Thursday, October 30, 2008
I wrote about Obama's infomercial and "Daily Show" appearance here. I was stunned by last night's ad, expected it to be seriously dull, but it had me all choked up over the plight of the average American family. How did so many people land in such deep shit simultaneously? It really did feel like prices doubled overnight, on everything, and suddenly we were all broke. Naturally, Obama's not going to deliver us all from evil simultaneously, but my God it would be nice to see that man on TV regularly instead of the dope we've been wincing at for 8 years now.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Those fucking asshats at the LA Times laid off one of their best writers (and a good friend of mine) yesterday, Carina Chocano. How fucking stupid are they? Really, really fucking stupid. Read her latest review for the paper, and then tell me if you'd prefer a simple thumbs up-thumbs down from your typical dumbed-down movie reviewer. If so, you can join the Honky Asshat League of Greater Los Angeles.
Show your support for Carina's smart writing by buying yourself (and your serial monogamist friends) her hysterically funny book, Do You Love Me, Or Am I Just Paranoid? I don't think many books of this variety are funny. At all. But Carina's is shockingly, absurdly funny. Buy it. Trust Me. I don't mention stuff I don't like, even when a friend of mine wrote it. Make your day. In fact, buy up all the copies available and force them to do a massive reprinting.
If you don't laugh out loud at least 5 times, I will personally send you a check in the mail for your purchase price, which you can apply to your therapy expenses.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Wrote about the "Mad Men" finale for Salon this morning. I love that show so much, it makes me want to wear red lipstick and scowl and chainsmoke and hobble around in painful shoes.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Wondering why Obama hasn't lashed out angrily at McCain's attacks? Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson, one of the most compelling speakers I've ever seen in person, explains in this excellent interview reprinted in Salon. Go read it, honkies!
Then buy his book, Race Rules, and learn a thing or two about race relations in this country. Or, if you got to Georgetown, take his class. Yeah, I'm sure that's an easy class to get into. Did you know I studied under Reynolds Price, Stanley Fish and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. at Duke? Using my powers of imagination! Semester after semester, I would try in vain to get into their classes, and then, when I didn't succeed in making it in or even making it onto the waiting list, I'd sit outside and imagine what they were talking about. Actually, that's not true. I signed up for "Intro to Jazz" instead and then skipped it to smoke bong hits and watch "Ren & Stimpy."
I'm ready to get another degree now, honkies. I'm mature enough, curious enough, and I'm not a drunk like I was the last time I attended an institution of higher learning. What should I get a degree in?
This is going to be my new way of driving people insane: Recession-blind chatter! Some examples:
"Hey, where should we spend Christmas? We can't decide between Itay and Bali. Bill found a great villa in Tuscany, but it looks sort of drafty in the pictures."
"Have you been to Chez Panisse lately? I think it's slipping, frankly."
"Do you think jacuzzi bath tubs are tacky? I keep saying the imported tile will class it up, but Bill isn't so sure, yet he's the one who insists on having heated floors..."
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Why does my archive only go to December of 2006? I can't figure it out.
In other news, I've received a lot of great music suggestions -- will publish my favorites here soon.
UPDATE: No one is offering any help on this front! But look to the right, scroll down: There's no link to the last 2 years of archives. Why, honkies, why? I can't figure out why this would be happening, and all of that Blogger html is so tough to parse. Any ideas?
Thursday, October 09, 2008
CRASH CRASH CRASH!
Brother, can you spare a dime?
I think we can safely consider this a stock market crash. The S&P 500 has fallen 42 percent over the last year. The vast majority of that precipitous fall has occurred over the past two weeks. Today, the market closed with the Dow below 8600.
I would check the balances on my retirement accounts, but they are quite literally disappearing into thin air! Hoo hoo ha ha ha! Glory be to Jesus!
My dad is having a serious laugh over this mess somewhere. He was a pretty conservative investor, having studied the huge market crashes extensively, and wrote a lot about banking deregulation and the role of federal monetary policy before the Great Depression. Too bad his sad little honky daughter doesn't have him around anymore to fill her heart with fear over the instability of the stock market. Ok, then! I think I see what you mean at last! You were right! I was wrong! About everything!
We never learn the lessons our parents want to teach us until decades after they wasted their time talking into our empty little heads. Yup, ain't that the truth! Hallelujah, motherfuckers!
Anyway, let's make a good Depression soundtrack, shall we? My first nominee shall be "Everything Is Free" by Gillian Welch. Good old resigned melancholy, you soothe me into a calming state of learned helplessness. Ahh, yes. Mmm.
I think I'll go make some homemade chai and watch the hysteria on the evening news. When the world is crumbling around you, crushing cardamom pods can be therapeutic. Does that mean I'm officially middle-aged? Is 38 middle-aged for a honky? Don't say it is, you honky motherfuckers! Don't you fucking say it is!
Send me your other nominations for the Greatest Depression mix CD, honkadaisiacs! Until then, may the Lord [and Alan Greenspan] bless you and keep you poor and humble, as poor and as humble as the day you was born!
Also, send me your personal down-home cures for the Greatest Depression blues. We will make it through this together, honkies and far-more-attractive non-honky brethren alike!
(Incidentally, why are non-honkies so much hotter than honkies? Particularly as they age, non-honkies get hotter and hotter, while honkies dry up and crust over like stale white bread. Motherfucker! Curses on the honky gods for making us so goddamn pale and ugly!)
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
BLOOD'S ON FIRE
In these trying times, I need some really, really good music. Help me find good music! I love Pinback, Sufjan Stevens, TV On The Radio, The Shins, Arcade Fire. Surely there's something out there that I'm missing. I'm tolerant of odd and interesting and also tolerant of pop, to some degree. Recent releases would be nice, so I can write about it in Salon's Critics' Picks if it's good.
But old albums are good, too. Send me some recommendations! (Email below to the right, linked from "write to rabbit.") Speaking of old, also love Thirty Ought Six, Slint, Drive Like Jehu, Elliott Smith, PJ Harvey, Three Mile Pilot. Love Three Mile Pilot. Love. Love. Love.
PInback is probably my favorite of all time. Pinback, you complete me. Autumn of the Seraphs, great album. Also love Nautical Antiques and Blue Screen Life.
But if you don't have the new TV On The Radio, Dear Science, you'd better go get it, honkies!
FROM NOTHNG TO NOWHERE
The stock market is really tanking, motherfuckers. Personally, watching my retirement balance shrink beyond reason is just amusing. I'm not about to retire. (Unlike my poor mother, who just retired and is looking at a seriously compromised budget at this point.)
This storm was a long time coming, obviously. You know what pisses me off, though? I thought about moving everything to money market last fall, after reading sites like Another Fucked Borrower for a few years, and I only moved 30%, in accordance with the common wisdom of every fucking stupid financial planning and investment book I've read.
I don't why it takes fifty million examples until I'm willing to face the truth: Common wisdom is bullshit. I've decided as much on other fronts. It's just that, when you start to apply that notion to everything -- that no one knows what the fuck they're talking about and you have to follow your own instincts and question every assumption that every mindless stooge feeds you -- you turn into some paranoid motherfucker living in a fucking nuclear fallout shelter in the basement.
It's total shit, though, to say that if your timeline is longer than 20 years, you should be in stocks and shouldn't try to time the market. I could've saved my own ass in a big way, just by using my head, looking around, and noticing that the sky was clearly about to fall. Oh, but if your asset allocation is just so, you're better off. Right, and index funds typically outperform managed funds. Just look at the absurdly shitty, flat performance of any S&P 500 index fund over the past 10 years if you want proof. That money could've made 4% a year in CDs, instead it made exactly nothing -- and that was before this latest market plunge. Now it's taken a big hit. How is it that people walk around telling you to aim to double your money every ten years? All it takes is ten bad years, and all of your plans are dashed. And look, you can be right on target, then take a huge hit on the eve of your retirement.
Yes, yes, move into bonds, move into cash as you're about to retire. But most advisors only want you to be 40% in bonds at most, no matter what. All of these people are far riskier and more aggressive than they let on, and all of their wisdom is based on the performance of the stock market from the post-war period through the late '90s. The stock market today is a treacherous motherfucking place, whether you're in managed funds, index funds, ETFs, whatever. I know that when you move money out of stocks, you still have to time the bottom and get in before the market rebounds. But I'd rather miss the rebound slightly than sit on the sidelines and watch while the market tanks and my balances fall - something we all knew would happen. And look, when that lunatic bull Jim Cramer is saying we might see the Dow sink to 7700? Regardless of what you think of the man, that's a sign of the times.
Anyway, I don't want to belabor the investment thing, because right now I'm just happy to have a job. I'm just astounded, once again, by how ridiculous it is to do what other people are doing because everyone agrees that it's the thing to do.
People who don't bleat and trudge along like sheep in the herd are always painted as radicals, paranoids and freaks. Why is everyone so afraid of weirdos and naysayers? God, I wish there were more weirdos in the world.
I guess election years really bring this issue out into the open. It's incredible, the amount of pandering candidates are forced to do in order to win. You can't win just by being smart and reasonable and having a fairly sane plan and a commitment to justice. The fact that Ronald Reagan, that lamentable faker, is worshipped while a pure-hearted, deeply just, intelligent man like Jimmy Carter is seen as a failure really lays bare what Americans prefer in their presidents: They love leaders who are deeply full of shit -- you know, in line with everyone else in the spotlight: CEOs, actors, pop stars and other natural-born fakes.