There are very few things that can be associated with awesomeness. A chicken that could leap on a frying pan and cook itself would qualify, a guitar solo by van halen too, but certainly not a ukelele. Or so I thought!

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What follows is a serialized essay written by I, Elliott Carter, the only person not only to have confirmed the existence of the Aikido terroist, but also to have met him in person. As part of our agreement, I was granted full editing authority over the text and thus have polished it from a hard lump of coal coal into a gleaming diamond:

Abu Ozamu, to some a terrorist and a symbol of unimaginable cruelty, to others a hero, but to all in this impoverished corner of the globe, a thing of legend. Against the better judgment of friends, family, the consulate, the CIA, the owner of my hotel, the various passers-by on the street, the neighbors, I seek out this Abu Ozamu. It took nearly three years just to establish online contact and after that another fifteen years of email exchanges to finally agree upon a meeting place.

We first met on the Boob Island BBS, where Abu Ozamu was loudly decrying the prurient content being exchanged by the board's visitors. Although he had yet to make a name for himself, I could already tell by his eloquence, the power of his fiery rhetoric, and by my cosysop status, that he was destined either for greatness or for infamy. He seemed like a rock poised atop a great hill that could be swayed by the slightest breeze in one direction or the other (NOTE TO SELF: CHANGE METAPHOR SINCE ROCK ONLY GOES IN ONE DIRECTION, DOWN).

It has been a long journey from our first discussions on the poetics of boobs in the last millenium , to our first face-to-face meeting in these streets drenched in human and animal filth and permeated by the unsettling smell of the hookah. When I sit down at the cafe table, I don't know what to expect apart from the legendary white jacket...

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Damn you Slate!

by Gimpei | 10:44 in | comments (2)

I admit it; I'm a regular reader of slate, and it's for a reason: they have some great contributors. For example, this article on adult diapers is gold. Kaus is good fun, if not a little too contrary for the sake of being contrary. Also great are the various dialogues they host, like the most recent one on the state of the republican party. It was great fun to see all the bickering, and I wish it had gone on for much longer.

But... There's also a lot of crap. I think it falls into two categories. First, slate tries too hard to find the next big thing. Take for example, the post Help! I'm a hip, young New Yorker. I am not supposed to have a crush on Mike Huckabee by a Ms. Cupp. The editors of Slate apparently think that because Ms. Cupp is "hip", she lives in New York, and she likes Huckabee that we should care about what she has to say. After all, look how hip she is!

I can name at least 10 boutique vodkas. My music interests are sufficiently sophisticated that I can condescend to most other age groups with authority.
There should be a word for this sort of sarcasm that is nothing more than thinly veiled self-flattery. The real problem, though, is that there really is nothing to this post apart from the title, or to be more specific, the "persona" of Ms. Cupp. It makes me wonder who'll get published next: an amish physicist, a preacher who is also a pimp, a terrorist who only fights using akido.

The second type of article that pisses me off is the one that seems to be written not because it is correct, but because the title sounds nifty. Exhibit two Only in America: The wrongheaded American belief that Barack Obama could only happen here. Guess what the main piece of evidence is in this article: Stalin, Daniel arap Moi, Napoleon, and Benjamen Disraeli?!

The disappointment I feel in reading these articles is kind of like buying an album with one catchy song and then realizing that the rest of the album is guff. Not only have you waisted money on a crappy album, but now you can't get that annoying song tubthumping out of your head.

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That's right folks. After a mere handful of posts, the Daily Gimpei is already racking up the awards: an honorary degree in excellence in all things blog! Their site is currently down, but will be up... errr soon.

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Back in the late nineties and early oughts I used to follow pitchfork religiously. The problem, though, was always the writing, which was often as pedantic as it was unrelated to the actual album. Take this review, or even better this review of an album by Ignatz that spends the entire first half of the review talking about fascism, bluegrass and a completely unrelated musician Henry Flynt:

The critic Roselee Goldberg credited the violinist Henry Flynt with taking the fascism out of bluegrass. Flynt's own self-appraisal was no less grandiose, once claiming that he "did for hillbilly music what Ornette Coleman did for jazz." These were grand conceits for a man who ceased making music more than 20 years ago, and whose total recorded output had been until recently consigned to oblivion. But time has a way of transmuting self-mythology into canon, and recent years have seen Flynt's reputation loom ever larger.
In fact it was worse than this, far far worse. But it seems like someone finally had some sense to edit out some of the guff. At one point in time I remember seeing a feature purporting to "deconstruct" Kid A. I've tried to find it in the archives, but it seems to have mysteriously disappeared. What's more previously intolerable reviews have been whitewashed.

Kudos to you pitchfork! You can imagine my delight when I scanned a review on Fennesz that was actually sensible and informative. No more glancing at the number and then moving on to the new york times. Hell, I may even buy the new Fennesz album...

Except for the fact that due to previous pitchfork reviews I already have three albums by Fennesz, only one of which is actually listenable (Endless Summer), not to mention albums by US Maple and Chalabi Effect. Damn you pitchfork!

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Visitors to the daily gimpei late last night or early this morning may have noticed that the previous post was mean-spirited to say the least (it has now been redacted to make it slightly less nasty).

I blame this curious phenomena on the time stamp; the post was written during the witching hour: that time of night when demons, witches, Bob Sagat (in reruns of full house), ghosts and other such denizens of the deep come out and do bad stuff.

So don't blog during the witching hour; messed up shit happens... You've been warned!

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I tried to read If On a Winter's Night a Traveler over the summer and found it intolerable. I'd like to think that it just doesn't translate well, but that probably isn't the case. The basic problem with the book is that it reads like a series of postmodern cliches strung together not so much by a plot, but by a narrative voice with the uncanny ability to irritate and bore simultaneously.

I know, I know. Calvino is challenging the traditional narrative and pushing the boundaries of the "novel" by questioning the very nature of the author/reader, text/world distinction. Calvino is not so much interested in the self or being or thinking in and of itself, but rather with all of the wonderful combinations between these words like "thinking thought" or "thought thinking". Even more important is being-in-the-world, being-becoming, and Dasein: being that is constituted as a temporality.

Which is exactly why I'd like to toss the book into the garbage, but that would be a waste of some perfectly good paper. In the spirit of saving world-in-itself, I'll use Calvino's book as kindling the next time I start a fire.

Editor--You don't seem to like postmodernism very much--Well I like a few people like J.G. Ballard or Burroughs because they write well and make me laugh...

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Remember those times in High School when a girl you really liked was sitting next to you in class, but you'd had too much Mexican food the night before and thus were gripped by the sudden urge to expel gas? Such was your love that you persevered in holding back the flood, despite the excruciating pain. However, all your hard work was thwarted when your teacher told you to change seats so as to engage in group work. Your replacement turned out to be a down-right cad, an olfactory menace who passed gas with a frequency worthy of the northstream pipeline--including the moment when the two of you passed each other on the way to your new seats. Falsely accused, you received disgusted looks from both the cute girl where you were sitting before and the cute girl in your new location. Your teacher, a patchouli oil wearing ex-hippe, who hadn't bathed since 1969 continued the lesson unphased.

Well, my persecuted friend, there is a sartorial solution to your worries that I discovered while taking a cab: Shreddies!

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