Friday, January 29, 2010


Stumbled across this article from 2005 about fraternities by Benoit Denizet-Lewis, which includes a little walk down memory lane.

Since 1997, the year I graduated, Northwestern has expelled five fraternities -- in cooperation with their national organizations -- for alcohol and hazing violations. The last casualty was Kappa Sigma, banished after its 2003 formal dance party at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. In a gaffe almost too dopey to be believed, a Kappa Sigma brother dropped a flask into the aquarium's beluga whale tank. Already on probation for an alcohol-related incident that sent a pledge to the hospital, the fraternity was booted off campus by Northwestern administrators (it can petition to return in 2007), but not before the brothers could make going-away T-shirts. They read, "Kappa Sigma -- a Whale of a Good Time.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Arbitrary lists, reminiscing, links and a baby monkey

So I was doing a quiz on sporcle earlier today, as is my wont, Rolling Stones' top ranked songs of the decade, and found the weird mix of songs kind of hilarious, what with the juxtaposition of LCD Soundsystem and Kelis (also: Clipse/Dirty Projectors, and others). Sure Rolling Stone's attempting to stay hip in a world where its irrelevancy would still be increasing, if it were possible to divide by zero. That is to say, Rolling Stone's relevance these days is best measured in imaginary numbers. I mean, Randy fucking Newman? At number 28? IN A LIST OF SONGS FROM THE AUGHTS? Damn you to Taibbi!!

Faux-outrage to subjective lists notwithstanding, I scored about 45 out of 100 songs -- a high number, if percentiles in the "see how you did" link are to be believed. I might feel guilty knowing that I know so much about the "good" songs from the past decade in the opinion of whomever at RS made that list. I mean what an arbitrary thing to be good at, and not at all beneficial! But I usually own the quizzes on there anyway, what with my own user account and occasional comment. Never made a quiz though, maybe I'll try. Suggestions?

Off track, back to the RS list, because I feel like meta-enabling myself and whoever else has made it this far. A few things: 99 Problems and Crazy in Love were at the same time, which greatly inflates their ranking. I know this not because I read the Rolling Stone article corresponding with that quiz, because it is probably not online, and their website sucks so back I refuse to look. That was on Pitchfork, whose decade best of had a striking (or not) amount of redundancy with this list. Although since they are separate publications, I suppose you can't really blame them for that. Finally, all the best music from the past 10 years can be boiled down to parts of indie/alternative rock, electronic, and hip hop. So there's that.

Point: Few things make the passage of time sink in my brain like a few of the songs on there, Stan for instance. It's been 10 years since the Marshall Mathers LP, no wonder the world is fucking crazy. There was a track on there called Kill You for chrissakes. I remember driving around smoking trees in a Rocky Mountain Sports Magazine car, in Colorado, listening to songs on that list. Namely the above and Outkast. And then I went to Vail for free! Those were some halcyon days, that's for sure. Ignition Remix=slapping random ass at The Keg, anyone?

Anyway, enough navel-gazing (or shoe-gazing? terrible). Here are some links:::::

"Heavy Artillery" by George Saunders from the New Yorker

Crazy story about stray dogs in Moscow

Letter to the conservative movement, by a conservative with more obscure references than a Bill Buckley obituary.

And finally, this baby Gibbon.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Congratulations hicks

Maybe its wrong, perhaps elitist, to think that all Saints fans are like those depicted in the above video from earlier this season, getting out of pick-up trucks holding high-powered guns with which they plan to shoot expensive electronics in the face. Wouldn't Ignatius J. Reilly support the Saints?

Point: The average American football fan is not a pinnacle of culture and enlightenment. This is true of any team. Of course it would be folly to say that East Coast fans are somehow superior to those down in the Big Easy, or Midwest, or anywhere else. This is not my point. Football fans are lunatics, regardless of geography. If measuring fan cultures on sophistication, put football just above NASCAR, and certainly below rodeo.

Aside: I recently watched the film "Big Fan" which may be coloring my opinion of football fans darker than usual. The story, about an enormous Giants fan (Patton Oswalt) whose life revolves around calling into radio talk shows and sitting in the Meadowlands parking lot to watch his team on television, does not exactly show fandom in the best light. It's just pathetic, especially after Oswalt gets his ass kicked by his favorite player, in da club, as it were.

But that's fiction. By definition "not real." The real easy point is that Indiana and the South are both backwards and filled with hicks, all of whom likely support the regional professional sports team. So kudos to them.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Touch of swine

Yo, you fucks remember this thing like two years ago when we would do those "deathmatch listoffs" with subjective opinions on various cultural ephemera? Was that good times? I mean, it was a certainly a good way to build a community in theory I thought at the time. But not in practice, because let's be honest: The goats are not exactly on the radar of anything, despite THE definitive listing of stoner movies. In the end I think the whole list-off thing was just a way for the select few to be self-indulgent and maybe a word that means having poor taste that I can't think of right now because I am drunk and have swine flu probably. It starts with "a" ... fuck. Not asinine. Once again vocabulary lets me down. next day edit: The word was insipid! So I was wrong, but it did start with a vowel. Close enough.

Anyway, I think the point of this as it was started was that I wanted to list something, because I was listening to "Prison Sex" by Tool, which has an amazing opening bass riff. And I thought to myself, what are some of the other top riffs to start songs? Rock riffs: I have limited mental faculties at the moment because of the drinking and the swine flu. So this seemed like it might work, but unfortunately the only other song I could think of was "Blind" by Korn because they always open their sets with it and I thought I might die at Woodstock 99 when that happened. ARE YOU READY for a formative experience?

There is no way I can think of any other good openers at this time, but I don't want to just delete this little guy. So now I'm just going to listen to some Massive Attack, or something else with heavy bass, and reflect on all the things that have gone wrong, you could say, to put me in a place where I am sitting on an uncomfortable couch updating a long-running barely read blog on a Friday night. Drunk with swine flu (probably). Publish post.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Giant snails

Yeah, that's about it right now.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Get it?

An argument erupted last night during a discusion of the whereabouts and future of Sinclair, who has been been neither seen nor heard from since he was tased a few months back (I heard something along the lines of "erasing his past" whatever that means). This weirdo guy who writes an unsuccessful web-comic and wears Sarah Palin glasses was all in my face about how Sinclair was probably forced to join alcoholics anonymous by the court. Of course I called bullshit on this, because AA is a religious group (I think), and this would be a violation of church and state.

I don't care about accuracy, I said to myself. This is a matter of personal pride and I want to show this fuck up with vehement declaration of falsehoods, like making up several of the 12 steps to put this sucker in his place. But then the weirdo says he knows about it from personal experience, which was basically inferring that he was in AA. I'm not sure if it was court-mandated, because this made me want to end the argument right away. So I told the guy I didn't want to argue with him, and I left the bar.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cleaning out the queue: Stasi edition

Haven't gone through the Netflix history in a while, so why not today? As always, these are actual DVDs that were sent to me through the mail. Not mentioned: This American Life, which I have been watching through the "watch it right on your computer" option. The Wiener Circle piece is a classic. Chocolate Shake! Terrible.

The Lives of Others
East Germany! Voyeurism! Two great tastes that go great together. But seriously, this movie is really, really good. It is subtle, and has subtitles, and gains momentum throughout, building to an outstanding payoff ending. You should probably watch it at your first opportunity. The best film on this list in my opinion.

Drag Me To Hell
Tightly-plotted horror story which doesn't need much explanation, as it's all right there in the title. I watched Sam Raimi's un-rated directors cut, for bonus grossness. Absurdly gross, really, is a old gypsy "gumming" attack on the protagonist necessary? Two times.

The Magic Christian
Dear God, Ringo Starr is a terrible actor. I assume this is what passed for "edgy" in the sixties. Pretty fucking stupid, the only thing that saves it is Peter Sellers. And John Cleese.

State of Play
This is basically newspaper journalism porn. Oh, Russell Crowe, look at you protecting your Capitol Hill sources from the evil young blogger, played by Rachel McAdams. But maybe she could teach you a few things you didn't know about the changing world of news! Not so fast there missy, this old dog might still have a few new tricks up his sleeve. Or in his notebook, as it were. Together, they might just make the perfect reporting team! Still -- there are good performances, which combined with a twisty plot makes for an enjoyable, if disposable viewing experience. Also: Ben Affleck for Congress?

Clive Owen and Julia Roberts as pathologically lying corporate spies. With a romantic past!

This DVD was all scratched up, so I only watched the first 45 minutes or so. Unfortunately this happens on occasion with the Netflix. I can only assume in this case that the damage resulted from someone biting the disc, because they thought they had Korean vampire disease.

In the Company of Men
One thing for sure: Aaron Eckhart plays slimeball well. It's pretty obvious the casting director for Thank You For Smoking had seen this. But yeah, this movie hurts one's soul -- two businessmen romancing a deaf woman with the idea of dumping her simultaneously. At first it seems like misogyny, but it kind of turns out to be misanthropy. Big words!

Raising Arizona
Best. Comedic Chase Scene. Ever.

Haha. Dogs.

Wild at Heart
More Nicolas Cage acting crazy! This must have been right after I saw BLPOCNO. The opening scene could be one of the greatest beating deaths in the history of cinema. Not sure if "greatest" is the right word. Moving on ...

I think a better title for this would have been "Real World: Godzilla." Still, it held my interest for its full running length.

Anvil: The Story of Anvil
A surprising amount of heart in this, a movie about a washed up Canadian metal band. Think Spinal Tap plus earnestness.

Twin Peaks
WTF, David Lynch.

Feh. A coming of age tale, solid fun if not spectacular. From the director of Superbad, says wikipedia. That makes sense. The one guy, the nerdy sidekick/sage observer type, kind of steals the movie.

Observe and Report
Ah yes, now we are really getting into hazy memory territory. It was super dark, I do recall that. Seth Rogen beating the shit out of drug dealers, and a date rape scene. Kind of similar in tone to Foot Fist Way, which makes sense as they have the same director.

Dirty Pretty Things
Illegal immigrants sure do have it rough. Methinks this did a good job of portraying the hopelessness one might feel, living in the margins of society. Also it has organ harvesting, always suspenseful.

Being There
This was in another post here. Peter Sellers is hilarious as an imbecile obsessed with TV who rises to political glory through an increasingly improbable set of circumstances. Also, the grizzled dad from Dirty Work plays the president.

After Hours
Wait, a comedy directed by Martin Scorsese? What the hell? This movie is fucking weird.

Schindler's List
Just brutal, but with an uplifting finish. Which is kind of strange to say about a holocaust movie. This is something one has to watch to get a "cinephile" card. If such a thing existed.

Night on Earth
Separate stories of cabbies and their fares on one night in cities across the globe. Jim Jarmusch films are usually too slow for me, but the switching of locales (LA, New York, Rome, Paris, and Helsinki) kept me interested. Watching this builds indie rep, or so I'm told.

The Fall
Something about a paralyzed stuntman telling a little girl stories so she'll steal morphine for him. The visuals are amazing.

Well that's it. Putting this together took up a good part of the day. I think this is the first time I would heartily recommend any one of the films listed. Well, except for The Magic Christian, which managed to make me hate it even though I agree with its message.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Scraping a barrel

Hmmm ... what should I put here on the old blog today? The bloggeroo, ol' bloggy mcblogblog ... a madcap rant on the Simpsons 20th anniversary documentary from last night? Funny, in parts. A picture found via through a cursory 2-minute google image search? Been done. Something seal related (either the animal or the singer, doesn't matter)? Bad joke. These are the types of "difficult editorial decisions" I make each day when confronted with this screen:

Daunting right? Staring at all that white space for hours and hours, an intimidating thought. One I am forced(?) to confront everyday, when putting things up here. Which I guess isn't every day. But it is, because often times I'll plan/start posting something, only to violently close the tab in frustration. But will that happen today? Well, no, probably, because you are reading this.

This would be easier if there was some measurable outcome. At least that's what I tell myself when I read some other shit online that's mad prolific. On the other hand, what do I mean by "this" at the start of this paragraph? Writing for the internet? Watching videos of animals doing things one might not expect them to? Taking screenshots? Too many questions, and this is already way over the line of self-indulgence, veering dangerously into violent tab-closing territory. Better put it out there, and be done with it.

edit: Kids can call you Hoju!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Full-scale excitement

God what a terrible time of year this is, with its darkness and cold. The first week in January is a bad time for a season affective disorder to get rolling. There's several more months of this! Which is daunting. Is is bad when you have three pairs of long-underwear, and that's not nearly enough? On the other hand it could be worse, i.e. living in Iowa, with its impassible highways. But riding bikes in the snow is fun. Cars are scared of you! At least that's my impression.

That's it, look on the bright side. Imagine positivity. Like that guy up top, who is so fucking thrilled to have an enormous superhero pig placed in his yard. Serious happiness, only half of which is mugging for the camera (This is a guess). The reality of a 2000 pound animal eyesore has yet to set into his mind. It will likely be a major expense to move. Although maybe giant pigs are how he gets his rocks off. It certainly looks that way.

Oh yeah, by the way, I made a twitter for some reason the other day. So, you know, follow that or whatever. I may even "tweet" something at some time in the future. To use the parlance of our times.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Sitting in a chair, in the sky

Monday, January 04, 2010

Can't recommend this enough

"Let me tell you something," says Freddie. "Something about this country. Anybody can do anything. But first they gotta try. And you guys ain't. Two don't work and one strips naked? I don't consider that trying. You kids make squat. And therefore you live in a dangerous craphole. And what happens in a dangerous craphole? Bad tragic shit. It's the freaking American way-you start out in a dangerous craphole and work hard so you can someday move up to a somewhat less dangerous craphole. And finally maybe you get a mansion. But at this rate you ain't even gonna make it to the somewhat less dangerous craphole."
- from Sea Oak, which is so freaking hilarious I can't adequately express it. My abilities of expression are inadequate. Here's another passage from there:
After dinner the babies get fussy and Min puts a mush of ice cream and Hershey's syrup in their bottles and we watch The Worst That Could Happen, a half-hour of computer simulations of tragedies that have never actually occurred but theoretically could. A kid gets hit by a train and flies into a zoo, where he's eaten by wolves. A man cuts his hand off chopping wood and while wandering around screaming for help is picked up by a tornado and dropped on a preschool during recess and lands on a pregnant teacher.

Also another short story in this, The End of Firpo in the World is heart-breaking, yet funny. It's like Vonnegut had a baby, and that baby met the baby of David Foster Wallace and those two babies had a baby? Yes, it's the product of baby fucking.

edit: I knew that baby bit was from something, but couldn't remember what. But now I do remember: Pineapple Express. Which was a movie I sort of hated when I first saw it, but now if I see it on Starz or whatever I usually watch it for a bit and its weird violence is somehow becoming endearing? Anyway.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy new year