Hmm. Forgot that I had to slam together a book proposal tonight, AND assemble my bits for the “New Ears” segment on Ian Punnett’s show. (107.1 FM 9 AM, Twin Cities, no webcast yet alas.) And I have to do my monthly postcard feature for Mpls/St. Paul magazine. So it’ll be a blogging day, and blogging my style: thin old bread studded with links that resemble stale hard raisins. What really depresses me is the certainty that no matter how much time I spend in advance cobbling this bleat together, I will still be sitting at the kitchen table at 11:59 fixing the more craptacular elements. Well, that’s 15 hours from now. Let’s begin.

8:43 AM Just before I woke up I dreamed I was walking through a city - some sort of English place, judging from the double-decker red buses - and I saw a huge billboard.

Thomas the Tank Engine: Now with 1995 Energy Levels!

Apparently 1995 was some gold standard for Thomas’ level of enthusiasm. Had the shows become less energetic since then? Hardly possible; we’re talking pictures of trains and small figurines that do not move. Maybe they really pumped it up and the 1995 shows were absurdly kinetic; lots of shots of spinning wheels and pumping piston. they had to tone it down after all the seizure complaints.

Gnat doesn’t demand Thomas, which is fine with me; the idea of starting the day with a miniaturized Alec Baldwin is too much to bear. Although he would be easy to step on, I suppose.

For those who don’t know, Baldwin played The Conductor, a pint-sized character who appeared in the live-action spots. The role was also played by George Carlin and Ringo Starr, and I’ve oft insisted that Abby Hoffman killed himself because he knew that he’d end up playing the role someday, too.

9:06 Uh-oh. Every day the Variety section has a quote up in the left-hand corner. Today’s quote:

“Quote goes here and here and here and here and here.”
-- Name here and here

This is not a misprint! It’s Gertrude Stein day at the paper. You should have seen the Home and Garden section - they had an entire piece on lawn care done in Gertie Speak. “A stubborn broadleaf infestation that resists organic non-phosphorous remedies is a stubborn broadleaf infestation that resists organic non-phosphorous remedies is a stubborn broadleaf infestation that resists organic non-phosphorous remedies.” The section is 38 pages thick.

10:03 Andrew Sullivan just floated six inches off the ground and gently revolved in mid air, and when he touched down he said to himself: Howard Raines has just resigned. I can feel it.

10:30 The Inspector is coming soon. The Evaluator. The man who walks through the house and decides whether it can support the sort of financial millstone I’m about to assume, again. Yes, we’re refinancing. Did it last year; doing it again. Two years, three mortgages. It seems odd to have had more closings than Gnat has had birthdays, but that’s the world today as we know it. This means a small bump in disposable income; what shall I do with it? Of course: it’ll go in the coffee cans in the backyard, along with the tax cut money. God forbid I should spend it on goods and services.

Actually, some of it has been spoken for - my wife’s parking fees just jumped up eleventy dozen percent. Her car is also starting to smoke and clank. Note to self: put screw to agent tomorrow at lunch. Insist on billion-dollar advance for next book. I want to start burying money in gold-plated coffee cans.

11:37 AM The indispensable Gawker has a letter from a minor celeb-writer, responding to a letter wondering if she is not or not. The woman insists she is bounteous in the chestal department, but for true hotness she sends everyone to DonnaBarnes.com.

Never heard of her. Apparently she does a “MetroTV” show in New York called “Naked New York.” You know what? I’ve spent a lot of time in New York, and in general it ought to keep its clothes on. Her show’s web says:
Everyone from actress and author Marilu Henner to Adult Film Legend Ron Jeremy share their intimate thoughts on sex in the 21st Century.

This is not the wide spectrum they seem to think it is.

She seems to age as you click backwards through her career - the pix2 page woman is NOT the main index page woman, if you ask me. My favorite is page1: She appeared in a movie called “Flies on Cupid.” As in, I assume, There Ain’t No. Summary:

“In this "dark" comedy, Donna plays the wholesome "girl next door" surrounded by a very bizarre set of circumstances. 'Flies on Cupid"’, described as ‘Pulp Fiction meets Something About Mary’, is currently looking for distribution.“

Someday I want a pitch a movie and say “it’s ‘Tora Tora Tora’ meets ‘Double Indemnity’" just to see if the person receiving the pitch scowls and barks “get oudda here and stop wasting my time.” At this point in human history any artistic conception that includes the word “meets” is just admitting it has no new ideas, but is simply smushing together two differently colored was of Play-Doh.

The small picture of the poster for “Flies on Cupid” seems to feature George Michaels passing a corkscrew through his intestine. Let’s go to the website!

Hmmmm. . . this isn’t a good sign. The poster for the movie shows no action whatsoever. It is a montage of people making faces or sitting down. Why, there’s Jon Polito, reading a newspaper. No distributor yet? Come on! Millions of America will soon face another weekend of having their Jon-Polito-reading-a-newspaper needs unmet!

It gets worse. Here's the page with action pix.

Why, it’s a page composed entirely of pictures with incorrect sizes. Maybe it’s an indy thing. Maybe it’s a warning that the movie was shot with an ancient Cinerama lens they found on eBay, and the entire film has bollixed aspect rations. The pictures themselves are all txt files, so I can’t tell what their true resolutions are.

Holy Crow, the thing was written in Claris Home Page 3.0. And the default font is Sand. Criminey.

Anyway, another credit shows her gesturing to some candles; the cutline says “Performing a ritual for the internet cybercast Halloween weekend.” The link goes to witchcraft.com, but you do not want to go there. What an odd thing to put on one's resume: an internet webcast. That's like trying to get a job in 1932 with your credentials as a Florida realtor, or a stockbroker who specialized in "radio-ready trousers."

1:09 PM And where else to go for commentary on the Raines dismissal, but FARK? Said one Farker:

God I can hardly wait for consolidation of the media into a single monopoly. This will be so cool. Universities will shutter their colleges of journalism. Truth will be outlawed.

Little does this fellow realize that the best thing that could happen to journalism would be the shuttering of the J-schools. From disuse, mind you, not because Ruport Murdoch drove a 160-foot mech up to the building and stomped it flat.

Originally wrote “stompled,” which is a much better word. It’s Cletus-like. He done stompled me, Brandeen. An now I’m all flaty like.

Oh, this is priceless. From a defender of The Media:

what you (and others who accuse the media of having a liberal bias) don't understand is this:

It takes a different kind of person to be a journalist. Someone who likes treating personal stories as their own issue; someone who looks at corporate and government issues and wants to know how they affect common people; someone who has, from a very young age, shown an ability and inclination to be creative.

Sound like your average Republican yet? I'll continue.

Keep in mind this is a defense of journalists. Someone who likes treating personal stories as their own issue. That sums up everything I cannot stand about modern journalism. I’m not talking about those long heart-tuggers that every paper runs; in the hands of a good writer, those pieces can be extraordinary, one of the things that separates modern papers from the old boring postwar metro dailies. But “treating personal stories as their own issue” is a recipe for incoherent news stories. In nearly every instance I couldn’t care less about a reporter’s personal feelings. Don’t give me a flowery phrase for the sight of flames crackling against the dark night sky. Tell me who died and what fell down. We continue:

the most important element a journalist brings to the job is the 10,000 foot view. From there, helping the homeless is more imporant than worrying about property taxes. From there, what goes on down the street, or two neighborhoods over, is as important as what goes on in your back yard.

From there, you can hear more than one person shouting above the din.

Sound liek your average conservative yet?

No, but it sounds liek your average J-school grad, alas. All hail the 10,000 foot view! From there everything looks so green and lovely. From this Olympian perspective, helping the homeless is more imporant than worrying about property taxes. Even though those property taxes fund things like, well, homeless shelters, and if you jack them up so high they’re pinging off the Van Allen Belts people will leave the city, and hence you’ll have less money for the homeless shelters. But it gets better. He's a journalist!

And fially, you bring all these things to the table, and choose a career which pays absolute crap. I had 10 years of journalism experience, and the aforementioned awards, and was making $31,000. I got offered a job in PR, with no qualifications, for $45,000. I took it, did it for 20 months, hated it, and am back at my old job for $34,000. That's Canadian money.

So no, it's not a liberal bias. It's the innate qualities of the people who make up the media.

For the small minority who think those things aren't important, who think immigration and taxes asre the only issues in the world, and nobody's actions affect others, there's Fox News.

See? You can’t be biased if you’re a better person than most other people.

Rejoinder, a few posts down:

Dean , don't you have a story to write about heroin-addicted babies that don't exist?

I love Fark.

11:18 PM I had exactly six minutes of free time today, and I used it to watch the first segment of the Animatrix DVD. It consisted of two CGI characters having a Matrixy kung-fu fight; eventually the characters snipped each other’s clothes off. Very well done. Real-life pr0n videos are doomed; it’s all going to be CGI in a few years as the technology trickles down. And it will be just as mindless as ever. Dixar Pictures presents Finding Reamo.

I can hardly wait.

Hella day coming up; I’m off. See you Monday with a big new set of updates. Have a fine weekend.