Let's Have A Partita!

Get the respite you deserve another time.

Location: Cantonment, Florida, United States

Well, uh, hmm...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

It's back! Sorta.

Well, the Birch article is back up. It's in some netherpage, but it's up. The irony is, it's more easily accessable now than it was before. You can find it on Google. Just type in paulkstadden and it's the first or second thing to pop up. I'll be adding more to it over the coming weeks, so look out!

Monday, January 15, 2007

John Birch (Luthier)

I have been working my butt off on a wikipedia article on the guitar builder, John Birch. I have been talking to people who own John Birches, People who knew (or know) celebrities with John Birches and even who own those famous John Birches, and I have even been talking to people who knew him, including the man who now owns John Birch guitars, John Carling. It's been pretty smooth, except that the Wiki is really strict on picture use. I have gotten pics sent directly from Carling, and have gotten permission to use pictures from him and others. Still, I have to properly tag and label each picture before I put it up, which means I have to re-upload every picture I've put up, which is a lot.

Oh, and the article has also been deleted.

I am quite angry, as I put a lot of work into it. I have requested an undelete and contacted the fellow who deleted it. Oh, and he deleted it with no warning, by the way. It seems he thought it was "spam," or, in other words, an advert for John Birch guitars. Quite frustrating, seeing as how I was not backing it up on my hard drive as I thought that I would be notified before any deleting.

Fun, fun.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Celebrities are a strange sub-species.

All essays must have a thesis statement, explicitly stated in the introduction and then restated at the end. It provides an opportunity for a cohesive argument on a point that the author feels strongly about. It must be clearly stated, and the author must try not to stray from the main point when presenting arguments. Fortunately, I believe I have picked a thesis that has plenty of supporting evidence: Celebrities are, in general, hilariously dumb and hypocritical, and therefore have little right to comment on political and moral situations. Keep in mind that I have no illusions about being a political science whiz, but I try not to get in front of cameras while spouting unrealisticly simple solutions to complicated problems ("I think the terrorists just need a hug!").

I'd like to present several categories that highlight my point. First is the dumb celebrity that honestly thinks he's a scholar and a genius. Secondly is the celebrity that is mean spirited and dumb, and also has a self-made forum for their beliefs. These are the ones that insult men far smarter than themselves, while adhering vehemently to ludicrous ideologies. Thirdly is the celebrity that seems to have been left here by his fellow aliens who were getting a bit sick of him. These are the ones that live in a bubble called "Hollywood." This way they are well isolated from anyone who may disagree with them and/or knock some sense into their silly noggins.

A good example of the first kind is Jeneane Garofalo. She says myriad dumb and abrasive things about anyone who disagrees with her. She honestly thinks that anyone in the Republican party is pure evil and that the party as a whole desires the destruction of the planet. She isn't interested in intellectual discourse, just making slightly witty comments to "support" her position. At no point does she use any of the actual rules of logic to make a point, she usually sticks to logical fallacies such as the ad hominem (argument against the person: what a person has done does not mean that what they believe is wrong. Ie. Freud was a cokehead, therefore all of psychoanalysis is wrong.) and affective terminology (using language that is insulting as a way to demean an opponent. Ie. calling God a Flying Spaghetti Monster.). Now, if this were the exception rather than the norm, and she were ignored by the media, that would be one thing. However, she is welcomed with open arms by the media, and people actualy listen to and laugh at what she says. Much like Bill Maher. He confuses wit with intelligence.

Bill Maher is a good example of the second kind of celebrity. He has his own show, and loves to use it to mock the Republican party and anyone who disagrees with him, no matter how much smarter than him the person may be. He usually has a panel featuring other dumb celebrities that he can agree with, and one person who he does not agree with. Usually the one he doesn't agree with is either a bad arguer, or just doesn't care. He had P.J. O'rourke on one episode and I was waiting for P.J. to argue Bill and his cohorts into the ground (He had two other people on, a woman who I believe runs a very liberal "news" website, and Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20). P.J. didn't say much, which disappointed me. I have seen occasions where Bill has mistakenly featured a good arguer, but usually he relies on his wit and utter lack of logical thinking to make hiself seem superior. There's a lesson, when you can't win the argument, rely on sarcasm to make it seem like you've got the upper hand. Also, he has an audience which, of course, agrees with him. Bill is never short of "woo's" and "yeah's" from his like-minded biological laugh-track, while the person who is actually making good points gets light appluse at best. Of course, the best example of this type of celebrity is Michael Moore. He makes delightful propoganda that would make Joseph Goebbels proud. He's incredibly blind, stating that "there is no terrist threat" in his Fahrenheit 9/11. Quite a shocking statement. Of course, since he's so high up in the political chain, and has been present for every meeting between the president and his chiefs of staff, and also is a member of the CIA and is privy to all military intelligence, I can see how he can make these claims. Oh, no wait, he's just a rich Hollywood idiot. There's a reason it used to be called Hollywoodland. It's because the people that live there are about as intelligent as the animatronic puppets found in most theme parks.

Finally, we get to those people whose statements are so outlandish and bizarre, that they generate more "huh?"s than anything, and, of course, do it from the blessed sanctity of their bubbles in Hollywood, New York, or any town in France. I believe the ultimate person for this category is Barbara Streisand. She was at a Democratic Fund-raiser when she decided to quote some Shakespeare for the goal of denigrating the American people and their leader, apparently a quote about how patriotism is a double edged sword, and that the people were blinded with it and worshipped Caesar. I decided not to quote it directly since, well, Shakespeare never wrote anything of the sort. She also said "I don't care what you say about me. Just be sure to spell my name wrong." I'm sorry? Come again? Is that intended to be humor? Perhaps in some sort of ani-verse where dull, intestinal gas producing statements are seen as comedic gold.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have enjoyed all of these people in various projects that they have been a part of. Jeneane was great in Mystery Men. I have seen standup routines by Bill Maher that have made me bust a gut. Michael Moore had some really funny jokes in Canadian Bacon (ignoring the political stuff, of course). Babs has been in some good comedies over the years (Meet the Fockers doesn't count). However, these are the kind of people that would take brilliant piece of writing, such as "Nearer My God" by William F. Buckley, and make fun of the typos (having found nothing in the actual writing that they could make fun of.) I just wish they would stick to making entertainment and leave out the political stuff. So please, if you're a rather dumb celebrity, please don't go hide in France. Stay here, make your movies, Alec Bladwin. Don't go, Johnny Depp. Make a sequel to "Shallow Hal," Gwyneth Paltrow. I think you're all very good actors.

But please, please, shut the heck up.