Friday, May 01, 2009

Freestyle Friday

the long-awaited kickoff of 40 days of guest posts on The Vinyl Villain, one of the few must-read, go-to music blogs. The whole intriguing concept started a few months ago when Jim mentioned he was going on holiday (vacation to us Yanks) and wondered aloud, or actually in print, whether any of his readers would be interested in submitting a post about bands or songs that meant a lot to them. The response was so overwhelming that what started out as a month of posts stretched past May and into well into June.

My own contribution -- Postgrad Punk Reunion -- is set to run on the 13th of this month. More than that I am not at liberty to reveal; you'll have to wait like everybody else. But I've really been looking forward not just to the reaction my song choices will get, but also what all the other guest Villains have come up with.

SAW LAST WEEK that Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test -- perhaps the best book ever written on the '60s counterculture -- is finally getting the old cinematic treatment. Gus Van Sant -- known for memorable features like Drugstore Cowboy, Good Will Hunting and last year's hit biopic Milk, as well as misguided flops like Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and a WTF frame-by-frame remake of Hitchcock's Psycho -- is directing. That's the good news. The shaky part is Van Sant is said to be leaning toward either Jack Black or Woody Harrelson for the Ken Kesey role, which doesn't seem at all right to me. My first inclination would be to go with a relative uknown like myself or fellow Kesey fanatic John Starace, but if we're not available then either Michael Keaton or Bill Murray would do. Just a gut feeling.

Kesey was said to be infuriated when Jack Nicholson was cast in the lead role for the movie version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; he wanted Gene Hackman playing Randall Patrick McMurphy (RPM). Jack worked out pretty well, such that now we couldn't even imagine anyone else in the role.
No matter who they end up choosing for the lead role in Acid Test, it's filling out the other key roles -- Tom Wolfe himself, the Merry Pranksters, members of the very early Grateful Dead -- that will make or break the movie. But I can't wait to see what they make of one of my favorite books. Now if someone would only take on A Confederacy of Dunces once and for all and make a movie out of that great novel...

CAN NEWS GET ANY WORSE lately for hard-core conservatives? President Obama's approval ratings are still astronomical despite the right's best efforts to cast him as a far left radical -- red baiting being their only real stock in trade for almost a century now. Arlen Specter switches to the Democratic party, casting further dispersion on his old party as he does so. And now comes word that Obama will get to pick his first Supreme Court justice sooner rather than later -- NPR reporting that David Souter, a Bush I appointee back in 1990, is seriously considering stepping down later this year. That's another major blow for the Party That Time Has Passed By.

HAD MIXED FEELINGS when I read the following little blurb last week in the Business Briefs section of amNew York:
News, Post both bleed readers in latest audit
New York City's tabloids took a steep hit to their circulation numbers, according to the latest audit. The Daily News' circulation was at 602,857 on weekdays, down 14.3 percent, and 644,766 on Sundays, down 8.4 percent. The New York Post was at 558,140 weekdays, down 20.5 percent, and 357,168 on Sundays, down 11 percent.
That's all; I guess it's called a Brief for a reason. Now, my feelings about this development are mixed because I never want to see more newspapers going under, but the products these two companies put out have gone so far downhill that they really deserve to be put out of their misery.

The New York Post is a notoriously reactionary rag that features biased, bitter scribblers on its editorial pages like Michelle Malkin, Ralph Peters and Rich Lowry. The Daily News has a slightly more balanced editorial page, although one that is consistently marred by the regular appearances of right-wing apologists like toxic Charles Krauthammer and my personal punching bag, columnist Michael Goodwin.

In yesterday's absurd, almost preposterous column, Obama believes so completely that it makes me nervous, a typically disingenuous Goodwin voices concern that the president is too much of a "true believer" for his liking -- not seeing the irony that the words he uses to describe the current president apply exponentially more to his woebegone predecessor:

"Confidence is great, but it is not a good thing for a President to have no doubts. Especially when it comes to national security, where getting a policy wrong can lead to unimaginable horrors."

I don't know, Mike, but when you mention "unimaginable horrors," do you mean over 4,000 dead American soldiers, tens of thousands more maimed or seriously wounded and scarred forever psychologically, hundreds of thousands dead in Iraq and Afghanistan as a direct result of the previous president's misguided Mideast adventures -- not to mention the policy of prisoner abuse and torture that goes against everything this country once stood for? We could have used a Goodwin column or two warning us of a demented Bush's disastrous messiah complex that led to these senseless international crusades that damaged America's reputation around the world far more than anything the new president has done, you lying shill of a man. Ah, that felt good...

PERHAPS THE ALL-TIME most embarrassing sports proofreading gaffe occurred on April 17. Nominal major league baseball franchise the Washington Nationals have won only 5 games all year while losing 16. But if having the worst record in baseball isn't quite humiliating enough, last week they lowered the bar yet again, trotting out for a game against the Marlins with their team name misspelled as NATINALS on two players' uniforms. It's rare, but I've seen a player's name spelled wrong before, especially if he's a late-season call-up or a scrub with a strange or long-ish name. But the team nickname itself...?

The uniform maker fired off an apology to the team, baseball in general and even clubhouse personnel
("Based on our history, clubhouse managers expect that every new uniform from Majestic is perfect. For the Nationals, this time we did not meet this standard.”) , but this kind of mistake could only happen to a franchise as hapless as Washington. This team is so uncompetitive that a victory against them this season should only count as a half-win in the standings.


John Salmon said...

Actually Obama's ratings after 100 days are worse than Bush's were at the same point, according to Gallup. The wheels will fall off the Obama wagon real quick.

No big concern on the GOP's part that Obama gets to replace Souter with another liberal, right?

The Warden said...

Actually I just left a message on your site.

You write: "The wheels will fall off the Obama wagon real quick." For Republicans, a covered wagon would be an improvement over whatever they're driving these days.

And as I mentioned, Obama's poll #'s are a better bet to stay the same or rise than Bush's or Cheney's have of climbing out of the cellar. The problem is, the more America got to know Bush, the less they liked him or his policies. He even blew all the goodwill he had following 9/11.

Time will tell, but the opposite seems to be happening with the current president.

jimithegreek said...

aye like it!! i do have to admit that the post does have a decent sports section

The Warden said...

Agree on the sports section, especially Mushnick.