Thursday, April 14, 2011

I'm Back, Motherfudgers

Good day. After six years in suspended animation for a series of tests (let's not go there) I'm back, and excited to use all kinds of technology that wasn't available to me before: YouTube, Twitter, Cyclops-from-the-X-Men-style laser visors.

For those who don't remember me, I'm a laser powered baby wolf with the power to shoot lasers out of my eyes. I'm also interested in politics, rhetoric, and culture. I don't know why I called you motherfudgers. I can't eat fudge.

And now, for the three of you I haven't alienated, here is an unnecessary violin cover of "Let's Get It Started (In Here)" originally performed by the worst group ever.

Monday, February 21, 2005

NewsFlash: Hunter S. Thompson Dies of Something Other Than Drugs

Hunter S. Thompson survived Hell's Angels, Nixon, a generation of swine and a scary amount of ether (as if there's a non-scary amount) only to shoot himself because of a second Bush term? Okay, I don't know if that's the reason. A lot of us will be irresponsibly throwing around speculation in the next few weeks, and I just want to be ahead of the pack. Like Hunter was.

Personally, I though Dr. Gonzo would be happy to live in a world where President Bush is finally on tape talking about his drug use. It's not at a fear and loathing level or anything, but at least he can't refuse to acknowledge it anymore.

Also, in memoriam, I'm having a Write a Hunter S. Thompson Paragraph contest. I'll go first:
"Listen here, you leperous pig. If you insist on interrupting these delicate negotiations, at least take some morphine," I said, seizing on the momentary darkness to shovel most of the pills onto the bonfire. "As your attorney, I advise you to stick what's left of those up your ass," he said, but silenced himself when I glanced ominously at the pistolero.

Moving Right Along

Thanks, Amanda Egge, for commenting on the S.U.V. post and allowing us to end our long blog-wide nightmare of non-posting.

Also, this is too funny not to share. Respect.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Come On, People

I can't write anything new until SOMEONE comments on the "Socially Unconscious Vehicle" post. Why aren't people responding to this? Is the mock-abbreviation (S.U.V., get it?) too clever for itself? Or too obvious? I seriously thought coffee houses would be abuzz by now with this hilarious expression, which I believe I coined. I really thought this was gonna be my big break.

P.S. If you have the means, I really recommend walking on your local frozen lake and maybe even lasering a figure 8 in the ice. It just feels good!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Socially Unconscious Vehicle

So today I'm writing from a region rich in country-western music. What got me writing this was a new song by someone named Chely Wright, who's brother is a Marine. So far so good. The song, "The Bumper of My S.U.V.," is about how she slapped a Marines sticker on the bumper of her -- you guessed it -- and received a rude gesture from a fellow Nashville motorist.

Chely figures that this motorist was some kind of misguided peacenik who assumes all Marines are warmongers. Chely says that's unfair, and asks this woman to remember that Marines are fighting to protect us, which is true a lot of the time:

"So I hope that lady in her minivan turns on her radio and hears this from me, as she picks up her kids from their private school and drives home safely on our city streets or to the building where her church group meets," Chely sings. "Yeah, that's why I've got a sticker for the U.S. Marines on the bumper of my SUV."

But I think Chely may be missing the woman's point. Chely didn't put the Marines sticker on "The Bumper of My Mid-Sized Sedan." She put it on the back of an S.U.V. that sucks up twice as much oil as a regular car. And that puts Marines, and perhaps even regular folks like Chely, in danger.

I could make an argument here about how U.S. oil consumption props up totalitarian Middle Eastern governments, leading many misguided young men to seek justice through terrorism. But I can make an even more direct link between S.U.V. driving and terror.

Your oil dollars are going to Saudi Arabia, which gives them to madrasas, where students are taught to reject modernity and hate Americans. Okay? When you buy oil, and especially when you buy enough oil for an S.U.V., you're paying to educate poor, desperate Muslim kids about the supposed evils of America. And those kids grow up to hate and sometimes kill Americans, especially Marines.

So Chely, the woman who gave you the finger might have agreed with you about supporting our troops. Maybe she just thinks you're a hypocrite, and that your disingenous bumper sticker is the most obscene gesture of all.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

My Secret Identity

Since I started writing about traveling Europe, many people have written to ask (complain) about how I get around undetected. "Isn't it a little tough for a laser-powered baby wolf," begins a typical letter, "to get through customs?"

Yes and no. It would be incredibly difficult for a laser-powered baby wolf to go all the places I go. But it's easy for a dog.

I guess it's time to admit that I have a secret identity. I know a lot of people are saying, "Of course you do. You're a person pretending to be a wolf," as if there's a person alive who has my insight. No, my friends, my secret identity is Shabbat, the family dog of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.


Sure, Tom was good when he won all those Pulitzer prizes in Beirut and Jerusalam, but he's not such a genius when it comes to latching the back gate. This has allowed me to switch comfortably in the last few months between life with the Friedmans (including the excellent travel benefits) and writing this column from my secret Den of Democracy.

Sure, to show my thanks I occasionally whisper suggestions to Tom as he sleeps. ("Go to Spain. Take Shabbat for protection. Plus he's a great way to meet chicks.") But generally, to the Friedmans and the rest of the world, I am a simple mutt with spectactularly colored eyes.
I am back in America now, and am considering writing about life in the Red States. I wonder if Robert Novak has a dog?

Saturday, January 29, 2005


The Iraqi elections won't make any practical difference in the lives of most Americans or Iraqis. The United States owns Iraq now. It's ours, for better or (usually) worse. We can let Iraqis choose new leaders, but these new leaders don't come with a new army or social services or schools. The Iraqis will still be stuck with what we Americans give them now, which isn't very good.

In my recent world travels I met a writer who just went to Iraq. I figured some of the bad press about Iraq was probably hyperbolic, so I asked him: Isn't there a silent majority, or at least minority, of Iraqis who just get up in the morning and go to work and manage to avoid all the carnage? He just started at me. "No," he said. "Everyone's afraid to go anywhere."

Raad al-Naqib, a Baghdad dentist as quoted recently in the The New York Times, said much the same thing:
"Every day, when you leave your home, you don't know what will happen - bombs, bullets, kidnapping," Dr. Naqib said as he braced himself against the near-freezing cold in the garden of the private sports club where he had taken his wife and three children for lunch, their first family outing in months. "You ask me about hope - there is no hope. On ordinary days, I cannot even allow my children to play in the garden. To them, a garden is something they only see through windows."
Will Iraq's new mystery leader make things any different? Of course not. He'll be a figurehead -- a new target for insurgents. It's almost cowardly of us to give Iraqis new leaders who will essentially be a decoy for the real people in power. The Iraqi leaders will be quarterbacks who can get sacked but can't run, throw, or call plays.

It reminds me of The Sopranos. Remember when Tony installed feeble, senile Uncle Junior as the titular head of the family? Tony knew what he was doing. He kept running the family business, but let Uncle Junior wear the target on his back. That's what we're doing to Iraq's new Uncle Juniors.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

A Salute to Comedic Heroes

I didn't realize it until now, but the opening paragraph of my last post owes a debt to a snatch of dialogue in the highly underrated Whit Stillman film, Barcelona. I realized this today as I arrived in -- you guessed it -- Barcelona. In the exchange I'm thinking of, a pretty Spaniard attempts a compliment, telling an American naval officer, "You seem very intelligent for an American." Unsure whether to insult himself or his country, he responds, "Well, I'm not."

My last post also owes a debt, of course, to National Lampoon's European Vacation. Someday, I hope, Chevy Chase will be recognized for his masterful critique of the WASPish arrogance of the American male. His characters are never bad guys: they're just out for casual sex or easy money or nice vacations. The genius of his best characters, however, is that they have no idea how their small, simple goals hurt the world around them.

Clarke Griswold sees nothing insensitive about leading his family in a singalong of "Jim Crack Corn." He just wants them to have fun on their long drive. He doesn't realize that throwing Rusty's beret off the Eiffel Tower will result in the death of a small dog. And of course it never occurs to him that his ooh-la-la videotape of his wife will end up in the wrong hands. He is the perfect embodiment of the unintentionally dangerous American.

The other master of this type of role is Chris Eigeman, one of the stars of Barcelona. He's the one who gets to say "Well, I'm not." In Stillman's first movie, Metropolitan, his character hits on something very American when he accuses a new acquaintance of being "one of those public transportation snobs" who won't take taxis. In Barcelona, his character jumps from a cab to change graffiti that snipes at "Yankee pigs" to make it say "Yankee deer."

Unlike Chevy Chase's characters, Eigeman's are well aware that they are in a culture war. They just have no interest in settling it peacefully. Eigeman's characters know they aren't particularly intelligent -- even for Americans -- but they regard victory as their birthright. Remind you of anyone?