May 25, 2010

Sometimes You Break a Finger on the Upper Hand

Jesus! Can't you guys recognize bullshit? Don't you think it would be a useful item to add to your intellectual toolkits to be capable of saying, when a ton of wet steaming bullshit lands on your head, "My goodness, this appears to be bullshit?"
—Douglas MacArthur Shaftoe
I've been having problems with deadlines lately—the space-time continuum has been extremely treacherous recently, especially today—and it's put me in a viciously foul mood, with no patience for crafting any cute little novellas about random deadly sins. I mean, those dumb morality fables have been fun so far this year, but I'm not really interested in humoring that impulse right now. What's more, another deadline is looming with extreme prejudice—not web development this time, but writing—and so I need to crank the rusty machinery into gear enough to spew two thousand worthwhile and honest words for a real publication. Yeah, don't come too close, or I might snap your spine with my righteous rage, just like Barack Obama did to Bono recently.

The hell you say—but photos never lie, especially when they're shot by pompous maniacs like Pete Souza. Seriously, look at that shit—the President is about to give U2's frontman a Vulcan Neck Pinch to knock him unconscious, the better to break his back with. Oh sure, the usual excuses were made
President Barack Obama meets with Paul David “Bono” Hewson, lead singer of U2 and anti-poverty activist, to discuss development policy in the Oval Office, April 30, 2010.
…but within weeks, the disturbing truth slowly emerged:

Bono undergoes surgery, tour start postponed
According to a statement on U2.com Bono “has today undergone emergency back surgery for an injury sustained during tour preparation training. He was admitted to a specialist neuro surgery unit in a Munich hospital, and is under the care of neuro surgeon Prof. Dr. Jorg Tonn and Dr Muller Wohlfahrt. Bono will spend the next few days there, before returning home to recuperate.
And it went downhill from there:

Bono needs 8 weeks recovery, North American leg postponed
U2.com has announced that Bono has been discharged from LMU University Hospital in Munich. The physician, Dr Muller Wohlfart confirmed that Bono underwent emergency surgery on Friday after suffering severe compression of the sciatic nerve. To ensure a full recovery, he needs to start a rehabilitation program to recuperate for at least eight weeks.
Hence:
06-03 Salt Lake City, UT - Rice Eccles Stadium ^
06-06 Anaheim, CA - Angel Stadium ^
06-07 Anaheim, CA - Angel Stadium ^
06-12 Denver, CO - Invesco Field ^
06-16 Oakland, CA - Oakland Coliseum #
06-20 Seattle, WA - Qwest Field #
06-23 Edmonton, Alberta - Commonwealth Stadium #
06-25 Pilton, England - Glastonbury
06-27 Minneapolis, MN - TCF Bank Stadium *
06-30 East Lansing, MI - Spartan Stadium *
07-03 Toronto, Ontario - Rogers Centre *
07-06 Chicago, IL - Soldier Field *
07-09 Miami, FL - Sun Life Stadium *
07-12 Philadelphia, PA - Lincoln Financial Field *
07-16 Montreal, Quebec - Montreal Hippodrome *
07-17 Montreal, Quebec - Montreal Hippodrome *
07-19 New York, NY - New Meadowlands Stadium *
No more "City of Blinding Lights" for you, Barack. Did you realize the consequences of your actions? Did you even stop to think about what might happen if you pushed the little leprechaun-man too far, never giving in to his naive demands for AIDS medicine funding? No, no you didn't. You were too caught up in your own problems—and yeah, we know it takes a lot of time and patience to govern slowly and decisively, especially when it makes you look like you need a Valium—and thought nothing of how this might affect millions of people in the land you claim to lead. I mean, do you have any idea how many poor bastards re-arranged their lives to go see these shows? Unpaid time off, sick days, gallons of gasoline, hundreds of dollars on tickets—the legions of U2-yuppies out there are fucking pissed, dude.

And really, you of all people should have realized the potentially disastrous political fallout from this folly. Don't you remember that, ever since 1992, the American two-party system has been fueled by the engine of U2's album and tour output? Don't tell me you'd forgotten about that—it swung the 2008 election in your favor, man:
Now, by the album theory, this year was all set to be locked up for Crash McCain, what with plenty of substantiated rumors about a new U2 album looming in the fall. However, it seems that someone in the U2 camp—be it the nefarious Edge, the sullen Mullen, the libertine Clayton, or the socio-capitalist manager McGuinness—has overruled Yer Man Bono, and forcibly delayed the new release to 2009.
We all know how that ended up—a U2 gig at the Lincoln Memorial, a balls-ass-freezing inauguration with an inept Chief Justice and a collapsing Ted Kennedy—all before the underwhelming leak-then-release of No Line on the Horizon in February and March. It did not age well, and according to the biased Beltway, neither did your presidency, despite the hysterical, projectionary, and insecure ravings of your own rabid fanbase.

Wait, what? Look at your record? Ho ho, don't make me laugh—health care? Financial reform? Lilly Ledbetter? Is that underwater volcano of oil funny? How about those crazy North Koreans? And all those shit-stupid tea baggers with guns? Pop another Valium and get back to me, will you? This isn't about you. man—this is about ME, and the U2 shows I won't be able to see until 2011 (even though I hadn't bought tickets yet anyway) because you decided to get offended by the fifty-year-old Irishman in goofy sunglasses. His sciatic nerve will never be the same now, and his hot wife and daughters will weep bitter Gaelic tears. Even the Edge might consider abandoning his palatial ambitions in Malibu in solidarity.

Because hey man, I was SURE that the band would begin reviving some of those gloriously underrated '90s songs on the 3rd and 4th leg of this ugly beast of a tour—hell, with the recession on the wane, there's no doubt they would have brought back "Discotheque" and "Lemon" and "Mofo" and all those other awesome four-on-the-floor musical seizures to rock the stadiums across our great land. But no, you had to get greedy. You had to pick on a man older and shorter than you—a foreigner, to boot—on your home turf, while he was your guest. Never mind the silly lobbying and un-funky dance moves. Never mind the gargantuan ego and obvious self-absorption, no matter how much you may have identified with it. Never mind the undeniable greed of power and the apologists for those in power.

No, forget all that crap. None of it matters, because I'm not getting what I want: a bloated, recession-defying rock juggernaut with the carbon footprint of a planetoid. Thanks a lot, Mister President. Maybe you can come to my house and watch the new U2-360 DVD with me when it comes out next week. We'll have a beer summit and talk shit about Elton Gallegly, Meg Whitman, and Simon Cowell, and all will be well.

May 15, 2010

It's Always Amateur Hour Somewhere, Part II


"I've always considered writing the most hateful kind of work. I suspect it's a bit like fucking—which is fun only for amateurs. Old whores don't do much giggling. Nothing is fun when you have to do it—over and over, again and again—or else you'll be evicted, and that gets old."
—Hunter S. Thompson
So...I had lots of great plans for this essay, but they all gave way to a brutal onslaught of sloth (ironically, itself brought on by a month-long crazed fit of workaholism). Yeah, I wanted to write about lots of other, more momentarily interesting things—the ongoing side-project/supergroup war between Jack White and Josh Homme, the vile vagaries of purposefully testing active server pages in, uh... Linux environments, the sheer Solomonic conundrum of judging portfolios of the most talented young graphic designers, and the totally rad band reunion/rehearsal I had back in March—but I never got around to doing that.

No, never strapped on the sack to pontificate about Man/Miracle, (my new favorite band), the first-place (!) San Diego Padres, or the recent stumblefuckitude of the Capistrano Unified School District. Hell, I didn't even want to write about me, which is what any self-respecting narcissist would do by default. So here I am, falling back on the old stand-bys—quoting a writer that I and everyone else have already quoted and aped and diluted to death —when I finally have a stray second to piece together coherence.

What? No, no—fuck that, I've got a story to finish. Yeah, the promised finale in the Epic Saga of the Weelykta Party, or something like that. Well, all I've got is this stuff, and in the spirit of sloth (which, Universe Willing, I will shed sooner or later), I will now foist it on you all.

Anyway, like every overblown mythological saga (cough LOST cough), this one ends with a whimper. See, Frank Weelykta, the great Prohibition-hater, never saw his dream of Repeal come true. Sadly, like all great activists FTW was doomed to crash and burn in the wake of his own previous brilliance, cast off and forgotten by those who trampled him to climb their own stairway to eternal glory. It turns out that the Weelykta Party's relative success happened without its fearless leader:
At the height of the 1924 convention, Weelykta had bequeathed all administrative and managerial privileges over to subordinates, deciding at the last minute to take direct action outside the political process. His namesake political party continued to prosper without his input, bending the ears of influential politicians of all stripes (including future president Franklin D. Roosevelt), and frustrating traditional Prohibition supporters at every turn, including the infamous "Klan-bake" incident of 1925, when Weelykta Party Treasurer Smedley Robinett (armed with only a candle and a jug of ethanol) faced down the entire Anaheim, CA chapter of the Ku Klux Klan outside a busted Silverado Canyon distillery.
Weelykta, for his part, ran fast and loose in 1925 and 1926, disappearing into Mexico for weeks at a time only to return with a fleet of rum-runners, supplying all California with glorious booze:
Civic leaders and local businessmen shunned him, but Hollywood celebrities and rich eccentrics treated him like a pet tarantula. At the height of his fame, Weelykta could count on the support of not only the Wrigleys and Dohenys, but also the Bogarts and Mitchums of the world. He soon based his entirely illegal operation on San Clemente Island, a convenient halfway point between Tijuana and Los Angeles (as well as Wrigley's Catalina Island). Naturally, this enterprise made Weelykta a hated enemy of the U.S. Coast Guard, but he was initially able to slip through their fingers on several occasions, until one day in early 1929 when his flagship, the Choicest Hops, was forced to run aground at Monarch Beach.
Whappo! How the mighty, desperate, and insane fall into ruin. But wait—it gets worse:
According to contemporary police reports, Weelykta's crew fled up Salt Creek into the sparsely-habited canyons of Dana Point, where the great man himself was finally brought down in an epic gun-battle among the lima bean fields. The grisly incident spelled doom for Weelykta Party electoral fortunes, but by that time the party's platform had already been absorbed piecemeal into FDR's broad coalition of fearless booze advocates. When Roosevelt himself finally gained the Oval Office and celebrated Prohibition's repeal, saying "I think this would be a good time for a beer," the President honored the original speaker of that quote—none other than FTW himself, the late Frank Weelykta.
The great man was later revealed to be survived by four daughters, all from unwed unions scattered around the country. The Weelykta name thus died out immediately, but Frank's legendary DNA runs rampant in the genetic makeup of Southern California to this day. I know this to be true because my source is impeccable—Weelykta's great-grand-daughter, one Olivia Maria Garcia. Yes indeed—Garcia, the half-Latina daughter of Chicano power activist Gordo Garcia and noted SLA munitions expert Bonnie Boomhauer—loved to talk, and I learned all about her volatile family history, back through her grandmother Winnifred Talulah ("Winnie") Finklestein of West L.A., who just happened to be the out-of-wedlock-daughter of—you guessed it—Frank T. Weelykta.

It took a while to get the complete details about "WTF, daughter of FTW," but that was understandable considering the circumstances (Liv and I were two neurologically-underdeveloped students scraping by in the nubile cesspool of Isla Vista, CA), but she was an excellent historian beneath her hard-partying exterior. It may sound pathetic, but I still hold great respect for her research despite the fact that, back in 1997, she dumped me without a second thought for some alpha-male asshole from Theta Chi.

But enough about all that silly Weelykta shit—you can only flog a stupid pun and its attendant lame acronyms for so long, and I sense that the story itself is ultimately sad, dumb, and unimportant, like 99.9% of all the other tangentially-political malarkey that passes for activism these days. So sloth won out again, I guess, for now. Goddamn, I need to get me a new Power Animal—too much more of this sinful gibberish and I'll be written off with even more extreme prejudice than before.

I had you going for a split-second there, though, didn't I? Eh? Ehhh.

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