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
Tags: , , , , ,

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.

1. Cat cafes!

So, I have a bad case of the pre-IOC announcement jitters. (God, I hope that’s what that is…) Unlike the run up to other votes, I can’t distract myself by knocking on doors and inviting myself into the homes of complete strangers to make them go vote for Chicago. So I am distracting myself by reading articles about the finalists. In one, the ability to rent a cat to hang out with at cafes is cited as one advantage Tokyo has over Chicago. Damn! Cafes where you can rent a cat. Not to eat, but to hang with. Check it out: I don’t know Japanese, but I think there is even a cat menu! Like, “I’d like a cup of decaf green tea, and Fluffy, no.12. You take credit cards? Thanks.” Why have I not heard of this Japanese institution before now? I am 100% in favor of hosting the Olympics right here in my hometown, but that’s a good case! In fact, the one, and ONLY, way I will support Tokyo’s bid is if, in turn, Chicago gets cat cafes. It’s no substitute for Valeri Liukin, to be sure. But let’s face it, even if Chicago does win the bid, there is no guarantee I will be able to rent him for an hour’s worth of cafe companionship either. Screw it. I want the games. And cat cafes. Why not have both? Hell, why not have cat rentals at the Olympics? I think they’d like watching the rhythmic gymnasts do those dances with their shiny ribbons.

Chillaxin’ at the Cat Cafe:

I bet if Daley had used cat rentals as a selling point we’d already have the Olympic bid in the bag.

2. Now with more Olympics!

Someone on Daily Kos was calling for the complete abolition of the Olympics. I seriously do not know where these people come from. But they terrify me. I was thinking, wow, they have a lot of class resentment issues. They do! Impressive! I’m the commie here, but compared to the anti-Olympics brigade, I’m a bourgeoisie pig of the Nth degree. Then I thought, nooo. These are not the trampled-upon underclasses! These people live in Lincoln Park! They make their case as though it is class warfare, yes, but really, they just lack any sense of cosmopolitanism. It’s not simply that they resent the wealthy and powerful taxing them to put on a big sports carnival in their backyard, it’s that they cannot put the ideals of the Olympic games before their own immediate lives. Myopia. How else could a person ever suggest that the injustice of their parking meter system is far more important than the bringing together of all nations under one roof in a peaceful celebration of human accomplishment? Well, that explains it. But then… then I recalled that Commies despised Cosmopolitanism! I don’t see what the big deal is – I have no trouble embracing both ideologies. I want jazz and world government and the abolition of private property! Now I understand why Trotsky was so pissed…

I wanted to try to explain why the Olympics are bigger than any parking meter or mayor, and recalled a diary I’d written before the Beijing Games. No sense in reinventing the wheel, so I reposted the following excerpt, (to great acclaim, too.)

Can I just get one little thing out of the way? I like the Olympics. No. I love the Olympics. I cry over the Olympics. They make my heart jump out of my throat the same way the story about the cat who ran into a burning building and saved her baby kittens does. I mean, I shed real tears over the very idea of the Olympics. Not because I care about sport. I don’t, really. I don’t even care much about competition. I care about the Olympics for the very same reason I write at ET and not my own blog or a specifically American one. (Well, aside from the fanbase…)

Uhm… Just ignore that last bit.

I really wish to fucking god we could all just get along. I really do. It’s what deep down I want more than anything in the entire world.

I think countries are lies we tell ourselves and fragile foundations for personal pride. I think the games are rife with corporatism and corruption. I think synchronized swimming is embarrassing. I think I don’t care if your nation gets the most medals. But at the end of the day, I am not a cynic. At the end of the day, I see people from every corner of the world parading through the opening ceremonies without shooting each other or arguing about language in resolutions, and I think to myself, “It’s a start at least.” Then I cry. I won’t even answer the phone, I get so consumed with the beauty of the moment. Your country is fascist and treating people like animals? Your country denies everyone free healthcare? Your country limits freedom of speech? Your country is arrogant? Your country is not recognized by some as even being a country? Your country invaded mine? For a few days every few years, someone besides your power elite gets to represent your country. For a few days every few years in America, we turn on the tv each day, and we are told “day-in-the-life” stories about people in other countries. Crazy. Almost like school! For a few days every few years, people from every corner of the globe tune in for the same international convention, the results of which determine who gets a silly prize, not who gets killed or ignored or nuclear weapons or the right to all of your money. The worst that can happen is that we will be reminded that we share a little planet with a bazillion other people who, if we are to judge by looks, we have to admit, are mostly not psycho-fascists from outer-space who want to kill us. This is sadly something of which we need to be regularly reminded.

I don’t want to sound like my grandmother who used to tell the same stories all the time, so I wont tell you about the time I was in this little cafe in Paris, and it was just me, this guy from Russia, and the French fellow running the place, closing up, and how on the television monitor the Olympics were playing, and they listed the top-ranking countries: and they were America, Russia and France, and well, Americans are supposed to hate the French and Russia and all that, but we were all happy and chummy and like, wow, how small is this world!, and the whole little episode in that French cafe just blew my mind a little bit and remains near the top of my why list of “why it is good/why it sucks”, in the first column. Instead of telling you that old story, I will just say, Free Tibet, protest your little hearts out, I really hope this chaos will lead to Chinese gov’t. realizing they should not and cannot shelter their citizens from reality or otherwise treat them like shit.

But … forest … trees. Understand?

3. Now with more Qaddafi!

Speaking of world peace and human accomplishment… (Another reason we need the Olympics: the UN clearly can’t be relied upon.) I’m still reeling from that speech, and Sean is egging me on with his own sick Qaddafi fascination. Did you know he is supposedly the love child of a French officer? (Qaddafi, not Sean) And that during a recent trip to Venezuela he went to the mall and bought a gold and silver jewel-encrusted chain and ring? But the best nugget of joy yet is his website: “Al Gathafi Speaks…”

I cannot wait to read Brother Leader of the Revolution’s article entitled, “Ukraine. A real problem.” It begins,

Due to the fact that I am influential in the policy of the world in this era, to any extent.. and by virtue of any possible means, while attempting to contribute in creating a free and secure world in order that peoples enjoy freedom and security and my people is a part herein. By this way and principle, I put forth my opinion regarding the dangerous international issues and problems whenever I am able, hoping that this shall positively affect the international policy.
In this article, I shall treat Ukraine, which I consider to be a real problem.

Wow! Al Gathafi writes like Al Gathafi speaks… There is something vaguely Limonovian in this, like a car wreck you can’t peel your eyes from. Only it’s an English language wreck. The problem with that comparison is that Eddie actually writes like this in English because not only is he insane, he doesn’t know English well. Whereas this is a professional translation of Al Gathafi’s original. One presumes. In this case, unfamiliarity with the language cannot be an explanation. We’re left with the insanity defense. And while there is no denying that he’s insane, here’s the fascinating part: there is also no denying that Ukraine is a real problem.

Batso crazy. And right. The man’s a freaking prophet!

4. Romanian accents make everything sexier, even Darwin!

I will probably be charged with fetishizing after a comment like that. Well, I’ve never denied it. A person can’t help what turns them on. What a person can help, however, is believing that just because something turns them on, it gives them a right to it.

Roman.

Anyway, PIGL posted this on Facebook, and I thought I might show it to my Christian followers. Yes. You read that correctly.

Cute Romanian girl ruminating on the horrorshow that is Kirk Cameron’s relationship with reason:

That intelligent design banana shtick just NEVER gets old!

5. How you get here!

Google searches that inexplicably lead people to my blog, which is apparently some kinda freak/perv magnet:

“cat pie”
“funny cats who say random stuff”
“nude photo of Berlusconi”
“help me i am physically sick”

Just a PSA to let you know I know these things. And that your secrets are not safe with me.

6. Fever Ray!

As I have mentioned before, I don’t watch a lot of tv (except when I am bed-ridden and delirious with fever.) But when I do watch tv, I like this new station called “Mhz Worldview.” It is magical. All international news programmes, dramas and such. Additionally, they have a music videos show. I haven’t watched music videos since I was a kid, but I absolutely grew up on them. When I was 7, we got cable, which brought the world of MTV into my home. You younglings don’t appreciate how awesome MTV was back then. For one, they actually showed music videos. Like, all day. My mother loved it, so unlike the other children in my small rural hometown, we were not only allowed to watch it, but obliged to. And there was also Friday Night Videos. Anyone remember that? Friday evenings from the ages of 11-13 meant pajama parties, large quantities of Doritos, and Friday Night Videos. Then I grew up and became a more discriminating consumer, and it was ALL about 120 Minutes. 120 Minutes was my refuge from the cruel world that was southern Illinois circa 1989. And there was this dj on the radio in St. Louis. I can’t remember his name, but he was a Brit, and had an “alternative” music show on Sunday evenings, 2 hours long, which aired exactly 2 hours before 120 Minutes came on tv that night, so we didn’t have to miss one for the other. This was before “alternative” became some generic label. It was its own beautiful, distinct thing. This was before the Smiths, Bauhaus, vampires, and political bands like Midnight Oil became embraced by the mainstream. Whether the August War or music, I have always been ahead of the curve.

Anyway, I watching the music videos on Mhz not only allows me to rediscover a childhood joy, but helps me up with the kids these days. Now I can drop names like “VHS or Beta” and “Architecture in Helsinki” like I know what I’m talking about. I refuse to become one of those “they don’t make music like they used to” dorks, even though, let’s be honest: they don’t. And I have to admit, I really like what I am hearing.

Here is one of those music videos. It is the spookiest video I’ve ever seen! Just in time for October. I recommend turning off the lights and watching it full screen. Those are dead bodies in that pool!

Fever Ray’s “If I had a heart.”

Fever Ray is some Swedish chick who is giving the kids of my generation a run for their money. … Wait, according to wikipedia, she is my generation! Aw, there you go! That’ll teach me to indulge in fasle humility…

Ok, that’s all for now, folks! Actually, that was quite a lot, wasn’t it? Well, thanks for reading.

15 Comments »

  1. Doom used to watch 120 Minutes religiously.

    Doom is also awaiting your inspired mockery of Saakashvili. Where is it?

    Comment by Chris von Doom — October 1, 2009 @ 3:53 AM | Reply

    • Inspired mockery of Saakashvili? I think you are asking the wrong person. Saak is delusional and irresponsible, but is this news? My sense of vindication yesterday was not in response to the Georgian president, about whom I really spend no time contemplating, one way or the other (though the tie incident never fails to entertain). It is in response to the glorious victory of common sense and reality over hysteria and propaganda. I have nothing to say about Saak. My deep concern is with America. Why the rush to always -always- blame Russia first and ask questions later? Why the bizarre coverage of the war, which wasn’t simply misguided or ill-informed but outright deceptive and censored? What the hell is America even doing in Georgia? By what logic does America have not simply a right but a responsibility to arm & train and provide military support to Georgia, a small defenseless country half way around the world which has absolutely no historical, cultural, etc. connection to us, while it is not only deplorable but criminal for Russia to arm & train and provide military support to S. Ossetia, a small defenseless region on their border which has a long historical, cultural, etc. connection to Russia to such an extent that it spent a century as part of the Russian empire and the better part of another century under Moscow’s rule? By what logic do we blindly condemn Russia for using brute military force to thwart Chechen separatist movements but blindly rally behind Georgia for using brute military force to thwart its separatist movements?

      Comment by poemless — October 1, 2009 @ 11:07 AM | Reply

  2. You know the reasons for that.

    Comment by Chris Von Doom — October 1, 2009 @ 3:26 PM | Reply

    • Reasons for what?

      Comment by poemless — October 1, 2009 @ 3:29 PM | Reply

  3. Well, for $15 billion Athens got a nice little stadium. I will say this – it’s the only building in that city that doesn’t look like it’s about to collapse.

    I have a hard time enjoying the olympics these days – I can’t forgive the shameless seizure of public money. They’re as dirty as the financial industry.

    Comment by millman — October 2, 2009 @ 3:12 PM | Reply

    • Well about half of Chicagoans agreed with you, and it cost us the bid.

      FWIW, I do think Rio was the most reasonable choice, and I don’t think Chicago was the best choice, first, because of public support, and secondly, because all of the Republicans would have crucified Obama for it. And of course it is time for S. America to get a chance to host. And of course the world owes America no favors at the moment. But I wanted it, really bad, and think we would have done a fantastic job with it. I also wanted the infrastructure improvements & jobs. It stung to be the FIRST cut. NO ONE expected that. Oh well…

      There’s always Sochi! :) Plus I like figure skating better…

      Comment by poemless — October 2, 2009 @ 5:42 PM | Reply

    • Oh and thanks for stopping by!

      Comment by poemless — October 2, 2009 @ 5:42 PM | Reply

  4. I guess it’s a bit of a nitpick, but strictly speaking Romanians don’t have “Slavic” accents. Hope you are feeling better.

    Comment by Lyndon — October 2, 2009 @ 5:45 PM | Reply

    • LOL – I’ve been waiting for this comment, Lyndon! I know, right? Well, I didn’t know where she was from when I began writing this, but her accent sounded vaguely Slavic. Then I found out she was Romanian. Then I changed it. Then I decided to leave it in because I knew one of you (I thought it would be Doss, and a lot sooner) would point it out, and I could go on my rant about Romanian not being a Slavic language.

      Because I have a job in which I am in charge of the “Slavic and Non-Slavic Cyrillic Languages” and effing Romanian and Hungarian are lumped in there! At least Romanian you can take a stab at. I couldn’t translate a word of Hungarian to save my life! I tried to explain this to people – they don’t care. Because the people before me where here when Romanian and Hungarian books were published with Russian colophons. So even though that hasn’t been the case for decades, my departments continues to consider them legacy “Slavic” languages. Madness.

      I’m MUCH better, thanks!

      Comment by poemless — October 2, 2009 @ 5:56 PM | Reply

      • In their defense, I will add that they have since hired a Hungarian specialist.

        Comment by poemless — October 3, 2009 @ 1:30 PM | Reply

  5. superb, poemless.. especially observation of crowds on DK, but it’s reality – all mainstream sites are like this. they may argue it’s not the case, we are revolutionaries but reading lots of comments does not give any satisfaction but just a betrayal of their background. however, still there are some specialized groups on DK, with quite knowledgeable people, that’s why I still publish some diaries there.

    about georgia – did you notice desperate ads on CNN or BBC “More and more companies want to grow with Georgia”? I wish Georgians the best, actually I even befriended one Georgian lady, she lives here in India, in Goa. She was professional pianist but here became professional Mozarella cheese maker. Very funny girl. Anyway, Georgia seems to me a very porr country and after reading “The End of Poverty” by Jeffrey Sachs I became a convert, believer in international aid. J’accuse, after all there was simply not enough aid, all figures which developed countries like to boast about are just for the most part empty baloons, because they include debt reduction, technical assistance, emergency aid etc etc, which do not help much poorest countries’s path of development. Just because they cancelled debts investments will not come. So hopefully the West will help Georgia economically. let’s wait maybe politicians after Misha will be less belligerent.

    About Olympics – people read too much in it, I think for the most part sporting bureaucrats look into details of bids, not geopolitics or passionate presentations. Then Olympic movement wants to help Brazil to arrive finally in the world of highsport and then host more and more important events which will be mutually beneficial. Unfortunately that meant snubbing your home city. But Chicagoans should not give up, they should organize civil groups and work jard for the next bid.

    Comment by FarEasterner — October 3, 2009 @ 12:01 PM | Reply

    • Far Easterner!

      I’m so happy to see you!

      I don’t think one person’s crazy diary is a refelection on the site as a whole. They very nature of a place like DK is that anyone can write there, so you get both the crazies and the wise people, and everything in between. I’ll have to keep an eye out for your posts.

      Are you sure those ads are for Georgia (Republic) and not the state of Georgia in America? I don’t know how I feel about the West helping Georgia economically. It presumes that our help is in Georgia’s best interests, and I am not sure we’re not simply using them as a pawn in a dangerous game.

      I think Brazil WAS the best choice. Still, it would have been nice… The more I think about it, the more I think America has a long way to go to get its act together, both in our relationship with the international community and within America. There is a deep, reactionary distrust of our own government which seriously impacted public support for the games here. There are lessons to be learned.

      But you could have heard a pin drop in Chicago last night. Profoundly depressing. :(

      Comment by poemless — October 3, 2009 @ 1:38 PM | Reply

      • you cannot see BBC or CNN International? These ads (quite stupidly made) feature map, which shows Georgia on Caucasus and all planes from all directions (though not from the north) are going to Tbilisi.

        By the way BBC’s Hardtalk two day ago gave some tough time to Saskashvili. The interview was devoted to EU report on Georgia coflict with Russia and of course Saskashvili used this opportunity to the hilt (aggressive, barbarous, fascist Russia). However he was somewhat looking not good, there was some uncertainty in his voice as though he was not sure how his words would be received in the West.

        Of course he would be only too glad to be used as a pawn in geopolitical gambits. However foreign policy in 21 century is very much different from the past. First of all, there is no cold war between the main powers in the world. there is some competition and wrestling but leaders continue to meet several times a year on different summits where they can sort out their differences. so it’s very unprudent for Georgian rulers to expect full military support from the West in case of her conflict with Russia and emergency economic aid and reconstruction in other time.

        Comment by FarEasterner — October 9, 2009 @ 1:40 AM | Reply

  6. “Reasons for what?”

    The jingoistic support of Georgia.

    Comment by DOOM!!!! — October 4, 2009 @ 9:04 PM | Reply

  7. “(I thought it would be Doss, and a lot sooner) ”

    Doom noticed, but he is just too polite. Plus the girl is a babe.

    Comment by DOOM!!!! — October 4, 2009 @ 9:06 PM | Reply


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