Archive for April, 2007

April 19, 2007

I like to think of myself as a pretty organized person, so the fact that my bedroom is quickly descending into entropy bothers me a little bit. Somehow I’ve managed to convince myself – and this doesn’t make any sense, I know – that this problem will go away as soon as I graduate from high school.

Weird, I know. But that seems to be the pattern with all of my problems. Once I’m out of high school, there are going to be a whole host of things I don’t really need to worry about. And a whole host of new, exciting things to worry about, I’m sure, but those are the in the future, and therefore imaginary.

I really need to clean my room at some point this week. Another thing that I tell myself I have plenty of time to do, given the week off. But that’s not really true either. It’s not a week off. It’s a week for writing, a week for reading Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, a week for selling ads for Blue Prints, a week for finally rescheduling my driver’s test. It’s a week for scholarship applications, NYU paperwork and query letters.

Query letters!

Yep. I’m at that magical moment in a young writer’s life where he has enough of a manuscript to start going out and begging agents to represent it. So far I’ve sent out exactly one letter. That number will probably go up tomorrow.

I’m optimistic about my chances, which is funny, because I’m feeling the exact same way I felt right before I heard back from Columbia admissions. But I’m pretty sure this thing I’m writing is good, which is obviously not an objective endorsement, but if anything my first reflex is to trash anything I’m writing. So the fact that I’ve made it through 120,000 words without ever once hating this thing, even a little bit, is extremely promising. In fact, it’s fair to say that I love it.

And I’ve got a great idea for the next one, which is problematic. I kind of wish this idea would go away, because it’s distracting. It makes it harder to write the current one, and I’m about two or three pushes away from bringing a beautiful baby manuscript into the world. Which, as you can see, has a big enough effect on my demeanor to create some really bizarre metaphors.

Oh, and if someone either knows or is a good literary agent, you can just leave your contact info in the comments. Because hey, it can’t hurt to ask.


Virginia Tech
April 17, 2007

What can I possibly say that hasn’t already been said thousands of times over? This is an unambiguous, unabashed tragedy, a harrowing example of the absolute worst in human nature.

Of course, when faced with the worst in human nature, sometimes the only response is some of the best. Of all the stories I’ve read about that day, this is the one that hit me the hardest.

This is a man who has seen more true horror and evil in his life than anyone ever should. Nobody would blame him if he had just hidden behind a desk – but when the lives of his students were at risk, it wasn’t even something he needed to consider.

Gonzales: Whatever you’re accusing me of, it’s totally not true.
April 15, 2007

Having just read All the President’s Men last week, it seemed like there was something comfortably familiar about today’s weak-ass denial in the Post. It’s not a good sign when the only apology in the entire op-ed is patently ridiculous.

My decision some months ago to privately seek the resignations of a small number of U.S. attorneys has erupted into a public firestorm. First and foremost, I appreciate the public service of these fine lawyers and dedicated professionals, each of whom served his or her full four-year term as U.S. attorney. I apologize to them, their families and the thousands of dedicated professionals at the Justice Department for my role in allowing this matter to spin into an undignified Washington spectacle. [Emphasis mine.]

What does Gonzales feel he has to apologize for? He didn’t do a good enough job of covering this up.

If that’s the case, then he probably shouldn’t be apologizing to the prosecutors themselves, many of whom who have stepped forward and not done a whole lot to reduce the magnitude of this story. Instead he should probably be apologizing to the President, Karl Rove and Kyle Sampson, Gonzales’ own little Scooter Libby.

Besides that revealing apology, the rest of the op-ed isn’t really worth reading. It talks about how awfully concerned he is about everybody else’s concerns, and how he’s just biting his lip with sympathy. Then it goes on to talk about how he fired all of the prosecutors for proper reasons.

Of course, he won’t actually tell us what those reasons are. But they’re definitely proper. Hell, if they weren’t, the op-ed wouldn’t be called “Nothing Improper,” now would it?

This Just In: Romney Passes Go, Collects $23.4 Million
April 14, 2007

“Hey, so those GOP candidates sure do have a lot of money, don’t they?”

“Yeah, but-“

“A looooot of money. They’ve got a bundle.

“Yeah, I guess.”

“I mean, holy crap, look at all that money.”

“Hey, where is this money coming from, anyway? I mean, what major industries? And how is it going to affect their platforms?”


“Uh … hello?”

“That sure is a crapload of money.”

April 13, 2007

Hey, cool. Looks like the marriage equality bill passed in Judiciary.

Dependent, undisciplined, sleeping late
April 13, 2007

Stuck Between Stations is arguably the best songs from one of today’s best rock bands, The Hold Steady. I’ve loved this song ever since the album first came out because it sums up a lot of what is great about the band – it’s funny, sad, and painfully earnest. Those four-odd minutes are the soundtrack to being a teenager.

Which is why I was excited when I found out today that Stuck Between Stations finally had a music video. Watch:


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Besides the amazing music, it’s an unremarkable video up to the last minute – then you realize that this song is nothing less than a message directly to every single confused, isolated teenager in the United States. Craig Finn’s telling us that he’s been there and he knows how much it blows. He’s the cool adult, the one that levels with us and doesn’t condescend.

And as if that wasn’t clear enough, where does The Hold Steady play Stuck Between Stations live for the first time? In a public high school, that’s where.

The Hold Steady at Littleton High School

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Incidentally, Stuck Between Stations also happens to be a really fun song to play on the guitar.

April 13, 2007

The White House’s defense against charges of politicizing the Justice Dept. is pathetic. Here’s the backstory:

A couple of days ago it came out that several White House staffers, in addition to their White House email addresses, also had GOP addresses.

The separate addresses were probably used because they were less susceptible to pushy special prosecutors and investigations and whatnot. So obviously, people are curious to see some of the correspondences conducted with those emails that might be relevant to the fired prosecutors.

But – OOPS! Turns out there was a glitch, and some of the emails are accidentally missing. Yeah, I know, that’s so weird, right?

And from there things get even sillier. Because even if the emails were to be recovered, the White House is now arguing that they’re protected by executive privilege.

Josh Marshall explains why this is absurd:

This one is worth slowing down and seeing just what the White House is saying. Executive privilege doesn’t just apply to conversations the president has with his top aides. It doesn’t just apply to conversations his top aides have with each other. It doesn’t even just apply to any presidential aides doing anything connected to the White House. Executive privilege applies to the outside political party work the president’s aides do on their own time.

Executive privilege isn’t just a bag of magic fairy dust that the president can sprinkle on anything that might be incriminating, and using it should be a big deal – under circumstances this suspicious, one would hope there would be much more of a political backlash for using executive privilege.

April 12, 2007

I’m not a big slasher movie fan. It seems like they adhere more tightly to convention than pretty much any other genre of film – even romantic comedies. I can appreciate the occasional movie for pure entertainment value (Grindhouse, for example) but the utter sameness of every single slasher movie out there makes them depressingly dull. Even worse, that seems to be the only kind of horror movie that gets made any more.

That’s why this caught me completely off guard. It seems like such an obvious idea for a movie, and in fact I kind of wish I had thought of it first. That simplicity and seeming obviousness is what makes it brilliant, and it’s what makes this the first horror movie in a very long time to actually grab me with its concept.

The bleak nihilism of a horror movie and the utter narcissism and moral decay of the weapons industry are a perfect fit for each other, and it allows for something that most horror movies are sorely lacking in – allegory. Why has no one thought of this before?

April 12, 2007

John McCain is a political genius. The guy’s always been able to find just the right way to say “maverick” to the general public and “please God I will do absolutely anything for a little more prestige” to the beltway. So I, of course, have eagerly awaited what amazing feats of political maneuvering he was going to pull with his latest stab at becoming president.

Right now, his strategy is embracing an absolutely disastrous, failed policy that also happens to be about as popular as ebola. And I have to say, way to go sir. After all, what better way to become popular than having people admire you for saying and doing things that they recognize as absolutely batshit insane?

Especially saying things supported by the administration – nothing says “bad boy” like taking marching orders from the White House.

Anyway, sarcasm aside, I do earnestly hope that he continues this strategy throughout the whole duration of his campaign. Which will probably be shorter than he’s planning.

In which Josh Marshall becomes my new Ze Frank
April 11, 2007

TPM just keeps getting better. For example, they’ve started doing this daily vlog. No podcast for now, but here’s hoping they add one soon.

Anyway, the most recent episode, in which we get a mini-tour of the TPM HQ, is embedded below. This episode holds a special place in my heart because that’s where I’d like to be interning during at least some of my stay at NYU – as soon as internship applications for the next semester go up, I’m there.

UPDATE: My bad. I sent Josh Marshall an email asking for a podcast and I got one back gently correcting me. Apparently there is a podcast available on the iTunes music store: it’s just not listed under “Josh Marshall” or “TPM TV” or “Talking Points Memo” or anything like that. Search for Veracifier.

Huh. A play on the word veracity? That’s a really cool idea …

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