Friday, April 3, 2009

"Which Do You Choose, A Hard or Soft Option?"

We're in the midst of decorating here at ATG, and soon it will have the atmosphere of everyone's dreams (or, at least, mine). I linked to the light fixtures deep in the comments of this post, but in case you missed that, here is what one of them looks like against our soothing black walls.

The furniture is being custom-built; just wait until you find out how comfortable....

And now a complaint. I'm 12tequilas, right? The one, the only? My chosen identifier has the disadvantage of cluing the world in to my alcoholic tendencies, but aside from that, after all this time it has acquired life of its own, so to speak. It is I.

Some time ago I realized that if I used 12tequilas, rather than some variant of my given name, as a "user ID" for any and all online accounts, I would stop being told that the ID I had chosen was already in use. Because NO ONE ELSE in the world is 12tequilas. Except that today, when I had to set up a new account for a credit card that was taken over by another bank, I was shown the ol' exclamation point in a triangle and told that 12tequilas was in use. Grumble, grunt, growl. I had to use my emergency backup name, trevi.moon, which is cool, because I've never actually had occasion to use trevi.moon. There's the bright side.

Moving on to the real nitty gritty:

Richard Cohen is a Washington Post columnist, but he is syndicated all over. According to WikiGenius, he's won honorable mention over at Pulitzer four times. I've enjoyed his writing for years. (Now, Mr. Cohen writes opinion, so he makes people angry all the time. If you are one of those people, you might want to say something bad about him here in the comments. I'm not going to tell you not to; I don't want to censor anyone that visits me here. Just be aware that if you're too mean I might decide I don't like you anymore.)

Not long after Barack Obama was elected president, Cohen wrote about how Obama might combat the isolation bubble by reading the newspaper. It's interesting; I'll wait here if you want to go read the whole thing. This paragraph jumped out at me:

A BlackBerry is of limited utility. You cannot have a hearty family breakfast with everyone gathered around the BlackBerry. But with a good newspaper, the president could read the hard-news section, the first lady could adhere to gender orthodoxy and read the softer sections, and the kids could chuckle at the comics. Just as in the old movies, papa could explain things, like what's the purpose of NATO anymore. (I'm dying to know this myself.) Not all newspapers have comic sections, but even those that don't usually have sports pages and business columns.

I know Cohen wasn't trying to get his readers to imagine the Obamas as black, executive Ward and June Cleaver with daughters, but that's just what I was thinking. I'm sure someone somewhere criticized Cohen for assuming that Michelle Obama wouldn't want to read the hard news, just because she's a woman. Personally, I start out reading that front section of the newspaper. On the other hand, I can't dwell on those long articles about our rotting economy. (And I do read the advice columns and the comics. Shut up.)

Some people avoid the news entirely because they don't want to get depressed, and I understand. But some of what shows up in that front section of the paper is fun, or you can make it fun by adding your own spin. If you dig for it, you'll at least find something you can make fun of because it isn't really news, and then suddenly, like magic, you've given it entertainment value.

The following are examples of "hard news" items I posted on Facebook in the past month. Pretend they all begin with: "12tequilas here with the hard news," 'cause it sounds better that way.

March 23: 12tequilas here with the hard news. The Prez did not show up to the annual Gridiron Club dinner on Saturday. What the heck is that? And who cares? Today's Post Style section says Obama "was supposed to be at the head table, smiling and clapping as the club's journalists flounced around in costume, belting political parodies to the tunes of Rodgers and Hammerstein and Gilbert and Sullivan. **** The president, however, had planned to skip the affair to spend time with his family at Camp David. Typical. String 'em along, get elected, go back to the wife. The nerve."

March 19: Lance Mackey has won his third Iditarod in a row. But it's the dogs I congratulate.

March 18: I hope not to offend my Catholic friends here, but the Pope is an idealist. Or maybe a dumbass. "You can't resolve [the HIV problem in Africa] with the distribution of condoms," said Pope BXVI according to the Washington Post. "On the contrary, it increases the problem." Your Popeness, it would be great if telling Africans to abstain would work. But it won't. (My friend George Clooney commented thus: "So, so many snarky comments I could make. But I'm afraid of those heavily armed Catholics out there, so ... mum's the word!")

March 16: Dick Cheney smiled, grinned really, and his face did not crack in half. Or maybe it did, and CNN covered it up. Photo at link. (Anthrax rhythm guitarist Scott Ian Rosenfeld informed me that: "It wasn't him. I heard it was one of those Audio-Animatronics from Disney. The only way the real thing is capable of smiling is when he's shooting someone in the face.")

March 6: Brad Pitt was here on Cap. Hill yesterday. The "hard" bit is that Nancy P. was gushing over him. Looks flushed in the photo. Dana Milbank of the Post's "Washington Sketch" also said this: "For the two hours Pitt was at the Capitol yesterday, Congress could have declared war on Canada and nobody would have noticed. But while it was disruptive, the actor's visit to Washington could not have been better timed. His latest film 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,' is about a man who ages in reverse. As it happens, this is the same way Washington grows: As time passes, the nation's politics become more and more juvenile."

March 5: Michelle Obama has made sleeveless dresses POPULAR. By wearing them HERSELF. Time for some tricep dips. (This led to a bit of discussion; my friends, actors Rachel Weisz and Seth Green, were trying to convince me that Michelle Obama is "hot" but I wasn't convinced.)

And here is something quite recent, and it is so hard that it's okay if it's a few days late (these are my rules, after all):

March 31: 12tequilas here with the hard news. It's Genital Integrity Awareness Week, and so, the cleverly-named "Intactivists" staged a protest yesterday, marching from the White House to the Capitol. What's their beef? They think MALE circumcision is BAD. Not just unnecessary (even though studies show it reduces the spread of HIV by 60 PERCENT), but BAD. Read this for all the details, but apparently you circumcised guys are missing out on "'entire realms of exquisite feeling'"! And you can blame "circ" for deforestation too. (Author Dan Zak doesn't seem to believe any of it.) Check out how I wrote that entire report without saying "penis"!

Hard News will be featured here, probably as a weekly roundup unless I've just got to get it out there. And YOU can feed Hard News by sending e-mail to 12tequilas, followed by the usual symbol, ending with comcast in a net. We're not at the point of giving out T-shirts if we use your submission, but maybe someday, if you keep on spreading the word.

Here's the final item. March 3: 12tequilas here with the hard news. According to Glamour magazine, there are 11 things guys don't understand about women. The only one of the 11 that applies to me is the one about marriage. But I am a mutant.

If the opposite sex has you frustrated, you're in need of a little crunch, or you wish you'd never been circumcised, play the video. Loud.

News: "Have you got it? Do you get it? If so, how often?"


jksmd said...

I like the Onion, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and NPR's "Wait, Wait" to get comedy's look at the news (well, ok, the Onion has no real news, but it riffs off the news.) That way I don't have to work so hard to find the funny stuff in the midst of all the depressing stuff. :)

12tequilas said...

Yeah, Jon Stewart is great. And there's always a place in my heart for Weekend Update (jksmd, I remember watching SNL with you when we were like 10, staying up REALLY LATE). I imagine that Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Amy Poehler and etc. would have a field day with the Intactivists.

MS said...

trevi.moon huh - I guess it all comes back to Marrilion for you.

12tequilas said...

At the time I was picking out the 12tequilas name, people from the Marillion listserv had provided some suggestions. trevi.moon was my favorite of those, so I just kept it in reserve ;)

Armchair General said...

I seem to remember that DozTequilas was once in use....

I have had a mad dislike for Richard Cohen since 8th grade.

Ask me sometime if you want to know the story. He was mean to me, while simultaneously teaching me a lesson.

12tequilas said...

I only had that other tequila-based username because the technology at the time was such that I could not use numerals. "doz" was short for "dozen"; i.e., 12, but that old name sounded stupid to me when spoken aloud so I was really happy to change it.