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–*Kanye and Kim’s new mansion. How does it compare with a hole in your skull?

–*The Elusive Nipples of Miley Cyrus.

–*Acid or industrial press: Which is the most effective way for the government to do away with Edward Snowden?

–*Jennifer Aniston emerges from home without hat and sunglasses.

–*How the government can kill you where you are standing right now.

–*How to burn fat while eating an ice cream sundae and watching reruns of “Friends.”

–*This deflated balloon looks remarkably like Josh Hartnett’s shrunken scrotum after a swim.

–*Is this a picture of Lady Gaga? (We can’t ever be too sure these days!)

–*Breaking: This idiot doesn’t know how to spell “cereal.”

–*Will Cameron Diaz ever get any younger?

–*Parent capturing child’s tantrum over candy goes viral.

–*Child gets even with fake molestation charges.

–*We approached Justin Theroux with a billy club, just to see what he would do.

–*Brides on fire: A pictorial.

–*The most delicious yogurt in the world happens to be 40 feet from this writer’s apartment.

–*Viral video: See why this dog is doomed.

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Country star Mindy McCready died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound on February 17. What are we learning from Internet trolls about her life and music?

–*She was an angel.

–*No she wasn’t, she was a bad mom.

–*Yeah, she abandoned her kids.

–*No she didn’t, she tried to get them back.

–*Yeah, by kidnapping them. Drug addict!

–*Yeah, and her music blows.

–*This was a senseless tragedy.

–*If by “senseless” you mean everybody saw it coming a mile away.

–*You guys don’t know her pain. I know she kidnapped her son, did drugs, forged prescriptions for OxyContin, drove drunk, overdosed while pregnant, jumped bail, neglected her children and murdered a dog. But are those things worthy of judgment?

–*Rest in peace, Mindy.

–*Rot in hell, Mindy!

–*I don’t believe the hate I see on the Internet.

–*I don’t believe the hate I see on the Internet and I am only three years old.

–*Dean Cain is hot!

–*The church is very strict about suicide and she will not be saved. Love, Pope Benedict (ret)

–*The Second Amendment is the law and nobody can change that. Just try.

–*Look, Mindy never did anything to me personally, so I guess I’ll give her a pass.

–*I wish I could just hug those two children close to me, feel their little hearts beating against mine, fondle their hair, whisper to them, “It’s OK. It’s OK” while I explain to them that their mother was a drug-addled screw up.

–*Why does Roger Clemens get to be involved in EVERY scandal?

–*I don’t know. I trust Dr. Drew implicitly and I still think he can save her.

–*I do not trust the liberal media! Mindy is alive!

–*Whore whore whore!

–*You are an evil pig for saying that.

–*He’s just trying to get a rise out of you and her fans.

–*Don’t tell me who I can call evil.

–*Fuck you!

–*No, fuck you!

–*My sister looks like Mindy McCready.

–*Good, maybe your sister will kill herself.

–*You’ve got to be pretty messed up to make Tom Sizemore look good.

–*When I think of those poor children, it just gets me thinking about my own life and my OxyContin additions and the outstanding warrant I have and my constant fear that the police are going to break down my door any minute. And I just think of those poor, poor children.

–*When I got in an argument with my boyfriend about going out with the girls, I put on “Guys Do It All The Time” by Mindy to rub it in his face. And when we broke up and got back together, I had to play him “Ten Thousand Angels” to let him know I wouldn’t fall for it all again. And when we did get back together and broke up again I played “You’ll Never Know.”

–*Is there any question about why he left you?

–*I don’t know, I’m pretty smart about these things. I think this had something to do with the 9/11 conspiracy.

–*An ecclesiastical question: Is that dog going to hell?

–*I never met Mindy, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and blame myself for her death.

–*Death diminishes all of us. Even Mindy McCready’s death. I think.

–*Her Web site headline is “I’m Still Here.” Will somebody please do something about that?

–*Satin Satin Satin!

–*The spelling is “Satan” you dipshit.

–*Mindy, you were let down by so many people. Your mother, your father, BNA Records, the father of your first baby, the judges, Roger Clemens, the parole board, Dr. Drew, Vivid Entertainment, the father of your second baby, the Arizona police, the Tennessee police, Capitol Records, Dean Cain, Drake Berehowsky, The View, the makers of Darvocet. … So many people let you down.

–*You all need help! There is so much hate here.

–*I hate you.

–*I hope you rot in hell and Satan himself gives you a punji stick infection and drinks blood from your skull you impotent wuss. And I hope he pokes your eyes out and eats them like marshmallows that he roasts over licking hell flames before putting them down his gullet and then I hope you can still see with them as he shits them out into fire shit … We love you Mindy!

–*I hope for Mindy’s sake, comments are going to be disabled soon.

–*Comments disabled.

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–*Katy Perry’s mint green dress reminds viewers that if it was good taste they were worried about, why were they watching the Grammys in the first place?

–*A smile can change your day, but John Mayer can change it back.

–*You just can’t say “Chris Brown’s greatest hits” without smirking anymore, can you?

–*Most of the night’s awards go to some hot new group named “Hashtag.”

–*After finally finding true love and ending a life of romantic drama and turmoil, Taylor Swift releases her new song, “No Fries, I Don’t Need The Carbs.”

–*Let’s see. How the pop. Band fun. Likes it when we. Mess around with punctuation. How do you. Like getting your band name. Totally lost in a sea of. Confusing text. Assholes?

–Grammy producers lamented that it really helps the “wow” factor of the show if Whitney Houston dies hours before the ceremonies start.

–*Prince announces that the song “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Belgian-Australian artist Gotye has won the Grammy for best pop song of 1983.

–*After being snubbed for a Grammy in the category of best recitative for his album of spoken-word encyclicals, Pope Benedict resigns the papacy in protest the next day.

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A little video I made for my song “Ford 632.”

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The 9/11 Tribute In Light

This is a bit of an update to yesterday’s post. The cowards at “The Rumpus” didn’t post my comment. So you can officially file that site under the heading “Glib, small-dicked wussies masquerading as dissenters but secretly afraid of dissent.” Yes, a cumbersome file name, but I’m not much of a bureaucrat.

Again, I’m not one for sad anniversaries, but I have noticed that I do commemorate 9/11 in a very special way. Every year, I seem to become a Republican for a day. This isn’t by design; it simply seems to be the nature of the arguments I have. When far leftists tend to discuss Sept. 11, they usually have one of two problems: 1) Even if they kindly acknowledge it as a mass murder (thanks, pinkos!), they still have to carefully couch their language so that it meets the prescriptive of their doctrinaire worldview (America’s behavior on the world stage means this action was understandable). Or 2) They deny we were attacked altogether and insist 9/11 was an inside job.

I tried to pulverize that first argument yesterday, though I left out a couple of side notes: If the writer for the Rump Ass considered his “compassionate celestial” view more carefully, he would have realized that a celestial view isn’t a compassionate one at all. It’s simply indifferent. I would challenge the writer to interview a family member of one of the 9/11 victims, to ask specifics of how their loved one died, and then dare ask the question: “Did you know, when your husband ran back into the building to save those last three people on the stairwell, who America was giving money to in El Salvador in 1983?” As it happens, I did interview family members after 9/11. It caused me great anguish because I felt their pain in many ways was none of my business. I should have known, however, that I was helping keep their memories alive. This clod at The Rump Ass, however, brags about his unfamiliarity with those who died, and therefore his Wittgenstein-like refusal to speak of things he knows not. It’s for a very simple reason. If he ever had to interview a family member or write a profile of somebody at Cantor Fitzgerald who died instantly and had never even heard the name Osama Bin Laden, he would go back and look at the horrible article he wrote for the Rump Ass and he would destroy it. He would print it out and dip it in kerosene and burn every word and bury the ashes in quicklime. And he would have wished to god he had not spoken with such glibness and vanity about compassion being selective. He would have realized he traded empathy for doctrine. This guy says, 150,000 people died around the planet on 9/11, so why are 2700 Americans special? Should I similarly disregard anybody who died in Rwanda in 1994 because each of those days saw thousands of deaths elsewhere? Does it not bear remarking that most people don’t die horrifically everyday for political reasons when they are struck down by machetes or trapped in buildings that have turned into ovens? The Rwandans just wanted to kill each other, so why should I care or hope my government should do anything about it? If the author chooses not to show compassion for political reasons on 9/11, then he would have to spread that dispassionate view equally to Rwandans. Can he? Would he?

But let’s look at No. 2, the 9/11 Truthers. I was once working with a filmmaker from Germany on a Long Island movie, and we hit it off. Then on the subway ride home he tried to convince me that no men in caves could have brought down the Twin Towers, and that it was obviously a controlled demolition. I was thoroughly disgusted. It was a bit like finding out you’ve hit it off with a racist or an anti-Semite or a cannibal. One of the first things any engineer, philosopher, writer, linguist, philologist or doctor would know in his respective field is the rule of simplicity. It’s called Occam’s Razor and it means you don’t overcomplicate simple insight to fit a theory. Engineers don’t try to improve on the Pythagoras theorem by changing the numbers in gravity. Writers don’t come up with a hundred jargon words to say “The dog walked down the street.” Doctors don’t triple check a broken arm by opening a person’s heart. And a real thinker doesn’t remove the plane from a plane crash. This is logic so simple that my infant son would know it. And yet every time I’m on this here CB radio called the Internet I must confront people who say that the Twin Towers were brought down in an inside job, theoretically because g-men had days and days and days to plan and ably overcame bureaucracies and witnesses not noticing the tons of explosives being placed around the complex. The smoking gun: George Bush wanted war in Iraq. Therefore he destroyed the towers. There. It’s proved.

The fact that so many Americans believe this is truly chilling. These people are also, we presume, driving cars and raising children and handling knives. If you point out the fallacy, post hoc ergo propter hoc, they have the easiest retort in the world–they simply add you to the plot. Dehumanize you and your argument. George Bush has programmed you. It doesn’t occur to them that if you simply agreed with them to avoid confrontation, you would be much more of an automaton, much more a tool of somebody else’s will.

Why do people complicate simple insights? Helplessness. When the world seems bigger than you are, when you personalize complex events and the world makes you feel small, vulnerable, feckless and inferior, a conspiracy theory is one of those things that gives you false sense of power. You are suddenly part of a group of people who know a secret. Having joined a group, having become a joiner in the worst sense of the word, you ironically enjoy a feeling of false emancipation. You think you are a free thinker, even though you haven’t done the work free thinking requires: due diligence, proving steps, finding chains of causality, finding the simplest explanations. Having your ideas put up to scrutiny.

It is doubly repulsive because the Truthers, I think, are the people who made the world safe for another detestable “-er,” the Birther movement. I see these two buds inextricably intertwined like roses on a trellis. It was the Truthers who created a toxic polemical environment where even proof of Barack Obama’s citizenship with a birth certificate was no longer proof. Witnesses were no longer witnesses. Hospitals are no longer hospitals. Hawaii is no longer a state.¬† The real insight is that Barack Obama is black, and so how could he be president, ask the Birthers, of “our” country. The same logic is at play with Truthers. “George Bush wanted a war, so how could 9/11 have really been plotted by the people like Islamist extremists¬†who made categorical confessions of their own guilt?”

The rest is window dressing. Truthers pull out lots of meaningless specific heat capacity calculations to prove their theory that paper fires don’t melt steel. You try to tell them that steel doesn’t have to melt in order to stop doing its job, and for that you’ll get called a Manchurian candidate. Or they point out that falling debris can’t fall down on top of more debris with the speed of gravity because the building itself is “the path of least resistance.” In other words, the Twin Towers should have fallen over on their sides if they were destroyed by planes. Never mind that a house of cards wouldn’t fall over “on its side” if you knocked it down. Never mind that if you watch videos, the impact points of destruction start from the top and move down, where the falling floors cumulatively add new destructive weight, whereas controlled demolitions start from the bottom (using gravity as a weapon, perhaps the best weapon). Raise your hand if you saw the Twin Towers crumble from the bottom.

But again, by getting into these arguments, you remove the planes (some people actually try to do that too, by making 9/11 the world’s greatest advertisement for PhotoShop ever). To remove the planes makes you a non-thinker. A partisan who places himself at the center of a paranoid web of strange facts and non-facts. I’d feel better frankly, if many of these people just admitted they were lying. Then they would merely be scumbags. Instead, they poison the sort of thinking required of enlightened individuals to synthesize, dialectically, a better world. They’re making us all stupider.

I thought to further my contribution to a better world, I might offer some of the better Web sites debunking the Truthers. Here is one from a site called “Implosion World.” They say they are independent. So to Truthers, that means they’re probably part of the plot.

And then there’s this wonderful YouTube video that gives common sense descriptions of what happened when the planes hit the towers. If you are a non-Truther, I bid you a nice time enjoying your brain.

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After young Florida mom Casey Anthony was acquitted for the murder of her child, Americans are asking: What have we learned?

–*Whenever you’re going to borrow a shovel, always delegate that task if there might be a dead infant in your life.

–*A young mom has important choices to make in life, starting with whether she should use chloroform or ether.

–*The idea of closure is a hoax propagated by the media, the Bible and Nancy Grace, when we ought to know that real closure is never possible in a world of irreversibility at the quantum mechanical level.

–*A lynch mob, we ought to remember, doesn’t deserve any justice. If real reasonable doubt belayed the execution of a person, we ought to see a bit of sunshine in that because it means emotions didn’t drive our justice system.

–*Emotions drive our justice system.

–*The guy in “12 Angry Men” was probably way more guilty than Casey Anthony, and yet we cheered when he was let off the hook. Maybe you should go back and watch 12 Angry Men again.

–*Perhaps if you put as much energy into the cases of innocent blacks as you do seemingly guilty whites, the world would be a better place.

–*Most people believe that Casey Anthony still has to answer to her maker someday. Make no mistake, that is a comforting thought only to the deluded person believing it.

–*We got Osama bin Laden, woo hoo!

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I just wanted to wish everybody a Happy Fourth of July. My newborn son arrived home from the ICU a week and a half ago, and I haven’t had much time to post, especially given the thoughtful, meticulous and manifestly obsessive/compulsive way I draft these epistles to you, my dear readers.

But just because I haven’t written much down on the subject of my son’s arrival doesn’t mean I have nothing to say. So I’ll just describe it in one word: It’s the aleph. It feels like life has started again. It’s magical, tiring, infuriating and frightening being a dad. Every day I worry that I’ll do something stupid and accidentally kill him, and then get my strength back when I see that he is indeed alive and breathing and happy. I’m also in love in many ways I never thought I could be. Now I know why people feel compelled to look at pictures of their children–even if the children are standing right next to them. Now I know what it’s like to feel like you love someone so much it hurts. Even when he is vomiting and peeing all over you.

There’s a beautiful line at the end of “Bright Lights, Big City” (a book that has been called overrated so often that everybody has seriously underrated it) in which the protagonist, having suffered a life of bohemian dissolution, realizes he’s going to have to learn to live all over again. I think of being a dad the same way. There are lessons and ideas and things passed on to me by my parents that I took for granted, that have become so ingrained you forgot they were important. Now I have to deconstruct myself and rebuild and share what I know, making sure not to skip the important parts. I’ll have to teach my boy how to live in a moral universe and somehow re-attack the paradoxes and dilemmas and ironies that made the journey frustrating, distressing and sometimes heart-breaking. I’ll have to tell him how to love completely, and then at the same time, someday, be able to let him go.

The journey begins.

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