Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Luxury Condos

From the Associated Press

BOSTON - Economics researchers at Harvard University have determined that by the year 2013 luxury condominiums will occupy two-thirds of the continental United States and one hundred percent of all land that lay within 24 miles of any large body of water.

"Sixty-six percent of Americans will literally live in luxury," said James Dunnfield, head of the Harvard Immobile Assets Research Group. "The remaining thirty-three percent of Americans will dwell in homes that are somewhere between run-down and squalid. Many of them will be in southern Indiana and eastern Arkansas."

Friday, May 25, 2007


From: [redacted]@yahoo.com
To: j.a.mccloskey@gmail.com


I am writing to you from [redacted]’s email account because I am a grown man who lives in the actual world, not some grey-faced cock-puller who’s pissing away the prime of his life by staring vacantly into a computer screen. Hence, I have no email address. We differ in this regard.

As I told [redacted] I don’t like that you explicitly mention my name or even allude to my existence when you post to your dumb blog. It saps my vital essence each time you type my name. Stop it. Now. Do you remember Lawrence of Arabia? Auda, the most fearsome Arab warrior ever played by a Mexican-Irish Octaroon smashed the American reporter’s Speed Graphic because it contained his image. That’s me. Picture me as Auda, albeit with sunspots where my hair would otherwise be and no loyal 11 year-old son prepped for murder at my command. If you don’t stop mentioning me on your website right now I will come to your house with an aluminum softball bat and smash all of your electronic devices to atoms. That is a promise.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, will I be seeing you and your better half this summer? I plan on staying on [redacted] through the month of September. We can ride bikes together.

Warm Regards,

Thursday, May 24, 2007

What do You Want to Hear

The traffic on this site has drifted downward to a paltry 1 or two hits per month. Half of those can be ascribed to my compulsive checking of my own site. I want to see whether some oversexed religious fundamentalist cop or stray smartass has stopped by and left a pithy or obnoxious remark. Generally speaking, no luck.

Of course I could drive more traffic to the site. That would be a simple matter of stringing together some popular key words. Like “Lindsay Lohan Dirty Sanchez” or “Paris Hilton Rusty Trombone” so that whoever searched on those terms would see my site. I would never do that though. I mean do I really want page hits coming from people who’ve searched google for “Watersports and the NFL?” I don’t think so. I no more want the eyeballs of those perverts than I want clicks from someone looking for “Tom Cruise is Gay” or “Brittney’s mmf orgy with George Bush, Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, Eminem, lil Wayne, Ann Coulter, Katie Holmes, Jessica Alba and America’s Top Model with American Idol Winner Kelly Clarkson in a new home with a low mortgage rate while they read information about car loans, Canadian drugs like OxyContin and sorted out game cheats for PS2, PS3 and the Wii. Lebron James and Rudy Guiliani failed to show.”

And this is one of the interesting things about contemporary information culture. It’s somehow so open that it’s closed off. You go to the same two or three websites every day and you’re frustrated that there’s nothing interesting there. Sometimes you go to google with the intention of finding something edifying. When you get there you realize that faced with all the theoretical information in the world, your meager curiosity fails you. Confronted with this infinite mass of information, the average person is a bit like the casual hiker who wants to climb Mt. Greylock and finds himself at the foot of Denali. You either turn away daunted and go watch TV on the web, or you type the words “girl on girl” into the search engine and feel faintly ashamed of yourself.

I don’t intend this observation as a call to action, or even as an especially deep observation. But it does touch on something about mass psychology and it drives the information that we consume.

The same mentality of keywords and images rules magazine covers, television news coverage and just about any mass media you can think of. Several years ago I was writing an article for a consumer business magazine. The story centered on the actions of a bunch of old white guys. While weighing the piece’s cover potential the editor in chief asked me, “Are there any women in this story?” He knew damn well that a magazine with a bunch of old flabby men on the cover will not move from the news stands. A magazine with a comely woman on the cover will sell. All magazine editors know this. It is the reason why most magazines, for both men and women, feature a pretty woman on the cover. That’s fine. The problem with it, in this case, is that he gave me an editorial mandate to try to find a woman that could be put into the story. Rather than investigate the story for what it was, I was told to shape the story through my reporting so that they could run a sexy girl on the cover. I failed in this mission, but I can’t honestly say that I didn’t try.

I am all in favor of giving people what they want. This is America after all. But the tyranny of this kind of market research is becoming more and more noxious with each passing year. When was the last time you looked at a major magazine cover and said, “Ah, there’s something I haven’t read before?” You haven’t. You turn on your $120 a month cable system and you see endless reruns of spin-offs from Surreal Life, which is itself a spin-off from the Real World. You flip the channel and land on some variation of Pimp My [ride, house, truck, prosthesis] and then move on to a show featuring either two good-looking idiots going on a date arranged by a television producer or nominal humorists commenting on the actions and attire of celebrities. When was the last time you walked into a Barnes and Noble and saw a stack of books by the checkout line that weren’t pink and didn’t refer to rutting of young white women who live in major metropolitan areas?

Those are the shows that sell. Those are the books that sell. But are they? Whenever I look at any kind of reporting on the state of the media I read about dwindling audiences. Hollywood box office receipts are off. Music sales are down. Book sales are down. Television viewership is way off. Most magazines are on the verge of bankruptcy. No one in his right mind listens to terrestrial radio any more.

It’s as if people are actually sick of the same shit being spoon-fed to us all the time. Who would have expected that?

Liar of the Year

I've deviated a bit from the stated mission of this site. So let's bring it all back home.

Outside of certain government officials, William E. Clark aka "Zeke," is now the greatest liar in America. A chimney sweep and all-around nutcase, he deftly created a back-story for himself that included covert assassinations in hot spots all over the world. He then parlayed this murderous resume padding into a job as head of security for a nuclear power plant in Michigan.

Bill "Zeke" Clark, my hat's off to you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


[REDACTED], whom you all surely recall, has contacted me through a proxy. I was pulled aside at a social event by the proxy. The proxy said, "[REDACTED] isn't happy. You didn't do what you said you would do."

I protested that I did. I removed all identifying characteristics of [REDACTED], save [REDACTED]'S surname.

"That's not good enough," the proxy told me. "He's a very private person."

I stammered a bit over the lip of my canned beer.

"Do the right thing," the proxy said.

I nodded and lied that I would delete the entry.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Don't Play Dumb: Follow-up

Last fall a Tacoma, Washington man was busted for pretending to be retarded, for the money. His mother started the scheme when he was eight years old. Now he's been sentenced to hard time. I want to know what kind of punishment the courts dished out to the social security employees who couldn't tell between a real developmentally disabled man and a fake?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Open Letter to British Airways: Customer Service

Dear British Airways,

My friend Jeremy flew into New York yesterday. Your airline misplaced his luggage. No big deal, he's staying at my house in Brooklyn. He knew you would retrieve his wayward baggage and deliver it to him there.

Much to my shock and suprise, you delivered the bags to my house at FIVE-TWENTY IN THE GODDAMN MORNING. In that wee small hour, I--and everyone else in my three-family building--was awakened by your courier calling my cell phone and ringing every buzzer in the building's foyer. I ran down the stairs, shirtless, not knowing who was at the door. This being Brooklyn, I was prepared to exchange blows with the midnight buzzer. I opened the door to find a man who spoke nothing like a discernible brand of English. Nevertheless, he was able to communicate to me that he had my friend's bags. He demanded that I sign for them. I did and he went on his way.

Meanwhile, my landlady and all the other tenants had been roused. Do you know what its like to turn around at 5:30 in the morning and feel the scornful eye of a 90-year-old Brooklyn lady--the widow of a sandhog--on your bare flesh? Under normal circumstances my landlady and I enjoy a gently confrontational relationship, like an aunt and a nephew. In this moment, for the first time in years, I felt the full force of her rage on me. Thank you for that British Airways.

As I'm sure you're aware, five thirty in the morning is the middle of the night in New York. We are not farming folk here. Nevertheless, had your courier arrived at the slightly more godly hour of say, seven AM, I would not be writing this email to you.