, however, I learn from Fausta at The Bad Hair Blog that he is to debate the inestimable Christopher Hitchens tomorrow in New York at the Baruch Performing Arts Center at 7:00 pm. A more entertaining matchup is hard to imagine. The debate will be carried on radio and over the web.

UPDATE: TigerHawk will be in attendance and will cut the skinny for us soon after.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Let's Get To The Real Issue 

The campaign ads for the New York Mayor's race have started polluting the airways and the Goddess made the observation that, as a group, they are a pretty mottley crew.

Gifford Miller isn't a bad looking guy, but he does put you in mind of an elementary principal or a chiropractor. Besides, he's not going to win. The rest, though, are a bunch of stubbies, ugh-nuts and lames. Ferrar, Fields, Bloomberg and Weiner. The Goddess said it, not me: Weiner makes Koch look like Tom Selleck.

That remark brings up the sad history of New York mayors and their almost universal lack of physical charms. Giuliani, Koch, Dinkins, Beame, Wagner (who always looked to me like Bud Abbott's ugly brother), even LaGuardia; none of them what you would call head-turners. Lindsay, the only true stud-muffin in the group, was arguably the worst mayor since Robert Van Wyck. How is it that a city that likes to think of itself as the paradigm of glamour came to be governed by this collection of mutts?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Eternal Flame 

Pictured above is the Katyn Forest memorial in Jersey City. It commemorates the massacre of over 5,000 Poles who were being held captive by the Soviets in 1940.

One of the earliest--and certainly the most infamous--
mass shootings of prisoners of war during World War II
did not occur in the heat of battle but was a cold-blooded
act of political murder. The victims were Polish officers,
soldiers, and civilians captured by the Red Army after it
invaded eastern Poland in September 1939.
. . .

During April-May 1940, the Polish prisoners were moved
from their internment camps and taken to three execution
sites. The place most identified with the Soviet atrocity is
Katyn Forest, located 12 miles west of Smolensk, Russia.
For years historians assumed that the grounds of an
NKVD rest and recreation facility were both an execution
and burial site for nearly a fifth of the unfortunate Poles
who found themselves in Soviet captivity. Post-Cold War
revelations, however, suggest that the victims were shot
in the basement of the NKVD headquarters in Smolensk
and at an abattoir in the same city, although some may
have been executed at a site in the forest itself. In any
event, the Katyn Forest is--and will probably long
remain--the main symbol of the atrocity, even if it was
not the actual killing field.
Benjamin Fisher, in Studies in Intelligence, Winter 1999/2000

The reason I bring up Katyn on this day of all days is that soon after the attack on the World Trade Center, Glenn Reynolds linked to a picture, similar to the one above except that the twin towers were burning in the background, framing the Katyn Memorial between them. I can't find a reference to it at the Instapundit archives and I can't remember name of the woman he was linking to.

I've been looking for it for awhile now and if anyone remembers anything about it I'd appreciate hearing from them. The picture has haunted me ever since I saw it as it represented, to me, the incredible savagery of the 20th century and the horrible news that the 21st century was not likely to be an improvement.

There is still the remnant of a once sizable Polish community in downtown Jersey City. They certainly remember the victims of Katyn Forrest and weep for them. Remembering and commemorating are very important. We will never forget what happened and who was responsible and we will honor the victims forever.

We need to do something else, though. We need to stay angry about it. The moment we find that we have 'moved on' we will have accepted, however implicitly, the Islamists rationalization for their murders. Those who hid them, those that helped them, those who knew and did nothing. They made themselves targets that day. While the living continue to raise their families and seek the good things in life, there has to always be room for a small, intense, unquenchable anger. That would be the best memorial.

UPDATE: My friend at Enlighten-New Jersey sent me the snap below in response to my bleg. It's not exactly the shot I was thinking of, but it appears to have been taken within minutes of it. And it's just as good.


Come To The Carnival 

The Carnival of New Jersey Bloggers XVII is being hosted this week over at The Nightfly (image provided by Enlighten-NJ).

It's always cool to hang out with old friends and meet new ones at the Carnival. Mike also introduced me in this edition to Castpost.com, which looks like it will be very useful.
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com Listed on BlogShares