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The Smoking Cupcake responds to Andrew Wells (see “Comments” section from “The Case for Bad Lieutenant”):

This notion of conventionality that Mr. Wells rehashes (I use the word rehash since, from his argument, it's clear that he didn’t read the Cupcake’s original post closely enough) is an oft heard complaint with all things New Order, no more so than in the reviews of Never Cry Another Tear – which, coincidentally, was one of his original points. It’s also a complete crock of shit, for conventionality is a simple, subjective term elitist-types like to throw around when evaluating works of art. Debating a work’s conventionality is a lot like debating something’s “quality” – what’s quality to one person isn’t necessarily for another (for more on that, see: Pirsig, Robert M. and his many discussions of the concept) (It also brings to mind Jules Winnfield’s take on sewer rat during the final scene of Pulp Fiction: “Hey, sewer rat might taste like Pumpkin Pie but I’d never know ‘cause I’d never eat the filthy mutherfucker.”).


The Cupcake thought it was evident that he wasn’t defending Never Cry Another Tear as a masterwork. Nor was The Cupcake vague by any stretch of the imagination that Sumner et al. have indeed become, to use Wells’ term, conventional over the years – that is if you want to use that term the way he apparently defines it. The Cupcake prefers to think of this as, say: maturing, experimenting with other directions, or, heaven forbid, getting older and simply not giving a fuck about changing the shape of modern music and settling comfortably into elderstatesmenship status. People like Mr. Wells that constantly complain about stuff like conventionality with New Order are missing the boat, especially when they make ridiculously egotistical statements like: conventional listeners “cannot (or prefer not to) identify the lack of substance in the work as many of the surface elements remain in place.” If I wanted to dumb the discussion down in this manner, I could just as easily say that elitist snobs aren’t listening hard enough (which, evidently, they aren’t) and would do well to invest in a good set of headphones, crack open a beer and spend the next 45 minutes in an uninterrupted Bad Lieutenant-induced listening session but that’s too easy.

The evidence…

I can only surmise that by the term conventional, Wells means that latter day New Order et al. have consistently mined the same song structures, pitch points and chords over and over, with repeated effect and success but, through a photocopy-like process, a noticeable disintegration of brilliance and luster has slowly emerged with each repeat of the process. I’m not really sure what to say to that. Am I supposed to, for example, hold it against the band that they’ve knocked out more tracks like “Jetstream” in the last 20 years instead of “Ultraviolence?” If Wells wants to take the time to explain why one track is more conventional than the other, I’m all ears. The Cupcake prefers to hear in a track like “Jetstream” the fundamental building blocks that “Ultraviolence” laid down, not hassle them for sounding conventional. It’s all still there, some people just choose to ignore it and bitch about things like conventionality like a little pig-tailed girl named Sally.

In case Wells hasn’t noticed, New Order have, since around the Brotherhood era, sounded, at least by his rather thin definition of the term, “conventional.” Logically, after three records on which they were trying to pin down their direction and the contain the various mutuations of the sound their Joy Division beginnings produced, by album #4 a repeatable yet unique sound had emerged. From that point forward, everything they’ve done has pretty much followed that blueprint with tweaks here and there. And, most importantly, every time any of them individually, or the band collectively, deviates from this blueprint, they’re accused of being things like conventional or boring or trying too hard to milk past success with limited results. I don’t get it. Take a track like “Crystal” for example. Not only didn’t it sound like anything any other band was doing at the time (or now for that matter), it sounded perfectly unconventionally conventional enough to have been found on any record New Order ever recorded, save for Movement. You can’t have your cake and eat it too – something the reviewers and detractors keep trying to do over and over every time some new red meat comes out to review. Never Cry Another Tear has tons of unconventionally conventional New Order moments, but that’s not the point, because Bad Lieutenant have also clearly charted their own direction and sound conventionally unconventional in their own right. If anyone knows of any other bands that are putting out tracks like “This Is Home” other than Bad Lieutenant, drop that knowledge on The Cupcake pronto.

Moving on (no pun intended)…

I’m not really sure what Wells' point is in saying “there’s nothing wrong with being a conventional pop listener.” It certainly sounds like he thinks there is. If he truly doesn’t look down his nose at conventional pop listeners, he likely wouldn’t have taken the time to introduce the conventionality angle, nor would he have taken the opportunity to make the veiled dig that The Cupcake’s original piece was produced because he felt “personally attacked” that discerning listeners (like, presumably, Mr. Wells) and reviewers pointed a bunch of shit out that The Cupcake didn’t agree with. As I flatly stated several times in “The Case for Bad Lieutenant,” my original gripes were about how, technically, the album was reviewed, not that the reviews were only saying the album was merely okay. If someone, anyone, had written a review that avoided each and every pitfall The Cupcake made note of in Part I (e.g., Barney’s less than stellar lyrical prowess, etc.), he would have been perfectly content to accept it from the “everyone’s entitled to their own opinion” school of reasoning. But they didn’t do that. They chose instead to write a series of trite, shallow and ill-formulated reviews, largely ignoring the actual record.

Never Cry Another Tear
has not been given a fair shake in the music press. Its been on the receiving end of drive-by journalism from the beginning. The only personal attack The Cupcake suffered was one of multiple counts of exposure-to-shitty-journalism.


OK. I won’t hide it. I’ll just come right out and say it. I love Joy Division. I love New Order. I think Electronic’s first record is one of the best records of the 1990’s. “State Of Shock” and “What Do You Want from Me” repeatedly cattle-brand my psyche. Even “Superhighways” competes hard with New Order’s better singles. So, while the pure cane sugar of Joy Division’s original blueprint has certainly been watered-down with artificial sweetener over the years, there has never been any justifiable reason to question the collective concept of New Order. This was no truer back in 1983 when Power, Corruption and Lies came out than it is now with the debut release of Barney’s new project, Bad Lieutenant. Unfortunately, music critics, being the fickle, contradictory (more on that later) and generally unhappy lot they are, have been whittling away at the New Order legacy for a while now. It started with Republic, extended through all the various side endeavors and the New Order Version 2.0 years and, not surprisingly, continues with the ridiculously trite reviews of Never Cry Another Tear.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and waste anyone’s time purporting that Never Cry Another Tear is a 5-star affair worthy of Technique-like adoration, but I am going to use all my Vincent Bugliosian powers to set some shit straight because nothing annoys me more than flimsy, clichéd arguments that are outright unjustified. Don't worry, I’m not going to “review” Never Cry Another Tear. Reviews are inherently subjective (even though they should be objective), so any critique I could offer has already been contaminated by the beginning of this article, thus providing the likes of Petridis (which sounds suspiciously like detritus...), Roffman, Ashman and Ewing a Nagasaki-like yield of explosive retort.

My aim here is purely prosecutorial against crimes of the ivory tower variety. No more, no less.

There is one assumption in what follows: If you’re reading this, I'm assuming you’re already familiar with the story. This is no Joy Division 101, etc.

Barney writes shit lyrics.

This complaint mystifies me, and if I have to see it one more time, I’m taking hostages. How many times do we have to be reminded that Bernard Sumner isn’t William Shakespeare? Is it really necessary to kick the poor guy in the nuts every time you review one of his records by repeatedly using terms like “cringe-worthy” and “riot inducing?” We’ve known this for the 30 odd years he’s been the one penning the lyrics, and it hasn’t bothered us in the least. I still don’t know what the fuck “Blue Monday” is supposed to be about, but the lyrics sound cold, foreboding and mysterious, which is, I assume, the exact feeling Barney was going for. Moreover, until recently, I don’t recall his peculiar talent with the pen bothering most in the critical world. It was almost like, all of sudden, some asshole critic zeroed in on “Slow Jam” and the microscope of redundant criticism started flowing like that spooky and unstoppable acidic blood in Alien.

Generally, we laugh the same way Barney laughs in “Every Little Counts” at his frequent, yet endearing, simplistic lyrical structures. And you know why, cuz no one really gives a shit about its simplicity because Sumner’s work has always been about the sum of its parts, not one great talent making up for a multitude of other deficiencies. Not only is pointing this shortcoming out a completely unnecessary dig at Sumner (and, in Bad Lieutenant’s case, Jake Evans as well), it tells all of us that have appreciated everything Sumner’s been involved with that the reviewer has completely missed the whole “arrangement + execution axis” of New Order’s brilliance.

Anyone who’s listened to New Order knows the lyrics are mostly a peripheral to the overall experience. In fact, Sumner’s unorthodox voice/delivery often creates an additional dimension to the music that enhances the meticulous arrangements and execution. I’ve often said – and my guess is almost everyone reading this article would agree – New Order are a feeling. Their music is existential. So what if Barney gets things jumbled and resorts to grade school rhymes on occasion? I can still tell what he’s trying to say regardless because the arrangements and execution of the actual music tell me exactly what I should be hearing.

With all apologies to Barney, who I’m sure puts genuine effort into writing lyrics (at least it looked that way in that Prozac documentary), lyrics to a New Order song are what dialogue is to a Stanley Kubrick film - most of the time merely complimentary and 90% of the time purely a function of the music. Kubrick, like any great visual artist, was a master at communicating feeling via image. Sumner and New Order at large are masters at communicating feeling via their command of the aural; an achievement that is much more abstract, and surely 10 times more impressive, than using rhythm as a backdrop to storytelling (one of the many reasons I avoid rap, spoken word, REM, etc with pandemic-like apprehension).

What’s funny is I thought this was common knowledge to anyone that knew fuck all about the band (e.g., critics) and their many incarnations. Yet rarely, if ever, does one see the critical mass acknowledge this fact. Apparently, if you believe what the critics say, Never Cry Another Tear suffers mightily from lyrical shortcomings.

Utter bullshit. The day Barney starts making anything other than opaque sense or writing like Morrissey is the day I set my record collection on fire.

Never Cry Another Tear sounds too much like, but only “sort of” like, New Order, but not enough like New Order given their preternatural gift of artistic advancement.

Confused? I am too.

I suppose you can have your cake and eat it too when you critique music for a living. See, on one hand, its perfectly acceptable to trash a band like U2 for deviating from their original recipe by recording Zooropa or taking that road to its logical conclusion by recording an album like Pop, thereby forcing them to abandon all creative experimentation and, as a result, back to recording stone-aged U2-by-numbers records like All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Yeah, U2 move a lot of product, sell a shitload of concert tickets and have legitimately established themselves as the elder statesmen, but for a band I don’t care for all that much, I was crushed when Bono and crew deep-sixed the experimentation of the 90’s in favor of safer waters. I was actually beginning to like them.

With New Order, and by extension here, Bad Lieutenant, it seems the opposite is true…but only at times. Since Technique, the critical word has revolved around New Order failing to maintain their "edge" and producing predictable album after predicatable album. During the Get Ready era, they were even accused of, ahem, poaching off of their past to fill in gaps that existed from a lack of ideas. This latter accusation (there’s no other word for it) has been routinely used when looking at Bad Lieutenant’s effort. In fact, Neil Ashman of Drowned In Sound actually writes a disclaimer at the beginning of his review telling us he’s not clever enough to objectively review Never Cry Another Tear, opting instead to measure it against New Order’s back catalogue . Five words came to my mind after reading said disclaimer: what a load of shit.

Most of the reviews (even the ones without disclaimers) predictably follow the same structure, basically: Never Cry Another Tear isn’t a bad record because it sounds like New Order, but it only sounds like New Order-without-the-bass and we really wish Barney would just “invent” another “sound” because he’s been part of a band that dependably did that a whopping two times in 30+ years of making music. And these are the same people that say Sumner’s lyrics are simple.

This is the deal – and, again, you already know this. New Order have always sounded like New Order because no other band in the history of recorded music has ever sounded like New Order. Yes, they evolved, and, yes, there are clear nuances between, say, Power, Corruption and Lies and Republic. That doesn’t change the fact that every New Order record still has the New Order “sound.” It doesn’t change the fact that every New Order record has an electronic component and an acoustic component and when the band is firing on all cylinders, they manage the unique feat of combining those two halves seamlessly and creating, undeniably, a sound all their own. Even in advanced age, that sound is still unique and driving. And feeling. And, yes, when you take one or two elements away, there is a certain hollowness, but that shouldn’t, and doesn’t, torpedo the rest of the effort.

The critics here are convinced that Never Cry Another Tear is, simultaneously, sort of okay because it sort of sounds like New Order but claim it would have sounded better if Hooky actually played bass but would have been even better, without Hooky, had Bad Lieutenant pulled an acid-house-style revolutionary rabbit out of their hat. And contradiction abounds.

As a great admirer of their unique art, whether it be as a collective or separate, I can still be objective and say some of this record does sound like a 10th generation New Order photocopy. But, it’s also been 26 years since Power, Corruption and Lies (the first New Order album where an identifiable course was charted...) and, by my count, Never Cry Another Tear is in actuality a 16th generation photocopy . So, should it surprise anyone that, absent Peter Hook, portions of this album sound vaguely (but not too vaguely!) like New Order? No. After 26 years, is anyone surprised that there’s a vaguely watered-down quality to the New Order-like elements? No. Does it surprise anyone that now, having cruised to the latter side of 50, Barney might actually prefer to merely refine the sound he helped propagate along with just a handful of other people? No. Is there a reason why no one is pointing any of this shit out? Yes. To put it simply, it's way to easier to peg something you can’t quite comprehend or accept on a band being lazy or boring or both – which is pretty much what every reviewer has done in Bad Lieutenant's case.

It should surprise no one that the reviews make little reference to the fact that Bad Lieutenant isn’t New Order. If more was made of this relatively simple (there’s that word again) concept, perhaps the album would have been evaluated objectively. Speaking of comparisons, non-comparisons and general vibes that would have been warranted

This is home.

In all those aforementioned references to New Order, Mr. Detritus et al somehow forget to mention the most New Order-influenced track on the entire record, “This Is Home.” More than any other track, the song structure here is classic New Order. From the opening bass chords that should instantly remind you of 1978 to the near-perfect confluence of the electronic-acoustic mix New Order own the patent on, “This Is Home” is no fuzzy photocopy. It’s a pure original, Hook or no Hook. Add in the sweeping, building final third that includes a mandatory bass solo, combined with the abrupt, hollow ending, and you’ve got what I wouldn’t be surprised to learn is one of those mysterious leftovers from the Waiting for the Sirens’ Call sessions we keep hearing about.

So why the fuck is this song not mentioned in all those ill-founded comparison arguments? I can’t be completely sure, but my guess is it has something to do with Jake Evans’ vocals…


If there’s one thing I hate more than unjustified arguments and critiques, it’s the lazy-reviewer tactic of simple (again!) comparisons. I’m not talking about saying things like “Bad Lieutenant sound like New Order” – as I’ve already said, in a roundabout way, that’s an understandable and rather complex comparison. I’m talking more about saying things like “Jake Evans sounds like INSERT NAME OF DEEP/DRONING/HE OF THE HEART-FELT DELIVERY BRITISH CROONER OF CHOICE.” This has been a most popular way of avoiding any actual substantive evaluation of Jake Evans and his contribution to the record.

Jake does sound like Jimi Goodwin. He also sounds like Noel Gallagher. So the fuck what? It’s not his fault God blessed him with a voice whose frequency is in approximate range to another British singer that, unfortunately for Jake, has sold over 100 million records in the last 15 years. Of course, the one thing that’s lost is Jake sounds more like Jake than anyone else I could compare him to. In fact, if I was Jake I’d take those comparisons as compliments…until I realized that I sound better than either of them.

Holding these comparisons over Bad Lieutenant’s head like they’re a minus instead of a plus is ridiculous. This guy can belt. I can see why Barney referred to him as a “gifted” singer in the publicity leading up to the album’s release. Why his voice is being held against him is a mystery to me. And if you’re going to evaluate him, let’s hear why he’s allegedly not a good fit or voice instead of how singing an admittedly Gallagher-esque tune like “Head Into Tomorrow” disqualifies him from being a decent vocalist. His inclusion adds yet another dimension to the music that further separates Bad Lieutenant from New Order. It’s a shame the reviews resort to nickel and dime comparisons that tarnish his contribution.

Steve’s drumming is pedestrian.

This won’t take long because the same reviewer that made this assertion also made it a point, nay; a cornerstone of his review, to say that Bad Lieutenant is clearly a “guitar rock” band. If so, logic would dictate that on Never Cry Another Tear, the human drum-machine otherwise known as Stephen Morris would be relieved of his former duties that often required him to maintain 100 bpms over and over. In this new incarnation, of course the percussion is going to sound thin – if you drop the caveat that he used to be forced to keep up with, among other things, electronic sheep, the drumming sounds perfect. Sometimes, it’s that obvious people.

Absolutely ridiculous.


I hope Bad Lieutenant’s future output is reviewed with greater objectivity and, more importantly, originality. If Sumner and New Order are indeed as widely respected as described in every one of these reviews I’ve taken issue with, an unbiased ear is what they deserve the most.

Maybe Hooky will fare better upon the release of his Freebass material. If it ever comes out.

Dear Mr. President,

With all the hoopla of your successor’s inauguration festivities, I thought it would be a great opportunity to write you and let you know about the many ways your exodus to Texas will affect me. See, I figure since we’ve shared the last 8 years together, largely on your terms, you might like to hear what an average American like me will ultimately think of as Marine 1 sails you away:

I will miss your giant Presidential-seal belt buckle.

I will miss your skills as an “opening day” pitcher. If Presidential success was based on skills such as these, you would be President for life.

I will miss your sneak-attack, impromptu back-rubs of female foreign heads-of-state.

I will miss Bob Woodward books about how totally ass-f***ing-backwards your administration ran the war.

I will miss your affinity for bold, yet sometimes misguided declarations. For example you knocked my socks off when you told Saddam that he had “until sundown” to leave Iraq before our invasion. Very, very Dallas of you, sir!

I will miss your eloquence when reading children’s books.

I will miss your stiff arms.

I will miss your command of folksy sayings such as the “fool me once” adage that you were able to use to such great effect.

I will miss your boss door-opening skills, especially the time when you displayed them in front of the entire Chinese press corps.

I will miss your deft piloting and landing skills (on an aircraft carrier at that!).

I will miss your physical fitness, which was no doubt responsible for your cat-like reflexes during that whole shoe-attack thing.

I will miss having you show our Olympic athletes encouragement.

I will miss your ability (or lack thereof) to enunciate.

I will miss knowing my President, the keeper of the secret codes, can use a chainsaw.

I will miss your extreme pretzel-eating.

I will miss the look on Vladimir Putin’s face that says, “What the hell is this guy talking about?!” so frequently seen whenever the two of you got together.

I will miss those killer orange-jump suits you’ve helped make so fashionable down in Guantánamo.

I will miss your truly unique vocabulary including words like evildoers, strategery and unificator.

I will miss that deer-in-the-headlights look you got every time you had to remember a foreign leader’s name.

I will miss seeing you have to endure hanging with Nancy Pelosi (I’m not singling you out here, I feel bad for President Obama on this issue as well…)

I will miss your insufficient troop-deployments to Afghanistan.

I will miss your relentless quest to reduce American’s civil liberties to that of a banana republic.

I will miss your effort to privatize the military courtesy of “respectable” American “security and logistics” companies like Blackwater and Halliburton.

I will miss starting wars with sovereign nations under suspiciously flimsy circumstances.

I will miss your undeniable ability to prepare the country’s emergency-response infrastructure for catastrophic natural and man-made disasters.

I will miss New Orleans.

I will miss your inability to explain, let alone understand, complex issues of geo-politics, economics and military strategy.

I will miss being reminded on an almost daily basis that 9/11 occurred on your watch. Thanks for making sure we all remember you were the asleep-at-the-wheel Commander-In-Chief leading up to that crisis – its taking responsibility that counts!

I will miss your VP, Darth Cheney, and his hypocritical, foul-mouthed, perverted slant on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I will miss massive abuses of power such as the U.S. Attorney firings that resulted from ideological differences and, more importantly, spite.

I will miss the systematic dismantling of our economy and the Capitalism it once represented.

I will miss Barney.

And most of all, I will miss how you located Osama bin Laden and brought him to justice just like you said you would when you were standing on that pile of 2,800+ smoldering dead Americans low those many years ago. You've outdone yourself in honoring those patriots as well as the 4,000+ American soldiers killed since we invaded Afghanistan : )

You, sir, changed our country and the world. I don’t think anyone will ever be the same again. Many, many thanks!

The Smoking Cupcake

Right out of the oven:

Broke cat owner (a relative term in this economy, I suppose) extracts Mr. Gray from local shelter with baseball bat, bad attitude…FOX News’ Chris Wallace causes ruckus at Nixon/Frost screening…Local teen helps protect family jewels with appropriately timed trip to bowling alley…Judge previously convicted of giving inappropriate attention to Mr. Johnson during proceedings still can’t get shit together…Exuberant karaoke singer learns how not to hot-dog the hard way…Christmas tree condom-giveaway leads to usual holiday conflict between Jesus and reality – in one witness’ words, “They had been placed on the floor with a sign inviting people to ‘help yourself’. A similar message was placed elsewhere in the church by other exhibitors offering sweets.”…And finally, in case you’re at a loss for the perfect Christmas tree ornament, why not try reindeer pooh?

The unintentionally funny Wikipedia entry of the week:

Andre “Bad Moon” Rison: This is pretty standard stuff until about the 2nd paragraph of the “Early Career” section…then it’s as if Larry David takes over.

Pirates! (and the obvious consequences…)

I keep reading these reports of heightened pirate activity off the east coast of Africa. While The Cupcake would never make light of terrorist activity, I have to say…with everything else going on, we’re now on the defensive with, ahem, pirates?! From what I understand, the pirates we’re talking about are just a bit more advanced than, say, Johnny Depp. And they’re much more cunning – just the other day one band successfully seized an entire oil tanker.

Now, forgive me, perhaps I’m not completely up on East African maritime protocol, but my gut reaction to pirate activity to the tune of $110 million in one haul is, well, confused. For example, where are you going to take a super tanker to off-load her merchandise? What could you possibly gain by killing the crew (because, of course, you’d still be left with the same difficult-to-unload merchandise, not to mention the mammoth ship itself)? I always thought that pirates were in it for the quick score. You know, treasure in buried trunks and stuff like that – that they’re in it now for voluminous, hard to move commodities seems counter-productive to me from a business point-of -view. I mean, they tried to hijack an entire cruise ship…I guess, at the end of the day, the brazenness being displayed and the success with which the crimes are being committed speaks to the general insecurity of the world at large.

Mumbai. London. Madrid. 9/11. It would be too presumptuous to suggest that the United States served as a catalyst for all of this ill-will, however; insurgents’ ability to expose security gaps seems to be the biggest threat to both U.S. national security and world security in general. Its not about weapons of mass destruction. Its about being a big enough fly in the ointment to disrupt major military response and protocol. Achieving this (as they largely have) renders the notion of the U.S. as a “lone superpower” misguided and purely inward-looking nationalistic rhetoric. In our violent path to the ultimate end of being the last one standing via multiple tactical missteps such as Chile, El Salvador, Panama, Cambodia, Iran, Cuba et al., we have put into motion exactly the sort of resistance we sought to avoid: an impossible-to-define-or-detect world-wide insurgency. And a very concentrated, well-funded one at that.

Our focus on technology in the absence of any real investment in ground troops, combined with limitless debate on how to defensively spend a weakening dollar (owned largely by foreign interests at this point) has paved the way for only one thing; a long protracted fall. Without a clear target, the fall of our empire is a foregone conclusion. And, with the greed evident throughout the foundations of the American economy, and other American interests world-wide that continue to suffer, everyone would do well to start reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. If the pirates were ever lucky enough to get on Jeopardy, they’d kick a lot of ass.

You should check out:

Right out of the oven:

Teen prankster bumps into World’s Grumpiest Gun-owner during ill-timed toilet-papering...Rick Tenan goes from 60 to 0 in one second, illustrating Reason #785 to never go hang-gliding…Wallace the pit bull goes on injured reserve for the 11th Annual Purina Incredible Dog Challenge’s Frisbee event after, ahem, eating spatula…Rattlesnake takes up residence in mailbox, provides mailman with all-expenses paid trip to hospital…Police looking for piece-of-garbage thief instead find piece-of-garbage child-sex-predator in actual garbage…”Cheeta” the (illegal) monkey lands owner in jail after being discovered while riding bitch during routine traffic stop…And finally, Mr. Johnson makes unexpected appearance on Survivor, angering the 2 people who still watch Survivor.

Truly trivial observations of the week:

John McCain and Sarah Palin, as well as their more conservative supporters (otherwise known as lunatics), have been telling me recently that Barack Obama is a terrorist because his name sounds like “Osama.” (Cue audio track: crickets, crickets, and more crickets…)

The same people are telling me that, because he wants to raise taxes on 5% of Americans and cut taxes for the remaining 95% so there is some balance between who pays the collective bills around here, he is somehow a Socialist. While The Cupcake normally tries to avoid tactless statements like “I doubt Sarah Palin could clearly articulate what Socialism is even if she had a political science textbook in front of her”, I have to say, I doubt Sarah Palin could clearly articulate what Socialism is even if she had a political science textbook in front of her.

Let's get some things straight about Obama: He is not a terrorist. He is not a Muslim. He is not a Socialist. He is not a radical. He is not related to Saddam. If you make less than $250,000 a year, he is not going to raise your taxes. He is not part of the Rebel Alliance. He is not radioactive. He is not the 16th "Named" storm of the 2008 Hurricane Season. He is not a fugitive from the planet Krypton. He is not a Pod. He is not going to run America into the ground (unlike some people I can immediately think of).

Moving on...
The Cupcake is very bummed out about Paul Newman. There aren’t enough people like him in the world. Salad dressing. Race cars. Philanthropy. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Cool Hand Luke. The Hustler. The Color of Money. Vanity Fair published this brilliant article just before Newman passed.

Speaking of disappointment...
Whenever I visit downtown Decatur, GA, it boggles my mind that people go there to burn life’s most precious commodity; time. Other than the killer Nathalie’s Fish House and the truly remarkable Café Lily, Decatur is quite the void: lots of middle-aged yuppies that take themselves way too seriously (think “Stuff White People Like”), restaurants that take themselves way too seriously, shops that take themselves way too seriously – I swear, even the squirrels look like they take themselves way too seriously. It’s all very superficial and very perplexing.

By the way...

Ignoring the obvious election sketches, is it my imagination or is Saturday Night Live on the ascent recently? That Andy Samberg-Mark Wahlberg thing was ridiculous. And, I can’t even think about MacGruber without laughing my ass off…
You should check out:
The Cupcake just returned from a trip to San Francisco…the music haul was impressive: The Germans clocked in with Cape Fear; a visit to Rasputin’s yielded the used find of 2008 ($5!): The Orb Live ’93 double-disc set – headphones required; underrated Factory Records alums A Certain Ratio represented with double-disc retrospective Early; and the flavor of the month, The Lovetones, were the steal of the trip ($1!!!) with Meditations.

Right out of the oven:

Trouser snake meets real (and real venomous) brown snake during roadside stop for bladder relief...A fair assumption is that Gordon Russell Cromwell has seen Pulp Fiction a few too many times…Last week it was the child-molesting magician (surely you remember “Long Island’s Favorite Magician”), this week it’s “Trim-Trim the Clown” getting popped for, naturally, child molestation…Newly hired Principal teaches 4th and 5th graders “lesson” with bag of poop…Since we’re talking feces – memo to all petty parking lot thieves: if you’re being chased on foot by the two dudes whose truck you just broke into, avoid port-o-lets at all costs…An “unusually aggressive bear” boards Vancouver boat to eat salmon fisherman (great bear action-shot!)…And finally, in other bear news this week, drunk zoo employee in mood to hug enters panda enclosure and, to no one’s surprise, leaves with severe wounds to leg, arm (another great bear action-shot!).

The “now it’s all making sense” moment of the week:

Well, the smoke has cleared (depending on where you’re sitting) and it’s become quite evident why McCain selected Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin: if he had nominated anyone with any legitimate experience and a platform and/or resume worth talking about, this election would have stayed squarely focused on issues. Instead, we’re getting a lot of bobbing and weaving (almost 2 full weeks after her nomination, Mrs. Palin is finally giving a solo interview), absurd allegations (“lipstick on a pig”) and a complete smoke-screen of dirty politics that has all but relegated Obama-Biden to Ed “Second Banana” McMahon status. What’s more is that, in concert with the claims of gutless right-wing parrots like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity that she’s not getting a fair shake in the media despite wildly positive coverage thus far, only scant coverage has focused on how under-qualified and extreme Palin is. I’ve heard how great her speech at the convention was. I’ve heard how she appeals to undecided moderates (if this is the case, that voting-block needs to be renamed). I’ve even heard how she’s overshadowing McCain in popularity.
So, in what will surely be a vain effort to counteract the overwhelming impression that this “hockey mom” is something other than what we’ve been told, I’ve spent the last week collecting some facts about Sarah Palin that few want to acknowledge:

- While Barrack Obama was community organizing on the South Side of Chicago, Sarah Palin was a local television sports broadcaster, not the Mayor of Wasilla, AK. What was I thinking? Her belittling was spot on – why would anyone admire a kid just out of college that worked on behalf of people who had (and still have) very little hope in one of the most depressed areas of the country more than a sports broadcaster with a cool nickname?
- Her “important” stint as Mayor, once it finally arrived (Obama was already a State Senator at this juncture) – the cornerstone of her alleged qualifications as compared to Obama – came in a town of about 6,000 people. She won her second term by a margin of about 800 votes, though only about 1,200 people voted. By comparison, Barrack Obama won his second term in the Illinois State Senate by a margin of 45,000 votes.
- As Mayor, Palin apparently considered having certain books removed from the pubic library and then had the librarian fired when it was indicated that that move would be unwelcome.
- In an apparent grudge-reaction, Palin has been tied to the illegal firing of her former brother-in-law, a state-employee. As of today, her husband is now being investigated by the State of Alaska for his role in the scandal.
- For some reason, Palin thinks Iraq had something to do with the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001. Good thing the troops are on a mission from God.
- Palin is a strict Christian that has gone on record advocating the teaching of fiction (read: The Bible) alongside the teaching of strongly supported scientific theory (read: On the Origin of Species) in pubic schools – for however long she’d allow public schools to remain a staple of the American dream. Of course, if the Republicans keep running the economy, there won’t be an American dream left to take advantage of.
- And, while we’re on her religion, the right-wing media (a.k.a. the mainstream media) have repeatedly hassled anyone making even a remotely critical reference to Palin’s religious affiliation as “bashing” – I guess they would know all about that tactic given the bashing Kerry took in 2004 for having had the integrity to A) volunteer for Vietnam (Bush dodged the draft) and B) voicing his well-considered opinion about it after he served admirably.
- Palin is staunchly anti-choice when it comes to abortion, so much so she would be against it even in the case of her own daughter being raped.
- In addition to the numerous falsehoods made by her Republican colleagues at the convention, she herself blatantly lied on at least three occasions.
I let the facts speak for themselves. What little evidence The Cupcake has presented here should tell you the only fact that is of any importance: not only is Palin ill-prepared, but she poses a massive threat to the integrity of public servants, our civil liberties and the fine line between church and state. It’s a shame no one else is reporting her story in these terms. It looks like the media are fine with giving the “Straight Talk Express” a free ride right into the White House.

You should check out:
An EP Collection by Balun; obscure lo-fi, Aphex Twinish outfit that benefits from being less Aphex Twin and more lo-fi. Honorable mentions for the week include: the return of Oasis and the pre-Dig Out Your Soul-release track “Falling Down,” and both new Chemical Brothers tracks (“Keep My Composure” & “Midnight Madness”) featured on their unnecessary 2nd “best of” compilation Brotherhood (though the album does come with an allegedly badass bonus disc of “Electronic Battle Weapon” versions 1-9).