Three quotes about politics.

Like it says there, three quotes about politics, which we sorely miss talking about here at Counterforce, and then we’ll call it a night.

Thank you, Hunter S. Thompson.

Quote #1:

“I don’t like it. I think the cables have a lot to do with it. I’ll take you back to when I was president – we got tons of criticism, but didn’t seem day in and day out quite as personal as some of these talk show people.”

That’s former President George H.W. Bush, during in an interview in Texas about the lack of civility in politics. The interview was supposed to be about his support for volunteerism, but he had to address how we can’t be nice to each other anymore because of the reception Obama was getting in Texas. He goes on to say:

“And it’s not just the right. There are plenty of people on the left. If you want me to name a couple of names, I’ll be glad to do that for you.”

Of course a reporter would love for him to go on from there…

“Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow – I mean here are a couple of sick puppies.”

This quote fascinates me, especially as Olbermann pointed out in his response on the Maddow show, this is from the man who arguably started the era of dirty political attacks we’re in now by employing guys like Roger Ailes and Lee Atwater, and the kind of shit that would eventually beget guys like Karl Rove.

It’s funny that the elder Bush then added: “And the way they treat my son and treat anybody that’s opposed to their point of view is just horrible,” as his reasoning for specifically naming Maddow and Olbermann. Cause that’s what he’s really upset about, I’m sure. The way they treated his son, yeah, which I believe, but that they attack people who don’t share their beliefs. That’s something that Bush, sr. really wants to stand up against, I’m sure.

Before I go onto my next quote, I want to share this link with you about an interesting supposition about the wedding storyline in the Archie comics – seriously – and how it’s an allegory for the state of America right now. What happened was: a few issues ago Archie proposed to Veronica, shocking everyone, and then in the most recent issue, he ended up changing his mind and instead proposing to Betty. The semi-serious gist of the post is:

“This is clearly a reference to America’s voting for Barack Obama, then turning against the very things he stood for, such as greater public healthcare coverage.”

Good enough for me, man.

Quote #2:

“Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it’s gonna happen, and how many this or that do you suppose? Or, I mean, it’s, it’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?”

That’s former first lady Barbara Bush, wife of George H.W. Bush, is from March 17, 2003 when she was asked about the coming Iraq war. On it’s own the quote is just ridiculous and damning about this family of east coast intellectual elites who made a career out of posing as Texas good ol’ boys and “real Americans.” Taken within the context of the interview itself, the statement makes a little more sense, but only just a little more. But it was one of the first things that came to mind, along with “a thousand points of light,” when I hear the “sick puppies” comment.

The comment, of course, also reminds me of that Tony Kushner play, “Only We Who Guard The Mystery Should Be Unhappy” starring Laura Bush during the Iraq War. Ah, seems like it was just yesterday.

I don’t want to fully bash the Bush family, so it’s important to remember this, showing that they really aren’t all that bad.

And last, but not least…

Quote #3:

“Crime, boy, I don’t know.”

But in context, you’ll have to see it here:

“In the future, if you’re wondering, ‘crime, boy, I don’t know,’ is when I decided to kick your ass.”

That’s from the third season finale of The West Wing, entitled “Posse Comitatus,” and deals with President Bartlett, played by Martin Sheen, meeting his rival in the upcoming presidential election, Flordia Governor Robert Ritchie, a clear George W. Bush analogue played by James Brolin, backstage at a performance of “The War Of The Roses.”

My God, I miss this show, not because of it’s “liberalism,” or what most moderate liberals would call simply “common sense-ism,” but because it was just a solidly written, performed, produced show. Aaron Sorkin wasn’t always great with long term story planning (blame it on the cocaine?), but he had a playwright’s excellent sense of immediate personal drama in a single moment and doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his abilities with comedy, but that’s a story for another time.

This particular storyline dealt with President Bartlett being up for re-election, despite lying about having MS, and in a bid for a taste of the real world, he was going up against the Governor of Florida, essentially a take on GWB. The storyline was good enough, just hard to believe in that Bartlett was a great president and in this wonderful television world, you couldn’t believe he’d actually struggle in an election against such a moron. In real life, morons tend to have the advantage over the smart because of a successful attack on “intellectualism” that has been sweeping through this country during the past few decades, perhaps starting with the days of Lee Atwater and Roger Ailes?

Well, no, I wouldn’t give them all the credit for that, but Sorkin does point out that beyond Clinton fatigue, anti-intellectualism was a large part of the 2000 election contest between GWB and Al Gore. That, and outright thievery, but that’s a story that’s been told many times before.

The storyline between Bartlett/Ritchie essentially ended with their debate…

…in which Bartlett so mercilessly and effortlessly kicked his opponent’s ass that it seemed like science fiction. But it was so good. Not just for liberals, democrats, and “intellectuals,” but for people who liked good TV and were American porn enthusiasts. It’s Bartlett’s line in that debate – “I’m the President of the United States, not the President of the people who agree with me” – that has strongly affected my rather simplistic view on politics. Left, right, right, wrong, smart, dumb, agreeing with the President, disagreeing with the President, or somewhere  drifting in between any of those so called absolutes, in this country, you’re still in America. Every part of America is “the real America,” it’s changing every single day, every single moment, and not necessarily drifting towards socialism just because you don’t understand it, don’t like, or are scared of the color of the skin that the man running the show has.

I’d love to throw out the question of why is it necessarily a bad thing to have a smart President who’s considered elite and recognized as being so? I’d love to, but that’s a losing debate amongst the hoi poilloi, I know. Oh, and to continue the tenuous thread between the here and now and the halcyon days of The West Wing, one of the many things I like that Barack Obama and Josiah Bartlett have in common: They’re both Nobel prize winners. :)

Between the covers.

So about two months ago, Marco had this great idea to do some posts on Counterforce about summer. Summer traveling, summer adventures, flings, weird things to be done to the world and to yourself during the course of summer, and of course, summer reading.

Not a hard subject for us to tackle. Quite the opposite, in fact. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re all voracious readers and also, frankly, scary brilliant. But we got a little wrapped up in the business of having a summer, which we’ll leave undefinable for now, and before you knew it, the grass started getting a little less greener, the wind started getting colder, those chirping annoying kids finally went back to school, and the season of summer flings quietly faded away.

So let’s talk about what’s on our nightstands as we head into the autumn months, okay?

Occam Razor:
Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What that Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt.

Because you assholes don’t know how to behave on the road and your idiotic fucking tendencies just lead to me being in traffic. I read most of this on my lunch breaks while eating sushi. Now, I’m not saying you have to read this at lunch while eating sushi, but you probably should to get the same exact experience I did. California Rolls will not be accepted. Unless its the ones with the fried shrimp in the middle, I don’t know why but I can’t get enough of those. Damn, I could go for some right now. If I only had a book about the traffic culture of Mumbai to read.
Lollipop Gomez:

Youth In Revolt is one of my favorite books. I read it 10 years ago and then I re-read it when I was recovering from surgery in 2005. It is a treasure. I’m very worried of what they will do to it.

If there aren’t any donuts in the first 20 minutes of this movie, which is a major detail in that they go get donuts all the time in the book, I will be very upset. I remember sending my ex up the hill to get me Maple bars because they kept mentioning them. So, if there’s no donuts in the movie then I will torch Michael Cera’s house. And I don’t know how I feel about this fake Amanda Seyfried as Sheeni. I don’t know if I imagined her being so faux-sexy. Ugh, Hollywood.

Marco Sparks: Cera’s starring in the upcoming movie version, right? When reading the book originally, can you say that you ever would’ve thought to see Michael Cera playing the lead? I totally want some donuts now, by the way.

LG: No, Michael Cera is not Nick. But he’s the awkward man of the moment and I think he’s producer, so we can thank his dollars.

Marco: Hello, Nick and Norah!

Conrad Noir:
Why this book? Because why the fuck not, motherfucker? This book is like experiencing what it’s like when a mentally ill person has an orgasm during a car wreck. It’s fucking wonderful. Here’s an excerpt:
“Soon after this episode there was a birthday party for me. Prince came, he was sitting at a table with some people not drinking. I walked up to him, grabbed him by the back of the hair and poured cognac down his throat. He spit it out like a little bitch and I laughed and walked away. I loved fucking with him like that.”
Occam Razor:
Lush Life: A Novel by Richard Price.

Because of several reasons. A) Richard Price wrote some of the best episodes of The Wire. 2) For the first 350 pages or so it’s an entertaining read. Nevermind the end, though. and C) For all intents and purposes the subtitle A Novel is actually a part of the title of the book. It’s not Lush Life, a novel by Richard Price, it’s Lush Life: A Novel! Why can’t more titles be that informative like this, imagine Bruno: A Terrible Film Where This Guy Sexually Harasses Rednecks Until They Finally Snap.
Conrad:
This one isn’t as easy to enthusiastically recommend. Honestly, I haven’t read it yet, but I certainly intend to. Especially now that I know they’re making it into a movie.
Marco:
I’m honestly too indecisive to pick just one, or just a few books here. I apologize. So, speaking of the post Lollipop and I did yesterday, I’m going to suggest…
What a fun and fascinating read this book was (for me, anyway). On one hand, you could take it as some very factually based interesting guesses into what tomorrow holds for us, but in a lot of ways, due to it’s style and subject matter, I think you could almost take it in as a very experimental novel. Especially if the futurist angle just isn’t for you. In fact, be warned, because I think I may have more to say about this one in a few days…
Occam Razor:
Why Your World is Going to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization by Jeff Rubin

Because I’m too fucking lazy to properly prepare you for Peak Oil.
And you’ll have plenty of time to read after the end of the world

Paleofuturism.

There’s nothing cuter than retro-futurism. It’s just adorable.

And yet, it leaves me wondering about the simple things in life. Happiness. Love. Acceptance. Security. And also, where is my fucking jetpack?

I mean, seriously.

Granted, this “Not My Future!”/”Where’s my jetpack?” ennui has been around for a while, and sloganized (the sign of all things nearing what should be a healthy death in the pop culture eye), but it’s especially trying when James Bond had a jetpack of sorts back in 1965 and then had laser guns and bad Star Wars rip off fun back in 1979 (along with Dr. Holly Goodhead and future chucks).

A laser watch? 007 gets a laser watch. Come on, throw me a frickin’ bone here, man.

The other night I was reading an interesting big on a variant of the Fermi paradox, but dealing with time travel, and I really wished I had saved the link. The Fermi paradox, by the way, is contradiction of… Well, if there are aliens out there, higher civilizations, or at least something more advanced than class 1 or 2 civilization and capable of traveling between worlds, then why haven’t we been contacted them (and no, abducting wack jobs and cattle and anal probing the hell out of them is not “contact,” no matter how right it’s done). Essentially the same idea applies to time travel: If people could come back from the future, then why haven’t they?

Especially if you think about how a person from a few decades in the future could travel back with the common cold from their time period to now, when we don’t have those several decades worth of immunities, and do some serious damage.

Oh well. I guess that just leaves us angry time travelers, all stuck going forward only and at the same speed.

All right, you primates, listen up…

I’m from the future, man. And I’m high!

Come with me if you want to talk about groping and economic reform in hard times.

Oh well, I guess that for now… that’s all we have. The here and now:

And people who paint giant penises on top of their house.

The media’s just a bit fucked of late.

Speaking of which, after effectively accepting an honorary title of douchbaggery, Jim Cramer is now calling Jon Stewart and the Daily Show’s reporting on CNBC “naïve and misleading.”

“The Decider” is writing a book about decisions. Fantastic. At least he’s not getting any of that big time Clinton “Fuck You money.”

Bill O’Reilly is boycotting Sean Penn films. I apologize for even mentioning that. That’s not even news.

But in related news: Meghan McCain. What the hell?

Oh, and today is the day that SKYNET takes over! Er, I mean, Conficker. Whatever.

Oh, and yeah, today is April Fool’s Day:

This actually makes a certain kind of sense.

Talking porn and Hollywood with Alan Moore.

The secret fetish art of Joe Shuster, Superman’s co-creator.

Say hello to the days of the future past. Now say goodbye.

Now is the era of the end of excess. If you’ll excuse me, I’m just gonna go slip into my little time machine and go back in time (and maybe buy some Apple stock or something). Catch you in another time, another place.

7 Questions with… Topher Chris.

7 questions returns! And in tonight’s very special segment we talk with internet enthusiast and prolific web developer, Christopher Price, AKA TopherChris. And though he’d refer to himself as an “internet jackass,” we’d seriously disagree. Hell, even Julia Allison would have to disagree with that.

Well… You never know with her. But we’d rather talk with Topher instead:

1) How tall are you and how tall do you feel?

This is a good question for me, because a serious gulf exists between the two values.  According to my official identification, I’m 5-9. Clearly, a lazy government employee screwed it up.  I can’t explain how, but I just _know_ I’m really 5-10 1/2.  I can feel it.

from here.

2) You awake to find an alien using your computer staring endlessly at a picture of a pirate eating a cupcake wrapped in bacon with the words “fuck yeah sharks” written on it. He asks what a meme is. How do you explain it to him?

Indeed, this is always a possibility to be prepared for.  I have to say, when I got your interview request, I thought that’s exactly what was happening.

It really all depends what kind of alien it is.  For instance, if they’re the kind of alien that bred our entire human civilization, then I really have bigger things to worry about than an answer to his meaningless query.  He’s just making small talk before he and his minions capture me, since those particular breeder aliens only make house calls to “fix” certain problems with the system.  If you catch my drift.

But the response to use in the more typical humanoid alien situation would be something like: “A meme?  First, let’s talk about what Wikipedia is,” and then look it up with him.  I figure, since I might accidentally say something that offends this guy, better to let my laptop do the explaining and end up disintegrated than me.  I don’t know his background or his values.

But if we’re talking the most nonviolent creature in the universe, which presents no reason at all to fear it…  Well, I’d probably try to trap it.  I mean, this is a huge deal obviously, and I could teach it about internet culture or I could trap him and become rich and famous.  Seriously.

But finally, a straight answer, since I assume aliens will receive this signal in 10,000 Earth years, and I don’t want them to be offended:

A meme is a nugget of thought, which is much less than an actual idea. When you break up the human thought process in the smallest chunks you can find, memes are what you’re left with.  Memes are like atoms. Or, more accurately, single-celled organisms, because memes are very clever at reproducing.  They evolve faster than fruit flies.  They can be about anything our tiny brains can wrap itself around, but the most popular use of memes in internet culture is for humor.

3) What kind of single use website would you use to propose to someone?

I have two distinct, unrelated answers to this.

- One that says “If you’re seriously considering an agreement to marry me through a proposal on a website, then please run in the other direction.”

- One of nothing but my face and some text about how you’ll have to see it for the rest of your life.  I’m also thinking an age slider that ages my face as you move it to the right.  I think it’s fair that she know what she’s in for.

4) Of all your projects, which is your most favorite? And don’t tell me they are like your children and you can’t decide. And on the same tip which is the red headed stepchild you wish you’d put in the orphanage?

My most favorite is the one that’s the most appealing to me on any given day.  (Technically that was a cop out, but I didn’t break your stated guideline, so I feel okay about it.)

To be honest though, I’m being honest.  I get bored with my own stuff easily, just like most of the rest of you, so I switch gears often. If I feel like using one part of my brain, I have a project for that. If I feel like using another, I can start one.  In the end, the one that people like the most is my default favorite, because I’m just an entertainer who happens to use the internet as my weapon.

I’ve definitely killed off some embarrassing projects, too.  The one that hurt the most to close down was a little site where people submitted photos of the last animal that bit them.  I was sure there was a book deal in there somewhere, but apparently people rarely have a camera ready right after they got bit by something.

5) Dance party break! What song do you pick?

No question: I’m On a Boat — The Lonely Island (Feat. T-Pain).  Or anything by Steve Perry.

6) Obama is thanking you for the Obama porn tumblr by creating a special Topher Chris Day. How do we celebrate?

Huzzah!  We write bad poetry and read it to each other.  We dress up in nonsensical costumes.  We pick up brushes, instruments, hammers, and make stuff.

Holy crap, did I just describe Burning Man?  Oh no.

Well, there’s all that, plus the annual Jerry Lewis telethon, the running of the bulls, and cake.  The official drink is the Irish carbomb.

You are required by law to decorate your home with old pizza boxes.

7) How long have you been doing this Internet thing and how did you start? (I’m an Internet historian, I gotta ask)

I’ve been on the internet since it was possible for me to be on it.  I used every free webhost I could find (Tripod? Holla!) to do wacky stuff.  This was before blogging was even a thing, so I’m not even sure what I did.  Crossing the threshold into the territory of paying for domains and hosting was a big deal.  I mean, how could I rationalize this?  That was easy, actually, since I was just a kid.

I got some notoriety early on for doing satirical campaign websites for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and former President George W. Bush, and I started a satirical news site for the area’s favorite NFL team.  This was back when people wrote in newspapers and gave you radio interviews about your funny website.  I suppose the rewards of those early experiments shaped my ethos on the entire enterprise of doing whatever it is that I do.

Thank you for answering our silly questions!

My pleasure, Maria.  Hopefully I don’t come off too insane here.  It’s early and I was up until 4.  So, uh, please tell me if I’m an idiot. :)

Thanks so much.  I’m really honored and tickled by this.  I hope I didn’t let you down.

Smooches,
C

TopherChris, with his thinking cap on, hard at work on the task of making the internet a better place for the likes of you.

A thousand words.

For reals. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

“And that energy, once we can harness it correctly, is going to allow us to manipulate time.”

President Barack Obama’s first day and the things we don’t know.

We’ve got work to do.

Obama signs the order to close Guantanamo within a year.

Student decapitated at Virginia Tech.

“That is one of the things that’s very attractive about secrecy – it gives you a lot of control.”

Man murders his estranged wife because she changed her Facebook status to “single.”

Obama: “I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose.”

Man and woman have a fight in front of a elementary school. He then hits her over the head with a beer bottle.

Obama keeps his blackberry.

Headmail to the future!

To Hate Like This Is To Be Happy.” Above, the last Get Your War On ever.

Obama to Bush: “I can release your records. Don’t like it? Sue.”

Kanye: “Paparazzi give real photographers a bad name. Pictures are worth a thousand words, theirs are worth a thousand dollars.”

Gitmo apparently made the enemy combatants even more hardcore.

Oscar: “Are you… dead?” Eli: “No. Can’t you tell?”

One thousand novels that everyone should read.

Ms. Hawking is back! (Is she Faraday’s momma?)

Well, I guess Kanye was right. A picture is worth a thousand words.

The Raven in the Promised Land.

Tomorrow is the day we’ve all been waiting for. And been waiting such a long time for.

Not just the ousting of the political Beast of the last 8 years, but of a dream and promise of equality for all Americans. One that’s been too long coming in it’s fulfillment.

What an amazing confluence of events. On the eve of such a momentous moment in our history, we’re celebrating the birthday of the man who helped make it possible. You just have to love the way the universe works sometimes. Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King, Jr. (Even if your birthday was actually on January 15).

And welcome to your new home, President Obama. You’re inheriting a lot of bullshit and a lot of burnt bridges. A lot. I’m not going to sugarcoat this for you because I think you can take it, but, the last guy? He fucked up bad. Continuously. Constantly. All over the place. But we’ve got faith in you. Make us proud.

And then there’s everyone’s favorite writer from when they were in junior high…

…but he’s still one of mine. Happy 200th birthday, Edgar Allan Poe. Let’s all be Poe Toasters for the day.

The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, one of my most favorite of his stories.

The Cask Of Amontillado” by Poe, another serious favorite.

The Murders In Rue Morgue” by Poe, in which he creates the detective story. Other works that you could call detective stories predated this one, but this is the one people think of us as the first for a reason.

And, of course, “The Raven.”

U2Pride (In The Name Of Love)” (live) (mp3)

U2 “MLK” (mp3)

He’ll flip you. Flip you for real!

I’m sitting here reading an interview with Benicio Del Toro in Rolling Stone about the Che movies and the upcoming Wolf Man film, and I’m focusing on the reported rumors about the man. The supposed sex in an elevator with Scarlett Johansson after an awards show, or the long ago knife fight with Steve Buscemi. Or the juvenile crime spreed he apparently went on as a boarding school student in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. Or even the time he apparently put Hunter S. Thompson up against a wall for critiscizing his casting as Dr. Gonzo in Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas.

I’d like to do a piece about the rumors swirling around Del Toro (the youngest ever Bond villain), especially since he’s been called “the new Brando” for some time, and how the rumors are just another brick in this very calculated sense of myth building.  Even with the squint, the slouch, the paunch, the mumbling, etc. it still feels very calculated. For example, this passage from the interview:

“What do I see when I look in the mirror?” he asks. “Most of the time when I look in the mirror it’s to see which way my hair is going, because it doesn anything it wants.” He takes off his cap. His hair is a startling, gruesome highway wreck, crumpbled and twisted.

He returns the cap to his head.

“After that I make eye contact with me,” he goes on, “just to make sure it’s me in the mirror. Yeah. Just to make sure it’s me.”

That said, I wouldn’t dismiss the talk of him being “the next Brando” outright. He’s certainly doing better with that title than the last “the next Brando,” Mickey Rourke, despite Rourke’s success with The Wrestler and having been supposedly cast in the Iron Man sequel (Can’t we get a little more love for Angel Heart here, people?). But like I said, I’d like to list a few more of those wild and fun rumors, but the internet seems oddly cleansed of their reporting, which is a shame. Well, no, it’s not, because they’re trash journalism, but it never hurts to dip into the trash a little every now and then, right?

Kanye would like to pose nude for you (after he’s had a few months to work out) and then have less fans. I think those two go hand in hand.

Young lovers caught in action in a obersvation wheel, make it into the Saturday paper.

Sex offender wins half a million in the Alaskan lottery.

Tips on improving your cognitive performance from a savant.

Two men stoned to death in Iran, but a third man escapes. The top 11 compounds in the US’ drinking water. 17 sensational and free graphic novels to download.

If you get a chance, I highly recommend Rolling Stone‘s faux exit interview with GWB. “The farwell interview we wish he’d give,” they say. here’s an excerpt.

“Hell, my dad barely went through two sticks of deodorant his entire presidency. He and Mommy spent all of 1989 in a cribbage game. I remember walking in the Residence once and being like, “Communism just collapsed.” And they’re like, “Just a minute, son.”

Special thanks must go to out to Fuck Yeah Pandas and Bebe Le Strange for pointing us in the right direction on some of these lovely pictures. And the Centennial Society, of course.

Invisibility becomes more than just a fantasy.

The inauguration is coming up, so don’t forget The Audacity Of Hops!

Stuff journalists like.

The trailer for the remake of Gore Vidal’s Caligula. How can you not want to watch this? Starring Courtney Love, Karen Black, Milla Jovovich, Gerard Butler, Helen Mirren, Gore Vidal as himself, and Justine Bateman. Oh, and Benicio Del Toro as well.