Gore’s Presidency: A Retrospective

Let’s keep this presidential train rolling with some juicy fan fiction.  Five writers for New York Magazine take turns wrapping 2-year ribbons around the maypole, imagining what it would’ve been like if Gore had won in 2000 and 2004.

Two of the contributors weren’t great. Glenn Beck (yes, that Glenn Beck) fails at humor/imagination/writing while Walter Kirn’s kumbaya years are pretty unbelievable. It’s a fun read though, assuming you’ve got the time and interest.

A particularly solid passage from Kevin Baker:

Well, tough titty, the president thought as he strode to the helicopter. Some people were going to have to get used to the idea that life in the new millennium wasn’t about tearing the tops off mountains just so you could grub some more lung polish. Besides, hadn’t he given the locals the Robert C. Byrd Clean Coal Research Institute as part of his omnibus energy package? Clean coal—riiight.

Meanwhile, his relocation had become the biggest jobs program West Virginia had ever seen. It was the logical choice, once Flight 93 had demolished the White House. All they’d had to do was spruce up the Bunker under the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, built there for Congress back in the Cold War days. The Secret Service loved it. Everything you could ask, all behind twenty-ton blast doors: dormitories, cafeterias, a state-of-the-art communications system, even a weight room. Everything, that is, except for the Congress. Capitol Hill was untouched; no need for them to come. He had the run of the place, and could call in anyone he wanted, whenever he wanted. Amtrak was running twenty trains a day in from D.C., and the town had doubled in size from all the media crews alone. He and Tipper took the presidential suite upstairs in the Greenbrier. They stuck Hadassah and Joe Leave-Me-Alone down in the Bunker itself, where he could keep an eye on them.

Coulda been a mistake, the president thought, frowning. Maybe that’s when he started to go all squirrelly on me—

He paused on the top step of the chopper, sucking in the sweet Allegheny air. God, it was intoxicating! Air like that, well, it gave a man an appetite. He smiled as he thought of Tipper, left back in the presidential bedroom just now in a state of flattering befuddlement.

Gave him other appetites as well, as the press had begun to notice. He looked over at the trim stomach of his body double. Would that guy have to start eating more, too? Maybe growing a beard would help …

[New York Magazine via the Browser]

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January 19, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Smarts. Leave a comment.

Saying “Bunghole” Is Presidential

Put This On has already unpacked this video so well that I won’t even try:

In 1964, Lyndon Johnson needed pants, so he called the Haggar clothing company and asked for some. The call was recorded (like all White House calls at the time), and has since become the stuff of legend. Johnson’s anatomically specific directions to Mr. Haggar are some of the most intimate words we’ve ever heard from the mouth of a President.

January 18, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Video. Leave a comment.

The History of American Political Opinion

Seems like a good time to post this.

From the video’s creator:

Using county-level data, I spatially and temporally interpolated presidential vote returns for the two major party candidates in each election from 1920-2008. The result illuminates the sometimes gradual, sometimes rapid change in the geographic basis of presidential partisanship.

[via Morgan Clendaniel @ GOOD]

January 14, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Video. Leave a comment.

Christopher Hitchens on How to Make a Proper Cup of Tea

[image via The Thinking Blue]

I envy Hitchens’ writing style. He takes confident chances with the language and they work.

Now that “the holidays”—at their new-style Ramadan length, with the addition of Hanukkah plus the spur and lash of commerce—are safely over, I can bear to confront the moment at their very beginning when my heart took its first dip.

It was Dec. 8, and Yoko Ono had written a tribute to mark the 30th anniversary of the murder of her husband. In her New York Times op-ed, she recalled how the two of them would sometimes make tea together. He used to correct her method of doing so, saying, “Yoko, Yoko, you’re supposed to first put the tea bags in, and then the hot water.” (This she represented as his Englishness speaking, in two senses, though I am sure he would actually have varied the word order and said “put the tea bags in first.”) This was fine, indeed excellent, and I was nodding appreciatively, but then the blow fell. One evening, he told her that an aunt had corrected him. The water should indeed precede the bags. “So all this time, we were doing it wrong?” she inquired. “Yeah,” replied our hero, becoming in that moment a turncoat to more than a century of sturdy Liverpool tradition.

Take notice Soulja Boy, because this is what swagger actually looks like.

[Christopher Hitchens @ Slate via the Browser]

January 4, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Reading. 2 comments.

Christmas Comic

This explains a lot.

[via Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal]

December 25, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Comics. Leave a comment.

Jimi Trout’s Top 10 Yarn Tastings of 2010

Submitted by: Coraghessan A. Cat

1. STITCHES South Knitting Expo Yarn Tasting
Atlanta, Georgia; www.knittinguniverse.com/stitches/south/
Easily the highlight of the 2010 yarn tasting season.  This year’s 50g
skeins were divine, featuring subtle hints of nepeta and lemon.
Breathtaking.

2. The National Needlehearts Association Yarn Tasting
Zanesville, Ohio; www.TNNA.org
Outstanding selection of double-knits; impeccably crafted, remarkably
complex, simply stunning.

3. Interweave Yarn Tasting
Loveland, Colorado; www.interweavestore.com/
The hippest yarn tasting of the year, every bit as good as your
friends said it was.

4. Lion Brand Yarn Company Yarn Tasting
New York, New York; www.lionbrand.com/
Dazzling array of medium-bodied skeins, presented in typical regal fashion.

5. Red Heart Yarns Yarn Tasting
Charlotte, North Carolina; www.redheart.com/
Red Heart Yarns = Red Hot Flavors, particularly in the 25g class.

6. Knit ‘N Style Magazine Yarn Tasting
Stanhope, New Jersey; www.knitnstyle.com/
Charming venue, crowd-pleasing yarns, always a good time.

7. Craft Yarn Council Yarn Tasting
Gastonia, North Carolina; www.craftyarncouncil.com/
Highlighted by a lively panel discussion on Fair Trade fibers.

8. Naturally Caron Yarn Tasting
Washington, North Carolina; www.naturallycaron.com/
Solid, if unspectacular, entry into the yarn-tasting circuit.

9. Crochet Today Magazine Yarn Tasting
New York, New York; www.crochettoday.com/
A mild disappointment given the amount of hype, but still worth the
price of admission.

10. Vogue Knitting Yarn Tasting
New York, New York; www.vogueknitting.com/
Unfortunately not the yarn-tasting trendsetters they used to be;
slightly more fun than a nap.

Jimi runs (ran?) Trout Mask Replica.  Miss you Troutie.

December 23, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Crowdsourcing. 1 comment.

John Parsell’s Top Twelve (12) Albums of 2010

John:

Greetings!  From where I’m standing, this was a pretty great year for music.  So much so, that I felt inclined to make a list of my favorite albums that came out this year.  At first I resigned myself to a top 10 list, but I have created a top 12 because they are all such strong records.  I included ‘honorable mention’ to cover albums that I’ve just recently heard or that came very close, but didn’t quite win my heart this year.   One quick note about the album that occupies the number one spot – it is rare that I find an album that I feel compelled to play in so many different contexts…it’s so good, I definitely recommend it!

2010 Top 12

12. The Black Keys – Brothers

11. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

10. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

9.  Superchunk – Majesty Shredding

8.  Joanna Newsom – Have One on Me

7.  The Roots – How I Got Over

6.  Girl Talk – All Day

(Check out Mashup Breakdown found via GOOD)

5.  Janelle Monae – The ArchAndroid

4.  Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot…The Son of Chico Dusty

3.  Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

2.  LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

1.  Beach House – Teen Dream

Honorable Mentions:

  • Hot Chip – One Life Stand
  • Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here
  • Kings Go Forth – The Outsiders Are Back
  • Robyn – Body Talk Pt.1 & Pt. 2 (I still haven’t heard the Body Talk full length)
  • Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest
  • Sleigh Bells – Treats

December 22, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Crowdsourcing. Leave a comment.

Paul Potorti’s Top 10 Songs of 2010

1. Cee-Lo Green – Fuck You

2. Darren Criss – Teenage Dream

3. Sufjan Stevens – Too Much

4. Arcade Fire – Ready To Start

5. LCD Soundsystem – I Can Change

6. Lady Gaga – Telephone (Feat. Beyonce)

7. Justin Timberlake & Matt Morris – Hallelujah

8. Jonsi – Hengilas

9. BT – The Emergency

10. Crystal Castles – Not In Love (Feat. Robert Smith)

December 22, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Crowdsourcing. Leave a comment.

Scott Wotring’s Top 10 Albums and Things from 2010

Top 10 Albums:

1. Surfer BloodAstro Coast
What struck me as nothing more than a simple rock record, transformed with each listen into a collection of the year’s best pop songs.  The hooks are abundant, the lyrics are genuine, and as a bonus, I saw them drink Four Loko on stage before it was cool!

2. The Tallest Man on EarthThe Wild Hunt
This album is more than King of Spain, although most songs have that element of folksy twang that make it both unique and accessible.  I play this stuff when I’m alone and mumble the lyrics all day.  It’s bold and beautiful, like the doggone TV show.

3. The DrumsThe Drums
I first heard this album while jogging.  By song four I was wondering Is This It?  I’m a sucker for that shimmering New York City garage rock sound, and this album nails it.  See them live if you get the chance.  The singer is a jazzy wonderboy.

4. Miniature TigersFortress
A smattering of happy-go-lucky pop songs, perfect for a lazy afternoon in the sun.  Guaranteed to show up on a Chevy Volt commercial next year.

5. WavvesKing of the Beach
‘Cause I’m just having fun… with you! — that pretty much sums it up.  Jess and I blasted this album on the way to the beach.  It was the right sound at the right time this summer.

6. Chihei HatakeyamaGhostly Garden
Best ambient music of the year.  Ghostly Garden is 48 minutes of nothingness, atmospheric sounds that fade into the background and becalm Scott Wotring.  Good music for reading and writing.

7. LCD SoundsystemThis is Happening
Though not as original as Sound of Silver, this album kept with the long-form, satirical, indie dancerock that makes LCD so fucking cool.  Twice this year I danced publicly to this album, once at the beach, and once in front of a camera.

8. Beach HouseTeen Dream
Beach House is sentimental without being sappy.  Their songs evoke sadness, but only tease with the deathblow.  This album would drown in sorrow if not for the band’s considerable talents as musicians.

9. Gold PandaLucky Shiner
Best electronic album of the year.  In the crowded genre of chill electronica, Gold Panda (born Derwin Panda) stands out with his eccentric beats and spiffy synth hooks.  The sound is both adventurous and agreeable.  Four Tet with a longer shelf life.

10. Titus AndronicusThe Monitor
This album makes me want to guzzle a bottle of whisky and punch someone right in the face.  It’s modern and raw, with an unrestricted view into the mind of a man contemplating the truths and evils of everyday life.  Punk rock for the middle-aged.  The walk home is gonna be a real shit show!

Top 10 Things:

1.  Hopscotch Music Festival
2.  Raleigh to London to Paris to Amsterdam to Hamburg to Raleigh
3.  Brussel sprouts with sriracha and lime
4.  Stuff You Should Know podcast
5.  Warrior Dash
6.  The Room
7.  Caribou at Cats Cradle
8.  Google Maps
9.  Linville Gorge Backpacking Trip
10.  Six-pack Challenge

December 22, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Crowdsourcing. Leave a comment.

Knife City Creamery’s Top 10 Albums of 2010

Knife City Creamery’s Top 10 Albums of the Year:

1. Shabazz Palaces – Shabazz Palaces

2. Shabazz Palaces – Of Light

3. Menomena – Mines

4. James Blake – CMYK (EP)

5. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

6. Future Islands – In Evening Air

7. Walkmen – Lisbon

8. Wolf Parade – Expo 86

9. Freddie Gibbs – Str8 Killa No Filla

10. Gold Panda – Lucky Shiner

December 22, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Video. Leave a comment.

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