Posts Tagged New York
Citing fears of inflation and the dollar’s weakness against foreign currency, Tool vocalist John Maynard Keynes has decided to part ways with his band of nearly 20 years. Keynes, whose work was strongly influenced by Bertrand Russell, King Crimson and the Melvins, has decided to drop out of the music scene for a while and focus on making claymation videos of economist David Ricardo being attacked by swarms of Marxist killer bees.
This is not the first time Tool has had to deal with the loss of a lead singer. In 1958, singer and former beatnik Maynard G. Krebs was forced to leave the band after being arrested for selling nuclear secrets to the Soviets. Krebs, who later went on to star on the television show The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, is still best known for studying how the body oxidizes carbohydrates. He was 58.
Former Atlanta mayor and person who they named half of an airport after, Maynard Jackson, also briefly sang for the in the band in the 1970s. Jackson, who was the least well-known member of the Jackson 5, also played alto-sax, guitar and zither on the first Tool album Undertow. Jackson, the mercurial, but powerful rightfielder for the New York Yankees, led the team to a title in 1977 after hitting a record three homeruns in one game against the Dodgers. Later to be known as Son of Sam, Jackson was responsible for a series of homicides that rocked the New York metropolitan area later that year.
In spite of losing several singers, the band has still managed to be one of the most popular hard rock acts in the world. They gained a great deal of popularity due to their hit songs Schism and Sober along their outlandish stage performances that feature economist David Ricardo being attacked by Marxist piranhas. They have won over 17 Grammys for their 1987 cover of the Taylor Swift classic “I Knew You Were Trouble” back in 1985.
They became a major part of the American lexicon in 2006 when the members began starring with Wilmer Valderama on the popular children’s television show Handy Manny. Tool drummer and Orioles cleanup hitter Adam Jones, who plays Felipe the Screwdriver on the show, was awarded the Disney Kid’s Choice Award in 2010 for the episode “Felipe Screws The Pooch” where he deals with the accidental dismemberment of a Portuguese Water Dog by Dusty The Handsaw. I’m wearing a Belgian waffle on my forehead.
Vinnie Stigma has been many things in his long and intriguing life. The enigmatic guitar player from Agnostic Front has been an actor in the hit film New York Blood, a professional stunt car driver and even the Secretary of Agriculture in the state of Oklahoma for a short time in the 90s. However, few people expected his recent career change. Stigma has become a renowned children’s author.
“You know, I was thinkin’ about how stupid kids are today with all of the hugging and sharing nonsense they get in the schools. I want to rap them upside the head with a newspaper and say ‘What’s a matter with you?’ So, I wrote this book to help them not be so freakin’ dumb. Teach’em some stuff that could make them so they don’t get their skulls smashed in everyday and whatnot,” said Stigma on the steps of his Brooklyn townhouse.
The book, which is the story of five streetwise but cuddly rabbits from Coney Island, takes place on the seedy streets of New York after dark. The rabbits are drawn to a convention of animals that takes place in the Bronx where they discuss a truce between all the other animals in the city. However, after the wise fox named Cyrus who called the meeting is gunned down, the Rabbits are pursued by the other animals who believe they killed him.
Most of the story centers on their journey back to Coney Island and their battles with rival groups of animals for survival. The climax of the book is an all out fight between the rabbits and the rats out on Coney Island Beach. Reviewers are already excited about the book, comparing his work to early Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein.
“Stigma has written a beautiful parable for the ages,” remarked noted New York Times critic Dwight Garner, “he captures all of the magic and beauty that children experience when hitting another child in the head with a tire iron for the first time.”
James Wood, book reviewer for The New Yorker, was even more effusive in his praise.
“Young people today are just too soft,” wrote Wood, “this book teaches them important life skills like how to hotwire a car and how to make a Molotov cocktail. Things that our liberalized school systems have omitted from their curriculums in the name of political correctness.”
“I Thought You Were My Friend” is intended for children 3 to 7 and includes pop-up police snakes along with scratch and sniff sewers and subway cars. However, Stigma believes the book will resonate with everyone, from toddlers to adults.
“Wanting to beat and maim someone because they are in your way is a simple human characteristic,” said Stigma. “If adults don’t read this book, fine. I’ll go to their house, put my knee into their chest and read it to them. People need to understand that this book has an important and timeless message and if I have to give a beating to every single American to get the message across, that’s what I’m going to do.”
In a stunning announcement, Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney divulged that his evil twin Mittt was actually responsible for many of the decisions made while he was governor. “After years of deliberation, I’ve decided to come forward with the truth about many of my decisions as governor of Massachutsetts. Passing the health care bill and many other leftist decisions were made by my twin. It is he who is a liberal. I have always been committed to positions consistent with the most died in the wool conservative Americans.”
According to Romney, he and his twin are mirror images of each other. Even the names are even extremely similar. Romney claims that the twin’s name is pronounced exactly the same. The final “t” is a silent and is neither pronounced nor written. While the two share identical features, they couldn’t be more different in terms of political views. Romney described his twin as a “card carrying socialist out of touch with the views of mainstream Americans” and excoriated him for his support of Massachusetts’ “dangerous and potentially apocalyptic” health care law.
During today’s press conference, Romney detailed how his twin locked him in a meat locker in the basement of the governor’s mansion for two years while “evil Mittt” made terrible decisions that turned the State of Massachusetts into a “communistic wasteland”. Romney was only able to survive by eating Vienna Sausages and reading from the two books he had with him, The Bible and The Wit And Wisdom of Ronald Reagan. “In my darkest moments, it was the words of God and The Gipper that allowed me to survive.”
Romney claims that at one point the Ghost of Barry Goldwater came to lighten his spirits. After Goldwater’s pep talk, Romney was able to use a frozen lamb shank to smash the lock and escape. “If not for the spirit of conservatism, I’d have surely frozen to death,” announced Romney proudly.
There have been several other occasions where the Republican Presidential Candidate has been abducted and hidden by his liberal brother. “That whole thing about being pro-choice, that was my twin. And the stuff about letting clerks issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Him again! Pretty much all the things that have made me appear moderate in anyway whatsoever are the responsibility of Mittt. I’ve never had a thought in my mind at anytime that was even remotely liberal. I have never been within 300 feet of anyone who has ever been a member of the Democratic Party. I will not eat food produced packaged in plants that employ liberals. Mittt’s is the guilty one. It was him all along!”
So far, no one has been able to contact Romney’s twin. Romney has furnished the media with pictures of Mittt (see below) but claims he has not spoken to him in years and is not sure where he is. “He’s joined Al-Qaeda for all I know,” fumed Romney, “I doubt we will see him again. Certainly not until the New York primary.”
The resemblance between the two Romneys is incredible….
It is a rare person who can make being a scoundrel seem like a completely respectable way to make a living. Occasionally, this sort of scoundrel works his way into politics. Most corrupt politicians today bathe themselves in the murky oil of self-righteousness. It is quite unique to find a man completely devoid of principals and willing to make that a matter of public record. George Washington Plunkitt was such a man.
Plunkitt was a State Senator in New York during the heyday of Tammany Hall. The Tammany political machine ran New York City for over a century by offering jobs and protection for new immigrants in exchange for votes and political influence. Tammany produced some of New York’s most influential politicians (William Mallory “Boss” Tweed being the best known) and even counted a Vice President (Aaron Burr) and a Presidential candidate Al Smith among its ranks.
The organization had many outspoken, charasmatic politicians, but Plunkitt was probably the best at explaining “The Tammany Way”. Plunkitt’s book “Plunkitt of Tammany Hall: A Series of Very Plain Talks on Very Practical Politics, Delivered by Ex-Senator George Washington Plunkitt, the Tammany Philosopher, from his Rostrum—the New York County Courthouse Bootblack Stand” contains some of the most intriguing justifications for corruption that have ever been written. His distinction between honest and dishonest graft is deeply flawed but amazingly compelling.
Here is an excerpt that captures Plunkitt’s belief about how the system works…
Everybody is talkin‘ these days about Tammany men growin’ rich on graft, but nobody thinks of drawin‘ the distinction between honest graft and dishonest graft. There’s all the difference in the world between the two. Yes, many of our men have grown rich in politics. I have myself. I’ve made a big fortune out of the game, and I’m gettin’ richer every day, but I’ve not gone in for dishonest graft—blackmailin’ gamblers, saloonkeepers, disorderly people, etc.—and neither has any of the men who have made big fortunes in politics.
There’s an honest graft, and I’m an example of how it works. I might sum up the whole thing by sayin‘: “I seen my opportunities and I took ’em.”
Just let me explain by examples. My party’s in power in the city, and it’s goin’ to undertake a lot of public improvements. Well, I’m tipped off, say, that they’re going to lay out a new park at a certain place.
I see my opportunity and I take it. I go to that place and I buy up all the land I can in the neighborhood. Then the board of this or that makes its plan public, and there is a rush to get my land, which nobody cared particular for before.
Ain’t it perfectly honest to charge a good price and make a profit on my investment and foresight? Of course, it is. Well, that’s honest graft. Or supposin‘ it’s a new bridge they’re goin’ to build. I get tipped off and I buy as much property as I can that has to be taken for approaches. I sell at my own price later on and drop some more money in the bank.
Wouldn’t you? It’s just like lookin‘ ahead in Wall Street or in the coffee or cotton market. It’s honest graft, and I’m lookin’ for it every day in the year. I will tell you frankly that I’ve got a good lot of it, too.
I’ll tell you of one case. They were goin‘ to fix up a big park, no matter where. I got on to it, and went lookin’ about for land in that neighborhood.
I could get nothin’ at a bargain but a big piece of swamp, but I took it fast enough and held on to it. What turned out was just what I counted on. They couldn’t make the park complete without Plunkitt’s swamp, and they had to pay a good price for it. Anything dishonest in that?
Up in the watershed I made some money, too. I bought up several bits of land there some years ago and made a pretty good guess that they would be bought up for water purposes later by the city.
Somehow, I always guessed about right, and shouldn’t I enjoy the profit of my foresight? It was rather amusin’ when the condemnation commissioners came along and found piece after piece of the land in the name of George Plunkitt of the Fifteenth Assembly District, New York City. They wondered how I knew just what to buy. The answer is—I seen my opportunity and I took it. I haven’t confined myself to land; anything that pays is in my line.
For instance, the city is repavin’ a street and has several hundred thousand old granite blocks to sell. I am on hand to buy, and I know just what they are worth.
How? Never mind that. I had a sort of monopoly of this business for a while, but once a newspaper tried to do me. It got some outside men to come over from Brooklyn and New Jersey to bid against me.
Was I done? Not much. I went to each of the men and said: “How many of these 250,000 stones do you want?” One said 20,000, and another wanted 15,000, and other wanted 10,000. I said: “All right, let me bid for the lot, and I’ll give each of you all you want for nothin’.”
They agreed, of course. Then the auctioneer yelled: “How much am I bid for these 250,000 fine pavin’ stones?”
“Two dollars and fifty cents,” says I.
“Two dollars and fifty cents” screamed the auctioneer. “Oh, that’s a joke Give me a real bid.”
He found the bid was real enough. My rivals stood silent. I got the lot for $2.50 and gave them their share. That’s how the attempt to do Plunkitt ended, and that’s how all such attempts end.
I’ve told you how I got rich by honest graft. Now, let me tell you that most politicians who are accused of robbin’ the city get rich the same way.
They didn’t steal a dollar from the city treasury. They just seen their opportunities and took them. That is why, when a reform administration comes in and spends a half million dollars in tryin’ to find the public robberies they talked about in the campaign, they don’t find them.
The books are always all right. The money in the city treasury is all right. Everything is all right. All they can show is that the Tammany heads of departments looked after their friends, within the law, and gave them what opportunities they could to make honest graft. Now, let me tell you that’s never goin’ to hurt Tammany with the people. Every good man looks after his friends, and any man who doesn’t isn’t likely to be popular. If I have a good thing to hand out in private life, I give it to a friend. Why shouldn’t I do the same in public life?
Another kind of honest graft. Tammany has raised a good many salaries. There was an awful howl by the reformers, but don’t you know that Tammany gains ten votes for every one it lost by salary raisin’?
The Wall Street banker thinks it shameful to raise a department clerk’s salary from $1500 to $1800 a year, but every man who draws a salary himself says: “That’s all right. I wish it was me.” And he feels very much like votin’ the Tammany ticket on election day, just out of sympathy.
Tammany was beat in 1901 because the people were deceived into believin‘ that it worked dishonest graft. They didn’t draw a distinction between dishonest and honest graft, but they saw that some Tammany men grew rich, and supposed they had been robbin’ the city treasury or levyin‘ blackmail on disorderly houses, or workin’ in with the gamblers and lawbreakers.
As a matter of policy, if nothing else, why should the Tammany leaders go into such dirty business, when there is so much honest graft lyin’ around when they are in power? Did you ever consider that?
Now, in conclusion, I want to say that I don’t own a dishonest dollar. If my worst enemy was given the job of writin’ my epitaph when I’m gone, he couldn’t do more than write:
“George W. Plunkitt. He Seen His Opportunities, and He Took ‘Em.”