Archive for August, 2010

Young Guns…Seriously?

August 31, 2010

A group of young (ish) Republicans have taken it upon themselves to save the party…they’ve given themselves a nickname (never a good idea), wrote a shallow, useless book, and created an accompanying (insanely corny) informercial.  This is the embodiment of career suicide.  It’s amazing to me that they all sat down together, watched the video, and still decided to release it…self-awareness is an oft-forgotten virtue…there is only one word to describe this wayward trio…dorks.

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The Hater Report #40

August 31, 2010

1)  Eight people were killed in a Molotov cocktail attack at a bar in Cancun.  I think it’s official…Mexico is a third world country…long gone are the wild, carefree days when the Girls Went Wild:  (LINK)

2)  Christopher Hitchens body-slams Glenn Beck.  Even in the grips of death, the man can verbally gut an adversary with the best of them…slaughters his cheesy rally with a brutally accurate description…“large, vague, moist, and undirected—the Waterworld of white self-pity”:  (LINK)

 3)  In news of the unexpected, a recent study found that heavy drinkers outlive non-drinkers.  So now, not only are their stories a tremendous bore, but the sober also die young…sucks to be a nerd:  (LINK)

4)  Serbia hosts the 7th Annual World Testicle Cooking Championship.  There are literally so many jokes that could apply to this story that I couldn’t choose just one…frozen by the paralysis of the Tyranny of Choice, I choose none:  (LINK)

5)  25% of strippers in England have an undergraduate degree…so it’s not just a clever sales strategy to play on the empathetic pity of drunken slobs?  Huh…it would appear that I owe Krystal and Jade an apology:  (LINK)

Straight Heat of the Day: August 31st, 2010

August 31, 2010

The Raconteurs…Carolina Drama…Live from The Culture Show on BBC2…Jack White is King Midas…everything he touches turns to gold…

Terse Verse O’erheard

August 31, 2010

“I don’t mess with scrapple ever since my sister

Told me all the stuff they put in there.  I ain’t trying to

Eat no pig tongue, pig tail

And all that.  I’ll eat a hotdog, though.

On hotdog labels they don’t list

All them nasty parts.”

-coworker who yearns for greater opacity in food labeling, Aug. ’10

Terse Verse O’erheard

August 30, 2010

“That’s why you don’t fuck around

In the same group of friends.

I mean, that was his

O.G. girlfriend.”

-patron reminding cashier friend about the sanctity of the much-coveted “O.G.” status, The Piazza at Schmidt’s, Aug. ’10

The Hater Report #39

August 27, 2010

1)  Glenn Beck is holding a massive rally this weekend on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Whimsically dubbed, The Restoring Honor Rally, many have suggested that, due to the rampant inbreeding that  is sure to exist amongst the attendees, it might be more appropriate to just call it what it really is…a family reunion:  (LINK)

2)  Former George W. Bush campaign chief, Ken Mehlman, has announced that he is gay!  Notorious for running a rabidly anti-gay, campaign, this news came as a shock to many political observers…I guess they never thought to check his Facebook information page…I don’t know many straight men whose professed occupation is “being fabulous”:  (LINK)

3)  Vladimir Putin spent last Wednesday shooting gray whales with a crossbow off the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula.  When his entourage got back to shore, he wrestled a bear into submission, raced a panther, scaled a mountain, and ate a 96 ounce steak…raw:  (LINK)

4)  A Great White Shark has been spotted off the coast of Provincetown.  There’s a good joke in this story somewhere.  Hmmmm.  I know what gay horses eat, but I haven’t a clue as to the culinary preferences of gay sharks:  (LINK)

Straight Heat of the Day: August 27th, 2010

August 27, 2010

La Roux…In For the Kill…Live at Abbey Road 2009…one of the best new voices on the scene…no need for autotune when you’ve developed supreme vocal mastery…I’m looking at you Katie Perry…

Terse Verse O’erheard

August 27, 2010

“I don’t panic. Anything bad happens

I just dial nine eleven:

Amblance servinces.”

– man revealing a masterwork of preparedness outside Jefferson Hospital, Phila., Aug. ’10

A Scissors and Paste Man Robs the Rag and Bone Shop

August 26, 2010

When discussing future content for this blog with my execrable associate, M. Dangerfield, Esq., we often mull over the relative merits of content generated wholly by us and content appropriated from elsewhere and then hauled onstage like a shackled beast for readers to boo or revere. I’m sometimes reluctant to appropriate from other sites, to come to you with nothing but pockets a-bursting with what I’ve collected in my Internet travels: lots of links, lint, trumpery, bits of butcher’s twine, gewgaws, to say nothing of Band-aids what’ve lost their stick, doodads, dead beetles, half a robin’s bluer-than-thou eggshell, clouded baubles and too-cute curios. A flimflam man peddling day-old whim-whams. Weak.

But this is how it’s done now, no? Henceforth I will heed the words of the poet Michael Donaghy: “For me, all information is fair game. And Western civilization is a posh shop with the security cameras turned off.” I guess I knew this already, but sometimes it’s still nice to hear it from someone else.

The Hater Report #38

August 25, 2010

1)  A fire tornado swept across Brazil yesterday.  Citizens were initially terrified until they realized that it had totally decimated the decades-long AIDs tornado:  (LINK)

 2)  A Polish man was shot in the head while he was drunk and didn’t realize it until five years later.  Obvious Polish jokes aside, this is an incredible story.  Alcohol is a miracle drug…it can make you abandon your children, beat your wife, flunk out of college, pee your pants, and, apparently, survive gunshot wounds to the back of the dome:  (LINK)

 3)  Three Colombian teens whose names appear on a Facebook Hit List have been killed in the past 10 days.  I can’t think of a list I’d be less enthused to appear on.  Colombians don’t seem to know much outside of coffee and cocaine, but they clearly have a firm grasp on the whole murder concept:  (LINK)

4)  A “Beat Whitey Night” was held in Iowa.  Unfortunate title.  I can’t figure out why the event organizers went this route.  I attended last year and it was lovely.  Punch was served, people from all walks of life held hands, laughter rang through the valley, and the night culminated in a rousing fairground-wide square dance to the Electric Slide…the true anthem of racial harmony.  I’m saddened to see them stray so far from the original script…ha:  (LINK)

5)  Grave robbers steal a woman’s corpse from a crypt.  Uh…guys.  I hate to point out the obvious, but Bernie is a man’s name?  There’s no way a classy, dead lady from a mausoleum is going to reanimate at the behest of cheesy reggae music:  (LINK)

Straight Heat of the Day: August 25th, 2010

August 25, 2010

Scissor Sisters…Take Your Mamma Out…Live at Brit Awards 2o05…dedicated to little brother of Mowgli on his day of days…shake your tailfeathers and show Galway how it’s done…

Baltimoronic Part 8

August 25, 2010

This brings us to the point of our little tirade, which is this: Peace cannot be willed upon Baltimore.  The malignant spirit of Poe hangs heavily over the Charm City like a coastal fog or marshlands miasma.  If Baltimore’s reputation, nay, its destiny, is a violent one, why not play it to the hilt?  Is it not better to be feared than ignored?  Put up Poe’s likeness so that it’s looming everywhere.  Offer The Wire-themed armored-car tours of the city’s meanest streets, or a Homocide survey of its most notorious crime scenes.  Acknowledge, no, embrace how the city appears to the outside world: as the grubby little bastard-child of the megapolis, as “The City That Bleeds.”

On Things Hitchens

August 25, 2010

Christopher Hitchens will no doubt put cancer in a chokehold and belittle it for a few more years before finally letting it have sway, at which point secular humanists the world ’round will be gnashing teeth, but before then, a poem by Roz Kaveney.

It’s going to be hard without this guy around. Not to bury him before he’s finished his Scotch, but I can’t help considering how strange it is to have reached the age in which the public figures I admire threaten to drop off. Previously, whenever I’d hear Don McLean’s “American Pie,” I’d think his sulking over passing celebrities was not befitting a grown man. Such indulgent sorrow over deaths of those who one does not know personally seemed to me the province of sentimental, woebegone housewives addicted to E! and white wine. When Kurt Cobain died, I, who loved his albums, was in thrall to the media coverage, but to be honest, on that day I was excited, not sorrowful. A prominent citizen in the sleepy backwater of my imagination–I felt a certain ownership, you see–had made national news. Local boy done good. (Only he done bad.)

But it’ll be different with Hitchens. To my meager lights he seems irreplaceable and too important to be allowed to leave. He ought to be stopped. We ought to write nasty letters to editors, interrupt our respective neighborhood associations’ meetings, and storm the medical research labs while demanding action, action, and still more action while promising bloody reprisals if we don’t get our way. Probably, someone should get working on a nice ballad, too. Just in case.

Straight Heat of the Day: August 24th, 2010

August 24, 2010

Big Mama Thornton ft. Buddy Guy…Hound Dog…1965…Her simple stand and deliver presentation is dominant…talk about pipes!

The Hater Report #37

August 24, 2010

1)  Tea Party darling, Sharron Angle, campaigned against a football team wearing black jerseys because she argued that black is a ‘thoroughly evil’ color.  During the same campaign, she also advocated the removal of all Mogwais from  local pet shops , highlighting the dangerous knowledge that if you feed them after midnight, they will turn into Gremlins:  (LINK)

2)  China’s 60 mile traffic jam drags into its 10th day.  At what point do you just say screw it and ditch the car?  No earthly possession could possibly be worth this amount of aggravation:  (LINK)

3)  550 million eggs have been recalled in the United States due to a widespread salmonella outbreak.  Is it wrong that I’m now craving an Egg McMuffin?:  (LINK)

 4)  Chuck Norris refuses to believe that Obama is a Christian.  His evidence?  When asked for a source of inspiration in his life, Obama cited Gandhi instead of Jesus.  A Hindu?  How dare he?  What does it say about a country when the star of Walker Texas Ranger is considered to be a leading religious expert?:  (LINK)

Physics and Free Will

August 24, 2010

American Philosopher, David Sosa in Waking Life (2001).  Breaks down the challenge of assessing free will in a world that is governed by strict physical laws.  Can free will even exist within the framework of contemporary physical theory?  If not, where does that leave us?

Terse Verse O’erheard

August 24, 2010

I.

“I could get a guy ten times

Better than you who’d do better

By me than you ever did,

But I don’t, Joe. I stay with you,

Joe. I stay with you. And you wanna know

Why? Because we have three kids and we’ve

Been together five years.

II.

We’ve been together five years.

You don’t just up and leave

Because you think I’m

Controlling you, Joe.

You don’t do that.

You sit me down and say,

‘Bitch, stop controlling me.’

You beat the shit out of me until I stop.

You don’t just

Leave.”

-neighbor making tender peace overtures to estranged boyfriend in middle of South Philly street, Aug. 23, 2010

Straight Heat of the Day: August 23rd, 2010

August 23, 2010

Blockhead…The Music Scene…Wild video…Strange quixotic cartoon journey…One of the best animated videos I’ve seen since Gorillaz, “Rock the House”

The Hater Report #36

August 23, 2010

1)  Iran unveils its first ever, unmanned bomber aircraft.  Dubbed, “The Ambassador of Death,” it looks more like a cheap prop from a 1950s science fiction movie than a weapon of mass destruction…I can even see the film’s title now… “The Day the Earth Stood Still…To Laugh at Iran”:  (LINK)

2)  Philadelphia is attempting to charge bloggers $300 for the privilege of blogging in the city.  Did you hear that stampede of rumbling footsteps?  That was the sound of 500 lonely nerds thundering up the basement stairs to beg their mothers for a check:  (LINK)

3)  Mystery illness strikes football team.  Apparently, ‘mystery illness’ is the new code word for steroids:  (LINK)

4)  An 85 year old grandfather was caught trying to smuggle pot to his grandson in jail.  It sure is heartwarming to see some good old fashioned, inter-generational bonding between a family of fine, upstanding American citizens.  Guess what state this happened in.  I’ll give you two hints: jean shorts are still considered high fashion and the producers of Cops love to film here…Florida?  Ah, close!  Great guess, but it’s Ohio!:  (LINK)

The Girl Can’t Help It (Frank Tashlin, 1956)

August 23, 2010

Whenever news arrives of an illustrious talent’s passing, especially if his or her work has left an indelible imprint on my heart, in a split-second I have a vivid flashback to the circumstances that led me to discover such a talent in the first place.  Immediately upon hearing of jazz legend Abbey Lincoln’s recent death, I recalled a gorgeous scene of Lincoln swathed in carmine red against a backdrop of richly hued blue, belting out a vibrant gospel song in Frank Tashlin’s oft-overlooked masterpiece The Girl Can’t Help It. Although Abbey only graces the cinematic stage briefly, her presence and charm and lovely voice caught my fancy, even in a film filled to the brim with shimmering musical acts and lovely ladies. Enjoy for yourself:

Even if this performance was the only worthwhile tidbit to glean from the film I’d still be grateful, but luckily that is not the case: The film’s an exuberant knockout. It’s got a lot of what they call ‘the most’.  Its frothy plot concerns a cigar-fellatin’ bigwig mobster, Fats Murdock, who can’t see marrying his girlfriend until she’s “someone,” so he hires musical talent scout Tom Miller to make a star out of the dame, who shh! secretly wants nothing to do with fame.  This girl being Jayne Mansfield though, Miller falls for her hard. Comedic plot points set in motion, the movie can now commence to charming your heart out and delighting your ears with the numerous musical acts flecked throughout.

Rarely is there an actor-director pairing more harmonious than Mansfield and Tashlin.  Although they only did two films together she seems essential in his cinematic fabric, which is highly informed by his past as a successful animator.  With her cartoonish, improbably stacked body and heaving bazoongas (40-18-36, fellas), impeccable comedic timing, and the slightest whiff of meta* to her performances, she teetered on the tightrope between self-satirization and self-celebration (*Mansfield was in reality an incredibly intelligent ladyfox who cunningly cultivated her sexpot image, and the film definitely acknowledges this in a wink-wink way).  In Mansfield’s cartoon curves and persona is manifest the tone of the movie as a whole, which straddles biting satire of the music industry and 50s values and yet celebrates them all the same.  The satire is there, palpable, but the film is awash in happiness; there is undeniable, uninhibited pleasure felt in the music in the film and the sincere sweetness of Mansfield’s performance.

So for Abbey Lincoln… for the CinemaScope-size smile the film leaves slapped silly on my face…Thanks, Frank.

 

Asleep atop a Snoozing Giant, or, Die, Monday, Die!

August 23, 2010

Monday. Like a cursed tribe gone dumb and numb we plod with lowered heads toward the towers where we’ll waste the next eight hours without once stopping to consider the hulking buildings themselves, those pillars like the legs of fog-wreathed colossi who’ve let lassitude root them. In the way of small relief from your woes, I give you Roberto Bolaño’s sketch of a skyscraper in 2666. I think you’ll agree that it’s excellent. It’s for moments like this that I read novels.

At night she slept in the most modern building in Lourdes, a functionalist monster of steel and glass that buried its head, bristling with antennas, in the white clouds that floated down from the north, big and sorrowful, or marched from the west like a ragtag army whose only strength was its numbers, or dropped from the Pyrenees like the ghosts of dead beasts.

I pray the monsters wake. May they shake off their torpor and move on while we spring from them like smiling fleas.

Straight Heat of the Day: August 20th, 2010

August 20, 2010

Treme Sidewalk Steppers Second Line featuring Rebirth Brass Band…(Because I Used to Love Her) But it’s All Over Now…Live 2009…infectious grooves…perfect vibe for a sunny summer Friday…

Terse Verse O’erheard

August 20, 2010

“You kids never tell your mother

How pretty she is. She told me

She put on pearls for Easter

And nobody noticed. Her sister is

The Sweet One

but your mother is

The Pretty One.

Got all dressed up and

Nobody

Said

Anything.”

-bag lady to dumbstruck school kids on 18 Bus, Philly

Cerebral Reckoning: “Junky”

August 19, 2010

I had the misfortune of sitting next to an obnoxious, young Irish man during last week’s Liverpool v. Arsenal match.  I’m not a huge soccer fan but I enjoy the spirit of the game…especially the part where you have a legitimate excuse to drink at 11 am on Sunday morning.  While it sure beats church, the fans, particularly in America, can be a brutal lot.  It’s almost like they need you to know & acknowledge their high level of fandom..in the bar, they’re always the loudest…the Irish guy fit firmly into this category of lout.  I spent the entire first half of the game listening to him explain to me why soccer is better than football.  It was intensely annoying.  For the duration of the conversation, I desperately searched for a way out of this nightmare…fake cell phone emergency call…smash a pint glass on his face…simply run away…I struggled to find the perfect solution, but then, as I finished my fourth Guiness, it finally hit me…the perfect quote to silence an Irishman…I spoke slowly (so he would understand) and deliberately:

“There was a man standing by the jukebox and I caught his eye several times…He looked like one of those terra-cotta heads that you plant grass in.  A peasant face, with peasant intuition, stupidity, shrewdness, and malice.  He couldn’t have been anything but Irish.”

(Burroughs, Willam S.  Junky, New York:  Penguin Books, 1953, p. 61)

His reaction was angry, but it ended the conversation.