Jackson, McNamara, Deficit, Scuderi, The Heather Graham – Mike Tyson – Pat Stack Connection

My iPod started acting ill today, and now I’m in the middle of restoring the factory settings. Since I have to completely re-upload all of my music, photo and backed-up files, I got some time to write. First, the news:

• At first today, it really annoyed me that the entire media-swilling world spent the day rending its garments and pulling out its hair over Michael Jackson. (It’s 10 p.m. here, and the funeral is still the top story on CNN.com.) But then I thought, “Parts of the U.S. have been doing this for more than 30 years for Elvis, so this is really nothing new,” and I felt better about our modern era — or worse about past eras, I can’t decide.

• I’ve been asking people for a percentage: how many people watching Michael Jackson’s funeral know who Robert McNamara is, and they have to understand that he was far more historically important than MJ. The common response is less than 1 percent, but I would think it’s actually up around 4 percent. Call me an optimist.

In fairness to that other 96 percent, I did call him “George McNamara” at lunch today. But to burnish my own history-nerd credentials with an even bigger bit of nerdness, I was also thinking of McGeorge Bundy at the time.

• Key line from this good budget deficit rundown:

If policy now tilts too far toward deficit cutting, some argue, that would treat job creation as an option the nation somehow cannot afford, in contrast to “must haves” like tax cuts for wealthy Americans and unpopular foreign military entanglements.

True, but you also can’t ignore the fact that those tax cuts and unpopular entanglements were put in place, and now they are indeed making the job creation that much more financially difficult. I fall reluctantly in line with the spending advocates — I don’t think now is the time to pay down the deficit, because government spending at the moment really is a big portion of the money flowing into the economy. But if things do turn around, raise my taxes. It sucks, but it’s better than betting our economic livelihood on the whim of the Chinese government.

And on to frivolous stuff:

• I’m sorry to see the Penguins lose Rob Scuderi to the L.A. Kings, but they were right not to pay what the Kings paid. The dude is good, but not $13.6 million good.

• I got a Lollapalooza ticket for Sunday, August 9, hombres. Jane’s Addiction original lineup? I am hella there.

Count_4074023_Max• This past Friday I went to see The Hangover. Verdict: four phats. Definitely some gross humor; definitely a weird Zach Galifinakis; and most likely worth seeing. (Though don’t take your parents.)

Even stranger, the movie featured both Heather Graham and Mike Tyson in prominent roles. Why is this strange? Those two were both guests at a 2004 arts-benefit party at the Guggenheim in NYC attended by yours truly, who by all rights should not have been there in the first place. (I’m pretty sure this Heather Graham photo is from that very night.) Mike Tyson is somehow even scarier when he wears fur, and I even made eye contact with Ms. Graham — or as I have no right to call her, Heather — for a full second.

The moral here? I really should have been offered at least a cameo appearance as the third part of that party trifecta, Hollywood.

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