poemless. a slap in the face of public taste.

September 30, 2009

seen, heard and ruminated upon.

Filed under: Odds & Ends — poemless @ 5:34 PM
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I am still not up for blogging seriously which is why I’m not cranking out a smug “Told ya so!” post about the EU Commission’s findings that Georgia started that war last year. I am feeling much improved physically, but am slammed with work and generally uninspired. The doctor (who is a fine, fine doctor, btw, don’t listen to Mary, she’s just trying to scare me) said I need to wait another week before I can get a flu shot, because that’s when I should be fully recovered, immune system-wise. So if I am still not fully recovered, inspiration-wise, by next week, it means this writer’s block is philosophical and not medical in nature. It be the swine flu of the soul.

Meanwhile, I share. (more…)

September 25, 2009

too much tv.

Filed under: Odds & Ends,Too Much Information — poemless @ 5:12 PM
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I’m so sick I’ve nothing to say. Except that Qaddafi is my new favorite celebrity. That he travels with his own tent (but no KOA directory, I guess) and wants to dissolve Switzerland is astonishing enough. But that 90 min. … erm, “speech” – wow! Just wow! If that doesn’t make you want to run out and take Public Speaking 101 or join Toastmasters, whatever will? After seeing the cloaked one and Chavez at the UN, it strikes me that what our enemies in the developing world lack is: speechwriters. It’s too bad, really, because if you can actually make yourself listen to them, they have some very seriously valid things to say. It’s just the delivery that distracts and allows the Western Hegemony to discount their words as those of lunatics. Still, I admire the way they say whatever they like and don’t care what others think of them. Reminds me of me in high school. Know what else reminds me of high school? The way the popular kids get up and leave when one of the so-called lunatics gets up to speak, treating the UN like it were a middle school cafeteria and Ahmadinejad had the balls to sit at the jocks’ table. Grow up people. And what else? Oh I could have happily gone my whole entire life without seeing Tom Delay shake his ass in some nasty old brown polyester pants (in case you didn’t get the aesthetic he’s going for: exploded colostomy bag.) Possibly the creepiest thing ever shown on network TV. They should have a warning before his performances, like the BBC does with flash photography. Anyway, I am going to have to boycott reality tv dancing shows until he’s voted off. Which is a lot harder than it sounds when you have the god damned flu. (Not swine flu though! Whew.) Another thing I should have been able to live my life without fear of: Boris Yeltsin running around slobbering drunk in his underwear. And what is this pattern of nekkid Russian leaders? I hope Dima keeps his clothes on. He has good clothes. OMG, did you see his fab aubergine tie? He’s fall fashion forward! My nail polish matches his tie! Now there is a man who knows how to respect the UN! Speaking of awesome (clothed) Russians at the UN, is Anastasia Churkina Vitaly Churkin’s daughter or something? And, lastly in the progression of thoughts travelling through my bored to tears mind, does the FSB really have nothing better to do than make sex tapes? And bad sex tapes at that? There are lots of pornographers in Russia. I would assume. Given her inglorious history of fine filmmaking and fallen women. If the intelligence organs have lost interest in things like national security and old-school KGB spookiness and really want to get into the low budget not even really porn scene, they could do a lot better. What else?

I was supposed to go camping this weekend. But I have the flu. And it is raining. :(

September 21, 2009

I am sick… I am spiteful. And I have links.

Ok, it’s official, kids. I’m sick. The doctor I spoke with when making an appointment would not rule out swine flu and told me I had to wear a face mask in the waiting room. What the hell? I thought those things were largely useless. “It’s a precaution.” In fact, when I told him my symptoms, which are pretty lame, generic seasonal virus symptoms, there was a silence followed by, “Oooh… Ok. That is … that’s not good.” Just 24 hours ago I was still convinced I wasn’t really sick & now I’m convinced I’m dying. Possibly of something called, “Swine Flu.” How humiliating. Like being physically and mentally compromised isn’t humiliating enough.

My agenda for the near future is to see the doctor (I am one of those crazy Americans who has incredibly fantastic healthcare and pays a mere pittance for it, yet thinks we need a single payer system), go to the pharmacy for drugs and snacks (I don’t really keep snacks at home. I hate the word “snack.” Sounds offensive… “Snack.” But I am thinking of some juice and donuts, those little ones that have absolutely no nutritional value) and, if still ambulatory, swing by and rent some movies. Then I will go home and resign myself to illness, boredom and Dancing with the Stars. Which will never be the same without Gilles. Beautiful Gilles… Yes, as if choking on my own snot and having an illness with a name which in any other circumstance would be considered an epithet, as if that were not humiliating enough, I will now be scheduling my life according to the TV Guide. They shoot horses don’t they? Too bad I don’t have horse flu.

I’m not up for writing anything, but here are the thinks to things I’ve been reading. Check ‘em out. (more…)

September 17, 2009

a note on missile defense.

It seems a little precipitous to gloat, especially given the lack definitive confirmation that the plan has been scrapped in President Obama’s official statement. But hey, the whole entire global media has run with the story, and they’re never wrong about anything, right?

Nevertheless, I simply CANNOT pass by the opportunity to post this, originally published prior to Obama’s visit to Russia in July of this year. You know, a few months ago.

CBS: “White House to Hold Firm on European Missile Shield.”

In advance of Pres. Obama’s first trip to Russia next week, the White House is serving notice on the Kremlin that he won’t be making any concessions to win its approval of a U.S. missile shield in Europe or membership in NATO for Russian neighbors Ukraine and Georgia.

“We don’t need the Russians,” says Michael McFaul, special assistant to the president and senior director for Russian affairs on the National Security Council staff.

In a conference call with reporters, McFaul responded with unusually tough talk when asked what reassurances Pres. Obama is prepared to give in his talks starting Monday with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.

“We’re definitely not going to use the word reassure in the way that we talk about these things,” said McFaul. “We’re not going to reassure or give or trade anything with the Russians regarding NATO expansion or missile defense.”

(more…)

September 16, 2009

lqd: Putin will become president again in 2012 – maybe.

Filed under: Lazy Quote Diary,Politics: Russia — poemless @ 4:35 PM
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A must read article deconstructing the deconstruction of Putin’s Valdai Club remarks.

So apparently every year the Valdai Discussion Club, which is some … well, discussion club, comprised of experts and journalists and the usual suspects, gathers for a little Q&A with Russia’s leaders. Some refer to this as a PR stunt, but I think it’s quite lovely in the same way I think the annual live Q&A with Putin taking questions from random people is lovely. Unlike those more vernacular Q&A’s, I can’t say if the Valdai Club have asked him about the Cthulhu or his sex life. But they did ask him about running for President in 2012. And Oh Boy! has the press had a field day. Of course, if he’d said, “I’d like some more tea, please,” there would be Kremlinologists and Putinologists and simple morons reading, “Yes, I will run in 2012,” into those tea leaves. It’s all very tiresome, IMO. I’m not into forecasting and crystal balls. If you call it correctly, do you get a prize? I mean, no one has contacted me to say, “You were right! He did not change the Constitution to run in 2008! Here’s your all expenses paid trip to Tahiti! Enjoy!” I suppose as a game it is fun. It is. But boy does it piss me off when people treat politics as a spectator sport, from high atop their moral horses. Do they remove the lobe that detects irony before awarding a journalism degree these days? (more…)

pie.

Filed under: Too Much Information — poemless @ 1:41 PM
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What can I getchya, honey? Apple, or blueberry? Applebaum, or Ayn Rand?

I thought I was being a bit hyperbolic in my last post about leaves falling to the ground. Anything for a metaphor. It’s only mid-September, and summer just managed to arrive in Chicago last week. But, lo. On the way to work this morning I observed by the Museum of Science & Industry trees which had not only burst into reds and oranges, but had indeed already shed their leaves! What does this have to do with pie? I love autumn, and one of the very many things I love about it is a childhood memory of driving up the Great River Road to look at the leaves turning color along the bluffs, go apple picking and top off the day at some dank catfish shack accessible only by ferry. We would pick so many apples we’d run out of things to do with them. We’d try to give them away, but our neighbors were in a similar predicament. Everyone knew to turn off the lights and hide behind the curtains if a neighbor bearing gifts of apples was spotted walking toward your house. By November the very aroma of apples made me nauseous… Well, we ate lots of pies. (more…)

September 10, 2009

too much information, a September lament.

Filed under: Odds & Ends,Too Much Information — poemless @ 4:49 PM
Tags: , , ,

Hope you weren’t expecting any brilliant, in-depth posts from me this week. If you were looking for that type of thing, I highly recommend Sean’s Not much to gawk about, a smackdown of the weirdness, silliness and arrogance surrounding the non-publication of the GQ article “Vladimir Putin’s Dark Rise to Power,” and Matt Taibbi’s Sick and wrong, in which he lays out the 5 point plan followed by the gov’t. to kill healthcare reform. Indeed, I recommend these articles even if you are not actively looking for such things. Indeed, by not reading these articles you are doing yourself and everyone who knows you a serious disfavor because ultimately you have a responsibility as a citizen of the world to know this stuff. Ignorant people are the problem. Be the solution.

Another problem is depressed people. Who are worse than ignorant people, really. There’s the possibility that, given the knowledge they lack, the ignorant might actually do something about it. I think people prone to ignorance are also the kind of people who always want to be doing something. It’s just a matter of pointing them in the right direction and providing them with tangible rewards. Depressed people, however, possess the knowledge that should motivate them to action, but they succumb to inertia instead. In fact, they are usually quite knowledgeable precisely because they are content to sit and read, or think. And they are depressed precisely because they are quite knowledgeable. Do you think it is any coincidence most of these people live in blue states? raises one eyebrow…

I’m counting myself among the blue this week. Blue is my default category, yes. But there are shades, and this week is a decidedly more midnight blue than an Yves Klein or hyacinth. It’s the color of the sky Vincent painted after he did away with the ear. Happens every year at this time. You might call it “seasonal depression” but that would imply it has something to do with meteorology or astrology and not the fact that my mother died on September 7th. That was 9 years ago, abut now no matter what elaborate plan I invent to celebrate, distract or cope my way through this anniversary, it never ever works. Ever. I’ve taken vacations, gone into the woods, had parties, pretended it is just a normal day in a different month, ignored it, and once even entertained the idea of a nightcap of vodka and sleeping pills. (Don’t flip out. I didn’t do it. Obviously. Do you think I’m blogging from beyond the grave?)

It would be easier if it were just one day. The 7th. Limit the drama to 24 hours and move on. But I am unable to do so because the very week that begins with death ends with my birthday. I was never a fan of birthdays to start with. I didn’t even get to savor the stupid fun of the milestone 21st birthday since I was living at the time in a country with no enforced legal drinking age. Now, when I think of my birthday, I can’t get past the feelings of selfishness and humiliation which drove me to remind my family, they in the grips of a spectacular tragedy, impaled by grief, overwhelmed with all of the high stakes event planning that accompanies a death, that … well … it was my birthday.

So, as you see, a terrible week. (more…)

September 4, 2009

Odds & Ends from across the pond.

Or across the Lake!, or across the street! Some of you might even be in this very room. looks around nervously…

Contents: The Putins play doctor, Dr. Phil that is; Donkey bloggin’ in Azerbaijan; After the rapture, we get all your pets; Socialism, the slippery slope to Cannibalism; and the abolition of Switzerland.

It’s hard to post an edition of Odds & Ends as an antidote to the serious news when the serious news is about a creepy guy with baggy t-shirts and unwashed hair and scary yet melancholy look in his big eyes who is a maritime expert for a State-owned news station (and who would pretend to be getting calls from hostages of pirates on his cell phone) who suggested something about nukes or drugs being on the Arctic Sea instead of wood and something about or Russians or Israelis being on the Arctic Sea instead of pirates so who after a month of padding an already spectacularly weird story with his own weird theories left for Turkey on a routine business trip and then phoned his paper to say he was retiring after he got there and who then called the BBC and RIA Novosti and anyone else who would listen and told them that some scary men, maybe the FSB, had called him in the middle of the night and told him to stop talking about nukes and such so he fled the country fearing for his life.

But that won’t stop me from trying!

I. THIS WEEK IN THE MEDIA.

I don’t use the word “creeptastic” often, but… (more…)

September 1, 2009

lqd: The Western View of Russia

I’m publishing the whole damn article because 1) This is a fresh and compelling explanation of the current impasse in U.S.-Russian relations, 2) they said I could and 3) I’m a bit too busy to think up my own theories and write about them.

The article is perhaps simplistic, or let’s say narrow in its view. It is one explanation of many and probably accounts for some but not all of the problem, since it doesn’t address the most basic motivations for all politics: money, power, greed and sheer stupidity. But I really do like the proposition! It jibes with reality as it is perceived by me (always a plus) and is neither chauvinist nor dismissive. How refreshing!

N.B. I was born in America in the 70’s and came of age in the 80’s, yet I don’t fit either stereotype of the Cold War or post-Cold War generations. I am soooooo ahead of my time! Ah, the rewards of trauma.

[Update] Some folks have wondered if I think this article actually gets it right. Well, I think it passes the Cato sniff test, referring to that most convincing benchmark of proof and funniest quote ever produced by a think tank:

“The sociological generalization we have stated is intuitively compelling; something like it must be true.”

Ok, pull up a chair, here’s the article, care of Stratfor.com:

“The Western View of Russia”, by George Friedman. (more…)

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