Archive for April, 2008

The Paper
April 30, 2008

Normally, the phrase “MTV reality show” gives me a mental image that could be likened to the vile screeching of a thousand nails on a thousand chalkboards. If you were looking for three words to sum up the most vapid, irritating, cancerous qualities of popular culture, those would probably be the ones. If you’re looking for two, try The Hills (not to be confused with The Hill, which until recently was the only reality show I’ve ever actually enjoyed) and if you’re looking for four, try My Super Sweet Sixteen.

With such a pedigree, things weren’t looking good for this new show on MTV, The Paper. But the premise – a bunch of smart teenagers try to put together a school newspaper they genuinely care about – is definitely a step above the normal reality show approach of, “let’s all get together to worship the material wealth of a bunch of soulless, preening narcissists.” And as someone who was editor-in-chief of my high school paper senior year, I wanted to see how they depicted it.
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The gas tax holiday: So dumb, even Tom Friedman thinks it’s stupid
April 30, 2008

Yep.

In other news, Friedman still writes at the New York Times? Up until he got hit in the face with that pie last week, I had kind of forgotten that he existed.

They all become Italian dreams
April 29, 2008

It’s going to pain Dylan to hear this, but the more I listen to tracks from Scarlett Johansson’s album of Tom Waits covers, the more I’m convinced that it’s going to suck. Not just be “eh,” but actually be genuinely awful. Which, when you’ve got a discography like Waits’s to work off of, is pretty unbelievable.

So if you’re looking for new Waits-related musical projects, I’d say look elsewhere. Like, for example to the new Atmosphere album, which apparently has Waits beatboxing on it. What? Yes! Cool.

Or, conversely, just go back and dig through his catalog, because unless you’re a terrifyingly obsessive stalker-fan, there are almost certain to be some quality albums Waits have done that you either haven’t listened to or haven’t fully appreciated yet. I, for example, just very recently actually realized how awesome Rain Dogs is. I mean, how can you not love the first track?

Good ol’ Swordfishtrombone-era Waits. You creepy bastard, you.

The most dangerous game: Orangutang Lobster
April 29, 2008

New Olde English sketches can never come frequently enough, and this new one is hilarious:

Classic. Bonus points: I make a brief cameo in the hidden sketch! Go to their main page and try to find it!

By the way, I just finished editing that film I was doing with people over the weekend. Once we hear back from FX, maybe I’ll put it up.

Let’s just ban the word “denounce,” okay?
April 29, 2008

Seriously. I don’t want to hear that word in any context ever again. Andrew Sullivan, taking a break from shamelessly shilling for Obama to focus on going after Obama in the most trivial way possible, provides a pretty good example of why.

I reiterate that I think Obama has to make clear again that he vehemently opposes the use of race to divide and separate and inflame ancient grievances; that he wants to get beyond the racial politics of the Vietnam era; that he is dedicated to overcoming race and offering hope – not obsessing about race in order to foment anger and bitterness.

The word “denounce” wasn’t in there, but it might as well have been. And as Matt points out, this is all stuff Obama has already done. In fact, it’s central to his campaign. But even if it wasn’t, what would Obama saying, “I oppose the use of race to separate and inflame ancient grievances” accomplish? Anyone can say that, and it doesn’t make it true. If you believe Obama’s sincere about it, you believe that because you’ve observed how he actually campaigns, not what some bullshit campaign meta-commentary he’s given.

The same goes for all of the candidates. I don’t want to hear anyone denounce anything everyone knows is bad. I don’t give a shit whether or not Obama endorses using race as a wedge issue. Do his actions strongly imply he doesn’t? Yes? Cool! By the same token, I equally don’t give a shit whether or not McCain endorses pointless bloodshed. Do his actions suggest this would be a byproduct of his policies? Yes? Then listening to McCain say, “I hate war” over and over again isn’t going to make me feel a whole lot better about his candidacy. But wasting all of this time talking about McCain’s personal feelings on the issue does do one thing – it wastes everyone’s time.

The Fearsome Republican Attack Machine: Still Broken
April 29, 2008

The Republican Party provides a pretty good object lesson in how to not respond to an attack ad. To paraphrase:

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

They used to be good at the whole negative campaigning thing, like, four years ago. But apparently things get really confusing when it’s the Democrats who are on the attack. Or maybe McCain’s just such a swell guy that they’re completely taken aback that anyone would ever say anything bad about him. I don’t know. Either way, threatening legal action because somebody quoted your candidate saying something retarded in an ad can’t really be interpreted as good politics.

Deal with it, guys! The sheer chutzpah it takes to aggressively smear political opponents with bogus stories like, “he isn’t actually a war hero” or “he’s a cover terrorist” and then turn around and cry lawsuit over legitimate criticisms of your candidates is astonishing. Grow some fucking vertebrate.

This week in nightmare verbs
April 28, 2008

Hannidate.

Hannidate – The place where people of like conservative minds can come together to meet. Whether you are looking for a life partner, or just someone to hang out with, here you’ll be able to find exactly who you are looking for, locally or around the world. It’s fun, interactive, safe and anonymous – until you decide to take it further.

I don’t know about you, but the thought of going on a (shudder) Hannidate makes my heart clench up in the cold, bony grip of terror. It makes my hands sweat and my eyes roll up in my head. It makes me contemplate escape routes, but from the immediate area and, failing that, from the very mortal coil. It’s like looking at whatever HP Lovecraft saw in his mind’s eye as his failing brain broke free of reality and provided one last horrible hallucination to a dying man. To Hannidate is to submerge yourself in frothing, viscous madness.

On the other hand, it’s almost certainly preferable to a Coulternalia.

His Hagelness
April 28, 2008

Just a quick reminder – if you’ve got questions you’d like me to ask Chuck Hagel, you’ve got until 6 PM tonight to submit them. If there’s one I really like in there, I’ll try to get a word in at the Q&A part.

As for the Cohen-Nunn dialogue thing … I think I’m going to skip that. I’ve got other things to do, including story revisions, a final paper, an American Politics project and putting this film contest entry together. And I’m really much more interested in the Hagel thing.

UPDATE: Bah, never mind. I don’t think I’m going to the Hagel thing, either. The amount of work I have to do this week and next week is beyond ridiculous.

The pure hysterical awesomeness of Leningrad Cowboys
April 27, 2008

Today I was busy filming a short piece co-written and co-starring me and my good friend/Cracked article collaborator Peter for this film contest (with a cameo by Alex). Editing is going to be happening later, but I’m pretty pumped. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is an awesome show, and if FX greenlit that, I think that’s sufficient cause for me to get my hopes up. Plus, so many things have already gone terribly wrong – from our original director getting really really sick at the last minute to us ditching our original script at the last minute because it sucked, to technical difficulties transferring the DV to my computer – that there’s some serious film contest-related karma coming our way.

None of that’s really important, though. What is important is that Peter had read this post on Ze Frank’s blog (which I really should add to my RSS reader now that The Show is over). And he passed on the awesomeness that is Leningrad Cowboys to me.

What’s Leningrad Cowboys? See the video below the fold. But be warned – you’ll be staring into the eyes of madness.
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Jokes I’m too mature to make
April 26, 2008

Via TRex’s blog, there’s a story about a bunch of Republican bigwigs (including Ted “the muckmonster” Stevens, Dick Cheney and Ed “probably not related to Henry” Rollins) gathering together to dine on … uh …

Former senator Paul Laxalt’s all male, annual lamb fry dinner at the Georgetown Club tends not to be an especially raucous affair. The 28th dinner the other night, prepared as always in Basque style in honor of Laxalt’s heritage, featured the usual delicacy of the night, lamb’s testicles, which are said to have unusual medicinal qualities.

Now, reading that, your first impression would probably be, “I bet there’s an amusing metaphor that could be made out of the image of Ted Stevens feasting on the genitalia of innocent, complacent farm animals!” Well, you’d be wrong. Look, people, different cultures have different delicacies. Sure sheep testicles seems like a strange thing to eat in America, but so what? If there’s one thing that the Republican Party has always stood for, it’s diversity in the dishes served at their extravagant fundraisers.

So rest assured, there is nothing even remotely funny about the idea of Dick Cheney grinning and sweating with excitement as a meek servant places a plate with still-quivering testicles surrounded by mint sprigs before him. Nor is there anything funny, or even ironic, about former Romney campaign and Huckabee campaign staffers sitting around with balls in their mouths. Which is why I’m going to totally abstain from making crude jokes about teabagging or other ballsac-related activities. Because this is a serious blog and we only discuss serious issues.

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