Category Archives: I Just Wasted Five Hours On the Webernet

My Pending Comment at The Atlantic

What follows is a comment to the piece, “The Media Can Prevent Mass Murderers From Becoming Famous” by Conor Friedersdorf that remains pending eight hours later. It displays the characteristics of incoherence whenever I jot out something in-between work. It attempted to contrast the free speech allowed those who might give unlimited funds to groups that seek to destroy any gun safety laws and the limits on speech we are encouraged to have in the wake of such massacres. Such limits, I attempt to argue, are impossible; we do not discuss at length these massacres out of tabloid hunger but because it is the only feeble action we might take to anticipate or prevent another such massacre. We research these massacres and their perpetrators, inevitably making the murderers famous, in order to do what little we can, because the government could prevent mass murder…but doesn’t – or rather, is prevented from doing so through vast private lobbying. The ending note is perhaps what caused this post to be pending – I wished to point out the ubiquitousness of misogynistic thinking, and so I quoted what Roger Stone had tweeted about Jill Abramson after she was fired: “DIE BITCH!” This, I thought, had some immediate relevance to this post, since Stone was the manager of the 2012 Gary Johnson campaign on the Libertarian Party ticket and Fridersdorf had endorsed Johnson as the best, most moral choice in that election. We have the further irony that Stone might express such sentiments, those fighting gun control might speak freely i.e. spend vast amounts freely, and yet re-quoting Stone’s statements to show the prevalence of such misogyny is apparently verboten in polite society, a free speech that ultimately must be politely tempered.

The pending comment follows:

Here’s an astonishing contrast – since the Supreme Court ruled that money equals speech, and you cannot restrict speech, you now have nearly no limits that can be spent against those in favor of gun control. We can avoid the “But Soros!” rebuke, because the asymmetry will always favor those against gun control, because those against such controls tend to also be against any regulations on business and for lower or no taxes, so a disproportionate amount of big money donors will always favor those who will bring about fewer laws for guns, and less tax money for mental health. An obvious result is more killings by people who shouldn’t be anywhere near guns in the first place. So, this is the contrast: more free speech for them before the fact, less free speech about the aftereffects.

That there is so much writing about these massacres is not sensationalism. I’m currently making it through this shooter’s manifesto, as many are, because right now attempting to understand what was behind this killer and what small measures can be taken to avoid it the next time – this is our only recourse, since simple personal safety is a luxury not permitted us. We’re going to have to read this killer’s manifesto, and the next one’s, and the next one’s, and the next one’s, and the next one’s, and the next one’s… and study it, and discuss it at length, because when people die for such heinous, disgusting reasons, you are compelled to action: and the most obvious action is not allowed us. It is not allowed us, and Conor Friedersdorf ultimately thinks it righteous that it not be allowed us, because the gun debate is over, no matter how many die: “The U.S. Already Had a Conversation About Guns—and the Pro Side Won”.

We might also offer here a contrast of what’s allowed and what isn’t: access to guns is okay, access to birth control isn’t. For birth control to be part of your insurance plan has nothing to do with having a woman’s body, but liberal intolerance: “A Real Commitment to Minority Rights Needs a Real Commitment to Freedom”. This is what real freedom looks like – you paying extra for your pills because of the vague religious beliefs of your boss (or maybe their cheapness using it as a cover), you cowering in fear under your desk as a man kills your co-workers one by one, because his freedom could not be denied, and the speech that fought for the gun in his hand could not be denied either.

I’ll just end on one note: in the 2012 election, Friedersdorf chastised those who voted for Barack Obama, and explained why he felt the only moral choice was to vote for Gary Johnson in the well-known piece “Why I Refuse To Vote For Barack Obama”. There was no distinction between the policies women might face between Romney and Obama: “The Bipartisan Interest in Making Women Feel Bad”. The man who managed the Johnson campaign was a Nixon administration alumnus, a man named Roger Stone (“Roger Stone’s Steakhouse Politics” by Gabriel Sherman). Never mind that the Johnson campaign might have been an elaborate ploy to split liberal votes (yes, liberal votes on the issues of drug legalization and drones) and that many Johnson supporters had questions about campaign spending (this is dealt with in a long blog post I was heavily involved in, “Roger Stone: Pretty Reckless Is Going Straight To Hell Part Eight”, part of a series on this operative); I will point to a recent tweet by Stone, very much in character: “Jill Abramson reviewed all JFK anniversary book for NY Times she never mentioned mine– which outsold every one she did review- DIE BITCH!” (should it be deleted, here is a screenshot). This was the man who was going to lead us all to a better, more peaceful world. We have to mention these things, we have to bring up all these ugly things, because our chattering class never will, our chattering class doesn’t give a damn about us.

The cited tweet is the following:

As said, this is not the sole example of Stone’s intemperance. In a series of tweets, Stone would allege that former President Bill Clinton was a serial rapist: “Bill Clinton is a serial rapists [sic] and Hillary knew all and directed cover-up. Sell that to woman voters.” A writer named Rebecca Jaramillo (@RebeccazWriting) would question the sincerity of this allegation: “It’s YOUR job; you’re the demagoue. EA time you blather, another Warren Dem [Warren Democrat] moves into HRC’s corner. Idiot.” Stone: “Ignorant bitch!” He would follow this up with “Can’t wait for @rebeccawriting to finish her novel which NO ONE will buy. I will buy- to wipe my ass with it. #kunt” And: “You should stop tweeting about politics- you only betray you stupidity- YOU started the name calling- bitch.” Andrew Miller, the stepson of Stone associate Dianne Thorne would tweet out the same message: “You should stop tweeting about politics- you only betray you stupidity- YOU started the name calling- bitch.” Followed by: “@RebeccazWriting is one mouthy, loud-mouthed ignorant cunt”.

The tweet about Jaramillo’s book was deleted by Stone. The following is taken from a screenshot (link):

The Andrew Miller tweets are now deleted. The following are taken from a screenshot (link):

Stone, the man who supposedly ran a 2012 campaign that was touted as a reformist third party initiative which should draw bipartisan support, also had an interesting statement to make about Senator Bernie Sanders, a man known for his passionate criticisms of the national security state and Wall Street cronyism: “Soviet Agent Bernie Saunders, Should be arrested for treason and shot.”

I’m not sure if threatening a sitting senator with death warrants an investigation by treasury agents. Can’t remember*. Anyway: if the previous tweet is deleted, I’ve made a screenshot (link).

This post is, of course, a brief return to the subject of Roger Stone, who was covered here in a ten-part series: One (devoted to his beginnings in the Nixon administration), Two (the contrast of his libertine life and the hardline social politics of the Reagan administration), Three (the goings-on of his lobby shop Manafort, Black, Stone, and Kelly, including their involvement in Angola and the appearance of their alumni in the fiasco of Iraq, as well as working with a firm that was a front for Pakistan’s intelligence service), Four (voter suppression in 1980 New Jersey and 2000 Florida), Five (the Indian Bureau and gambling licenses), Six (ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein and the 2010 New York election), Seven (fake Tea Partys and the goings-on of Stone associates Dianne Thorne and Timothy Suereth), Eight (the ex-wife Ann Stone and the 2012 election), Nine (the inconsistencies of Stone’s book, The Man Who Killed Kennedy and the unusual on-line persons who share an enthusiasm for this book and a hatred for Eliot Spitzer), Ten (Stone’s work in the Ukrainian election of Volydymr Lytvyn, who may have ordered the killing of the journalist Gyorgy Gongadze).

For the paltry few wondering what has happened to the new content for this site, rather than this small in-betweener, I’m currently working on one post devoted to a movie which I hope to have ready by tomorrow, and another involving a great deal of research that grows vaster and vaster in scope, and which now encompasses the events of four decades. As do many who look into the past of the United States, I am astonished at how many major stories go untold, and how the country’s history is one which is vivid, strange, and seemingly forgotten the next day, leaving it to a few maverick zealots to pick among the bones and find occasional stunning patterns.

ADDENDUM: This comment is no longer pending. It has now been deleted.

* After writing this piece, I remembered that the FBI handles such things for members of congress.

(Some small edits were made to this post on the day after publication, solely for the purposes of clarification. Nothing in terms of its ideas or essential content was changed.)

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Headlines of the 21st century that I liked

“Miley Wants You to Know Her Nudity Is Political (Presented by Capital One®)” from New York magazine. The subhead parenthetical, of course, is the note that makes it so memorable. The url is a new literature itself: “miley-wants-you-to-know-her-nudity-is-political.html?origin=candy?origin=candy?origin=candy?origin=candy”. “Yes,” she replied in a half sleepy whisper, “Origin equals candy.”

(The late movie critic Pauline Kael once accused American Graffiti’s title of wearing elevator lifts; this post heading tries to hold steady in mile high cloppers. Originally, it referred to the remarked on fragment as a sentence rather than a headline. The header once used exclusively alphas and no numericals to describe the century, which resulted in a letter chain that took up all the seats in one theater row as well as a few in the next. Reducing the time denominator to an elegant foursome has given the title a more comfortable seating arrangement. The emphatic closing drumbeat of the very necessary tattoo of the registered trademark, ®, had not yet been beaten or inked. That the eye catching part in the noted phrase is the strange convergence of political nudity under the sponsorship of a major bank, was made a day later, as appropriate for our uncouth century, nakedly explicit to every eye. All these great events took place on December 14th, 2013.)

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“If you’re the judge, then what is our crime?”

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“This did not seem like the future.”

There are many moments in Chuck Klosterman’s Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs when I find him exasperating. In “(anti-homeless interlude),” where he bewails a beggar for her disturbing him, the irony does not quite play as well as he thinks: it’s supposed to be about the writer’s self-absorbtion, but the woman remains an inhuman prop. In something like “Every Dog Must Have His Every Day, Every Drunk Must Have His Drink,” his sloppy arguments in favor of Billy Joel remain are a petulant whine, touching in their sincerity while empty of persuasion: the cool kids don’t like Billy Joel because he lacks the je ne sais pas of coolness. They make me wonder if I overestimate the thoughts in his head; his repulsive remarks about Lucinda Williams in “Toby Over Moby” make me want to throw a bottle at it. You keep going, however, because he can often be a very funny and insightful writer. The essay, “Porn”, on the seaminess of the early internet, shows him off at his best; here is a fragment:

People always forget how new the Internet truly is. I was a senior in college during the spring of 1994, and I knew exactly two people who had e-mail addresses. They wrote e-mails to each other. It seemed completely impractical and a total waste of time. From what I could tell, the only people who were sending e-mail were people who drank Zima, and they mostly used the Internet to discuss properties of calculus or to send Steven Wright jokes to other weirdos in Canada. They were mostly CompuServe users. I can recall an extremely antisocial MC Hammer fan in my dormitory who had a Macintosh in his room and once tied up the phone line for five hours while he downloaded the Batman logo for no apparent reason; soon after, he unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide by taking an overdose of Ibuprofen. This did not seem like the future.

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The Case for Internet Comments as Great Literature

From the article of the trailer preview of That Awkward Moment at the A.V. Club, by Sean O’Neal. I hope things get better; the post title is sincere and without irony.

Jekyll
I’d love to shove a railroad spike through Zac Efron’s eye.

HeroBoy
Mr. Hyde, on the other hand, thinks he’s dreamy.

Jekyll
I meant for this to be my sober account and make another that was Hyde for when drunk, but it didn’t work out.

Hyde
There we go.

HeroBoy
Damn, that was fast. What did you do, chug a fifth of whiskey?

Hyde
I want to be funny about it but I don’t know how to stop. This is almost hilariously over the top but it’s true: In the past year and a half I got laid off, lost my house, my car, my savings, moved in with my father, who then died, giving me my first real taste of death as a 30-something, lived in his empty condo until they shut the water off, lived in motels for a few months, moved down south because living is cheaper, and am now on my last thousand dollars. I drink all day and all night and I have for maybe 6 months. I’ve got a couple months left for rent and then the street. A year ago I was a computer programmer. I probably won’t remember making this post, or if I do, it will be with a guilt that makes me avoid the site for a month and make another account, like usual. Sometimes it never gets better.

The Most Popular Commenter
Yeah, well I lived in Scotland for over a month.

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The Eternal Ass Versus Bitcoin Debate

From the comments of “Homeless, Unemployed, and Surviving on Bitcoins” by Daniela Hernandez, via “Wired Thinks Bitcoin Could Be the Great Homeless ‘Equalizer’” by Nitasha Tiku:

Joaquim Ventura:

As soon as enough people start using Bitcoin and the volatility decreases it’s possible that most low value transactions and even some high value ones cross over to BTC entirely, removing the bottleneck posed by exchanges.

Spruce Cycle:

Which will never happen ever.

Joaquim Ventura:

It’s already happening. These guys are already getting food for bitcoins…

Spruce Cycle:

Not being classist but when influencers and powerbrokers start using Bitcoin for real purchases and not homeless ppl or when my local Safeway begins accepting them, then I’ll say there’s a trend here. But there won’t be.

Joaquim Ventura:

Currencies are normally adopted from the bottom up. I agree that major purchases are probably never going to be made using BTC. If you want legal protection for your property, like a car or a house, you are going to have to use your local currency and get your stuff in the system. But Safeway?

The costs associated with micro payments is huge. If retailers could circumvent the whole credit card system, they would. The only reason this doesn’t happen right now is because this currency is still largely unknown and has a very high volatility.

Why do you think Papa John’s is getting in on this?

Spruce Cycle:

Currencies are NOT adopted from the bottom up. Currencies are a vehicle of control and are imposed by the powerful onto the powerless.

Joaquim Ventura:

Tell that to the guys in prison using cigarettes as currency. The people using seashells all over Africa and Asia. Currencies are not a means of control, they are a means of exchanging value. To say that currencies are a tool of control is the same as saying water is a tool of control in desert regions. Currencies CAN be used for control and that is exactly what you have today, but a decentralized currency that nobody controls, cannot be used for control.

Spruce Cycle:

They are in PRISON. You have just proved my point.

Besides they also use ass as a currency; how would you like to pay for that Mr.Joaquim? A 20min ass-pounding by Bubba or shall we put that on your Visa?

There is no central bank in Africa or in Asia that uses seashells as a form of currency.

If currency, as you say, is not a form of control (which it is), that is a major plank of the raison detre of Bitcoin cut out from under it.

You use the words “decentralization”, decentralization from whom? Why the powerful central banks of course who impose currecny upon the rest of us.

Your thinking is mightily confused.

Joaquim Ventura:

Exactly, anything can be used as currency as long as two parties are willing to accept it. And yes, there are a number of places where ass IS a currency. But you can’t send ass over the internet, nor can you hold, on your person, more that 1 ass. So BTC is better than ass

Spruce Cycle:

How is sending something over the internet a plus when it comes to currencies? If anything it’s a minus, money exchanges being trackable and all that (and yes, Bitcoin is trackable).

And you CAN send ass over the internet, just search “craigslist and prostitution” and all those transactions were concluded using plain ole cash or credit. NOT Bitcoin.

Jaime Moksha:

I use to see that in prison. They got rid of cigarettes, so the inmates switched to prestamped envelopes. They started putting ID on each envelope, the inmates switched to using small single serving koolaid packs. They got rid of those and the inmates started to use small packs of freeze dried coffee. These all started from the ground up. Great place to study economics.

Spruce Cycle:

Yeah they’re all Milton Friedman’s in there. Your stash of koolaid is safe from 300lb Bubba cuz he’s a believer decentralized currency.

GTFO.

Ben:

“And you CAN send ass over the internet”

You can’t “send ass” over the internet. You can send “pictures of ass” but that’s not the same. You can agree to trade ass over the internet, but the trade itself has to be done in person.

“How is sending something over the internet a plus…”

Really? If you have to ask, maybe you aren’t ready for digital content like books, movies, or music. Maybe you’ve never heard of Amazon and the postal service, where you send something electronically and then they send you something physical. Maybe you’ve never heard of Wall Street, where all trades are done through digital means. That statement right there shows you are either a troll or utterly clueless.

Spruce Cycle:

Many things fly right over Ben’s head. Mainly comprehension.

HairyHerry:

I will agree with you ONLY if you are referring to your buddy Ben Bernanke at the Fiat Fed. (Truly as Federal as Federal Express)

RedBeaVeR:

This is such a good discussion. I wish I can copy paste all the comments in this thread and bring it to my Macroecon class lol

Spruce Cycle:

I am ur Macro economics professor.

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What if Penny Met a Dinosaur?

From “The Flop House” podcast episode, “The Third Annual Academy Awards Floptacular”, featuring the regulars, Elliott Kalan, Dan McCoy, and Stuart Wellington:

DAN
So, normally now we would do some recommendations, but I had an off-topic story I wanted to tell-

ELLIOTT
Well, I’m sold.

DAN
Did one of you have an off-topic story you wanted to tell?

STUART
I’d like to hear more.

DAN
I feel like one of you had a story you wanted to tell.

ELLIOTT
Stuart, you wanted to talk about previews?

STUART
Yeah, I feel like I’ve already burnt myself out.

ELLIOTT
Basically came down to complaining about Sucker Punch.

STUART
Yeah. I will not Sucker that Punch.

DAN
I wanted to tell you guys a story about the Internet.

STUART
O-kay.

DAN
So…

STUART
You discovered internet pornography again?

ELLIOTT
Again.

DAN
I have that Memento disease.

STUART
He had Men in Black-itis.

ELLIOTT
I call it Memento’s disease. The same disease Memento had.

DAN
I’ve tattooed on my body, “Porn: try the Internet.” I’m excited every time I see it…I was chatting with my brother on gmail chat. And the subject of Inspector Gadget came up.

ELLIOTT
This is off-topic.

DAN
Because my brother is as obsessed with childish things as I am. And he’s older than I am.

ELLIOTT
So you figure as long as he’s doing it, it’s okay for you to keep doing it too?

DAN
Yeah. As long as we maintain the same relationship between our ages, it’s fine.

ELLIOTT
One of you better not go into space.

DAN
But my brother brought up how much he always liked the score to Inspector Gadget, and I had waves of nostalgia come over me, I go to youtube, I look at some Inspector Gadget related videos on youtube-

ELLIOTT
Porn.

DAN
And I scroll down to the comments section, and one comment on one of the Inspector Gadget videos catches my eye. And it says simply, “what if penny met a dinosaur?” All in small letters. There was something sort of plaintive about it, caught my eye, I found it particularly beguiling…

STUART
“Is there anybody listening to me here?”

DAN
“what if penny met a dinosaur?”

ELLIOTT
My message in a bottle.

DAN
My question will never be answered, by canonical Inspector Gadget.

ELLIOTT
Certainly not by DiC…the animation studio that did Inspector Gadget.

DAN
So…I actually posted about this on Facebook. I posted about the “what if penny met a dinosaur?” comment on Facebook. A firestorm of Inspector Gadget commentary erupts. My friend Kelly says, she thinks if you plug the phrase “what if penny met a dinosaur?” into the internet, you would reach the end of the internet. And so I actually googled this; I googled “what if penny met a dinosaur?”

ELLIOTT
Your job, really, absorbs you. You get full satisfaction from it.

STUART
Well, there comes a point when a job becomes a career, Elliott. It’s called the terminus-ess, if you will.

DAN
So…following this train, it’s like All the President’s Men, I’m following the money, but I’m following-

ELLIOTT
You’re following the Penny.

STUART
The Money Train.

DAN
I click on another link google coughs up for me, and it appears to be some sort of bondage inflected illustration of an older Penny. What’s the rule, if it exists, there’s pornography related to it? It’s like Rule #34.

ELLIOTT
Yeah, I think Socrates came up with that.

DAN
No, this is like an internet meme. If it exists, there’s pornography – But there’s a bondage themed photo, and I scroll down wondering why -

STUART
It’s now a photo?

DAN
Not a photo. Sorry. It’s an illustration.

ELLIOTT
What drawing style, Ashcan school?

DAN
I don’t know. It’s an older Penny, tied up. I scroll down to the comments section of this…

ELLIOTT
Because of course this has comments as well.

DAN
And in the comments, someone says, “what if penny met a dinosaur?”

ELLIOTT
So, what you thought was an adorable, plaintive cry, turns out was a request for bondage themed bestiality porn.

DAN
Possibly. I go back to the google search. I click on the next one down. Same site. A less disturbing picture, illustration of Penny…

ELLIOTT
Thank goodness. She’s doing better.

DAN
I scroll down the comments. Again: “what if penny met a dinosaur?” So, now I’m intrigued by this guy. I click on this guy’s user-

ELLIOTT
You are bordering dangerously close to an obsession that will lead you to a web of deceit. And seduction.

DAN
It’s gonna lead me to Fear dot com.

STUART
Nah, I like the seduction angle.

DAN
I click on this guy’s user name, and I find-

STUART
Love Games. Starring Dan.

DAN
I click on this guy’s username, and I get this message that says: “This user has been permanently banned from this site.”

ELLIOTT
Wow.

DAN
For, I’m guessing, asking too much about Penny and this fucking dinosaur.

ELLIOTT
“You asked the wrong questions.” “You made some powerful enemies on the Penny bondage site.”

STUART
He followed the money trail.

ELLIOTT
I guess what you’re saying is, don’t go chasing water falls.

DAN
What I liked about this whole experience was peeling back the layers of the onion. There’s always something new to discover.

STUART
So, are you plugging being a fucking kid detective?

ELLIOTT
Let’s look at what you discovered: there’s an Inspector Gadget themed bondage porn site; and that someone has irritated the moderator of this site.

STUART
Fucking congratulations, dude.

ELLIOTT
You cracked it.

STUART
Super-sleuth McCoy.

ELLIOTT
A regular Encyclopedia Brown.

STUART
You get the fucking key to the city. Key to the internet.

ELLIOTT
It’s too bad your dad the police chief can’t tell anyone about his genius detective son.

DAN
You guys just don’t understand the beauty of what I’ve discovered.

STUART
You know when you start turning over rocks, you’re gonna find some snails.

ELLIOTT
It was a fitting story for this bad movie podcast.

DAN
But guys, seriously, I guess what I’m ultimately asking is: “what if penny met a dinosaur?”

ELLIOTT
Because that commenter…WAS ME! Bap bap baaaaaaam.

STUART
Yeah. I don’t know what would happen.

DAN
She’d probably get eaten by the dinosaur.

STUART
Well, a brontosaurus wouldn’t eat her.

DAN
Yeah. It would eat vegetables.

STUART
Unless she and fucking Brain were dressed up as, like, a tree or something.

ELLIOTT
Who knows? Maybe one of Inspector Gadget’s employees might have made that happen. Brain always had to hide in costumes. The sight of a dog would destroy him.

DAN
And then Inspector Gadget would say, “IT’S A MAD AGENT.” And then wacky hijinks would ensue.

ELLIOTT
And then Don Adams would deposit the check. At his bank account. And then go on to do some Wendy’s commercials.

DAN
Anyway. So that’s my story.

ELLIOTT
Well, it’s not really your story.

STUART
It’s part of humanity’s grander story.

ELLIOTT
That was like an H.P. Lovecraft story where someone’s reading through journal entries left behind, except instead of a monster, it was the dumbest question ever asked.

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The Happiest Millionaire’s Daughter

From the Flop House podcast, “Episode #86 – The Happiest Millionaire”, the usual gang of Elliott Kalan, Dan McCoy, and Stuart Wellington have a discussion about interesting hypothetical millionaires which devolves into a moment of sexual tension and mononomina:

DAN
So, this is where we recommend something, in case you don’t want to watch three hours of a story about a singing millionaire.

ELLIOTT
I don’t know why you wouldn’t.

DAN
What’s something you might have seen?

ELLIOTT
He barely spent money on anything in this movie. You expect it to be like Arthur, or something like that. Where the guy’s spending the money stupidly on crazy things.

STUART
Yeah, he’s got a solid gold car, or-

ELLIOTT
Yeah, exactly. Or solid gold hat.

STUART
Plays tennis with a giant diamond, or something.

DAN
Or solid gold hits.

ELLIOTT
Yeah. Because it’s Quincy Jones. He’s the happiest millionaire.

DAN
Probably is. I mean, he got married to Peggy Lipton…

ELLIOTT
Heir to the Lipton Ice Teas fortune.

DAN
Yeah.

ELLIOTT
His daughter is a successful actress.

DAN
Lovely woman in her own right.

ELLIOTT
Don’t get creepy.

DAN
WHAT? She’s pretty. All I’m saying is-

ELLIOTT
Stop.

DAN
She’s physically-

ELLIOTT
Do not bring her butt up, okay?

DAN
I never-

ELLIOTT
Stuart, have you ever heard this before?

STUART
It’s kinda fucking creepy, right?

ELLIOTT
Of coure.

DAN
She’s a lovely woman, I-

STUART
Can we change the way we sit when we do this?

ELLIOTT
Yes. I want to be as far from Dan as possible.

STUART
And I don’t want him to see my bottom.

DAN
I’m not making any lewd suggestions about her…I’m just saying…

ELLIOTT
It’s all in your countenance. It’s in your countenance. It’s all lewd.

STUART
It’s in your timbre [pronounced tom-bra]…or whatever you said.

DAN
Stuart, you gonna recommend something?

STUART
I am gonna recommend something, Dan. First off, Steve…

DAN
You’re gonna recommend the name Steve.

STUART
No. You know the guy Steve?

ELLIOTT
Vergotis.

STUART
I want to say, you were right. I Saw the Devil was great. Thank you.

DAN
James was his actual name. “Steve” was the name you called him by.

ELLIOTT
You think everybody is named Steve.

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Nightly Rituals

An excerpt from the always entertaining “Flop House” podcast, where the hosts, Elliott Kalan, Dan McCoy, and Stuart Wellington, watch a bad or questionable movie, and then talk about it; what follows is from the podcast episode devoted to the Friday the 13th re-make. When the film’s teen heroes flee the legendary killer Jason Voorhees, they encounter some eccentric characters, and this conversational tangent is devoted to these characters’ nightly behavior.

ELLIOTT
Oh, and I didn’t even mention the weird masturbator they run into. There’s a guy they run into who owns a barn with a woodchipper in it, which comes up later. And he’s really boastful, and – there’s a weird streak of characters masturbating in this? That character looks at an issue of Hustler and then starts coming onto a mannequin? And then Jason kills him.

DAN
He also licks the issue of Hustler.

ELLIOTT
He licks the issue of Hustler, and then says “Do you like that?” to the magazine.

STUART
He did start smoking weed though, which is usually what I do when I smoke weed.

ELLIOTT
It’s just like the scene in Zapped! when the guy hallucinates from smoking weed. And then, later, one of the characters, the character who doesn’t have a girl to match up with and isn’t dead yet in the cabin, he gets high, and he’s like, “Well. Guess I’ll masturbate to something.” Pulls out a box of tissues, then picks up a J. Crew catalog, or a Land’s End catalog? And flips to an image of a woman in her mid to late thirties wearing a sweater and slacks. And goes, “Alright. This is it.”

DAN
I found this very interesting. Because, apparently, one has to believe that he masturbates every night at 10:30, exactly. Because it wasn’t like there was something that turned him on, there’s no one around, I guess what I’m gonna do…he’s like “Oh well, geez. Gotta masturbate. Whatta we got here? Oh, well. J. Crew.”

STUART
I gotta take my insulin and masturbate. That’s what he’s saying. The thing that’s concerning for me about this character is you’d think he’d have more stuff stored up in the spank bank?

DAN mmm-hmmms.

DAN
He can’t just fantasize about something in his head.

ELLIOTT
He was just watching a girl writhe around to music in very short shorts…and some kind of tight top.

STUART
I would think he’d be able to think back to…”I remember that night I was watching Big Saussage Pizza clips for four hours.”

DAN sighs.

DAN
Ah, god. We should really get some money from that web site. Because we’ve mentioned it three times now.

ELLIOTT
Just the clips. He’s just watching Brazzers previews all night.

STUART
He knocks a quick one out, then his friend shows up, and he helps him kill Jason. Now, he runs around with a boner on.

ELLIOTT
It’s a trenchant message on the lack of imagination in today’s youth.

STUART
I agree.

DAN
And the sexiness of LL Bean catalogs.

ELLIOTT
They’ve been desensitized by the media and the images they’re bombarded with.

DAN
Well, apparently not, if he can get it up for a picture of a woman in a sweater.

STUART
Well, it’s that he’s so bored with everything else he’s seen, he’s like…

ELLIOTT
Yeah, he’s seen too much.

STUART
He’s like, finally, a woman that’s fully clothed…

DAN (weary)
Alright.

STUART
…turns me on.

ELLIOTT
“You know what turns me on about this? The class.” This woman’s sheer tastefulness.

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