g r o t t o 1 1

Peeve Farm
Breeding peeves for show, not just to keep as pets
Brian Tiemann
Silicon ValleyNew York-based purveyor of a confusing mixture of Apple punditry, political bile, and sports car rentals.

btman at grotto11 dot com

Read These Too:

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James Lileks
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As the Apple Turns
Entropicana
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Capitalist Lion
Red Letter Day
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Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





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Sunday, October 26, 2008
08:03 - Let's revisit this for the 2012 edition

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Wassuuuuuuup.



Just remember: when Obama is president, everyone will have jobs, the stock market will rise for four straight years, and there won't be any more hurricanes.

I'm actually glad people are making things like this. Usually a candidate only has to worry about people holding him to account for his own empty campaign promises. This time, the whole world is signing checks no mortal man's presidency can cash.

As a commenter at Tim Blair's noted:

We are losing you know. Us folks who think Obama’s an empty suit with a moron for Veep, who isn’t ready to lead, hasn’t the judgement to lead and is only getting there cos he’s buying his way in with ample help from a biased media and Hillary’s and McCain’s inability to land punches. Us Nobamas are losing but it isn’t making us crazy. Heck, if Obambi wins, it’s 4 years of hilarity as Jon Stewart and Bill Maher and David Letterman have to start making jokes about a black guy. Plus lefties get the reins and learn that they aren’t infallible. They’ve had 8 years in the wilderness to build up their ‘hope’ and ‘change’ dreams to the point where they believe, like Jon Stewart, that cynicism and swearing is all you need to lead. They think they’re right about everything. They’ll stuff up like everybody else does, even righties. Do lefties good to learn a bit of humility again. By ‘again’ I mean, reliving the Carter years Stateside. Sorry Yank pals. I do see that as your destiny in this race. Still and all, I am not sure the hot rod shops of Iowahawk’s world are gonna close down, or the booze shops for Vodkapundit etc etc. We’ll all live.

True... true.


06:58 - SomethingAwful does journalism
http://www.somethingawful.com/d/news/ashley-todd.php

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Heh. I kept my mouth shut about the B-Carved-in-Face-Gate story at the time because I had the impression from somewhere that the alleged attack had happened with witnesses in a public place; it sounded like something out of a bad movie, but hey, there was a police report and everything, right? Either way, it was bound to get more play.

Now that it's been exposed as a hoax, SA's Joseph "Maxnmona" Fink is doing a better job than most of playing LGF for a day:

There were some problems with her story, of course. The first is that, like SomethingAwful's own DocEvil, she obsessively documented on Twitter every step of her night. Except maybe she was setting things up a little too conveniently for what she would have no way of knowing was going to happen next. Oh, and maybe she got a few bits of info wrong too, referring to the Citizens Bank as a Bank of America, and saying things like "this is definitely a bad part of town, I'm gonna get mugged by an angry political black man I bet" about a not bad part of town.

Oh, also maybe the B was backwards and didn't break the skin. Like how it'd be if you drew one really hard with your fingernail in the mirror.

And that's where it starts.


Thursday, October 23, 2008
20:15 - But hey, there's always health care and education
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081023/wl_nm/us_venezuela_electricity

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Say it ain't so, Hugo:

SAN FELIX, Venezuela (Reuters) – Despite having some of the world's largest energy reserves, Venezuela is increasingly struggling to maintain basic electrical service, a growing challenge for leftist President Hugo Chavez.

The OPEC nation has suffered three nationwide blackouts this year, and chronic power shortages have sparked protests from the western Andean highlands to San Felix, a city of mostly poor industrial workers in the sweltering south.

Shoddy electrical service is now one of Venezuelans' top concerns, according to a recent poll, and may be a factor in elections next month for governors and mayors in which Chavez allies are expected to lose key posts, in part on complaints of poor services.

The problem suggests that Chavez, with his ambitious international alliances and promises to end capitalism, risks alienating supporters by failing to focus on basic issues like electricity, trash collection and law enforcement.

"With so much energy in Venezuela, how can we be without power?" asked Fernando Aponte, 49, whose slum neighborhood of Las Delicias in San Felix spent 15 days without electricity -- leading him to block a nearby avenue with burning tires in protest.

Just next door, Carmen Fernandez, 82, who is blind and has a pacemaker, says she has trouble sleeping through sultry nights without even a fan to cool her.

Experts say Venezuela for years has skimped billions of dollars in electrical investments, leaving generation 20 percent below the level necessary for a stable power grid and increasing the risk of national outages. Officially Venezuela has a capacity of 22,500 megawatts for a population of 28 million people, but a sizeable proportion is not working, analysts say.

And while Chavez has won praise for investing in health and education, his government has done little to repair local distribution systems that deliver electricity to end users, from barrio residents to business and industries.

I need me one of those tiny little nose-hair violins.

For Chavez' policies and apologists, you understand. Not the people who have to live with him.

Via Mark.



15:56 - Hope... and chaaaaaaange
http://www.somethingawful.com/d/news/leaked-south-park.php

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I keep holding out hope that South Park will get back the vibe it had going about the 7th or 8th season. Since about the time when they started doing episodes like "A Million Little Fibers" and "The Snuke" and the overengineered, belabored efforts like "Hell on Earth 2006" and the fizzle of the "Make Love, Not Warcraft" stunt episode, it's felt more often than not like they're as out of ideas as they telegraphed in "Quest for Ratings".

Indeed, the more multi-episode epics they do these days, the less it seems the show retains of its spontaneous, daring roots, where you could count on every commercial break to bring you a new Cartman-ism or sound-bite to work into your own private dialogue. "Cartoon Wars", "Go, God, Go", "Imaginationland"... it's like they're building bigger and higher and agglomerating more and more ambition to the project, as though daring themselves not to push it harder. And there's always stuff to like, don't get me wrong. But ever since they started tackling the Big Important Issues with tirade episodes that must have seemed like good ideas at the time—"Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow", "Manbearpig", and most heartbreakingly, "Mystery of the Urinal Deuce"—even the cleverest of scripted rants has come to seem passé coming from the likes of Trey and Matt. Much as I welcome the generally highly sane things they have to say ("Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes", "Butt Out", "Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset"), it's come at the expense of the eyes and ears of the Easily Driven to Scorn Generation that dwells in places like SomethingAwful.com.

It once was their primary audience: college kids who first passed around "soxmas.mov" from inbox to gleeful inbox in 1996, worrying about whether recipients' mail spools would handle a 50MB file and poking around for evanescent hosting space for such a massive chunk of data. Those college kids today are in their 30s, and they're buying houses and working in cubicle jobs and fending off a pop culture that has grown to embrace hallowed Internet memes as its own. Small wonder people get bitter when they spot something they can identify as a "sell-out".

I don't know how much of a hand Trey and Matt have in the production process anymore. Sure, they're always credited as the writers, and naturally they have to voice everything, but how much is spontaneous and ad-libbed anymore? How much is as painfully scripted and rehashed as in SA.com's envisioning? How much is just the above-the-waterline part of the iceberg of the founders' seething rants, pared and whittled down until it fits neatly into 22 minutes?

I continue to give them the benefit of the doubt. Every now and then, there's an episode that reminds me of the Good Old Days—the latest, "Breast Cancer Show Ever", was a pretty good example of this, though it still felt ... I don't know. Too well-structured. Too mathematical. Too polished. Not even the animation (which in its high-budget explosiony goodness mocks the genius of the first few seasons' gleeful cheapness); I can even see ways in which the newfound grasp of staging shots and fully-animated background elements (like Mr. Garrison's entry into the classroom, which moves through several camera angles and shows a whole crowd of animated extras, in a way that the South Park of 1999 would never have attempted) is itself a form of parody of modern filmmaking mores. But I mean the story seems too polished. The twists are ... predictable. Sure, you're surprised at what the twist is; but it's never any mystery that there will be a twist. The come-uppance is real, because we know it has to be; and yet the universe-reset is also real, because we know that has to be too. While I might revel in the fact that this is the first time we've really been able to settle back into the original nuclear cast—Mr. Garrison, Principal Victoria, Wendy, and so on, missing only Ned and Jimbo for the complete picture), I can't overlook how much they've all changed on the long twisted road, from Wendy's new gotta-take-it-seriously voice to the Principal's earnest and adult pact with her to Cartman's eventual arrival at his current Figurehead of All That Is Evil and Vile role, a trail upon which he embarked way back in "The Tooth Fairy's Tats 2000" and from which the old profane crybaby Cartman never fully reemerged. It's not quite the journey that has driven The Simpsons from laugh factory to laughingstock, where every character is a cliché and a pastiche of past out-of-character moments that by now eclipse any preexisting in-character moments. It's not quite that. But it's definitely followed its own course, and not always through fertile territory.

The show's become too grown-up, maybe. It was more fun when it was immature and naïve.

Character-driven shows are naturally the best ones, which is why I liked their return to form with "Breast Cancer Show Ever". But I wonder whether early successes in the realm of outright parody such as "Asspen" and "Trapper Keeper" led the creators down a path they must have known would only lead them to unpleasant places. Once there, it was on to current events and trend debunkings and celebrity call-outs, like "The Super Best Friends" and "Cherokee Hair Tampons" and "Bebe's Boobs Destroy Society", and inevitably, the big-ticket items like "Osama bin Laden Has Farty Pants" and "Goobacks" and "I'm a Little Bit Country". But just as inevitably, those kinds of full-body tackles have powerful casualties, and "Trapped in the Closet" and "The Return of Chef" were perhaps a chastening form of fallout. True, losing Isaac Hayes hasn't had an appreciable effect that I can tell—the change in the show was long underway by the time it happened—but it does mean the show can't ever really go back to the way it once was, abruptly bursting into an inappropriate song or making up a new offhand interjection we'll all remember, like "melvin" or "artard" or "tits". ("Scissor me, Xerxes!" is not quite what I had in mind.)

I continue to cross my fingers that we'll see flights of whimsy like the ones they dished out at their peak: "Good Times with Weapons"; "Pip"; "Woodland Critter Christmas". I know they're capable of it; "Major Boobage", as a spot-on Heavy Metal homage, is fairly clear proof that not every "stunt" episode has to be another "Wing". But even so, until I find myself flat-out enjoying something they crank out the way I enjoyed things like "Terrance & Philip in Not Without My Anus" and "Choir Tour" and "Gnomes" and the original appearance of Timmy in "Timmy 2000", not to mention "City on the Edge of Forever (Flashbacks)", I won't pump up my hope balloon that the raw, rough-edged, genuinely daring show of ten years ago—good Lord, has it been that long?—will be back for any encores.

UPDATE: And now there's "Pandemic", another two-parter (or is it three? Or four?) that leans heavily on "Cloverfield" and even "Blair Witch" references, and is built on top of a premise that must only make sense in Colorado or something—Peruvian pan flute bands?—and, on top of all that, isn't very funny at all. It's self-aware and apologetic-feeling ("Do you guys know why nobody at school likes you?"), and if I didn't know better I'd think it was trying to set up some kind of series-ending scenario that'll let these guys exit with a bang if they can just build up to it with any energy...



05:22 - Yeah... I overslept. That was it.
http://www.cnnbcvideo.com/index.html?nid=CzqIq7aQ3D8CvgCK4xi9BTMwMzYw&id=

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Aww, they really do care.



This is what I get for never unsubscribing.

(Sorry about the autostart; for all their attention to detail, they don't seem to have designed it to pay attention to an autostart="false" tag.)

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