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Here's the thing. I'm watching one of these shows on the Cooking Channel featuring food trucks. There's a Scottish expat making fish and chips; in a thick brogue he somewhat wearily explains his irritation with Americans who habitually order a side of tartar sauce: "tartar sauce is basically gherkins." That's this blog. I claim no particular insight, no revelation. If you enjoy the flavor, great, but this blog is basically gherkins.

1st and Ten - The Weekly Tendown: April 11-17, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dear Internet:

Real world family events will necessitate a truncated Tendown 23  (last week, I compared Tiger Woods to Glenn Beck, outed myself as not liking Crispy Sweet and Sour Fish, and gave my review of Woody Allen's "Whatever Works.")

This week and almost certainly next as well, all you get are links - my original concept behind Tendown was the list format could expand or contract in accordance with the amount of time I had to devote to it each week; in practice, I've turned a good portion of my time into Tendown incubation.  Presumably, that will return, as the value of this blog, at least for the writing of it, I can't speak for its reading ('cause I don't have time to read this, are you drunk?) is in the craftsmanship of the ideas.

And there's no time for ideas for at least a couple of weeks - so what you get are links.  Hot buttered links. Hopefully some will be of value.

1. Okay, this is not a link, just a curious observation I had.
Something weird happened on late night television this week; it was Tuesday night - Letterman was on a rerun, Leno (booooooo) and Fallon were new.

Here were Letterman's guests: Kelly Ripa, Lady Antebellum (I like them both incidentally, I don't listen to much country music, but I'm fine with Lady Antebellum, and Ripa and I are almost to the day the same age, and I've always enjoyed her.  She's could use a sandwich, perhaps.

Now, remember - that's a rerun.

On Leno that same night - Lady Antebellum.  On Fallon that same night - Kelly Ripa.

I didn't see this discussed anywhere - has this been going on long?  Is this a normal occurrence guests to appear on two of the late night shows on the same night?  I know the days where Freddy DeCordova would blackball Steve and Eydie if they went on Merv within 6 months after a Carson appearance have long past - but I was really surprised to see that on the digital guide this week.

2. Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber.
-It's a simple premise and one with, presumably, a short shelf life, but fun nontheless.

3. I Have A Copy of the Jersey Shore Location Contract

-You know that reality people on reality shows don't just decide "hey, let's go to that one restaurant with the guacamole that we always go to" for a show's production to set up at a particular location requires a lot of coordination - specifically, a location agreement worked out a healthy period beforehand.  Jersey Shore is headed down my way for season 2, and it's had a challenging time finding locations - including being turned down by a water park about 5 minutes from my lady type friend's home.

I have a copy of the standard Location Contract sent by Double Guns (the production company).  Included therein (true story) is the following paragraph:

You acknowledge and understand that the nature of the Project is such that Producer, for dramatic purposes, may make certain misrepresentations to you and others, which misrepresentations may relate to any and all topics of every kind and nature whatsoever. You acknowledge that, while such conduct might otherwise constitute an actionable tort, you have freely and knowingly consented to such conduct. You further acknowledge and understand that your participation in the Project may lead to emotional strains and pressures on you, your business, your friends, your co-workers and/or your family, before, during and after your participation in the Project. You further understand that Producer’s use of the Property in connection with the Project, and your actions and the actions of others displayed in the Project, may be disparaging, embarrassing or of an otherwise unfavorable nature and may expose you, your business, your friends, your co-workers and/or your family to public ridicule, humiliation or condemnation. You are voluntarily allowing Producer to use the Property and you are voluntarily participating in the Project and related activities with full knowledge, appreciation and understanding of the personal risks involved and hereby agree to accept any and all risks of participating in the Project.    

4. Did You See What JT Wrote to Russell?
A commenter asked after I made a previous Survivor post in Tendown about my top 5 Survivor players ever; I referenced JT - saying that the combination of his having won the game previously using one strategy - and now about the make the merge in All-Stars using a different strategy, made him worthy of consideration.

I was in error.  The only thing missing from that letter was "If you like me, check this box".

5. Just Like Mom
I don't know anything about the show or the host - but you want to see behavior from twenty five years ago that would never get on television today - here is Canadian game show host Fergie Olver from the 1980s.

6. Norm Ornstein
Here's Ornstein, in the Washington Post, taking the position I articulated recently that the Republican leadership does not believe its criticism of Obama.

7. Want to Vote?  Go to Church?
It almost got overlooked given his recent proclamation of April as Confederate History Month which didn't mention slavery, but Bob McDonnell's done something else - instituted an essay requirement for non-violent felons to regain their voting rights in Virginia following their sentences.  It's a literacy test, which is, you know, filled with overtones in US history - but the part that struck me is, included in the official request for a written letter, directed personally to McDonnell, by former felons is that they include an account of any "church" activities they have been in since being released.

Meaning that, in some way, there is weight given in the state of Virginia, right now, in 2010, to one's church activities when deciding who has the right to vote.

Somehow, I have missed the Tea Party anger about this.  Aren't they opposed to "big government"?  Hasn't the full weight of the Fox News/Tea Party argument been "get government out of our lives before we get our guns"?  Isn't that the argument?

Want to Vote?  Go to Church sounds like incredibly big and intrusive government to me. 

But yet - no protest march.  Huh.

8. 47%
But what did draw a lot of anger on Fox this week was this idea that 47% of Americans don't pay taxes.

I thought they liked low taxes?  Right?  Lower taxes, say the tea parties? 

Apparently not - apparently only certain types of people, for certain types of reasons, think government is too big.  Government in my wallet - hey, quit that - government everywhere else, well, just fine. 

Putting aside that those Americans pay social security and sales taxes, both of which are regressive (disproportionately hurting people of lesser incomes) there's this:

In 2006 the top .001 percent of Americans averaged 976 times more income than America's bottom 90%.

But yet - the anger that you see on the streets - the one given all that Fox News airtime - is anger at "redistribution" of wealth.  The "I'll shoot you if you vote for that bill" rhetoric is about providing more health care to more people.  There's no better example of a society so organized around lining the pockets of the wealthiest - and our popular uprising essentially is "don't think about taking a dime away from our corporate overlords.  Make sure the rich get richer!!  U-S-A!"

People have been conditioned to feel that way - fed the propaganda of the corporate state that tells them that it's a natural occurrence of the marketplace that all of the wealth is in so few hands - and when they see any attempt to suggest it might be otherwise, they don't have the mental flexibility to incorporate those thoughts into their worldview.  That they live in such a hermetically sealed fact-free world bodes very, very badly for the future of the country. 

9. Go Read Today's Frank Rich.

10. And Go Buy Cat Toys From my Lady Type Friend.
For two reasons 1.'Cause she makes good stuff.  Only toys my cat has ever played with.  True fact.

2. And 'cause she is my favorite of all the people.  You can't have her.  But you can click the link and buy her cat toys. 

That's it - I'll see you next time, if there is a next time.

Your pal,

Jim

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