Friday, September 26, 2008

Wall Street is burning...

I've always thought that Wall Street, the physical location, is sort of strange, especially as the entrance to the NYSE is actually on Broad Street. It's appropriate that there is a super-sized statue of George Washington on the steps of Federal Hall, staring forever across Wall Street towards the Exchange and down Broad Street towards the Hudson River and New Jersey and his creation, the United States, through acts of terrorism and insurgency against the superpower of the age, the British Empire.

Wall Street, the synecdoche, is burning these days, just as once the Bronx burned. It's a strange sort of crisis, invisible to me, mostly, and I don't really feel sympathy for the collapsing pillars of Advanced Capitalism. If you set the rules of the game...

It's also always been slightly amusing to me that the left-wing radio station WBAI has its offices on Wall Street, but much farther down, by the river...

[Photo by Jez Coulson]

Not sure why, but anyway...

I am sitting
In the morning
At the diner
On the corner

I am waiting
At the counter
For the man
To pour the coffee

And he fills it
Only halfway
And before
I even argue

He is looking
Out the window
At somebody
Coming in...

... Oh, this rain
It will continue
Through the morning
As I'm listening

To the bells
Of the cathedral
I am thinking
Of your voice...

-- Tom's Diner, by Suzanne Vega

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Take that, Brother!

Old Jokes Home, from Popbitch:

Q: What goes clip clop clip clop clip clop clip clop clip clop clip clop clip clop bang! bang! clip clop clip clop clip clop clip clop ?

A: An Amish drive-by shooting.

Obama meets President Bartlet

In the New York Times, West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin imagines Obama meeting President Bartlet, asking him how best to take on the Republicans...

OBAMA: What would you do?

BARTLET: GET ANGRIER! Call them liars, because that’s what they are. Sarah Palin didn’t say “thanks but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. She just said “Thanks.” You were raised by a single mother on food stamps — where does a guy with eight houses who was legacied into Annapolis get off calling you an elitist? And by the way, if you do nothing else, take that word back. Elite is a good word, it means well above average. I’d ask them what their problem is with excellence. While you’re at it, I want the word “patriot” back. McCain can say that the transcendent issue of our time is the spread of Islamic fanaticism or he can choose a running mate who doesn’t know the Bush doctrine from the Monroe Doctrine, but he can’t do both at the same time and call it patriotic. They have to lie — the truth isn’t their friend right now. Get angry. Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it. McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too? It’s not bad enough she’s forcing her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a teenage hood, she wants the rest of us to guide our daughters in that direction too? It’s not enough that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, it should be the law of the land that she has to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby too? I don’t know whether or not Governor Palin has the tenacity of a pit bull, but I know for sure she’s got the qualifications of one. And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!

OBAMA: Good to get that off your chest?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Finally, they came for me

So yesterday, I was sitting at home in Hell's Kitchen when the door buzzer went 'bzzzzz' and I said "hello?" into the intercom, and a man's voice said:

"Good Afternoon. This is the FBI. May I speak to Stephen McKinley? Can you come downstairs now, sir?"

So I stepped backwards and said to myself "what the #*&%$@^#%$*&@#^???!?!?!?!!"

I imagined a crowd of New York onlookers on Ninth Avenue outside watching heavily armed men unwrapping leg irons and a Gitmo suit.

"Dude! They're totally dragging off some white guy... yeah, I'm filming it with my new iPhone, so anyway, I was soooooooo wasted last night and this chick wanted to..."

I invited the FBI instead to come upstairs to the landing, where they could simply execute me or whatever.

The slow, heavy tread on the stairs -- footsteps undoubtedly weighed down by leg irons and a Glock 9 mm -- revealed itself to be a twinkly-eyed agent who looked like a friendly uncle.

It turns out he was doing a background check and wondered if I had known someone who used to live in the building. I did not. I managed to squeak: "I see by your last name you're an Irish man like myself," and he stared into the middle distance briefly while remembering how his forefathers escaped the Famine. He could have used another wee Famine around his middle. Then he was off. I had locked myself out of the apartment. If he had stayed around to chat, he would have seen me jemmying the lock with my library card...

The experience reminded me of some wise words of the eminent philosopher, Random Someone:

"First they came for the Trekkies, and I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Star Wars nerds and I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Stargate morons, and I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Babylon 5 freaks, and I did not speak out.
Finally, they came for me...
but I was off down the pub getting pissed and so they went home empty-handed."

Covering the End of the World

A new novel by Sam Taylor about survivors on the last island of dry land on our planet after the oceans rise has been offered as the subject of a competition for designers of covers for the book. Some are very good, here are all 25...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Something strange at the Guggenheim

Poetry in motion. (The words scroll upwards).

Christmas 2008 is going to be great!

From America the Gift Shop: the Dick Cheney shredding secret documents snowglobe!

Monday, September 22, 2008

My home county bates everyone and wins it all!

Several thousand Tyrone fans turned out in Aughnacloy and Omagh on Monday night to welcome home the new All-Ireland football champions.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Get ready for the dis

Nobody knows de trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows de trouble but Jesus
Nobody knows de trouble I’ve seen
Glory Hallelujah!

"Deep-seated racial misgivings [also known as racism] could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them "lazy," "violent," responsible for their own troubles." -- Vatican City Bugle.