Our lonely quest for accuracy remains unfinished, so let’s put this at the top of the blog today, so our vast and influential readership sees it, first thing:
A commode is not a toilet.
It’s true that the word is a euphemism for toilet in many places, including the American south. But the one purchased by ex-Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain for his office likely supported his tabletop cigar humidifier, a Baccarat crystal decanter, a solid-gold dildo or perhaps his latest golf trophy, but not his overpaid ass.
This is a commode:
No one, including his editors, tells Mitch Albom anything other than “yes, sir” and “great column, sir!,” so we’ll write him off, and let him snicker, you can’t justify $35,000 for a commode — yes, a commode …
But David Brooks has the best editors money can buy, so what’s his excuse? Ahem:
Then there was John Thain, who was humiliated because it is no longer acceptable to spend $35,000 on a commode for a Merrill Lynch washroom.
The Wall Street Journal, run by well-paid journalists who presumably know their Louis Quinze from their Louis Seize, explained it very well a few days back, but still, the confusion persists.
The WSJ is good enough to provide the original itemized list of Thain’s office furnishings, and you’ll note the commode is for the reception area. Think about it.
And that will be our last word on the subject, until someone screws it up again.
While we’re on the subject of language, however, let’s take a look at what the ex-governor of Illinois is doing. Oh, look. He’s lashing out:
CHICAGO — Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich today lashed out at lawmakers who booted him from office, calling his removal a “hijacking.”
Someone is always lashing out in the newspaper. “Lashed out” is straight journalese, the language reporters and editors speak amongst themselves that no one else does. Let’s use the miracle of Google to see its awesome power of description:
Drunk George Tenet lashed out at Bush’s neocons…
Noam Schalit lashed out at Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his government on Wednesday…
Pictured: The moment Sharon Osbourne lashed out at reality show contestant…
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lashed out Friday when quizzed about the flap over a landscaping crew working at his home…
Kanye lashes out at Britney’s return to VMA…
Lashing out is done so often in news stories, and describes such a wide range of behavior, that the term is effectively meaningless. Follow that link to Sharon Osbourne, and you’ll see a proper lashing out — she’s throwing a drink in some slut’s face. Whereas Mitt Romney, whom you wouldn’t think has a lashing-out bone in his body, got tagged after responding to a question with another question: “If I go to a restaurant, do I make sure all the waiters there are all legal? How would I do that?” the former Massachusetts governor asked.
Of course, the first is from the Daily Mail, the second from the uptight L.A. Times. When in doubt, always trust a Brit. They know their lashing.
So. Kwame Kilpatrick was sprung from the slam shortly after midnight this morning. Of course he had a security detail, ineptly described in the Freep as “self-important, well-dressed men,” but the writer gets a pass — he was on deadline. I’m amazed at the politics of security details in this town; it really seems to be a badge of honor. (The superintendent of schools gets security as part of the position’s compensation package.) Kwame in particular appears to love rolling like Suge Knight, which I always found amusing, because the guy played college ball and packed on the usual few dozen retirement pounds, and hardly looks like a handy mugging target. He likes multiple vehicles and a big carbon footprint — his private posse last night went for no fewer than five SUVs. I guess Fidel Castro gets more, but in a place like this, it just reads as TGFW. Too Ghetto for Words:
The security guys, some wearing bow ties and long coats, others with Bluetooth-like devices in their ears, made it seem like the ex-mayor would be getting into one vehicle parked illegally in front of the jail.
For 20 minutes before Kilpatrick appeared, they stood next to an open door and kicked at the icy snow piled on the curb. It was a bush-league feint reminiscent of the body-double stunt Kilpatrick’s Detroit Police Executive Protection Unit employed last year during one of the then-mayor’s court appearances.
Instead, Kilpatrick walked about 100 feet to the west and entered the Suburban.
Sigh. Well, politics at the other end of the American class spectrum doesn’t seem any prettier. I read the New Yorker’s story about the brief political career of Caroline Kennedy and came away with two conclusions: New York dodged a bullet, and Lawrence O’Donnell is a gold-plated asshole. You’d think we’d have moved past the era of Kennedy brown-nosing, but nooo. Here he is on the woman who did get the job:
Now Caroline Kennedy has had her moment and flubbed it. Paterson has appointed Kirsten Gillibrand, a second-term congresswoman from Hudson, near Albany. “Paterson has no comprehension of upstate New York, absolutely none, and has chosen someone better at representing cows than people,” Lawrence O’Donnell says. “What you have is the daughter of a lobbyist, instead of the daughter of a former President or the son of a former governor. This is the hack world producing the hack result that the hacks are happy with.”
Good god. Now there’s a lash-out.
OK, off to Gymville. I feel like shit, but I’m soldiering on. Have a better day than mine doubtless will be.