"Totally coup, yo."

2002


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LIFE IMITATES SARCASM, VOL. 2

Aug

01

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LIFE IMITATES SARCASM, VOL. 2
Hey, can we call ‘em, or what? The BEAST, June 21 The Buffalo News, a little over a week later, on June 30 “Instead, the paper pulled on its hose and delivered to Buffalo the Rigas story in the form of a cruel Shakespearean tragedy, in which the kindly King Lear (John Rigas) was toppled from his lofty throne by heartless fate and a few regrettable but thoroughly understandable human frailties.” It is a Greek tragedy.  It's very ironic


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SEPARATED OFF-CAMPUS?

Aug

01

by

Separation Anxiety

SEPARATED OFF-CAMPUS? Pilaf Men Bananas Copper Renaissance Bible “Pilaf, Pozole and Pad Thai: American Women and Ethnic Food,” by Professor Sherrie Inness… …and “Men, Mines and Migration: Going For Gold,” by Professor T. Dunbar Moodie… …as well as “Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics,” by Professor Cynthia Enloe… …and “Tracing the Veins: Of Copper, Culture and Community,” by Professor Janet L. Finn… …and “The Renaissance Bible: Scholarship, Sacrifice and Subjectivity,” by Professor Debora Shuger?

SEPARATED AT BIRTH?

Lleyton Hewitt Roger Daltrey You-wish-someone else-was-the-world-#1-tennis-player Lleyton Hewitt… …and you-wish-someone-else-had-been-the-lead-singer-of-the-Who Roger Daltrey?


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ASS THE WAY I LIKE IT; KICKED

Aug

01

by

Muckdogs
ASS THE WAY I LIKE IT; KICKED
By Slidell Montgomery

The Dogs came back home last Monday with an air about them. They had, the night before, delivered the Mahoning Valley Scrappers the ass whupping they had coming. The ass whupping the Dogs knew somebody had coming. It had been too long. They had put up only five runs in their previous five games, losing the last four of those, and were hitting less than .240 on the season as a team. The two most recent losses had come at the hands of the Scrappers, at their park in Niles, Ohio, to the tune of 9-0 and 5-1.

For the last game of the road trip, however—hardly a getaway game seeing as how both teams were headed back to Batavia for three more—the ‘Dogs had, on this Monday, their mojo-of-the-mound, Carlos Cabrera, heretofore aloof to defeat, working for them. Cabrera went into Monday’s game 4-0 with a ridiculous ERA of 0.51. And for the first night in a while the ‘Dogs bats Batavia Dugout
arrived at the park with the rest of the team. Despite Cabrera’s absorbing his first touching up yet (surrendering 3 earned runs over 5 innings in a winning effort), the ‘Dogs let ‘em have it for a 9-run, 14-hit walloping, winning 9-3.

“On the bus back from Ohio last night they got their first real ‘that’s the way to kick their asses speech’, said ‘Dog’s public relations/radio announcer/dynamo Jonathan Meyer, “[pitching coach] Warren Brusstar stood up, toasted them and said ‘Tonight we kicked their asses’. It was great.”

Meyer suggested that the sudden spike in the ‘Dogs offensive production could be due in part to a recent visit by mothership-Phillies’ organization traveling coach and former big league journeyman Milt Thompson.

“He’s primarily a base running and outfield throwing specialist, you know working the cut-off angles and that,” said Meyer of Thompson, who played outfield for six teams in the National League between 1984 and 1996, having probably his best year with the Phillies in ’87 when he hit .302 with 9 triples and 46 stolen bases, “but he thought he could help with their hitting so he made a couple suggestions. They went off last (Monday) night.”

So, Tuesday the ‘Dogs were home and coming off one of their strongest batting performances of the season. Cafiero had gone into Monday’s game in Niles trying to claw his way closer to .200 and went 4-for-5 with 2 RBI leveling him off at the two-bill mark. Luis Rivero came in hovering just above the .200 mark, enjoyed a 3-of-5 game, scored twice and raised his average to .237.

Rangy right-hander Lee Gwaltney, out of Louisiana Tech, took the pill on Tuesday for his first start of the ’02 campaign. He was rock-solid in three scoreless innings, handing the ball and a 1-0 lead to Michigan man and righty Bobby Korecky. Korecky kept things correct despite hitting a couple snags in the sixth, when the Scrappers, having already scored two runs, threatened with runners at the corners and one out. But Korecky was able to serve up a double play inducing pitch to some Scrapper batter and he was off the hook.

The ‘Dogs partied it up for five runs in the bottom six after third baseman Barthelemy reached on an error and was followed by a barrage of offensive from catcher Mark McRoberts, right fielder Andre Marshall, dh Luis Rivero and leftfielder Chris Roberson.

Korecky cruised with about an eight or ten pitch seventh. He then turned it over to lanky right-hander Jeremy Rogelstad, a Californian, for the duration, who held fast despite the hint of rally from the Scrappers in their 2-run eighth, facilitating an 8-4 win for Koreckybehind another 14-hit performance.

'Dogs warm-up hiveWho knows, if Thompson’s pointers stick and the pitching holds the ‘Dogs might get a good run out of the rest of the summer. Go out early and catch a pre-game
‘Dogs warm-up hivetoss around. Batting practice/fielding warm-ups look like a Fifties propaganda film touting the glories of macro-system ingenuity in the American workplace. At home plate there is backstop netting that domes three-quarters of the immediate sky above the plate. Within this netting stands the guy taking batting practice. He gets several cuts at the pitches coming from Manager Ronnie Ortegon who is standing on a ramp, protected by more netting, about forty-five feet from the plate. Over on the third base line one of the coaches is hitting ground balls to Rob Cafiero and Ryan Barthelemy, both over at first base. Along the first base line, not even halfway to the bag is yet another coach hitting grounders to shortstops Nielson Abreu, Carlos Rodriguez and others. Meantime there are players practicing their base running in conjunction with the results of the hitters at the plate. To protect the players taking fielding practice and to avoid dangerously distracting those in the batting cage the coaches on the baselines wait for the pauses of only a few seconds between pitches to hit balls to the fielders.

And that’s just what’s going on in the infield.

As of the afternoon of July 17, 2002 the Muckdogs are 14-14, four games behind Pinckney Division leading Auburn.

Upcoming ‘Dogs Home Games:
7/22, 24- vs. Jamestown
7/26 vs. Auburn
7/31, 8/1,2- vs. Hudson Valley

www.muckdogs.com
585-343-5454

Noteworthy Road trips:
7/27-29 vs. Brooklyn Cyclones
Coney Island, Brooklyn (Cyclones games sell out early, call ahead)

www.brooklyncyclones.com
718-449-8497

Editor’s Note

Cafiero
Cafiero reading when he should’ve
been proofreading

In last issue’s Muckdogs installment Rob Cafiero’s name was repeatedly (read: consistently) spelled “Calfiero.” After receiving much mail from Muckdog fans taking exception to this we feel compelled to change our position on the spelling to the more popular and, as it turns out, correct spelling “Cafiero.” Our apologies, Rob. As recompense, the Muckdog column writer’s name will be misspelled in this issue. Also, in some of the even less edited editions of our last issue (fortunately distributed only to the less significant reaches of our circulation area) Mr. Montglomery described Mr. Cafiero as “belligerent, contrary and inebriated.” Mr. Cafiero is, in fact, lucid, affable and chatty. We regret any inconvenience.


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BEAST PAGE 3 BENGALS FAN!!!

Aug

01

by

BEAST PAGE 3 BENGALS FAN!!!

Clifford "Big Cat" Peterson Name:   Clifford “Big Cat” Peterson

Age:   Unknown

Turn-ons:   San Diego, HBO’s “Inside the NFL,” chicks who pick up the dinner tab, Jon Kitna, Herb Tarlek

Turn-offs:   San Francisco, Detroit, completed passes in excess of 15 yards, Olympic Figure Skating controversies, Akili Smith

How I became the BEAST Page 3 Cincinnati Bengals Fan:   My brother Steve is an aspiring artist and he submitted some humorous sketches to the Beast guys hoping to get them published. They told him they’d think about it, but only if I agreed to pose as the Page 3 Bengals Fan. So here I am. It’s no big deal, the off-season is kind of a drag anyhow.

Future plans:   Nothing much in particular except for road-trippin’ on out to San Diego to see the Bengals triumph in Super Bowl XXXVII over whatever sorry team the NFC sends this year. Yeah baby! Jon Kitna all the way!!!

How I want to be remembered:   As a man who never gave up on his team no matter how many first-round draft pick QBs turned into NFL Europe bench-warmers, and as a man who knows a thing or two about Feng Shui. There’s nothing like too much clutter in your life to make your goals seem unattainable.


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SPORTS DESK 3

Aug

01

by

Sports DeskSPORTS DESK

Sports Crimewatch
It’s a little early to tell yet, but it looks like a new statute is getting ready to leapfrog the open can of beer on the passenger seat, the unregistered pistol found in the hotel room during a soliciting arrest, and the simple assault of a pregnant wife to become the infraction du jour among professional athletes. As is appropriate given the theme of this issue, the new fad is the charge of “making terroristic threats,” which has more and more often been lumped in with the standard litany of multiple felony charges police generally bring when a recreating athlete short-circuits and goes haywire in a public place. In the past week, no fewer than two well-known professional athletes have been racked up on the terroristic threat charge— with one of them being Buffalo’s own Charlie Rogers, that once-promising wide receiver/kick returner pickup who may soon be calling for faircatches in the shower room of a New Jersey prison. >&gt
Wide Right
As the disturbing events of the past couple weeks have shown, the dog days of summer are a difficult time to be a professional athlete. Whether you’re Allen Iverson having to travel to an unpleasant West Philly neighborhood in the middle of the night to teach a lesson to the no-count cousin who dares to molest your young wife (and this after you have been paying to support him and his entire deadbeat family) or Al Unser, Jr., having to resort to drunken manipulation of the gear shift knob because your girlfriend still hasn’t learned to drive properly, there’s no end to the trouble you can find yourself in. >&gt
Ass The Way I Like It; Kicked
The Dogs came back home last Monday with an air about them. They had, the night before, delivered the Mahoning Valley Scrappers the ass whupping they had coming. The ass whupping the Dogs knew somebody had coming. It had been too long. They had put up only five runs in their previous five games, losing the last four of those, and were hitting less than .240 on the season as a team. The two most recent losses had come at the hands of the Scrappers, at their park in Niles, Ohio, to the tune of 9-0 and 5-1. >&gt

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BEAST PHYSICS TIPS 2

Aug

01

by

BEAST PHYSICS TIPS

with Ashok Dibbawalla

Lesson #2
Some Intermediate Pressure Calculations Involving Centripetal Force and County Executive Joel Giambra

Question:
What would happen if we put Erie County Executive Joel Giambra in a centrifuge?

Answer:
CentrifugeEver taken one of those spinning carnival rides? The ones where the floor drops out, and the riders are stuck to a vertical wall? (If you haven’t, imagine riding inside a giant top loading washing machine on spin cycle.) This is a low speed centrifuge. As the drum turns faster and faster, the riders find themselves plastered to the sides.

Most people know that heavy items will press against the edges of a spinning container. Still, there remains a lot of confusion as to why this happens, or what happens at extreme speed. In this article, we’ll explore the phenomena in a thought experiment, using Joel Giambra as our test subject.

Let’s imagine an extremely powerful carnival ride, with Giambra, fresh from calling for an additional $45 million in loans for the county to build a new Youth Detention center, is riding alone. For the sake of discussion, we’ll assume that Giambra weighs about 220lbs, and that the radius of the drum is 25 feet. We’ll start by turning the drum at a stately 1 RMP (1 revolution per minute).

If we only glance for a moment, we see that Giambra appears to be moving in a straight line. If we observe over a longer period of time, we can see that his direction of travel is actually continuously changing. The definition of acceleration is the rate of change of velocity. Therefore, the more rapidly his direction of travel changes, the greater the acceleration he’s experiencing. Some elementary calculus will tell us that the acceleration is proportional to the radius of the drum, and proportional to the square of the rate of rotation. Accelerating a massive object implies a force, and this force is proportional to the product of the acceleration and this mass.

In layman’s terms, this means that every time we double the rate that the drum spins, we quadruple the force that the drum wall exerts on this back to keep him moving in a circle. At 1 RPM, less than two pounds of force is needed to keep him moving in a circle. Of course, he must still support his own weight, so the acceleration he feels is the normal 1 G we all live with.

Let’s dial up the speed. At 4 RPM, he’s pressing against the wall of the drum with 30 lbs of force. This is at a right angle to gravity, so his total weight feels as if it’s only gone up by 2 lbs. At 10 RPM, he’s reached 1.3 G’s. He’s also traveling about 10 MPH. If the drum had a hanging weight, it would now hang at 40 degrees to the vertical. 15 RMP takes him to 2.2 G’s, approximately the force of gravity at the cloud tops of Jupiter. The force holding him against the wall is now stronger than the earth’s gravity pulling him down. If you placed a scale between him and the wall, it would read about 420 lbs.

Remember what we discussed about the force being proportional to the square of the rate of rotation? Well… here is where things start to take off. At 20 RPM, much faster than any speed he experiences in County meetings, our scale reads 750 lbs. The weight of this own chest makes breathing labored; he’s at 3.6 G’s. 25 RPM brings 5.4 G’s. Fighter jet pilots are exposed to this level of acceleration, but they won’t tell you it’s fun. At 30 RPM the G force reaches 7.7. County executive Giambra will not be awake for the rest of the ride.

We’re up to 60 RPM now, once around every second, and 31 G’s. His body is pressing against the drum with a force of 3.4 tons. I confess that I don’t have detailed data on bone strength, but I would imagine that he’s at least cracked some ribs by now.

350 RPM takes us to 1,000 G’s, and once again, Giambra—as he was at the bottom of the ocean floor—is liquefied. The flesh has long since peeled away from bone. We notice something else, too. The liquid is forming layers. The tissue is no longer strong enough to support its weight, and the heavier chemicals are settling to the walls of the drum.

You can rev your car to 5,000 RPM, but at that rate, the unfortunate Giambra is finished. We’ve exceeded a staggering 200,000 G’s. Assuming that drum is 6 feet tall, Giambra’s remains are a slick on the wall mere 45 thousandths of an inch thick. (See my previous article for calculations of Giambra’s volume.)

Ashok Dibbawalla is Professor Emeritus at the Online University of Ft. Lauderdale. He now lives with his family in Buffalo NY.


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INFLAMED CARROT

Aug

01

by

INFLAMED CARROT

Dear [sic], Ah, people! I can’t take it… I only read your wonderful 2nd issue (so so sad I didn’t catch the first), and its worse than my caffeine and nicotine addictions combined!! Is this what it feels like to have serious drug withdrawal? I’ll never start drugs, I swear! Just get your next paper out before I die from BEAST withdrawal!!

Aaahh! *screams and rolls around on the floor, pulling at hair*
FlareCarrot

Dear Carrot,
Settle down, Beavis. And please do find yourself some drugs. And once you do, call us. We’re fresh out.

 

SHOO, POLISH

Dear Matt,
When you grow up and realize how really fucking irritating it is not to be able to have a grill in your backyard because they are repeatedly stolen, or a fan in your window because they have to be locked at all times— then maybe you be able to write a more truthful and realistic article describing the actual motivation behind operation “clean sweep”. To present it as some sort of government-police sponsored anti-Hispanic campaign was extremely irreponsibly trite. This was simply a respone to some of the madness permeating the neighborhood, and making it an increasingly difficult place to live. I would venture to guess that after your home was burglarized, and your spouses car was stolen, and your guests were harassed by drug dealers that you might just see things a little differently. These are very serious and basic quality of life issues that need to be addressed, because they negatively impact on “all” people. The city has a responsibility to attempt to improve the neighborhood, and probably has much more support then you would believe. As a resident of the area I would never support the type of commando action you described in your article. I would hope in the future you would save such histrionic writing for things that actually happenend. If some of the residents of the neighborhood perceive a clamp down on crime as a negative, culturally biased event, this might very well be part of the problem.

David Zawistowski
Westside
Buffalo-NY

Dear David,
Hmm… We thought “Clean Sweep” WASN’T a clampdown on crime. At least that’s what the city told us. Seems to us that we were writing a “truthful and realistic” article describing the motivations behind Clean Sweep. Even according to you, we were. They said it was “community outreach.” We said they were lying, and that it was really an anti-crime operation. Apparently, you agree. We just disagree over whether or not that kind of operation is right. If you think that it’s okay for the cops to go door-to-door fishing for evidence, well… good luck when Poles who can’t spell become their next flavor of the month.

 

JUST SEND MONEY

Mr. Fallon et al,
Sincere congratulations on and thanks for your refreshing publication! I love your style, and if you like, i would like to contribute articles to your paper.

First i need to know the conditions of contributions, i.e., what do you pay, if anything? Tonight i went to see “MacBeth” at Delaware Park, and sketched out the following draft for an article which is (it will readily be seen) in an Onionesque style, and certainly along the lines of what i have read in the Beast.

I live in Buffalo, have a B.A. in English from Buff State, yada yada yada… im drunk now, and was also drunk when i wrote the following, but would have no trouble bringing the following haphazard sketch to completion in my sobriety if you were interested. In any event, best of luck to you in the expedition of your fiendish agenda.

Sincerely,
Dennis Reed Jr.

Dear Beast Readers,
Once again: the Onion, where you want to be directing these submissions, is about 400 miles to the southeast of here. It’s on Eighth avenue downtown somewhere. You can find the building pretty easily. Just look for a bunch of parked BMWs with bumper stickers that read, “Honk if you think I was funny a few years ago.” If you want to contribute to the BEAST, please send us booze or money.

 

[SIC] ON THIS

Dear “[sic]“, God, do you guys suck. When I first saw your paper here I thought it was a joke, put out by some local politicians, or maybe some professors, and I thought it was funny. But then, after a couple of issues, I looked into it and found out that it was true, that you guys really had a paper in Russia, and then moved here. Now, it doesn’t seem funny anymore at all, just sad. Obviously you had your run at the big time and missed out, and now you’re coming here and trying to convince all of us, and yourselves too, that this is a step up, the logical “next step” of a stratospheric career path. But the truth is that you’re just a couple of impotent twats trying to eke out the last bit of juice from a career that, but for an insane historical accident that opened the door for you to exist in Russia for a few years, should never have gotten started to begin with. You’ll probably just pick on me for being a fat pig like everyone else is in Buffalo, but I’d rather pack a few extra pounds than be a washed-up third rate carpetbagger with no ads and no readers.

Sincerely,
Tom J.

Dear Tom,
Lose some fucking weight, you fat pig! Har har har!

 

CUTE N’ CHRISTIAN

Dear [sic],
Well, I finally got around to reading John Dolan’s book review on Praying for America in your first issue. In general I agree with most of what Dolan has to say about the conservative Christian movement in the U.S. However, I have a real problem with the fact that he continually uses the term “Christianity” to denote this, unfortunately not that small, segment of the entire Christian population. Admittedly, Sheets’s use of the term “the Church in America” is misleading. There is no homogenous Christian Church in the U.S. If this were the only source of information Dolan had ever received about Christianity in his life, I could understand his mistake. I don’t think he’s that badly educated, though. My favorite quote from the article is “This sort of paranoiac drama gives you a sense of why Christianity appeals to so many lonely Americans. Unlike the Catholicism I knew, this religion makes the worshippers the center of the universe.” I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but Catholics are Christians too. I know, it’s a pretty complicated idea to grasp. My basic point is that there are plenty of intelligent open-minded Christians out there, who really hate being grouped with the morons Sheets represents. Other than that, I love your paper. I only read the Artvoice when I have nothing better to do, but for you guys I actually turned off the TV. Well, ok no I didn’t, but I didn’t pay as much attention to it as I usually do.

Sincerely, Sarah Knepp

Dear Sarah,
Right, but what are you wearing?

 

[SIC]-NORANT

What does [sic] mean? Its the heading of the letters to the editor section and it is sometimes used as a verb in the responses.

J. Cougar Melancamp
Lakawana, NY

Dear J. Cougar,
[sic] is Latin for “Throbbing, uncircumcised man-shaft.” It is a tool (!) used by editors when they want to indicate a place in a piece of text where the writer should originally have included a throbbing, uncircumcised man-shaft. Its presence in the final, edited text demonstrates to the reader that the absence of said man-shaft is not the editor’s [sic] fault. Thank you [sic] [sic] for asking.


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Lack of Drugs Poorly Timed

Aug

01

by

Lack of Drugs Poorly Timed

A mirageJust last week, the news broke that federal indictments were about to be handed down against the Rigas family. It was news of paramount importance to all of us citizens of Buffalo, and yet, even in light of this news, the question remained: why are there no drugs in the BEAST offices?

As far as the BEAST is concerned, we are having no luck whatsoever in finding drugs of any kind. There are no little paper packets stashed with powder hidden in the most obvious of hiding-places, like our desk drawers; we are no longer suffering, as we have for most of our adult lives, bouts of impotence, heart palpitations, or sweats so uncontrollable that we have to wear wool ski hats to keep it all in, and keep bandanas in our pockets for mopping our foreheads; nor have we been able to pump out consistently subpar work while being absolutely sure, on the other hand, that the marks of genius are present on every un-spell-checked, poorly researched page of our hideous newspaper. Without drugs, the truth is laid bare, and what’s our consolation? Beer? Jesus Christ!

In short, there are no drugs anywhere. Wads of money in hand and ready to buy at any price, we have been ripped off here, promised the world, morally chastised, offered beer instead, offered more beer, given leads that went nowhere, and most offensive of all, given advice on where to find a good dentist to correct the cosmetic damage to our faces caused by the many binge periods we’ve gone through over the years.

It makes no sense: here we are, in a border city, a place where, if you believe police, the price of heroin is plummeting to unprecedented lows, yet we, the most solvent, polite, punctual, compliant buyers a drug dealer could ever want, cannot score. This is embarrassing, like being a gay man in 1970s San Francisco unable to procure even for money so much as a hand-job in a public bathhouse.

On the surface, it may seem as though this has nothing to do with the collapse of the Adelphia empire, and the telling news of the imminent arrest of the Rigases. And of course, this is true—there is no real connection. But that does not prevent us from insisting that the whole thing really is connected, that this city’s petty dealer network’s repeated failure to obtain drugs for BEAST employees is but one symptom of a widespread societal malaise that even SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt—a well-known speed freak, incidentally—could not fail to recognize.

The recent spate of forest fires that raged across the American Southwest was yet another result of the failure to keep a steady flow of drugs into this office. On the night when an 8,600-acre fire approached the California-Nevada border, inching close to homes in sleepy Topaz Lake, Nevada , we thought we had a deal set to buy 20 grams of speed from some junkie out in Cheektowaga. The punk never showed. The next day, there was this news that the fires had pulled back just short of residential properties.

We at the BEAST are certain that if we’d had all the speed we needed that night, we could have done nothing to assist in fighting those fires. In fact, even if we’d been at the very fire site, with our fingers just inches way from a button which, when pressed, could have extinguished every last flicker, we would have been too stupid and too busy chatting and wired to figure it out. But we would at the very least been up all night talking to each other. Then, the next morning, when we learned that the fires had advanced, we would have said, “Gosh, what a bummer.”

But we didn’t say that. What we said when we woke up was, “That little asshole. He PROMISED! He PROMISED!” You see, our social consciences are now seriously impaired, which means trouble for everyone. When the youth of this nation lose their sense of idealism, it is not long before the whole country follows suit. And then where will we be? We ask you, then where will we be?

If everyone would just work a little harder to get us the drugs we need, then we would, finally, have all the drugs we need. That’s the real issue here.

This editorial led off with something about Adelphia, so in closing, let us just say, forget about Adelphia, find some drugs, and call us. Seriously, this is getting ridiculous. What are we, lepers? We’ve got money, for Christ’s sake. The number’s listed right here in the paper. Call us anytime. And, damn it, hurry.


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CORPORATE FANMAIL 3

Aug

01

by

Corporate Fanmail
CORPORATE FANMAIL
Poor Ol’ Timmy

Tim Horton's

Dear Tim Horton’s:
I live in Buffalo and often go to the Timmy’s (as my friends and I call it) on Main Street. I used to live down south where there was no Timmy’s and my Canadian friend and I use to argue over who had the best coffee, Timmy’s or Dunkin’ Donuts. Now I definitely feel that Timmy’s is the best. The girls that work there are great but sometimes our conversations in the drive-thru speaker can be confusing like that TV show where the guy says who’s on first, I don’t know who’s on second and so forth. I went there yesterday and asked if they have cinnimon buns and she said yes but when I got to the window the girl pointed at one of the girls behind her, who had crumbs on her face, and said “Sherry ate the last one”. Sherry looked like she probably ate every one. None of them were small. Anyway, it seems like some of them are also “slow” if that’s the word you’re supposed to say. I was wondering if you hire them through a program with the city or just find them yourselves. Do they get paid as much as the manager? I think that’s really nice. Also, I heard Tim Horton was a hockey player. Is he good?

Thank You
Slidell Montglomery
Buffalo, NY

Dear Slidell,
Thank you for your recent email regarding our Main and Capen store. We appreciate the kind words and compliments on our coffee. We strive to serve the freshest and best cup of coffee that money can buy. I am sorry to hear we let you down regarding the Cinnamon Bun, we hope to be able to complete your order on future visits. Thank you for your patronage.

As far as Tim Horton, he was unfortunately killed in a car accident back in 1972, on the way home home from a hockey game between Buffalo and Toronto.

Again we thank you for your interest and comments and I will forward them on to the owners of that particular location.

Sincerely,
Joseph Ippolito
District Manager


Kraft

Dear Kraft,
What is there to say about Cool Whip except AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING! Wild Horses couldn’t drag me away from COOL WHIP!

Have you considered making a Malt Liquor beverage out of Cool Whip? I WOULD BUY IT!!! I even put my Cool Whip on steak!

Please count me among the many friends of COOL WHIP!

Sincerely, Matt Taibbi
Queen City Church of Christ
Buffalo, NY

Thanks for visiting our Web site to tell us how pleased you are with our product.

We’re proud of our reputation for excellence and work hard to maintain it. We’re continually exploring new food developments and are very optimistic about the future of food production. Our pledge is to continue to successfully build on our past achievements far into the future.

We hope you’ll continue to enjoy our product. Please add our site to your bookmarks, and visit us again soon!


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Sublime Tactics

Aug

01

by

Sublime Tactics
Matt Taibbi

Corporate ResponsibilityI used to think that we’d have to wait before the next Muhammad Ali got his next draft notice for service in the next Vietnam before we saw another bona-fide hero in the United States. We still might. But every time I see George Bush on television these days, I get to thinking that the next guy need not be that far away.

Case in point: last week, in the aftermath of yet another series of multibillion-dollar corporate implosions, Bush delivers a speech on Wall Street against a background drapery that has the words “CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY” written all over it in a wallpaper-like pattern. The next day, as a select few newspapers in the country follow up on new allegations in an old story about Bush’s apparent insider stock deals in a company called Harken, pictures of the president appear on TV and on every front page in the country buried amid the apparent descriptive caption: CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY.

Bush might as well have been carrying a cross and wearing a crown of thorns. It was a manipulation of images so crude that even Tony Masiello might not have missed it. And what’s worse is that a whole nation of editors and news directors— literally thousands of media people in positions of responsibility— let him get away with it.

It only took one Chinese kid to stop that tank in Tianemen Square. So the question naturally arises: why can’t we find even one network news executive to pull the plug on the president when he tries this kind of stuff? There has to be one network news director who’s willing to call up Ari Fleischer and say, “Sorry, Ari, but we just can’t be part of this bullshit…Call us back when you want to do the speech with a plain background.” Right?

Sure, there was one lone network news correspondent who noticed Bush’s ploy last week. Onetime columnist-turned-TV-pundit Jeff Greenfield ran a piece about the Bush backdrops, lampooning it by appearing against a backdrop of his own that read “World’s Greatest TV Analyst.” But noticing and reporting on a thing it is a much different matter than doing something about it.

The creepy thing about the Bush backdrops is that they appear to signal a radical shift in the accepted orthodoxy of political strategy. As Greenfield pointed out, it has long been held that images are more effective than words as background for political speechmaking. Concerned that the chief is perceived as being too friendly with polluting corporations? Schedule an informal meeting with reporters during a presidential fishing trip; the next day, the Boss is on the front page of every paper in the country with four white-topped mountains over his shoulders.

Is the candidate considered soft on crime? Schedule a speech with three dozen police offers in dress blues standing at attention behind the podium. Does your party have a reputation for being too aristocratic? Hire a bunch of guys dressed in plaid shirts and Red Wing work boots to pass out fliers at your televised political rally.

Pensions
May 1. Still old-school: Bush pounds
home theme of “tecting rs’ Pensions.”


Opportunity
May 13. Rapidly evolving: Bush’s melon
buried in work and opportunity


Protecting
July 10. The Full Monty: Flags, cops,
firemen, full-on wallpaper slogans

When politicians didn’t use people as background, or didn’t have a mountain range handy, the flag has always been there. It is a conspicuous fact of the history of political campaigning that the more dire and desperate a candidate is score points with voters, the greater the actual physical number of flags he will place in the background for his speech. George Bush, Sr. practically wore a flag around his head from the moment Michael Dukakis seized a 17-point lead in the 1988 election; Gary Hart and Al Gore (in particular in the post-electoral mess two years ago) were other notable culprits of the multiple-flag tactic.

This is the way things have been done for ages— flags, cops, and mountain ranges— but suddenly, something has changed. Clearly, someone somewhere has done some in-depth market research on the subject, and now, instead of pictures, we are getting the president surrounded by the (presumably market-tested) catchwords of the day both in print and on television.

You can see the progression of the presidential tactic clearly, just in the course of the last few months. On March 1, the president made a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, on the theme of Retirement Security reform. The background for this speech was a single political slogan, presented in the same manner that both Bush’s father and Ronald Reagan made famous: in huge type, directly behind or to the side of the candidate. In this official presidential photo, you can make out the slogan, but just barely: it reads “Protecting Workers’ Pensions.”

Reagan was fond of a banner that simply read “Leadership” and often hovered directly behind him as he gave campaign speeches. This Bush banner was in the same spirit, a simple one-to-one association between candidate and theme, designed for the audience to consume consciously.

A little over a month later, Bush gave a series of speeches designed to promote his submission of a welfare reform package to congress. On both May 10 and May 13, Bush spoke against a backdrop which printed in the now-familiar wallpaper pattern the words “WORK” and “OPPORTUNITY” in alternating yellow and white type. Bush’s plan, incidentally, had originally contained provisions that would have made people on public assistance exempt from minimum-wage benefits and other worker protections. Though the bill did not include any money for jobs or any specific means of providing more opportunities for poor people, the message on TV was still BUSH=WORK=OPPORTUNITY.

The new banners were more effective than the old ones, because the complete message was legible and visible from any angle; unlike “Protecting Workers’ Pensions,” which could come out as “ing ers’ ensions” if the presidential head was in the way, “WORK” and “OPPORTUNITY” were repeated often enough that you could see them no matter what Bush did with his melon.

The new tactic had another advantage; unless you were looking out for it, you might not have noticed it, particularly if you only got to see it in a five-second sound bite. From a distance, the repeating “WORK OPPORTUNITY” pattern looked like little more than a nonsensical background. You can’t call this subliminal advertising, because the words are overtly visible and able to be consciously digested, but it’s in the same spirit as subliminal advertising: big enough to land in your brain and settle there, small enough to elude whatever capacity for conscious thought you have left after all those years of TV-watching.

Fast-forward to this month. On July 10, Bush held a speech for Department of Homeland Security Workers at, of all things, the DAR convention hall in Washington. You will sometimes hear of closet transvestites who after years of doing little more than wear pantyhose under their suits will suddenly show up at work wearing spike heels, ruby earrings and a prom dress. In this case, Bush came out in front of this peculiarly friendly crowd and launched a backdrop that pulled out all the stops: it featured the new multiple-catchword pattern (PROTECTING THE HOMELAND), plus a banner-size single Reagan-style repeat of the slogan, plus pictures of a fireman and a policeman, plus a fuzzy background pattern that, when you stepped back a foot or two, revealed itself to be a grotesquely giant American flag. The backdrops had the same embarrassingly over-indulgent vibe as Elvis Presley’s mid-seventies Vegas costumes, and presumably the administration will tone down the next act when the crowd is not so friendly— but it’s clear the slogan-wallpaper thing is here to stay.

Bush’s new tactic, so obviously designed for television, coincides unpleasantly with the rise of a private-sector pioneer of the same strategy, the Fox Network’s Bill O’Reilly. What O’Reilly realized, when he designed his O’Reilly Factor, is that the simple electronic insertion of three and four-word “talking points” over his shoulder would be enough to convincingly convey his message to most viewers. He’d blast black welfare mothers or some other Great Public Menace in his actual speech, and meanwhile, over his shoulder, you’d read messages that said things like “Liberals Just Don’t Get It” and “Everybody Needs To Work.” Depressingly, the tactic actually worked… as the Bush people have clearly figured out.

What all of this is pointing toward is a future in which politicians will simply drape themselves in slogans as a substitute for actual policy. The new Bush backdrops are such an extreme form of manipulation that it is almost ridiculous, and too obvious, to call them Orwellian. But what else can you call it when a President who made millions cashing in on timely sales of plummeting stocks (i.e. Harken) gives a speech in response to scandals prompted by the same kind of behavior, only to appear on every television in America surrounded by the words “CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY”?

One sounds like some hand-wringing, turtleneck-wearing Berkeley intellectual bringing up the whole “FREEDOM IS SLAVERY” business in comparison, but the grim fact of life in Bush-era America is that those once-paranoid-sounding academic conspiracy theories are now openly true, and even the most squeamish observers are being forced to defend them in the name of mere accuracy. Bush is making hysterical quiche-eating Berkeley fairies out of the best of us.

The thing to remember about all of this is that there’s no law that requires the media to cover the president on his own terms. The networks do not have to air the president’s speeches, nor do they have to photograph him from the front, or do anything but groan and roll their eyes when he invites them, say, to film him kissing a black baby a few hours after signing a vicious new welfare reform bill. As journalists, we have the right to tell the president to fuck off when he’s being ridiculous. But nobody ever does. The first guy who tries it is my hero.


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