Chris Hayes’ Pen

I do a great deal of writing, and I prefer using a pen. In fact, I find it easiest to write fiction when I’m not in front of a computer. And I am very picky about the pens I use. I’ll use anything, but if I’m going to get into the groove, I need a good pen. What does that mean? The pen must posses the following qualities:

  1. Light weight
  2. Free flowing ink
  3. Not prone to smudging

I’m not saying that I would never use a Pilot G-2, but my favorite pen is Precise V5 Rolling Ball Extra Fine. And I’m not alone. Even though I’ve had harsh things to say about him, Chris Hayes is a very smart young man. Need more proof? Check out his pen!

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America the Out of Tune

Rich Uncle PennybagsIt has been hard to listen to Mitt Romney sing. Certainly, the fact that I am not tone deaf has something to do with this. But this is not the main reason. It is my intense feelings of pena ajena—the Mexican Spanish phrase for the embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation.

But now I am seeing Mitt Romney’s singing—in fact, his whole campaign—in a whole new light.

I can’t be the only person who has thought that maybe Romney is working for the Obama campaign. A lot of things start making sense under this theory. Why would Romney explicitly run as Rich Uncle Pennybags from the Monopoly game in the middle of a depression caused by evil financiers? Why would his staff repeatedly and publicly explain their disingenuous strategy? Why would he publicly embarrass himself by singing the words of America the Beautiful to the tune of a bad 12 tone composition? Because he’s working for Obama!

Need more evidence? Check out this latest Obama campaign ad:

I can see the memo:

To: Mitt Romney
From: Jim Messina (but not the one who was in Buffalo Springfield)


We have this great idea for an ad, and we need a bit from you. Could you go all over the country singing “America the Beautiful”? We want you to really butcher the song. Dave tells me you’re a horrible singer (something about “Copacabana” karaoke?), so I’m sure you’ll do a good (i.e. bad) job. If you can, do the whole lounge lizard thing of asking the audience to sing along. That’d be a hoot!

Thanks Mitt. You’re a true patriot.


And now that song, in the context of that campaign ad, is true art. Sing it, Mitt!

Comcast Update

Yesterday afternoon I sent my letter of complaint (see below) to Brian Roberts, Comcast’s CEO. I was actually a bit surprised to receive the following response that evening:

Good afternoon Ms. English,
Thanks for your email to Brian Roberts regarding your unpleasant experience with us. We sincerely apologize and will gladly assist.
Can you please forward your address, city, state, zip code and a telephone # best to reach you?
We appreciate you taking time to share your experience. We strive to deliver a superior experience to our customers every day.
We look forward to your response and the opportunity to resolve.

Cynthia Asbury
National Customer Operations
Executive Office
One Comcast Center
1700 JFK Blvd 4th Fl
Phila, Pa. 19103

I did respond and I’m very curious how far they will go to in any attempt to placate me. I hope it’s with cash.

Eat the Bankers

Eat the BankersNaomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine is one of the most important books I’ve ever read. But at over 700 pages, I have had a hard time convincing many people to read it. So I was pleased to see that Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross had produced a documentary based on the book called (Surprise!) The Shock Doctrine.

Without the book for comparison, the documentary is really good. It reminds me of the many documentaries I saw when I was 17 or 18. Those films opened up my eyes to the way the world really was as opposed to the happy horseshit propaganda that came from the TV and classroom. So for those without the time or inclination to read the book, The Shock Doctrine is really worth watching.

The film of course, is a pale shadow of the book. One of the things that makes the book so great is the detail with which Klein tells the story—especially the story of Chile and Augusto Pinochet. So one more time: you should really read this book if you haven’t. And if you have read it, it is worth reading again, but I give you permission to skip Part 1.

My one criticism of the film is that it manages to have a happy ending, with lots of shots of Obama, since he had just become President when this film was made. Klein encourages people to organize and force Obama to do the right things. But after the OWS movement, I’m not sure I can believe that any amount of arm twisting would make the modern Democratic Party abandon their upper class base. Again, this is not a recommendation of the Republican Party. The Democrats are the party of the upper 10%; the Republicans are the party of the upper 0.01%. But in the long term, we’re going to have to replace the Democratic Party with something better.

Are you still sitting there? Why aren’t you out organizing!? If you need some encouragement, watch The Shock Doctrine.

Here is a lecture about the book by Naomi Klein: