It’s one more random than 10!
So this is it, the last weekend of George W. Bush in office. Appropriate that it’s been cold enough for hell to freeze over.
I really don’t think there’s been eight years of FAIL the way there has been with the Bush White House. Nixon was worse—Watergate was just the tip of the illegal iceberg. And I think there have been more ineffectual presidents. But I do think Bush is the worst to ever serve two full terms.
I understood the 2000 election. I think if someone not from the Clinton administration had run, Bush would have lost. I certainly don’t think adultery is an impeachable offense, but let’s face it: Clinton was an embarrassment his last couple of years, both for his behavior and his choice of mistresses. I mean, he was the president. Get Diane Lane or at least Meryl Streep in there. Have some respect for the White House. A hummer from an intern is so Mark Foley. Gore bore the brunt of that frustration, and it cost him.
Anyway, Bush was an assface back then, but he seemed like a relatively unexceptional assface, another Calvin Coolidge who would cut taxes and be out in 2004. Then September 11 happened, and he turned into a feces flinging monkey with irritable bowel syndrome. He found this nexus of incompetence, arrogance, idiocy, and zealotry that I’ve never seen from any politician before. He would crap in your oatmeal right in front of you, deny that that he didn’t actually crap in your oatmeal, admit that he did and then ask why it’s a big deal, and finally tell you that crapping in your oatmeal was good for you, and that he’d love to tell you why, but that’s classified.
The really unbelievable part is how apparent all of this was by the 2004 election. We knew everything we needed to know about Bush by that time. And yet tens of millions of people came out and said “more, please.” Kerry was a pretty poor candidate, true, but really, anything was better than Bush. A bowl of poopy oatmeal would have been better, because although totally incapable of making decisions, it would also be incapable of making the worst possible decision every single fucking time.
Now he’s finally going. I thought I would feel happier. But the interviews this week just infuriated me. He’s leaving, having accomplished nothing but leaving the country in much worse shape than he found it, and he’s the same clueless fuckwit he was when he was sworn in. Even worse, he gets to skip off into the sunset, collecting large speaking fees (sweet Jesus) from conservative mouthbreathers who want to see him smirk just one more time, while millions of people struggle and suffer because of the policies of his administration.
I have no idea if Obama will be able to right the ship. The problems are so big, and go far beyond our shores, that I suspect we’ll only be able to stem the bleeding and maybe have to amputate a limb or two. However, at least when I see the president speaking, I won’t feel the urge to throw a pie at my television set.
1) “11 O’Clock Tick Tock (Live),” U2. This is the peak of U2.1, the period before they morphed into the world’s biggest band with The Joshua Tree. Much like Live at Leeds is better than any Who studio album up to that point in their careers, I think Under a Blood Red Sky captures U2 at their early, earnest best. If given a time machine, I might be tempted to go back and see them at the Red Rocks concert. You know, after I kill Hitler and punch Clinton in the balls before he could become infellatimous.
2) “Allison Road,” Gin Blossoms. I’ve been going back and re-burning some of my CDs, and when I did this one, I noticed it came out in 1992. Has it really been seventeen years since the Gin Blossoms? Oh my God, I’m almost dead!
I’ve been getting that feeling a lot lately because of Facebook. I’ve connected with a few people I haven’t talked to since high school or college. In some cases, I haven’t spoken with them in more than 20 years. How can I be that old already? The Lovely Becky and I remember what our parents were like in their late 30s, and they seemed, well, old. Okay, not old, but older than us. Certainly not having kids until now let us indulge in some of our more carefree, adolescent impulses. Still, I seem younger than my dad did at this age. I use product in my hair! I dig the rock and roll that these crazy kids listen to! My dad probably felt the same way about his father, which makes me wonder if it’s a common psychological reaction, or if our society really is stretching adolescence further and further into adulthood.
Despite being mortified at seeming “old,” I am equally terrified of not aging gracefully. Back in high school, wandering the Mission Beach area of San Diego with my friends (some of whom I’m now talking to on Facebook), I saw this older gentleman—balding, gray hair and beard—cruising in a convertible Mercedes, with the speakers blaring Oingo Boingo. Now, maybe he was really a swell guy who just dug his alternative rock. But he looked like a giant cobag looking to pick up a new trophy wife. When I’m edging toward retirement and riding in my Smart hyrid, cranking the latest record from Flavor of the Week, I’m going to keep my windows rolled up.
3) “In My Head,” Queens of the Stone Age. I should like these guys more than I do. This is the only song of theirs I have, bought after I heard it on an episode of Entourage. They rock hard, they occasionally play naked, and they don’t take themselves too seriously. Yet I’m fairly meh on them. But I go ape over Dio. My tastes make no sense sometimes.
4) “Where Boys Fear to Tread,” The Smashing Pumpkins. The theme song for Mark Foley’s office.
5) “Game of Pricks (Live),” Guided by Voices. A top five song from a top five band for me. I had the pleasure of seeing them play this twice live, in a small club, where I could get up close and jump around with 300 other people having a ball. That was the beauty of a GbV show: it was one giant party.
6) “I Will Dare,” The Replacements. I usually have the cover view on when I have iTunes opened, so I can see the album art with the song list. The cover of The Replacements Let It Be has them on a roof, looking like four kids fresh out of high school (and I think the bass player was still under 18). Seeing that photo and then hearing what they could produce—some of the best rock music of the 80s, music that sounded so mature and assured—it’s hard to believe it was made by kids. Of course, they also have songs about boners and tonsillectomies on the same album, so they didn’t forget their roots.
7) “Strapped for Cash,” Fountains of Wayne. I got my year-end 401k statements last week. I’m not a panicky person as far as retirement goes. I know that there will be boom years and bust years. But holy shit, it’s amazing how much things tanked last year. Seeing figures in black and white that suggest I might be revisiting my high school career as a grocery bagger when I’m 65 did make me pucker a bit. Even worse, there was no place to hide—every possible fund was a loser. The only difference was the variance in the amount of compound suck. If monkeyface got his wish and privatized Social Security, you would have seen old people overturning and burning motorized carts, hurling shuffleboard pucks at police, and looting Miracle Ears and Brylcreme from stores.
8) “KC Accidental,” Broken Social Scene. An unusually structured song that works really well. It has a mellow sung section sandwiched between two soaring instrumental parts.
9) “3rd Planet,” Modest Mouse. It took me a long time to warm to Modest Mouse. They’re not a first-listen-fave in my opinion. They pack all these odd turns and tweaks in their songs, with lyrics that require you to really concentrate before you get them. Music you have to think about: what a concept!
10) “No Place to Go,” Lupe Fiasco. I’m hipping and/or hopping to this. I don’t get all the references because I’m not well versed in rap, but his lyrics touch on so many themes, including how hard it is to like songs that say things you normally would find offensive. Why is that? If I heard someone talking to a woman the way David Coverdale sings about women in Whitesnake’s “Slide It In,” I would be totally appalled. Yet it comes on the radio, and it goes to 11 (with the car windows rolled up, of course). I know that a lot of my lingering love for some 80s metal stems from nostalgia, for enjoying that feeling of being 17 again, if only for four minutes. Why can I not grow out of the truly embarrassing stuff, though? Does my inner Beavis fight it precisely because it is so immature, and that immaturity is where the nostalgia comes from? I wish I knew the answer to that.
11) “99 Problems,” Danger Mouse. From The Grey Album, a remix of Jay-Z’s Black Album with The Beatles White Album. Ha, talk about feeling like a hypocrite for liking a song. I put this on when I’m working out and I can’t help but groove to it, because Danger Mouse did such a good job working the samples in. What he didn’t remix was any of Jay-Z’s sexism, which by rap standards is not that terrible, but by people standards is the snout, hooves, and squiggly tail. So why do I tolerate this? Again, I don’t know. And, honestly, if I understood how my brain works, life would be a lot less interesting.
Have a good weekend, and stay warm. My advice to Obama is also to not pull a William Henry Harrison: Wear a hat! Preferably one that says “I licked Bush in 2008.” 'Cause that would be tits.