With Me It’s All or Nuthin’

Former Rep. Brad Carson endorses Obama:

I support Obama for many reasons. As President he will end the current failed foreign policy that is killing thousands and ruining America’s good name abroad. Obama believes, as do I, that we should be guided by our faith in God and shared values to make the right decisions in government. I also support Obama because I know he will do right by the First Americans.

This is getting eerie: The handful of Democrats who really impress me are lining up behind one guy. Cory Booker, Tim Kaine, and now Carson, who spoke to me at length for my profile of Tom Coburn and struck me as a real intellectual who understands what makes conservatives and libertarians tick.

I don’t know if I agree with his particular talking points, but whatever.

Crocs of shit?

The thing about crocs is that they’re ergonomically brilliant. We’ve grown accustomed to trapping our feet in cotton vestments (“socks,” for you laymen) and surrounding those vestments with leather casings (“shoes”). This is idiotic, as feet produce a half a pint of sweat every day and, generally, it’s not a good idea to leave sweat to molder in hot, dark, enclosed environments. It makes as little sense as leaving your ears uncovered when the weather drops below 10 degrees.

However, crocs are hideous, as are earmuffs.

A few things I used to care about

Lily Allen. She’s basically over, right? A year ago it seemed a safe bet that a vaguely cute, vaguely “bad” pop tart with funny lyrics would rocket to mid-level fame. It was time for a star like that. And then Amy Winehouse arrived, hotter and more obviously talented than Allen, and I realized today that I forgot Allen ever existed.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Admittedly, it was pretty funny when Sorkin used the last five episodes to tell one trite real-time story. But around October of last year I remember thinking “I hope this show can rebound,” and when it went on hiatus I was an active, avid hater of all things S60. If anyone paid attention to the show I think the final “stalker guy gets the girl, gets her to give him custody of her baby” plotline would have stirred some controversy.

Harvey Birdman. Same thing that happened with Sealab – the creators got indulgent, convinced themselves that their writing, and not the characters they were parodying, were the reason for their success, and got way, way too meta.

More me

I know you’re already sick of the waves and waves of content flooding Daveweigel.com, but here’s some more free writing: Movie reviews on my friends’ Cinemabun site. I’ll toss something up there after every movie I see. That’s the goal, anyway.

The Klosterman Weeknight

Saw the iconoclastic culture writer Chuck Klosterman at Wonderland tonight and had a blast. I’ve rarely seen a more self-effacing, “can you believe this shit?” author. After around 90 minutes of adulation and a weird question that sounded like an attempt to stump him (“What do you think of Gunther?”), Klosterman poured a little bit of his heart out. “Look,” he said. “It’s luck that I’m up here. It’s really just luck. Any one of you could be up here. Some of you know more about pop culture than I do, some of you are probably better writers than I am.”

I think he’s being honest. There are what, 400 pop culture journalists with an audience similar to Klosterman’s? There’s the Pitchfork collective, which is so big I know one of its members. I’d venture that all of them have an ironic detachment and a conscious strive for hipness that Klosterman simply doesn’t have. Hell, I write about pop culture and I have that ironic detachment. I don’t want people to know what I don’t know. Klosterman has no problem broadcasting that, which is one reason he gets kicked around more often than the run-of-the-mill ex-Spin columnist. My roommate Julian jokingly asked Klosterman to sign his book to “Mark Ames,” the eXile editor who wrote a spittle-flecked psalm of loathing about the author. Klosterman laughed it off: “He’s going to be getting famous off me for years.”

Most of the audience questions were follow-ups to stuff Klosterman had written in one of his books or on ESPN.com. I asked him what he made of Live Earth and the other “save the world” concerts, whether they were at all useful. “These concerts are supposed to raise awareness, right?” he said. “They’re not to raise money, they’re supposed to make you aware of the problem? The fact that you just asked me about them means they succeeded.” As to whether they were useful, he pointed out that the music at the Concert for Bangladesh was more or less fucking awesome.

As to Live Earth specifically, he couldn’t talk down a concert that was making people aware of global warming. “My dad, who lives in North Dakota, is one of those guys who still calls himself a Democrat because he likes Truman, but he thinks, you know, Pat Buchanan needs to stop being so mushy and moderate. And HE knows there’s global warming. Because the weather in North Dakota is insane. It rains all the time, then it doesn’t rain, it’s 110 degrees in the summer. I don’t know how anyone can deny this.”

(I had the Canon camcorder I take everywhere, and I used it to tape some of the Q&A, but I felt dickish hoisting it while Klosterman was looking at me and addressing my question so I didn’t tape this exchange.)

Room for one more, honey

I know there’s a monthly screening of The Room where people shout at the screen. Sounds fun. What would be even funnier: An all-talented remake of the film. Get real actors, cinematographers, a director, to shoot Tommy Wiseau’s script and make the best possible film from it. It would still suck! But it would suck with Ryan Gosling in it!

Related: This is even worse. If they’re neighbors, why are they all hanging out in an office?

Tire Me

I’ve been accused of making the theme of this blog “Dave embarrasses himself in public.” Not true – it’s “Dave has the worst luck in the world.” Latest example:

Run some errands on my bike, about 10 blocks down the road, and on the way out I see the back tire is flat. I hike it back home (pouring sweat, obv.) and experiment with the pump and some rubber cement. No luck, it keeps flattening after 30 seconds off the air pump. So: pack it in the car, drive it to bike shop (which isn’t far away but I don’t want to get there after closing).

Attendant says: “Looks like you need a new tube.” I assume this is hip slang for “tire,” so I let him do it, come back a bit later, pick up a bike with a back tire less clean-looking than I expected. Pack the whole thing in my car, head off to a cafe to read (200 pages, alright) for a current assignment, and the shop closes while I’m there. Drive home, unload the bike, and – the back tire is flat. The attendant fixed something, but not the fatally (and invisibly) wounded tire.

I suppose when you add up the time the bike has saved me with the time I wasted (on deadline) today, the time-saving column is still miles longer. Nonetheless. None-the-fucking-less.

Some movies

The odd thing is I started this month pledging (privately) to write once a day on this blog. Alas, alack.

Transformers (Michael Bay) – Perfectly diverting horseshit. Michael Bay is unable to make any hard directorial choices, as usual, so there’s a lot of muck getting in the way of the giant robot action we came for. Why so much time with the boring soldiers? Why the Indian call center dude? Why so much time at DOD? Why make Anthony Anderson a suburb-bound weirdo who reveals one plot point instead of making him the government’s main hacker? Why, why, why so much time with the dopey parents? Why do birds suddenly appear everytime you’re near?

However, everything robot-related is fine. Yes, there could be more character build-up of said robots. Like a second line of dialogue for Starscream. But the sight of Bonecrusher Bruce Jenner-ing down the freeway and taking out a schoolbus is beauty, as is the initial base attack, as are all the fights except for the silly mini-bot fights. Alternate view: Harry Knowles’ hilarious, teddy bear-clutching review in which he condemns the movie for not being Iron Giant.

Paris, Je T’aime (Various) – Frustrating. A whole bunch of talented directors (I think 21 over 18 films) try their hands at 5-minute shorts about the City of Lights and Getting Stuffed by Nazis and they range from the sublime (Alexander Payne’s story of a lonely Colorado woman’s visit to the city) to the fun (the Coens’ “let’s mess with Steve Buscemi story”) to the out-of-place (Elijah Wood! Vampires!) to the trite. And there are too many trite little shorts. Right after the film I found myself grousing about them. A day later I’m focusing on the good shorts and I feel a little gauche for complaining. But, no, if you sit through this you’ll be pretty bored and listless for 20-30 minutes, then perk up, then get listless again (MIMES?), and then smile at the closer.