Saturday, June 02, 2007

SamuraiFrog Sapiens Sapiens

First I picked Johnny Yen as one of my five bloggers for the Thinking Blogger Award, and then he graciously returns the honor to me, which means I've been picked for a second time! I could play it off or not mention it, I suppose, but hey, I'm arrogant. And besides, this way I get to pick five more people for the award! It goes like this:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.

There are so many people who have been chosen for this, so apologies to some of my favorite bloggers if I don't pick them because I know they've already done it (you know who you are, pongid, piratical, political, pin-up, practical and pop cultural personages). Hell, if you really make me think, I've already got a link to you in my ever-lengthening sidebar.

Here are five more bloggers who make me think.

1. I'm not sure he goes in for this sort of blog thing ever, but John at The Last Visible Blog has one of the most thoughtful blogs I've ever seen. Pop culture, politics, music, religion--it's like looking at what my own blog could be if I grew up and took this thing seriously. Which is probably why I rip him off so much. A little. Ish.

2. I'm new to Layercake, but I feel as if I should have been reading it all along. Heidi serves up some must-see videos along with pop news and information that works for me. She's fun as hell.

3. Confession time. When I first saw Tom the Dog's You Know What I Like?, I almost considered throwing in the towel on this place. Talk about your in-depth reviews of TV, movies, music, comics, and more. Actually, scratch that--he doesn't review, he criticizes, which is more thoughtful and takes more time. It's a great blog that I check every day.

4. What can I say about Byzantium's Shores? It's more than just a place I constantly rip memes from. Jaquandor is the smartest overalls-clad hippie I've ever even heard of, and whether he's ruminating on Star Wars (and check out his amazingly sound defense of the prequel trilogy, it made me re-examine the movies) or on journalism or science fiction or blogging itself, his posts are always thoughtful and worthwhile. You should go there. Now. Seriously, NOW.

5. Did you think I'd forget about you, Bon? HI-WATT-Cha Doing? is a sister-in-arms in the cause of great music. Every day or so she's got some kind of gem up on her front page, and I love every second of it.

Bonus: Whatever name it goes by, Joe's Movie Corner often makes me think: "When, Lord, when are the JMC Movie Awards going to be finished?" He's calling it 7 June, now, but that's only one reason to read my fellow film fanatic's fine, um... flog. Couldn't pull that one off, damn.

The Bible Summarized by a Smartass, Part Thirty-Three: Epistles

It almost seems bizarre to me that the bulk of the books of the New Testament are just a series of collected letters regarding Church function and how cool Jesus is (especially versus Judaism). But, here we are. These eight books are also epistles, just not written by Paul. They're all very short (some only lasting half a page), so I'm going to blow through them quickly.

Hebrews
Dear Jews,
God spoke to our ancestors, but then he sent us his son Jesus to purify our sins with his death and his love. So, if you want salvation, you have to believe in Jesus.
Signed,
?

James
Dear Jews,
If you want salvation, you have to believe in Jesus.
Love,
Jim

1 Peter
Dear Christ Fans,
Live the gospels! Rock on! Keep reaching for the dream!
Love,
Pete

2 Peter
Dear Christ Fans,
Jesus is a-comin’, so be good.
Love,
Pete

1 John
Dear Christ Fans,
Watch out for the antichrist! He’s coming to get you! But when he does come, then Jesus will return to fight him! So, yay, antichrist!
Love,
John

2 John
Dear Unnamed Woman,
Be a good Christian. Don’t make me tell you again.
Love,
John

3 John
Dear Gaius,
I love you. Possibly in a romantic way, because I refer to you as “beloved” over and over again. See you soon! You know what I mean.
Love,
John

Jude
Dear Christ Fans,
I just plagiarized 2 Peter. Hope you enjoy it again!
Love,
Jude

And that's how it's done. Because, you know, what else is there? You love Jesus, I get it. There's not even anything about Church regulations or anything to argue about. If you think the Bible is necessary (an opinion I obviously don't share), what do you make of these epistles? They seem pretty superfluous to me. Anyway, on to next week: The Revelation to John! The Bible has been building up to its hellzapoppin', pyrotechnical, special effects filled masterpiece for the past 33 weeks! Will it deliver on its promise? Or will it be an overlong, self-important, Jerry Bruckheimer-produced snoozefest? As long as there are monkeys, who cares!

There are no monkeys in the Revelation?

Oh, man...

That Thing You Do!

In 1996, I went to see That Thing You Do! on a whim by myself on a Saturday afternoon. That was a difficult time in my life; I was sharing an apartment with a loser I worked with, I'd been demoted and given a paycut at my job, and everything just seemed pointless and upsetting. On a July afternoon, I took myself out to see this movie; my 20th birthday was approaching, and I like Tom Hanks, and I went to see That Thing You Do! And after I came out, everything seemed okay. I had a song in my heart (a catchy one at that), a smile on my face, and a massive crush on Liv Tyler that has yet to fade.

Now, it's just six weeks until my 31st birthday. Life is not in a great place once again; I'm broke and unemployed, I'm a college grad with no job prospects, and everything once again seems pointless and upsetting. And an extended cut of That Thing You Do! has just been released on DVD. And it's like seeing the movie for the first time once again. And once again, I've got a catchy song in my heart, a smile on my face, and a massive crush on Liv Tyler which, really, has been there for the last 11 years.

I like this movie. I just like this movie.

I like the fact that Tom Hanks wrote and directed it and didn't get all pretentious about it. I like that it's a labor of love; he's one of a very few actors today who feels like he makes a movie because he really loves something--like the space program, or World War II history, or pop music. I like that the characters don't feel forced, and that the film never feels like Hanks is trying to make some kind of grand point about American life. I like that Hanks put himself in a side role, as well as his beautiful wife and his kids--and even old friends and co-stars who make small appearances, including Peter Scolari, Mark McClure, Clint Howard, Philadelphia director Jonathan Demme, and Bryan Cranston (who, I noted as a geek, plays astronaut Gus Grissom in this film, and went on to play Buzz Aldrin in the Hanks-produced series From the Earth to the Moon). I like that the bass player played by Ethan Embry barely talks, and is identified in the final scroll as "T.B. Player" (although I'm sure bass players hate that). It's an extremely likeable movie.

This extended version is like rediscovering a friend you thought you knew. The added scenes (25 minutes of them) don't necessarily change the tone of the picture, but they do provide a fuller scope. For one thing, there is more of Charlize Theron and Liv Tyler, and that can only be a good thing. Every picture really needs more Liv Tyler, I think. It rounds out the characters so that they're more indentifiable as characters, yet still somehow universal. They're types, but they're types with personality.

The disc comes with both versions of the movie, which is a nice courtesy that many DVDs seem to forget to include these days. The second disc is mostly making-of features, which are nice to watch because, honestly, this movie looks like it was fun to make. There's commentary on the first disc by the members of the band, including darling Liv. The whole set is light, bouncy and, like the movie, doesn't take itself too seriously.

And there's that insanely catchy theme tune that just doesn't leave your head. And frankly, I hope it never does.


This movie makes me feel good, which is more than enough to ask of any movie. If you're interested in having a good time, pick yourself up a copy and just enjoy the hell out of it.

Muppets of the Caribbean

What's the best movie Disney ever made about pirates? Why, Muppet Treasure Island, of course.



Watching Pirates of the Caribbean, especially the third movie, is like watching someone make Scooby Doo with a script by William Faulkner--totally silly, taken with the utmost, incongruous seriousness. Throughout that entire movie, I kept wishing that something would happen to enliven the proceedings. Something like this:



Ah, if only. A fun movie about pirates, what a concept! I think Disney should be putting a figure of Kermit the Frog as Captain Smollett next to the Jack Sparrow they stuck in their Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Maybe I should take my own ship and storm the place. Crew sound off!

Who hired this crew?! Why, a cook and a man who lives in a bear's finger.

Classic Photoshoot #4

Bebe Buell, Playboy, 1974

Know How I Know You Link?

I saw you make a link dip in a loaf of sourdough bread once.

In case anyone's ever looking for a master list of my weekly links posts, here it be. Additions as they come. Look for it in your friendly neighborhood index.

Hey! Links!
The Links of Bilbo Baggins
Standing on the Shoulders of Links
Touch My Links!
I’ve Heard the Links of the Vegetables
Fuck You Very Much for Linking Me
You Got the Links
Monkey vs. Robot!
I’m Linking Fantasticisms
Bulbous Links
Linkjob
Baby Got Links
Man of Links
I’m a Soft Link Expert
If You Only Linked
World’s Finest Links
Need Links?
Rocky Links
Batman’s Gonna Get Linked in the Face
Who Do You Link, You?
The Linklord
The Power of Link Suggestion
Father Link
Ahoy Links
Banana Links
Run It Up the Flagpole and See Who Links
Link Before Dishonor
They Call Me Doctor Links
The Secret World of Links
Roy Links
It Took 6 Whole Hours and 5 Whole Days for All Your Links to Come Undone
Honestly, You Link Just Like Him
Let the Links Hit the Floor
Wassup Links
What the Link Is a Sammo-Flange?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Throwdown 6/1

15 random thoughts, questions, and observations for the week.

1. PSA: Ladies, please don’t show off your thongs if you can’t wear them properly. Or, you know, don’t wear them at all…

2. According to experts, women are naturally bustier than they were even 15 years ago, and the E cup is the new C cup. Tell me again how evolution isn’t awesome?

3. Um…good to know.

4. David Hyde-Pierce apparently came out of the closet officially. Is there a coming out party for that sort of thing? Anyway, I thought everyone knew he was already gay. He used to not comment on it. I remember a magazine asking him once, and he said something I’ve never forgotten because I thought it was great: “My life is an open book, I just don’t intend to read it to anyone.” Good for you; it’s your sexuality, right?

5. Well, thank you once again, everyone who didn’t go see Grindhouse. Thanks to the failure of that film, it seems doubtful that Dimension is going to spend the money so Robert Rodriguez can make Sin City 2. So, thanks a bunch. Must the American audience ruin my entire moviegoing life? Every time something sounds interesting, truly interesting, either no one goes and it fails, or it goes straight to DVD, or it barely gets released. Oh, yes, you love it when everyone rips off Terry Gilliam’s movies, but God forbid you’d actually go see one. So, you know, enjoy your three more installments of Pirates of the Caribbean and you two more Shrek movies and your latest movie where Eddie Murphy plays a fat woman, since you so clearly deserve them.

6. Speaking of Shrek, Jeffrey Katzenberg has said there will be only (only?) two more movies in the series. He claims: “It’s a finite story, has been from the beginning and I think that’s part of its integrity, part of its strength, that we’re not thinking this up as we go.” Integrity? Strength? How about total bullshit? This is what I was talking about with Pirates the other day: they are completely making it up as they go along, and pretending that they aren’t. And it’s a lie. Dude, your story has no integrity or strength except to sell Happy Meals, so let’s just stop this farce right now.

7. Was Princess Diana an anorexic man who looked like a piece of dried shoe leather? No? Then why does someone in Hollywood want to cast Keira Knightley to play her in Diana and the Paparazzi. Diana died under terrible circumstances, why make her suffer this indignity? I think there’s definitely a movie to be made about Diana, but I’d like to see one that’s not just about the last, tumultuous chapter of her life. Whatever her personal life was, she was a person I’ll always respect because of what she did for children suffering from AIDS. When she hugged that baby on camera, it did so much to erase the myth that you could contract AIDS just by touching someone. And if they want to make a movie about her life, I’ll be there to watch it. But Keira Knightley? If this is about Diana’s death, why did they decide to cast someone 22 years old? Is it because Keira’s so thin that all of the moisture in her body is gone and it just makes her look old? Are they confused? No, she only looks 47.

8. No story, I just thought that was really, really funny.

9. As dumb as Parasite Hilton is, apparently her friends are even dumber. Says one of Parasite's coming jail stay: “It’s going to make her more famous than ever. In jail, she’s going to get enviably skinny, and without any make-up or products her hair and skin will finally be able to breathe, so they’ll look amazing, too. Plus she’s going to get all that street cred.” I hate the youth of America.

10. Electronic Cerebrectomy briefly breaks its self-imposed silence on Lindsay Lohan to stare at these pictures, ponder how kids grow up, and wonder if I still want to have any.

11. Ack! Why aren’t you dead yet?

12. US Weekly is pointing out the mistakes of other tabloids? Didn’t they just admit they put Janet Jackson on the cover for losing 60 pounds and then Photoshopped that cover? To make her look thinner? Am I the only one who saw that?

13. I never get tired of hearing about stupid movie studio decisions. So, as a promotion for Rise of the Silver Surfer, Fox marketing people put this image on 40,000 US quarters. The coins were distributed, 800 to each state, just before Memorial Day weekend. And the Franklin Mint actually put the image on the coins. However…the US Mint was not informed until after the fact. They didn’t know until the media contacted them. And the US Mint has to approve this kind of thing. It is, in fact, illegal to turn any form of legal tender into advertising. Fox not knowing I get, Fox doesn’t know anything. But the Franklin Mint not checking on it? Wow, what does that say about them? This is a lot of trouble to go to for a movie barely anyone’s going to see.

14. Interview is for sale! The entire magazine! Oh, man, if I could afford that, I’d buy it in a second. Who doesn’t want to read Interview presents Electronic Cerebrectomy Magazine? Well, everyone probably, but still… Scarlett Johansson, first cover. The whole magazine’s irrelevant now, anyway, why not do something awesome with it?


15. I’m going to teach my kid to say this to Peter Andre too. Nothing against the guy, it’s just hilarious. Love you, Katie, and I hope everything gets better soon. Peter’s just gotten out of the hospital (meningitis) and Harvey just walked into a mirror and cut himself (he’s been blind since birth). I don’t care, I love these people.

Run It Up the Flagpole and See Who Links

Now that I've made you feel nauseous and/or confused, how about the links of the week?

* The Secret History of Star Wars
* Filmwad on director's cuts (thanks to Semaj).
* Layercake on copyright info.
* Tom the Dog posts his preview of the new FOX shows, rounding out his Unfair Previews week.
* Fjetsam on the terrible new look of The Clone Wars.
* Helm's Deep with Muppets. Check it out, it's hilarious.
* Man vs. Clown! rocks around the clock.

Well, Miss Mexico didn't win. But Miss Japan is lovely, too. Marius recaps the pageant.
* Gorgeous new pictures of Aria Giovanni at the Skullcave.
* Bulletproof Bracelets changes my perception of Anna Paquin.
* Living Between Wednesdays rate super hunk number 8: Wally West, the Flash.
* I love Supergirl's new look.
* I still don't know if it can be turned into a good movie, but Splotchy has a great alternate plot for The Matrix Reloaded. He also goes to a movie with Marky Mark in it.
* J.D. Judge counts down the movies he's most looking forward to this year.
* Exquisitely Bored in Nacogdoches has the Mach Five for the Speed Racer movie.
* Yeeeah! and The Gilded Moose deconstruct Britney's latest missives.
* Kilgore’s Kitchen with a song that just makes me smile.
* Hilarious picture of genocide thanks to MC.

Simply because she's one of the three or four most goddamn beautiful things I've ever seen, retroCRUSH's Ann-Margret gallery.
* The Onion A.V. Club interviews Seth Rogen.
* The Top 10 Secret Celebrity Scientologists (at Cracked)
* Surprise, surprise, Dr. Laura's son is also an idiot. Semaj will tell you about it.
* The Last Visible Blog with a message for the press.
* My poetic Cap'n Dyke with a chantey for Memorial Day. It takes a strong pirate to cry.
* Here Comes Johnny Yen Again with some sound thoughts on torture.
* Dr. Zaius on John Aravosis, Keith Olbermann, and Michelle Malkin's increasingly tenuous hold of reality.
* Dr. Monkey on Emperor Cheney, some drastic new Homeland Security red flags, Hollywood's biggest whore, Fred Thompson, and a reply to one of my commentors.
* The Rude Pundit on the idiocy of Cal Thomas.
* More reasons not to elect Mitt Romney at The Huffington Post.
* Quick note: Dr. Monkey has a link up at his site to sign a petition to impeach Dick Cheney. I signed it yesterday, and it sent notification to my state's congresspersons and senators. I got a confirmation notice back from Dennis Hastert's office. His outgoing email still comes from "Speaker J. Dennis Hastert." Speaker? Get over it already.
* Blue Gal makes me a little ashamed to think of skipping out on this country while it folds in on itself. Am I a coward? You bet. But since it looks like I'll never be getting out of my apartment in DeKalb again, I'm gonna suck it up and keep fighting.

Layercake put up this video, and I was going to link to her, but I just decided to put it up. It's everywhere by now and everyone's already seen it, but I don't care, it makes me happy.

Friday Five, ca. 1994

Johnny Yen is now one of the few to tag me. This is a music meme, and I thought I'd use it for this week's Friday Five. Here's how it works:

1. Go to http://www.popculturemadness.com/
2. Pick the year you turned 18
3. Get yourself nostalgic over the song’s of the year
4. Write something about how the song affected you
5. Pass it on to 5 more friends

Johnny modified his slightly, because he went to the list for his year and saw a bunch of disco. Well, for me, 1994 is no better. Seriously, here are the top five songs of 1994:

1. "The Sign," Ace Of Base
2. "I Swear," All-4-One
3. "I'll Make Love To You," Boyz II Men
4. "The Power Of Love," Celine Dion
5. "Hero," Mariah Carey

Who were you people listening to this garbage? I certainly wasn't one of you. From the whole period between 1990 and 1998, I just stopped listening to the radio and went back to my CDs and the CDs other people made for me. The radio was like a minefield then; you never know when a Mariah Carey or something is going to explode and take your face off.

So I went and looked up the top 100 songs for the year, and managed to find a few that I liked. You'll find them now in the Box to your right.

1. Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories: "Stay"
Remember Reality Bites, the Gen X movie Ben Stiller directed with Ethan Hawke as a slacker that felt it was oh so important? Thankfully, neither does history. But this song is still remembered, and I had this one lying around on a mix CD. It's a nice enough song, and listening to it again made me a little nostalgic. I always thought it should've been a little faster, with stronger drums and a rhythm guitar, like something the Rolling Stones would've recorded around 1965. Imagine a "Backstreet Girl" or "Memo from Turner" sort of vibe on this one. Still, the original tune is not unpleasant.

2. Seal: "Prayer for the Dying" [acoustic]
I love Seal, but I don't have any of his albums except for the acoustic version of The Best of Seal and a promo of Seal IV. So I've put up the acoustic version of this great song. There is indeed a man who knows how to put together a hit single. Kudos, too, to his producer, Trevor Horn, whom I will always remember as one of the Buggles.

3. Bruce Springsteen: "Streets of Philadelphia"
I still get sad every time I hear this. I know it's "just" a song for a movie, but I love it more than anything Springsteen did between 1982 and 2002.

4. Meat Loaf: "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through"
Thanks to my dad listening to it, Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell easily ties for the position of my favorite album of all time. I grew up on it, and I still love it and listen to it all the time. Big, bombastic, operatic, profoundly silly but genuinely emotional. I loved it. So when, out of nowhere, Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell appeared in my senior year of high school, I was absolutely thrilled. It was almost the equal of its predecessor. If it's missing anything, it's the production genius of Todd Rundgren. But otherwise, Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf pulled out another classic album. Can you imagine if Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman had just stuck together the way God intended? Meat Loaf would've had "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and a bunch of other Steinman songs that were hits for other people. This one was originally a hit for Steinman on his solo album in, I believe, 1980. Steinman's version is better, but I do love the man the New York Times called Mr. Loaf.

5. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: "Mary Jane's Last Dance"
Because Petty rocks and this song is excellent. Everyone remembers the video with Petty dancing with Kim Basinger's corpse, very Tim Burton-esque. The literal interpretation always made me laugh.

Video Bonus: Aerosmith: "Crazy"
Because it has Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler in it, and watching this slice of nostalgia almost makes me feel 18 again.

Other songs considered but not used: Salt 'N' Pepa featuring En Vogue: "What a Man"; John Mellencamp & Me'shell Ndegeocello: "Wild Night"; Melissa Etheridge: "Come to My Window"; Gin Blossoms: "Found Out About You"; Haddaway: "What Is Love"; Meat Loaf: "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)"

Okay, now I'm supposed to tag five others, so here you go: my erstwhile partner in pop culture crime Bonnie Tristesse, the astounding MC, the naughty Miss Becca, the always-awesome Heidi, and fellow music lover Mob. Go to!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Viral Marketing, Part 2

A deleted scene from Knocked Up. I cannot wait to see this movie. Though I'll have to, a week or more. Great clip, although I do need to see Anne Hathaway's tits.

(Via My New Plaid Pants)

How Much Longer Do I Have to Listen to White People Whine About Their Entitlement?

I just got this forwarded to my email. It goes like this:

I bought a bird feeder. I hung it on my back porch and filled it with seed. Within a week we had hundreds of birds taking advantage of the continuous flow of free and easily accessible food. But then the birds started building nests in the boards of the patio, above the table, and next to the barbecue.

Then came the poop. It was everywhere: on the patio tile, the chairs, the table..everywhere. Then some of the birds turned mean: They would dive bomb me and try to peck me even though I had fed them out of my own pocket. And others birds were boisterous and loud: They sat on the feeder and squawked and screamed at all hours of the day and night and demanded that I fill it when it got low on food.

After a while, I couldn't even sit on my own back porch anymore. I took down the bird feeder and in three days the birds were gone. I cleaned up their mess and took down the many nests they had built all over the patio. Soon, the back yard was like it used to be...quite [sic], serene and no one demanding their rights to a free meal.


But wait, it gets better. Americans just love it when simplistic, homespun wisdom and farmland homilies can be used as a completely ridiculous metaphor. How can this housekeeping tip apply to the world situation?

Now let's see . . . our government gives out free food, subsidized housing, free medical care, free education and allows anyone born here to be a [sic] automatic citizen.

Then the illegals came by the tens of thousands. Suddenly our taxes went up to pay for free services; small apartments are housing 5 families: you have to wait 6 hours to be seen by an emergency room doctor: your child's 2nd grade class is behind other schools because over half the class doesn't speak English.

Okay, where do I start with how offensive I find this? The metaphor itself is not only asinine, but it doesn't even apply for a number of reasons. First off, comparing people that run on thought to animals that run on instinct is just insulting. The author is saying that he finds the comparison of an immigrant (or any non-American) to an animal to be apt.

Secondly, dude, you created the situation with the birds. You offered them free food, and then you get pissed off at them not only when they take it, but when they act like birds? How bigoted can you get. "I only like birds when they're purdy, not exhibiting other bird-like behavior." If you had a child and it cried to be fed, would you be upset that a child was demanding food? Would you call that infant ungrateful because it was acting like an infant? Would you say that the baby was making unreasonable demands on you? Asshole.

Thirdly, where is this free medical care and free food? Because I want those things. I have an education (and not a free one, I owe $46,000 on it!) and I was born in this country, and yet I don't have my free food or housing or healthcare. I don't know how to get these things and I've lived here my entire life.

Fourth, who are these "illegals," I wonder? See, you can use the term "illegals" all you want, we all know that you mean Latinos. That's what really gets me about this cry of "illegals" and "undocumented workers," because those are now just terms used to try and disguise what the people crying them out are really doing: being racists. They have this idiotic image of "tens of thousands" of people crawling over the border in a constant stream, when the fact is that most people who are in this country illegally came here legally. They just let their visas run out and never leave. And since our immigration system is overworked, overtaxed, underpaid and undermanned, those people just aren't found very often. And not all of them are criminals, okay? Racist asshole.

Fifthly, who are these people running up our taxes for free services? You know who's running up our taxes? Rich white assholes who whine about flat taxes and use euphemisms like "death tax" to make us feel bad for them so we won't tax them on their wealth. People who voted for George W. Bush are to blame, too. They voted for Bush, Bush gives tax cuts to his rich friends and cronies and the people who own him and businesses...well, that money has to be made up from somewhere, so he makes your taxes higher. Remember when you used to be middle class? Welcome to the lower class, my friend! Welcome to America, where the rich are allowed to keep getting richer, because the poor will keep making up the difference because they apparently don't know any better. Taxes should be higher, anyway, to keep social services like healthcare more affordable, but wages should be higher, too. It should even out much better than it has. There should be a more even distribution of wealth; that's the only way this country can work. You can say capitalism is great all you want, but it really isn't. It puts the money in the hands of a very few, and then points the finger at people who weren't born here and says it's all their fault, when it actually isn't. It's the fault of those same few, who hoard their money so that their worthless grandkids like Parasite Hilton and President Duh can never have to work again. And they whine when it's suggested that they should have to pay taxes and follow the rules like everyone else because they honestly believe their money makes them better human beings.

So, in short, if you think that our taxes are higher because other people aren't paying into the system, you're right. But if you think it's people from Mexico, you're wrong. It's the richest 1% of the population which controls the overwhelming majority of America's money.

A sixth point (really just a question): How does a small apartment housing 5 families affect you personally? I mean, it can be annoying if you're living in the same building with those people, because it might get a little loud, but how does that really affect the economy or your taxes? Don't try to act concerned now, when you so nakedly want the birds to fly home.

Seventh, it does suck that you have to wait "6 hours" in the emergency room. But that's not because of immigrants. That's because of the healthcare industry. It is now prohibitively expensive to see a doctor at a private practice or a private hospital. With the middle class dissolved and the lower class's wages deteriorating, people are now in the position of having to choose whether or not a child's illness is "serious enough" to get treatment for. And God forbid you have to see a specialist! With the shitty job market and the insurance companies charging more and paying out for less, many people are in the same position I'm in: 30 years old, unemployed, and uninsured. Where am I going to go if I hurt myself? Obviously, I'm going to go to the emergency room of a county hospital. Because I can't pay for anything. Why is the cost of healthcare so high? Well, part of it has to do with taxes not going to the right places. If taxes were higher and wages were actually raised above the cost of living, healthcare could be much more affordable. But that would involve taxing our rich masters and corporations, and apparently most Americans look at that as treason, because we keep doing whatever they want us to (such as, you know, turning on each other). And since American corporations have enabled this immigration thing by using "illegals" as slave labor and paying them next to nothing, they can't afford to go anywhere else for healthcare, either. You have to wait at an emergency room, not because there are so many immigrants in America, but because there are so many poor people in America.

Eighth...this one really makes me laugh: your child's 2nd grade class is behind other schools because over half the class doesn't speak English. Yeah, but they're Americans and the schools they're behind are all in Canada and Europe. Here are four words you might recognize: No Child Left Behind. Like 9/11 and tax cuts for the rich, No Child Left Behind was one of President Duh's early failures. What this monstrous, unconscionable act has done is dumbed down classes to a pedestrian level, made tests easier to pass so that kids don't have their precious self-esteems bruised, made requirements for passing lax enough that even the dumbest of kids can just move through instead of achieving, made it a regular act for schools to expel students rather than let their failure bring the numbers down, and, thanks to a little clause that gives the government access to who the really stupid kids are, turned our high schools into a mill to churn out future soldiers. What kind of an asshole blames our entire shitty education system on immigrants? Talk to any kid off of the street and ask them to spell a common word. Try "lose," everyone seems to think it's spelled with two o's now. Fucker, blaming American stupidity on the proximity of Mexican kids. Fuck you.

This little invective quickly degenerates into whiny complaints and a little tag to tie the idiot metaphor back in.

Corn Flakes now come in a bilingual box; I have to press "one" to hear my bank talk to me in English, and people waving flags other than "Old Glory" are squawking and screaming in the streets, demanding more rights and free liberties. Maybe it's time for the government to take down the bird feeder.

Ooh, no! You might have to see Spanish words on a cereal box! You have to press an extra button to get an English recording! Oh, God, the inconvenience! The extra second of life, gone forever because of the insistence of some people not to be born in this country!

Seriously, this is your problem? That not everyone in America speaks English? Well, you know what? I suggest you get used to it because we are allowed to speak languages other than English in this country. I know it must be a serious blow to the national identity to not have an English-only Corn Flakes box, but suck it up and be an adult.

What this all comes down to is the typical white American entitlement. "I don't want to share this great country with anyone else, because I was born here so I should get all the advantages. Me first! I was here first! Whine, whine, whine, whiney whine whine."

There is way too much of this crap going around. People are against immigration, but only because it gives them an outlet for their racism. I'm prepared to listen to reasoned arguments about our immigration policy and to make sure it's enforced. But I'm not going to listen to something like this, which is just some white guy getting upset at the government because he sees too many brown people in the course of a day and can't understand their language. This is not a whites-only, English-speakers-only country.

SamuraiFrog Is a Man of Many Hats

I love wearing hats. I've had a number over the years, and for no reason other than I'm easily amused by myself, I decided to take some pictures of the hats I still own.

I'm never going to give up the dream. No matter how much they lose (and they do), they're still my home team.

If this screams "fake hipster" when I wear it, how come Justin Timberlake gets away with it? I just like this one, even though I've really got nowhere to wear it. Maybe golf one day.

Bought this one at Wal-Mart one Halloween just for the hell of it. I love hats like this. Hats are just neat.

This is one of the few that I'll wear when I'm out, especially if its a little chilly. I bought this one at the Brookfield Zoo.

How could I not buy this? I find it at a Halloween store for twenty bucks. Everyone needs a good pirate hat. I actually wear this one when I'm playing Guitar Hero. If I really were a guitarist, I'd totally wear this hat. Ah, the days when music was fun.

This is old, from the last Halloween costume I ever wore: El Zorro. It was about a decade ago, and it's not a good hat, really, but I don't ever throw that shit away.

This was the Zorro mask. I look like I should become a Mexican wrestler. I'm ready to take on El Santo!

I like these tramp hats, but I know a couple of people who refer to it as my "old man's hat." I used to wear it a lot during the fall. Since it's an old man's hat, I put on my glasses and goofed around. When I worked at Barnes & Noble, I still wore my first pair of glasses, which would slide down my nose while I was working. Sometime, I would look up at somebody like this, and my co-worker Gigi lovingly called it my "Grandpa Look." I don't wear my glasses like this normally.

I don't know why I have this beret anymore. I think my cousin John bought it at an army surplus store in Des Moines. I found an American flag pin and put it in the front. I threw on my sunglasses just as a goof.

Thug life, yo. Actually, this knit cap is what I wear during the cold Illinois winters, instead of all year long like a goddamn idiot. "Skull beanie," my ass, you people are wearing winter caps. And they smell, because you keep sweating into them. Just a heads up.