September 30, 2004

I Have No Response to That

The Confidence Man finds himself struck dumb with wonderment at this.

September 29, 2004


Slate's Tim Noah weighs in on the new National Museum of the American Indian, and the Confidence Man encounters an unfamiliar PC neologism: "survivance."

In this light, the Confidence Man would like to insist that henceforth, when baseball announcers refer to batters who recently been called out on strikes, that they call them "strikeout survivors" rather than "strikeout victims."

Our National Pastime

The Confidence Man notes with some regret that his prediction regarding the ultimate fate of the Montreal Expos has not come to pass.

No, the forlorn Expos will be relocated to Our Nation's Capital. And the search is one for a new team nickname.

The Confidence Man has a suggestion, one that is in accord with:
  • the trend in other professional sports toward abstract nouns as team names
  • the recent history of the Expos
  • the demographics of the denizens of the new host town
  • electoral trends under the current pResident
Ladies and gentlemen, your Washington Disenfranchise!

US Secretary of Defense Jean-Baptiste Lamarck

Apparently the latest Pentagonese neologism for "buy it before it works" is "evolutionary acquisition." The Confidence Man thinks perhaps he shall try to sell the Pentagon his patented simple lever and inclined plane.

The other term the brass uses, if you can believe it, is "spiral development." Careful, boys, those screws turn both ways (get it? "screw"? "simple lever"? "inclined plane"?).

I wonder what Secretary of State Gregor Mendel thinks about this plan. Actually, since Mendel is out of the loop in the Lysenko Administration, it probably doesn't matter ...

And while we're on the subject, the SF Chron ran an inexcusably boosterish (get it? "booster"?) pro-SDI article a couple of weeks ago ... in the Business section. Oy. Can you say "Space Pork"?

Extraordinary Rendition

Funny, the Confidence Man always thought that this was the unspeakable horror to which the phrase "extraordinary rendition" referred.

Guess I was wrong.

September 28, 2004

"Wildly Unconnected to Reality"


Via the indispensable Laura Rozen's War and Piece, the Confidence Man reads this profile of "the stupidest fucking guy on the face of the Earth," Doug Feith.

That Feith, the single individual with the greatest responsibility for planning the post-war occupation of Iraq, has the ... gall? chutzpah? irony? ... to describe his own detractors' views of Feith's power as "wildly unconnected to reality" is ... well, quite frankly, stunning.

A true "Price, you're priceless" moment.

Vacuous Demagoguery, or Idiots To My Left

Here in the Confidence Man's adopted hometown of Sodom-by-the-Bay, our city government has reached an agreement for a local commercial enterprise to "sponsor" the multipurpose concrete abutment surrounding the field upon which the Sodom-by-the-Bay Sourdough-Eaters play American "football."

Sodom-by-the-Bay being a contentious and parochial little town, several of the more recondite and unreconstructed Lefties on the Board of Supervisors have taken it upon themselves to champion a barricade against the Forces of Modernity. Supervisors Ammiano, Daly, Gonzalez, and Sandoval have offered up ballot Proposition H, which would not only allow city voters to reject the sponsorship deal (and with it the $3M to help support city parks), but also to:

send a signal that San Francisco remains on the front lines against the increased corporatization and commercialization of everyday life.


Folks, this Proposition H is sheer demagoguery, the leftie equivalent of the Defense of Marriage Amendment: a bad policy, based on blinkered ideological biases, reactionary and anti-modern, and proposed solely for the sake of gaining points with the solons' rabid political base.

Mayhaps the Confidence Man should just up and move to France.

September 26, 2004

A Community Is Its Institutions

This is fascinating for any number of reasons, but especially: "The town has all the characteristics of a contemporary American community."

The detail about "La estrella del norte" is very nice, too. Would be more brutally poetic if instead of a smelter, it were an incinerator.

And finally: just why did the government overbid by 60%? Is that an efficient use of our tax dollars?

September 24, 2004

Crossing the Streams

Combining the rich, nougaty filling of debates over the genocide of the Native North Americans with the thick, chocolatey enrobement of ironic, violent deaths of white-collar WASP professionals:

Indians scalp history teacher reenacting Lewis and Clark voyage.

Department of Poetic Justice, Revisited

Jibbenainosay is, as ever, eagle-eyed.

However, the Confidence Man must rebuke him for neglecting his history. We have seen this sort of thing before.

The Case of the Frozen Sara Lee Executive is but one in a series. The Confidence Man takes this as evidence of his own rectitude, and anticipates yet more violently ironic executive deaths.

The Vanishing Junk-Food CEO

Body of missing Sara Lee executive found frozen
Friday, September 24, 2004 Posted: 1:05 AM EDT (0505 GMT)

(AP) -- A retired Sara Lee executive missing since he met with a couple about buying his sport utility vehicle was found dead Thursday, frozen in a rented storage unit. The couple was arrested in what federal authorities believe was a bungled carjacking.

Bungled carjacking! Nonsense. Look at the m.o.: this man was clearly a victim of corporate assassination. My candidates: Stouffer's; NFRA; Eggo.

September 22, 2004

The Vanishing Architect

This is an interesting story that, like so many others covering Native issues, starts out as one thing and ends up as another. In this case, the suggestion seems to be that where "real" or cultural property was being stolen up until now (the other CNN story drools over the fact that the museum is "one of the last sections of prime real estate on Washington's greatest expanse" as if reparations had begun), we've entered "the beginning of a new era": now it's intellectual property that's being stolen by the U.S.

September 21, 2004

Put Mr. Novak's Pants Back On, Soldier!

Can we construe this to mean that active-duty soldiers can also no longer "patronize" right-wing political pundits, FOX News anchors, or Halliburton employees?

On a more serious note, this new draft regulation from the Pentagon would instill a lot more Confidence if we weren't still contracting with DynCorp.

Living With Scorpions

The Confidence Man believes this AP story is wrong.

The world record holder for living with scorpions has to be this woman.

September 20, 2004

Urban Pacification

The GOP has entirely lost control of the mongrelized, schismatic urban areas of the country, and is only able to exert influence over desolate swaths of the countryside.

Wait -- why does that sound familiar?

Crayfishin' in Texas

The Confidence Man finds another intriguing decontextualized nugget in the Austin Statesman article* on political demographic trends:

[Burleson (TX) County] Democrat and former family physician Joe Smith puts much of the blame [for the county flip-flopping to the GOP side of the ledger] on Bill Clinton. "When he got (sex) [sic; emphasis added] in the Oval Office, it just tore up things," the 83-year-old Smith said. "It chased everybody out of" the Democratic Party.

Now, about that parenthetical elision ... well, as the Confidence Man likes to say, ironies abound.

*Registration required: The Confidence Man relies on the generosity of his good pal Brock Chandler, whose email is seelabee at yahoo dot com and uses the password bertolucci.

Inexplicably Zen Political Metaphor of the Year

Via Political Animal, in an otherwise straightforward and fascinating article from the Austin Statesman on political demographics, the Confidence Man reads this:

"We keep all the shrimp away from all the mussels," Republican strategist Bill Greener says of the nature of American politics. "We keep all the mussels away from the oysters. And we keep all the oysters away from all the lobsters."

Of course, if (to Texas Republicans, anyway), all American politics is shellfish, then that would explain why Jews and Muslims aren't welcome, eh?

September 17, 2004

Ironies Abound

The Confidence Man reads in Wired (via Arts & Letters Daily) of the British epistemologist Gordon Rugg's thesis that something called "the Voynich manuscript" is an elaborate Renaissance forgery.

Now, the Confidence Man knows little of Rugg or this "Voynich manuscript"; but he does know that when an Italian science writer thinks that "the ideal Voynich expert - a code-breaking, medieval-savvy hoaxologist - probably [doesn't] exist," well ... then something fishy is afoot.

Hmmm ... a "code-breaking, medieval-savvy hoaxologist"? No, the Confidence Man can't think of any of those, either.

September 16, 2004

Point Conceded

This is certainly all the evidence the Confidence Man needs to acknowledge that God is indeed punishing Florida for its electoral transgressions.

Although, we must say, if on November 2nd of this year Florida is hit by the 23rd tropical storm of the season (which would begin with what letter?), that would really nail it down on the side of Divine Retribution.

Live by the generator...

Two Americans, Briton kidnapped
Thursday, September 16, 2004 Posted:
6:21 AM EDT (1021 GMT)
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Two Americans and a Briton were seized by a group of
kidnappers from their home in central Baghdad early Thursday, an Iraqi Ministry
of Interior spokesperson told CNN. [...]

She said when one of the occupants of the house came out to turn on the
electric generator, something he did at the same time every day, the abductors
moved in.

This is absolutely poetic. Michel Serres would say that here, in one sentence, you have expressed concisely a parable of systematicity and the "noise" it both subsists on and tries to suppress.

September 14, 2004


With all due respect, Jibbenainosay feels that the root of the Confidence Man's misreading of the providential evidence with respect to the Four Hurricanes of the Apocalpyse is a temporal fixation incommensurate with God's communications system. It's asynchronous, you see: Florida doesn't get it, so it keeps doing ridiculous things like allowing Nader onto the ballot. And that's o.k. There are plenty more hurricanes.

But then, I suppose any place that has a lot of hurricanes needs real democracy badly. Don't like "big government," eh? Well, big government's bailing you out, literally, right now. See my previous post, and thank your lucky stars you have a family connection, Florida, because otherwise the Cheney Disaster Relief Team would be showing up not with food, drinking water, and low-interest loans, but Exxon T-Shirts and indentures with the Transportation Safety Administration for you to sign your children's lives away to.

Imperium in imperio

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The United States announced it will shift more than $3
billion earmarked for Iraqi reconstruction to improve security and oil
production, the State Department said Tuesday.

My fellow Americans, witness the continuous topography of domestic and foreign policy. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. When the terrorists ruin your water source, California--when the "insurgents" poison your Viagra supply, New Jersey--this government isn't going to allocate money to make your lives better. You won't get water, you won't get medicine. You'll get police, who will instruct you to go fill your car with gasoline.

September 13, 2004

Are You There, God? It's Me, Florida

Now, if these hurricances are indeed God's vengeance on Florida -- then why oh why does Florida continue to tempt the Almighty to incur yet further Wrath?

Shouldn't That Be the "Chalabi Gene"?

Or, Why Scientists Need, in Addition to a Classic Liberal Arts Education, Training in Pop Culture and Political Science To Avoid Outdated Metaphors.

"You have reached the Sprint voicemailbox of ... 'God'"

The Confidence Man is not necessarily so sure about the divine retributive nature of the inclement visitations upon the Sunshine State due to its plebiscitary problems.

Or, at least, the Confidence Man hopes that's not the case, as the widespread adoption of electronic voting machines bodes ill for the entire Continental US.

Speaking of voices from the wilderness, it seems to the Confidence Man that the recent controversies over the provenance of CBS's Bush Texas Air National Guard memos are right up Jibbenainosay's alley.

As, we think, is this.

September 09, 2004

Message from God

Jibbenainosay, who frequently hears the voice of God, finally has some God-prose that relates to affairs of the day. The Divine says, "I will continue to send hurricanes to destroy Florida until it becomes a democracy again."

September 04, 2004

Vicious Homophones

Hm. Perhaps this will finally inspire DQ to change the name of this.

I mean, associating your product with outmoded eugenics theories is one thing; associating it with "the scourge of female genital mutilation" is another thing entirely.

(Of course, "moolaade" does apparently mean "protection"; perhaps the blended caffeinated soft-serve beverage is meant to provide some sort of juju aegis against bad traditional practices: "Stand back, father! For I have the forces of Modernity at my disposal, as exemplified by this godless mass-produced frosty beverage! Your primitive tribal paternalism is no match for the power of surplus labor value and agribusiness!")

(Oh, and about that "scourge of female genital mutilation" business: isn't the "scourge" mechaphor perhaps a bit too vivid for a mainstream publication?)

In any event, the MooLatte still maintains a troublesome relation with "blackness," no?