Friday, December 23, 2005

A Little of the Old In and Out


Hey there, Mr. Polar Bear. (image via justpetehere)

In: ANWR. ANWR, or, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling issue will not go away. The Corsair opposes the drilling, though, admittedly, we are hugely influenced in this decision by National Geographic specials and the gloriously pristine images of the Arctic. The Corsair has a romantic, James Fenimore Cooperish idealization of Nature. We are also well aware that a patriotic love of the cleanliness of America's habitat means that other, nonenlightened parts of the globe will bear the brunt of our need for oil.

That having been said, ANWR continues to return to Senate debate mainly because of the insanely stubborn politicking of Alaska's Senator Ted Stevens. That old bastard --36 years in the Senate; appointed by the Governor in the 60s -- is tough like old leather. He keeps bringing this this issue back to the table via arcane Senate rules like a bad goddam penny. Says TheHill:

"Senate Republicans were dealt a significant setback today when their effort to pass legislation on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) fell short. Many Democrats and a handful of Republicans oppose the drilling measure, which was attached to a $453.5 billion defense appropriations bill.

"... The underlying defense-spending measure provides fiscal 2006 appropriations for the Pentagon, including a $50 billion fund for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and the leading Senate proponent of the ANWR provision, inserted the drilling language in his legislation after it became clear last week that it could threaten House passage of the budget bill in which it was originally contained.

"Stevens and other GOP proponents argue that oil taken from the Arctic belongs in the defense bill because it is critical to the nation�s security. But critics say it is extraneous and have objected to the effort to attach a controversial rider to the must-pass defense bill. Stevens tried to sweeten the package with the promise of funding for Gulf Coast states hit by this year�s hurricanes, money for low-income heating assistance and other items intended to draw support from Democrats and centrist Republicans.

"But Democrats, with the help of Republicans Mike DeWine (Ohio) and Lincoln Chafee (R.I.), stopped the Senate from voting on the defense measure. A vote today to invoke cloture and cut off debate failed, 56-44."


The prinipled libertarian senator Sununu. (image via

Out: Ignoring The Libertarians. The White House oddly is ignoring not just the Moderate Republicans like Olympia Snowe and Lincoln Jeffries, but natural allies like New Hampshire Libertarian ("Live Free or Die") Senator Sununu, whose father, incidentally, is an old friend and occasional emissary of the Bush dynasty.

Their bad. According to the perfect Dickensian villain, Robert Novak:

"At 10:15 a.m. on March 17, Sen. John Sununu was on the telephone with newly installed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, urging changes in the anti-terrorist Patriot Act. At 3:30 p.m. on April 18, Gonzales was in Sununu's Russell Building office to hear the same message from the senator. To no avail. The Bush administration never took Sununu's message to heart, leading to the current deadlock in the Senate.

"Sununu, a New Hampshire conservative and one of the Senate's rising Republican stars, joined with three other right-of-center Republicans last week to defeat cloture."



(image via

In: Bachfest 2005. It has been said that Mozart and Beethoven were miracles, but Bach was an emissary of God. As an agnostic, we are not quite so sure about the existence of The Endless One.

Still, we appreciate the pragmatic value of Johan Sebastian Bach's concentrated efforts to marshall his considerable natural resources into a public conversation with his personal conception of The Endless One. Bach's genius in his prayer-converstions (AKA: His music) is often breathtaking.

WKCR Online is running "Bachfest," which runs 24 hours a day through December 28th. WKCR will play everything, from the emotionally devastating Goldberg Variations and Suite No. 1 for solo Cello in G major to the hauntingly bleak Tocatta in D Minor to the festive Brandenburg Concertos and the sublime Concerto in F-Minor for Harpsichord.

Bach is for people who appreciate serious beauty. Bachfest here; make it the soundtrack for your holiday season.


Is this Art? (image via alterlaa)

Out: Raushenberg at the Met. If Bach represents the highest achievelment in Western Music, then, quite frankly, Rauschenberg represents the lowest in visual art (The Corsair sips on a Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1978 Grand Pauillac). Lately, we haven't been feeling Phillipe de Montebello. First there were the donor art scandals. Now, fucking Rauschenberg at the Met. According to one Michael Kimmelman of the Old Gray Lady:

"To say that for Mr. Rauschenberg everything came together during the decade from 1954 to 1964, when he was devising these hybrids, is just to speak the literal truth. The combines mixed up paintings with bits and pieces of tattered clothes, athletic socks, newspaper clippings, grimy postcards, broken umbrellas, saw-horses, taxidermied animals, comic strips, pencil-thin neckties, light bulbs and other junk that Mr. Rauschenberg had or bought or scavenged from the street - whatever caught his fancy, which meant just about anything.

"... Now, of course, it's easier to grasp the way these works weave teasing bits of autobiography with fragments of contemporary life and history to make images that can't be boiled down to a single message (academics are always trying to do this) or dismissed as a bunch of hooey (the conservative line). The sexual innuendo of the goat and tire is hard to miss. But then there are many other possible readings. Relying on the old Cubist grid for their formal armature, the combines invite decipherment without coming across, like Cubism, as homework. They provide access on many levels at once, favoring none, anticipating the mental processes of a generation of multitaskers. Half a century later, you might say, the culture has finally caught up to the combines."

(A considerable pause) Excuse us if those sentiments sound like naught else but utter bullshit. Oftentimes, Modern Art strikes us -- especially in the cases of Christo and Warhol, but never in the cases of Picasso or Matisse -- as a clever hustle; an aesthetic posture more geared to inspiring smart conversation than a reflective inquiry into Eternity. If "frozen wit" could net us a half a mil and a house in East Hampton, then we shall quit blogging altogether, frame odd bits of Coney Island oceanic flotsam, and sell it to the suckers and the punks who go in for that sort of thing. (Averted Gaze) Or, maybe we won't.

The Met is for Nicholas Poussin, not Rauschenberg and his outre scams. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment)

In: Jason Calacanis Predicts. Our old SAR 100 boss and newly minted millionaire Jason Calacanis makes some predictions today about 2006, among which:

" Metblogs and Gothamist will both raise venture or seed capital.

"... Newscorp (and maybe some other folks) might spin out their Interactive assets and take them public.

"... No podcasting company will have any significant success in 2006, but a number of podcasters will be offered great jobs at Sirius and XM Radio.

"... The housing bubble will deflate/burst (it's much worse now than people are saying) and consumer confidence and spending will be moderately shaken. This will create a pullback in consumer advertising which will result in a cooling of the media/Web 2.0 space and another round of main stream media layoffs (think magazines, newspapers, etc).

"... Gawker will hit 20 blogs and get bought by Newscorp--Nick Denton will keep Fleshbot and retire for the third time before spinning the Fleshbot into an ipod video service claiming all the while that 'there's no business in it.'"

More predictions here.


(image via

Out: African-American Grinches. Chris Rock and Bobby Brown are presently being blamed for ruining Christmas. Crazy. As if African-American men didn't have enough to worry about, what, with the high unemployment rates, early death, high rates of incarceration -- now this! Notherfuck!

They're just keeping it real, people. Mellow out. Why should a chubby white guy get all the credit for stocking the tree with bling!

But, frankly, we are more curious as to why anyone would expose impressionable children under the age of, say, 7, to the risquee stylings of a Bobby Brown or a Chris Rock. Hmm?

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