Monday, December 31, 2007
Will this work in Japan? Maybe. American guys are another matter, and to explain this, let me walk you through a scenario...like a lot of Internet comedy hacks, I'll start by asking you to picture Chuck Norris in his 1980s action hero prime. While stomping through some Eastern European wilderness, playing a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with some Soviet-looking soldiers who have a foul sense of humor, he violently relieves one of his fully-loaded machine gun. The problem: it's covered in glitter and puffy stickers with googly eyes.
Do you think Chuck wants to use this as his engine of destruction? Hell no, but he will because dammit, he's a pro. The thing is just before he decks the first guy with the butt of that gun in close quarters combat, the guy will catch a glimpse of the glitter and puffy stickers and he'll giggle. And that will ruin the moment for both of them...especially since Chuck'll hit the guy twice as hard for pissing him off.
The moral of this indecipherable story: there are certain things you don't want to think about while being a guy, and one of them is the implications of having a kawaii cartoon cat with a bow in her hair on your shirt.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Tell us, sir, what are your conclusions about this tragedy?
(And if you really need me to be on the nose about this: yes, this was a tragedy and my heart goes out the the Pakistani people, but I have grave issues about the "investigation"...)
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Since there's a good chance they'll delete the thread at any moment, here are a few conspiracy theories being bandied around by this particular group of Hucksters:
- The Paulites are running "spambots" to inflate the hit count. My corollary to this theory: These people don't really know what "spambots" are.
- The Paulites are using stolen credit cards, and once the fraud cases are shaken out, they'll be lucky if they cleared $6,000.
- These are just pledges, no real money has changed hands yet, and once the deadbeats are shaken out...well, see above. One guy said "they already took the money out, you jerks".
- The Paulites are preying on dumb college kids, and once their parents wake up on Sunday morning, the contributions will level off.
- Everybody knows Internet money isn't REAL money ("The exchange rate is $1,000 I-dollars to 1 real dollar, so you only raised $17,500 real dollars morons"). Damn shame it spends like real money, but try telling people that.
- ...and of course, the last resort: The Paul camp is making it up. Every last bit of it.
All of this fraud jibberjabber is based on the idea that if Paul was raising all this money for real, he'd be polling higher. Huckabee is #2 nationally, first in Iowa and SC, and tied for first in Florida, so naturally they're very edgy about things that challenges this.
I've been trying to dodge direct quotes (since you need to explore this discourse on your own), but this was too good to keep:
Putting aside for the moment this worthy individual basing the above belief on nothing (except the idea that Paul must be evil since, y'know, he puts the Constitution first), if we took all the "heathen money" out of politics, Congress would have to be run out of the backroom of a Beltway barber shop, and employ many less "vile men" of its own. Also, they'd have to cut hair between sessions, and who wouldn't want that?
I have been told Ron Paul is receiving large donations from Satan worshipers and racist organizations such as the KKK. Were one to remove the money sent in from vile men, Ron Paul would have only raised $467.32 today so far - and I doubt the people to send in that four hundred dollars would be nothing more than heathens, anyway.
I have to express my deepest regrets to the poster who claimed to make a $10,000 bet that Paul wouldn't make it above the $6 million mark "If and when my bet hits I will donate $2000 to the Mike Huckabee campaign. If he miraculously goes over, I lose my house. Let's just say I am not the least bit worried." I hope they have some decent apartments in your area.
(Disclaimer: Doom is this blog's resident Ron Paul backer, and therefore I'm trodding his ground with this post. I'm a left-leaning fence-sitter as far as '08 goes, but I am fascinated by Paul and his supporters.)
(Early December 20 edit: After reading more of this forum, it's occurred to me that, taken as a whole, the entire "Mike Huckabee Grassroots Central" forum is probably a hoax, or at least is overrun by hoax posters. So there's no telling what I was just looking at. If the whole thing's a fraud, I can feel the pain of the of the evangelicals who got snowed by The Onion. At least I would if they could just get the hang of this irony thing...)
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Part 2 (the musical part):
Saturday, November 24, 2007
The only positive thing I can think of about Hitler’s time on earth–I’m sure he would have eliminated all bloggers. In Colonial times, bloggers were called “Pamphleteers.” They hung on street corners handing them out to passersby. Now, they hang out on electronic street corners, hoping somebody mouses on to their pretentious sites. Different medium, same MO. Shakespeare accidentally summed up the genre best with these words from a MacBeth soliloquy: “. . .a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. . .”
I dare you to read that in Will Ferrell's "crazy Harry Caray voice". If you haven't already, that is.
You can tell this Bill Conlin guy doesn't "get" the Internet when he hands a platoon of bloggers a free Hitler Card (Just in time for the holidays! Doesn't it just warm your heart?), and his subsequent "some of my best friends are..." defense is so predictable you could set your watch by it. But of course, the first thing I came up with is "Damn those pamphleteers...sure, they did the whole thing with 'throw off the shackles of the Crown' and 'these are the times that try men's souls,' but what have they done for us lately? Being dead is no excuse." And that's the type of lateral thinking which has made me almost invisible on the Internet.
(More later? No idea. It's not like I'm doing anything else this weekend...)
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
The moral of the story: you don't want to screw over satirists. They have straaaaaaaaaaange powers.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Nothing useful to add right now except that I'm with the Guild on this one: if the studios were firm about cutting the creatives out of new media revenues, striking was an inevitability.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Our friend Doom was in one of the affected areas and watched the gridlocked evacuation traffic from his apartment. The "highlight" of the waiting game, as he told it Sunday night, was watching a Hummer make a gain of five car lengths in the space of an hour just to get out of his building's parking lot. His family (and the cats) got out in one piece and got their asses upstate, so at least there's that.
(Edit@12:53amET: the first paragraph link used to link directly to the site, but apparently the site's hosting company had bandwidth concerns. In situations like this, the Coral cache is your friend.)
Friday, October 19, 2007
While we're sorting that out, have a bonus embed (assuming it works this time):
Monday, October 15, 2007
(Or if you just can't be bothered, here's the part that takes the piss out of Bill O'Reilly. For a better representation of Brooker's style, here's his view of the British media's Madeline McCann coverage. Nice to see they're coming around to the American plan.)
American TV news used to be an FCC-mandated requirement with equal time for opposing viewpoints to keep the threat of one-sided commentary in check, and not just another whored-up profit center accountable only to ad revenues and audience ratings. My main issue with the so-called 24-hour news cycle is that the jerks spend so much time telling you what they think it all means that they often forget to tell you what happened in the first place. For that reason, Brooker's lead-off point is right on the nose: we got a better quality of information out of TV when the actually stuck to the simple idea of telling us what happened. The no-frills, guy-at-a-desk half-hour newscast might seem quaint to people in love with production bells and whistles, but I miss it more and more each day. It's not sexy, but it's important.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Quick and dirty: Strange things are happening to Sam (Brett Harrison) on his 21st birthday. Packs of dogs chase him through the Home Depot-style store, he pushes falling merchandise away from a coworker without actually touching it, and a guy who says he's the Devil (Ray Wise) keeps showing up in odd places to tell Sam he's got a job for him to do. Sam finds out his dad promised the soul of his first-born (that'd be Sam) to the Devil for the health of Sam's mom. But this Devil is a sport, to a point, because rather than immediately taking Sam to Dante-land, Satan has a proposition. Hell's borders have become remarkably porous in recent years (prison overcrowding...go figure), so Sam's earthly task is to be a bounty hunter, sending escaped evil souls back to the fiery furnace. If he refuses, the contract with Sam's parents is broken...and his mom dies.
As it turns out, Sam is just aimless enough that finding out his soul belongs to the Devil is the jump start his life needs, and with a few nudges from his new boss, he soon finds himself with a makeshift Scooby Gang, including best bud Sock (Tyler Labine) and Sock's ex, who (conveniently for the premise) has information access at the courthouse (and feeds some priceless shouting matches).
Thinking back to the last new fantasy adventure I sampled, Reaper gives me the type of fun the dour "modernized" Flash Gordon denied me. This is the type of show where the initial capture vessel is a Dirt Devil minivac...and it doesn't work at first because the Prince of Lies is also the Prince of Not Giving You One With A Charged Battery. Harrison is really likable in the lead role and makes a great two-act with the boisterous Labine. Ray Wise (hey, it's Laura Palmer's dad!) gives us a Prince of Darkness with an oily smoothness mixed with a touch of menace. Of course Satan comes off as corporate; this is America, and we all know the score.
Behind the camera, Kevin Smith (hero to us all) gives the pilot a nice sendoff; it should be interesting to see how the regular team measures up. The verdict: if I had my way, this one would go the distance. It's devilicious. HAHAHAHAokayI'mdone.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
The premise, such as it is: Leonard (the short one with the glasses) and Sheldon (the tall one...um...without the glasses) are two all-purpose stereotypical science nerds who live the all-purpose stereotypical nerd lifestyle, until a cute blonde with a lighter-than-air brain moves in across the hall. Leonard falls for her like a ton of bricks, setting up what I'm sure they'd like us to believe is a madcap love story, with Sheldon taking on the Greek chorus role. And really, that's all there is. All kinds of fun things have been built on premises you can write on an index card with room enough for the lyrics to "American Pie". From early indications, this isn't one of those.
If you're familiar with me at all, you'd know I consider myself a geek, mainly because the path of nerddom sounded like hard work. So let's do the geek/nerd/jerk thing and parse the above elements, which also gives me an excuse to not write something that, you know, actually has a flow to it.
NERRRRRRRRRRRDS!: The two main nerds are Leonard and Sheldon (Johnny Galecki and Tim Parsons), and I can't think of a single nerd signifier the writers skipped in crafting these characters apart from the sledgehammer-obvious bow tie/high-water pants/snort-laugh made famous in Revenge of the Nerds. They speak in that supposedly intimidating spectacles-on-end-of-nose style that decades of popular media has taught us means "I R SMRT," but in my experience can also be either a bludgeon of snob superiority or a self-defense mechanism to drive out the infidels who think of "black holes" only as a perfect setup for a dirty rejoinder. There were references to World of Warcraft and Klingon Boggle (perpetuating the lie that there are people in the world who are fluent in Klingon). There was a scientific theorem written on the side of the refrigerator in dry marker. There were "bootleg" Stephen Hawking videos brought over by a friend with a bad haircut and questionable fashion sense. For God's sake, Leonard and Sheldon even get pantsed, in a scene that had me rolling my eyes so hard that I could see my own brain. And those names. Leonard. Sheldon. Really. No, really?
The point is if you're going to make a comedy about smart people, you shouldn't be afraid to make it a smart comedy, and not just settle for a typically lame sitcom with bigger words.
Totally irrelevant point: if Sheldon isn't supposed to be borderline OCD, I'll be stupefied. His explanation of why the far end of the sofa was "his seat" was a bit creepy if you allow yourself to think about it.
The Hot Chick (not a Rob Schneider reference): Penny (Kaley Cuoco, who I'm told was in 8 Simple Rules For Making Another Show Eric Didn't Watch) is a waitress at the Cheesecake Factory, and who are we kidding, she is cheesecake factory. Ba-dump-dump. She's not just dumb, she's painfully dumb, the type of dumb that gives you a headache you have to sleep off. She's a depressingly common sitcom type, attractive but completely oblivious to her effect on others, especially when walking around strange men's apartments in nothing but a bath towel...gee, haven't seen that one lately. And when she opens her mouth, oh! what "delightful things" fall out. A vacuum opens in the space over your Tivo which will take days to dissipate. Warning to future writers: There's a special circle in Hell for writers who steal (pardon me, repurpose) lines from Paris Hilton interviews.
The Inevitably Unfair Comparison: I hope I haven't made this sound more interesting than it is, even in a trainwreck sort of way. The pilot is never a good judge of a show's potential, but this one is particularly weak sauce. Maybe this just shows you how far gone I am, but I'm the type of geek who thinks the perennially low-rated NBC Thursday block, the stuff you're not watching because you got hooked on Grey's Anatomy or C.S.I., represents the best and brightest of the current generation of American TV comedies. I'm one of the "dozens and dozens of viewers" mentioned in Tina Fey's 30 Rock Emmy acceptance speech (you're welcome). The NBC shows are intelligently written, run at a brisk pace that a live audience setup makes difficult, and have fun with their chosen format rather than just residing in it (Scrubs is a master of the last point). At its best, The Big Bang Theory is just there, and at worst it's still there at a point when you want it go away. Say what you want about 30 Rock, but since it found its groove it's never "just there".
While the acting is competent enough for this type of sitcom and I wouldn't mind seeing these people again in something that didn't actively piss me off, it'll be a major surprise if this one isn't long gone by midseason.
The pilot is online at the above link, so you can sample it now and get it out of your system before the Monday night debut.
(Edit @ 8:58: Here's someone who hated the show more than I did, and in a fraction of the time, too!)
(Edit #2 on 11/23: A reader points out that the two previews CBS posted on YouTube look like a significant improvement, and son-of-a-gun, they do. Also, son-of-a-gun, I have readers! Obviously this case requires further study. Also, before this edit I got Dharma and Greg mixed up with Will and Grace (not to mention the wrong number and a half of men), so obviously I must atone. Expect a follow-up in a few weeks...)
Monday, September 17, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Never let it be said I'm above bandwagon jumping...and (edit @ 12:47am) never let it be said that non-YouTube video embeds aren't a pain in the ass.
Monday, September 10, 2007
At this point, I'd give MTV.com credit for stepping up to the job the people who program the main network refuse to do, but as I just found out, they put up an embed code for a video which isn't embeddable. The right hand gives, the left hand takes.
I admit that I didn't see it all, didn't even know it was on, or that Britney Spears' "big comeback" was a part of it, since MTV is about as relevant to the life I live as the infant's department of Walmart. Having said that...JESUS, that was one of the most depressingly inept things I've ever seen on a major channel that wasn't connected to the Adult Swim schedule. The focus was on a badly lit, badly dressed main stage, with random cutaways to snatches of songs played in barely lit hotel suites which nevertheless made it look like the show we didn't see was ten times as fun.
Sarah Silverman's scowl at the end of her unfortunate routine told volumes. This is the shit that will bring the kids back, eh? The Chabad telethon was probably a better time all around.
That brings us to Britney, and busting on her performance would imply that she actually performed, instead of literally walking through the whole production. Her costume designer must be out to get her, since the bra and panties look only served to accentuate her mommy waist and give her a whiff of desperation. They should've talked her into a one-piece.
Still, the Channel In Question smacks of "whiff of desperation" every time I decide to subject myself to it, insisting on itself too much, becoming the televisual equivalent of the guy who thinks drinking himself into an incoherent stupor and making an ass of himself in public makes him "edgy", not a "pain in the ass" or a "candidate for early death". My advice is the same as ever, and will never be heard (let alone followed): burn the channel down for the insurance money. At least after you get The Human Giant out of the neighborhood.
Somebody at the New York Times actually watched it all the way through, so you can go to them for a proper recap.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
There's a pretty good sized list of things you expect from a series bearing the name "Flash Gordon," and this series does an amazing thing by not delivering a single goddamn one. Howzabout high adventure on an alien planet, with swordfights, rebellions, extravagant costumes, hot alien babes, and hell-raising hawkmen flying through the skies? Here, have a series with some sullen punk with relationship problems who wants his daddy. Because we all know the Flash Gordon story was about complex interpersonal relationships and not action/adventure with rayguns. Like it? No? Too bad, because you're getting 22 more hours of it, since Sci-Fi picked up the full option before the initial showing.
Let me help you conceptualize my torment further: this was the equivalent of a version of Star Wars where Luke spends two thirds of the movie farming. Oh, and Darth Vader is some guy in a turtleneck who just stands around, and all you see of the Death Star is a corridor and a broom closet. Failing that, maybe an Indiana Jones movie where Indy just plays cards for 90 minutes.
Actually, Harrison Ford might pull that off, so forget I brought it up...
I don't mind new takes on old favorites, but there's a way to do these things and a way not to, especially with characters that have been around for over 80 years. If I thought, like I do with the new Dr. Who, that the people behind this project had a sense of the character's history and wrote their new version accordingly, I'd let it go. But this Flash Gordon feels like the writers found out on the day they were hired there was a character called "Flash Gordon" and wrote their pilot based on a heavily vandalized Wikipedia article.
Sam Jones was okay in the 1980 version, but this is the only Flash Gordon you really need:
Final verdict: Next Friday at 9, I'm flipping over to wrestling.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
Here's a bit of wind to blow up your skirt, for instance:
Even at Bush's current low point in popularity, the leading GOP presidential candidates are competitive in the polls with Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. Furthermore, one great advantage of the current partisan squabbling in Washington is that while it hurts Bush, it also damages the popularity of the Democratic Congress-- where both Clinton and Obama serve. A little mutual assured destruction between the Bush administration and Congress could leave the Republican nominee, who will most likely have no affiliation with either, in decent shape.
So there is hope for another GOP prez in '08, and the only thing needed is the abject failure of both houses of Congress. Such a simple request. Of course, Mr. Kristol should've learned from his experience with Dubya that results don't matter as long as you've got character, but I don't want to give him ideas.
I'm just playing this for comedy, of course. You might want a more solidly grounded response (sort of).
We've been going through a weird-for-weird's-sake trend in advertising in the past year or so (I'M A LITTLE LAD WHO LOVES BERRIES AND CREAM!), but I've been trying to figure out what the hell they're trying to tell us in this Scion commercial (forget for a moment the whole "why would this make me want to buy a car?" question). The whole "be a nonconformist" thing is standard issue ad copy (even if the liberal use of the word "sheeple" makes me want to vomit in my mouth), but dig that execution. This isn't "you're better than them," this is "you're better than them and you should skin them, but it's okay, because they're not people." Tear the flesh. Wear the flesh. Buy the goddamn car.
This Sour Skittles ad is deeply disturbing for a different reason: I know what "man milk" is, and that's not how you get it.
There is a fine line between "quirkily original" and "batshit insane". These ads, and the ones like them, have drawn another line about a quarter of a mile behind the batshit side, and on the far side of it dwells the unsettling impulses that make you better by not acting on them, resulting in bizarre attempts at jokes that don't really go anywhere. Living on that side of the line is living in a shabby knockoff of a Gary Larson cartoon, except the guy who drew your world doesn't really "get" it. In other words, you just woke up in The Dark Backward. Congratulations. Don't drink anything, don't eat anything, don't talk to the locals.
If that side of the line was a wild animal, you'd shoot it because you're afraid it had rabies, and only after the deed was done would you find out it was foaming because foaming is "funny".
The moral (as always): you are diseased, young America, but far from incurable. Return to the Doublemint twins. No more man milk, I beg of thee.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
“How does a society get so out of control that this can happen on such a big scale?” says Coyne. “It’s egotistical for us to think, ‘Here’s these people, let’s go in and save them’ as though we’re like Superman. But you can’t be aware of suffering and simply not care. But if we’re going to talk about true solutions--who can know?” Not John Lennon, apparently. “It seems silly that someone like Lennon could say, ‘What if we all just stayed in bed, wouldn’t the war stop?’ You think, ‘Well John, what if the enemy are not Beatles fans? They’ll come in and shoot you.’”
Since Coyne's doing the honesty thing, I have to add that I've never knowingly heard a Flaming Lips performance, but he got my attention just now, so that's likely to change before too long. After such media events of recent years as Madonna using a young Ethiopian woman basically as a prop during her Live 8 soapbox moment, Coyle's comments are remarkably free of cattle byproducts, and although he's a bit down on the John Lennon peacenik catalog, he does act locally while thinking globally. By your works, not by your words, be ye known...you could look it up.
Monday, June 18, 2007
The RNC has preserved e-mails from some of the heaviest users, including 140,216 messages sent or received by Bush's top political adviser in the White House, Karl Rove. However, "the RNC has preserved no e-mails for 51 officials," said the interim report, issued by committee chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif.
The 51 include Ken Mehlman, a former White House political director who reportedly used his RNC account frequently, the report said.
"Given the heavy reliance by White House officials on RNC e-mail accounts, the high rank of the White House officials involved, and the large quantity of missing e-mails," the report said, "the potential violation of the Presidential Records Act may be extensive."
Nope, nuthin' wrong here. When are people gonna wake up and vote for people that actually understand the constitution and the laws that they are under? Sheesh.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
As more Americans choose to use the internet as a primary source of political information, less and less are choosing to pick up the newspaper. Only 34% of Americans viewed the newspaper as a source of election news in 2006, as compared with 57% in 1992. Television as a source of election news also significantly decreased from 82% to 69% over the same period (note that the numbers don't add to 100% as people were allowed to select more than one "primary" source in this survey).
GO RON PAUL.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Monday, June 04, 2007
Regarding the helmet picture, Mikhail Grishankov, vice-president of the Security Commission of the Russian State Duma, placed the blame where it properly belonged: on the people who reported it...in this case, for an American-owned magazine. There's a big-ass page missing from the Dubya playbook today...three guesses who has it.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
SkabertoGonzalez: Good evening.
EasyEW: Skaberto, did you see Idol last night?
SkabertoGonzalez: I did not watch the results show, but my deputy was in charge and informed me that Sanjaya was eliminated
SkabertoGonzalez: Our long national nightmare is over.
Doom: Skaberto, can you even tell what day of the week it is?
SkabertoGonzalez: One moment, I need a beverage
SkabertoGonzalez confers with his counsel
Counsel whispers back to SkabertoGonzalez
Counsel: *passes a note*
SkabertoGonzalez: Thank you.
Counsel: *hand over microphone*
Counsel whispers something else
SkabertoGonzalez: I do not recall getting this beverage myself, nor ordering anyone else to get it for me. The final decision was not made by me. However, the beverage is cold, delicious and rum-based.
Counsel shuffles some papers nervously
Doom: That was not the question. How many fingers am I holding up?
SkabertoGonzalez: I am not in charge of counting fingers being held up, that is handled by US Attorneys.
Doom: My next question. Sir, do you have a brain?
SkabertoGonzalez whispers to counsel
SkabertoGonzalez: I have been informed that whether or not I have a brain is a decision made at the pleasure of the President.
Doom: Would you like me to repeat the question?
SkabertoGonzalez: I have given my answer, Senator.
Doom: Ok, Are you even a human being or are you a reptile from outer space?
Counsel shuffles the dead mice off the table
SkabertoGonzalez: For the purposes of this administration, I serve at the pleasure of the President as a human being.
Counsel: *covers microphone, whispers violently*
Doom: AH HA
Doom: So you could be a reptile from outer space masquerading as a human being! Tell us the truth!
SkabertoGonzalez: the President has informed me that I am in fact a human being, and that is the fact of the matter as I understand it
Counsel shields his eyes from his client
Doom: So you have to take someone elses word for it. Are you just unsure or are these programmed responses?
Counsel: *passes note*
SkabertoGonzalez reads note
Counsel looks at Skaberto, nods
SkabertoGonzalez looks questioningly at Counsel
Counsel makes the sign of the scissors
SkabertoGonzalez stands up, does the Ashlee Simpson Hoe-Down of shame and runs crying from the chamber
Counsel: I'd like to call for a recess, Senator Doom
Doom: Yes, I think we all need some time to reflect on this
Counsel packs his briefcase and gets the f--- out of Dodge
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
It is called "Ban People – They Kill". My favorite snippet is:
"In my day, parents and teachers had authority. Today teachers have no authority, which is why they have to call the police to control the kids. Child Protective Service has stripped parents of authority. Children are taught at school to call CPS if they are spanked by parents. Apparently, teachers cannot recognize the decline of their own authority in the decline of parental authority. "
I really think this society as a whole has gone down the crapper. Instead of dealing with kids, everyone wants to medicate little Johnny and Mary. I just wonder about the effects of medication on children. Could the dirtbag who did this horrific crime have been on one of plethora of medications that the educational establishment love to have prescribed for unruly children? What the hell ever happened to this country?
I'm fine for now.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Have you ever found yourself in Fairbanks, AK and realized that you were supposed to be in Helsinki, Finland?Well, Google Maps has, and they've got you covered. Scroll down to instruction #56.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
MTV, refusing to let YouTube steal its Interweb thunder, has posted Wonder Showzen online. All of it. In my view, it's the most amazing program the network has run in the past ten years, but it's not for everyone's tastes by a long shot. Keep you children far, far away, for instance. I'm not kidding.
As Matt pointed out to me a few weeks ago, it might be instructive to compare and contrast WS with another recent absurdist TV comedy, the Tim and Eric Awesome Show. Also, going from Coyle and Sharpe's man-on-the-street whimsy to the intentionally antagonistic Clarence and his openly hostile victims is a jarring lesson in how far we've come.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
For more of the same, or more of the different, there's also a shiny new podcast to deal with, as well as a CD/DVD box set.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Everybody's been throwing around "so it goes" for the past few days, but instead, I'll just tell you that I often wonder if my outlook would've been different if I had found Ray Bradbury before Kurt Vonnegut. A number of Bradbury's stories had a major theme of "ideas have consequences, so you should protect your ideas," while Vonnegut's overarching theme seemed to be "no matter what kind of life you live, eventually the universe will screw with you anyway." Both are equally valid, but the second is a bit more universal.
Vonnegut also recognized that the flip side should be a heightened appreciation of the days where everything goes right. And yet, the country shrugs and keeps walking when they hear that Vonnegut died (assuming they do anything) while the postmortem saga of a pilled-up waste whose single "positive" contribution to our civilization was a set of huge breasts is still fixating the country months later.
And so, I suppose, it goes. But it does make me wonder if James Brown ever got buried...
Thursday, April 12, 2007
He said one of the artists working for his company brought the image to him.
"I made a judgment error and didn't research the background of this particular submission," Goldman said. "My intention was not to copy Mr. Kelly."
Which is fine, fine, fine, except that he hung this on a gallery wall and signed his name to it, which speaks ill of either Mr. "Goliath" Goldman or the art establishment in general...and hey, why not both? Assuming his story isn't just a dodge, he should've been more diligent, but regardless, he's being called "the Eric Bauman of t-shirts" on message boards, which isn't a compliment.
There's also the question of the monumentally stupid auto-reply email "someone at the company" (wink wink) sent to curious people that accused Kelly of being a pedophile in the most colorful language, which is something else again. He even threw in a dandy comparison to Jeffrey Dahmer. Way to stay classy, Todd.
Having unloaded all that, I'm not in David and Goliath's target market of mall kids that like to wear cartoons, so nothing I say will shake up his bottom line. But pretending for a moment that you're actually reading this (and this advice comes with the standard "what do I know, I don' t even have a degree" disclaimer), a little bit more oversight is called for if you want to keep your brand in national chains, as opposed to selling them at flea markets with the bootleg Calvin-pissing-on-the-Ford-logo decals. They're going to be watching you that much closer, so don't be a jerk. Calling out jerks is the national sport in Internetland. That and World of Warcraft.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
If this was the only example of his "borrowing", our special friend of the moment would still be a douche, but Mr. Goldman is a serial offender, which makes him Todd, the Duke of Doucheington.
This story should be fascinating to follow. Remember, just because it's on the Internet doesn't mean it's not copyrighted. On the American plan, everything published since at least 1978 is automatically protected unless you specifically tell people it isn't. You could look it up. I suggest you do.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Monday, April 02, 2007
The only thing that wrecks the illusion (besides the post date of April 2nd...one day off) is that Alanis doesn't have enough junk to rattle that trunk. Even as a joke, she sings the hell out of that song. You'd almost think it was about something.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
YOU ARE ALSO WATCHING THE DUNCIAD.
The moral: Adult Swim is a riot on April 1st. And this year proves that the channel's anime fans are megabitches. MegaHYPERbitches.
(Edit on 4/4: YouTube comes through with multiple video clips of the prank in question. So there.)
Clear Channel is a huge corporation--possibly too big, but that's secondary to the argument--and I'd hope they'd at least have a few different templates the station managers could choose from. Besides my opinion that it's a fairly noisy design, it's a real jaw dropper that the only differences in design are color choice and the type of music...oh, and that one's in Spanish. Everything is in exactly the same position on all five pages, with the same damn applets scrolling the machine-tooled playlists and the same reminder on the menu bar that (insert call letters here) now comes in HD Radio, too!
The whole thing is so one-size-fits-all that the bulk of the work could be drawn up Mad Libs style in the course of an afternoon, and probably was. I can only guess that the goal is to apply a homogeneous corporate image across the board, but when viewed in a row, the whole thing feels bloodless and sterile. You get the feeling that people don't need to be involved at all, and sometimes they aren't; during certain holiday Saturdays, when I was helping my stepfather with his paper route, I ended up listening to WMAG's all-night Christmas music and never heard a single on-air personality until the public service programming kicked in at 6 a.m. Nobody warned me, and it creeped me the hell out.
This is all just a long-winded way to tell you that my favorite modern radio is messy, the kind that has the stink of people. WFMU, I'm looking at you.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
The recommended resources are really out there: Moby Dick and Barbarella? Yeah, I can see how those would fit together...
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
- Quick take on Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?: Loved this the first time a saw it...when they called it Jaywalking.
Actually, I think they chose the wrong Blue Collar comedian for this program, and the wrong title. The level of contestant on the first outing cries out for "Here's Your Sign."
- Once again, television makes me miss all the good stuff. From Good Magazine (an actual dead-tree bimonthly which I didn't know existed before tonight), Michael Silverblatt tells you "why you never learned to read"...and why it's not a contradiction that you just found out by reading something.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
I realized why I listen to Dashboard Confessional.
See, I acquired their 2006 release, Dusk and Summer the other weekend. I'd forgotten just how much I missed Chris Carrabba's plaintive wailing of the scribblings you might find on a hormone-addled 8th-grader's notebook.
It's so melodramatic, so delightfully over-the-top, so incredibly cliched that I just... can't... stop listening to it. Over and over. Musically and lyrically, something new pops up every listen to grab my attention and tickle my funny bone.
"Reason To Believe" is a great example. Check out the opening lines, sung in a piercing moan: "Oh sweet lungs don't fail me now / Your burning has turned into fear / Drills me in my every step, I'm moving quick but you're always on my heels"
Wow. All that just 33 seconds in. Then there's this delightful chorus: "Breathe, don't you want to breathe / I know that you are strong enough to handle what I need / My capillaries scream, there's nothing left to feed on / My body needs a reason to cross that line / Will you carry me there one more time?"
Seriously, I think this entire song is about his cardiovascular system. It's innovative, but who the hell is gonna buy that to put in a commercial? Low-fat margarine? Asthma inhaler? Yes, asthma inhaler. That will work.
The theme continues on the next track, "The Secret's In The Telling". "Your name is pounding through my veins / Can't you hear how it is sung? / and I can taste you in my mouth / before the words escape my lungs". I'm beginning to suspect this album was written in study hall right after biology.
The hits keep on coming. Adam Duritz from Counting Crows comes by to warble a few lines in "So Long, So Long". "Stolen" features the eloquent chorus "You have stolen my heart". "Slow Decay" is (for no apparent reason) about a wounded soldier home from the war. And top everything off, the final song "Heaven Here" causes Bach to turn over in his grave and bend his tuning fork thanks to breaking several basic rules of harmony. (Parallel movement between open fifths is WRONG, shitheel! You fail at music theory! And would it kill you to use a standard-tuned guitar once a year?)
Overall it adds up to a musical and lyrical equivalent of not just a car wreck, but a ten car pileup featuring nothing but 1993 Honda Civics with rear window decals and black bumper stickers bought at Hot Topic. It's painful and hilarious at once, maddening and hysterical, enough to make you want to lobotomize yourself with crochet hooks while cackling insanely at how literally Carrabba has managed to use the word "heart" for the 98th time in this album.
For these wholly ironic reasons, I will keep this album on my computer forever, right next to all their other full-length releases and EPs on my hard drive. And also on CD to listen to in my car and at work. For irony.
Friday, February 16, 2007
The conversation in Wednesday night's chat made its way to Bob Barker's retirement (again), but as usual, it doesn't take much to send these people off into their own little world.
EasyEW: When is Bob Barker leaving again?
KelvinNYC: August, I think.
EasyEW: That'll be a day to save
KelvinNYC: I'm sure Howie Mandel has already been approached to do the show since TV execs can't see beyond current game show hosts for another game show.
EasyEW: aw nononono
EasyEW: Howie's just not a good fit
KelvinNYC: or John McEnroe
EasyEW: STOP IT
Ska: $800 FOR A TOASTER
EasyEW: that just HURTS
Ska: ARE YOU SERIOUS
Ska: YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS
KelvinNYC: LET'S PLAY... GOLD CASE!
KelvinNYC: That one!
KelvinNYC: btw... Mountain Climber is easy as f**k to win
Ska: I dunno, now I really want McEnroe to host
KelvinNYC: and bam, you've won
KelvinNYC: Ten Chances, hosted by Mac would rule.
Ska: or Jack Bauer
KelvinNYC: Toaster: 4 2 0
Ska: TELL ME HOW MUCH THE CAR IS
Ska: TELL ME!
Ska shoots contestant in knee
Contestant: I DON'T KNOW
Contestant: PLEASE STOP
JackBauer: WRONG ANSWER
JackBauer pulls cord out from $28 floor lamp
JackBauer walks menacingly toward contestant
JackBauer: That's what the Chinese told you to say.
Contestant: NO... I SWEAR IT'S NOT
Contestant: PLEASE... I HAVE A FAMILY
JackBauer pulls back the $24,580 card
JackBauer: AND THEY WERE RIGHT!
JackBauer: CONGRATULATIONS, ENJOY YOUR NEW CONVERTIBLE!
Contestant: THANK YOU JACK!!!
JackBauer: Oh, it's rigged with a tactical nuke set to go off in 45 seconds.
Contestant runs off
Contestant: wait, what?
Contestant: YOU SONOFA
Ska takes a bow
KelvinNYC: and scene
And yes, we talk in stage directions. Doesn't everybody?
(And while we're on the topic of roleplaying, here's a long overdue plug for Testicles Chowdhury...most peculiar, but it's best to keep the weird ones where you can see 'em, so of course we do.)
Friday, February 09, 2007
Come on, you have to see it now.
You could argue that if Anna Nicole Smith had not lived the last years of her life as a shambling, drug-fogged wreck, and not dedicated so much energy to making a spectacle of herself rather than building a spectacle around herself, there would be a chance of her being alive today.
There would also be a chance that we would never have heard of her. And I'm sure that as far as she was concerned, that just wouldn't do.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
The first new Orville-in-person ad since his death 12 years ago is brought to us through (who would have guessed) the magic of CGI, the Hollywood miracle pill which in this case means that nobody in advertising will have to come up with an original idea again.
I have to agree with Cartoon Brew that the scene at the end is especially excruciating. Obviously, the cameras started rolling before the cattle prod was removed from zombie Orville. And with all due respect to Gary Redenbacher ("Grandpa would go for it. He was a cutting-edge guy."), your granddad wore a brown jacket and a bow tie. Cutting edge isn't exactly the descriptor I'd choose.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Maybe people would be less suspicious of this story (like the comments here, for instance) if the pictures didn't have such suspicious camera angles.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Monday, January 08, 2007
Saturday, January 06, 2007
COME ON, SPEAKER PELOSI! DON'T BE AGEIST! LET THE BABY HAVE THE GAVEL FOR A MOMENT! I think that babies are loads of fun, so I hope you all take this request in the spirit it's intended. Besides being a signifier of a high office, the House gavel--or any gavel, for that matter--does two things that babies love: it makes noise and has a narrow end that will fit up their tiny noses. It'll be a grand day out for baby, it'll give the press a page one picture, and if something goes wrong...well, there's a physician on call during sessions. All your bases are covered!
I have to assume that at no time during the reading of this blog in these past several months did anyone anticipate I'd spend a whole entry gibbering about babies and gavels, but dammit, it's a new day in America. We must take brave steps to heal the country.