Friday, July 09, 2004


Stochastic Pseudorandom Chaos

You may not want to read this link at work, as it depicts a rather skanky looking couple mating onstage during a rock concert in Norway by a band with a name that's unprintable in a family-friendly forum. Said couple's purpose in doing the dirty deed onstage was to raise money for the rain forests. Needless to say the charity was somewhat non-plussed at the actions on its behalf, and quickly disavowed knowledge or association with their actions. At this point I could spew out the standard platitudes of European decadence as well as the generally weird countenance of quote unquote activists, but I leave that for the reader as an exercise. For some reason, I'm totally disinclined to contribute to quote unquote causes that have disruption of the public good and commerce as primary or secondary objects, hence my dislike of PETA and others of similar ilk. In the case of saving the rainforest, some good old American know-how and management might actually be appropriate, as the current stewardship of said resource is attacking it for short-term solutions to their own local problems. And lest we think that American companies are benefiting from this pillage of the natural resource, they aren't. Brazilian rosewood, to think of one commodity, has hugely increased in price, and it has been priced out of the supply chain and consequently to consumers.

The band in question would do well to watch the concert scene in "A Hard Day's Night" to learn the proper technique for whipping an audience into a frenzy in a nice way.

Update - the band and the couple were fined approximately $1500 for the show by the local constabulary, and wonder of wonders the unwashed pair refuses to pay the fine.

Currently, there's a minor stink over the use of the word "fuck" by Dick Cheney. Big deal. Unless you're preternaturally calm, an ascete, or some variety of shaman/clergy, or in some other way abnormal, that word is used by everyone in some context (my empirical observations show that it's usually as an adverb or exclamation connoting anger or frustration rather than the crude euphemism for sex). It has a certain crudeness factor that quickly becomes wearying, therefore using it excessively dilutes it unnecessarily. It was so effectively used in "Trading Places", in the memorable gag at the end when Ralph Bellamy, as the now destitute Randolph Duke, collapses when his positions are sold out due to a margin call, and Don Ameche, so memorable as Mortimer Duke, when advised that they should take Randolph to the hospital, says "Fuck him!". Even Cabots, Lodges, or Sulzbergers for that matter, supposedly high-class individuals utilize the word upon occasion. It is only the province of the Puritan to complain about its use when it is indeed pervasive. But it is incumbent upon those of us who do love the language (I admit to being hooked on William Safire's "On Language" pieces in the Sulzberger Vanity Press) to use it with restraint such that its impact is retained. Otherwise, it's merely ammunition for the bluenoses of the world to cast opprobrium upon those of us in the trenches.

And of course any discussion of scatology versus eschatology must inevitably turn to Mr. Stern. The biggest problem I have with Howard is that he's boring. I can tell you the last time I laughed out loud at Howard, which was in June 1998 driving westbound across the Tappan Zee Bridge. As a matter of fact, it was on the cantilever section of the bridge (no I don't recall the exact date, but I do very clearly remember it as 6/98 due to other events). What's happened since then to Howard? Attribute the decline in the show to his divorce (Howard going home to be henpecked by Allison and their Long Island neighbors was a hell of a lot funnier than him going to a fancy-shmancy Manhattan apartment and a leggy model girlfriend) and Jackie Martling leaving. Stuttering John's departure is merely a symptom (let's face it, that's a one-note joke if ever there was one). The problem with Howard is that his material is stale and repetitive, a harbinger that for any other comedian would result in a one-way ticket to Branson or the Catskills (let's see, three major resorts left out on the circuit, most of which are populated by guests who have been called Bubbie and Zayde since the Johnson administration and actually enjoy the boiled steaks and other bas cuisine that these hotels specialize in).

Amusing factoid du jour are that despite a certain major investment bank ranking #3 in Republican donations, the chairman emeritus (who's occasionally been described as a magician) as well as their current president (who uses both his home address as well as one of the campus buildings as his address for purposes of record) are actually contributing to the Dems this year. However, the CEO (and his wife, also apparently domiciled at their world headquarters in midtown) donated to GWB. See Fundrace and check out the contributions for your amusement. The interesting thing is, who's the smart money to follow here?


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