Thursday, September 27, 2007

Not an Onion headline
6 Army of Mary nuns in Hot Springs excommunicated


Why does Mary need an army?
Is she planning to liberate Judas?
Do the nuns carry weapons?
If so, do they keep them under their habits?
When nuns get in hot springs, do the weapons under their habits rust?
Were they actually excommunicated in the hot springs or were they allowed to get out first?
Do religious people exist solely for the entertainment of the rest of us?
Do headline writers?
The principles speak
In a recent letter to LEO titled "Give a Damn," a reader responded to my column on gambling by suggesting I honor my principles and vote against Steve Beshear. To consider this option, I contacted my principles for a response. I caught up with them in the Douglass Loop Heine Bros, where we sipped café Americanos and enjoyed a wide-ranging discussion about politics. Here is a transcript of our conversation:

Me: So, what about it? Should we vote for Fletcher?
My Principles: Are you fucking kidding us? [They pretend to punch me in the face] We ought to smack you. Ernie Fletcher is the most corrupt politician this side of Mitch McConnell. And even when he's not breaking the law, he's setting Kentucky back a hundred years with regressive education-, healthcare-, and human-services policies. And when he's not busy with all that, he's fanning the flames of homophobia, religious extremism and intolerance. The man is a pox on the commonwealth.

M: But what about Beshear? Can we support him?
MP: In America you have to go with the least stinky turd. We think Benjamin Franklin said that, but it might've been Henry Clay.

M: You're on record as opposed to gambling…
MP: Wrong. We're opposed to going inside casinos. We clearly stated we're not opposed to others gambling. And in fact, we're not opposed to gambling ourselves. We just don't do it in casinos. For instance, right now we're betting if you ask one more stupid question, we're going to throw our coffee on you.

M: Are you feeling OK? You seem a little testy.
MP: [Pretending to throw coffee] Testy? Testy? We're YOUR principles, remember? Have you looked around lately? Republicans have all but destroyed the world. We're at war with an enemy we can't name, with countless victims dying on all sides every day. We're quickly destroying the only habitable planet there is. We're not educating our children, healing our sick, feeding our hungry or making our roads safe. And some LEO reader wants us to vote republican? We can barely stand to vote for democrats, the soulless fucks. We have to take twenty steps to the right just to find them; you think we've got energy left to step into the republican cesspool? We're your principles, not Uranus. Heh heh. Little astronomy joke there.

M: Very little. OK, fair enough. Testiness warranted. But if you're so disgusted, why vote at all?
MP: That's actually a good question…

M: You don't have to sound so surprised.
MP: Shut up and listen. We were roughly this disgusted in 2000… OK, we were BORN this disgusted. You try being principles. But anyway, we were this disgusted in 2000 and almost didn't vote in the presidential election. As you'll recall, the man who won that election went on to greatness as a world leader. Unfortunately, Al Gore wasn't allowed to actually be president. Now, imagine if he had been. Would America be in Iraq? Would our country acknowledge climate change? What would be the state of healthcare? Poverty? Political alienation? Bigotry? Nobody can say. But we know this much: It wouldn't be the clusterfuck it is today. If we don't vote for the least offensive candidate, the other guy might destroy your country.

M: Hmmm, are you getting patriotic in your old age?
MP: Patriotism is for intellectual pussies and narrow-minded jagoffs. Patriotism is foreplay for Nazism. We miss America and we want it back.

M: And you think voting for Steve Beshear will do that?
MP: [Mocking] "And you think Steve Beshear will do that?" You're lucky this coffee is getting cold. Of course not. But we can't give up. We just can't just let the republican criminals and the Christian jihadists run rampant. We just can't.

M: True that. One last question. How do you like the Cards' chances against…

MP: [Throws coffee on me; storms out] Harumph!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

FundRace 2008
What's more fun than following the 2008 presidential race? Well, mopping the kitchen floor, cleaning the terlits, listening to your neighbor bitch about the Cards, and wondering what the new archbishop thinks about Saddle Ridge's Naughty School Girl Night among other things, but here's something that's more fun than all of them: HuffPo's FundRace 2008. This little timewaster lets you enter a name, address or zip code to find out what people you know have donated to the presidential candidates. Find out who Louisville's rich people are supporting. Find out who's donated from your zip code. Find out who's donated to more than one candidate. And once you get bored with the locals, you can even see which celebs have donated. If you live in Kentucky, the primary race is going to be over before you get a chance to vote anyway - it's what we in Merka call "democracy" -- so it's not like your vote matters. But other people's money does! So check out the giving at FundRace 2008. It's almost enough to make the race interesting.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

This whole is quite fine good
An entertaining reminder not to trust web translators:

Monday, September 24, 2007

A smokin' list
Thanks to Metro and the CJ, here's a handy list of joints defying the Louisville smoking ban. This list is convenient for all concerned. If you're a smoker, here's where you can go to smoke yourself to death in a comfortable bar, bingo-parlor, hotel, um... food-charity, or, yeah, drugstore setting. If you don't want to die via second-hand smoke, avoid these places (and Churchill Downs). And if you like to be all sanctimonious about smoking but then -- after a half dozen mojitos -- you start jonesin' for an American Spirit blue, just start your evening elsewhere but keep this list in your wallet or purse for the nightcap. See? Win-win-win.

Old Hickory Inn, 1038 Lydia St. (three times)
R Place Pub, 9603 Whips Mill Road
Kentucky Harvest, 1839 Brownsboro Road
Longhead's Bar & Grill, 8238 Dixie Highway
Louisville Food Mart, 4102 Murphy Lane
River City FOP, Lodge 614, 6204 Price Lane
Old Taylor Bar, 3464 Taylor Blvd. (twice)
Bar 25 Pub & Grill, 2333 Montgomery St. (twice)
New View Bar and Grill, 7601 Outer Loop
19th Hole, 1100 Ash St.
Parents Without Partners, P.O. Box 16362 (twice)
Highview Manor Bingo, 7209 Fegenbush Lane (three times)
Sunshine Bingo, 5712 Outer Loop
Shorty's Dixie, 931 Dixie Highway
Whistle Stop Liquors, 2317 Rockford Lane
CVS Pharmacy, 3997 S. 7th St.
Tink's Pub, 2235 S. Preston St.
Ruthie's Tavern, 1800 Berry Blvd.
River City Turners, 8009 Terry Road
Bingo Palace, 10713 Dixie Highway (three times)
Air Devils Inn, 2802 Taylorsville Road
Lynnview Liquors, 1239 Gilmore Lane
Buechel Football League (twice)
Donahue's Bar, 2737 Northwestern Parkway
The Pour Haus, 1481 S. Shelby St.
Days Inn, 1620 Arthur St.
Louisville Lady Sluggers, 1120 Gilliland Road
Martin's Tavern, 1614 Dixie Highway
Magnolia Bar and Grill, 1398 S. 2nd St.
Pendennis Club, 218 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd.
Tim's King Cafe, 4642 Jennings Lane
He's just going to look at the pictures
Now here's a terrifying mental image to get you in the mood for Halloween: Senator Jim Bunning browsing Alan Greenspan's new book while taking a dump. From James Carroll's "Notes From Washington" column:

"Bunning has never been a fan of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. So now that Greenspan has a new book, 'The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World,' does Bunning plan to crack it open? 'Do I intend to read it? No, but I'm going to put it in my men's room,' Bunning told reporters in a conference call last week."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Attention sports fans
My hat's off to the mysterious parodyers over at The Spotted Bass. I especially love the idea of Pitino being verklempt over the upcoming schedule.
You're an American now
Time to start acting like one.

Monday, September 17, 2007

From last week's City Strobe:

Locals attempt, fail to become cool
Last week was marred by several embarrassing botched attempts at coolness by local citizens. Despite the fact that electronic gadgets are nature’s way of making it easy to quickly identify nerds, area dorks descended on the new Apple Store, in Oxmoor Mall, in a failed attempt to become cool.

The store, which sells iPhones, iPods and iMacs, offers the latest overpriced technological advancements in helping customers insulate themselves from any possible human contact (which is apparently why Apple products begin with the first person singular, in lowercase). Bystanders took solace in the fact that there were few actual sales.

In other overpriced-retailer news, the Big Granola formed by the merger of Whole Foods and Wild Oats announced it would close the Wild Oats store in Shelbyville Road Plaza and begin gouging customers in earnest at its Whole Foods store a block away. Bypassing the excellent opportunity to rechristen the chain “Wild Whole,” the company will instead be known as “Just Like Kroger but More Expensive and with Twice the Seitan.”

Worried that insufferable pretentiousness was stampeding east, downtown’s 21c cemented its reputation as the world’s most self-conscious hotel by hosting an $821-per-person pajama birthday party for itself. The party included a boob-art porn star, a contortionist, “historical hip-hop’s” “Black Mozart,” a sidewalk sex clinic and an “orgy,” in what critics deemed “only $821 more expensive than public-access cable.”

With so many failing so badly to become cool, ya really gotta feel for Dixie Highway. Those cats aren’t even cool enough for Kohl’s. Despite Mayor Abramson’s personal plea for the Dockers-mongers to take over the former Dillard’s space in the Shively Shopping Center, Kohl’s politely declined, though its thought balloon cited the company’s inability to compete with Wal-Mart in the discounted-crap-you-probably-don’t-need market.
From last week's City Strobe:

Money = free speech — unless it’s someone else’s
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell — who probably could use a hug… Anybody? Anybody? — became the talk of the town again last week after Insight Communications killed a political TV ad critical of him, and then promptly decided to unkill it, after the requisite outrage over censorship ensued and, uh, nobody could prove the ad was inaccurate.

Insight made its initial move in response to pressure from McConnell’s peeps and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, who claimed the ad was inaccurate (a political ad? No!). The Public Campaign Action Fund ad (“McConnell+mp3” at YouTube) claims Mitch helped lobbyist Hunter Bates wrangle $8.3 million in grants to fund his organization’s effort to distribute propaganda-bearing digital audio players to Afghan tribesmen, while voting against body armor for troops fighting in Iraq. Insight — which in 2004 ran the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth lie-ads that helped defeat John Kerry — yanked the ad after Republicans complained its claims were false.

Before his Pashtun podcasting program, Hunter Bates was McConnell’s chief of staff, campaign manager, editorial ghostwriter and legal adviser on, um, yeah, campaign finance reform. He was also Mitch’s handpicked candidate for lieutenant governor — that is, before Bates discovered he didn’t live in Kentucky and therefore was ineligible. Bates has greased McConnell’s reelection campaign with $120,000. And, natch, Insight bigwigs Michael Wilner and Keith Hall, along with numerous other Insight executives, have donated to McConnell’s campaign war chest — to the tune of $17,000.

After Insight’s lawyers reviewed the ad (and after Kentucky bloggers started writing about Insight executives’ close ties to McConnell and the fact that nobody could disprove the ad’s claims), the cable company decided to allow it after all. The Public Campaign Action Fund says the point of its ad is to shine a light on McConnell’s participation in the age-old American political lube system: lobbyist donates to politician; politician secures money for lobbyist’s organization.

The story is especially tasty to McConnell’s detractors because he has long been that lube system’s go-to man in quashing campaign finance reform, under the guise of free speech. Well, as long as it’s not anti-McConnell free speech.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A basilisk to the bosom
Looking for a good historical smackdown but tired of the same old Newton vs. Leibniz? Have I got a book for you: "Rousseau's Dog," by David Edmonds and John Eidinow. Subtitled "Two Great Thinkers at War in the Age of Enlightenment," "Rousseau's Dog" details the public throwdown between philosophers and lunatics Jean-Jacques Rousseau and David Hume.

Rousseau was the brilliant novelist, philosopher, recluse, child-abandoner and paranoid whackjob who fled persecution into the arms of brilliant historian, philosopher, economist, social-climber, and over-eating wackjob David Hume. After Hume escorted Rousseau safely to London, the nature-loving Rousseau discovered he preferred land spreadin' out so far and wide, while the social butterfly Hume discovered he tended to become allergic smelling hay. Comedy ensues.

Gradually, Rousseau becomes paranoid enough to make Howard Hughes seem well groomed, and he writes a classic flame-mail accusing Hume of plotting to destroy his street cred. Hume writes back, in what was known in the 18th century as "tearing him a new one." The ensuing catfight spills out into the public arena – the age-ol' clusterfuckalism known as the British tabs – and eventually sucks in everybody from Voltaire to Benjamin Franklin to Frederick the Great to Horace Walpole, who was sort of 1766's Don Rickles.

Anchoring Rousseau's life throughout all this turmoil is Sultan, who is not only the philosopher's dog, but also his dawg. You'll want to read this book with one hand free, so it's available to point at your ear and move in a circular fashion, while you mutter "cuckoo, cuckoo" as you go.

OK, a wee complaint: I picked up this book because I thought it would be a fun way to learn more about the philosophies of these great thinkers. It really isn't. It stays focused on the smackdown. But the authors are probably aware that we Merkans love a good, bitchy dustup more than we like true intellectual pursuit. If it's logos you're after, cop some Corpus Aristotelicum. But if you're up for a weirdo literary knockdown, Jean-Jacques Rosseau/David Hume makes Gabriel García Márquez/Mario Vargas Llosa seem like Grand Funk Railroad/Three Dog Night.

Friday, September 07, 2007

It's Business Time
It's Friday. Treat yourself to some Conchords

But other than that, Caesars was great
Baby needs a new governor

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Further evidence that mankind was a bad idea
The caffeinated potato chip. You know, for those days when you just don't have the energy to be a fat, lazy slob. Still need further evidence? There's the Butt Buoy. God bless Merka.