The Real Final Debate

You thought that snoozer the other night was the final time Obama and McCain faced off on the hard-hitting issues of the day?  Oh-ho no, children.  As any ardent fan of West Wing knows, the Al Smith Dinner is the make-or-break moment of any Presidential campaign.

After the jump, both candidates’ speeches for your consideration.

First up, McCain’s speech. He starts by being alarmingly bitter in the name of comedy, but he transitions well from funny to serious and back to funny, and his praise of Obama is some of the most heartfelt stuff we’ve seen from him.

And with that introduction from McCain, Obama’s speech. It’s absolutely hilarious; Obama doesn’t usually do the funny like this, and it’s laugh-out-loud surprising. But his transition to the serious part is way too sudden, and he needs some serious schooling on how to read speeches from the page.

The final verdict? TOO CLOSE TO CALL. What say you, mighty Stinquers?


Mr Cyn and I were fascinated by the old guy behind them who ate throughout McCain’s speech and then seemed to doze off. Perked up during Obama’s — so using the old guy meter, I’d give a slight edge to Obama. Although to give him credit, McCain’s stuff on Clinton had me laughing out loud.

Geez started out funny then turned outright mean and bitter. Tha Eagle clearly blew him away and made Cyn’s old guy tear up during the social justice portion of the speech. Score: 75-25 for That One.

Project site is next to the Waldorf – lots of security last night, but nothing like when Bush and Hu Jintao were there – we would have been shot for trying to walk up 50th.

This just proves the adage that conservatives seriously do not have a sense of humor.

@blogenfreude: New York likes democracy.

I used to be amazed that they’d let me cut through that parking thing underneath to get to work; I’m sure there’s a file on me somewhere.

@redmanlaw: OH, don’t get me wrong, I think That One clearly outshined him; at least he looked like he understood his jokes! It’s just that the segue was a little awkward for me.

@RomeGirl: Romegirl! guess what, there is a B and B in Arles that is for sale that I am actually toying with considering in a half serious way!

/TJ/For our legal community, someone or something blew up a law firm in far North Georgia./TJ/

More time in the enemy camp: I saw the Smiley Happy Hopey education ad on the fucking Military Channel while channel surfing yesterday waiting for “Pardon the Interruption” with Wilbon and Mr. Tony to start on ESPN.

@rptrcub: I fear the day an upset adverse party shows up at our door. (All our clients are very happy with us.)

@redmanlaw: The upside is that I did not find any donations from these guys to a political party (neither Unicorn nor the Geez nor a PAC nor soft money or etc.) in the FEC database, so it probably isn’t politically motivated (I know that I have a tinfoil hat on, but with the hatefulness coming out of the right these days, I would not put it past them). The DA thinks it’s someone pissed off about a court case. Standing down from red alert to yellow.

@rptrcub: Probably a case of misdirected animosity.

@rptrcub: Prolly an adverse party in a divorce or child custody case, or an adverse party who felt ruined or wronged in a civil action. My bet: a contractor forced into bankruptcy or out of business on a finding of liability.

I gotta give this one to the Geezer. He really knows how to deliver the deadpan humor and the jokes were well crafted. Points off for the bitter delivery of the the KO banner joke. He looked too much like he really meant that.

Hopey did well but he delivered the jokes with the same cadence he delivers every other speech he gives. Plus, I’m not a fan of people who laugh at their own jokes. It was especially painful this time because we all know neither of them wrote this shiz, but the Unicorn looked like he was hearing his own speech for the first time.

@Bionic Bee-yotch: More bedpan than deadpan.

Obama laughing after delivering a line struck me as him saying “damn, this shit is funny.” He was obviously not tiotally familiar with the speech, and they didn’t have teleprompters. But lots of people laugh at their own stuff on TV, going back to Johnny Carson, Tim Conway and Harvey Korman, Jon Stewart, and even Colbert has to control himself.

Gotta extra Native Americans for Obama – want it? drop a line to redmanlaw AT

@Prommie:Let me know when the RMLs can book reservations (“reserves ” if you’re in Canada).

Six days until Metallica, seven days ’til I head out for deer and elk.

@redmanlaw: Jimmy Fallon gave laughing at your own jokes a bad name.

@redmanlaw: Oh, thanks for the offer but I got some from a friend who volunteers up north! Turns out I was just looking in the wrong place.

I didn’t have a problem with Obama laughing, especially since people were laughing at him laughing at one point. Just a lot of fun. And even though he didn’t have the jokes memorized, he still delivered them well. Or I could just be so in love that I don’t see his faults. Except that he’s not as liberal as I’d like, but that’s my cross to bear.

Obama did have that “I’m just seeing this for the first time” vibe. Although I did like the “I was born on Krypton” line, but as the spiel went on he seemed to be over-confident.

*checks calendar* There’s still time for PG to use this for “entitled”, “presumptuous”, “Smug Liberal” attack ads. But he did look Hawt in “White Tie”, so chuck in “a-leetist” too.

And if you haven’t seen the Al Jazzerah report on the CP site, go look at it. I was scared and I live a long ways away!

People, people, as stated by me on another thread, Hopey was Cary Grant in a rented tail coat. He was charm personified. He has enormous style and managed to sound both witty and modest: no mean feat. I could teach him how to get his eyes up from the page in about 30 mins flat but I’m not sure it would be an improvement. His air of adolescent gaucheness is a large part of his appeal. Plus his script was very good indeed. There is laughing at your own jokes and there is enjoying the moment. Hopey was enjoying the moment. Geezer was leaden and stiff and mean. He has no clue. Bad script badly performed.

@nojo: Jimmy Fallon to me marks the decline in american humor. And Tina Fey, too, they both do it, as did Seinfeld. Its a stark contrast to the very early SNL. I think its encapsulated in the phrase “whats up with that,” which is a a way of saying “I don’t get it, I am ignorant, I therefore assume its stupid and laugh at it.” Its very american, lowbrow, anti-intellectual. Early SNL, and now Jon Stewart, that humor is based on “I get it, I understand it, and I am intelligent enough to know that even if its widely accepted by society as truth, its really pretty stupid when you think about it.” Thats the stance of Python and Second city, Brit and canadian, you will notice. Monty Python and Second City, their stance was “I am an intellectual, and intellectual enough to see the absurd in intellectuality.” Think of “The Philosophers Song” by Python, I think it would fly over the heads of Fallon, Dane Cook, and even Fey.

The essential difference is “I understand it, and think it absurd” as opposed to “I don’t get it, therefore it must be absurd.”

By the way, What do you all think of Palin going on SNL? To me, its a huge mistake, its more dangerous than setting her up for an interview with a tough journalist. Clowns are much free-er to speak truth to power, after all. And you know they all hate her.

She is gonna be in one of my favorite situations, when I am feeling vicious, anyway. Its when you have someone a bit obtuse, and you are able to mock them to their face, in code that they will not understand, but people on your wavelength will understand. I live for those moments, when you can deliver a fucking vicious insult that they are totally unaware of, and think is a compliment.

Of course, I have too much faith in SNL. Lorne is a hopeless starfucker and ass kisser to power. He won’t allow it. SNL is only funny despite him, which is rare lately.

Still, I am thinking its gonna be like when the younger sister of that singer with big tits went on, whats her name. Ashleigh Simpson? A good chance of a debacle. She gonna be way over her head.

@RomeGirl: Can I ask you to go check out the place? Its an operating B&B, I only know about it because I once booked there but had to cancel, apparently the proprietors are going through a divorce and are selling. Cool dream.

@Promnight: Sarah will be the disaster you predict, or else everyone on SNL will be too self-conscious to mock her to her face. Meanwhile, check out your Jersey Shore friend Bruce playing an Obama GOTV event last week in Philly.

@Promnight: So totally tame what does it matter? It’s Sesame Street with the gloves on

@Lyndon LaDouche: You fascinate me. I am always thinking that whatever you say, there is much more left unsaid. You are among those who always make me wonder whether I really got what you said, or whether there is more that flew over my head. There is a lesson in that, isn’t there, for Mr. spew every last thought out there, which would be me?

I’m lonely, and starved for intellectual companions, it makes me needy. Sorry.

Lyndon is haiku.
Please don’t be sad self-conscious.
Stinquers all heart you.

@Promnight: Dearest. I’m Limey. A refugee to these shores who done thrived. I left school at 15. Attended prof school and was working when I was 17 (with Sam Waterston and Stacey Keach). That was when Robert K was assassinated. I was drafted. Returned to London. Came back here in ’77.

I have worked as a journeyman actor for … years. I also write. Recently I have had a piece of mine go all over the place. My persona is only that. My POV is different from most of the stinkers because of my background. I relish the different POVs here and am always interested in your posts.

@Lyndon LaDouche: Journeyman or no, you have made a life doing art. Do you know how fascinating that is to people who out of fear and a background with small horizons never had the courage to follow their inclinations and instead numbly followed a path they never had any passion for, and woke up middle aged, hating their career, and because that career consumed the larger part of their waking life, hating their life, and then found themself, fuck this third personing thing, then finding myself resenting the people in the life I hate, when its not their fault, and being a shit, out of overwhelminig frustration and desperate fear that life is slipping rapidly by and will never get better? And hating myself for being a shit and taking out my frustration on the people who love me.

I was about to say, my problem is I don’t know what my talent is, don’t know what it is I should have done, should still do, but you know, I do know, I can make food that would make you cry. I gotta do what I love, don’t I? I love more than anything working for 3 hours in the kitchen, and then walking up to people with a little sample of what I have done and saying “taste this” and putting it in their mouth and watching their eyes, thats where you see it, if its good, it shows in their eyes. The pupils widen, and if its really good, the eyes roll back, and I know I done good.

In a way, its like acting on the stage, isn’t it? The performance is ephemeral, its done and gone in an instant, its consumed by the audience and exists thereafter only in memory.

You see, I admire and respect you, for doing what you love. Without ever having seen it, its enough to know you do it.

@Promnight: their stance was “I am an intellectual, and intellectual enough to see the absurd in intellectuality.”

Not quite, but understandable, given their Oxbridge backgrounds. The trick was more “go high to go low”, respecting the intelligence of the audience to get the joke, and short of that, just enjoy the absurdity. Kind of a highbrow populism.

The American version was called New Vaudeville, exemplified by the Flying Karamazov Brothers — for whom I had the pleasure of playing in the house band during their Oregon Country Fair appearances. Very intelligent, but equally informed by Groucho as much as Goethe. You didn’t have to get all their jokes to enjoy them, nor did they expect you to.


@Promnight: Palin will be a disaster — for SNL. Look at Hillary’s appearance last spring: they pull punches when the candidate is in the house, making sure the joke’s on them.

So Tina Fey will start with something clever, then Palin will step in and say she sounds nothing like that (while sounding exactly like that), and we’ll all applaud how the candidate can laugh at herself. SNL will humanize her, something she’s proven incapable of doing by herself.

The good news? At least they’re getting it out of the way now, and not two weeks from now.

@Promnight: It’s easier to run off and join the circus when you lack other commitments. Three months after I quit reporting I was picking peaches, and three months after that I was cooking pizza — where I remained for two years before grad school and radio beckoned.

I never regretted my decision to abandon my profession, although it confused the hell out of my father. I’ve enjoyed many marvelous adventures over the years — up to and including this website — that wouldn’t have happened under conventional circumstances. But I’ll never own a house, and I’ll never live in a spacious apartment. It’s more than a fair trade for me, but it’s not a life for someone who needs more stability.

@nojo: My dad gave me and my brother the stinkeye one day and said in disbelief, a touch of anger and hurt “you guys just go out of your way to do it the hard way.” True, I guess. It’s the journey, right?

Mrs RML’s paper is being hit by buyouts now, in fact she went over to a friend’s place to help her write a resume and offer support, try to help her work things out and have a drink or two. We both had a passion to report the news, but I had another plan – to be a lawyer. My goals were those of a smart rez kid who knew every inch of the library and could hang with those that a local reporter who later became a good fried called the “smart delinquents.”

Like you, I bailed from the news biz. I quit when I wasn’t having fun anymore. My chest hurt daily driving to work. I’d done national-level reporting on a major project then found myself doing 6 am cop calls and pulling the DA out of the shower chasing the other paper. Mrs RML never had that moment, worked in Texas, DC, NM and got a masters at American. Now, with the industry cratering, she dodn’t know what to do.

The Promeranian raised the question of following one’s talent. She did, and so did I. I have just discovered I can actually work less, make enough to live on, and get an afternoon off once a week. I need those afternoons to walk the streamside meadows in the Ponderosas. She followed her passion and has no other options now in her mind because she is a true journalist, PR and marketing are the darkside, government work is drudgery to her. She should be gardening, freelancing, and spending time with her mom. Maybe we can make it happen.

@redmanlaw: Perhaps the most amazing thing about embarking upon what is now a 25-year adventure happened right at the start: Discovering you’re not alone. It’s not easy to take that journey — modern society just isn’t designed for it — but you quickly find others who have no choice but to answer their own calls, and that’s when the fun begins.

The key is having no choice — which is different than not having options. Some of us are just compelled, and the compulsion overrides anything else in our lives.

This is where I switch from Wittgenstein to Aristotle: The point of De Anima (which philosophers overlook) is that happiness is human flourishing, what would later be called (regrettably) “self-actualization”. You have to find your soul, listen to it, and let it lead you — we have instincts as much as any other critter, only we’ve been trained to ignore them.

Back when I had time to indulge myself, I would take “aimless” walks: Step out the door, and “feel” which turn to make at any given corner. A dozen or two turns in, I would suddenly realize where I was going, and end up some place I would never have expected but that was perfect for the moment. That’s how I learned to listen to my gut, and I’m still listening to this day.

It’s not for everyone. But for some of us, it’s the only choice we have, and if you can deal with the consequences, by all means go for it.

@Promnight: A Beckett quote for you, something we all enjoyed reciting back in the day:

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.

@nojo: Heh, “Fail Better” I work in QA, and that sounds like what the programmers are aiming at.

@Promnight: One more…

I’m nothing special, and there’s nothing special in my background. I’m very much a standard-issue white middle-class Eugenean, perhaps with a stronger taste for comedy albums than music growing up, but nothing eccentric. My dad worked at the newspaper (not as a journalist), my mom worked on campus. I watched a lot of television.

I have no clue what happened to me. Best I can figure, it was that Shakespeare class my sophomore year, which opened my eyes to a lot of things I hadn’t noticed before. But even then, I was dead set on being a reporter, and had a great time at the campus student daily.

So I graduate, land a job — not easy at that moment — feel absolutely overwhelmed at first, eventually master filing six stories a week, and find myself being handed greater responsibilities. And about a year in, I start getting antsy.

This wasn’t what I wanted to be doing with my life.

At the time, I expressed it this way: I didn’t want to wake up one morning at 40, finding myself the city editor at the Salem Statesman-Journal, and hating myself. This is not my beautiful life.

Eighteen months in, after resisting as long as I could, I bailed. It was either that or literally go crazy.

And that’s compulsion.

The very week after I quit and return to Eugene, I notice a meeting of local cartoonists, attend out of curiosity, and meet the guy who would introduce me to jazz and philosophy. Just like that.

I was ready for it, I was hungry for it, I went looking for it, and I found it.

So yeah, you sound a bit like me in the months before I quit. Profoundly unhappy with the direction my life was taking (although I was quite competent at it), afraid to take the leap, and at some point realizing I had no choice but to jump.

Put some money in the bank, be smart about your decisions, know your limitations, then fucking do it. Whatever happens with the restaurant, you’ll be a success from Day One.

@Promnight: Or, if you’d prefer, The Short Version. This is from memory, but it’s true to the spirit:

Dear Abby: I’m 40 and I’ve never completed high school. I’d like to get my GED, but if I do I’ll be 43 when I graduate. What should I do?

Dear Worried: And how old will you be otherwise?

@Promnight: I think no matter what we do we always live with the regret for what might have been. It’s not easy to live without security and doesn’t suit a lot of people. I’ve been lucky.

My working life has recently taken a turn for the better and I’m now in a new phase which will bring new challenges and rewards. But I’ve done everything in the theatre: everything backstage. So when I ask for something or plan something I know how it’s done. If I were in your position I would try to get a job in a business like the one you’re contemplating. Even if you’re working for nothing, a few hours a week. But I’d try to find out if the work hours suit me and if the job could be what I want it to be. Eg. Because you love to cook and make beautiful food (yes I’ve drooled over the pics on your blog) doesn’t necessarily mean that you could make the same food commercially. Maybe you can but you should at least try to find out. I’ve worked in restaurants. I’ve been a waiter and was, in younger days, a very stylish maitre d’. They wanted me to become part of the permanent staff of the restaurant but I told them no, I didn’t want the responsibility and that one day would walk in and tell them I was leaving – which is what happened. What I mean is, I have a reasonably good idea of how restaurants work and know that, even when I loved to cook, it wouldn’t suit me. Sidebar: I’ve never seen any place to compare with a kitchen on a busy night for emotion. Cooks throwing plates at waiters, etc. If you could explore what you intend in a practical kind of way, you wouldn’t be faced with the cliff-jump kind of decision which is rendering you immobile. You’d be able to break it down into bite-sized pieces.

It’s the easiest thing in the world to give advice to others, I know. And I’ve jumped off a few cliffs in my day, but I think I always tried to prepare myself first. For example, when we moved back to the States, both my hubby and I had lived here. We had friends here and family. We had connections in the business. So, yes, it was a huge leap, but we weren’t making a leap in the dark.

Oh boy — you guys! I was torn between getting my doctorate in demography and going to law school. 3 years vs 7ish and I had to consider where my son and I would live while I was in school (the law school had housing for families and an elementary school on campus), and of course, I had to consider my earning power after I got my degree. So, I went to law school.

Besides my volunteer work, I am utterly and completely bored with the law and what I do. I’d rather eat nails than go to work. I hate it. It doesn’t help that I’m not practicing the type of law that I thought would fulfill me, but my chances at getting into that particular practice are zero.

So, I’m thinking about taking the GRE and applying to grad school. I spent a summer totally immersed in demography at the Population Studies Center at Penn, and I think they’d have me back as a real student.

So, there you have it. No one in my family will understand if I go back to school for another 7ish years, but I want to study populations and how they change. I love the statistics part, and I love the sociology part, and I want to teach. I was a TA in college, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had in the guise of a job. I must teach.

“when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”

and that happens when you listen to your gut.

@Lyndon LaDouche: ah, there’s no way you could know, but you see, I was a professional cook, kitchen manager, then assistant restaurant manager, a 10-year career in restaurants all by the time I was 25. Thats why I want a deli, all the fun but no late nights.

@JNOV: I don’t think they make you take the GRE when you have a JD from Stanford; I didn’t have to do it when I went back for the politics and public policy degree I didn’t bother to finish.

@Promnight: Then you do know what you’re facing. Good for you. I have no idea how retail food establishments work in business terms but you must have a good idea. We once lived next to a very successful deli/prepared food shop in NYC (I used to call it fairy foods, for obvious reasons) so I know it can be done.

@Promnight: I’m now on my 4th career, and every time I’ve made a jump I’ve given up security and usually taken a huge pay cut. This last time, I did the unthinkable, and walked away from a tenured position at a university to work part time, with no benefits whatsoever,at something I love and have fantasized about doing for years. Mr. Cyn has done the same. We live hand to mouth, and have pretty much no discretionary income, but I’ve never been happier. To me, the essential thing is whether you have the support of your family, and if they’re willing to make some material sacrifices in order to have a happier and more fulfilled Prommie. I would not have been able to do this, financially and emotionally, without mr cyn’s support, and my support has been essential for him. I hope your loved ones will support you, because there’s no amount of money that will make you as happy as doing something you love, or at least don’t hate.

@Promnight: Oh, that would be fab! I’ll give the school a call next week! You’re an inspiration, darling. Di Bruno Bros watch out!

ADD: I love LBI, and I’d come up there to patronize your joint. If you move it to Europe, well, I’ll miss you and Mrs. Prom. You’ll have to have some sort of international overnight service.

Add a Comment
Please log in to post a comment