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Dizzying Intellect » 2008» June

Buy American, or “American?”

Ok, so I saw this commercial, for a local car dealer. The dealer — who apparently only sells/repairs American cars — reads a letter from a customer, which basically says, “How do you identify an American car? My car was made in Indiana.”

The dealer replies that THESE cars are American, because the profits go to American companies, and lists off Ford, Chevy, Dodge, etc. Then he says that THESE other cars are foreign because the profits go to foreign countries, and lists off Honda, Toyota, etc. And that “it doesn’t matter where the parts are bolted together.”

I have to say, I found this a little off-putting.

If an “American” car is made in Mexico or Canada, and a “Japanese” car is made in Texas or Ohio, which is more American? Are the CEO and shareholders of the company really more important than the workers who build the cars, and get the jobs and paychecks, and put that money back into their local economy?

What say you?

Holy Bad Judgment, Batman


Authorities said the incident happened just after 2:00 p.m. Saturday. A church group went to the amusement park and a group of boys with the group jumped a fence and entered an area that was marked off limits.

One of the boys jumped up and tried to grab someone’s feet who was on the Batman ride. The boy ended up being decapitated.

FoxNews says he was 17, and scaled two six-foot fences, and then follows up with this line, which baffles me:

It isn’t clear whether the boy died at the scene or was alive for a time after the incident.

Yikes. Either I misunderstand what “decapitated” means, or someone else does.

Whisper Tell Me I’m The One

I started listening to Tom Waits religiously about fifteen years ago. A friend played “Fumblin’ With The Blues” for me, and I was instantly addicted. It’s still one of my favorite songs ever. That whole album, The Heart of Saturday Night, means so much to me — it’s attached to so many memories, and the overall story is so weirdly lovely.

Funnily, it turned out that I had actually become hooked several years earlier, when I was living in Russia, but I didn’t find out that it was Tom Waits until google eventually turned up.

His music has changed so dramatically over the 35-ish years that he’s been writing/recording, I wasn’t sure exactly how last night’s show was going to work. How does one person perform a song like “Please Call Me Baby,” and follow it up with something like “Filipino Box Spring Hog?” They’re incompatible.

The answer turned out to be simple. For the more… eclectic songs, he stood in the middle of a raised platform with a microphone and swayed and twiched and stamped weirdly, exactly like every crazy old man you’ve ever seen feeding ducks and talking to an invisible friend, if that crazy person happened to be an obscenely talented genius.

For the traditional songs, he picked up a guitar or sat at a piano, and played and sang his heart out. (I know neither of them is actually a guitar or piano, since he’s notorious for using outlandish instruments, but I don’t know enough about musical instruments to identify, like, a harpsichord, by sight). At one point, he even played what I’m almost positive, from the distinctive sound, was an honest-to-god old fashioned calliope.

His speaking voice is just as bizarre as it sounds in the movies, if you’ve ever seen him in anything. And he chatted us up, told stories and anecdotes, but also replied to people yelling things in the audience, which I’ve never seen before. It was great being in such a small venue.

Speaking of that, he’s also the first person I’ve heard share my dislike of the acoustics in the Fox. It’s supposed to be virtually perfect, but from the front of the stage, everything feeds back and echos weirdly. It was driving him as nuts as it does me, and he kept going “whoooooooooooooo” and laughing about how bizarrely the sound bounced around. Which is gratifying. Anyway.

After listening to his music for so many years, and never having seen him, I was afraid that I might have waited too long. Worried that, since he doesn’t sing the traditional songs so much anymore, he wouldn’t be able to really sing anymore. In the same way that Billie Holiday eventually couldn’t, but it was absolutely beautiful. I mean, his voice is certainly distinctive and rough, but it didn’t sound damaged at all.

I’m awestruck and blown away, and so happy. And I’ll shut up now. Go see him if you can get tickets. He’s amazing.

p.s. As I mentioned before, I’ve had a pseudonymous blog for a while, at a domain named for a line in one of his songs. And he played it last night. And now I’m soooo tempted to move this blog back over there…


1. As much as I love American Idol, I think I love So You Think You Can Dance even more. I’m an objectivist right down to my toes (and my bumper sticker), and seeing all that natural ability refined and used so diligently and happily, just warms the cockles of my blackened little heart.

2. The Supreme Court decision on the 2nd Amendment is in. And, whew.

3. The Princess Bride video game is out! (It looks like Dragon’s Lair, right?)

4. I took my dog in this morning for xrays to see if his pneumonia’s gone, and the doc just called and said he’s done, his lungs looks good, and they didn’t even have to sedate him. Crazy! Of course, then he tried to eat a nurse, so I guess we’re back to normal. Next step, the Cushing’s test.

Rolling In It

Well, I guess I can stop looking for my economic stimulus check from the IRS now.

I just checked the “where’s my check” widget at, and I’m not getting one. Because I apparently make too much money.

I make a decent living, but I’m not rich by anyone’s standards. I also work like a madwoman to pay for the things that other women share the costs of with their significant others. Now I’m trying not to (a) be really pissed, because that money was already allocated straight to my recent, expensive vet bills, and (b) panic about what President Obama is going to do to me, since I’m obviously “rich” and therefore deserve to be taxed mercilessly and constantly.

So does anyone know what the exact monetary cutoff was? I’m still foolishly hoping it was a mistake.

Where To Spend Your Weekend

I just ran out to grab lunch (yes, this day has been crazy, thanks for asking) and when I came back, I took the elevator up to my floor. I hate this particular elevator anyway, because it lurches and makes awful noises.

When I got out on my floor, there’s a sign tacked up that says “Don’t Use This Elevator. May Get Stuck.”


Thanks, guys. How about putting that sign on the FIRST floor?

Tequila Anyone?

Oh man. It looks like Warren Buffett’s going to advise Anheuser-Busch to take the InBev takeover offer. And I read in a different article that he disapproves of the company’s statement that it will take months to come to a decision.

“Mr. Buffett, who holds a 5 percent stake in Anheuser-Busch Inc., has a notable reputation for assisting in matters where family ownership is at stake,” said Adolphus Busch IV, an uncle to August Busch IV and a company shareholder, in a statement. “His participation in the recent merger of Wrigley and Mars Inc. is evidence of his integrity. Should Mr. Buffett see this merger as a positive action for all shareholders involved, the likelihood of a deal will increase enormously.”

Research firm Gimme Credit issued a note Monday morning that said, “If Mr. Buffett makes any public statement in support of InBev’s bid, it’s game over for the Busch family’s takeover defense efforts.”



He’s Home!


I’d like to never do that again, please. Not the worst ten days of my life, but almost certainly the most stressful.


I can count on one hand, the number of people I’ve met that I instantly liked. People tend to grow on me — they seem nice at first (or not) and we gradually get to know each other and become friends. But every once in a while someone comes along that makes an immediate impression. Chet Meeks was one of those people.

He was brilliant, witty, snarky, and hilarious. He told me the “Matthew” joke and was one of the few people that gave me a fair fight in Trivial Pursuit.

I teased him about being an overachiever, but it was actually kind of spooky how many obscure things he could do. Andrew needed a haircut badly the last time I saw the two of them, and Chet sat him down on the stairs and started cutting. I asked him if he’d ever done it before, and he said no. I’ve known Andrew literally since birth, and two hours later he had the best, most flattering haircut I’ve ever seen on him.

To call him a “former running partner” would be a gross exaggeration, since we usually saw the tail end of him, as he rounded the bend in the road waaaaaaay ahead of us. It was worth it for the one time that he almost got hit by a deer, though. It missed him by about two feet, and we almost died laughing after making sure he was ok.

I’m not trying to say that he was my best friend or anything. I didn’t know him really well. I just liked him a whole lot. This blog isn’t crawled (right now, anyway) so no one will google his name and find this. But I couldn’t let it go without writing some kind of tribute.

The last time I saw him, his colon cancer was in remission. It came back, as it does, and he died in January. He was 34. I didn’t find out about it until Saturday night, when I stupidly asked Andrew how he was doing. I keep wishing I could at least undo the asking. It wouldn’t bring him back, but at least I wouldn’t feel right now like the world lost something amazing, right when it really needs a bit of amazing.

Feng That

Anybody know what fengnima is? Is it a trojan or what?