Wednesday, October 04, 2006

George Allen: A Sensitive Soul Man

Still combating allegations of racism, Virginia senator George Allen's camp has just released the following photo, for what they said were “obvious reasons.” A campagin aide remarked “I really think that this should assuage the voters concerns and show that Mr. Allen truly is in touch with a broad range of ethnic and racial minorities."
"We have unconfirmed reports that the man standing next to him," the aide added hopefully "may also have been a minority."

The campaign also released the following image, which democratic critics claim is just a more closely cropped mirror image of the previous one.

But it seems that voters may not be swayed by this point; "Man, he's really enjoying that watermelon," said one voter when shown the photo, "I dunno [sic], maybe he's not such a bad guy after all."

Although no word has come in on the new poll numbers, the campaign has also tentatively begun the printing of the following buttons, which aides say should "seal the deal."

Sunday, September 24, 2006

George Allen: The People's Jew

Today in the news, Strategists for Senator George Allen (R-VA) announced that the campaign would be taking a new turn in light of the recent revelation that Senator Allen’s mother was actually raised Jewish. Senator Allen has said in a recent press conference that his mother’s religious upbringing had been kept secret from him until recently. In an interview today, Henrietta “Etty” Lumbroso Allen offered to shed some light on the situation

New Voices: So Ms. Allen, how does it feel to be thrust into the national spotlight after so many years of keeping your history a secret?

Etty Allen: Well, you know, I’ve been schvitzing like crazy, this whole ordeal has me noshing constantly, you know how it is, I get shpilkes, I nosh, I get more shpilkes. It’s a vicious cycle really.

NV: Naturally. Now, you’ve kept your Jewish heritage hidden from your son for a great deal of his life. Do you feel this has been a barrier between you and him?

EA: Nu? It pained me to keep secrets from my son. But what can you do, it wasn’t always such a nice world for my people you know? I just wanted my son to have a better life than his family before him.

NV: How do you feel about this upcoming election. This was supposed to be an easy win for your son, but the Democratic challenger James Webb has been steadily gaining in the polls.

EA: Oy, that Webb is such a putz. He doesn’t have one ounce of the chutzpah as my George does. When I think of how my boy has been schlepping for the people of this fine commonwealth, ugh, it just makes me plotz.

NV: A lot of people are saying that the fact that Senator Allen never knew about his heritage signifies a lack of natural curiosity on his part, what do you think about that?

EA: Feh, those schmegeges in the media are a bunch of dreck-pushing no-goodnik kibitzers. If they can’t find some celebrity who’s shtupping the maid then they go after the good people of this country. Besides, I went to a lot of efforts to make sure that my children didn’t find out too much about my roots, I hid all of my Bubbe’s old shmattes and everything. Still, I’ll admit, I was a bit surprised that George didn’t guess after all these years. It’s just that he’s seen plenty pictures of his grandfather, and oh you should have seen the schnoz on that man. I mean, he was a real great man, a real mench, I’m so glad my boy turned out like him. Plus we always used to go to Golden Dragon inn for Mu Shoo every Christmas… I thought that might tip him off…

NV: Well thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us Ms. Allen, good luck to your son this November.

EA: Oh, no problem, you should stay and schmooze for a while, I’ve got a got some Rugalach left over from the church bake-sale.

Etty Allen discusses her son's upcomming election

Allen is still recovering from an incident a few weeks ago in which he called S.R. Sidarth, a campaign worker for James Webb, by the name “Macaca.” Although the word is used as a racial slur in francophone African nations including Tunisia, where Allen’s mother grew up, Senator Allen has repeatedly denied that he has ever heard the word before, and stated that he made it up on the spot. In other news, The Senators from Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama have recently remarked that they too had made up the words “Spic," "Wop," and Chinky-dinky Chinese chink" (respectively), and had no prior knowledge that they may be considered offensive by some.

For his part, Allen has tried to "turn this whole Jew thing into an election plus" according to campaign aide, "When life gives you lemons, make lemon babka. The image we want to capture is of a man who understands diversity, a man as comfortable humming Hava Negilah as he is whistling Dixie. When people go to the polls this november, we want them thinking George Allen: The People's Jew."

"My name is Senator George Allen, and I in no way approve of this piece of schlock."

Monday, September 18, 2006

Burning Man: Vatican Edition! / How to Make a Pope Pinata.


In response to the Pope’s controversial speech in which he discussed the historical role of violence in Islamic faith, a group of Muslims in India have built a straw mock-up of the pope, doused it in gasoline and lit it on fire in front of the All Saints Cathedral Church. The group “also threw stones in the church compound and damaged the lamp-post at its main gate.[story]

Meanwhile in Kashmir, approximately 150 protesters marched through the state capital Muzaffarabad chanting “Death to Pope.” -- Not to be outdone, they also burned what one Muslim called “a much bigger and better effigy than the one in India.” To this an Indian Imam countered "Oh those Pakistanis just have effigy envy."

And the Mujadeen consultative council released a statement in which it said “We say to the servant of the cross (the Pope): wait for defeat. We say to infidels and tyrants: wait for what will afflict you. We continue our jihad…We will smash the cross,” and, it added, “conquer Rome”. [Story]

Al Queda also declared another Jihad, though experts say that with all the Jihads they’ve got on their plate they probably won’t get to this one till approximately “sometime in the mid 2250’s, C.E.”

In unrelated news, today Rabbi Yitzhak ben Shlomo gave a talk about the historical role of Irony in Jewish and Islamic faiths.

"You see the Jews have always had a sort of… sense of humor about these kinds of things... In Egypt, when we were persecuted, the Jews laughed and said that one day we will be free. In Germany when we were slaughtered like animals, we laughed and said that someday we will have a state of our own. In Israel, when we were attacked by forces conspiring to destroy us in our entirety, we laughed and said 'America has lots of bombs and we're friends." Chuckling nervously, he said “Whereas Muslims, on the other hand, have a tendency to effigize first and ask questions later; which actually, come to think of it, may be why there are about 5 million Jews and 50 million Muslims… I wonder if there’s any extra lighter fluid in the synagogue…”

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Two Jews and a Goy

The following three new artists are connected in a few interesting ways:

  1. Their talent exceeds their age.
  2. They clearly have something to say; you may not always know what it is, but it’s definitely there. Keep looking.
  3. The plethora of references literary, political and biblical found in each album will send any inquisitive listener into a shame-hunt through Wikipedia.

Regina Spektor: Soviet Kitsch (2004), Begin to Hope (2006) -- Rising Jewish Star

"Spektor attempts something that's never been done before. It is, however, one of the rare albums where the talent practically sears the speakers. On Kitsch, Spektor combines cabaret intimacy, deliberately paced circular melodies, and an occasionally spooky emotional conviction as she works through tales of divorce, death, and downtown posers. Maybe only a few heard it, but fewer still walked away unconverted."*

Try listening to: Samson, US

Baraka Noel: The Mixtape Philosophies of Mushroom Black (2006) -- First Album

" seems obvious that Baraka is an extremely literate man. He links vowels together like the best of Rakim or Nas’ first record but he does it with a vocabulary that will leave Hot 97 artists reaching for their Roget’s. … The music here is well above average but won’t revolutionize hip-hop’s sound. The lyrics however will change your perception of what intelligent hip-hop could be."**

Try listening to: Religion (natch), New Year

(n.b., An added bonus to this artist is that he’s so hot-off-the-presses fresh that if you start listening to him now, you will actually be able to say that you liked him “You know, before he got all popular and sold out. His new record’s just way to produced, nah man you gotta listen to his old stuff” (note: in order to properly boost indie cred, this phrase must be said verbatim, regardless of truthfulness or quality of new music in comparison to old.))

Matisyahu: Live at Stubbs (2005), Youth (2006) -- Rising Jewish Star

"[Matisyahu] is making some of the best damn reggae music heard in the last several years. On his major-label studio debut, Youth, Matisyahu combines reggae-style vocals, singing, rapping, and beatboxing over his bands’ seamless blend of organic roots-reggae dub melodies, rock riffs, and hip-hop. And despite his devout Jewish beliefs, Matisyahu never comes off as too-preachy, instead focusing on universal life-lessons and the importance of self-awareness."**

Try listening to: King Without A Crown, Time of Your Song

*Onion's A.V. Club Review
OkPlayer Reviews

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Holy Muslim PWNage, PopeMan!!

The Pope was harshly criticized by Islamic scholars today in response for the language he used regarding Islam in a series of speeches given while traveling in Germany. The NY Times reported:

the pope began this speech at Regensburg University with what he conceded were “brusque” words about Islam: He quoted a 14th Century Byzantine emperor as saying, “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

This prompted one Islamic expert to concede that the church “does indeed have the moral high ground on this and many other issues. But,” he added, “only because it’s built on top of the world’s biggest pile of dead Jews, Muslims and nonbelievers.

Supporters for the pope were quick to rebut that of the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition and the Vatican’s relations with Nazi Germany, only one of them had occurred within this Pope’s lifetime.

The Pope also argued that violence was "incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul," adding “Besides, you Noob Muslims got seriously spanked during the crusades, you were all like ‘but we invented zero!’ then ‘BOOM! HEADSHOT!’ ‘GTFO of Jerusalem!’ Pure Pwnage!!! j/k, j/k, Muhammed, OMG,OMG dude, rofllmao,!”

The Vatican could not be reached for comment.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Greg Mankiw's Blog: Improving College Admissions

An interesting perspective on college admissions by a Harvard professor (and my response).

Greg Mankiw's Blog: Improving College Admissions

Once You Pop, You Can't Stop

A recent article the NY Times has revealed that a new rock has been found in central America bearing what is thought to be writing from the ancient Olmec civilization. The Olmec, who lived in south-central Mexico were at their peak between 1200 BC – 400 BC. This is the first writing sample discovered from the Olmec civilization, and therefore not even the leading Central American anthropologists have been able to decode it yet. Luckily, I consider myself to be something of a lay-expert on this very issue (my mother got her PHD in linguistics), and with the help of my trusty assistant (my mother), I’ve formulated a preliminary translation for the rock’s inscription.

Dear Rock-blog and rock-blog readers/listeners/viewers, I must live in the most boring cave in this entire network. Nothing ever happens, except for mom and dad fighting, which happens constantly. They were arguing again last night; I didn’t catch all of it because I was just coming home from “Throw-the-most-rounded-rock-into-the-rock-pile-ball” practice when I heard them. Mom was all like “Sacrifice a human. Sacrifice a human?! That’s just your solution to everything, Philip, isn’t it? Oh, bad day at the rock quarry… guess I’ll sacrifice a human! Oh, hey, no one’s invented football yet, better sacrifice a human! Oh hey, my cave is a frigging disaster compared to Bob and Laura’s cave next door and my marriage is literally on the rocks… Well let me tell you, honey, I don’t think a human sacrifice is gonna solve this one, unless the human you sacrifice is yourself!”

She’s always yelling at him about his human sacrifice habit… I don’t know, I mean, all the other guys in the caverhood also sacrifice humans, so you know, ok…But even I gotta admit, sometimes it seems like dad just can’t have any fun unless he sacrifices a human first…The other day he tried to get me to sacrifice a human with him and I was all like “Dad, you know I want to, but if the tribal elders catch us they’ll have me for underage sacrificing and you for aiding a minor sacrifice, and then mom’s gonna be really pissed off...” I just don’t know I’m starting to think that maybe he needs help… Ugh. Anyway, I've gotta go, I think someone's coming; until next time.

- Rockwriter15

I’m awaiting a phone call from the anthropological authorities on this matter.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Power Chords to the People!! -- The New Israeli Image

All anyone can talk about after the Lebanon Debacle of ’06 is that Hezbollah won the Public Relations war. I think it says something that we’ve gotten to a point in time where the media image of what happened is, at least in a lot of people's minds, much more important than what actually happened. I won’t labor on about the perfect storm of postmodernism, cultural relativism and mass media technology. Instead I want to talk about what it is that Hezbollah and their supporters are doing that Israel could learn from. I think it's clear to everyone that just like New Coke or Pepsi Jazz, it's time for Israel to do some rebranding. So here it goes, one P.R. "Lay-Expert's" recommendations for a new Israeli public Image.

First off, They’re boring. Back in the fifties Israel used to be all kick-ass and cool. David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Dayan, Golda Meir, these are Sexy names (though to be fair, Meir changed her name from the decidedly less sexy “Mabovitz” and Ben-Gurion was originally named Grün, and Moshe Dayan was originally named Fred Smefleman) What have we got now, Barak, Netanyahu, Olmert? These names suck. I think the first thing they should do is get better names. I mean who would you rather follow? Someone whose name might as well be Natan-Yahoo Serious or someone named… “Reginald Blaine!” I mean, just say it “Reginald Blaine!” it’s got kick, power. As for his nickname “Bibi,” from now on he’s nicknamed “Flash.” I can just see it now “Once again Flash Blaine, saves Israel.” As for Olmert and Barak… they have the same first name. That’s gotta go. Everyone knows you can’t have just the first name of someone who used to work at your job, it’s just tacky and leads to all kinds of awkward slipups, especially around the Christmas season (card writing and nog don’t mix). You either have completely different names (e.g., Ronald Regan and Bill Clinton) or, you have exactly the same name (e.g., George Bush and The President formerly known as George Bush). So here’s the deal, one of them has to change their name. Barak’s already served his term, so I say Olmert does it, that way we can save money on reprinting history books. Either he goes by “Ehud Barak the Second” (he can keep Olmert as his middle name, we’ll say they’re distant cousins) or he changes his name to… oh, let’s say “Patrick Ohoulihan” (Irish names are in this season, I read it somewhere).

Ok, names are taken care of… Now… the look. Moshe Dayan had an eye-patch. AN EYE-PATCH!! Do you know who else wears eye-patches? Pirates! And pirates are badass, everyone knows that. So… ok, let’s slap an eye patch on someone… Ok, howabout Sharon, he’s not using his right now anyway. Hell, let’s put two on him, he’ll be twice as badass -- as a pirate! I know it’s a tough time for him and his family and I send them my best, but I think that if he were conscious he would want to serve his country in any way possible, even if it means being the badassest pirate Jew this side of Turkmenastan.

For Olm—Barak II, I'm thinking... A mustache. It worked for Tom Selleck in Magnum P.I. and it’s time it came back as a statement of Manhood. In fact, let’s just slap Tom Selleck’s mustache on him! I don’t think Selleck has had much use for it for the past fifteen years or so anyway, and it’ll go great with his suit. Either that or Nietszsche’s, he had a pretty manly mustache as well… On second though, I don’t want any German facial hair in my Israeli government, it would just be… feh. Maybe we’ll just give him all of Selleck’s hair. Yeah… We’re looking at a whole new PM now, baby.

Ok ok, this is good, we’ve got new names, new looks, now what we need is an act. Ok, well here’s where we really need to learn from Hezbollah. They’ve had a media circus fawning on them at all times with the double act that they’ve been putting on. I don’t know if you know this, but Hassan Nassralah is actually a classically trained magician.

He studied under the guy who studied under the guy who killed Houdini, which helped make him the most popular magician in the Arab world. In fact, if Nassrallah hadn’t stumbled into politics, he’d probably still be doing his old “flying carpet” trick on the corner of Mossadeq and Damascus. As it is he’s been bringing out some of his old material, but with a new twist.
And as for Iranian President Mahmoud AhmadinStephenColbertejad, he used to be a classically trained vocalist. It’s true, he actually came to the US and tried out for the original run of “Bye Bye Birdie” and when Gower Champion said that he’s never heard someone who “sounded so much like a metzo, but acted so much like a soprano,” Ahmadinstolenjokeejad went back to Iran in tears and swore vengeance on America. Still, he uses his old skills to bring new people to his cause every day.

Finally, what the Israelis really need is something catchy… something modern… I’VE GOT IT! They hold an emergency parliamentary session where by special election they vote the Hassidic Reggae artist Matisyahu in as temporary Prime Minister. Then they contract Anti-Folk/Indie Rocker and Jew extraordinaire Regina Spektor to write a new National Anthem, only this one will be about a Jewish kid who walks down the street precociously and learns some serious life lessons from observing the world around him. Or a biblical figure or not or… something… (Oh I love her music, I just don’t really… “get” her quite yet…).

Well there you have it. That’s the new policy. Once we do that, maybe slap some tap shoes on Reginald Blaine, have him lead the entire Knesset in a rousing chorus of War’s classic “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” and I think you’ll find that Israel’s image problems will be just about solved. Man, I don't know what I'm doing in this field, I should be in PR.