Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday Has A Feel

Like most intelligent people, I hate car commercials, but every once in a while they surprise me and use music from another time, another place that shows up nowhere else. I don't remember which automobile it was for, but surely I wasn't dreaming that I heard the obscure Feelies song Let's Go used in one commercial, and where else are you gonna hear the brilliant Start! by the Jam, which was used in yet another spot. I guess it just means that advertising copy-writers with better-than-average musical taste have come of age, even if their work ultimately does little more than perpetuate the silly American myth of the open road ... Also heard a college band striking up a big band version of the White Stripes' Seven Nation Army as an NCAA basketball game cut to a timeout. Oh those kooky college kids! I guess nothing should surprise anymore when the Ramones' classic Blitzkrieg Bop -- a song written by four misfit punk rockers from Forest Hills, Queens -- has become an official jock anthem played at sports stadia across the country, drained of all context and meaning -- not that we're talking George Gershwin-style lyrical prowess here. But still...

Also annoying me is the premise behind the new Adam Sandler crapfest, Reign Over Me. (Even the title is tiresomely derivative, meant to conjure up classic rock connotations!). After critics universally and deservedly panned Sandler's last few mall-plex offerings, mindless drivel like Click and Spanglish, it seems that as a further affront to good taste, this dopey non-talent decided to make his next role a character whose family was killed in 9/11! You know, just to make it almost impossibly tasteless for critics to root against him. Real subtle! I guess the concentration camp survivor and man who was sexually abused as a child are awaiting the green light for summer and holiday releases. What a fucking cheesy putz this guy turned into! Don't worry, I'm sure enough sheep will turn out to make this movie another blockbuster. Way to go, America!

Took the train in from Astoria a little later than usual today for my afternoon shift here at LT, which is nice once in a while because the trains are empty, and it reminds me of my college days when I would roll out of bed for an afternoon or evening class. But then around 30th Avenue a guy comes into the train that looks exactly like Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, just when that group's Holiday is playing on my MP3. The guy's got the look down, from the spiky jet black hair to the eye makeup and multiple facial piercings. Only thing is, the guy's maneuvering on crutches and he's got only one good leg, the other's just a bare stump. He's the kind of down-on-his-luck guy who I usually would throw a buck to, but this week I'm too broke even for that small act of charity. Wish him well, though I never heard his pitch through the noise...

Was reading about the French Revolution the other day on Wikipedia and came upon this fun fact. After a person was guillotined, the head was usually held up the crowd, I guess to verify that the sentence had indeed been carried out and to satisfy the bloodlust of the citizenry. But the interesting thing is that technically the head or brain was still alive and maintained consciousness for something like 7 seconds. Talk about the ultimate out-of-body experience! ... It has been my experience that most corporate and government spokesmen seem to be named Greg or Scott ... Remember the good old days when we all sat around debating whether George W. Bush was really as ignorant and uninformed as he was being portrayed in the media. Well, of course we now can say with surety that he was and is. But no sooner have we established that certainty beyond all doubt than recent events force us to sit around and question whether Dubya is as absolutely ape-shit crazy as he regularly appears to be. Is it the brain damage from years of alcohol and drug abuse? The personal enablers in the White House that shield him from outside criticism? The small circle of sycophants who still salute his every move? Whatever the real reason, alas, that too seems to be the case, if not the cause, fueling the failure-ridden machinations behind our consensus worst president ever.

Bring Me The Head of Alberto Gonzales. Besieged and belittled at every turn, it's doubtful that even in Bush's world of merit-less crony government appointments, the diminutive Torquemada can survive calls for his resignation much longer. With his single qualification being a stint as Bush's personal attorney, where his biggest worry was covering up DUI charges for the future governor, Gonzales was in way over his head. He will be remembered for questioning whether certain ("quaint") provisions of the Geneva conventions still apply to the U.S. in its war on terror. In light of the new scandal over the mass firing of U.S. Attorneys, possibly engineered at the highest levels of the White House, we're likely to see some interesting testimony on Capitol Hill thanks to two words no Republican operative will want to hear over the next two years: Subpoena Power. Democrats may not be able to cut funding for the war, but at least their oversight responsibility and ability to hold Congressional hearings will shine some much needed light on prior misdeeds of this corrupt administration. Karl Rove under oath, squirming like a pig in a tuxedo and sweating like Mike Tyson at a spelling bee? Priceless...

And it's not only Democrats trying to get to the bottom of Attorneygate; courageous Republicans (courageous defined as those running for reelection in 2008) see this incident for the embarrassment it is and have joined the chorus calling for Gonzo's cabeza. New Hampshire Senator John Sununu was the first GOP-er to go on record as saying it's time for Gonzo to go. I couldn't stand his dad, who was White House Chief of Staff under Bush 41, but apparently Sununu Jr. has a moral compass. Sununu Sr., an insufferably arrogant prick in the mold of Newt Gingrich, was forced to resign due to his personal misuse of government aircraft who thought his every utterance was brilliant as the host of Crossfire in the 1990s. The son is not as rigidly beholden to the party and a cursory glance at his Wikipedia bio demonstrates a willingness to stand away from the pack.

One question: if you wear two American flag pins, one on each suit lapel, does that make you twice as patriotic as the next guy? Thought so ... Did Pete Rose really think he would make it all better just by admitting he bet on every Cincinnati Reds game one season? He loved and trusted "his guys" so much that he had to drop a nightly Nickel or a Dime on them -- you know, to show 'em some love. As much as I loved the way he played the game, now I see what a clueless loudmouth he's turned out to be ... Just when you thought you've seen/heard it all comes word that the folks at Chiquita Bananas, my personal favorite brand of the popular yellow fruit, has been in cahoots with right-wing paramilitary groups in Colombia, apparently paying almost $2 million in protection money from 1997-2004. That can't be good for anyone, except it's big business as usual and brings to mind how large a role companies like United Fruit played in American foreign policy in the 1940s and 1950s, demonstrating how neocolonialism and multinationalism were often one and the same back in the good old days of American capitalism. Indeed the fates of these nations' political system were literally inextricably linked with the huge U.S. companies who were calling the shots back then; it wasn't a big reach when you consider that how intertwined big business was with the CIA and vice versa. According to Wikipedia,

"In 1954, the Guatemalan government of Colonel Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán was toppled by a group of Guatemalan army officers who invaded from Honduras with the covert assistance of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (see Operation PBSUCCESS). Before that, the directors of UFCO had lobbied to convince the Truman and Eisenhower administrations that Colonel Arbenz intended to align Guatemala with the Soviet bloc. Besides the disputed issue of Arbenz's allegiance to Communism, the directors of UFCO may have feared Arbenz's stated intention of purchasing uncultivated land from the company (at the value declared in tax returns) and redistributing it among Native American peasants. The American Secretary of State John Foster Dulles was an avowed opponent of Communism whose law firm had represented United Fruit. His brother Allen Dulles was the director of the CIA. The brother of the Assistant Secretary of State for InterAmerican Affairs John Moors Cabot had once been president of United Fruit."

And that's just the history of one country. Do you think Chiquita paid all that money just for protection or security, or was it more likely paid to discourage the formation of trade unions, workers' rights, etc., by any means necessary. The U.S. has a long, sordid history of blatantly intervening in the affairs of other countries in the region, from Guatemala to Colombia to Nicaragua, Haiti and Dominican Republic, using the CIA and Marines as an international police force to keep the native populations in line. For instance, curious readers may wonder what the Marines were doing in Managua taking sides in the Nicaraguan civil war in the 1930s if not to ensure that the right side won, ensuring another colony remained receptive to the dictates of almighty Yankee dollar. That's what the Clash were referring to when they sang:
"Yankee dollar talk To the dictators of the world In fact it's giving orders And they can't afford to miss a word!" im+so+bored+with+the+u+s+a

So the next time you hear the catchy Chiquita Banana jingle, perhaps these new lyrics are more suitable for the current situation:
"We are Chiquita Banana & we're here to say,
All you left-wing guerillas get out of our way,
'Cause us yankee gringos we made sure to pay,
Those right-wing death squads so you better obey..."

More truth in advertising from the good folks of Madison Avenue!

Remember to tune into the Lionel Show weeknights on WOR-710AM at 9:00PM. For now he still carries the WardensWorld seal of approval and money-back guarantee.


Johnny Starr said...

Joe P makes the blog. Who is the guy with the mugshot photo? Is it Sinatra? How about the guy at the BBC microphone? My guess is George Orwell. Is he the same guy with the gun. It would be good if you named some of those pictures, I am curious about who they are. I know some of them but not all of them

Wardens World said...

you are correct on your first two guesses. yes, that is joe p, i was waiting for you to find that one! there's also a hunter thompson sighting, jim jarmusch, cassevetes... keep the guesses coming...

jimithegreek said...

hey, leave happy gilmore alone!

Johnny Starr said...

I know one mug shot is pacino and the other sid vicious, dont know the 1938 mugshot, if not sinatra maybe John dillinger?
Who is at the bbc mike? He looks like John Tuturro. ofcourse it is not him. My first guess was Orwell. I am .

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