Hit the Clem Snide/Heligoats show at the High Noon Saloon last night. (Photos available here.) It was, as all Clem Snide shows are, fantastic.
Before the show, my buddy and I were trying to get together a list of friend to invite to the show. But we ran into a snag. We have two gay friends who were partners for like a decade, but recently had a pretty bitter split. From what I understand, they prefer not to be in the same room. So we could only invite one or the other – but not both. But which one to choose? We’re equally good friends with each of them.
This is a major complication with having gay friends who are dating each other. If they split, you have to pick favorites. When you have a guy friend dating a woman, the breakup process is easy. You just cut the ex-girlfriend out of the social circle and move on. (As Descartes once said, “Bro’s before ho’s.”) But when you have two friends of the same sex, it’s impossible to pick one with which to socialize.
Anyway, I know I keep foisting this on you, but it’s my most favoritest song on the new Clem Snide album. It’s just unspeakable gorgeous:
And here’s “Movie Guns” by Chris Otepka, who performs as “Heligoats:”
After I finished college, I already started to feel old. Little did I know how old I’d feel 13 years later, as I blew through my mid-30′s.
But after reading the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today, I found the fountain of youth:
GOP hopes to reinvent itself with ‘young guns’ such as Ryan
Paul Ryan is 2 years older than I am, and in Congress he’s still considered “young.” This is perfect – all I need to do is get into the House of Representatives. I’ll be like the Miley Cyrus of the legislative branch.
Anyone know how I get into this “Congress” the story was talking about?
This is an order – stop what you’re doing immediately and watch these videos. You will not be sorry.
They are a movie called “Married to the Eiffel Tower,” and introduce the world to a phenomenon known as “Objectum Sexuality.” Basically, women who fall in love with inanimate objects. The first woman featured falls in love with her bow and arrow (she calls him “Lance”), but then breaks up with him and marries the Eiffel Tower. (She consumates the marriage by rubbing her body against the tower.) There is also a woman featured who has married the Golden Gate Bridge, and a woman who married the Berlin Wall (and promptly changed her name to “Mrs. Wall.”)
In case you were wondering, I’m pretty sure I’d marry a Jamba Juice.
(Not sure where part 5 is.)
In all seriousness, it’s pretty clear that these woman suffer from severe emotional trauma, and some have substantial developmental problems. I do feel bad for them. But I know plenty of men, and I think they’re probably better off without them. The Golden Gate Bridge probably farts less in bed.
After this weekend, I’m pretty sure my couch is going to file suit against me. After the overuse and remote control-related abuse it took following 96 hours of NCAA basketball, it’s probably going to form a union with my other furniture and go on strike. But just a couple points:
1. I’m trying to think of a worse way that the four Marquette seniors could have ended their careers. But if fans had thrown flesh-eating pirhanas onto the court that ate Jerel McNeal down to a skeleton, I’m not sure it would have been as bad as Lazar Hayward stepping on the end line on the inbounds pass with the game on the line. As one prominent ex-Milwaukee area sideline reporter wrote on her Facebook status, Hayward should be forced to repay his scholarship for the last four years.
After what turned out to be the last play, when the Marquette player (who was it?) got clobbered shooting a 3-pointer, I am impressed that Buzz Williams didn’t get thrown out of the game. If I were the coach, I would have tried to set fire to one of the refs at that point. Not that it mattered, but it’s pretty clear the refs had decided the game was over.
2. I also spent a decent amount of time watching the Wisconsin high school boy’s basketball tournament, eventually won by Madison Memorial. Perhaps this is just another sign of my cultural detachment, but I was a little shocked at how many of the players on both teams in the championship game had tattoos. It’s easy to lose track when you watch so much basketball, but these kids are in high school. One player on Memorial, Vander Blue (a future Wisconsin Badger) is completely inked up on his left shoulder – and he’s a junior. He probably got it when he was 15 or 16 years old. (Blue threw down a filthy dunk over some poor kid in the semifinal game, which I wish I had video of.)
I had some vague recollection of the state law setting an age limit for tattoos, so I looked it up. According to state statute 948.70(2), “any person who tattoos or offers to tattoo a child (in this case, anyone under the age of 18) is subject to a Class D forfeiture.” So, if you’re caught tattooing a 13 year old, you have to pay 200 bucks. It seems there would be an exception for parental consent, but that particular statute only allows for the tattooing of a child by a physician.
Of course, at no point in Mr. Blue’s young life has anyone explained to him what a terrible idea it is to get a full-arm tattoo at age 15. I generally want to forget everything that happened to me in high school – yet he’s going to carry around whatever this is on his arm for the rest of his life. Same goes for all the kids in that game that were tatted up. It just seems that we, as adults, are now afraid to tell kids that what they’re doing is wrong. So now Vander Blue gets to walk around with a proud testament to his ignorance on his shoulder.
3. If you watch enough of the high school tournament, you quickly realize that the whole thing is funded by WEAC, the state’s teachers’ union. This would be the same union kicking and screaming that they don’t have enough money to adequately educate kids – that their teachers have to buy their own pencils, rulers, and whatnot.
Could there possibly be a bigger waste of money than advertising for the state teachers’ union? It’s not like they’re trying to get people to buy toothpaste or workout videos or anything. They already have a virtual monopoly on education in the state – it’s not like people are going to see these commercials and say, “whoa – sign my kid up for a public education!”
But whether your kid goes to a public school or not, you’re paying for these ads. The money goes from your pocket to the government, which pays the teachers, who are forced to pay union dues, to WEAC, who then puts ads on TV trying to convince you that they need more of your money. It’s the governmental circle of life.
4. Bo Ryan is one of the 5 best coaches in NCAA basketball. The results he wrings out of the talent he has is astounding.
I wrote an editorial for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that appeared on Sunday. Most people haven’t read it.
Guess who’s recession-proof?
By Christian Schneider
Posted: Mar. 14, 2009
For the past year, workers around Wisconsin have been flinching when the phone rings. They don’t want the next call they get to be the one where they find out they’ve been laid off.
In late February, the state Department of Workforce Development reported what workers in Wisconsin already knew: Employment in the state was falling like a heifer dropped from an airplane. According to DWD, Wisconsin lost 72,500 private-sector jobs in the past year, causing the unemployment rate to leap to 7.6% – up 2.7 percentage points from last January. These unemployment numbers simply codified the pain families across the state are feeling as their loved ones struggle to cope with losing their jobs.
In the midst of the sagging job market, however, there is one sector that appears to be recession-proof. According to the DWD, while the private sector was hemorrhaging, government increased by a shocking 900 jobs. That’s right – the same people who are supposed to turn this economy around haven’t actually felt any of the pain. While families across the state are learning to cope with job loss, our government has circled the wagons to protect their own – demonstrating that they just don’t get it.
The fact that the government continues to grow in a terrible economy actually explains the government’s misguided response to the recession. Elected officials believe the salve for an ailing economy is to simply do what they know how to do best – continue to add more government jobs. They look at private-sector job loss as evidence that the private economy cannot be trusted to employ people on its own, and they are doing their best to shift jobs back over to the government dole. According to the nonpartisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, fringe benefits for public employees run 50% higher than those in the private sector – so taxpayers will be asked to subsidize more expensive government jobs while they’re losing their own.
And, thus, the regular carpenters, electricians and plumbers must pay for the continued excesses of all levels of government. According to the Federal Reserve, Americans lost 18% of their net worth in 2008, for a total loss of $11.2 trillion. Yet Gov. Jim Doyle’s proposed state budget incorporates $2.2 billion in new taxes, including massive new taxes on the same businesses that represent our only hope of boosting employment in the state. These punitive taxes are meant to close a $5.9 billion deficit created by our elected officials, who now must face the consequences for spending well beyond taxpayers’ ability to pay.
The growth in government jobs as incomes in the state recede further explains the fiscal dreamland in which our elected officials continue to reside. Minimum wage hikes, climate change regulations, sick leave mandates and higher job taxes all will serve to purge employees from business payrolls. Amid the squealing of public school teachers, the obeisant Doyle has vowed to eliminate the qualified economic offer, which guarantees teachers a 3.8% pay and benefits increase every year. Teachers complained about their pay being too low -think there’s any recently laid-off employee of Harley-Davidson who wouldn’t saw off his left leg for a QEO about now?
If you like the way Doyle and the Legislature have run the state government into the ground, you’ll absolutely love it when they detonate your place of work. If they’re half as effective at immolating the private sector as they have been in ruining government, then you can look forward to being dependent on an underfunded government program in no time.
And if our elected officials continue to pad their own jobs while costing us ours, it might be time to make them wait by the phone.
Christian Schneider is a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.
February 18, 2009:
Customer: My car won’t start.
Nancy: No problem. Your car needs a new paint job.
Customer: Hmm, I don’t think that’s gonna work, but you’re the mechanic, I guess.
March 11, 2009:
Customer: Um, yeah, my car still won’t start. In fact, I think your paint job made it worse.
Nancy: What you need is ANOTHER paint job to get that engine humming again. Oh yeah, and your kids and grandkids owe me $787 billion for that first paint job.
I seem to spend a lot of time apologizing for not posting these days, but over at WPRI we just completely revamped our website. (And by “we,” I mean, “I.”) Converting 17 years worth of documents to a new format has become a f***ing time vampire, and has completely sucked the life from my bones.
As a peace offering, I give you this video, which is pretty funny:
Again, I have to apologize for not being very active on the ‘ol blog here. For those who want to read what I’ve been up to, check out my nerdy posts over at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute Blog. People seem to have figured out that I’m just buying time on this blog by adding videos, but I actually have been writing elsewhere.
Also, on Saturday I’ll be at the Americans For Prosperity “Defending the American Dream Summit” in Milwaukee. Due to the multiple restraining orders filed against me, it is as yet unclear which breakout session they will have me speaking to. But it will be at 3:15. I’ll update here if necessary.
On Sunday morning, I will be on “Sunday Insight with Charlie Sykes,” so tune in to that. I’m thinking pink tie, but I can be dissuaded.
Finally, my wife has alerted me to the fact that at her work, someone has begun writing a newsletter called the “Latrine Ledger” and posting it in the bathroom stall. My column with them will be starting next week. Unfortunately, in order to read it, you will have to go to my wife’s office and sit on the women’s crapper. From what I understand, there have already been complaints about the Ledger’s liberal bias, but their expose on the dangers of using hand dryers while talking on your cell phone was top notch.
Oh, and last thing – I was scheduled to give a speech to the Conservative Young Republicans of Milwaukee this week, but I got bumped for Joe the Plumber. My brush with fame. I’m sure we’ll re-schedule for another time when such a high-powered national celebrity isn’t in town.
I mentioned a few months ago that one of my favorite things to do was to go to used bookstores and just browse around the old books there. I don’t even necessarily intend to buy them most of the time – I just like the look and the tactile feel of used books.
But there is a downside to spending a lot of time browsing through books for more than 10 minutes. Your neck starts to hurt like hell. Since books are stacked horizontally, you have to crank your head to the right, nearly touching your ear to your shoulder. And after a while, it feels like your head might get stuck there permanently. I’m sure people have needed years of physical therapy to correct this chiropractic disaster.
So here’s what I’ve come up with: If I ever own my own bookstore, we’re going to have movable carts that customers can lie on horizontally, and my dedicated workers will push them around to look at books. Naturally, the carts will expand or contract in order to accomodate the height of the shelf. As usual, blended fruit drinks will be available for an additional cost.
Here’s the first schematic of my invention that I’ve drawn up. The “customer” is represented in this blueprint by actor Pat Harrington Jr., otherwise known as the plumber “Dwayne F. Schneider” from “One Day at a Time.” I thought this made the drawing a little more realistic, since I can’t think of any reason why he wouldn’t be a regular patron.
Or I could just stack the books vertically, I suppose.
Jack Bauer is going to tie global warming to a chair and shock its nipples with a lamp cord until it stops.
On Saturday night, my buddy Barrett and I went to the UW-Madison union to see a band called Explorers Club. He liked this band so much, he had their album “Freedom Wind” on his Top 10 best albums of 2008 list (which can be heard on the podcast we recorded). They sound a great deal like the Beach Boys – and by “a great deal,” I mean “exactly like.”
This kind of makes them difficult to judge as a band – I mean, their album is really, really good. But how many demerits do you issue them for sounding exactly like another band? In some respects, every artist steals a certain style from someone else. But this is SO blatant it’s distracting. On the other hand, they’re stealing harmonies from one of the greatest bands of all time and making them their own, which is a technical achievement in itself. Look – here’s the deal – we can go around and around all night on this, or you can just start making me a sandwich. Your pick.
The band is a bunch of young guys from South Carolina, so you can imagine their disappointment at the front row of their show being populated by a bunch of 30-something dudes. I would think they probably don’t make much money (and what they do make, they have to split seven ways), so the only benefit they get is the occasional starry eyed college girl. While most of the guys in the band take turns singing, there’s one guy who is clearly the “lead” singer. But it was weird, because he tucked himself all the way in the corner, and his microphone was turned way down. It was almost as if he were embarrassed to be the lead singer, which was ridiculous, because he could really, really sing.
So, of course, after the show (and a few beers), I accosted this guy. I told him he needed to get out of the corner, turn up him microphone, and be the damn lead singer of this band. There may have even been some finger wagging involved. I pleaded with him to have more confidence in himself, because he’s a great singer (he also happens to be kind of a chubby guy, so he may not believe in his ability to be a front man). I am 98% certain he thought I was hitting on him.
At the end of the evening, we ended up destroying some French toast (pardon me… “freedom” toast) at Perkins. (Me and Barrett – not me and the guy from the band.) Like Grandma always said, there is no sadder place on earth than Perkins at 2 AM.
Anyway, here’s a live-ish performance of “Don’t Forget the Sun,” by Explorers Club:
A McNuggets “Emergency”
Floridian called 911 three times over McDonald’s chicken shortage
MARCH 3–Angered that her local McDonald’s was out of Chicken McNuggets, a Florida woman called 911 three times to report the fast food “emergency.” Latreasa Goodman, 27, last Saturday called police to complain that a cashier–citing a McDonald’s all sales are final policy–would not give her a refund. When cops responded to the restaurant, Goodman told them, “This is an emergency. If I would have known they didn’t have McNuggets, I wouldn’t have given my money, and now she wants to give me a McDouble, but I don’t want one.” Goodman noted, “I called 911 because I couldn’t get a refund, and I wanted my McNuggets,” according to the below Fort Pierce Police Department report. That logic, however, did not keep cops from citing Goodman for misusing the 911 system. Even after being issued a misdemeanor citation, Goodman contended, “this is an emergency, my McNuggets are an emergency.” The McDonald’s devotee is seen at right in a mug shot snapped after a previous encounter with police. Last month, a Florida man was arrested after he called 911 to complain about his displeasure with a Burger King combo meal.