Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Man Who Shot B-Roll Of Money Being Made Not Feeling The Economic Pinch

Mr. Murray is not feeling it

The economic crisis has put the financial futures of hundreds of thousands of Americans in jeopardy, but in the media's rush to cover the constant disasters on Wall Street and the government's failed attempts to fix them, they've inadvertently shored up Eric Murray's financial security. "I honestly never thought it'd be such a big thing, you know?" Mr. Murray said in a phone interview from his home in Running Brook, Indiana. 

The thing he is referring to is the two minutes of video footage Mr. Murray shot of money being produced back in 2003, when the newly designed $20 bill was first put into production. "It was just a quick job you know? The story ran for a day, the footage ran, I got paid. I got about a month's rent out of it, and I thought that's that." 

But as money, and more importantly, the question of where it's going to come from, has constantly been on the American public's mind, Mr. Murray has once again seen his footage in hot demand. Clips from his footage have been playing on average of 50 times a day on all the major cable news and finance outlets, in addition to showings on the national nightly news broadcasts as well as local affiliate news shows, where the economy continues to be the lead story. "It's really flattering," said Mr. Murray, "I would think there would at least a couple different shots of money being made that they could choose from, but everyone's choosing mine." 

Mr. Murray said that benefits from the new found interest in his work have been immediate, with his royalty checks increasing by 2000% over one week. 

"It's great. I mean, I don't mean to sound cold, but this couldn't have come at a better time. Everyone's really hurting right now, so there are some great deals to be found." For instance, Mr. Murray says when he approached a local dealer about purchasing a hot tub, they offered to instal it for free. "Guy had tears in his eyes. I think I was the first customer he'd seen in a month."

Ginger Ale

It was on sale today. 2 liters of ginger ale is only a dollar at Jewel, the same price as the flavorless seltzer that they don't even allow to be in the same aisle as the rest of the soda, banished to the booze aisle because it makes everyone so sad. I don't usually buy soda at the store, so I'm not really sure what the going rate for a liter bottle really is - but a dollar? That seems so low, but appropriate. Because ginger ale is so awful. Originally created by British pirates looking to create a drink that would accurately reflect their bleak world view, ginger ale became popular in the United States during prohibition, when bootleggers started marketing the drink as an alternative to alcohol, which then sent people straight to their nearest speak easy because it tasted so awful and they needed a stiff drink to get the taste of it out of their mouths. It was a double win for the bootleggers, because it was at the speakeasy that people learned the only useful purpose of ginger ale - as a mixer. Nowadays ginger ale is the bastard piss colored step child of the soda industry, so unpopular that it's rarely available in soda machines, save for the ones located in the saddest of office buildings. It's only steady buyers are the elderly who want to enjoy a soda but find Sprite's ad campaigns confusing and offensive, and drunken divorced fathers who need something that they can both mix with whiskey and give to their kids on the odd weekends. So it was with much pain in my heart that I reached out tonight for that plastic bottle. It was then that I realized not only do I like ginger ale, it might even be my favorite soda. While it might just be another sign that I'm doomed to a sad, lonely existence, I don't care, because heaven help me if I'm going to pass up a deal like that.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

J.P. Morgan Chase Buys TCBY Because It Feels Like It

Just days after it's purchase of Washington Mutual from federal regulators, J.P. Morgan chase announced Monday that it had bought TCBY, the nations largest frozen yogurt chain. The move came as a surprise in the wake of the current financial crisis which has left the markets in turmoil and often found Chase in the role of the last minute savior, especially in the case of WaMu, the nations largest savings and loan, which Chase purchased 1.9 billion worth of it's assets Friday after it was seized by the federal government in what is being considered the largest bank failure in American history. "We just felt like we could all use a treat," said CEO Jamie Dimon, "It's been a rough couple of weeks, and we just wanted to thank everyone for being such a trooper."

"Plus," he added, in between licks on a Caramel Apple swirl, "who the fuck is going to stop us?" 

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Facebook Thinks I Am A Sous Chef

I am not a sous chef Facebook. But I do love Buffy. 

Friday, September 26, 2008

This Is All I See When I Look At The G.O.P. Ticket

Karl Rove probably owes Mike Judge royalty fees, but damn if he'll pay 'em.

Jim Lehrer Will See You Now

"Now, say it to him... no actually say it to his face. Talk to him senator. Good. Doesn't that feel better? Now... now kiss him. No? Okay, just putting it out there."

*Oh no John McCain you did not just say Sarah Palin is your fellow maverick, you are not that thick.

Schedule for the Night of Friday, September 26th, 2008

 7 - 8 p.m. Listen to Keith Olbermann prattle as I try out this
fish stew thing Bittman was writing about the other day. 

8 p.m. Watch the debate.

8:01 p.m. Begin one man drinking game. Rules for drinking game:
  • #1 - Drink when ever John McCain refers to the American people as his "friends" or "main street"
8:23 p.m. Succumb to alcohol poisoning. 

Pitches For New History Channel Day Time Programming

History's Most Obscure Nazis 

Do You Know Hans? No, Of Course You Don't.

By now, the History channel has chronicled every mundane moment in the lives of the Third Reich's major players to the point where every bookish housewife and retired grandfather know what Gobbel's preferred breakfast pastry was (unsurprisingly, it was strudel). So why not open it up a bit, shine the light on some of the party's lesser members? Sure, they may not have been that interesting, but there were so many of them, they can easily fill a twenty-two episode order. Five minutes on Josef from Hamburg, who never really bought the party line but just liked the snappy outfits. Or Fredrich, who suffered a constant inner struggle during his tour of duty due to his love of bagels. Or Cal, who was an all around good Nazi but no one ever really believed it because his name was Cal. 

History's Worst Family Vacations

Should Have Gone To Cabo

We all have funny, terrible family vacation stories, but none as awful as the McCullen family, who sailed from Wales in 1678 in an attempt to find religious asylum but instead found death on the cliffs of Dover. History is full of stories like this, and there is an entire generation of bloggers and internet entrepreneurs working from home who grew up playing Oregon Trail rather than doing any work in shop class who would love to watch them. The show could highlight "I Shouldn't Be Alive" type recreations of the disasters, and could also make an attempt to grab "The Hills" demographic by substituting the usual dry diary readings with newly written, "modern" interpretations of the text: "Dear Diary, today Dads decided to weather the gale, and now we're totes out of hardtack! Worst sweet sixteen ever."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Notable Moments in Presidential Radio Debates

Baba Booey

1908 - It was widely perceived that William Howard Taft's huffy speaking skills would put him at a disadvantage in his debate with noted orator William Jennings Bryan, but Taft was determined to use the relatively new medium to his advantage. During the start of the debate, as Bryan attempted to start into one of his lofty eloquent speeches, Taft pulled a stick of butter out of his pocket and blubbered into it in front of the microphone. He then derided  his opponent for being a "Rude, awful man... with the manners of a stable donkey." Bryan tried to defend himself against the accusations but the laughter filling the hall by that point made it impossible, and critics said he was unable to regain his stride for the rest of the night, some going so far to say it threw him into a funk for the rest of the campaign. Taft saw the night as a double victory, not only because he defeated his opponent, but also because he was able to later eat the stick of butter. This is why William Howard Taft is known as "America's First Shock Jock."

Ain't No Snitch

1924 - President Calvin Coolidge's monicker of "Silent Cal" proved all the more accurate during his debate with Democratic nominee John W. Davis. Davis answered the first question of the debate, and when turned to for a rebuttal, Coolidge said nothing, and continued to for the rest of the night. At first Davis thought he had the advantage, deriding his opponent's "disability to answer even the simplest of queries." But Coolidge's icy stare soon withered and wrecked his opponent, who after 90 minutes of trying to fill the silent void being left by the president, finally cracked and admitted to killing a man in an alley way in Washington D.C. in 1908. Even though the resulting arrest and trial seriously damaged his campaign, polling at the time showed that the biggest factor in his loss was his perceived lack of a cohesive policy to deal with Nicaragua. 

This Is Where The Roof Goes

1936 - No President ever took greater advantage of the radio than Franklin Delano Roosevelt, though one of his greatest successes was actually a mistake. Radios were finally in the majority of American households by the time of Roosevelt's debate against Alf Landon, but between the country's inexperience with the new technology and the fact that most families had eaten the buttons off of the new consoles in fits of hunger, people had trouble accurately tuning into the shows they were planning to listen to. So while many were impressed by Roosevelt's ability to conduct a debate and build a bird house at the same time, they had actually just happened to tune into "Al Roger's Birdhouse Hour brought to you by the Miracle Spring Bird Seed Corporation" on a night Mr. Rogers happened to go off script and launch into a tirade about federal funding. 

How Lucky Is Joe Rogan?

So lucky.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Greatest Of All Depressions

From the WSJ:
"A nose job in a hospital with a private nurse in attendance had been something of a rite of passage for Joan Asher's children. But when her fourth and last child was ready for her own rhinoplasty recently, Ms. Asher asked her to postpone it.

The financial markets were simply more out of whack than her 16-year-old's proboscis."

The turmoil downtown has even worked it's way into the most mundane daily routines of the city's elite. Doris Lockborn, the wife of a prominent investment banker, has burned the sheets she slept on every morning for the last 35 years. "I did it once on our honeymoon, and it just felt right. I haven't missed a day yet. Even when we go on holiday, I make sure they set us up with a fire proof rubish bin." And being accommodated to the lifestyle that she is, Mrs. Lockborn has been setting aflame only the best silk sheets that money could buy. "They're made by a flock of Turkish silk worms - they only allow the worms to make enough silk for one set of sheets and then they crush them with a rock, so it's truly one of a kind. It's fabulous." But after a review of their finances in the wake of the new financial future, Mr. Lockborn put a kibosh on his wife's ritual. "He made me go from the 1000 thread count to the 800, can you believe it? It doesn't have nearly the same crackle when you light it up. It's embarrassing. I see the way the help has been looking at me. With those... eyes."


The economy is even starting to decide how the well-to-doers and their families spend that one special part of the year - time travel vacations. "We were planning on taking the kids back to Florence during the Renaissance," said Rachel Allen, a stay-at-home mom on the Upper-East Side. "Maybe show them a little culture, get them acquainted with the classics, as they were happening." But between the tumultuous economy and the ongoing strife in the middle east, the price for the plutonium that would be necessary for the trip is beyond the Allen's budget. "He starts blabbering at me about 'jiggawats' and all this nonsense and finally gets around to telling me the farthest we could get back would be 1955. And it's like, if I wanted them to see that, I could just take them to see 'Grease' on Broadway. But I don't, because I don't hate my children."


The financial crisis is rising to the point where it's even starting to effect the literal backbone of the local upper crust: the coal mine. It's a widely known fact that one of Wall Street's most ambitious project over the last two booming decades has been it's quest to find the remaining two Adi Shankara stones that it needed to officially rule the world. Even as the project has produced nothing but the bodies of thousands of kidnapped children over the years, the traders still weren't sweating it. As Michael Shenkman, a commodities trader at Morgan Stanely put it, "It was still like, 'Hey, free coal.'" 

But now some are wondering if the quest for undisputed world dominance through the use of mystical stones is worth it in the floundering financial market. "It used to be when your indentured children slaves were starting to die off, you could just send an expedition out to some other po dunk village, round up some more, and we'd be back to full force by Monday," said Jack Newman, an investor with Goldman Sachs. "But now, with funding the whole thing on the weakened dollar, and the price of gas. Do you have any idea how much it costs to fill a jet with enough fuel to get it into a remote Indian village? Yeesh, it was like, who's pillaging who here?"

The project hasn't completely come to a stop yet though, as the investors have turned to a new form of labor: molemen.  Though it's clear no one involved is satisfied with the solution. "The kids at least, if they weren't finding something, there was a certain joy in watching them work, knowing how much they were suffering, you know?" said Newman, watching the new slaves from the mine's viewing gallery. "These guys, they seem to like it. They smile all the time. Or at least I think they do. It's hard to tell. It's creepy, I know that."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why China Will Win This Century

In the billion plus people that currently populate the nation of China, not one of them is Spencer Pratt. 

Well played China. Well played. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

X was never like this.

I've always enjoyed the way that Netflix is able to actually recommend movies that I enjoy, but now I dread going to my home page because there isn't anything in the world that screams "You're a film student" more than a website that wants to tell you about Indie Dramas from the 70s. Which led to this little quadruple feature:

I'm not sure how my interest in an Oscar winning musical biopic, a New Wave neo-noir, and a Michael Haneke thriller made a computer think I'd like to spend an afternoon watching three softcore porns and story about Jewish orphans during World War II, but throw in a wheel of brie and that pretty much sums up my description of a perfect afternoon.

I also like how Netflix now gives me the option to rate an entire country on a star based scale. Belgium? Two Stars - DID NOT LIKE.

Does the Clark really need someone in a crowd to hold up a sign for it?

My mother claimed to have been holding a sign with my name on it while they were filming this, then when I said I couldn't see it, she said that she was probably too close to the crane to actually be in the shot, which is exactly the kind of thing my mom would say when she wants me to know that she loves me but doesn't actually want to embarrass herself in public/on national television. Thanks Mom. 

Personal notes:
  • They just shut down route 7?
  • The aerial shots that make it appear that Stockbridge just springs forth from a magical forest. Which, I guess, technically is true. 
  • The post song interview Diane Sawyer has with James Taylor about his roots in the community goes so far as to have him point at Austen Riggs, which is only about fifty feet away, and yet no one mentions heroin. Nicely done Diane. 
  • The fact that at the end of this song, the entire town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts didn't spontaneously burst into one giant apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side astounds me. 
Seriously, I'm pretty sure this is what the official seal of the Berkshires now looks like: 

That's James Taylor and Yo-Yo Ma enjoying a sundae on Moby Dick's back as they glide down a glowing Housatonic River on a lovely Sunday afternoon (W.E.B. Dubois was excluded because he was a communist and nobody enjoys that). Just imagine that it was beautifully painted by Norman Rockwell and not drawn by someone with the artistic skills of a third grader and then captured onto a terrible iPhone camera.


From the BBC:
A Nigerian man with 86 wives, Mohammadu Bello Abubakar, has been arrested by an Islamic court for refusing to divorce all but four of them.
"So I only have four roses, and as you can plainly see, there are 86 of you. And again, I'd like to apologize for the seating arrangements, they promised they'd have more chairs. Also, I would like to apologize for the excessive bigotry. Anyway, let's get this thing started. The first rose is for... wife #67."


"Oh, no. You're wife #67?"


"Oh, no, I meant you, to the right. The one with the glasses, what's your number?"


"Huh, I could have sworn you were 67. You know this would have been easier if you had all worn the numbered hats I handed out earlier." 

"The hats were ugly and crudely made from old newspaper."

"Look 52, do you want to be one of my four wives or not?"

"My name is Karen."

"I think it's clear we're beyond the name phase of our relationship." 

A Strong "I" Statement

I feel like I should start this out with a thesis statement, something that lays a strong foundation in the present, with an eye out towards the future. 

This... this feels right.