Tuesday, 20 September 2005

On The MLA, Google Blog Search, the OED and The Lord's Perfect Game Since I couldn't very well incorporate these thoughts into the prior post: I will be attending the MLA this year. Everyone I've met here who will be there should sit down somewhere and have some beers. I hear Edmund Wilson also wanted to spend the convention on a bender. Why not help make his dream our reality? (Shout out in the comment section or send me an email.) Since Google unveiled Google Blog Search this humble blog has been oogled by oodles of googlers desperately seeking gossip about themselves. I have more hits by Vanity Googlers in the past three days than I've had since I opened Acephalous. I can only imagine that—having seen the short spot on Google Blog Search on CNN this weekend—they thought that everyone they have ever met in their entire lives has probably published something about them on their respective blogs. Desperate to gain entry to the Great Halls of Gossip they beseeched the Gods of Google for guidance .... only to end up here. Someone finally informed the editors of the online edition of The Oxford English Dictionary that a search algorithm which can shuttle even chronic misspellers to the promised land would be an excellent way to circumvent the paradox dogging American schoolchildren: If I knew how to spell it I wouldn't have to look it up in the dictionary! They still ought to code it such that it don't crash when people look up "algorhythm." (That is a blank screen you see. That is my point. Compare it "algorithm.") I hear thunder. I see lightening. I live in Southern California. (sings) One of these things is not like the other. One of these things is just not the same. (sheepishly ceases) What I mean to say is that outside my window it is thundering something so fierce even the Louisianians swear the Lord aims to bowl Hisself 300.
Nude 'Brews, Shiny Zambonis & Sickly Indians; or, What Is This Place? That this story breaks the same day this one does is your garden-variety coincidence. That this corruption scandal involves Jack Abramoff (former friend of the upstanding Grover Norquist) interests me less than the cultural politics involved in the various scandals. (Don't fret, children, I'll double back to the pornography momentarily.) Abramoff and Ralph Reed worked to shut down a lucrative Indian casino owned and operated by the Tigua tribe. "We should continue to pile it on until the place is shuttered," he writes Reed. He refers to the Tiguas as monkeys, troglodytes and worse. (Lest you think I spout liberal propaganda, be informed that I borrow this information from Foxnews. They've reported, now I'm deciding.) Time passes. Abramoff convinces the Tigua tribe hire him as a consultant who can help them reopen the casino. (He is paid to close its doors. He is paid to open them.) He then convinces the board of the Eshkol Academy, a Jewish boys school he funded, to purchase life insurance policies on the Tigua elders. These moneys could be used to purchase an additional Zamboni to add to the rink-less school's growing collection. (The school had previously purchased two other Zambonis despite not owning a hockey rink.) It should be obvious to you that Eshkol Academy was, in the damning words of Abramoff himself, a "front group." About that time Abramoff requested all future unnecessary donations from Native American tribes to his Zamboni-happy Hebrew school go directly through him: "Please tell [the Native Americans] that we are 'using the school as our conduit for some of activities.'" Why the tribes simply didn't donate another Zamboni is beyond me. By now they must have known the terrible truth that Jews love Zambonis. Their sultry Italian names remind wealthy Jews of forbidden thrusts in bombed out shiksa brothels. The thought of their shiny hulls resurfacing ice recalls some Old Testament obliteration of enemies of the wandering Jewish state. The Zamboni symbolizes the Jewish love of slates wiped clean and women whose touch corrupts. Or so you would think. It turns out Abramoff simply decided Native Americans didn't need Zambonis any more than he didn't, and that if it came down to who needed-it-less more, than the more less-needy party which deserved it was his own. And if they complained, his front company was the beneficiary of the Native Americans' life insurance policies. Just so this is all clear: a high-ranking Republican lobbyist was paid by one client to shut an Indian casino down, then by another another to reopen it. The funds from those fees (as well as direct donations) were then used to purchase Zambonis for a Hebrew school without a hockey rink. Some of them were also used to purchase life insurance policies on the elders of the Native American tribes whose casino had been closed and reopened by Abramoff and whose direct donations were used to purchase Zambonis. Perfectly intelligible. In addition to being bizarre beyond the telling, news of this colorful cultural...

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