June 21, 2006

I'm on the pavement thinking about the government

photo by silver juice?

* Joe Conason. excerpt:

"Sometime before the Fourth of July, the Senate will vote on a constitutional amendment to prohibit the physical desecration of the American flag. The House of Representatives already has passed the same legislation by the required two-thirds margin, and enough state legislatures would vote for the amendment to assure its approval.

"So the final bulwark against this historic assault on freedom of speech consists of 34 senators with enough courage to stand up for the substance of the nation’s ideals and to resist transforming the beloved symbol of those ideals into an authoritarian fetish. That is the real danger to the flag, whose spirit the Republican majority is desecrating with a cynical partisan zeal.
"Irony abounds in the congressional theater of the absurd, where prevailing opinion equates 'support for our troops in Iraq' with a determination to keep them in peril indefinitely, and demonstrates 'respect for marriage and families' by barring gay couples from the affirmation of those institutions. (Speaking of irony, the prime House sponsor of the flag amendment was none other than Randy 'Duke' Cunningham, the former California congressman and self-styled super-patriot now serving a long prison term for corruption.)

"It will be especially weird next fall, however, to hear the Republicans attack brave Democrats who dared to vote against the flag amendment as unpatriotic and unfit to sit in the Senate. Those same Republicans expect to elect McConnell, who has always opposed the amendment, as their new leader next year.
"Like so many resolutions and acts of Congress, this misguided amendment is a 'solution' without a problem. But unlike many of the stupid things that politicians do, this one is important. It is a statement of contempt for the First Amendment and a dangerous step toward further restrictions on speech and expression."

* Deadspin reader discusses Chris Berman. excerpt:

"I used to be a writer at TRL and became very good friends with [TRL host] Damien [Fahey]. A few years back we went to the MLB All-Star Game in Chicago because he was hosting the Celebrity Softball game. While there, we went to a players’ party at a 'cool' lounge place; there were pretty much no players there. We tried to go to the bar to get a drink and saw this crowd of super hot women surrounding someone. As we got closer, it was this giant beast of a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt; that man … you guessed it, Chris Berman. We had finally found the said 'players.' I remember the room was pretty cold, and yet somehow this guy was sweating like Patrick Ewing at the free throw line in crunch time. The guy was talking up all these chicks, sweating like he just raced for the cure and there were no other guys with him. I went up to Boomer and said.

ME: 'Hey man, I’m a big fan. Looks like you’ve got your hands full.'
CB: (points finger at girls) 'I could go home with any one of these girls.'
ME: 'Um, okay.'
CB: 'You guys wish you could be where I’m sitting, because the view is (looks around at the women) GOOOOOD!' (laughter)

"End of conversation.

"Damien and I were in total shock. Babe Ruth could have walked in for an exclusive interview with him, and this guy was more interested in what color the carpet was underneath the leather. We kept laughing about it throughout the weekend, and even after that, whenever we saw him on ESPN. He just seems like the kind of guy that would smoke at a salad bar."

* From a Neil Gaiman interview of Lou Reed. excerpt:

Gaiman: "You've said in the past that you started out wanting to try and bring the sensibility of the novel to the rock 'n roll single..."

Reed: "That was always the idea behind it. There are certain kinds of songs you write that are just fun songs -- the lyric really can't survive without the music. But for most of what I do, the idea behind it was to try and bring a novelist's eye to it, and, within the framework of rock and roll, to try to have that lyric there so somebody who enjoys being engaged on that level could have that and have the rock and roll too.

"Sometimes some songs take years to get right. You do it and you just know it's not right and you can't get it right so you leave it. I think you can only do your best with it and sometimes your best isn't good enough. At which point you have to give it a rest. Because then you start doing really strange things to it. And when it starts going that far astray it's time to go away from it."
Gaiman: "In the article on Vaclav Havel, you talk about the Lou Reed persona as something separate from you. Is that how you perceive it?"

Reed: "Well, it's something I use to keep a distance. Put it that way. But I would say it got out of control, and I've been deconstructing it. Which is really kinda funny, Neil, because I can go from this leather-jacketed street guy from New York, and then I show up and the next thing I hear is 'What are you talking about? This guy looks like an English Professor.' It's actually hilarious."

Gaiman: "Do they want to see you still shooting up on stage? Or in make-up? Or in shades and leather?"

Reed: "It depends what time they tagged into me. Some people are forever in the Velvet Underground thing, or the Transformer thing, or the Rock and Roll Animal thing -- someplace around there. They'd like it to still be that. But I was only passing through."


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