Executive Decision: Shuteye Nation

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear...

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear…

Before there was Deerhound Diary, before there was Instapunk.com, before there was Glovesoff.blogspot.com, there was Shuteye Nation. And before that was BoomerBible.com, which is still in the reclamation phase, and before all of it Writing America Down, just half a dozen years after The Boomer Bible. Various fates await all those works, But today, I’m giving up a free key to Shuteye Nation, which was the follow-on to my biggest work, Shuteye Town 1999, which hopefully will be available again one day soon.

Yes, I’ve been playing with hyperlinked and multimedia writing longer than anyone else I know of. Whatever blogger you think was the first, I was here before him. Before there was a thing called blogs. Before there was really an Internet. For a long time I didn’t know what to do with Shuteye Nation because so much of it was writing. Print? Paper? Tempting. I like seeing books on my nightstand. That’s the plan for much of Instapunk. But Shuteye Nation has to be online, with all its flaws and holes and other foibles. It’s a slice of time many of us have already forgotten.

So welcome to Shuteye Nation. It’s not just a handful of text files. It’s an interconnected universe of misinformation, silly opinion, fake history and geography, and extremely precise definitions of the language of our age. Well, you’ll see. Don’t hesitate to take links — and look for links everywhere. That’s a process that approximates thinking. If you’ve never tried it, do so now.

With any luck, the guardian angels of this site will put a permanent link to Shuteye Nation in the main header, right next to the one for XOFF News, which will be there shortly.


My elephant is healed. Except for the ears I chewed off. All is well.

My elephant is healed. Except for the ears I chewed off. All is well.

Vitamins for the Brain

I referenced some remarks by Evan Sayet at the old Instapunk site. (Probably not the tour de force he’s taking bows for here. Which is likely this.) Second time in a couple of days that the Baby Boomers have come up on the media horizon. First was P.J. O’Rourke, who has a new book out about them. Second was the speech above.

Sayet actually recapitulated the philosophy of Harry from The Boomer Bible of the lib necessity of not thinking about anything at all. Since I identified this phenomenon more than 15 years before he did, I’m feeling vindicated. If you want proof, go to the book of Willie. And maybe the latter part of the book of Swarthmorons. Sayet has it right. But I got there first.

Why the new emphasis on Boomers? This year, the youngest of them turn 50. And as O’Rourke pointed out, they’re the last generation that still reads books. If this gives anybody any ideas, I’d be pleased to hear them.

A Mystery Solved

Sure we're charmed. But writers and directors? Shakespeare had his own problems, but resenting the award academies wasn't one of them.

Sure we’re charmed. But writers and directors? Shakespeare had his own problems, but resenting the award academies wasn’t one of them.

Everyone’s abuzz with how few female Oscar nominations there will be. Somehow, there are supposed to be more women writers, directors, and producers who are really really good. Sorry.

It’s not sexism. It’s not a mystery. As all smart women will tell you, women are mostly not as interesting as men. The only interesting women are the women who understand how interesting men are. These are women who wouldn’t try to make a movie starring Meryl Streep. But that’s what Hollywood women are compelled to do. Even though Meryl Streep is the crashing bore to end all crashing bores, she’s the feminist unicorn. A golden icon that doesn’t actually exist. In talent terms, I mean. Ask any women you actually talk to. All men would pick Helen Mirren, who just couldn’t wait to be naked in front of a camera. Besides being such a great actress and a Dame and all. Absolutely nobody wants to see Meryl Streep naked. The same way nobody wants to see Lena Dunham naked. I rest my case.

Oh forget it. I never said anything. Noth-Thing. I know Noth-Thing.

Thanks to Commenters

I DO pay attention.

I DO pay attention. I do SEE you.

Can’t always respond to individual comments. Too busy being distracted by my own attempts to distract myself from everything current. So consider this a catchup.

Thanks to Lake. His “randomized” Youtube of my night of searching for love songs makes it look more complete and planned than it was. There’s a rhythm to his playlist I can’t explain even to myself. There are true loves and happy loves and tragic loves and unrequited loves and operatic loves and romantic loves and amazingly lyrical loves and raw, aching loves that break every piece of your heart. Nothing I planned. I combined songs I knew that mean something to me personally with songs culled from a generic search to represent, I hoped, the commonality of romantic love around the globe. One thing that might unite us all even in the worst of times. Lake made it seem like a whole with groupings and transitions and breaks that work. I urge everyone to take a look.

Lake’s Playlist.

[Link not functional. Working on it. Go to post called Couldn’t Sleep. See Lake’s comment.]

Thanks to Ron. He’s not the only one who peeled off from the preferred pathway to law school back in the day. He got closer than I did to signing up, but then I set a record for weakest application essays to the three law schools I applied to. I’d been aimed at that hell from earliest childhood and I complied in name only. Can’t even remember the three, except that Georgetown was politely uninterested. What I do remember is that when I was a business consultant, I frequently sat with lawyers on planes. I always asked how happy they were with their careers. To a man, they were miserable. Since I’m not miserable, I count that a win.

Thanks to Tim. The only one who had the balls to respond to my politically incorrect post about new gay rules. I suspect a lot of other people are quivering in their foxholes on this subject. Congratulations.

Thanks to Suds46. Highlighting individual songs makes people more likely to listen. You are a key part of the provenance of my list. I am grateful.

And, regrettably…

Thanks to No One. No one can suck it up enough to root for Mylie Cyrus, who has a talent that has been used against her, to ensnare her in bad behaviors and situations her own parents should have protected her from. I stand by what I said.

P.S. Somebody could have liked the Stones concert I posted. It only takes one of you to make me feel a wink has been returned. I always have an ulterior motive. It isn’t interesting that Lady Gaga wanted to be on stage with a bunch of seventy year old rockers who can still outdraw every Top 40 star on the map? No?

Then the hellwitcha. Probably doesn’t matter, either, that this is the only concert where you’ll ever see Jagger and Springsteen together. Not worthy of remark by ANYBODY. Not even my wife. Gift blown off. Incidentally, Jagger’s better. Nothing I can do about the fact you don’t follow links. Why TBB isn’t the best selling book in history. (Also some Stones history on display. Jagger introduced Mick Taylor and the other Stones embraced him. Jagger bumped past him as if he wasn’t there.) Why Jagger is the one star who hasn’t been to rehab. CEO of the greatest rock franchise ever. Ruthless and miraculously energetic. Maybe he knows something all the ones who have died imitating him don’t. It is better to lead than to follow.

Just kidding. The lack of cultural context and sense of humor is something I’m long used to. Already dialed in. I know you’re a very very serious lot. And I work every day at becoming more solemn, as befits my great age.

Chris Christie and the Meaning of Life

We're all eggshells, all the time.

We’re all eggshells, all the time.

Something you should read all of. Jonah Goldberg ostensibly reacting to NJ gov Chris Christie’s bridgegate scandal. But he was on an airplane with a dying laptop battery (I’ve been there), and he wound up talking about so much more (I’ve been there too; it makes you smarter):

People who choose not to dedicate their lives to getting rich aren’t making a mistake, they’re doing what they think and hope will make them happy. I almost went to law school. All things being equal, I think I’d make a pretty good lawyer. Except for one thing: I don’t think I’d like being a lawyer. I like being a writer — most days, at least. Is it unfair or wrong that I don’t make as much money as some lawyer who spends his days reading through stacks of low-flow toilet patents? No, because (a) I don’t care enough about money to spend my life doing that kind of work and (b) fairness has nothing to do with it. The market sets the price for such things.

My boss at the American Enterprise Institute, Arthur Brooks, is the foremost champion of the idea of “earned success.” It turns out what makes people happy isn’t money, it’s the feeling that you made a meaningful contribution to life. Absolutely: You can get that from building a business and getting rich. But you can also get that from raising a family, starting a charity, being a winning coach or an exceptional teacher, from writing a novel, or, in my case, from your record for fitting 37 Cheetos in your mouth at one time. (“They’ll never take that away from you.” — The Couch)

What can’t give you a feeling of earned success is getting stuff you didn’t earn. It can make you temporarily excited. But meaningful happiness comes from finding meaning. And what counts as meaningful for you might count as a huge waste of time to me. That’s why the inalienable right to pursue happiness has to be an individual right.

Rang a bell with me. Well. Read it all and then get back to me. I have a cold and I’m stoned to the gills on Mucinex. Lloyd Pye died without telling me first. And Raebert’s being a nuisance. I could use some witty repartee.

NJ Gift to U

You knew I couldn’t let the last post go with no Stones reference. Not going to disappoint you. Newark concert 12/12. The whole thing. Old things with young things applauding. Gaga too. Just the way we like it.

Couldn’t sleep last night…

Disgusted with the accelerating rot of my country, I just couldn’t find the arms of Morpheus. So what did I do? I travelled the world looking for love songs.

Found them. Here are the links.










England 2 (because they earned it and it’s also French)









North Carolina



South Africa





World (aka Hoboken, New Jersey)

PLAYOFF. Yeah Adele is unbelievably great. But put this classic against, well, a long dead American. Who seems more alive?

P.S. And then there’s love beyond sex. Something about life itself. No comment. Just this and never mind the German…

Even grizzled Scots lie down to sleep. Eventually. You’ll see.

Doubling Down on Mylie

I’m sure nobody will remember that I wasn’t as scandalized by Mylie Cyrus’s twerking as some others. But I tended to see her as a victim nonetheless. She still may be. But I finally moved my stuffy ass to watch her Wrecking Ball video — because Fox News was using excerpts as a lead-in for a story about how Obama is doing in the younger generation.

Not talking about the news piece. Except it caused me to watch the video, which is underdressed to be sure, but not enough to obscure the fact that — unlike Madonna and Lady Gaga — Mylie Cyrus can actually sing.

Maybe that will be enough to save her career and her life. Maybe not too. So easy to say she’s no Judy Garland, but there are similarities. No beauty but an earthy connection. Volume, tonality, and a precocious sense of piercing (country) phrasing. When she’s soft, you’re drawn in. When she’s soaring, she’s in command of what she’s doing. It’s a strong voice, however frail she seems to be otherwise.

I’m not predicting. Just hoping. She has more talent than her role models and predecessors. God help her. Please.

P.S. No. I’m not lusting for her. She’s a stick. I like breasts and hips. I just think she’s getting a raw deal from the people who are trying to steer her career. I believe that if she settled down she could be another Lorrie Morgan, which isn’t such a bad thing to be. And Mylie has the bigger voice.


Standing tall isn't easy for everybody.

Standing tall isn’t easy for everybody.

Conservatives seem buoyed by the new Gates tell-all book. I’m not.

I’m astounded by various claims that it’s unusual for a former administration official to publish such a book while his erstwhile boss is still in office. It happened multiple times in the Bush administration. But that doesn’t make it less scurrilous.

Personally, I think Gates has just proven himself a coward and a sneak. If he believed the president didn’t believe in his own war strategy and that his Afghanistan policies and public pronouncements were strictly designed to secure reelection, he should have resigned on principle, with specification, when it could have made a difference in said reelection campaign.

What is it now? A stab in the back and a further undermining of the confidence any president can have in the people who serve at the pleasure of the president. All public officials are now just best selling writers in waiting, storing up shocking anecdotes when they should be serving the people of the United States.

Nothing his book says is any secret to people who were observing the administration’s behavior. It was obvious to many way outside the beltway that Obama’s only incentive was ending America’s military engagements, regardless of the cost to national security and our troops. But never mind what Obama didn’t believe in. The time to have made an issue of it was when Gates was following orders he didn’t believe in.

The moment is forever lost. Now he’s just a small man, literally and figuratively, who thinks his personal resentments are a ticket to the redemption of his lost integrity and, oh yes, a big payday.

Color me unimpressed. The title says it all. Duty. Really? I no longer think he knows the meaning of the word.