The insufficiency of irony.

March 10, 2009


“Look, man, we’d probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is?” -David Foster Wallace.


Consumme 3.10.09

March 10, 2009

newly-identified-portrait-001Not Bard-looking. According to Shakespeare scholars, this newly unveiled painting is the only likeness of the bard created during his lifetime. From NY Times: “[It] shows a head-turner of a man…this Shakespeare has a fresh-faced complexion, a closely trimmed auburn beard, a long straight nose and a full, almost bouffant hairstyle.” Many have their doubts about its authenticity.

Bayh the way… Indiana congressman Evan Bayh, who recently penned a WSJ editorial urging Obama to veto the spending bill, is the least liberal of all Democratic senators according to a new study by the National Journal.

Poor Pacers. Literally. As the Indianapolis CIB announcee a $400,000 cut in grants to arts and tourism yestersday, CIB board VP also announced that the Indiana Pacers are losing about $30 million this season, and have lost money every year except two that the Simons have owned the team (It begs the question: What’s the big deal, then?). Early went to say that the Pacers would probably leave or shut down if the CIB didn’t assume those costs.

Bad paintings of Barack Obama. It is what it is.

Consumme 3.9.09

March 9, 2009

builttospill-keepitlikeasecretPitchfork 2009 line-up. Just announced this morning: Yo La Tengo, Built To Spill, The Walkmen, The National and Grizzly Bear are among those who will play the Pitchfork Festival in Chicago this year. Also noteworthy: Friday night will no longer feature bands playing classic albums. Instead, those acts (Yo La Tengo, Built To Spill, Tortoise The Jesus Lizard) will play sets voted on by ticket-buyers.

Changing Facebook. New features are coming to the popular social media site this week, including a newsfeed that’s updated in real time (look out Twitter) and new company profiles that will let brands act more like individual people.

iPhone envy. This super-useful app that lets you track your mileage, speed, pace and elevation while you run — and uses GPS techonology to show you a map of the route you took — is enough to make Consumat just give in and get an iPhone already.

The Media Misery Index. These stats should convince even the most optimistic newsprint cheerleader to admit that a change is on the horizon, and that it’s coming soooner rather than later.

Consumme 3.6.09

March 6, 2009

will-oldham-guatemalan-handshakeI Am Goodbye. Drag City posts a video for a terrific new song from Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s soon-to-be-released album, Beware.

The Heidelberg Papers. I keep going back to this blog by an Indianapolis resident whose love affair with his hometown is captured in beautiful, poetic pictures, which he posts nearly every single day.

Twitter taken local. Pickylist is a beta version of a new site that, as far as I can tell, is trying to be a local Twitter for Indianapolis. Too early to tell if it’s going to catch on.

Meshugene Men. Fans of Mad Men will enjoy this Jewish spoof of the popular AMC show. Amy Sedaris makes an apperance.

Consumme 3.4.09

March 4, 2009

storyDeath prattle. Reporter Nancy Mitchell writes a poignant (and at times, trenchant) love letter to the Rocky Mountain News, where she worked until it ceased publication for good last Friday. Muncie, Ind. natives should read it carefully.

Magnificent bangs. Impeached former Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois has parlayed his humiliating ouster into a 6-figure book deal, according to his publicist.

Arthousetube. Consumat just discovered Youtube’s terrific Screening Room, which showcases new short films every two weeks. Check out the super-weird, weirdly compelling Chonto.

A font of wisdom. For $15.95, YOU can own the president’s handwriting!

Consumme 3.2.09

March 2, 2009

Barack-en promise. Reason’s Steve Chapman points out what has quietly gone unnoticed by many Obama supporters (but not this one): The prez is backing off his original promise to withdraw from Iraq by May 2010.

No news here. Also at Reason, Cathy Young asks herself the hot-button question of the year: Can newspapers survive? Her answer to herself: Yes — if journalists “work harder” to deserve and retain the respect of readers.

File under “Fresh Out of Shame.” A certain Indianapolis writer discusses Obama’s “preternatural” authenticity, and why the marketing and PR people who so admire it would be wise not to imitate it.

Boxed wine and Beyond Balderdash.

February 24, 2009

Last weekend, Amy and I joined a large group of friends for a trip to Spring Mill Inn at Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell, Indiana. The excursion has become a mid-winter tradition these past couple of years — after all, what better way to break up the dreary monotony of wintertime than by heading south (if only just a little) for a weekend of lounging on couches with magazines, eating artery-clogging, country-style food, drinking cheap wine and maybe — just maybe — heading outdoors for a traipse through the park as snow falls silently through the branches of tall, slender trees?

This year, my arrival to Spring Mill was postponed until Saturday morning (I hung around Indy to watch my little brother wrestle ((and, poor kid, lose)) in the high school state tournament on Friday night), but the late start was fine with me. I still managed to check everything off of my to-do list, which, as you might imagine, wasn’t exactly teeming with extra-curricular activities. On Saturday afternoon I finished off this month’s Atlantic (I recommend checking out Michael Hirschorn’s piece on the impending death of decent network TV dramas), took a nice walk through the snow with friends, ate no shortage of junk food (parmesan and garlic potato chips, Goldfish, cheese-flavored popcorn) and, in the evening, drank a Cabernet/Shiraz blend from a box over a game of Beyond Balderdash.


Now Beyond Balderdash has been out of vogue for awhile now (Parker Brothers doesn’t even make it anymore, which means if you want it, expect to pay way more than what’s reasonable), but it is — and has been for more than a decade — my favorite board game in the world. The premise is super-simple: One person chooses a card that has obscure names, dates, intials, movie titles and words on one side. He chooses one, and the rest of the players try to invent a believable one-sentence explanation of either who the person is, what happened on the date, what the initials stand for, what the movie was about or what the word means. Then, the person holding the card reads the faux definitions or explanations, along with the REAL one mixed in, and everyone guesses which one is authentic. You score when somebody chooses your fake definition as real, as well as when you choose the right one.

Easy enough, right? With us, everyone starts out playing it straight, but as the game continues and the wine box empties, things inevitably get  stupud, juvenile and hilarious. Here are some examples of what we wrote, by category:


Leopold Trouvelot: “A famous murder defendant, now presumed to have been wrongly-accused in the 1950s, who lost his life to the British death penalty but changed the future of the justice system throughout Europe.”

Mordecai Marducci: “Everyone called him a fit fellow, but when he died it was found he had been sucking in his belly all those years.”


Take Two: “A downhome comedy about an old Mormon couple who kidnap two kids from their neighbor’s yard.”

Big Deal On Madonna Street: “A-Rod eats his way down Madonna to a celebratory conclusion.”


Hodad: “The new Tyler Perry movie.”

Looking over these now, the words “you had to be there,” come to mind, and that’s probably true. Here’s what I recommend: if you can locate Beyond Balderdash for less than $50 bucks, snag it, get together with about five or six friends, invest in a box of wine, and let the night take you where it may. The whole state park hotel thing isn’t required for a good time, although it certainly wouldn’t hurt.