Mommy woke up with a stomachache today, so mommy’s going back to bed to clutch a pillow and moan. Fortunately, mommy found some bloggage for you first, because mommy knows you folks love bloggage the way kittens love playing with string, and the way mommy likes referring to herself in the third person.
Anyone catch the speeches last night? If McCain doesn’t fire his production designer, or whoever is responsible for putting him in front of that green backdrop, he won’t get out of the gate. Someone on another blog said it looked like a post-game presser, and that’s just about perfect. He looked old, out of it and unable to get through a sentence without a third look at the ‘prompter. Even the chants sounded like they were started by a guy just out of camera range, holding up a sign. Obama hits the ground running with his rainbow coalition of smiling young people — whom you could see! while he was speaking! because they were seated all around him! — and looked like Secretariat warming up on Belmont Day.
Permit me to say: The contrast was startling. Discuss.
The worst time to be a feature writer is when a big hard-news story is breaking. Everyone else is wading through New Orleans, and you’re writing a think piece on Whither the Creole Restaurants. A head of state is assassinated, touching off a shooting war, and you’re gathering notes on whether the widow’s mourning dress sent some sort of coded message to the insurgents.
Worst of all was post-9/11. Who gives a shit about a movie opening the following Friday? (Ask the people who made “Zoolander,” which I believe had that unlucky designation, although it had other problems as well.) I met someone who had a book published that very day; it’s hard for him to discuss it now without a wince. But features editors soldiered on, gamely trying to take the pulse of a freaked-out nation, searching for the shopping/fashion/culture angle. The Wall Street Journal was particularly ham-fisted in that crazy time, as I recall. There was a piece on how expensive it was to cook your own meals — because everyone was staying in after 9/11, cocooning and reconnecting with the neglected home fires — when a set of All-Clad cookware cost $900 and lemongrass- and truffle-infused oils were something like a million dollars a quart. Someone had six friends over for dinner, and it cost $700! The horror!
Now that the economy is in the tank again, but in a different kind of way, these travails-of-rich-people stories are popping up again. You can’t really fault the big papers for running them; who else is supposed to respond to all those Van Cleef & Arpels ads in the A section? They know their readership.
Here’s one from this past Sunday’s NYT:
The wealthy don’t generally speak publicly about their finances, in good times or bad. It’s in poor taste, for one, and their employers could fire them for talking even a little. But people who provide services to the wealthy — lawyers, art advisers, personal trainers and hairstylists — say they are getting an earful about their clients’ financial anxieties.
Interviews with the people who actually see the bank statements, like divorce lawyers and lenders, say their clients are definitely living on less than they did a year ago, regardless of how expansive the definition of “less” may be. Hairstylists and private jet rental companies say the wealthy are cutting back on luxuries like $350 highlights and $10,000-an-hour jet rentals. Even nutritionists and personal trainers notice a problem. The wealthy are eating more and gaining weight because of the stress.
I love those killer little end-of-paragraph lines, and details like these:
On a spring afternoon, a half-dozen hairstylists to the very wealthy talked about how customers are stretching their $350 highlights and $150 haircuts to every eight weeks instead of six weeks. Some women are cutting out highlights entirely, saying they would “rather be brunettes.”
Brave, brave rich people! Not afraid to make the hard choices!
Ted Nugent proves how far you can go after you flunk Comp 101:
Gather around, high school and college graduates, and listen good — real good. What I am about to tell you will help you immensely throughout the rest of your lives if you commit to practicing Uncle Ted’s proven modus operandi for a quality of life.
It’s full of the usual dipshittery:
Be intelligently and effectively defiant. Defiance is the very spirit that gave birth to this country when our forefathers fought against overwhelming odds, signed the Declaration of Independence and fired the “shot heard ’round the world.” Lock and load. Really.
Of course, when Ted had the opportunity to fight against overwhelming odds, locking and loading all the while, he chose to poop his pants. I don’t think people can be reminded of this enough.
Thinking of Ted Nugent makes my stomach hurt more. Back to bed.