Great lines from books I’ve not yet written.

Mott High School was full of fucking degenerates, but the chicks were freaky, dude. I’m talking like I’ll blow you for a McDonald’s hamburger freaky!

Like these chicks:


For some SPAM the way to save money

That would be the meat-like product in a can, not the unwanted emails in your in-box for male performance-enhancing drugs or low low mortgage rates or whatever. In any case, according to Generation X Finance sales of this crap is on the rise.

Yak! I’d sooner eat our pet guinea pig, which probably really boges (does anyone say that anymore – boge?) people out. It definitely creeps my wife out when I joke about it and of course I never say such things around my daughter. But in fact guinea pigs are a source of food in some parts of the world. Wikipedia says so. So there. The word is they’re kind of pork-like, and I couldn’t help thinking that we should have more than one guinea pig. You know, for when the society collapses and food is hard to come by and all that. We have a descent sized back yard; we can grow veggies and raise guinea pigs. We’d have it made in the shade, as Potsie from Happy Days was so fond of saying.

Millennial Makeover

No. It’s not a new reality TV show, although it has potential, a nice ring to it, I must admit. It is the title of a new book. A week or so ago I nabbed it from the library. Millennial Makeover has a subtitle that claims it is about “MySpace, YouTube & the Future of American Politics.” How could I resist.

I found the premise of this book to be both encouraging and vexing. Encouraging because it seemed to suggest a major shift in politics in this country and God knows we need that. And vexing because, well, it seemed to be crediting such a change to the Millennial generation. It touched a GenX nerve. It’s happening already, I thought. The Millennials are coming! The Millennials are coming! And they’re going to get all the fucking credit and Generation X is going to get pushed to the back of the bus, if not off of it entirely. And yet I checked it out anyway, but didn’t pick it up until tonight for some reason.

I knew that there was some discussion of Generation X in this book because I’d checked the index but I couldn’t help suspecting that references would be merely points of comparison, casting Generation X as the lesser cohort to the Millennial generation. Based on some comments in the Introduction I was, at least in part, correct.

The authors assert that this book is “an attempt to illuminate Millennial values and behaviors, as well as the technologies that help to create and enable them, for the Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers who are currently running America.” But I would argue that Gen-Xers are in fact not running much of American right now. Seriously, I’d like to see a list of names on this one. I’m not saying there aren’t any, but my guess is that mostly it is still fucking Boomers.

Also, the authors failure to credit the Gen-Xers who actually created much of the “technologies that help to create and enable them [Millenials]” is irksome. It is my understanding that MySpace, YouTube and Google, among others, were created by Gen-Xers. Am I wrong on this point?

But I get it, I get it. The Millennial generation is not only almost twice the size of Generation X, but, according to the book, this new generation, born between approximately 1982 and 2003 (which, btw, would include my 7-year-old daughter, who was born in 2001) is bigger than any previous generation. So, you know, they must figure they have to pander to them. The authors are admitted Democrats and it seems pretty clear already that they want this new generation brought mostly into the fold of their favored party.

I also take pretty strong exception to the labeling of Generation X as “generally conservative,” which without more specific explanation seems to cast Gen-Xers as largely Republican, which I doubt is the case. We tend to be non-joiners and probably, even if we tend to prefer one party over the other, tend to think of ourselves as mostly Independents, and I’m not talking the Joe Lieberman kind of Independent. So…you know…. we got that going for us.

It would be more accurate to called Generation X largely pragmatic.

Also it bugs me that they identify Barrack Obama as “a late Baby Boomer born on the cusp of Generation X,” but I get that too, since part of Obama’s pitch is that he is transcendent, of not only race but of generational delineation as well, and I suppose in a way he is, but I’m still claiming him as a fellow GenXer, because as Jeff Gordinier points out in his book X Saves the World, Obama, in his book, Dreams from my Father, describes his journey from cynicism to idealism, and that makes him a GenXer.

Still I agree with the authors that what set Obama apart from the other candidates was how he “distanced himself from the rest of the candidates in a crucial way that demonstrated his awareness of generational differences and his sensitivity to the concerns and political style of the Millennial Generation,” even if it irritates me that they seem not to care whether Obama is appealing to Generation X, even though he certainly is. He is to this GenXer in any case. It was that very distinction of Obama’s, that he was beyond all these generational beefs hatched no the campuses of a few elite universities and colleges decades ago that really brought me around to him.

Despite my irritation, I read on, and a good thing too because, based on the first chapter anyway, there seems to be some interesting valuable stuff in this book. And while I do appreciate the more or less apt comparison of the Generation X to the Israelites, who were forced to wander the desert for 40 years “–a generation whose members often felt as if they had to endure a nomadic existence without guidance or support from their parents or from society as a whole,” I would point out that unlike the Israelites, whom the Lord was punishing for their sins, Generation X’s only “sin” was being born at a less than advantageous time and for some reason being marked as the whipping post for the previous generation.

We’ll see how the rest of the book pans out. I got plenty of other shit to read.

Paranoid, the new message of the day

So the latest tactic by the Clinton campaign is to send Bubba out on the trail so that he can spin conspiracy theories that explain why Hilary is not the obvious a favorite as she should be, as is apparently her right and her due.

Hey, Bill. Go have a Big Mac and shut up already!

God, how much longer do we have to endure this self-dellusion Boomer jerk off anyway?

Boomer lacks humor

Got an email in my in box this morning from GenerationXpert regarding her getting the smack-down from a rather humorless Boomer in response to her comment/reply to an eager, ambitious but probably slightly  naive Millennial. Check it.  What a prick — the Boomer, I mean, no the Millennial kid.

Still, I think we’ve come to expect this from Boomers, especially those in the business world. Of course, that doesn’t make any less obnoxious. Man, can’t wait for some of these fuckers to retire.

As for the Millennial corporate Power Ranger’s claim that Millennials are going to give the corporate world a much needed make-over. The dude sounds very much like another Millennial I heard about recently. A kid (see, I’m 40 now, aka a geezer so I can call someone in their 20s a kid) still in college, majoring in marketing, whose career plan is thus: after graduation get a job as Director of Marketing for a casino and then open his own casino. Um, excuse me, but where in that plan is take a bottom rung job and eat shit for, oh, say, a few years in order to, um, actually learn something, so that you can actually know what the fuck you’re doing before you try to take over the casino world. Anyhoo…sounds like someon has watched the Ocean movies one too many times.

And for the record, what GenerationXpert said was funny.

When did women become so pessimistic?

Cool article on Slate this morning that laments the bullshit cries that there will not be another viable female candidate for the Presidency for a generation or more, that somehow Hilary Clinton is the only real hope for a female president now, and that mostly because she was lucky enough to be married to a president. And this article was written by — wait for it — that’s right, a woman. What is most lamentable is that this opinion is being pushed mostly by other women. What the fuck? Can they see nothing positive in Hilary’s presidential run, even if she does not ultimately win the nomination?

Well, the author of the piece, Dahlia Lithwick, apparently can:

We all know these double standards exist for females in public life—voters demand toughness but not bitchiness, confidence but not shrillness, authenticity but also glamour. If the Clinton candidacy has taught us anything, however, it’s that a woman can straddle all those irreconcilable demands and still win. She can win more than 16 million votes in the primaries and around 1,779 delegates. Clinton has shown that a woman can win huge at the ballot box and bring in huge money, and even if Obama ultimately secures the nomination, those facts will not change. Faced with all that evidence of success, how do the naysayers prove it can never be repeated?

In fact, the naysayers can not prove that “it can never be repeated” because you can’t prove a negative, but apparently this hasn’t stopped some from trying, and in the process are undercutting the accomplishments of their candidate:

They argue that Clinton had a legitimate shot at the presidency only because she represented a once-in-a-lifetime lightening strike of marriage, fame, and experience that is not only unique to her but that will die with her failed nomination. Silva quotes commentators who have argued that “only Clinton, a former first lady in an administration that presided over eight prosperous years and a second-term senator who has established her own credentials, could have achieved the successes she has this year.” Zernike’s experts echo this: “Mrs. Clinton had such an unusual combination of experience and name recognition that she might actually raise the bar for women.” Under this theory, Clinton was never really a strong woman candidate; she was just the lucky one who’d married a future president.

There was at least much calculation as luck involved in Senator Clinton’s bid for the presidency. Anyone who says otherwise is either fucking blind or stupid. You don’t have to be a political junkie to see that. But what if it wasn’t calculated? What’s the possibility of a woman candidate throwing her hat in the ring, just to see how she’d fair, only to suddenly find a ground swell of support that lifts her to forefront of the pack and finally as the nominee? You know, sort of like what happened to, oh, say, Obama. Well, according to Dee Dee Meyers… “[n]o woman with Obama’s résumé could run.” Way to believe there Dee Dee.

One of the main naysayer claims is that the overt and overwhelming sexism that played out in this campaign will discourage another female from running for president. First of all, I agree with Lithwick. Why would this be so? Lithwick points to the sexism against Elizabeth Dole’s 2000 bid for the Republican nomination yet somehow that did not dissuade Clinton from running.

Of coures, there was plenty of sexist mudslinging in this campaign, but there was plenty of racial bullshit as well, and by  no less thatn Mr. Clinton himself. The dude race-bated in South Carolina. He didn’t miss-speak. He wasn’t misunderstood. It was clear. Anyone who claims otherwise is crazy as the Cajun rat man, James Carville. And then, on a radio show, Clinton claimed that race card had been played against him. What the fuck?  But if sexism is such an issue in this race then how is it that Clinton is getting so much support from working class white guys? It sure as shit isn’t because they’re wives are telling them how fucking vote for.

No. Utlimately Hilary’s problems less from sexism than from Clintonism. Enough people are sick of the Clintons. And her inability to take this fact more seriously has hurt her. That and her overwhelming sense of self-entilement. She should have cast herself as the underdog years ago, and acted accordingly. But she did not do that. She, and her staff, assumed this thing would be done come Super Tuesday at the latest. So they did not plan past that day. They were not prepared. They underestimated Barack Obama and his supporters. She and her supporters should take a closer look at that fact and see how the next they can keep from allowing it to happen again. And if Hilary and her legion refuse to, then might one suggest that the other qualified female candidates do.


Gen X and Millennials in the workplace

A college friend hipped me to this article from the Harvard Business Review, which, despite me distaste for business in general, and reviews in particular (I don’t even know what that means but I’ve always liked that turn of phrase. Anyhoo…), was rather interesting. It’s about the contentious relationship between GenXers and the corporate world, and how the author sees this as a bad sign because the corporate world needs us GenXers. Well, imagine that. Corporate America needs Generation X. The only problem, according to the article, is that Generation X is not all the thrilled with the corporate world. No news there. But combine that with a report I heard on NPR this morning about a survey of recent and/or soon to be college graduates thatclaimed that about 70% (not sure on the exact number but it was pretty high) of the young people wanted to start their own business rather than work for a big company, and the corporate system may really have a problem on its hands. At least until all the Boomers shrivel up and turn to dust in the wind, which still might not be for awhile. But by that time Generation X and the Millennials may have determined an alternate business paradigm or whatever. Could such a thing be possible? And if so, what would it look like? Perhaps we’ll evolve to a more niche, independent yet loosely interdependent way of conducting business. One that affords more freedom but also more opportunity, even if it will likely be a bit more unstable. It’s worth contemplating in any case.

Of course, I do not blame Millennials for wanting to avoid the corporate slave state. You can’t trust these fucking self-serving entities. They’ll use you like frat boys use drunk freshamn sorority pledges for the Girls Gone Wild cameras, until you’re no longer of use to them, and then they’ll find a way to usher you out the door, preferably with as little severance and other benefits as possible. Not to mention the whole corporate culture is a mind-suck, time-suck, creativity-fucking-drain, I don’t give a shit what they claim! I mean, really about the only benefit is the fast internet connection.

The problem is, not everyone can run their own successful business. And though the idea of a business community structured as a loosely knit conglomeration of independent contractors utilizing each others’ skills and offering mutual support blah blah blah seems nice and all, it’s probably very highly unlikely. But, dammit! We can dream, can’t we?

Still, despite my cynical GenXer proclivities, I am hopeful that Generation X and the Millennial generation will ultimately work better together than the Boomers and Generation X. Hell, just look at Judd Aptow and his legion of Millennial funny boy actors. Sure, us GenXers will seem cranky and bitter, like Dr. Cox seems to JD on SCRUBS, but also like Perry we really do care and want to help our younger cohorts along their intended paths, we just have a particular style of teaching and mentoring, which I think can best be described as using a spoonful of sugar to get down a shovel-full of dirt. It’s not pleasant but it works, and it makes an lasting impression.

In Memory: Sydney Pollack (1934-2008)

Listening to a rerun of an interview with Pollack by Terry Gross. I never usually get to worked up about celebrity deaths, but this was one was a real bummer. Pollack, I guess because he’d been around so long, just seemed like he’d alwasys be around, as ridiculous as that sounds. It’s funny, for a long time I wouldn’t have recognized him on sight, although his name was long familiar to me. I like movies, a lot, but I’m not movie guru or critic or anything like that. And I’m sure a lot of people far more qualified an knowledgeable than I have much more insightful things to say about Mr. Pollack. So I thought that I’d just list some of my favorite movies of his. Of course, he was an actor before he ever directed anything, and was also a producer, so I’ll begin with movie he directed and, if time allows, I’ll add more. In no particular order of prefrence:


The Swimmer, based on the John Cheever short story,for which Pollack is, according to IMDB, uncredited as directory. I’ve seen this movie once, and that was years ago, probably with my college friend, and fellow movie enthusiast, Mike.

Jeremiah Johnson, staring Robert Redford.

The Way We Were

Three Days of the Condor


Out of Africa

Havana, a movie that I always use as the archtype for what is romantic to men, in contrast to what is romantic to women.

These movies alone would constitue a hell of a career, but of course there was more, much more.



I’m still reading this Brett Easton Ellis novel. Yeah, I know. What can I say? I’m a slow reader. Always kind of have been. When I was kid I had comprehension problems. To help it I had to read stories from the newspaper with my mom and then tell her what I’d read. I became a pretty careful reader early on, and as a result a slow reader. I suppose it was inevitable that I become an English major in college, although I never like English class very much, until I got to college. Then…..

Anyhoo…I’m almost finished with Part 3 of Glamorama, on page 319 of 546. In some ways it feels as if the narrative moves too slowly, and yet I find myself caught up in it, despite the shallowness of the characters and dialogue, the preoccupation with looks and name brands, celebrities of all sorts blah blah blah. The conversations that take place are of the type that if I heard them out in public I’d cringe, and want to move away from the people having them just so that I wouldn’t have to hear it. So why am I compelled to read such dialogue? For that matter, why do I find the characters and dialogue interesting? Because the truth is I do not have to force myself to read this book. True, it’s taking me awhile to finish it but that is due to a lack of time, not a lack of interest.

Of course, the difference is that this is fiction, a reflection of the reality, a comment on the reality, even a satire of the reality, and not the actual reality. There is more going on her then just the vacuous chit chat of Victor Ward and his entourage or whatever.

The wikipedia entry for Glamorama dubbs it a satire, similar to American Psycho, but where AP was satirizing consumerism, Glamorama is about our cultural obsession with celebrities and beauty. The entry also provides an interesting note about the similarities between the novel and the Ben Stiller movie Zoolander, and states that Ellis at one point claimed to be considering a law suit and then later that he couldn’t talk about it due to an out of court settlement. I’ve seen Zoolander, but it’s been awhile, and I don’t remember it all that well, and at the time I hadn’t read Glamorama, of course, nor was I aware of the plot of the book.

An interesting device in the first part of the book, set in New York before the real plot begins in earnest, is the repetition of the phrase We’ll slide down the surface of things… , which is taken from the U2 song, Even Better Than The Real Thing, a song I recognized immediately upon hearing it.

It seems to set the tone and initial motion of the plot in the first part of the novel, i.e. Victor Ward’s slide down the surface of things into public humiliation, losing his supermodel girlfriend Chloe, when she realizes that he’s been cheating on her with another model, Alison Poole, who also dumps him, when he’s busted cheating on both of them with an ex-girlfriend from his college days at Camden, the college setting for Ellis’s second novel, The Rules of Attraction, not to mention the college the main character, Clay, from Less Than Zero attends. Also, Victor loses his hip position as club manager for scary dude boss Damien because he was dealing behind the boss’ back to open his own club — a big no no apparently in this world. But he still seems to hold out hope afterwards that he’ll get a role in Flatliners II.

The second part of the novel (although it may have begun in the first part) features a device in which Victor describes what is happening to him as if it scripted and being shot in a movie. He takes his cue on what to say and how to feel from an imaginary director. I swear I had this precise idea years ago, before the book was published. Dammit! If only I’d gotten my slacker ass in gear, I’d be reaping the benefits of such a brilliant idea.

According to the wikipedia entry, the latter parts of this book get pretty violent, like American Psycho violent. Interestingly enough there wasn’t the uproar about it that there was with American Psycho. Why not?

In any case, perhaps Glamorama is a book worth rereading now because of this theme articulated in the wikipedia entry:

…the parallel between the fear of the unlikely, horrible fate of being killed by terrorists and the fear of the extremely likely, rather less horrible fate of being unable to live up to the beauty of professional models. Both fears are fed by the media.

Although ten years after the publication of this novel, the fear of being killed by terrorists doesn’t seem nearly as unlikely as it did then, even though it may in fact be just as, if not more, unlikely. But now more than ever both terrorism and celebrity are fed/fueled by the media. Was Ellis once again far ahead of his time? As some claim he was with American Psycho?

A review from The Guardian touches on what I consider to be one of Ellis’ main themes, when it states: At the same time, it shows that everyone in Glamorama is reprehensibly lacking in real feelings. That theme is the subjugation of real feeling by intensity of sensation, definitely a dominant tone in this novel so far. And I haven’t even gotten to the extreme violence in it yet.

Iron Man was awesome!

I had high hopes for this movie. First, because of the Marvel animated superhero shows that I used to watch on channel 20 as a kid, Iron Man was my favorite.

And second, because Robert Downey Jr. is one of Generation X’s best actors, if not perhaps the best. Sure, he’s had his problems — drugs, jail time, more drugs, more jail time — but you cannot deny the dude’s talent. All the movies that he appears in may not be stellar success, by whatever measure you happen to employ, but I defy anyone to show me a bad performance by this guy. Can’t be done.

I, of course, recall first seeing him in Weird Science, a bizarre teen angst film about two geeks (one played by Anthony Michael Hall, another GenX actor) who, utilizing their computer and geek obsession with science and fear of never getting laid make a hot woman, played by Kelly Labrock, who teaches them the value of having fun, and he stood out instantly. Of course, it was his performance in Less Than Zero as the crack-addicted Julian that was really allowed Downey to show his dramatic acting chops.

Some of Downey’s more recent films that I really dig include: A Scanner, Darkly, Zodiac, and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang! the latter of which I don’t think many people have seen, but they should, and not just because of Downey. Val Kilmer is quite good in it too; who knew he could play such a good fag.

Also looks like Downey will be making a cameo in the coming in June The Incredible Hulk, playing Tony Stark/Iron Man in it. And of course the obligatory Iron Man 2 seems to be slated for 2010. Can’t wait.