01/12/15

The Crayon is Mightier Than

Art is its own kind of weapon. Wit its round.

100% bulletproof.

france

Performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by nomold.
Today’s blong here:

Color Me Bad

09/18/14

Separation Anxiety

The decision to leave.

Scotland votes today on its independence.

Choose wisely.

New_Scotland_Yard

Performed by laureate, the poetlaureate. Music produced by pumpkinFoot. Lyrics here.

Today’s blong here:

A United Kingdom

08/24/14

And To The Ends of the Earth

My friend Noah G was out in front of the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) story before most. He does things like “watch the news” and “occasionally reads” and even “thinks critically.” Sort of a show off.

Here’s a picture of him snidely pondering the mysteries of the universe over my shoulder. Revolting.

noah

He started law school last week so now he’s going to be insufferable. I’d wish him luck and offer some advice, but I hate him.

But, on a late-night, not unpleasantly romantic stroll with Noah across the Chelsea High Line, he asked why Western people of religious faith don’t mobilize on behalf of foreign born Christians in the same way muslims do. I told him, easy. We have Bravo. Million Dollar Listing New York?

There has been an outpouring, sentimentally and actually, for the persecution of all sects at the hands of ISIS in recent weeks. But, Noah’s prescience hit home for me when I reacted disproportionately to James Foley’s death. The image of crucified arab Christians was gruesome and harrowing. But Foley’s death did that thing where you sort of feel real horror in your stomach. And, I knew immediately it was because the beheading of an American seemed more tragic somehow than the murder of arabs already culturally conditioned to it. Which is all nonsense, of course.

So I’m glad to be reminded that the commission to protect and love and care doesn’t end in Judea and Samaria.

Regardless of the nationality or religion of the victims, the whole circumstance is mayhem. A complete nightmare of moral and wartime and policy proportion.

And, as if we needed any more bad PR, it looks like the beheading suspect is a British rapper. Of course he is.

Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by djclutch. Lyrics here.

Today’s blong here:

Something to Choose

03/4/14

A Penalty Box

Luckily, I have an operative on the ground.

bugsy moran

Alias: Bugsy Moran.
Education: Elementary, Middle, and High Schools; rigorous 12 week correspondence course in drawing; Driver’s ed; BDP’s You Must Learn; and going to a lot of Russian type places.
Fluencies: English, Russian, 90s era R&B slang, and MLB rulebook.
Expertise: Snideness; disdain; condescension; karate; knows which hand to use for balls and which hand to use for strikes (that didn’t sound right); and the ability to blend into any college Sunday School class without being seen. Like literally seems as though he’s not ever there. Brilliant.

This Ukrainian offensive by Russia seems like overcompensation, right? Some residual hockey stick envy.

We beat them in Group Play.

They get bounced in the quarters.

No medal in Sochi.

russian hockey

So let’s pick a fight with Ukraine.

These geo-ethnic controversies are frustrating. A product of contrived borders and old regimes. The Ukraine recently ousted its pro-Russian President, Viktor Yanukovych, only to have Russia threaten some military response, including occupation of the largely Russian speaking Crimea region of the Ukraine.

Many have proposed that Europe exercise leverage over the Russian elite by freezing so many of their financial assets as are invested there. Apparently even Russians don’t trust Russia with their wealth and have moved it out of the country in significant amounts. Europe could pressure point Russia’s affluent class to sway it’s political one into pulling back from its border with Ukraine and the Crimea region.

But, that would mean Europe would have to be willing to shudder that extra and robust economic activity. Russians are betting they won’t. I was trying to explain to my son the other day that sometimes we can’t be courageous in life because of dependency. Fossil fuels. Tobacco. Slavery. We can’t change course because the institution or the infrastructure is too big and important to us. It creates too much revenue or jobs or security or normalcy.

Everyone agrees this is a bad look for Russia and devastating for the Ukrainian people. The G8 has plenty of methods in sanction.

The question is how badly do we really want them out?

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced Haralduz7.

Today’s blong here:

Crimea River

12/20/13

Rising Action

I write for a living. And, so I enjoy good copy and a nice turn. But, whoever is doing the correspondence for North Korea is plainly from the future of writing. Or maybe the sideways of writing. Like a type of writing that runs parallel to actual writing. He’s like the North Korean Homer. Or maybe the Commie Charles Shultz. Epic comedy.

In a prior statement North Korea had announced a “Special Operation Action Group,” ambitiously proposing the annihilation of South Korea within a very, very, very narrow timeframe:

Once the above-said special actions kick off, they will reduce all the rat-like groups and the bases for provocations to ashes in three or four minutes, in much shorter time, by unprecedented peculiar means and methods of our own style.

Just yesterday, in reaction to recent South Korean protests, North Korea facsimiled over a statement that again threatened plans to “strike mercilessly without notice,” which is kind of interesting insofar as the facsimile appears to constitute the precise thing they blood-swore to never, ever give. Notice. Maybe they just meant no additional honk at the end of the driveway. I also love how we’re at a technological point where hearing that something was faxed sounds to our ear like an admission to cobbling one’s own shoes. Or smoking a corn pipe.

twain pipe
(The ipoetlaureate enjoying a good drag.)

In the past, the ipoetlaureate has been privy to additional details about the “unprecedented peculiar means and methods of our own style.” I previously took the liberty of making an English translation of the North Korean threats reduced to music and which also reprises arguably the most famous rap line I’ve ever written (@ 1:40).

I have posted the blong again below in light of yesterday’s additional threats. Here’s to a LOT more pen-pallory between these great giants of discourse in the new year.

Words ostensibly by Kim Jung Un’s personal copywrite. Translation and performance by the ipoetlaureate. Music produced by djclutch.

Today’s song blog here:

The Unprecedented Peculiar Means and Methods of Our Own Style

11/25/13

State Fair

So apparently you enrich Uranium by centrifuging the atomic material until it separates into two distinct isotopes. The fission of one of those isotopes is particularly effective in creating heat/energy. And at a certain enrichment level, bombs.

Poetically, the nuclear deal with Iran, itself, is a little like a centrifuge. Or maybe that Gravitron ride at the state fair.

Centrifugal Ride

You better hope it keeps spinning. But, you’re face is going to look like this the whole time:

spies like us

In other words, it is in everyone’s interest that the agreement continues but we’re going to feel pretty queasy the whole time.

It’s an interim arrangement that is better than none at all and which creates significant transparency. But, what in the world is Iran’s endgame?

No weapon’s grade program? Forever?

About the odds of doing this:

Milk-Can

or of not enjoying a paper plate of Deep Fried Butter balls. South Carolina State Fair, son.

deep fried butter

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced Haralduz7.

Today’s blong here:

Centrifuge

11/18/13

The Scarlett Red and Royal Blue

phillipines

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced djclutch.

Today’s blong here:

How Do We Stay

09/2/13

Substance Abuse

I know there is a conventional science to interventions. But, from my limited research, consisting mainly of the A&E show, Intervention, and that one scene in Hoosiers when Coach Dale offers Shooter an assistant coaching job if he “sobers up,” they seem largely the opposite of what you’d actually want to do. A big surprise. A bunch of onlookers. A pretty strong suggestion that your life is in the toilet. And, I don’t care what a convention hall full of counselors say, an hour’s worth of “I feel” letters from sobbing family members, always seems to still scream, “You!”

Ultimately, there is this sense that the process is a good bit more about an expression of the intervenors hurt than the intervenees need for help.

As the Obama Administration and then Congress decide whether to intervene in Syria for the chemical attacks against its own people, which killed over 1400, some of this kind of political and moral self-announcement seems present.

Our globe is too small now to ignore cruelty and crime to civilians. And, chemical warfare is a particularly heinous cruelty and crime.

But, when our decision to intervene, delayed for days and weeks, turns over subtle distinctions in the way a mother and child dies — powder or poison, the choice begins to feel like its being made simply to say something self-righteous about us rather than sympathetic about them.

As with most policy challenges, and interventions, it’s a hard call.

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced Haralduz7.

Today’s blong here:

An Intervention

08/20/13

Two Evils

So my wife and I have been trying to get our own finances in order. You would think that counting $6 would be pretty straight forward. The real obstacle to making additional room in your budget is the “fixed” costs. Those are the costs that can’t be eliminated or easily reduced. Think your mortgage or lease. Medical insurance. Wild skee-ball binges down at Frankie’s Fun Park. Because these costs are “fixed” so to speak, they are not typically a good source of potential savings or cost cutting. You have to look to more discretionary spending like shopping or entertainment or your kids’ underwear. Non-essentials.

Egypt’s President Mohommed Morsi, not-long-ago the benefactor, himself, of a cultural and political revolution, was recently displaced by the Egyptian military, in what they staunchly would reject as anything like an illegitimate coup. Since that time, the military has been at literal war with the Muslim Brotherhood, who support Morsi. Nearly a thousand dead. In the middle of this human tragedy, is the geo-political crisis of our own financial aid to Egypt and the military in particular. Our Congress is divided over whether to choose between two fairly poor options in continuing to give aid to the Egyptian military or substantially reducing, or withdrawing, it, altogether. (There is a third option, but it involves Brendan Fraser and 6 fabric bolts of embalming gauze. Or maybe it’s Nicholas Cage and a precious national heirloom. The alternatives are all running together.)

We are slated to provide, in mostly military, but some economic, aid, for fiscal year 2014, $1.55 BILLION dollars to Egypt. In 2013, we are budgeted to provide, globally, $37 billion, between $23 billion in humanitarian aid and $14 Billion in military aid, like that provided to Egypt. Stunningly, however, this is still less than 1% of our national budget. And .0003% of what it costs to buy, a medium-sized family, popcorn and soda at the movies.

In 2012, we spent 107.6 billion on education. That’s only 3 times more than what we do for other countries (but is still, on a percentage of total budget basis, number one in the world). It is also half as much as we spend on those car window stickers that tell you how many people and of what kind, star wars or zombie, you have in your family.

star wars family car

So is foreign aid, and the $1.55 Billion to Egypt, specifically, a fixed cost? Is it non-negotiable, in other words? For the importance of the Suez Canal and the instability of the entire region, the answer is probably yes. We need to maintain our influence. But, as our own country struggles to pay its debts and create real jobs, it sure would be nice to not have to flush 2 billion dollars down a war-torn sink hole. It’s like when times are tough, you go to a smaller cable package. Or buy Dr. Bob’s instead of Dr. Pepper. Or stop flushing. I mean. Like every other time or so.

But, so it is with public policy. Typically it turns on a lesser of two evils. Either we continue to prop up an Egyptian military, guilty of relatively heinous human rights violations, but who, at least, doesn’t envision a fully dedicated eighth century Muslim state or we pull the plug and allow continued chaos and possibly the emergence of an eighth century Muslim state. (Actually, relatively speaking, an eighth century Muslim state would be a shining beacon of tolerance compared to modern Egypt.)

As usual, I don’t really know what I’m talking about. I can’t seem to keep up with the government’s version of its own foreign “aid” to me, my federal paycheck. The other day, I tried to make a deposit using my smartphone bank application. No luck. But, now I have a startlingly high new personal best on Temple Run 2.

Oh, and as a disclaimer to the song, no offense to little people or female athletes. Sometimes, you just have to obey the rhyme scheme and the comedy.

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced Haralduz7.

Today’s blong here:

The Lesser Of

07/25/13

Shameful

The conduct of China’s Princeling, Bo Xilai, you ask?
(I like to imagine his last name is pronounced like the prodigious rapper of my youth, Chi Ali.)

Nope.

That he was just recently indicted for bribery, corruption, and abuse of power?

Nope.

How about that I already have a Princelings song ready to roll?

Uh huh.

At some point it ceases to be cute that you have a rap about everything and becomes just sort of uncomfortable. “Oh, you have a Joan Rivers rhyme, huh? Yeah, well, we should never, ever talk again. And, I’d like for you stop referring to me as ‘Mom’ or ‘relative’ or ‘woman you know’ in public.”

I previously covered the questionable culture of power surrounding the Princelings here.

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced Sundance.

Today’s retread blong here:

Crown Prince Party