Wednesday, September 30, 2009

News you can use (?): Flirting with Magic edition

From now on I'm going straight to Everything is Terrible anytime I want a quick, no think post. More later? Perhaps, depending on how fast I can bang out a column for my paying gig.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A short story idea

An unreliable narrator has a lucid dream where he goes back in time and gets in a drunken sword-fight with Ronald Reagan on the set of "Bedtime for Bonzo" only the chimp gets killed. Upon waking up back in the present, it turns out that his dream actually happened and Reagan's career never recovered from this setback. Armed with the knowledge that he can make his dreams reality, he goes back to sleep only to get stuck in the universe of some television show, True Blood or Mad Men probably. That's about it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Who likes to watch?

Many times when this blog goes through a posting drought like the past week or so, it's not for lack of ideas, but for lack of execution. For example, upon watching the outstanding satire "Being There" starring Peter Sellers (see clip up top) my mind immediately began making comparisons between it and Don DeLillo's White Noise, which I finished reading a couple weeks ago.

Granted, I should have tried to put something down at the time. Now I forget it all, except that there was television. Also a funny scene where Sellers refers to an elevator as a very small room. No specifics, but I'm going to attempt an exploration of the ideas that I can think of, fruitless as they may prove. As an old editor of mine used to say: "Hack it out." Good advice for any writer.

The plots are dissimilar -- "Being There" is about an television-obsessed idiot leaving the house for the first time and becoming a top economic adviser to the president; White Noise is about Jack Gladney, director of a college Hitler Studies department, and his family as they deal with among other things, an "Airborne Toxic Event" and a drug that supposedly cures the fear of death. It also has television, especially commercials as a background constant -- white noise I guess you could say.

There is an outstanding article on White Noise here, in which the author writes:

Now that people everywhere in America have seen the same television shows and movies and read the same books and articles, they share a wealth of common memories - but unfortunately, these are not memories of actual life, but memories of media manufactured situations and characters. Our collective unconscious is tainted, cluttered with media images and advertisements, catch phrases and jingles.

How does this relate to the scene in Being There where Sellers watches Basketball Jones? It's hard to say. But I think the nut may be how Sellers character, Chance the Gardener (or Chauncey Gardener), is so focused on TV over all else. Threatened by a hood with a knife, he responds by trying to change the channel. His ignorance to everything outside of television makes him an idiot savant when it comes to dealing with economic policy.

Ah god, this is such a failure. Should have known it was totally fucked when I referred to a "former editor." But whatever, its a blog, not serious. Publish post.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Giant baby

I'm going to cold start neglecting the shit out of this blog, until I don't. Too busy videotaping minor regional celebrities talking to the elderly about Facebook and JFK. Until then (probably later today) look at this enormous baby!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Goddammit Ferrell

As if the millions of dollars the insurance company lobby was throwing around Washington wasn't bad enough. Now they have paid off a number of recognizable if not nameable celebrity type people. I'm so upset I turned the video off half-way through.

Thanks boss

The other day I had one of those "performance reviews" in which the boss judges how well I am doing my job. I guess this is a fairly common in most workplaces, and could even be valuable to both employer and employee, if done regularly and well. Thing is, neither of those words could be used in this particular case.

It consisted of a quick stop at my desk in which my boss (think a smarter, less innocent Michael Scott from The Office) handed me the evaluation form, which he had checked off in what appeared to the the quickest way possible, straight down the page.

"Performance review," he said within earshot of at least 10 coworkers. "Your fine. The only thing is you need to be more of a prick. Which we will work with you on." That was it.

I have no idea what this means, but nevertheless I have taken it to heart. No longer will I be nice to people who call here looking for their paper and get my desk because there is no receptionist and all calls are routed to the newsroom for some reason. It's cliche, but someday I'd like to work for a real news organization.

Before I would cooperate with subscribers to find some obscure article that "ran about a month ago on page 3" about a "task force" but no longer. Everyone who reads this fishwrapper is a goddamn moron, especially anyone who calls in. And the writers are all terrible, either young idiots or old imbeciles. They wouldn't know a good lead if it crashed into them like a small airplane flown by Cory Lidle (Timely!).

Friday, September 18, 2009

Lamar, where's my Harpers?

Image via

My wrist is feeling better, so let's get something up here relatively early in the day -- before I get worn out from typing "work" stuff. Topics!

Intelligentsia: The other day I was at the library, killing time before Taco Tuesday. Checking out the magazine rack, I saw Harper's, picked it up and read a great article about the semi-legal pot growers in California. Searching for it online was unsuccessful, but Harper's web site is worth visiting and has turned into a daily read. I like how David Frum is increasingly frustrated with the Republican Party because it is run by morons.

Sports: If you didn't read any of the Fire Joe Morgan Reunion at Deadspin, you should be given to a 3-year-old and tossed away like a piece of garbage, with the end result of an appearance on the Today Show. Jesus is the Derek Jeter of Christianity, it's true.

Music: Pandora has replaced the Hype Machine as my go to source for online listening. It's just better, more variety and worth playing with for a few minutes at least. Nothing against Hype Machine, I love 800 remixes of Kid Cudi as much as the next guy. But Pandora is amazingly accurate in finding like-able music. For example, I'm pretty happy about this classic rock station I made: A Day in the Life Radio. Even though it just played Hotel California. Maybe I should add Pet Sounds or something.

Mr T.: Hawking an oven.

That's it, have a blithe weekend.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Typing hurts

So here is a viking fighting a Gary Busey, shark ... thing.
Via reddit. Original here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The stupid, it burns

If you have have been near me outside of work in the past few years, chances are you have heard me rant about something -- bicycling v. cars, rich fucks, the 24-hour news cycle, etc. To borrow a phrase -- getting heavily into drink causes me to flap my gums at high speed. This can lead to some next-day regrets, if memory serves. But regrettable high-speed gum flapping is is a small price to pay for having a good AWESOME time. Just ask Kanye West.

As undoubtedly you have heard by now, everyone's favorite self-centered rapper (is there any other kind?) interrupted someone named Taylor Swift while she was accepting her MTV video award even though MTV doesn't show videos anymore. As photos from earlier in the night attest, West was deep into the Hennessey before he rushed the stage to defend Beyonce's honor, or whatever. Also, someone named Lady Gaga was wearing a bird's nest on her face. And now everyone is all up in his business, what a fucking douchebag, etc. Even Obama called him a jackass. Which is hilarious.

But not as hilarious as the apology West posted on his blog. All caps, which he later removed. But not before "I LIKE THE LYRICS ABOUT BEING A CHEERLEADER AND IN THE BLEACHERS" and especially "BOOOYAWWWW!!!!" went out into the world. Honestly I am always inclined to give West a pass because of the time he said that George Bush doesn't care about black people. The man certainly has balls, to his detriment in the public opinion.

But it wouldn't it be kind cool if this was all an elaborate ruse. I think its preferable to think that Kanye, MTV, and everyone else involved is playing the public for rubes. Which isn't really all that difficult. It's like an Andy Kauffman-style performance art piece made real. Joaquin Phoenix is another example. But the more credible reality is that everyone is just fucking dumb and drunk and high, and Andy Kauffman was way ahead of his time. And that's all the thinking I'm going to do on the subject.


"It's not tragic to die doing what you love."

"Dude, did you just quote Point Break?"

Friday, September 11, 2009

Never forget

On 9/12, people in New York (and DC) did not feel as "great" as Glenn Beck. They just felt like shit. They felt scared and confused and depressed. Many of them were drunk. And only an idiot or an actual terrorist would want to always feel like it was 9/12/01. And eight years later, normal people, with brains and souls, have decided that some emotional distance from that disaster is healthier and wiser than trying to recapture the dread.

-Happy first post-9/11 9/11!

In retrospect, making the post below into a tragic allegory for 8 years ago today would have been jauntily innappropriate and I should have tried. Oh well, at least there's that link.

An unfortunate event

I'm typing this with one hand. Yesterday I went over the handlebars on my bike. It's not the first time I've done this, but it is the first time I did it while talking on the phone. Genius. My immediate reaction was straight out of those "I'm good" beer commercials where some guy gets electrocuted or has a bowling ball dropped on their head. My wrists broke my fall and appeared to be in normal condition, no displacement or anything. But today's pain indicates some sort of sprain. Granted, I didn't get an X-Ray, so it very well could be cracked or something. But honestly (no offense gpiece) fuck going to the doctor. I can move my fingers without pain, which is really all you can ask for, right?

The main problem with injuries like this one is that now I can't get anywhere. Biking with a sprained wrist seems like it might be a bad idea. Also it's rainy, which does not help. Anyway, sorry if this is boring, but there is benefit in venting one's troubles, even if no one cares. Maybe there is some sort of schadenfreude you can glean from the image of me flying through the air and landing on hard macadam. At least this was better than getting pistol-whipped. It's all relative.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bangs head on desk

So frustrating, why can't I just fucking write something. I guess this (typing words) is better than staring at an empty screen and wishing I could come up with something clever like the Don Draper Fingerbang Threat Level. He does love him some fingerbanging. And this video isn't helping either. How the hell is a sloth so good with the ladies? It doesn't make sense. Is there a product advertised here?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Klosterman on the Beatles

Like most people, I was initially confused by EMI’s decision to release remastered versions of all 13 albums by the Liverpool pop group Beatles, a 1960s band so obscure that their music is not even available on iTunes. The entire proposition seems like a boondoggle. I mean, who is interested in old music? And who would want to listen to anything so inconveniently delivered on massive four-inch metal discs with sharp, dangerous edges? The answer: no one. When the box arrived in the mail, I briefly considered smashing the entire unopened collection with a ball-peen hammer and throwing it into the mouth of a lion. But then, against my better judgment, I arbitrarily decided to give this hippie shit an informal listen. And I gotta admit—I’m impressed. This band was mad prolific.
-I would read this shit all day, if that were possible. Damn you Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

You win this round, Newsweek

And the answer is of course yes.

Keeping it simple

First I watched like 10 episodes of "Mad Men" that had been building up on my DVR, then I go on the Internet this morning, and BAM this video. Coincidence? The video gets it right, in a general comedic sense. But shockingly in 60 seconds it loses the entangled sophistication of the show. Which is part of what makes the show so good, outside of the drinking and smoking and whoring. Which this video does have.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Third prize is you're fired

We've reached the end of summer, there is nothing going on, the newsroom is dead. So why not kill off this extremely boring Friday by posting some dreck (Unlike the normal lofty quality here, with Tom Waits in drag jokes.)

Before we get the meat of this post, a magical journey through DVDs I have watched over the past few months, a quick appeal: I need either one/three more person(s) for my fantasy football league. It's through yahoo, the League ID is # 718657, password is beer. If you can't figure out how to use that information to sign up, email me because you are dumb and should join so we can laugh at your ineptitude. Draft is Sunday at 4 pm. Forthwith!

Glengarry Glen Ross
It's kind of unforgivable not to have seen this before. I blame that it is about salesmen and I hate salesmen. Anyway, this is one of a few films in this set that have some scenes and characters that have become cliche or at least jokes on The Simpsons, i.e. "Coffee is for Closers" and Jack Lemmon's character. Nevertheless the dialogue crackles and every character is a douche, which seems accurate.

The Man from Earth
This is another real talky picture. It's about some guy who is 14,000 years old and doesn't age saying goodbye to his college professor colleagues by telling him his secret. The colleagues consist of a skeptical archeologist, a skeptical Christian, a skeptical psychologist, a wacky biologist and an anthropologist played by the Candyman. Its a good sci-fi thinker of a movie. Not a lot of action, or any at all, but explores interesting ideas.

Once Upon a Time in the West
This is only one of the greatest Westerns of all time. Charles Bronson as a typical badass, unnamed. The Ennio Morricone score is great. But my favorite part has to be when the black hat (Frank, played by Henry Fonda) mocks a guy for wearing suspenders and a belt, then shoots both suspenders and the belt off him, killing him. Never trust anyone who doesn't trust their pants.

Ugh, see here.

Mulholland Drive and Synecdoche, New York
It's kind of funny that I saw these to back to back because they are both strange movies within movies, Mobius Strips, interlocking. And I don't really want to think about either right now. Mulholland drive was better.

A guy is abducted and held in a room for 15 years, then released with no explanation. As he unravels the mystery it gets more and more fucked up, until the climax which is one of the great twists of all time, I think. Tooth torture is unnecessary. Also: This film was an inspiration for the Va. Tech massacre guy, apparently

The Boys and Girls Guide to Getting Down
This is pretty funny. It's about LA party people (hipsters) going out, told in a documentary style. Here's a clip:

You may ask why one would want to see a film featuring Mickey Rourke as a Jewish gangster warring with a one-eyed TuPac over turf in Brooklyn, also featuring Adrien Brody and the guy who played Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs as Rourke's two brothers. And I don't have an answer, because this movie sucked for the most part.

Another classic, this time with more rich people incest, water barons and nose cutting!
"You ought to be more careful, that must really smart."
"Only when I breath."

This movie breaks the fourth wall in all kinds of ways. It's Jean Claude Van Damme playing himself somehow embroiled in a robbery. Kind of cool, but also kind of Belgian.

Blade Runner
It's surprising to see Roy Batty crushing skulls then contemplating the meaning of life and saving Harrison Ford.

Role Models
One of the funnier to come out in the past year. Likely better than The Hangover, if that serves as reference. It's directed by David Wain, of Wet Hot American Summer. And it has a classic case of guy on the ground.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Kung Fu Gorilla

Look for a sequel to this scene produced by me soon. The plot will be a gorilla, shamed by getting beat up by some guy, training to compete in the Tour de France. Also there will be a subplot where the gorilla helps a talking dog find his long lost true love, a blind jazz musician played by Tom Waits in drag. It will be a think piece about the nature of redemption in a country with low production value.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


And I paraphrase: "As an eagles fan, despite my love of dogs I will cheer for Michael Vick, because I am a scumbag. Unless he sucks, at which point I will boo." - Some guy on the Internet

Also, this mural has already been painted over (waste of taxpayer dollars?) but unconfirmed reports that I just made up say that it has already had an inspiring effect on airbrush T-Shirt artists all over the city.