Thursday, October 15, 2009

You Think The CA Might Miss Bill Day?

Posted By on Thu, Oct 15, 2009 at 6:11 PM

I'm sure Dale Crum is a lovely man and a fine fellow, but he can't draw for crap. This editorial cartoon that ran in today's Commercial Appeal is an embarrassment for a major metro newspaper. Somewhere, laid-off former cartoonist Bill Day is laughing (or crying). Seriously, did the powers-that-be at the CA really think this is worthy editorial commentary? Unbelievable. Click on the image to enlarge it and experience the work in its full glory.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Books I Should Read

Posted By on Tue, Oct 13, 2009 at 8:09 PM

I just finished an entertaining book, "God's Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre," by Richard Grant. Grant, an Englishman who now lives in Tucson, determined, against all advice to the contrary, that he would attempt to traverse the 900 miles of Mexico's Sierra Madre mountains alone.

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The book begins with Grant being hunted by coked-up Mexican rednecks who kill "to please the trigger finger," and the back-story doesn't let up much from there. It's a look at a culture that's impoverished, ravaged by narco-violence and machismo, and headed nowhere fast. Everyone's on the take and on the prowl. It's a place where declining an offer to get drunk can get you killed. And so can accepting one. It's a good read, and I recommend it to you.

So what do you recommend for me? If you could suggest just one book for me to read in the next couple of weeks, what would it be? Nominations are now open. Hit me up.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize. Booooo!!!!!!

Posted By on Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 2:05 PM

Here's something I've learned recently: Never get in a political dispute on Twitter. The 140-character limit reduces every argument to a bumper sticker comment, sans nuance. You might as well just go ahead and get to the gratuitous insults right away. Twitter is the new haiku. Brevity is the soul of Twit.

When I heard that President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, I was surprised and frankly a little cynical about it. It seemed premature, to say the least. I twittered the following: Nobel Peace Prize Committee: Jeez, we need to reward America for electing a cool guy and dumping Bush. WIN.

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Ha ha. See, I was suggesting that the Nobel Prize Committee might have given the prize gratuitously rather than strictly on merit. I'm cynical that way, sometimes.

A few moments later, I passed along the following tweet that came my way: So it's easier to get a Nobel prize than an honorary degree at Arizona State?

Funny, I thought. A little irony regarding how "prizes" are often awarded for subjective and politically motivated reasons.

Then, perhaps foolishly, I started reading posts from conservatives trashing Obama and the Nobel committee, the typical "if Obama does it, it sucks donkeys" drivel. Bitter, angry, etc. The rhetoric was coming from the usual suspects, the same people who led the cheering when Obama failed to get the Olympic bid for the U.S. Some of it was quite venomous, much of it over the top. Remember, Obama didn't go out and pay off somebody to win the Nobel Peace Prize. They selected HIM. Trying to win the Olympics for your country has never been seen as a bad thing before, as far as I know. Suddenly, it is.

So I twittered this: Right wing cheers Olympic fail, boos Nobel win. What's next? Rooting for Sasha to get the flu? Hoping the new dog dies? These ppl are sick.

And, within moments I got the following from a local conservative blogger: LOL. "Why beholdest thou the mote in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam in thine own eye?" There was also a link to a Michelle Malkin post that detailed all the hateful stuff liberals used to say about George Bush.

Sigh. I wanted to respond, but starting a 140-character political argument, like I said, is just stupid. So I didn't. I guess that's what blogs are for. So here goes:

If George Bush had won the Nobel Peace Prize, I would have been surprised, appalled, and, yes, cynical. When Obama won, I was surprised and cynical. If George Bush had gone overseas to try and win the Olympic Games for the U.S., I can confidently say I wouldn't have cheered if he had failed, though I have no doubt that there are some on the left who would have.

Suggesting that because I criticized those who are irresponsibly demonizing Obama that I am somehow responsible for those who irresponsibly demonized Bush is a stupid argument. It's like suggesting that because the Taliban and al Queda are also saying Obama doesn't deserve the prize, right-wingers are in league with them.

Bottom line: There is no beam in my eye. Not even a splinter.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

There's a Nap for That

Posted By on Sun, Oct 4, 2009 at 12:26 PM

I've been watching a lot of TV this weekend and it really made me happy to see that the iPhone folks are finally realizing the potential of the older demographic — i.e. we Boomers. In all their ads now, iPhone keeps reminding us that if we want to, say, share photos or listen to music or browse the net or check our email, "there's a nap for that."

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This is true genius marketing. It really hits my generation where we live. It's that kind of insouciant ironic approach that we love. Sure, iPhone seems to be saying, we could check email or organize our photos or find Tokyo on a map or catch a cab or count calories or check ski conditions in Vail, but hell, what's the hurry? Relax. The iPhone will always be there later. Just take a nap!

I'm definitely getting one of those things! Right after my nap.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Tweets and Twits

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2009 at 1:24 PM

I'm following all the mayoral candidates who Twitter. How they use this relatively new social medium is revealing and, in my opinion, offers some insights into the kind of mayor they might be.

AC Wharton (1161 followers) is a businesslike Twitterer, announcing his appearances, thanking supporters, etc. Many of the tweets are done by staff. All words are spelled correctly with proper punctuation. Like so: "Looking forward to taking part in the Rotary Debate on Tuesday, 10/6." Wharton uses Twitter as an efficient — but dull — tool.

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Charles Carpenter's Tweets (350 followers) are minimalist as well, but not as frequent as Wharton's. Carpenter also eschews "text-speak", shortened spellings, etc. Not much personality is revealed. Ditto Carol Chumney, (118 followers) who is an infrequent and boring Twitterer.

Myron Lowery (390 followers) uses Twitter similarly to Wharton, but links frequently to favorable media articles. While his Tweets aren't exactly personable, one gets the sense that Myron does his own Tweets, a la: "CNN has published my views on the fist bump with the Dalai Lama. http://bit.ly/DHuch"

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Jerry Lawler (6,146 followers, more than any candidate, though how many are mayoral followers and how many are wrestling fans is open to debate) definitely does his own tweets, using shortened words, etc. There are occasional typos, squeezed tweets — the mark of a man doing his own writing on the run, and on impulse at times: "Signed the @midsouthpeace pledge today to never forget & abandonen the homeless of Memphis. Help me fulfill my pledge with your vote!"

Then we get to the Boss of Twitter among the candidates: Rev. Kenneth Whalum Jr. (304 followers) Whalum is a BIG FAN of all-caps, exclamation points, and text-speak. He is by far the most entertaining of the legitimate candidates. He presents himself as a RENEGADE who's leading the campaign for a MEMPHIS MIRACLE! He's a prolific Twitter user. He's also thin-skinned and prone to arguing with and blocking those who disagree with him. Whalum (or as I like to call him, WHALUM!!!) likes to complain about the media's biased coverage and being left out of Channel 3's debate. He exhorts his 300 or so followers with inspirational Biblical quotes and compares himself to Moses, Gideon, Maya Angelou, and other notables. Whalum would be a volatile but entertaining mayor, if his Tweets are any indication. He's sometimes witty, but more often over-the-top, and borderline manic. You can't ignore him. Definitely a hands-on kind of guy.

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Here are a few samples of the wit and wisdom of WHALUM!!:
"A majority of Israelites polled thought they'd starve to death in the wilderness. Then it started raining quail."

""Rumble young Man, RUMBLE!" BTW, I'd wear the "frontrunner OUT in a REAL debate!"

"MAN I'm upsetting some status quo folks today! To paraphrase Maya Angelou: "Don't let my haughtiness offend you." It's called INDEPENDENCE"

Like I said, FUN!

But the MOST fun is pseudo-Twitter candidate FakeMongo, imitator of candidate Prince Mongo (228 followers). After Lowery's ill-advised fist-bump with the Dalai Lama, FakeMongo tweeted: "If I met the Lama, I wouldn't greet him with crude gestures. I'd do the honorable thing and extend him the Zambodian penis of friendship."

That's only one example of the twisted madness of this anonymous wit. I don't know who he is. I'm not sure I even want to know. (Yes, I do.) But you have to admire the man's comic genius. I just hope he hangs around after the election. A few more examples:

"Says here in the city bylaws the mayor has to wear a shirt at all public events where booze is served. Checkmate, Mr. Lawler."

"Show me on the doll where the mayor touched you, Mr. Lama."

"Enjoying some flash-frozen gamma locust with Severed Head of Charles Carpenter. Wish we had some honey mustard for dipping!"

Gotta love this guy. I almost wish I could vote for him.

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