David Carr on Russians, escaping the grid and douchey elitists

David Carr of the New York Times was one of the featured guests at Wednesday’s Ask Roulette at Housing Works, along with Starlee Kine (of This American Life), Kurt Braunohler (of Hot Tub w/Kristen Schaal) and Dave Hill (also TAL and elsewhere). The room was packed and Carr was in sharp, biting form as you might have expected (especially if you saw Page One), and these three clips provide a little insight into the things that can make him be drenched in sweat first thing in the morning.

With comedian Dave Hill on the left and host Jody Avirgan of WNYC (off screen), answering a question from Hill, “What is your least favorite time of week?”

Answering a question about whether he’s afraid of turbulence on a flight, and talking a little about his upcoming trip to Russia to promote Page One.

Continue reading

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Last time in South Carolina primaries

It’s South Carolina primary season! The one quadrennial occasion for the rest of the nation to pay attention to a state with 10 percent unemployment and 51st in the nation education ranking (that’s right, it’s so bad, it’s below the actual number of states we have). All this hoopla reminds me of this classic from the Inverted Soapbox clip file, where John McCain came Hilton Head for a quick campaign stop during the slugfest that was the 2008 nominating process. The event was fast and loose, and the broke underdog felt more like 2000 era McCain in his element rather than the tired 2008 model. And then this happened:

McCain realizes campaigning can sometimes be a real b word.

(Island Packet, Nov. 16, 2007) The question had a cadence and a sharp alliteration that sliced through the yadda-yadda-yadda about Social Security and health care that dominated Sen. John McCain’s campaign stop on Hilton Head Island on Monday.

With news cameras rolling, Wexford resident Linda Burke, prim in a neck scarf and pulled-back hair, leaned forward out of the crowd and asked plainly and emphatically: “How do we beat the bitch?”

That word, henceforth called the “B-Bomb,” referred to Sen. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner who stirs up vituperative feelings deep in the gut of many Republicans.

It turned into the B-Bomb heard ’round the world.

Hilton Head Island resident Linda Burke asks Sen. John McCain a question that has received national media attention.

Burke’s question — and McCain’s reaction — has caught fire with political wonks across the nation, appearing on cable news and turning into the issue du jour for liberal commentators. The blogosphere, that shadowy zone where even the most minuscule thing a candidate says is recorded, dissected, criticized and resent into the digital ether, is having a field day with it. Continue reading

The Iowa fallacy

[Hi there – I wrote this a few days ago as a frustrated member of the media, pitched it a few places, and you know how that goes. But I put some time into it so now it’s here for your face to look at. I hope it at least helps put ongoing coverage of presidential primaries in a different perspective.]

Cartoon by Drew Sheneman/The Star Ledger

The early primary season is based on one uniting theory: the candidate who is going to win is the one that has the most momentum, and the candidate with the most momentum is the one that won the previous primary, which was wan by the candidate with the most momentum, etc etc, reductio absurdum.

It’s posited to us that the Iowa caucuses set the tone for the entire year, that they are the pre-pre games that determine which teams wind up in the Super Bowl. This is the problem of our media, in that we’re only able to cover the presidential contest as a horse race, more focused on measuring the inches between candidates rather than the issues that separate them. From above, you’d think they’re covering a particularly abortion-obsessed game of Plants vs. Zombies. Covering electoral politics like the NFL is what keeps CNN and Fox News burning on TVs all year long.

But did you know that only two candidates — George W. Bush and Barack Obama — who won the caucuses went on to win the presidency? And the rest of the stats are even less impressive: The caucuses have only picked the eventual nominee for either party 63 percent of the time since they first rose to prominence in 1972. That’s an awesome D minus average for predictability, yet we’ve been getting wall-to-wall coverage of it for months now, with the cable news stations treating it like every one of Iowa’s 3 million residents is some sort of soothsaying wizard consulting mystical corn husks until they finally share their wisdom with the rest of the world this week. Continue reading

Fictional bands clearly based on Sparklehorse

1. Sparkle Pony, from the finale of season 1 of Portlandia, featuring Jenny Conlee of The Decemberists.

2. My Pretty Pony, from season 3 of Veronica Mars*, featuring Paul Rudd in a  great cameo playing in a clearly grunge-era band attempting to do a resurgence for the millennial generation after a fall-from-grace psychological breakdown.

3. The fictional band in my head (called something like Horse Radish [rad-ish in the tubular sense, that is]) in which we wrote and recorded “Someday I Will Treat You Good” five years before Sparklehorse did.

(*have you not watched Veronica Mars? If you like Party Down, you should watch Veronica Mars. If you don’t like Party Down, get the hell off my wordpress this instant.)

My unintentional Christopher Hitchens tribute

Hitchens rides a bike. Via Vanity Fair

On Dec. 12, I participated in my third PUNDERDOME 3000 in Park Slope, an event that is exactly what it sounds like (if you’re saying “I mustache you a question” about this, I humbly request you shave it for later).

One of the semi final categories was WILL SMITH; On my turn, I opened with, “I heard that Will Smith’s favorite Atlantic writer was Christopher HITCHens.”

And then, three days later, Christopher Hitchens died  (incidentally giving us the only repeated use of the term “polemicist” in modern obituary history).

If this trend continues, things that also should be on the lookout: Big Willie Smiles, Fresh Prints, Giant Goddamn Steampunk Spider. Continue reading

A 2011 power ranking of New York writers as food

(see  below)

Emma Strauberry

Jen Carlsjrson

Puree Shafrir

Anil Mrs. Dash

Nate Freerangechicken

Brian Rieses Pieces

Rosie Gravy

Carl Ron Swanson’s Breakfast

Choire Sriracha

Alex Balkan Tulumbe 

Jim Brûlée

Emily Gulden’s

Kat Stouffers

Jen Dahl

Dill Keller

Sachertorte Frere-Jones

Joe Cous-couscarelli

Hugo Limburger

Ryan O’krannel

Edith Zeppoleman 

Lawrence Ryeght

Jennifer Veganburger 

Molson Whitehead

Jonathan Franzia

Brian Speltler 

David Carrbonara

The best time I got rejected from The Awl

Dec 23, 2011, 9:22am:
>For your consideration. Thanks!

Td

[STUPID PIECE WENT HERE AND HERE AND HERE]

Dec 23, 2011 at 9:33 AM, Choire Sicha wrote:
>TIM.

You are so wrong in the head!

Dec 23, 2011 at 9:36 AM, Tim Donnelly wrote:
> sometimes I just have to amuse myself.

Dec 23, 2011 at 9:39 AM, Choire Sicha wrote:
>SICK MONSTER!!!

Dec 23, 2011 at 10:12 AM, Tim Donnelly wrote:
> this is still exponentially nicer than most pitch responses I get*
.
On Fri, Dec 23, 2011 at 10:16 AM, Choire Sicha wrote:
>haha, MERRY CHRISTMAS.
.
(*this is so true).