Hating Comcast is all the rage these days, and it's easy to see why. Perhaps you're a new customer who foolishly purchased their 'Extreme 105' plan, only to discover that the bandwidth cap prevents you from actually using it*. Or you foolishly tried to legally use a cloud service, such as Comcast's very own file backup service, and got banned from the internet for a year.
But me, I'm a simple man. All I want is reliable broadband service and a decent selection of cable channels. So when I moved apartments, discovering that it was a monopoly and Comcast the only provider, shrugged. I've been a comcast customer for four years, and while transferring service and installs are always painful, I figured it wouldn't be that big a deal.
How wrong I was. This new apartment was on a 'bulk plan' and finding someone at Comcast even capable of handling that, involved an online customer chat and three separate phone calls. But once I found someone who would do something besides transfer me to another department, he assured me that it would be entirely self activated and all I needed to do was plug it in.
And it did!
Until yesterday. Two and a half hours on the phone later, I discovered that the helpful gentleman forgot to move the equipment onto the new account, so it had been disabled. I was told that 'an email had been sent to dispatch and it would be activated in 1-2 hours'. This was obviously a lie, and I of course knew it, but my phone was actually dying from being on hold that long. I then spent my lunch hour taking the settop box to the local comcast store. It was 'activated' quickly, which apparently couldn't have been done on the phone despite needing no additional information.
Which didn't mean that it would actually work, of course. That required yet another phone call to send an activation signal.
Not a single person I talked to was anything less than pleasant and polite, and not a single one had any desire to do anything over rattling off a canned spiel and, upon realizing I was not one of the standard few issues they could handle easily, try to get me to hang up.
What causes such a sickness in a company? Certainly it's not a problem with the individual people. Is it an issue of metrics? Is call length the only metric in use? Does the fact that they have what's effectively a monopoly prevent them from caring about customer service at all?**
*Here's a fun math problem to play along at home! How long can you use your Extreme 105 plan to its full potential before hitting Comcast's monthly bandwidth cap, which causes your service to be disconnected for one year after a single warning?
Spoiler: It's under 7 hours. Per month.
**Is this a shameless use of this blog to vent uselessly by asking rhetorical questions? Yes. Yes it is.
You know who really grinds my gears? I mean, you know who really grinds the bejeezus out of my gears? I know I've said some shit grinds my gears before, but you know who is now grinding my gears like a Chinese woman driving a stick shift? The goddamned diabolical genius who stocks the vending machine on the 3rd floor of my building.
It has got to be the worst vending machine on earth. Instead of Mrs. Fields cookies, it has those awful, chalky cookies with the fake raspberry center. The only flavor of Pop Tarts is brown sugar, which is the Tea Party candidate of Pop Tart flavors: only crazy people and retards want brown sugar. Half the machine is filled with gum. Gum! Hey, its 3 in the afternoon and I'm hungry, you know what would be great right now? ANYTHING BUT A PACK OF FUCKING GUM WHICH MAKES YOU SICK IF YOU ACTUALLY EAT IT.
But none of this should matter, because the machine as chocolate frosted donettes. Ooh, chocolate frosted donettes, how I love you. You are the best. You are the Yankees. You are Taco Cabana. You are Battlestar Galactica seasons 1-3.
So none of the other garbage in the World's Worst Vending Machine(TM) should matter, but it does, because the diabolical genius who stocks the machine did not give the chocolate frosted donettes their own slot. No, what he did is intersperse the chocolate frosted donettes with the white powder donettes. White powder donettes are the Red Sox. They are Taco Bell. They are Battlestar Galactica season 4.
I can leave my office, walk down two flights of stairs (because the exercise makes it okay to eat a whole pack of donettes before I even get back to my desk, DUH), and go to the vending machine, only to find the slot is empty. And I'm okay with that. They are the only tasty thing in that vending machine, of COURSE they'd be gone. But what I'm not okay with, what I will NOT accept, is that I can go down there and find that the chocolate donette is trapped behind a white powder frosted donette, and that the only way to free it is to pay for donettes that I do not want.
I will not pay for the white powder to get to the one I want. I refuse. I WILL NOT BE MANIPULATED IN THIS WAY, VENDING MACHINE OPERATOR. So instead I must play chocolate frosted donette roulette every time.
I've been trying to cut down on my political/current events reading because it tends to just make me angry and depressed. Today, I got a reminder why.
Record snowfall has buried Washington -- and along with it, buried the chances of passing global warming legislation this year.
"It's going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries "uncle," the conservative Senator [DeMint] tweeted on Twitter.
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) said the blizzards that have shut down Congress have made it more difficult to argue that global warming is an imminent danger
"Where's Al Gore when we need him?" quipped Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who burst out laughing when asked about the prospect of passing cap-and-trade legislation Tuesday while the city was still digging out.
I could write a bunch here about why this is dumb as hell and a gross misunderstanding of basic science and logic, but that's Jesse's niche. And also I suddenly need to pop some antacids.
It would be bad enough that you were driving a black Mercedes. That would be enough to make you the biggest douche on the block.
And people who are in such a fucking hurry that they cut across a parking lot to avoid waiting at the traffic light at the corner like everyone else, because they are so much more important? You are now in the running for being the biggest douche in town.
But when you not only cut across that parking lot, but cut through it at 40 miles an hour, because anybody in this parking lot is going to the check cashing place, and anybody who goes to the check cashing place is less than a fly on your windshield? Well, sir, your lack of care for the lives of others when measured against an extra 2 seconds of your time makes you the biggest douche in the state.
But then! BUT THEN! Someone on a bicycle - oh heaven forbid, a motherfucking bike! - is in your way, and you have to slam on your brakes and come to a halt to avoid hitting him? Because you are driving around in your black Mercedes like a giant douche? You aren't just a giant douche, you are the biggest douche in the country.
BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE. You, black Mercedes driving, high-speed parking lot cutting across, brake squealing douche, couldn't just settle for being the biggest douche in the country. You wanted more. So when that guy on the bike cut across your path, you couldn't just think to yourself, "Wow, that was fucking close, maybe I should stop driving like an enormous douche." Oh no.
You honked. You honked your fucking horn at the guy on the bike for daring to exist. And that, sir, is what makes you the biggest douche in the world.
You see these? These are for you, black Mercedes. For as long as I have to. These are for you.
Look: when I'm wrong, I'm wrong. And it turns out that I was wrong. Robert Pattison is not, as I claimed, the world's biggest douche.
First, I want to apologize to his fans who showed up to defend him. Particular ray, who had such nice things to say:
u all need to get over yourselfs cuz their is nothing wrong with him
and nothing wrong with any ones else that is trying to make a living at
what they are good at. What I think is that you are all jealous of
everyone cuz your nothing and will never amount to any thing
You are right, ray. And I thank you for showing me the error of my ways. And compared to Robert Pattison, I probably never will amount to anything. I'll never have such a majestic mustache. I'll never be able to tie a bowtie that well. And I'll never be Pennsylvania's 19th OR 21st governor.
Confused? See, so was I. I thought this was Robert Pattison:
But, as ray well knew, he is not. His name is Robert PattiNson, with an N. THIS is Robert Pattison, the man who I so vigorously denegrated (despite his deft deployment of the state militia to halt the Homestead Strike!):
So, to Robert Pattison, and fans like ray who hold his memory so dear: I apologize. And to Robert Pattinson: die in a house fire, you incredible douche.
This recap will be on the briefer side since I have to get ready for the first annual ObscureCraft Retreat. I've been warned that the results are "Shocking". Evan better not get thrown off, that's all I have to say.
First off are Karla and Vitolio aka the KV club SEE JESSE I'M USING IT. Also Randi and Evan. One is safe, one in danger. KV nailed the quickstep as much as it could be done, but Randi and Evan are lovable and also Evan is wearing a large white bowtie. I'd miss either of them. The quickstep remains the kiss of death. Nigel says "they're no stranger to the bottom 3 they'll adjust". Not a good omen.
Jeanette and Brandon - they did the cha cha, the judges and OC SO Steph liked it, I found Brandon's feminine manners offputting. Safe.
Kayla and Kupono - I love weird contemporary routines and this one worked for me despite Kupono being annoying. It was a little high concept, but not as weird as the alien impregnation routine so the weird voters might vote them instead. High risk of being in the bottom. ...and they are. Kupono is living on borrowed time. Mia liked the weird contemporary routine, STOP THE PRESSES. She also blatantly says she'll vote to keep them.
Melissa and Ade - Pas de Deux, still boring. Yes it was performed well, but it was boring. I'll take zombies fucking aliens any day. Safe.
Caitlin and Jason had the aforementioned routine. In an increasingly common occurance, I find myself disliking the male dancers but loving the women. Last season there were so many great male dancers. Anyway despite my annoyance I think Jason went all in and rocked it. Safe. The weirder voters do in fact turn out, even though the zombie routine was better.
Jeanine and Philip - LOVE LOCKDOWN A LOVE LOCKDOWN GET YOUR LOVE LOCKDOWN. This was a fun routine despite his annoying face. Don't lie, we were all hoping for him to trip on the chain. Philip go home you are in the bottom three even in your element with a gimmick performance set to KANYE. That's a freebie.
Nigel lets us know that people like different things, THANKS. Mary rambles about something that I don't pay attention to. Did Mia Michaels even say anything? As promised I am fast forwarding through the guest dancers before I slip into a permanent coma.
What is this commercial about attractive people trying to sell fat surly nerds cell phones. Here at ObscureCraft we are all about surly nerds but this commercial is terrible.
Karla is as beautiful as ever but the solo seems slow and unimpressive. Probably trying to avoid the 'desperate' charges from last time. She's really pushing her luck with that one.
Vitolio, RASCAL FLATTS? What the hell Vitolio, what the hell? The only notable thing was blatantly squeezing in a spin after the buzzer. He won me over with the quickstep, but then he overused the 'kiss of joy' comment, it wasn't funny the first time dammit.
Kayla. And now Sarah MacLachlan. Increasingly strange solo music choices this weekend. I know a lot more about music than dance, maybe that's why I focus on the song selection more than the style. Kayla is definitely safe.
Kupono - Cut off jean shorts? At least he's cutting down on the bling a little bit. Meeeh. Oh God Kelly Clarkson is performing WHYYYYYY
Jeanine is also great. I would send all three guys home and keep all three girls. In my basement.
Philip argh why does your annoying face ruin a great solo. This was the standout of the guys but he's been pretty blah in the weekly dances so he's not entirely safe. Safest of the three though.
Wasn't Kelly Clarkson young and skinny at one point?
Unanimous on the girls. "We don't talk about you Jeanine.. but it was brilliant." Get to InTrade and sell Karla fast. Kayla - "Judge's and choreographer's favorite. Not dancing from the heart". Karla "A very good dancer but...." she's done. Didn't even pay attention after that. And right, she's done. Sorry Jesse. You get one last montage to finish up.
Unanimous on the guys too. Philip is "unique and superb at what he does. A little desperate" Goddamnit this is the most annoying criticism. He and his obnoxious face are safe. Kupono tries to jack Vitolio's spot. "Great presence, but don't really deliver anything apart from that". Kupono "Such a weak solo." But he sounds safe. AGAIN. DESPITE BEING TERRIBLE EVERY WEEK. GODDAMNIT WHY? Max and now Vitolio sacrificed on the altar of their inexplicable lust for Kupono.
You know what really grinds my gears? Somebody who quotes themselves like they were a historical figure. Like, say, in the middle of a presentation, mixed in with quotes from Churchill and Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, Jr., there is a quote from the guy giving the presentation. In fucking quotes and everything, and with a citation.
"I am a pompous douchebag who thinks that their words are so profound that they need to be carried on through the generations." - I.M. Adouche
You don't need to quote yourself! You are you! The reason that quotes exist is so that you can cite somebody's point without stealing credit for their words. But since anybody who gets quoted is obviously a person of stature - how else would we know what they said, and why else would we care - putting yourself in quotes assigns that same stature to you.
At least, that's what you are trying to do. Except it doesn't work, because its such an embarrassing thing to do, that the only status that gets assigned to you is the status of being a douchebag.
Dear Robert Pattison: I don't know you, but I hate you.
More than hate. I am sick of you. I am sick of seeing lily white face and awful douche hair on the cover of every supermarket tabloid. I'm sick of trying to figure out why girls think you are attractive. If I was a teenage boy right now, would I be trying to look like you to impress girls? Would I be powdering my skin every morning with glitter, putting gel in my hair before I went to bed every night, and walking around with the same look on my face as Jack Nicholson at the end of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest? GAGH.
Sorry. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
As much as I would enjoy hearing that you were smothered to death in your sleep by a 7 foot tall native American, I guess this is going to have to do:
The Twilight actor, in New York City filming Remember Me,
apparently attempted to run across the street near the famed Strand
bookstore to escape a hoard of fans when he was clipped on his hip by a
moving cab, whose driver slammed on his breaks upon impact.
There were a bunch of polls lately dealing with health care reform. And the public is staggeringly in favor of it, even with caveats. 75% of people favor universal coverage, although that's slightly down from the peak in 1993, the last time health care reform failed. More interestingly 76% of people are in favor of a public option, even though 46% of people are concerned their employer might drop coverage if one existed, and 42% of people think it would limit access to doctors.
That said there's almost no chance it will happen, since it's far more important that reform be 'bipartisan' than effective. But why, considering Democrats control both houses of Congress by wide margins, and the presidency? The answer, for once, is not just because Harry Reid is a giant vagina in a suit. Although that is undoubtedly part of it.
The day Democrats took control of the Senate, everyone decided to pretend that filibustering every single measure was not just unobjectionable, but not even worthy of comment. So now you need 60 votes in the Senate. But that shouldn't be a problem since Democrats have 59, soon to be 60. You'd normally expect the more conservative Senators to vote against the measure, but vote for cloture (to break the filibuster). But recently the "moderates" have decided that voting no on cloture, in essence joining the Republicans to filibuster, isn't a problem. And neither Barack Obama nor the Senate leadership seem to think so either.
Worse, the HELP committee in the Senate submitted an incomplete proposal to the Congressional Budget Office, which is where bureaucrats carefully weigh bills and then pull a price tag out of their ass. This proposal, which in itself was a compromise between the current system and the more liberal single payer system, was expected to have a jawdroppingly high price tag of $1 trillion over 10 years. But instead it was scored at $1.6 trillion.
Now there's two ways to go here to get the price down. You can reform less, basically cover fewer currently uninsured people, or you can reform more, with a huge array of options Ezra Klein discusses here. Ron Wyden, for instance, has a universal coverage plan that actually lowers the deficit in four years according the the same CBO. But obviously, all the deficit hawks are incredibly opposed to it. So it looks like instead the Democrats will 'compromise' further, resulting in 'health care reform' that's both ridiculously expensive and covers fewer people. And despite all the compromises away from the left, no Republicans will vote for it.
Update: as I write this, apparently another version has been submitted, and as predicted this one covers far fewer people, and still costs a trillion dollars. It also has no public option, thus: "health care reform" to the Senate means "give a trillion dollars to insurance companies in exchange for covering a few currently uninsured people". Excuse me while I get my 'Mission Accomplished' banner out of the closet.
"Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), who spent his career in Congress calling for a moratorium on immigration, appeared on CNN to lambaste Sotomayor for belonging to a group whose name would translate as "The Race," made the false claim that La Raza has the motto, "All for the race, nothing for the rest," and bashed it as being "a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses."" Tom Tancredo, Thursday
"I have no idea if they hate white people or not. But I will tell you this, I am sick of having people suggest that because I am Caucasian, I cannot -- and that's the suggestion here -- is that if you are white, Caucasian, male, you cannot comment on this sort of thing." - Tom Tancredo, Friday
Well I'm sure that there's no personal animosity here, surely it's just a cold game being played for political points. Wait, what's this in the paper today?
"On July 7, 2007, at approximately 7:15 p.m. at Jefferson and M Street, Northwest, in Washington, D.C., defendant was walking down the street making offensive remarks when he encountered the complainant, Ms. [REDACTED], who is African-American. The defendant uttered, "Nigger," as he delivered a karate chop to Ms. [REDACTED]'s head."
And who is this defendent? Why none other than Marcus Epstein, the Executive Director of Tancredo's political action committee, who plead guilty to the charges today. And I'm sure now you're worried about the PC police coming in to punish him, a blatant act of reverse racism, but don't worry he's keeping his job until he leaves for law school in the fall.
The half-crazed rush to try to derail the latest Supreme Court nominee by any means necessary has focused on two main points: Judge Sotomayor's proclaimed empathy makes her more inclined to 'legislate from the bench' rather than following the law, and her ruling in the Ricci case proves she believes in "race-based justice -- basically at the expense of white males, to advance people of color". Ironically, looking at the details of the Ricci case directly contradicts the first claim. In short: she could be one or the other, but they are mutually exclusive. To explain, let's delve into the case:
The spot: A precocious young boy and his mother go laptop shopping at Best Buy. The voice-over tells us they are looking for something with "speed, a big hard drive, and a good gaming computer." If they find what they want for under $1500, they can keep it. They look at some PCs. Then they go over to the Mac section, where Mom exclaims, "Whoa, these are way more money, dude!" The boy comments that they are "a little too small", although Mom admits that "they are pretty." The boy concludes: "Maybe we'd rather go PC." Eventually, the boy and his mom settle on a Sony VAIO laptop. At the end, they are handed a wad of cash to go with it, presumably all the money they saved by not purchasing a Mac.
And with that, Microsoft unveils its newest rallying cry: "By a PC, because, while they may be cheap pieces of crap, its a recession and you can't afford anything nicer."
I am a little late to this party. This series of ads, which is called "Laptop Hunters", has already been mercilessly ridiculed and lampooned throughout the internets. The series started with Lauren purchasing an HP Pavilion ("Lauren" was later outed as an actress) and Giampaolo HP HDX (who was later outed by me as looking like a douchebag).
Others have ably pointed out that the computers purchased in these spots are actually terrible, terrible machines, and that Macs are not actually very expensive when compared to PCs that have similar hardware. Instead, the reason that Macs seem expensive is because they don't sell low end machines to compete in the $500-$1000 laptop market. So I'm not going to harp on any of these points. Instead, I need to ask: are these ads at all convincing?
So far we have an actress, a douchebag, and an 11-year-old boy and his mom deciding that a PC is the way to go. WELL, NO SHIT. PCs still dominate the market for computers over Macs. Obviously there is a whole world full of actresses and douchebags and moms out there purchasing PCs because they are cheap. Find me one nerd who would buy a PC instead of a Mac. Just one! YOU CAN'T DO IT. Even in a recession, nerds know better.
These are the same people who would buy one digital camera over another because it is 12 megapixels instead of 8 megapixels. These are not people who know what they are talking about. Oh, really? That's the laptop, I should buy, 11 year old boy? THANK YOU FOR IMPARTING YOUR WISDOM TO ME.
Positioning yourself as the cheap alternative may work in the short term. But even douchebag Giampaolo couldn't stop himself from talking about how sexy Macs are, on camera, in a PC commercial. You can't buy advertising like that.
The head proctor. Dude, those three people spent 4 hours this morning taking an exam that is important to their professional future, and you don't let them back in because they were 2 minutes late to the afternoon session? What a dick. The guy two seats down from me. What kind of dick shows up for an important exam and doesn't bring a calculator?
The guy next to the last guy. No-calculator guy asked if he could borrow one of your calculators, because you had two calculators. AND YOU SAID NO. Wow.
Everybody else who brought 2+ calculators. These aren't fancy graphing calculators with high battery demands. These are solar powered multi-function calculators. In the end times, when all resources on earth are gone, and we toil in the fields to scratch out a living without technology, we will still be using a TI-36x to calculate grain yield. But you think that one is going to give out during your exam? What makes you so important, you dick?
My co-worker who left without telling us. We waited for you for 45 minutes before we realized you were gone. WTF?
The dude running the hamburger stand. Taking advantage of captive engineers who don't have time to get anywhere because the test starts again in an hour is not cool. $10 for a hamburger is not cool. You are not cool.
Today, the House Republicans released their budget. You may be thinking, hey, didn't they release one last week? Well that one they made the completely understandable mistake of forgetting to include numbers. Any at all. But they did have a sweet graph that's just as good:
The underpants gnome comparison is totally played out, don't go there. Well after much hand wringing and raucous laughter from Republicans and everyone else, respectively, they decided that that was just a practice run, and the real budget was coming. And now it's out, and it's even better! Can you guess what the big idea is? If you said 'tax cuts for corporations and the rich' you win! But it also claims to cut the deficit. How does it do both of these, you ask? Well for once they don't just smear the words 'Laffer curve' with their own poo on a sheet of paper, so I guess there's some credit for that, but here are the highlights:
Eliminate Medicare for everyone not in it already
Thinking big, I like that! Instead, they'll give everyone vouchers worth roughly what the per person cost of Medicare is. Which would be bad since you can buy a lot less coverage alone without the bargaining power of the whole bloc, but not apocalyptically awful except for the fact that the vouchers are tied to inflation, not health care costs, which rise much faster. So you start out getting just a little less, but every year the vouchers cover less and less and you have to spend more and more out of pocket to maintain coverage.
Give people the choice of two tax plans, then assume they'll voluntarily pay the higher one
Five year spending freeze on everything except the military
Basically every program the government spends on, including schools, SCHIP, state aid, law enforcement, unemployment, and everything else will get a spending freeze with the effect of cuts the size of inflation Interestingly, it's done without regard whatsoever to merit of the programs. Corn subsidies and schools get cut equally. But don't worry, we can spend as much as we want on bombs and guns!
Several people I've read call cutting government spending during a recession 'Neo-Hoover' economics, but that's really unfair to Hoover. He was dealing with a basically unprecedented situation, without Keynes or the rest of modern economic thought, much of which came about directly due to watching his mistakes and learning from them. Deliberately going back to policies known to fail, contra to all logic and economics, deserves a much worse title.
But then again, none of this is going to happen. The truly scary part is that this is the very best the opposition party can come up with. In the Senate, lest we forget, 36 out of 41 Republican senators voted to replace the Obama stimulus plan entirely with $3 trillion in tax cuts. And it only takes 40 votes to stop legislation. Change, for the moment, requires two Republican votes. And this is the course of action they want to take.
To steal a line from the prescient John Cole : "Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement on dinner plans with your date, and you suggest Italian and she states her preference would be a meal of tire rims and anthrax. If you can figure out a way to split the difference there and find a meal you will both enjoy, you can probably figure out how bipartisanship is going to work the next few years."
Through her job, Suzi scored box seats to the Houston Rodeo. It is the biggest, richest rodeo IN THE WORLD. And box seats! That means you get all the food and drink you want, plus parking, all free of charge. I love getting free food. I love it so much. I have done some shameful things in my life for free food, and it wasn't even free food at a rodeo. Eat free dinner tonight while watching cowboys chase down and corral your dinner for tomorrow. Plus, their was a performance by dreamy, dreamy Brad Paisley.
Doesn't that sound great? Well, the sound is all I get, BECAUSE I COULDN'T GO. I had class last night. Stupid stupid class. This is how much fun going to the rodeo was
Instead of going to the rodeo, I got to sit in class in front of two
college students who decided that it was more important for them to
have a conversation than to let me hear the professor teach the class
I'm paying hundreds of dollars to take. Not only that, but when I told
them to be quiet so I could hear, they looked at me like I had just
walked up to them in a restaurant and spit on their dinners. Yeah, I
told you to be quiet without saying please. Yeah I gave you the "talkie
talkie" motion with my hand. You know what I wanted to do? I wanted to
stand up, slap you in the face and say SHUT YOU GODDAMN MOUTHS I A
MISSING THE RODEO FOR THIS SO YOU WILL BE QUIET AND LET ME LEARN YOU
COCKSUCKERS. So all in all, I think you two got off pretty easy.
This is how much fun not going to the rodeo, and instead getting to wear the plastic pink cowboy hat that Suzi ate FREE ICE CREAM out of, is.
"A 63-year-old attorney based in Lafayette, La., who asked not to be
named, told ABCNews.com that she plans to cut back on her business to
get her annual income under the quarter million mark should the Obama
tax plan be passed by Congress and become law.
"We are going to try to figure out how to make our income $249,999.00," she said."
Current marginal tax rate for the highest earners: 33%
Proposed marginal tax rate for highest earners in the Obama plan: 36%
Before the math, a hypothetical: does this constitute class warfare? Find the answer at the end of the column.
Now, a math question. You earn $255,500, placing you in the top tax bracket of 33%. The rates for this bracket increase to 36%. Barring any other changes in the tax code, how much does your tax bill increase?
Here is the math that people like Unnamed 63-Year-Old Attorney appear to be doing:
$255,500 * (36% - 33%) = $7,665
Oh god! That brings you below $250,000! That means you are being penalized for making more! Class warfare! CLASS WARFARE!!
Here is the problem: you, Unnamed 63-Year-Old Attorney, are an idiot. I hope for the love of god you aren't a tax attorney. Here is how the math actually looks:
($255,500 - $250,000) * (36%-33%) = $165
That's right, boys and girls: the money you earn gets taxed based on the bracket it belongs in. An example: If the tax rate up to $50,000 is 20%, up to $100,000 is 25%, up to $250,000 is 30%, and over is 35%, then people who earn over $250,000 get their taxes calculated, not like this:
The thing is, I'm betting all of you know that, because you aren't learning disabled like Unnamed 63-Year-Old Attorney. The real question here isn't how to solve the math problem, but rather: why do we have a news story from a major outlet like ABC News about people like this that isn't focused on how they are retarded and our underfunded educational system has failed them? It's like reading a piece of hard-nosed investigative journalism about where did Frankie's ball go. IT IS UNDER THE COUCH FRANKIE.
(The answer to the hypothetical: 36% tax rates only quantify as class warfare if you believe that we were engaged in class warfare during the 1990s before the Bush tax cuts. But the politics are really a story for another day.)
(Okay, this reminds me of something else: last time I was home during the day, I was watching an episode of Maury where a man vehemently denied paternity of his girlfriend's child because she was unfaithful to him. Right before they cut to his testimonial video, she shouts at him, "Yeah but it was with a woman!" and his face, which is on a big screen right behind Maury as he tosses to the video, is completely stunned: "Oh I didn't know that" he mutters right before we get a video telling us all about he ain't the father of DeShawn. He spends the rest of the segment feeling incredibly contrite and embarrassed as Maury goes through the motions before revealing that YOU ARE THE FATHER. That's what should have happened to this story: the reporter should have told the attorney that the tax increase would only apply to that portion of their earnings above $250,000, followed by a quick, embarrassed, "Oh I didn't know that.")
The spot: A young man steps out of his front door, a red Dell laptop tucked under his arm. As he makes his way down the street, he is met with continually escalating shows of affection: two children smile and point from a balcony. A crossing guard pats him affectionately on the rear. A busload of passengers lean and gawk. He gets thumbs up from two men on matching red scooters. He is patted on the shoulders by passersby. Cars honk their horns and flash their lights as he crosses the street. A crowd rushes him, and a beautiful woman kisses him on the mouth. He finally reaches his destination at a coffeehouse. He flips open is laptop. We see the product(RED) logo as its background. He gives a self-satisfied smirk. Cut to bold text on a red background: BUY DELL. GO (RED). SAVE LIVES.
(Disclaimer: I understand that I will break no new ground on this blog by stating that we live in an especially self-centered age. I will also acknowledge the subtle hypocrisy of making this statement on a blog, which is the ultimate symbol of the self-absorption that has defined the last 10 years.)
What is it that bothers me so much about this ad? Is it the gratingly hip soundtrack? The attempt to make a PC appear cool? The fact that the protagonist seems like a total douche? Yes, yes, and yes. But its also more than that. I saw this ad maybe a half-dozen times before I figured it out: why doesn't the douche have a laptop bag?
Who carries a laptop around without a bag? Aren't you afraid it might get stolen, or you might drop it, douche? Don't you need a power cord?
No, of course you don't. Because if you put your laptop in a bag, then we all wouldn't be able to see that you have a (RED) laptop, which means that you spent extra money to give to a charity, so we couldn't see what a GREAT PERSON you are with your (RED) laptop.
And isn't that the point of this whole product(RED) charity? I mean, what's the point of giving to charity unless you can show it off with some ostentatiously colored techno-gadgets. (RED) laptops! (RED) cell phones! (RED) iPods!
Because why should charity be about, like, the charity, and all the people it might help, amirite? Charity is really about you, and what a great person you are.
This fact did not escape the advertisers, by the way. Pay close attention to the young man smirking as he opens his laptop and sees the product(RED) logo. He smirks thinking about what a great, awesome guy he is. He is so pleased with himself. In the Age of Narcissism, there is no better angle for a product to have.
For much the same reason Plaxico Burress should face charges, Michael Phelps should be given the maximum sentence possible. Maybe that would show middle america just how ridiculous those sentencing laws are. Of course it's more likely he'll get the rich and white treatment, and the same people who get up in arms whenever a minority athlete gets caught doing anything will be the first to defend him.
For more information, including case studies, examples, and statistics see this fabulous post from Sports On My Mind In fact this post was going to be a lot longer but he says everything I would except far more eloquently and with better citations.
My wife and I were in your store on Saturday night. Your store is going out of business, so we decided to see if there were any deals - specifically, we wanted another guitar for Guitar Hero World Tour. The store had it, but we didn't know how much of a discount we would get, so we took it to you, at the counter.
The sticker price was $65. You told us that we could get it for $35. My wife and I excitedly high-fived at our good fortune.
I immediately regretted this act of spontaneous shopping excitement. We are saving $30 on our plastic guitar because your store is going out of business, and you are losing your job. The look on your face made it clear that you thought we were horrible, insensitive people, and you hoped we would get in a terrible car wreck before we ever got to use our new purchase.
So, uh, sorry about that. Not about the purchase, or the saving money, or even you losing your job. But sorry for rubbing your nose in it.
In a moment of amazing irony that I couldn't believe was unintentional except for well, the entire record of the Bush presidency, this Sunday has been declared National Sanctity of Life Day.
"A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America
All human life is a gift from our Creator that is sacred, unique, and worthy of protection. On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, our country recognizes that each person, including every person waiting to be born, has a special place and purpose in this world. We also underscore our dedication to heeding this message of conscience by speaking up for the weak and voiceless among us.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 18, 2009, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon all Americans to recognize this day with appropriate ceremonies and to underscore our commitment to respecting and protecting the life and dignity of every human being*. "
*offer not valid for the mentally ill, the mentally disabled, children without health care, Iraqis, Palestinians or Afghanis.
"[right wing reporter Tucker] Carlson asked Bush if he had met with any of the petitioners and was surprised when Bush whipped around, stared at him, and snapped, "No, I didn't meet with any of them." Carlson, who until that moment had admired Bush, said that Bush's curt response made him feel as if he had just asked "the dumbest, most offensive question ever posed." Bush went on to tell him that he had also refused to meet Larry King when he came to Texas to interview [clemency petitioner Karla Faye] Tucker but had watched the interview on television. King, Bush said, asked Tucker difficult questions, such as "What would you say to Governor Bush?"
What did Tucker answer? Carlson asked.
"Please," Bush whimpered, his lips pursed in mock desperation, "please, don't kill me." "
While enjoying my "day-off" yesterday I decided to watch The Price is Right. Now I know that ObscureCraft has disapproved of this show due to Drew Carey's lack of enthusiasm after the exact showcase bid. But something drew me to it (yes pun intended). Watch the below clip. Watch the whole clip if you want (because this kid does REALLY well), but the interesting part lies between the 1 and 4 minute marks. Actually, the best part lies at 3:26 onward to 4:00.
In this morning's column, Bill Simmons (actually, one of his readers) brings up a recent episode of the Price Is Right that I hadn't heard about yet:
"This is the new high point of announcing low points. As anyone who has
watched this show knows, you rarely see anyone sniff $500, let alone
$100 of their showcase showdown total. So what do you have here? The
first contestant comes within $500 of the Showcase Showdown, then her
opponent beats her by hitting the number right on the head!!!! He got
it exactly!!!! This could have been -- in the arms of a decent
game-show host -- the greatest game show moment of all-time."
In case you haven't seen it yet, I need you to watch this.
During the summers and days I stayed home from school sick during my youth, I would always watch the Price Is Right. I loved it. I've been told that, when I was a baby, one of the first things I learned how to say is, "A NEW CAR!" and that it was my answer to anything. "Jesse, do you want something to eat?" "A NEW CAR!" "Jesse, have you seen your sister anywhere? She's been missing for hours and we can't find her." "A NEW CAR!"
And, as we all know, once we get to the showcase showdown, anyone who bids within $100 of the actual retail price of their showcase wins both showcases. In all the hours I spent watching Bob Barker and the Price Is Right, I never saw anybody win both showcases (I think it actually might be $250 or $500 now, but whatever).
Now the first person is within $500. I might not have ever seen that. $500! On a $31,000 showcase! That is amazing, but reasonable: she's within 2%. But the second guy got it EXACTLY. RIGHT. HE. GUESSED. IT. EXACTLY. RIGHT. THAT. IS. AMAZING.
That is not just a perfect game. That's a perfect game with 20 strikeouts. That's scoring 100 points in basketball. That's a 3 minute mile. And Drew Carey didn't just botch the moment, he completely RUINS THE MOMENT. It couldn't have been worse if Carey pulled out a gun and just shot him in the face. This guy bid $23,743 and got it exactly right. Who bids a number like that? What if he bid $23,744 and was over by $1? Would he have gone home and hung himself? He would have at least spent the rest of his life thinking about it, right? Drew Carey, act like what you just saw was amazing!
Instead, Drew Carey pulls down his pants, squats, and pinches out an enormous turd on the moment. He might as well have wiped his ass with the Mona Lisa afterwards.
He is scum. He is dead to me. I am not watching the Price Is Right until Drew Carey is fired. No more new cars.
Permanently. First off, despite what schmaltzy movies may tell you, the filibuster was mostly used for evil. See blocking anti-lynching laws, or Strom Thurmond blocking civil rights legislation. But in the past, they were very rare. In the last 15 years, however, they've changed from last ditch measure to regular occurance. Now to filibuster something, the Senator's don't even have to actually do it. They just announce their intention, which results in a cloture vote to end debate. If it doesn't get 60 votes, the measure is considered filibustered and fails.
This is incredibly stupid to begin with, but it's made even worse by being in the Senate, where every state gets equal representation regardless of size. A filibuster coming from the 20 smallest states would represent an incredibly small number of actual people.
Moreover, the filibuster isn't particularly essential to the rights of the minority party since the American system has a wide variety of points to kill legislation. Both chambers of Congress must pass it, then they have to agree on the exact wording (lots of bills get massively changed here), then the president has to sign it, and even then the courts can kill it whenever they feel like it.
But since killing the filibuster when one party controls both chambers and the executive would garner deservedly terrible press and distract from the goal of actually accomplishing things, the very least they can do is ACTUALLY MAKE THEM FILIBUSTER. Some may ask why this insane and clearly ahistorical interpretation of filibuster intent is allowed. Some have suggested that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) suffered from a botched gender reassignment surgery, and under his suit consists solely of one huge, gaping vagina. Now me, I'd say that's a bit unfair, but it'd be irresponsible not to report on the possibility. Really though, if Mitch McConnell wants to spend his Christmas on the Senate floor reading a phonebook with the goal of killing off thousands of jobs in the middle of a recession, let him. But for the love of God, don't count him voting 'no' on cloture the same as doing it.
LATE ADDITION: Here's some evidence for my assertion that lots of filibusters is a new and ahistorical thing (h/t Ezra Klein at the American Prospect)
"Although the Census Bureau reported that nominal retail sales decreased 8.4% year-over-year (retail and food services decreased 7.4%), real retail sales declined by 10.1% (on a YoY[kevin: Year over Year] basis). This is the largest YoY decline since the Census Bureau started keeping data.
Retail sales are a key portion of consumer spending and real retail sales have fallen off a cliff."
Don't worry though, lame-duck Senate Republicans filibustered the Big 3 bridge loan last night, ensuring that the automakers will fail at the worst possible time, increasing unemployment 1-2%! The economy is totally strong enough to handle that, not to mention the human misery that comes from hundreds of thousands of people being laid off in one location at once.
And let's not pretend it's about 'fiscal conservatism', the money is not just trivial in comparison to the financial bailout, but it's roughly the cost of a week in Iraq. Even George Bush realizes that this would be a disaster, there's a reason he's on board.
The spot: Christmas morning. A girl in a nightgown stands in her posh living room next to a pony with a bright red ribbon on it. The scene is painted in a slight sepia tone, giving you the impression of the past. The girl addresses the camera: "This is Dolly! Don't you remember how excited you were? Yelling so loud the neighbors came over?" Cut to the front door, where the neighbors enter, along with their own little girl. "Remember how jealous Ann Marie was?" the little girl asks with a sly grin on her face, as the neighbor girl drops her own pony doll in disbelief. Closeup of little girl's face: "Dolly was the bestest present ever. Nothing could ever be more..." match cut to face of grownup woman. "...Perfect." She completes the thought, now standing in front of a Lexus sedan with a large ribbon on it. The voice-over jumps in to tell us that we should make this a "December to Remember" by leasing the new Lexus RS-350 for only $399 a month.
The National Bureau of Economic Research released their findings yesterday that the United States economy is in a recession, and has been for the last 12 months. This comes as a shock to nobody who has paid attention to the news: the collapse of every major investment bank on Wall Street, the tightening of credit markets, the precipitous drop in the stock market, and the subsequent layoffs and cutbacks in the workforce have all been making daily headlines for the second half of 2008. The uncertainty in the job market, combined with the unavailability of credit, is predicted to have a devastating effect on the Christmas shopping season.
This time of year typically brings sales and financing deals at all retailers to entice buyers, but there is a desperation in the air that is new. On Black Friday, Jdimytai Damour, an employee at a Wal-Mart on Long Island, was killed when a throng of shoppers waiting in the parket lot shoved in the doors and trampled him to death on their way to discount merchendise. Two other people died in a gunfight in a Toys R Us store in Southern California.
But you know what? FUCK ALL YALL, BECAUSE I AM GETTING A LEXUS. Hey, let's invite the family of that WalMart employee over to my house so I can rub it in their face, just like I rubbed it in the face of that little girl when I got that pony. Remember that? When I got a motherfucking pony for Christmas? I was all like, "daddy, can I have a pony?" and he was all like, "of course you can, sweetheart, cause I want to make sure that you grow up to be a spoiled horrible woman. My dream is that, in a time when people will step on a brother to save $20 on a DVD player, you will have a husband who will drop 40 large on a car without even consulting you. Because you just have so much goddamn money, 40 large on a car is like, WHATEVS, baby."
Lexus holds a "December to Remember" sales event every year, and every year I've thought to myself, "Jesus Christ, are there really people in the world who buy each other luxury cars as presents?" But this ad finally explains it to me. I get it now. If you lived in a huge house with a stone fireplace and celebrated Christmas morning with a pony, then you get a Lexus. Otherwise, you have to trample immigrants to death on the way to the discount racks on Black Friday.
A woman from a Detroit suburb made headlines this Halloween by refusing to give out candy to Obama-supporting children. If I'm the 1000th person on the internet to make a spreading-the-wealth related candy distribution joke do I win a prize?
"I said no handouts for Obama supporters. No handouts for tricksters and liars. Obama is scary."
Uh, maybe Obama is scary, but he isn't scarier than vampire or a ghost! And I bet you gave all the McCain supporting ghosts candy!
When asked about the children who were crying because they didn't get any candy, her response was:
"Oh well. Everybody has a choice."
I hope the neighborhood children exercise their choice to egg the holy living fuck out of her house.
On a serious note: you just do not see Democrats doing this kind of shit. I am sorry, but if you see some crazy person doing some crazy thing like denying non-voting, Obama-supporting 5-year-olds candy, its a Republican. Just a hunch, but this feels like the kind of thing a crazy evangelical Christian Republican does.
Short version: House Republicans are spineless, backstabbing bitches. And that's coming from someone who thinks the proposed bill was terrible and should have failed.
From the perspective of lawmakers, there's a classic collective action problem. Every Congressman (with the exception of the diehards like Kucinich or Paul), has been convinced that the bill is necessary. However, they also know that it's exceedingly unpopular with their constituents. The optimal outcome for any individual congressman is the same: the bill passes while they vote 'No' and then run on it. This is what Congressional Whips are for.
However, there's a bigger problem. If either party can get away with letting the majority of their members vote against it, then they all benefit, since the party can run nationally against it in 2010. So Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer met with Minority leader John Boehner to come up with a scheme to get the bill passed without endangering their incumbents. The members of the party with the safest seats would vote for it, letting the 40% who were in trouble safely vote against. Each party would deliver 50-60% of their membership, keeping either side from getting demagogued badly for something that they both believed necessary.
Pelosi delivered: 60% of Democrats voted for the bill. 33% of Republicans did. Boehner apparently screwed up his count, since if he had delivered a few more he might have been able to get it passed with majority Democratic support. Keep in mind how cynical this is. He (and the rest of the caucus) believes this bill is absolutely essential for the health of the American economy. But he was perfectly willing to promise support, then stab the other party in the back by voting no at the last second, panning to run against 'the 700 billion dollar giveaway to corporate fatcats' in 2010. And what was the figleaf given for the betrayal, the willingness to sink the economy? Nancy Pelosi was mean to Republicans in her floor speech.
So where does Congress go now? I'm reminded of an ancient fable. During wartime, a Greek king was holding court one day when a mystic showed up with twelve scrolls of prophecy that held the key to winning the war . After proving that they were perfectly accurate, she demanded a staggering sum of gold for them. The king refused, saying that they weren't worth that much. So the prophet grabbed a nearby torch and set one of the scrolls on fire. She then repeated the same price for the remaining eleven scrolls. Again, the king refused. So once more she incinerated one of the scrolls. This continued until after burning the sixth scroll, the king gave in and paid the full price. Because he knew it was necessary.
This presidential campaign has easily been the most hilarious of my lifetime (older readers are welcome to chime in), but in the last week, like a sitcom run out of ideas and desperate for ratings, it's gone from hilarious to batshit fucking insane:
You and I own 79% of AIG. And right after winning Time's "Person of the Year", things are looking up!
John McCain wants a timeout in the presidential campaign because he's losing really badly of the economy. Funny, it seems like just a week ago he was talking about how strong the fundamentals of our economy were. Bonus Round! Events not important enough to suspend campaigns: Civil War, Great Depression, WWII.
But what can he do to save the Republic? Take it away top McCain surrogate Lindsay Graham! "McCain supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham tells CNN the McCain campaign is
proposing to the Presidential Debate Commission and the Obama camp that
if there's no bailout deal by Friday, the first presidential debate
should take the place of the VP debate, currently scheduled for next
Thursday, October 2 in St. Louis."
Just how scared is their campaign about having Sarah Palin face questions, even if they're so easy a special needs third grader could answer them.? Let's look at the pool report from Politico:
"McCain then looked around the room and gestured as if to welcome
questions. The AP reporter shouted a question at Gov. Palin ("Governor,
what have you learned from your meetings?") but McCain aide Brooke
Buchanan intervened and shepherded everybody out of the room. Palin looked surprised, leaned over to McCain and asked him a
question, to which your pooler thinks he shook his head as if to say
"...[W]e are sitting a few rows behind a douchebag in a home Mariano jersey
(with name) and a blue "26 time world champions" hat. Underneath the
jersey he is wearing one of those dark blue t-shirts with "Damon 18"
emblazoned on the back in white."
There are plenty of reasons to not be a Yankee fan. The old stadium, steeped, marinated, and barrel-aged in tradition as it is, is kind of a shithole, and the new stadium will require a credit check to get a hot dog. The inflated (and oft-cited) payroll leaves fans and non-fans alike with unreasonable expectations - success is met with a shrug, and failure is met with a hounding chorus of gleeful haters too busy hating on my team to notice or care about the success of their own.
The best, and sometimes only reason to be a Yankee fan is because of the tradition. The pinstripes, the numbers on the outfield wall and the names on the plaques in Monument Park speak to a legacy that few other teams in sports can match. It's fun to follow a team that feels like a truly professional sporting organization, and has a history of success that you can enjoy and feel good about even when the team on the field isn't showing up. And showing up to a game in a jersey with a name on the back, with a Johnny motherfucking Damon T-shirt on underneath, and a 26 time World Champions hat completely misses the point.
You don't need to put his name on the back, because pinstripes + 42 = Mariano Rivera. You don't need a hat that says 26 time World Champions on it. A blue hat with a white interlocking N-Y says it all. And if you were looking for a player to represent the worst of the modern day mercenary athlete, you couldn't do much better than Johnny Damon.
Jim is not even a Yankee fan, but at least he gets it. What the fuck is your problem?
Maybe I'm making too big a deal out of this guy's sartorial crimes, but I think it speaks to the larger problem. Jim continues:
This guy takes
off his jersey and holds it up. He starts seriously headbanging. He
appears on the Jumbotron, achieving his 15 seconds of fame (Warhol got
the units wrong). [...] He [finally] sits, ready to cheer his favorite
Minutes later, Aubrey Huff blasts a solo shot out of the park.
Without hesitation, our subject stands, turns, and exits the stadium. As he passes by, I have but two words: 'Exit Sandman.' "
After 13 straight years of making the playoffs (the longest active stretch in baseball), this year's injury-wracked Yankees team will be watching October baseball from somewhere other than the dugouts. As a spoiled Yankee fan, I'm supposed to be enraged. I'm disappointed, but not enraged. I understand that, $209 million payroll or not, there are 29 other teams vying for a World Championship every year, and only 4 playoff spots in the American League. It was bound to happen eventually. What, did I think that the Yankees were going to make the playoffs every year for the rest of my life?
But this run of success has bloated the Yankee bandwagon to the point where a grown man covers himself head to toe in tacky, overpriced Yankee merchandise just to get noticed, and runs out of the stadium at the first sign of trouble. Because he isn't a real fan.
Listen, douche, wherever you are: if you get to go to Yankee stadium and see the greatest team in professional sports play, and then scurry out of the stadium like a bitch when things go sour, do me a favor next time: make sure you take the millions of other bandwagon fans with you.
With the Pandora's Box of hilarity that is Sarah Palin, it's easy to forget the O.G. of terrible candidates, John McCain. However, he's been doing his best to keep from being overshadowed by apparently declaring war on musicians.
The most recent is Heart: Palin's nickname is Barracuda, causing the campaign to use it post-speech.
"The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song,
nor would they have been granted that permission. We have asked the
Republican campaign publicly not to use our music. We hope our wishes
will be honored."
McCain, who runs an honorable, respectful campaign in no way influenced by Rove protege Steve Schmidt, did not honor them, using the song again after his own speech.
"I think it's completely unfair to be so misrepresented. I feel
completely fucked over."
They issued another statement following:
"Sarah Palin's views and values in NO WAY represent us as American
women. We ask that our song 'Barracuda' no longer be used to promote
her image. The song 'Barracuda' was written in the late '70s as a
scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music
business, particularly for women. (The 'barracuda' represented the
business.) While Heart did not and would not authorize the use of their
song at the RNC, there's irony in Republican strategists' choice to
make use of it there."
But this is no one off event.
Van Halen: Van Halen management tells us the band had no idea McCain was planning
on using "Right Now" during his big entrance in Ohio telling us,
"Permission was not sought or granted nor would it have been given."
John Hall: Yes, Rep. John Hall (D-NY). In delightful irony, George Bush did the same thing a few years earlier.
"This is yet another example of John McCain not learning anything from
George Bush's mistakes," Hall wrote First Read in an interview over
e-mail. "First, McCain adopted Bush's failed policy of an open-ended
war in Iraq, then he wrapped his arms around the failed Bush economic
policies that have put the squeeze on middle class families. Now, he's
making the same mistake George Bush made illegally using a copyrighted
song without asking either the writers or the performers for
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, asked and got permission to use the song at her rallies.
Yes, the diehard Democrat who actually stumped with possible babydaddy John Edwards for months last year.
"Mellencamp hasn't yet made a public response, but his reps are quietly
reaching out to McCain and asking him to stop playing his tunes.
(McCain's press office did not immediately respond to a request for
Yes, anti-nuclear activist Jackson Browne is suing the campaign. Why? Far from simply playing the song at a rally, the McCain camp set one of their ads to "Running on Empty" without bothering to license it or even sending a postcard. Unfortunately thanks to McCain-Feingold's Campaign Finance Reform, the settlement he's likely to receive will not go to McCain's opponent, as Browne has already maxed out his donation to Obama's campaign. Perhaps, in a blatant violation of the spirit if not letter of McCain-Feingold, he'll set up a 527. Just like John McCain.
Back during his primary campaign, he "found out that he has few fans in Scandinavia when he tried to adopt
Abba's "Take a chance on me" as his campaign song. After running into
difficulties with the Swedish supergroup, McCain lamented to reporters
on board his plane that it wasn't as easy to play the song as he
"It gets expensive in a big hurry and if you're not careful you can
alienate some Swedes," he joked."If word gets out to Stockholm that
we're using Abba music, then there'll be a worsening in U.S.-Swedish relations.""
Apparently this poor experience with the costs of licensing is the reason he's stopped even asking, much less paying.
The closing ceremonies aren't until Sunday, but I hereby declare the Olympics over.
Michael Phelps is done swimming. Misty May and Keri Walsh are done playing volleyball in their skimpy underpants. And Usain Bolt has... well... bolted (couldn't help it) into and out of our lives. Last night, I was subjected to another 2 hours of platform diving at THE WATERCUBE (TM) before we finally got to some games I could be interested in. And by then I was too tired to read the matchup of China and USA in the women's beach volleyball gold medal match as an allegory for our inevitable conflict fighting over the last remaining scraps of oil under the desert in the Middle East.
So, with the closing of my interest in this Olympic games, so too comes the shuttering of the Obscure Olympic spotlight. We end our travels with Lin Dan, the Bad Boy of Badminton, and, as far as I can tell, all around douchebag.
During the gold medal match in men's singles, Dan, who is the number one ranked player in badminton-crazed China, put on a show against his opponent; a show of bratty petulance, that is! Oh snap! He was constantly delaying the game, insisting on a change of shuttlecock (hehe), pointing and gesturing at the line when he disputed a call (which was frequently), pumping his fist and screaming in Chinese, and overall showing up his opponent.
I'm not against showboating in general. In fact, when done right, a proper amount of showmanship can add to the enjoyment of an event (yes, I'm still talking about Usain Bolt - he is amazing!) But watching Lin Dan play badminton turned me into Joe Buck.
Lin Dan's poor sportsmanship on the court is only rivaled by his asshattery off the court. Want to find some examples, other than the fact that his blog had two different pictures of himself putting cologne on in front of a mirror? Honestly, you do not need to look very hard.
Lin's most recent public bust-up was with South Korea's Chinese coach Li Mao in January. During a defeat to Lee Hyun-il, Lin threw his racket in Li's direction after protesting a line call awarding a match point to Lee. Lin refused to apologize for his outburst, saying Li was insulting him in Chinese."
"In April, Lin was forced to deny on his blog newspaper reports that he had punched his coach Ji Xinpeng in training."
"Lin has also had some famous public spats with the Athens champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia. It has been written before: Lin Dan is Chinese for John McEnroe."
This last fact is not accurate. Lin Dan does not translate as John McEnroe. It actually translates as "I'm a spoiled douchebag who thinks the fact that I'm good at what is, ultimately, a pretty retarded sport makes me better than you, and I live in a country that reinforces this inflated view of myself." (It really is amazing how much meaning the Chinese language can pack into each word.)
Despite my distaste, Dan is huge in China. He is, after all, the best player in China's most popular sport. He is dating the number one female player, and an entire generation of Chinese girls is absolutely dewy for him. This only confirms a sneaking suspicion I've had: Chinese people are all jerks.