The Microtrendbot is powering down for a moment. . . recharging its batteries. . . refocusing its microtrend sensors. . . preparing to come back stronger than ever. . .

Gaffe, greed, whatever! AS LONG AS IT DOESN’T AFFECT THE HAIR.

But Penn’s reputation is wrecked. His meeting with the Colombians wasn’t a mere gaffe. It was pure greed. When Samantha Power called Hillary Clinton a monster, that was a gaffe. When Austen Goolsbee potentially told some Canadian friend that no one was going to end NAFTA, that was a gaffe (it was also true). Gaffes are accidents born of inexperience or exhaustion or poor judgment. Mark Penn, conversely, was simply doing his job as CEO of Burson-Marsteller. . .

SNIP (my first “Blog Snip”)

(Penn’s) meeting with the Colombians wasn’t a mistake. It was a prescheduled business event that was supposed to make Mark Penn more money. Money that was more important to him than Hillary Clinton’s opposition to the Colombian Free Trade Agreement, and more important to him than spending those hours trying to make Hillary Clinton president so she could block that agreement. Insofar as he got caught and embarrassed the campaign, that was incompetence. But insofar as he took the meeting in the first place, that was prioritization — prioritization of cash over candidate.

My emphasis.

I hope Hillary Clinton fights all the way to the convention, by the way. . . I think we owe her that much. . .


Thinking about the rebirth of the National Alliance in Italy, and party leader Fini’s rejection of fascism, reminded me of when I was a kid and my friend and I were supposed to DJ the middle-school dance
and we were afraid we’d get beat up by the “scary” black kids unless we had some really hard, tough rap music.

I read SPIN magazine back then, and saw a review of the debut album by some guy named Schoolly D.

The reviewer accused Schoolly D of “Glorifying murder like a fascist fool.

I thought, “Hey, if the record is truly violent and fascist, I can play it at the school dance and everyone will
think I’m so tough they’ll stay away from me!”

So I ordered the record, and guess what? BEST RAP ALBUM OF ALL TIME. STILL MY FAVORITE RAP ALBUM.

Recorded in Schoolly D’s bathroom, if I remember correctly.

Mandatory youtube video description: Schoolly D, “I Don’t Like Rock’N’Roll”


By the way, we never DJ’ed the dance. I can’t remember why we lost the gig, but it’s probably for the best because we only had, like, 10 records and a handful of cassettes. How many times
can people listen to Dream Into Action and The Hurting?

PS: As you probably know, Schoolly D has experienced a rebirth of his own, not unlike Alleanza Nazionale: He does the music for that cartoon about the milkshake that people on drugs watch.


I’m on an email list for political cartoonists, and one of them sent around a link to “FaithMouse,” a hot strip for Christians who love President Bush.

Check it out!!!

FaithMouse is in the house!


Saw a great movie last night. . . called 21. Don’t worry, I didn’t pay for it. Like all movie critics, I saw it for free. (I snuck in after watching The Bank Job.)

21 is about some glamorous nerds from MIT (nerd college) who count cards in Las Vegas. They play this card game called
“21 Blackjack Gambling.” They count all the cards in the game(?) and then when the dealer has dealt all twenty-one cards, they yell “Blackjack!!!” and get all the money(?). I think that’s how it works.

Kevin Spacey stars as the professor who runs the scam. He shows incredible range playing a smarmy, condescending creep. Never seen that side of Mr. Spacey before!

Mandatory youtube video description: Trailer for this movie I’m currently reviewing, called 21.

My favorite parts about the movie:

1. Absolute lack of plot holes you could push a space shuttle through.

2. The remix of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” over the closing scenes was JAMMING. It was like a trip-hop remix of the Stones’ classic! SO GOOD! It got me so pumped for the
new Martin Scorcese movie about the Rolling Stones!

3. Every other part.

Couple complaints about 21:

1. Not enough shots of the college kids walking through the casino in slow-motion.

2. The hero’s nerd friends, whom he betrays and ignores once he becomes all “Mr. Cool Las Vegas” should have been even fatter and nerdier. They were pretty fat and nerdy, but the
director should have just “gone there” and made them each 400 pounds fat. That would have been interesting, to see how fat a nerd can get before he is physically incapable of being a nerd.

3. During the “Now we’re in Las Vegas counting cards” montage, they should have made the sounds louder. When the dealer would turn over a card, the camera would zoom in and the
card would make this kind of swooshing, tornado/explosion sound. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN EVEN LOUDER TO GET ME MORE PUMPED. After I saw the movie, I ran home and turned on ESPN2 to watch some “Poker Tournament”
shows, hoping to hear more swooshing sounds. But guess what? It was just some chubby guys in sunglasses looking at their cards, like, once every ten minutes and when they turned their cards over
it just sounded soft, like regular cards.


Isn’t it so cool that I’m making fun of 21? Seriously, if you know me personally, and you want your smile of the day, then: Just imagine me sitting in the theatre literally watching this movie. Because that’s totally what I did.

It’s just that I’m fascinated with gambling, with beating the system, with the thrills of “Sin City.” And, truth be told, one of my new favorite movies concerns gambling. And it is the best movie, and I’ll write about
it later today or tomorrow because it’s so great and I’ve already watched it on TV three times and when I tell you what movie it is you’ll think I’m crazy. Because it’s so trashy. But you know what? I LOVE IT.


Maybe you can brush up on your Italian by reading this Italian interview:

F.I.: Uno dei personaggi minori della tua serie, vuole diventare un poeta pensando di migliorare il mondo, pensi che i poeti in qualche modo possano cambiare il mondo?

D.R.: Hmm, sono scettico al riguardo, forse pu� capitare una volta per generazione. Ma i poeti possono cambiare la percezione del mondo che ha la gente e quindi la gente potrebbe cambiare il mondo.

My emphasis, because who knows what they’re talking about?

Someday I’ll run it throught the Babelfish translation robot and we’ll all have a laugh! Buonno majesta supremo la haha!


What can I say? I have negative thoughts about her. Her sense of entitlement, her bad attitude, a certain aristocratic arrogance in what should be an egalitarian contest. The fact that announcers and analysts can’t stop talking about what a fighter she is, how tenacious, how skilled she is. . .



Wait, who did you think I was talking about? Tee-hee!


Homeboy is looking positively sprightly in the first clip, but when his voice cracks he sounds 122 years old:

Also, I LOVE the headline at :25. . . LOL, what are they talking about, a new early-bird buffet at Epcot Center?

Mandatory (for me) YouTube video description: Stirring celebration of a political attitude that’s just biding its time until it can totally destroy us.


I’m not a huge fan of Matt Bai, but I agree with what he’s saying here:

But you know, I’m 39, and I also think a lot of people in my generation are ready to turn the page on this failed era of baby boomer government. Is there anything in American politics and government that the boomers have left better off than when they inherited it? So I think (Obama) speaks to that, too. And that’s a powerful idea. It’s not a theory of economics or some new way to combat radical Islam, but it is a theory of change — this notion that politics can’t improve until we leave the culture wars of another era behind. That matters.

I’m really gonna miss hearing our leaders argue over who did what during the Vietnam War. . . LOL. . .

Would someone please write a book called Baby Boomers Suck: In Fact, They Sucked the Whole Time? I would start a book club just to be able to talk about that book.

“Umm. . . Mr. Rees, we love your book club. . . but we’ve been discussing the same book for three years now!”


An article in yesterday’s Financial Times brought me joy: MORE SILVIO BERLUSCONI ACTION!

How are you not going to get happy when you read about “The Berl” teaming up with the National Alliance party?

Although the National Alliance traces its roots to Italy’s fascist past, (Gianfranco) Fini has developed close ties with Israel, in particular since denouncing fascism in a 2003 visit to Jerusalem. Last week he was a guest at celebrations in Rome of Israel’s 60th anniversary, along with Richard Perle, a prominent US neo-conservative.

It’s all good!

Mr Fini also told the Financial Times that if his centre-right alliance with Silvio Berlusconi returned to power in elections in 10 days’ time – as opinion polls indicate — Italian policy would be to expel large numbers of gypsies and other European Union citizens.

Only in Italy, kids, only in Italy!