Friday, April 20, 2007

I Do Not Recall This Lame Chat Log

Yes, in honor of Alberto Gonzalez's testimony, it's the return of the feature nobody was clamoring for: Chat Log Improv Theater!

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

Ban People

Paul Craig Roberts has an interesting article at Lewrockwell about guns and society.

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

Do No Evil...And Try Not To Drown

One of our correspontents, who I call Chaz (for lack of a better term, and because he's scared of potential employers figuring out what a weirdo he is), writes:
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

A Dunciad Special Report on Compelling Television

From one extreme to another...

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

Coyle and Sharpe: The Warbler

In this clip, Coyle and Sharpe, one of the best put-on duos of the pre-post-everything era, do their thing on streets of San Francisco, c. 1963. Keep an eye on the crowd, too.

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

No Damn Cat, No Damn Cradle

Listen: Kurt Vonnegut is dead at 84.

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

Todd Goldman Is Very, Very Sorry

Update to yesterday's item on Todd "Goliath" Goldman: things moved in a flaming hurry since yesterday. If Dave Kelly's cool with a settlement, I don't see why I should chase this tangent further, but I'd like to point out a few issues, starting with this passage:
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

Todd Goldman Is A Tool

Memo to the jeen-yuss behind the image on the right (the one in color): "Creativity" does not equal "tracing over another artist's work, signing it as your own, and putting it in your gallery show". This rule ranks higher on the artistic karma ladder than "It's not a style if you can't prove that you can draw any other way." And before you call in the most obvious defense, you're not Roy Lichtenstein. You're a hack who makes crappy t-shirts.

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

The Root of All Evil

Wonder why you haven't seen Lewis Black as much as you used to on The Daily Show? TV Squad gives us the answer as they sit in on Black's new pilot. My verdict: sounds better than Best Week Ever.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Whatcha Gonna Do With All That Junk?

For those who directed this link to me: yes, this is the type of ridiculous thing I tend to enjoy.

The only thing that wrecks the illusion (besides the post date of April 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

Memo To Williams Street: You Guys Are FREAKS


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.)

Same Damn Website, Same Damn Radio Station

Here's a little exercise in corporate individualism. Have a close look at these five radio websites from my local market: La Preciosa 94.5, WMAG 99.5, 100.3 The Buzzard, 104.1 WTQR, and 105.7 Kiss FM. If those pages all seemed eerily similar, consider this: all the stations are currently owned by Clear Channel, a corporation so clued into where their stations actually are that when I type my ZIP code into their "station search", it apparently doesn't recognize I'm in one of their markets.

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.