0

Posted by Barnacle, Inc. | Posted in

J.D. Salinger: 1919-2010

A Tribute



There was Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who showed the world the reality behind the Russian Gulag and in general the experience of political oppression and its significance towards pursuit of liberation and freedom that inspires every nation up to this day. There was Walter Cronkite, who revolutionized journalism by making a difference to the conventional pessimism of broadcasting - his influence and empathetic appeal during Vietnam War and the atrocities around the world showed that journalism can be a powerful tool in changing the how the world sees itself. There was John Updike - whose exquisite writing and sense of social criticism favors everyone's interest towards individual struggle in attaining redemption. And there was J.D. Salinger - whose critical portrayal of the social reality inspires many around the world through his book The Cathcher In the Rye. Their writings portray human nature and the world as a whole; how the society makes and creates us and how we relate to it. J.D. Salinger's reclusive character and his broad reach of societal phenomenon and facts of life makes us understand the inevitability of contradictions in life, but despite of such ironies man finds himself in a path chosen to be the right way. J.D. Salinger is somebody worthy of history's memory.




0

Posted by Barnacle, Inc. | Posted in


Brief Conversations at the Town Hall Party in a 


Thunderstorm

By C.L. Sinclair






Rain was pouring heavily. Strong gusts and crushing sounds of thunders frighten everyone in the neighbourhood. Even Mr. Popper never stood a chance, whose ursine physique always scares off hookers for some obvious reasons.
The thunderstorm has never been this violent.
“I don’t understand” says Lucius Jennings, who happens to be the eccentric town mayor of Roseleaf and the man behind the infamous trial of the notorious gay murderer Anselm Wright.
“This town never had a storm before, not as strong as this one.”
Three hours before the storm touched down in Roseleaf, the day was tranquil. There was no news from the local radio station about an approaching bad weather.
T’was January 5th, the town’s annual Cabbage Festival. Every year, the people of Roseleaf commemorates one of the town’s most important date – 5th of January was the only recorded incident of cabbages falling from the sky. A lot of people witnessed the bizarre phenomenon. Although up to this day that nothing and no one has explained such occurrence and that the mystery has created a lot of speculations which are sometimes preposterous and all the time ridiculous, the townspeople are fortunate to even have a reason to celebrate a festival.
“This isn’t right at all!” exclaimed Moody Matthews.
“What do you think is happening, Moody?” asked Lucius Jennings.
“I have no idea at all, Mayor. It’s kind’a weird though, we’ve been stuck here for hours and nobody even called for help.”
“Do you know what’s weirder, Moody? There, there, take a look at her bosom. Every single day her boobies are getting bigger and bigger.”
“Who? Brenda Johnson?”
“No. That woman in an inappropriately short green dress. I don’t know her name but damn she is ample. Imagine how lucky the guy who sleeps with her. Whew, trust me; no one can scale two Mt. Kilimanjaros at the same time! Ha, you must bump this!”  loudly exclaimed Lucius, thrusting his right fist towards Moody. “But I’m sure ‘that guy’ can traverse that woman’s Grand Canyon, repeatedly!”
“But Mayor........”
While Moody Matthews and Lucius Jennings are conversing, an unexpected happening just occurred in front of them. Across the town hall lobby where everyone gathered to calm themselves with booze, an ugly thirty-one year old woman screamed. She saw somebody standing beside Lucius and Moody. She perhaps recognized the man.
“A.....An....Anselm Wright?” uttered Moody in a trembling voice who is shocked by what he is seeing.
Almost seven hours had passed. The storm hadn’t ceased and everyone is still in the town hall, but the boozes and Cheetos that kept a lot of fatty lesbians, desperate hobos, grudging feminists and most of the pretentious elites and social climbers in their youthful hopes had gone out. A lot showed faces of anxiety and horniness. But nobody even dared to call for help.
“Hello, Moody. What gives? Are you surprised I dropped by? You know, you wouldn’t really expect a lot of things as you would assume they would turn out to be!” sardonically exclaimed Anselm. “Now if you excuse me, I’ll have my share of the festival’s blessings. And by blessings, I mean, those captivatingly young lads getting drunk over there.”
As Anselm left the two gentlemen where they were standing the whole time, Moody tapped Lucius back to his senses. He never noticed Anselm was there – he was pervertedly staring at the woman in the inappropriately green dress.
“You know......that woman is really giving me a boner right now.” secretly whispered Lucius.
Moody replied back, “Mayor! For Christ’s sake! Anselm Wright was just beside us a moment ago! How did he even get out of the penitentiary? Aren’t you worried a criminal is wandering around the town? What am I thinking? Anselm died two years ago!
“Just for once, Moody, please listen to me. I’m really serious about hitting that woman. I don’t mean to hit her with my strong, young arms....what I mean is I want to hit her ‘Mariana’s Trench’ rock hard! If you know what I mean!”
While the two were talking, an old man with a very long white beard who looked like Santa Claus only in white robe interrupted their awkward conversation.
“Hey there! Is your night getting cooler? The thunderstorm trick was awesome right?
“What do you mean?”, replied Moody.
“Oh. You know, I got bored up there. Watching you guys all the time, saying the same words over and over again like ‘You’re not in the list. I’m sorry. You’re going down to Hades’ crib.’ or ‘Congratulations! You made it to my kingdom! Enjoy and spend the rest of your eternal life!’ This job of mine can be pretty tough too as you humans might not expect. And the worst part is, there’s no party and getting-drunk sessions up there! Besides, those monkish, bald, virgin saints are not party-people.....even Peter wouldn’t hang out with me.
“What are you talking about?” said Moody with a curious face and very irritating frown.
“Look, Dude, those who work for me are total losers. My angels hated me because I didn’t give them wings. I blame you humans for inventing such idea of ‘winged angels’ to make them beautiful in your awful paintings and frescoes. Well guess what, they don’t even have faces, and they only have two toes and a single foot! But that’s not the point here. What I’m saying is, my immortal life is miserable.”
“What? Angels have no wings?” replied Moody, pretending to mind what the old man has been talking about. He still can’t get over with the fact that Anselm is in the town hall. Who could blame Moody anyway? A dead gay man in a party? That’s interesting.
“You know what, Moody, I’m going over there and bang that woman’s underground tunnel! Wish me luck!”
Lucius walked away, leaving Moody and the old man by themselves. Moody hasn’t been listening to Lucius after Anselm came up to them – which he will regret for the rest of his life.
“That guy just uses a lot of euphemisms. Anyway, where was I?”
Moody has been pretty agitated and uncomfortable.
“So what I did is I came up with two ideas to end my heavenly boredom and miserable disposition. First, I asked myself, ‘What am I going to do? I just can’t go anywhere I want, not in the watchful eyes of Mom and Peter. How can I get everyone busy so that I can sneak out?’ Then, I just knew what I’m going to do! To snap out of my boring state, I need to get to a party or something – to loosen up some grip and get wasted for a while. And to make everybody not notice me going down here, I told them to make apparitions around the world. It was a pretty good idea, right?
A stranger beside them, overhearing them talking, said, “So does that explain Mary Magdalene staring at me the whole time? Nice catch, you creepy old man who looks like an over-aged Jesus! Get a life and don’t fool around, you crazy moron.”
The old man turned his attention to what the stranger said.
“Hey kiddo, I think I didn’t like your tone!” said the old man.
“Oh yeah, mister? What are you going to do? Punch me in the face and beat me? Not with all the people seeing you do that to me! Beat it!”
The old man was bitterly insulted. One can tell he was pretty pissed off. But he didn’t like people witnessing what he does in Purgatory. He considered something better.
“Ok. Let’s get this over with. You know what kid, I got something for you.”
“Ah, Moody, will you please excuse? I’ll be out for a while but don’t go anywhere, we’ll be talking a lot of stuff when I come back from my.......from my.....from my business.”
The old man disappeared in thin air...and the stranger too. Moody’s attention was all along at Anselm who has been doing things unspeakable across the hall.
A few minutes later, the old man returned.
“Whew, I might have gone overboard on that one! So, what was the conversation all about?” said the old man, gasping for air.
“I notice you have some bruises in your fists. You might have taken care of some guys out there pretty seriously.” replied Moody, still pretending he cares about the old man’s ‘business’ – but his teary eyes are pointed to Anselm, this time he is quite unwilling to see more of Anselm’s abomination in a group of teenagers. He was secretly crying.
“Ah....ah.....you know, just manning up for a while.”
Three-thousand miles from Roseleaf, a 32-year old man was found lifeless, frozen and badly beaten in the Siberian winter. Local authorities are still investigating how the man got there and how the man died.
“Anyway, back to the usual business of ours, if you mind. What I did next is to find some place where there is party. Luckily, every place on the planet, there are people getting drunk and laid, partying. There were bitches everywhere, beer and pot – you can’t just imagine how much people could party to death! But then, after going to all parties in the world, I felt unsatisfied!”
“What happened next?”, Moody replied, to keep the man not noticing him not listening to most of what he’d been talking.
“To make room for more parties to go on, why not I “make” the party. Cool idea, right? Then what I did is, while stopping by your town noticing you’re in a festivity or something, I created a thunderstorm so you people would be here stuck in this town hall! With all the hard drinks and women, I’m sure this will make a party! And I wasn’t wrong at all! Not with Anselm with me to make the party wicked! Nice, right? Bringing him here wasn’t a mistake at all!
Moody’s attention was caught with what the old man just said.
“I’m sorry? Did you just say something about Anselm? Did you just say you ‘brought’ him here?
“Yes! Why? Take a look Dude, everybody is having fun! Look at what Anselm is doing, over the---.....’
The old man cut himself short. He can’t believe what he just saw.
“Oh myself! Is that....what the.....is he......is that Anselm?” asked the old man, terrified.
“Oh yes, Mister, you’re seeing what you’re seeing.” sarcastically exclaimed Moody.
“How come nobody notice it? That’s....that’s awful!” said the old man, pointing towards Anselm.
“Wait a minute, Mister. You said a while ago something about ‘bringing’ Anselm here. What does that even mean? Anselm has been dead for two years!”
“Oh! About that....I fetched him from hell before I get here. He was with me the whole time. I considered he might be a good company along the way!”
“I’m confused. Wait. How could you get somebody back to life?”
“No, no, no, no. Anselm is just a spir---...”
The old man soon realized he was talking too much for the last few minutes. He wasn’t supposed to say some things he would regret. He realized he was really, really drunk....which might have caused him to spill ‘a lot of beans’. He almost blew up his cover. But it’s pretty obvious he already did with his ill-thought choice of clothing and appearance.
“Oh....oh....bullocks. I was just kidding, Dude. I’m British! We Britons do make a lot of lies, you know!” exclaimed the old man, tapping his forehead to appear he was just really kidding. But his face looked as if he wasn’t telling the truth. He was nervous about something.
“How come you don’t have that British accent?”
“Oh boy....You know, don’t want to be different from the group. Want some chocolate bar?” said the old man who is obviously lying and is trying to change the topic so he won’t get caught.
“Huh?” replied Moody, who was even more confused for the last ten minutes.
“Want some Cheetos?” asked the old man, reaching out a pack of Cheetos to Moody.
“You know what, I’m pretty tired right now. I’m just-----........”
“Howdy, Gentlemen! D’ya having fun? If you ask me, I’d say ‘I’m totally “rocking” the boat, baby!’ But oh wait, it isn’t just a boat! It’s a fleet of ships! Who can beat that?” said Anselm in a slutty, drunk way.
“Your bottom must be pretty sore right now!” shouted a teenager whom Anselm had flirted with.
“Hey Moody! Check this out! I hooked up with that woman! I told you I can venture her pillowy mountains and that luscious passageway of chocolate!” exclaimed Lucius!
“What?” replied Moody.
“Good grief, Moody! What’s up with you? I’ve just been gone for a while!” Lucius checked his watch. “Oh, sorry about that, I must have been lost ‘wandering the wilderness’ without noticing the time, if ya know what I mean!”, Lucius replied, giggling.
“I’m terribly sorry for leaving you behind, Pal. The ‘plane’ left early and ‘landed on the runway’ pretty well! And boom goes the dynamite! The ‘pilot’ just had his shift!”, said Lucius, nodding as if victorious of his quest for debauchery.
“You know what, she told me her name, something like Jenna. You know what’s even shocking? She told me she’s married! At first, I was hesitant to go for it.....I mean, I don’t want to sleep with somebody else’s wife or something!”
“Really, Lucius? Really? exclaimed Moody angrily.
“What’s up with the angry face, Pal? You look like you want to strangle me! Ok, I admit it’s not good to hook up with a married woman, and I’m sorry about that. But for Pete’s sake, she’s irresistibly hot! So anyway, I decided I’ll do it. She said her husband might catch him. And I said, ‘Babe, look, you’re married and you’re lonely. Your husband must be a total fool to let you be like this. I mean, if you’re married, you would never go this far.....you’re still young and beautiful! Is your husband bad in bed? He could be gay, you know.”
“You bastard!”, shouted Moody, whose shaking knuckles can knock out anybody, not even Mr. Popper can handle it – who has been sitting beside the main door of the hall as a bouncer.
“Sorry, ok.....sorry. I might have insulted that girl and her loser husband but who cares? Do you Pal? So, going back to the story, after making her feel vulnerable so I can take control of her, we finally did it! We did in the toilet stall and there it was..... the night’s main event! After that, I asked her what her name was and asked for her number so that....you know....we could do it again. She said she can’t because she’s afraid her husband might know she’s cheating. I asked who her husband is and she said she’s married to something like Moody Matthews------.......”
Lucius Jennings stopped point-blank, realizing what he just did. He gathered his thoughts carefully.
“Oh my God!”, shouted Lucius, anxious, agitated, in shock. He couldn’t believe what he just did tonight.
“Son, don’t use my name for some stupid interjection”, said the old man.
“You know, you don’t get to heaven when you do that, am I right, God?, exclaimed Anselm.
“Don’t push it, Anselm. You’re blowing up everything here,” said the old man in return.
“Oh my! I didn’t realize she’s......that she’s.....she’s your----......”
“Wife. My wife, for Christ’s sake!”
“There! There it is again! Why do you keep on mentioning my name for interjection? It’s annoying! You know what, I’m out of here. You Anselm, you’re going back down there. And you.....you...what’s your name again? Lucius. Yes, Lucius. You’re going with me....you ass fornicator. I’ll punish you first in Purgatory and throw you to hell. And you, Moody...what am I going to do with you? Hmmmmmm. I’ll replace you’re wife with a new one. Jenna is coming with me too, you know, she might do some favour for me.......”
“Oh my God!”, said Moody.
“I’m just kidding, you...you....somebody!”
“And oh, just a note, the rain of cabbage thing was just a fluke. Peter and I had a bet that I can do it without anybody attributing the event to me. It was supposed to be a rain of fireballs, not cabbages. So thank you, me right?
“Oh well, we should better be going!” said God.
The thunderstorm continued for the next three weeks. Nobody knew what happened to the townspeople of Roseleaf.
While in heaven,
“Whoops. My bad! I forgot to clear the storm. Sorry about that!” said God.
“You know, you’re responsible for that.” replied Peter.
“I know, Pete. I know. And I can see that they’re just outside the Gate. Oh well, this would be a tiresome day. And those angry, vengeful faces? It creeps me out!”






Download "Brief Conversations at the Town Hall Party in a Thunderstorm" at The Polity Post, Inc.™
CLICK HERE.


0

Posted by Barnacle, Inc. | Posted in

An Unfortunate Event in 32nd Street


   The New York skyline looked fantastic for a greedy company executive up in the 57th floor, whose spacious yet cluttered, superfluously-designed office overlooks the entire Big Apple.

- "Get me some Starbucks!", yells the wealthy, poorly-clothed New Yorker to his assistant weirdly named Pimpeey Penelope.

- "Hey you! Follow up next week's schedule, sync my files to my BlackBerry. Hurry dumb!"

Evil. Purely mean.

- "After getting my latte, go down over Times Square. Give my manuscript to Roger, my publisher."

A homeless man outside Benjamins Building where the Darth Sith CEO lavishly enjoys corporate privileges and freebies (and ample supply of beluga caviar), bumps into the assistant.

- "Hey there, beauty chick, do 'ya  have some dough there?"

Pimpeey ignored the man, she puked, walked away frantically.

As Pimpeey turned her back, the creepy-crazy douche grabbed her ass tight. It wasn't just a simple pinch, it was his greatest pleasure since hooking up with an 18-year old Las Vegas socialite two months ago.

- "Shit, babe! What an enormous ass!", exclaimed the man.

Just as a lightning strikes, Pimpeey's reflex spares nobody; a hard slap falls to the man's wrinkled face, he fell down the ground, crying in pain.

- "For Christ's sake, lady, violence much?", angrily yelled Bob the hot-dog vendor across the street. "It's an 80-year old man, and he's homeless for Pete's sake!"

The man died.

People gathered around the scene; sandwich, boobies, soda pops everywhere.

- "What is going on in here?", said the greedy CEO.

Pimpeey wonders why her boss is even outside. He rarely goes out alone. Oftentimes, he is escorted by a legion of twenty-five men in black suits - some people mistaken them as the guy's toy boys. Normally, he is enclosed in a protective, bullet-proof, airtight fiber glass box with fancy lights on it. The only way he can breathe from within is a specially-made tube that resembles a human genitalia.

Pimpeey realized that almost 30 minutes had passed - her boss's latte is now cold, she threw it to the dead man's body.

- "Pimpeey, what did you do?"

His assistant was silent.

"That woman killed the man.", whispered a stranger beside the CEO.

- "For Christ's sake, Penelope!"

The CEO turns to the unsuspecting policeman, who was busy flirting with a prostitute  - they were sexing while the situation was going on - beneath an ice cream kiosk.

- "Officer, arrest this woman. And you get rid of that dead body, George will feast on it if still lies there. Give it to the community college down the Pumpkin Street.", said the CEO commandingly.

- "And get me some ice cream! Hey you, my assistant is gone, I'll pay you five bucks, get me a chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips on top. Over there, there from that kiosk where that bastard policeman pumped that bitch's mouth."

The CEO ate his ice cream. It tasted funny ans salty, as he had expected.

"That's why I divorced that crazy woman. She's a psycho. She just kills a lot of people."

The CEO went back to his usual business. He was diagnosed with AIDS the next day.

Ice cream and marriage aren't just the best things in the world.

                                                                                                                                                  - EACM Φ

Paula’s Out. Simon’s Next: Is Fox making the right choice?ᴥ

0

Posted by Barnacle, Inc. | Posted in

Nobody in his/her right mind would ever contest against American Idol as a successful TV show. Alright, the previous sentence might be an exaggeration. But who knows, AI might surpass any other top TV show franchises ever known to man and couch potatoes. Even much better, FOX’s number one reality show could topple down its competitors’ (NBC, CBS, ABC) top rating franchises. [Read: American Idol is known for its international franchises.] And everyone agrees, American Idol is FOX’s ironclad contender in the battlefront of corporate entertainment.
                But isn’t it that TV stations will do the best they can to prevent losing their top-rating champion shows? Yes, hero worship (of TV franchises and the faces that make them marketable) exists in corporate entertainment, but not by heroism principle but by profit. For example, NBC’s The Tonight Show has been a very lucrative investment, thanks to the momentum of popular appeal started by Johnny Carson and continued up to this day by Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien (see similar story: NBC on Dilemma: Who To Keep, Jay or Conan? ) Resolved, the popularity of  show rests on two things: good story or concept and marketable and potential celebrity faces. And this is the secret that broadcasting company CEOs and executive producers should know about. No, it’s not the secret, it’s the “most basic knowledge” that these money-headed capitalists should have in their books for their shows to appeal to almost all kinds of people. But the recent, unfortunate news of Paula Abdul leaving American Idol has spurred enough public doubts whether AI will still be the same (Kara’s addition to the show wasn’t much of a controversy and at the same time a thumbs down for AI, except the Kara-Bikini Girl face-offs – but it was awesome and broadcast-worthy). To be honest, letting go the people-pleasing, sweet American Idol judge who gives the positive, relieving, heart-warming criticism to AI contestants is a sad thing (but she earned special recognition in the Emmys, in Neil Patrick Harris’ opening number, that is). After all, Paula is Simon’s total opposite, and seeing the two in contending action even makes the show more interesting to watch. And the question follows, who will pamper the contestants wrongfully or deservingly beaten by Simon’s criticism? That is if Simon himself will be even in the Idol for a long time! (You’re right, the previous sentence is a hint that something is imminent.) Spoilers much? Yes, which leads us to the even much more “controversial”, “surprising”, “shocking” news. Yes, yes, you’re right. And the tittle-tattles are right. That Simon Cowell, the one and only Simon is leaving American Idol! What? But mind you, these aren’t just the product of tittle-tattling absurdly miraculous predictions. It turns out, FOX is the main source of the shocking news. And they confirm it. This then leads us to the next question. What force on earth could possibly dismember Simon from the all-powerful seat of AI judge panel? How could FOX have allowed this? Are they on the right mind? What the hell happened? The story is this: Simon is making a new TV reality show in Britain (The X-Factor), and FOX allows him to do so. But how could FOX do this? Are they making the right choice? Put it this way, Paula leaving Idol is less of a regret for the FOX people, but subtracting another one in just less than a year is more than just a regret, it’s a total disastrous decision; an ill-judged choice; a self-destructing idea. Season 9 hasn’t even started yet, but inviting the Grim Reaper to bring the news that Simon won’t be on the 10th season is making the people doubt that Idol will be as genuine and watchable as ever. Most might even say, “Oh, Simon is gone, AI now sucks, I don’t even think it will last.” It’s apocalyptic for most (and for me) to consider AI’s fate, for now. Yes, Paula’s departure was cushioned by new twists and additions to AI (guest judges in auditions, i.e., Katy Perry, Victoria Beckham, Avril Lavigne, Neil Patrick Harris, among others and Ellen DeGeneres on the panel), and those were impressive ideas. But it doesn’t take away the fact that an original part of AI is gone. And how much will the people and die-hard watchers and fans of American Idol willing to make concessions that AI will still be the AI they once loved? I think they won’t tolerate losing another, may it be Simon that most hated and most loved. Yes Randy (and Kara) may still be in the show, but the show might lose its original appeal. Event those two are not that entertaining compared to Simon and Paula. FOX had a bad choice really.
Is there any way to get him (or even Paula) back? It’s up to FOX, at the end. After all, it is them who will be hit hard the most if something goes wrong. But it’s early to tell, though. Ellen on the show is a wickedly awesome idea. Ellen is more of a comic than a music-person though, but certainly one can tell she’s going to make the show quite different, in a positive way. There may be no good judges, but for sure good contestants will save FOX. What to hope for is that Idol will always be the way it is, and will be worthy of much sensation and popular attention. All set for Season 9!Φ

A piece of literature and a cup of tea: reading Mark Haddon's "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time"

0

Posted by Barnacle, Inc. | Posted in




         J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher In The Rye is one of my favourite books. Simply put it, Salinger is a true writer – a genius, a literary master. It has been a year since I read “The Catcher....”. I haven’t written a book review about it but one thing is for sure for me to describe the book in short words: “a worthy piece of literature that humanity owes to Salinger.” Funny though, my description might look like those fancy, marketing-tactics reviews in books by notable or reputable or charlatan critics, newspaper writers, etc., but everyone will agree that Salinger made himself an historic fiction writer who certainly will make you dwell and immerse in “The Catcher”. The beauty behind Salinger’s book is that the general literary element apparent to most readers is the first-person narration which makes the story not just fictional, but more relatable than any other books. Talk about Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird”, a praise-worthy classic which captures readers’ (and mine) attention to real-life portrayal of societal issues, hero worship and the power of child innocence. But relate it to Salinger, the character  Holden Caulfield, becomes the epitome of typical American youth in crisis who later discovers his identity. The progress of the story might make you think it’s going to end bad (because Holden is going nowhere, living a miserable life) but the element of redemption at the end makes the entire story relieving, cathartic in essence (In Lee’s book, Scout and the mysterious Bo Radley became friends, and the scene was the sweetest, most touching in the book [even in the movie]). These two favourite books of mine have close similarities to Mark Haddon’s Whitbread Award-winning novel “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time”. I am currently reading it and I notice the first-person narration makes it even more relatable and easy for readers to be attached to. The character, Chris Boone, has close resemblance to Lee’s and Salinger’s main characters, Scout and Holden: identity crisis, life in misery, me-against-the-world. The first parts of the book are amusing, especially when you read about Chris’s character and eccentric behaviour (one might consider him a fool, weird kid), but Chris portrays the idiosyncratic side of childlike teenager’s innocence. Like Lee’s, the book (though again, I haven’t finished reading it yet) puts familiar elements like child/teenage curiosity leading and contributing to the climactic beauty of the story (Chris, in the book, is on a Sherlock Holmes quest). Spoilers much though but I’m seeing the book to be another favourite read of mine. It just keeps me reminded of To Kill A Mocking Bird and The Catcher in the Rye. In to to, I can’t wait to finish the book (I even like the style of writing), and I want everybody to grab a copy.....trust me, no regrets in reading books, especially this one.Φ


[Feature]

Assessing actions and solutions for Iraq: Why Zakaria failed to see the reality and hoped for the problematic?

0

Posted by Barnacle, Inc. | Posted in


Cartoons/ Courtesy of Political Graffiti.com | "Sisyphis in Iraq", "Iraq Bomb"
[COMMENTARY]






Fareed Zakaria’s Newsweek article “Don’t Forget America’s Other War” tells so much about how Obama’s withdrawal of American military forces in the war-torn, almost failed-state Iraq becomes a necessary precondition to foretell the future of the country. Yes, he does portray that America has been a global knight in shining armour and that civil strife in countries like Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan among others is an obligation that must be undertaken  - may it be in brute force. Zakaria puts an implicit positive view towards the war itself,  that military deployments, police trainings, aids, etc. had actually helped to at least neutralize insurgency and to harness local defenders to care for themselves once America leaves. No one can really blame Saddam Hussein nor Mubarak nor the Iraqi officials for not employing effective measures against hardcore insurgents in the country without the help of the Americans during Bush’s and Obama’s administration. Insurgency in the country is just hard to eliminate – it’s too big a task for a government which lacks political will, proper training and experience of the military and police, pressures and control over corrupt government leeches. Fear of the insurgents themselves makes civilians less participative and active in siding against the known enemy. What is the main problem, anyway? It is important for foreign policy makers, Obama and the local Iraqi officials to identify the major root of the problem. Fareed Zakaria argues that the reason why internal civil enmity still persists is that there have been problems emerging from political differences between Iraq’s divided constituencies: the Sunnis and the Shiites. It is reasonable indeed to say that divisiveness in Iraq is rooted from an age-long religious tension in the country. This problem is even worsened by fundamentalists and extremists from both sides of the pole, employing the use of force and violence to antagonize each other. The Sunnis and Shiites however are not alone. Kurds who still insist on claiming parts of Iraq add up to the tensions. The basic assumption is that these three are seeking for control of Iraq. Politics is strong and lust for power is a competition. But no one should wait for them to go in the streets of Iraq and kill each other, Obama nor any other heads of state don’t want to see bloodshed, causing several civilian deaths. Zakaria suggests that the best way to solve the problem is that “Iraq needs a stable power-sharing deal.” Conciliation may be a good idea but can the Iraqi officials or the international community do about a long-standing dispute which arises from religious differences, progressing into a much harder political enmity? Two things Zakaria is looking forward to: compromise and negotiation.
Talk about compromise first. How much would it take for the three groups to compromise to achieve a power-sharing deal? Although I’m a little bit pessimistic about this issue, it does still make sense though. But are we not learning enough from Mugabe-Tsvangirai power tandem? Has it put any end to Zimbabwe’s major problems? Yes it might have shut close opposition for a while but Morgan Tsvangirai giving in to Mugabe’s unfair condition (Tsvangirai legitimately won the election, but Mugabe won’t just step down) didn’t make a better Zimbabwe in terms of governance among others. Nor did we realize anything from Israel’s reluctance to a two-state policy to end all wars. Zakaria is not seeing that compromise is not always practical for self-interested power seekers. Nor his negotiating solution could be sustainable. If no one wants compromise, negotiating isn’t possible. The two-state policy solution is the best panacea ending tensions in the Middle East especially between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Aren’t you wondering that if Netanyahu agrees to it, aggression from Hamas and Hezbollah would lessen, making a probable indefinite truce between them? It is absolutely practical for most but Netanyahu and his people aren’t seeing that way. Mubarak on the other hand may be the pragmatist, but no one assures that negotiating for a power-sharing solution will end up positively. Zakaria however puts the burden to the people to compromise and negotiate their “differences” peacefully. Yes it does sound reasonable that willingness is from the public, not from the government, but isn’t it the same to what Iranians did? Public opposition against the results that threw Ahmadinejad to another term was perhaps the strongest public display of political will against a bad government since the People Power in the Philippines but such approach doesn’t always work as expected. The major issue is that as long as the government is strong even without  public support, opposition will have it’s way cut short. After all, Iran’s reactionary opposition from the people is at its early pace, it’s not that strong enough to challenge the government. One would just expect that it depends on the quality of popular opposition. Correlating it to Iraq, pessimism arises when the issue is that the people should lead to compromise and negotiate. The country is war-torn for Pete’s sake! Nobody expects that political will is strong when the entire state is a battlefield, that collateral damages weaken morale and that bullets and shrapnel everywhere instill fear to the people.

 “Its politics is becoming more pluralistic and democratic; its press is free’ its provinces have autonomy; its focus has shifted to business and wealth creation, not religion and jihad” writes Fareed Zakaria. But the question is, how much does the surge of pluralism and democracy in a war-torn country makes it a long-run optimism when even the government is corrupt and incompetent? How much does pluralism and democracy make their way towards peace when the enemy is still at large and is unwilling to compromise and that local authorities cannot take care of their own people? Still, how much would it take for the rich to make a change when their money is used for injustice and violence? The better way to win the war is to win it no matter what, because it’s the only option at hand. If America leaves with Iraq still infested with the worst kind of insurgents, Zakaria’s hopes will not be met. Compromise and negotiations will only be possible for people who are willing to do so. Iraq is not the place for that.

The Letterman Effect: Why Dave’s “disgrace” didn’t hurt him. (Too bad for some, though.)

0

Posted by Barnacle, Inc. | Posted in


OK, for sure you all know and very well aware of the year’s best fallen angels from the Heavenly Hollywood and White House Celeb Circle. Remember  the infamous “Client 9” scandal? You know, the Emperors Club VIP membership of a New York governor? [No, it isn’t another High Mile Club!] Break the name, its New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and the story of the $1000 an hour carnal festivity. Blame it on the overly-controlling government wire tappers/paranoids/privacy breachers but Spitzer didn’t just had enough of the scandal frenzy from the media and public’s curious tittle-tattles on how did her wife feel about his potential infidelity, it cost him his job  - repute. Pity the Spitzer kids and the betrayed wife but darn the news was all over. [Can’t ward off the media, they feed on those stuff.] Obviously the ubiquity of the scandal erupted into loads of anger, shame, boos and humiliations from and to different people involved. What does the famous SIlda-beside-Eliot-announcing-his-expected-resignation speech tell us? Through thick and thin, the wife either stays with her disgraced husband no matter what or she leaves him dead bleeding on the floor with a knife sticking in his back. But one thing is for sure: Spitzer never had the chance to redeem himself (he even hates his current job), nor survive the ever-hungry media ridicule. In the end, Client 9’s $1000 is not worth it in the long run.
Talk about the power of technology to find a missing person in the middle of a love affair in Argentina. Talk about why you can’t just lie about going for a hiking nearby, only to be found out that you actually boarded a plane going somewhere not in the US, making the public curious why would you need a plane to venture the Appalachian Trail and what the heck are you doing in Argentina and making your whereabouts unknown to everyone? It’s secretive, it’s mysterious – certainly then is intriguing. South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s unfortunate predicament is but romantic yet scandalous and hurtful. His love affairs with an Argentine woman brought him not only tears but also a series of unfortunate events: resignations, public apologies, more shameful divulges, divorce. His wife’s appearances even exacerbated his already beaten figure, making him the obvious antagonist of the Sanfords. The ultimate question is: What’s up with US governors these days, anyway? The unpopular Rod Blagojevich may have a different story (selling Obama’s seat for dough, allegedly – but no erotic reports, as far as we know) but that douche bags added to the enigmatic Gubernatorial Phenomenon in the US. What these three twits have in common? They fell short of their glory, beaten, they never got up and never had the chance to defend themselves. Sorry, governors, but you lose, for good.
Other infamous affairs captured newspaper headlines, TV shows and TMZ. The Tiger Woods Affair didn’t survive either, proving one thing: even the sports industry isn’t safe under the media’s watchful eyes and sensitive ears . A powerful icon like Woods can still be impaired by too much negative attention towards him.
Perhaps, the year’s best survivor despite several backlashes is David Letterman. Yes, you’re reading this right. The legendary Late Show host had his own story. Dave never kept his in his pants, and sleeping with one of his staffers (even putting her in the audience – maybe as a favour in return) is a very bad, bad move. But did it affect him or the show or CBS? One can only tell that the power of Letterman’s public charisma is potentially effective. Dave’s previous tension with the Alaskan Governor might have forced him to say sorry first but it didn’t stop the comedian to make even harsher jokes about her. Everyone knows his joke was quite overboard but Dave’s audience and the world laughed out of it because...who cares? It’s just a joke, right? But Dave’s controversial love affair was just treated as a minor misbehaviour. Media frenzy was low in scale (or maybe that comedians are more capable to outlast issues and scandals than politicians can, or are they?), nobody turned their backs away from Dave, it didn’t affect his young marriage that much. Of course, the issue went down the drain easily. Dave’s early admission of his guilt even before the unruliest and most ruthless of the controversy-hungry predators get their hands on the comedian was perhaps an element of surprise but not a recipe for disaster to make things worse. Dave nailed it before anybody else makes it bad for him. So maybe the ultimate secret in surviving dire situations of extreme embarrassment is to go ahead of the gossip and be the good guy who might just had a bad decision in making things. Or is it that comedians easily get away with these by just making fun of them? Truly though, politicians and men and women on the serious side of living are always taken seriously, even to the point of their affairs and tick-tack-toes. But comedians who make dough through self-deprecations, satirical impersonations and cracking jokes are always on the safe side – they can just do away with the serious side of clown-ship. It’s short-lived for Dave coz he is a comedian but for people like Sanford, Woods, Spitzer among others, their money and serious popularity wouldn’t just ward off the merciless merchants of the pop world.  

"Spoilers much?" says the Cabbageshire News Team. Carrot and Oyster meets Lady GaGa!

0

Posted by Barnacle, Inc. | Posted in




As part of the awesome launching of the Carrot and Oyster & Co. Blog, the Cabbageshire News Team meets up with Grammy Award-winning singer/performance artist Lady GaGa in New York City. The team had a gruesome but worth-while interview with the artist. Although there were some unexpected turn of events, inter-racial and intellectual tensions, erotic confrontations between the artist, Mr. Carrot Bloomfield and the team’s unknowing floor director, the interview ended up well and wet – with tears. For some content-sensitivities, life-threatening scenes and words-not-to-be-said-nor-heard-coz-it’s-so-strong stuff, medical and case-sensitive privacy issues, the video of the interview was confiscated by the Central Intelligence Agency. The video was full of annoying censor bars and sounds. Here’s the unedited transcript of the interview.




Mr. Carrot Bloomfield [ the interviewer]: So, it’s been a few years since you started performing. How do you feel about that?


Lady GaGa: Bitch, I’ve been always performing ever since I was a child, I was 3 years old when I had my first pole dancing lessons.


Mr. Carrot: Did you just call me “bitch”? [Mr. Carrot sarcastically shows a photo of Lady GaGa hooking up with a homeless guy]. Who’s the bitch now?


Lady GaGa: You f%$#!?ng son of a bitch! Where did you get that? Give me that!


Mr. Carrot: Stefani, you should be aware that this is a live interview being broadcasted to more than a hundred countries, even in Iran. So you must make yourself behaved or you’ll be very sorry.


Lady GaGa: This is b*llsh*t! You people suck! Get me out of here! Why am I even here?


Mr. Carrot: Oh no you don’t, Joanne. You’re not going anywhere. So, where were we?


Lady GaGa: I’m calling the police. You’re holding me as your hostage! Help! Hey, what the? Keep that handcuff away from me, you fool! Hey!


Mr. Carrot: Your recording company owes our company five-billion dollars. And that’s why you’re here. If you don’t do us a very simple favour, you’re Monster Ball Tour will be cancelled for good, your recording contracts will be invalidated, your albums will be recalled and we will sue you and your company for breach of contract to have this interview. Would you like that? [Lady GaGa spits on Mr. Carrot’s face. Mr. Carrot spits back. Spit everywhere.]


Lady GaGa: Ok. Ok. I’ll do this. But mark my words, Bloomfield, you’ll be dead soon.\


Mr. Carrot: Ooooooh, I’m so scared. A queen bitch trying to scare me! Beat it, freak!


Lady GaGa: Hell yeah, a*shole!
[The team decided to start the interview all over again to relieve some tensions.]


Mr. Carrot: Ok. Let’s take this one professionally. My second question to you is about the rumors that you are a hermaphrodite. Is that true? Take note, three billion people are watching you right now.


Lady GaGa: Yes, I am. To be clear, [Lady GaGa stands up, facing the camera] I HAVE NO PENIS NOR VAGINA! WHAT DO YOU CARE, BITCHES?


Mr. Carrot: So how do you get sex then?


Lady GaGa: I use a specially-made device to replicate human intercourse. Happy now?


Mr. Carrot: So how do you sleep with men?


Lady GaGa: I’m usually on the top so that the contraption I use would properly work.


Mr. Carrot: Oh, interesting.


Lady GaGa: A hobo like you would interest such things!


Mr. Carrot: At least, I’m not a freak. Uhm, about your style. What drives you to be different?
[The interview continued for the next 3 hours. Mr. Carrot had a temporary stroke in the middle of the interview but immediately recovered. A crewman died of heart attack. Lady GaGa had a quikie with Mr. Bloomfield. All goes well. Some weird questions followed.]


Mr. Carrot: To be honest, I really didn’t like your performance at the VMA. Nor do the critics. The blood stuff was a total crap. How do you respond to issues like same sex marriage?


Lady GaGa: What’s the connection between the VMA and same sex marriage? Who are you, Barbara Walters?


Mr. Carrot: You are an outspoken gay rights activist. Do you sleep with gays?


Lady GaGa: You’re not making sense!


Mr. Carrot: You visited the Queen of England wearing a red latex suit. Are you trying to impress her husband or are you hitting on Princes William and Harry?


Lady GaGa: Are you making fun of me?


Mr. Carrot: How are you and Adam Lambert doing right now? How do you respond to the public saying that a bisexual hermaphrodite is hooking up with a gay American Idol? Why won’t you be contented to past relationships with Clay Aiken and Taylor Hicks? Why not go for Kris Allen?


Lady GaGa: You’re questions are stupid!


Mr. Carrot: Oh yeah, well you’re stupid too!

[The next 2 hours of interview was unspeakable. Mr. Carrot got stabbed in the head with a fork, later the team knew he was not in the right mind the whole time. Lady GaGa suffered a not-so-serious concoction after Mr. Carrot head butted her for no reasons. Jay Leno came to ease the tensions.]

Welcome to Carrot and Oyster & Co.!

0

Posted by Barnacle, Inc. | Posted in


The vast farmlands of the humble Cabbageshire Town stretching from the scenic Lilypod Lake to the lofty hills of The Drunken Bard have been the lovely home of the Baron of Onionrings, Uncle Smith. He himself being a hardworking but lonely farmer, Uncle Smith never got married nor had any children or any relatives in Cabbageshire and in the neighbouring towns of Rosebud and Bullshorn. Little did he know that the countless inhabitants of his farm led by General Nightshade wage war against the watery people of Lilypod in the north.  In preparing for war, General Nightshade conscripted in his vast Veggie Army  thousands of Carrotmen as primary offensive platoon. In Lilypod, Grand Leader Clam-burke placed his army behind the infamous defensive team ever known, the Oyster Sands Army. Despite the ever-growing enmity between the two, a few dissidents from both clans managed to cooperate and form an alliance-stronghold to join the battlefield as the third warring tide. The alliance, with its foremost founders and leaders, Col. Carrot Greatebane and Prime Constable Oyster Clamshark thus later to be known the Carrot and Oyster & Company. The war persisted in total green and watery bloodshed that led to many watery graves and earthy ends....