Sunday, May 16, 2010


Oh, The Humanity! Cartoon Peggy Noonan Meets the Press

I am fairly certain that Peggy Noonan is not a human being. She is a cartoon character, a Hanna-Barbera inspiration miscast as a political analyst, which, in cartoon-land, must be something like living in hell.

To deserve such a severe fate, Noonan the cartoon character must have committed some kind of cartoonish crime, like not breaking into tiny pieces when hit with an anvil, or not churning her legs at whipsaw speed before actually running, or, and I believe this was cartoon Noonan's crime, acting too much like a human being.

In cartoon-land, of which I know little, acting too human is probably cause for erasure, but Noonan somehow survived the wrong end of the pencil and lives on in our human environment, somehow. And the Sunday news shows love her. Usually reserved for ABC (that network owned and operated by a cartoon mouse), she suddenly popped up this week on Meet the Press. Could it be that Peggy has been banished from cartoon-land or did she somehow leap off the page and land in the lap of some enterprising publicist?

Whatever the case, the penciler did a masterful job of superimposing Peggy's cartoon image onto the MTP set. I must say, you could barely detect the normal flickering cartoon movements, though one cameraman or show producer is going to be fired for showing the blank stares of the other columnists while she was (supposedly) talking. Bob Shrum, Mike Murphy and Jonathan Alter were variously shown staring vacuously into space during some of Peggy's voice-overs, like she wasn't really there at all! I think they got Julia Louis Dreyfus to do Peggy's vocal work. Nice job, but keep the camera on the cartoon next time, guys.

Peggy the cartoon-character limped through the discussion without making any salient points, which, you've got to believe, is the point of her being on the air in the first place. The networks have long-believed that the American public can't handle the truth. That's why they have roundtable discussions with people (and cartoon characters) who don't matter. They spout gibberish, which is just peachy-perfect for Peggy.

For instance, when moderator David Gregory asked her about Obama and leadership, prodding her to compare him to Reagan - something she simply could and would never do - she said, "the President seems different from his party," about as profound a pronouncement as a cartoon character could utter.

When asked about the upcoming Senate Judiciary confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kegan, Peggy conjured up images of Robert Bork being hanged (more about that below), but must have done some Googling before the show as she made a reference that "Oliver Wendell Holmes would not be confirmed today." That's a dubious call, though Peggy gets credit for bringing up the obscure and opaque.

On anti-incumbency, another topic about which Peggy knows nothing, adding to the case that she's not really human, Gregory called on her to dissect the Arkansas democratic race, where Blanche Lincoln faces a tough primary. Peggy, always aiming for a cheap shot on the president, said, "he stiffed her," and added that Lincoln "does not have the part of the party which needs to be on fire, on fire."

Note to Peggy: Your hair is burning!

After chuckling though MTP, I needed a little more convincing, so I checked for Peggy's latest writings and, sure enough, she didn't disappoint.

What has me convinced that Peggy is actually a cartoon character gone rogue is that she writes opinion columns for the Wall Street Journal, the paper owned by that bastion of fairness and equanimity, Rupert Murdoch, who, over the years, has morphed into a caricature of himself.

I was happy to find Peggy's most recent column in the Journal, which was promoted on line with the tag: "Noonan: The Lamest Show on Earth" complete with comic strip picture.

I thought when they mentioned "lame" the Journal editors were talking about Peggy. Alas, the column was about the coming Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, to whom Peggy swiftly, and without explanation, applied the "liberal" tag. But, that's just Peggy's way of keeping close ties to her dead hero, Ronald Reagan, and continue her 23-year lament for Robert Bork.

A few of Peggy's choice lines from her current monograph (with my comments):

"Ms. Kagan needs and deserves a tough and spirited grilling..." - of course. She's a liberal, after all. (This is just Peggy's first instruction to the Senate.)

"...even dead trees have a place in the forest." - obvious reference to Reagan.

"The Senate Judiciary Committee in 1987 took everything Judge Bork had ever said or written, ripped it from context, wove it into a rope, and flung it across his shoulders like a hangman's noose." - keep the flame alive, Peggy!

"There should be and needs to be a vigorous, rigorous grilling of Ms. Kagan." - Second call. All aboard!

"his [chief justice John Roberts] testimony was among the more lucid of recent years." - shamelessly self-serving.

"It would be nice if Ms. Kagan were given the opportunity and responsibility to answer tough, clear, direct questions." - strike three, Peggy. You're out.

I used to think that Peggy Noonan was a vampire, released from the crypt following a 20-year, post-Reagan snooze, but she's too old and silly and girly to be a vamp. She's a cartoon character, I'm totally sure.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010


The demise of eBay, Spankings and Naughty Pictures

Editor's note: I posted this on the Seller Central message board at eBay, in response to the hundreds of thousands of sellers who are experiencing massive reductions and pageviews and thus, sales, essentially firing them from jobs at which they have worked hard for many years.

eBay, in the infinite wisdom of its CEO and leader, John Donahoe, has blundered to the point of extinction by moving all previous store listings onto the main auction site, thus flooding the system with a remarkable load in excess of 120 million items. Additionally, on or about April 1, they decided to allow items with a starting bid of less than $1 to be listed for free, resulting in even more junk and garbage being shown in their horribly flawed "best match" search results.

The exodus away from eBay has begun, and it's only a matter of time before the former auction colossus will be brought to its knees and eventually destroyed by from the inside, by the team of Harvard and Stanford geniuses who don't quite grasp the internet, the middle class or how to run a business.

Much of this is written in a kind of code. see if you can figure out what the other auction sites are.

Being a formerly good Catholic, I have to confess.

Bless me Father Donahoe, for I may have sinned.

I listed 20 items a week ago. One was a naughty magazine with a picture of Cindy Margoilis in it. She apparently lost her bikini top. OOOPSIE! Boy, is she hot, Father Donahoe.

What's that? Yes, I still have the magazine. It only got one page view over 6 days and I think that one was mine.

Huh? For my penance I must bring you the magazine? Well, OK, but I have other sins to confess.

I went and tried to sell some of the same items at a RANCH. A big ranch, not a Bonzai ranch, much bigger. The people there were very nice. I haven't sold anything, but the atmosphere is much better than here at the Church of the Diminishing eBay Lights. People are friendly and it's free to list stuff. So, that's a sin, right?

No? But it's a policy violation? And you're going to spank me?

Well, I have committed other sins. I sold some things from my own website and I know that you and your really, really smart friends have been using the term "web site" - two words - for many years, even as I kept telling you it was one word and now the AP has finally agreed that it's ONE WORD, you dumba$$.

So, Father Donahoe, you see, I've been using "website" since 1998 and I have proof. This shows that you and your friends aren't really that smart after all and the Church of the Diminishing eBay Lights is really just a big money grab for you and your Wall Street scumbag friends.

You should all go to prison for cheating hard-working Americans (and even those lazy ones) out of their money and their goods by lying to them about "improvements" which are really just big blunders and "fee reductions" which are actually fee increases, and for not allowing people to link to their websites and for splitting Playboy into Adult and regular auctions, and for not allowing downloads and electronic books and other non-tangible items to be listed on your WEBSITE, and for allowing sellers only to leave positive feedback and making feedback percentage indicative of just the past year, and for all the other stupid, moronic, insipid, petty things, like Best Match, DSRs, investigations, pink slaps, bans and favoring buyers over sellers.

Sellers pay the fees, Father Donahoe. We are your customers, NOT the buyers. Well, let me say, we were your customers, because we're all leaving and going to the MOON, or to the BIG RANCH that rhymes with Costanza, or maybe we'll just take a trip down the BIG SOUTH AMERICAN RIVER.

So, Father, I am confessing, but you and your people need to 'fess up, too. And, no you can't spank me and I'm not going to bring you any naughty magazines to look at. I'm going home and listing them on other WEBSITES, you LOSER.

Amen, amen. I'm feeling much better now.

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