Saturday, June 28, 2008

Away This Weekend

There's no Lyrics Master today. I don't have time; I'm out at WizardWorld, the comic book convention, hanging out with Becca while she meets people and sells her art (including her new comic book and her new sketch collection). Everything up this weekend (including this post) was written on Thursday and triggered to go off on various mornings. Hey, they'll be long days.

See you later!

Dance, Maverick, Dance!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Throwdown 6/27

Random thoughts, questions, and observations for the week.

1. I don’t know who Minka Kelly is, but I just found out John Mayer was dating her and dumped her for Jennifer Aniston. More proof, if any were needed, that he’s got a screw loose. I guess pretty Minka was not like dried belt leather enough for Mayer.

2. Brooke Hogan decided that it was better to address the creepy pictures of her father lovingly caressing her ass and inner thighs and who knows what else with sunblock instead of just letting the world forget about them. “I know I'm a grown woman,” she says, “but it's like he's touching an old car. He used to change my diaper!” Yeah, see, the reason that just makes it creepier is that you couldn’t change your own diaper as a baby. You can put sunblock on for yourself (god knows those ass crack sunburns are the worst). You just want your daddy to do it for you. Can someone please just get this girl laid? And out of my face?

3. Hey, look. It’s Mario Lopez, a guy who is still famous for reasons I can’t even claim to understand, a guy who makes a big deal about helping the homeless… mocking a homeless person! Nice, buddy, real nice. So, every time you see him handing out food on Thanksgiving, he’s laughing about it later. Everyone’s a phony.

4. I still don’t buy that Anne Hathaway and that criminal broke up, even if he was arrested for more lies and theft. I also don’t buy that she didn’t know something about his criminal enterprise. Seriously, I don’t. Either she’s the dimmest bulb in the hardware aisle, or she knew something was up. Nobody just tells their girlfriend that they’re the Vatican-appointed real estate agent in America without getting some serious questioning and having to show proof. Whoever spun this whole thing is a genius. First there’s the “break up” just before she has to do publicity for her new movie, then there’s an arrest for something she claims to know nothing about, and then… what? It’s not like rich people go to jail for stealing money, like they should. In a month or so they’ll magically be back together and she can go back to enjoying the fruits of his criminal labors. Nice. I hope none of that’s true, because I’d love to keep respecting her and being a fan. (BTW, I notice she’s conveniently out of the country right now…)

5. According to the Brazilian media and thumb-dicked gossip bloggers everywhere (the kind of genetic mistakes who claim they despise Paris Hilton and report on her every move), Karolina Kurkova is “too fat” to be a model. I don’t quite know where to go with that one. It’s just… such a stupid thing to say.

6. Turns out it only costs $25K to get Nancy Pelosi to roll over on the telecom issue. Check out this story at The Moderate Voice about something all of the 94 Democrats (a suspiciously high number) who changed their votes on FISA have in common. Nancy Pelosi, by the way, has been claiming that she’s the victim of sexism. Which is an interesting thing for the woman second in line to the presidency to say. I think she’s really the victim of her own inabilities and ineffectualness.

7. This week, VH1 aired I Love the New Millennium. Because now that we’ve had the past three decades put into their proper historical perspective by fourth tier comedians and guys who host game shows on Animal Planet, it’s time to look back with nostalgia on the events of a few years ago. I mean, who wouldn’t? Remember the fun we all had when terrorists slammed planes into the World Trade Center, killing thousands of Americans? Remember how awesome it was that our government invaded Iraq with the barest of justifications which turned out to be lies anyway? Oh, and those breezy days of torturing prisoners just because they had brown skin, even though the majority of them keep turning out to be innocent? Yeah, the new millennium has been one big pop cultural orgasm. Seriously, guys, I know the nostalgia factory is big business (far too big), but the first decade of the 21st century isn’t even over yet. You’re being nostalgic about right now. That’s going a little overboard. I once saw a 15 year-old waxing nostalgic about his childhood, which is like hearing a first grader tell you what it was like when they were little. It happens, but you can’t take it seriously.

8. I wrote a post three years ago about VH1 Classic and how, eventually, it would stop being a neat repository of nonstop old videos and turn into just another crappy channel. I was flipping around the other morning and kept checking in on VH1 Classic just for the hell of it, hoping to see some eighties videos. I didn’t see a single video, but I did see commercials for Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp, the Buxton adjustable watchamawhoozey, Proactiv (three times), and some kind of exercise equipment. Classic!

9. Don Imus is under fire for making a sarcastic comment about how the cops arrest black people for no reason. People took it the wrong way, and now they’re just shaking in their boots with misplaced outrage. Look, America, I’ve told you this before: it doesn’t matter what Don Imus says. He’s a guy with a radio show. You can’t control what he says, you can only control whether or not you take it seriously by making him a person of consequence in your mind. Would you grow the fuck up already? You already know he says these things, so what’s the problem?

10. George Lucas testified this week before the House subcommittee on telecommunications, arguing for the reform of the universal service fund, in part saying that internet access is “a digital civil right” and that it should be free to schools and libraries. Then a bunch of lawmakers used his presence to crack Star Wars jokes such as “the universal service fund needs to be blown up by the Death Star.” Our tax dollars at work. It kind of bugs me that George Lucas used to be regarded as an important force in technology—and just look at the work this man has done in changing the way movies are made (literally made, as in developing all kinds of processing, printing, coloring, and sound technology and making them standard; he’s the reason people can make these things in their garage with cheap cameras and a laptop now)—and now he goes before Congress to defend the right of the poor to get the internet and is basically just used to make jokes.

11. Thank you, Tom the Dog. Turns out Mike Meyers is the latest in an illustrious line of joke thieves, joining such luminary pieces of shit as Dane Cook and “Carlos Mencia.” Check it out.

12. A poll released this week said that consumer confidence is down to 50%, the lowest it’s been since… well, since 1992, when we had the first Bush in the White House. Is it just that people can’t see the correlation between Republican presidents and the economy failing?

13. The Supreme Court cut their ruling against Exxon for the Valdez disaster. Exxon will only have to pay $500 million instead of the original $2.5 billion. They got $2 bil knocked off of their judgment. Yeah, let’s keep electing Republicans to put more of these assholes on the Supreme Court. They’re all about the justice.

14. ANWR drilling is the great solution to the oil crisis, according to Bush and McCain. What I hate about this is that they seem to think there’s a vast machinery in place that just needs to be switched on. Actually, we won’t see oil from Alaska for a decade and the only real effect it will have is that gas prices will go down 2 cents by 2025. Got another brilliant idea?

15. McCain says it would take World War III to reinstitute the draft. He also mentions that we’re in a World War III scenario with Iran. So, there’s a little preview of his plans for you right there.

16. President Duh is lifting trade sanctions on North Korea and removing it from the terrorism blacklist, despite having once called it part of his “legion of super evils” or “axis of evil” or whatever childish shit he uses to refer to actual nations with human beings in them. He says he’s doing this because North Korea has handed over an accounting of their nuclear work. How that proves they don’t sponsor terrorism, I don’t know. But then, Bush has never been good at figuring out which nations do and don’t sponsor terrorism, has he? Of course, the reality here is that he’s trying to look like he’s making peace at the last minute because Mr. “I’m a war president!” doesn’t want to be remembered as a warmonger. If only Iraq had given the same declaration to the United Nations… oh, wait. They did.

17. Los Angeles and other places in California are seeing an increase in people living in their cars because of the subprime mortgage meltdown. People have lost their homes and don’t want to end up in a shelter, so they’re staying in their RVs, vans, etc. instead. The police and those people who still have their homes are reacting sensitively by towing their vehicles, setting stricter limits on overnight parking, calling the vehicle-dwellers “lowlife scum,” and spreading rumors of these people being purveyors of prostitution and drugs. Isn’t it heartwarming to think how people all come together to help each other out in a time of crisis? America’s going to be just fine, what with this deep and strong sense of community.

18. Pyper and Sadie Vance, ages 7 and 9, are seen here on the streets of Salt Lake City protesting high gas prices. Their mother had to cancel cable because they couldn’t afford it any more. Maybe this will shame other people into protesting instead of just accepting it. Even children can figure it out.

19. Well, the antigay prejudice in California feels that legalizing gay marriage was unconstitutional. That’s right; there are people in California that think personal freedom, civil rights, and life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are unconstitutional. So there will be a proposition on the November ballot to add an amendment to the California constitution saying something to the effect of: “You can’t interfere with people’s personal lives, unless they’re dirty fags.” The Mormons, the only religions less tolerant and as equally fake as scientology, are mobilizing to make sure it passes. Grow the fuck up, people. If Mormons don’t want gay marriage, don’t be gay and don’t get married. Just keep marrying 10 year-old girls and leave everyone else alone, assholes.

Snarky Perspective

Thursday, June 26, 2008




Do we still claim to be the world's leader in science and technology, even though we can't even build anything without outsourcing it? I find it interesting that we can send people into space, but can't do anything about our levees.

And screw everyone I've been talking to who says that the real problem is people "stupidly" living too close to the ocean and rivers instead of our inability to fund and manufacture what we need to keep us safe from bad weather. You know what, guys? I'm sick of the talk about how simple human beings used to be and how we need to go back and live in caveman times so we can stop ruining the planet and Mother Nature and all of this garbage. Technology itself does not ruin the planet. It's not using technology in a responsible way. Bad weather is everywhere you go: people have to live somewhere. The UK obviously doesn't have this problem, and they're on a bunch of islands. Explain that, geniuses. I don't want to hear anymore talk about how we need to give up on technology and progress and live like we're all Amish, especially from people who can't stomach the idea of doing their own cooking and washing, are glued to their computers every day, and turn up the air when it hits 70 degrees outside.

Make levees, not war!

Anywhere I Lay My Head (I Don't Want to Hear This)

I've been thinking for weeks about what to say about Scarlett Johansson's album of Tom Waits covers, Anywhere I Lay My Head, but haven't been able to come up with very much to say. When I first heard that Scarlett was working on an album, I was actually excited. Not only because she was the Electronic Cerebrectomy It Girl at the time, but because I'm just a fan of hers. I love her as an actor, and having heard her sing "Summertime" on the Unexpected Dreams: Songs from the Stars compilation two years ago, I knew she was capable of singing with tasteful production. She has the voice; it's not a voice that's going to withstand a workout, but she has a pretty voice and can sing. I figured, why not? Tom Waits songs have a nice, simple (but not simplistic) arrangement, she can sing, let's do it.

As it turns out, the major problem with this song is production. The producer, from TV on the Radio (whatever the hell that is) takes great songs and a great voice and buries them beneath layers of production that would seem over-the-top on Italian pop radio. I knew we were in trouble when I heard the title track, which was released in advance. There was Scarlett, not really singing so much as softly shouting, and... overdubs? You overdubbed Scarlett Johansson? And then throwing synth tones and drum machines at the song... Oh, Christ, it's an awful listen.

And I'm not the kind of guy who sits there and gets pissed when a cover doesn't sound the same as the original. In fact, I think a cover sounding the same as the original shows a peculiar kind of uncreative gutlessness. But when Scarlett sings "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" in a sort of overdubbed "ooh and aah" Annie Lennox type of voice, and the music is timed so that she's singing completely off the meter, and it's got layer after layer of synth effects over it... what exactly is the point of this mess? Who thought this was a good idea? Why did they bother?

You had it all there. Great songs, Scarlett's capable voice. The production destroys it. And I can't even pinpoint the exact badness of the whole enterprise. It's not like you listen to it and think, Well, there's some good stuff here, if only they'd just fix one or two things. It's completely awful and, much worse, awful in a way that defies description. At least have the taste to be bad in an interesting or original or special way.

Conversely, apparent current Electronic Cerebrectomy It Girl Zooey Deschanel (I've had a bunch of pics up lately) also has an album out with indie darling M. Ward under the name She & Him, Volume One, and it's excellent. I admit, I tend to hate it when people like M. Ward come along and take songs like "Let's Dance" and "When I Get to the Border" and "I Should've Known Better" and thinks it's somehow revelatory to take those songs and simply strip them down and, worse, slow them to a crawl. Diana Krall bullshit. But what this album does is somehow gently refreshing. It's one of the two albums I've liked so far this year (for the record, the other is Gnarls Barkley's second album).

Zooey doesn't exactly have an amazing singing voice, either, but M. Ward has done the exact opposite of what was done with Scarlett Johansson: started with a voice that has confidence and character and is quite pleasant and built the album up around that focal point. He matches the production to her voice instead of simply ignoring it and building something different. That's really the failure of Anywhere I Lay My Head--the producer (I can't be arsed to look up his name, sorry) just doesn't seem to care what Scarlett can or can't do and just does whatever he wants, as opposed to actually making the tracks work. Here, M. Ward does the opposite. Zooey shines because the production enhances her presence. And it's a lovable presence.

So, there. I said my piece about Scarlett's album, which is terrible and instantly forgettable and which I will probably never play ever again. And I've said my piece about Zooey's album, which I highly recommend, and all of which is on my iPod. I love it.

Review over.


Scientists in Latvia led by Per Ahlberg of Uppsala University in Sweden have unearthed the skull of Ventastega curonica, the most primitive four-legged creature in Earth's history. The skull, shoulders, and part of the pelvis were recovered; they date to 365 million years old.

Ventastega is most likely an evolutionary dead end, but scientists hope it will shed more details on the transition from fish to tetrapods. It was probably only three or four feet long and had stubby limbs. Ahlberg said it looked "like a small alligator" from a distance, but with a fin on its back.

It also dates back to over 100 million years before the appearance of dinosaurs (as such, my "dinosaurs" tag is a misnomer, but it's still paleontology).

Of course, the question we still can't truly answer is: why did fish evolve legs in the first place? But we've got another step on the way there.

Zombie, Rex

I don't know what's going on, but everything about this screams: Movie I need to see.

Women of The Spirit

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Not to Be a Total Fanboy, But... SQUEEEEE!

The Gayest Robot of All Time

JA points me over to a poll asking who the gayest robot of all time is. I'm with him: See Threepio is just too obvious a choice and must be asexual. I'm with the people who say Dr. Theophilus. But there are a number of glaring omissions, such as the very gay Lost in Space robot's very gay relationship with the very gay Dr. Smith.

Another omission, and my choice for gayest robot of all time:

David, the bewildered, whiny, self-aggrandizing, moon-faced star of the cloying, overly earnest and far-too-long shitty Pinocchio remake A.I. I think the gayest robot would have to be from a movie by Steven Spielberg, the boy-lovingest director who ever lived.*

*Not counting, of course, Victor Salva, who not only spent time in the pokey for boy-loving, but who also deified boy-loving in Powder, a movie which seems to think Jesus will return to Earth as a molestable young boy crying out to be molested. If only Jeff Goldblum had molested him, everything would've turned out fine, really. He was crying out for love, human contact, and understanding... from a certain kind of older man. Seriously, watch it again.

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

For those of you who haven't seen this excellent movie, I'm going to tread around the plot revelations. Suffice it to say that in this picture--well-directed by John Sturgers--Spencer Tracy plays a one-armed man who shows up in a tiny Western town just after World War II has ended. He's genial and polite, but the very presence of a stranger puts the town on edge for reasons that soon become clear and inescapable. The movie has a very good cast; thanks to years of Sam Peckinpah and Sam Fuller movies, the idea that Robert Ryan sort of runs the place is scary enough, but throw in Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine as his violent lieutenants and it's downright terrifying. Dean Jagger, Anne Francis and Walter Brennan round things out. It's a taut thriller, short and intense and suspenseful, and one I'm sorry to have overlooked for so long. **** stars.

A bizarre little B-throwaway with William Powell as a playboy who gets tricked into marriage by Ann Harding. It's too short to really have major lapses in taste; it's sort of a pleasant time-waster that's suitably melodramatic and, typical of the time, about the crises of rich people who want more. But I like William Powell, and no film with Powell is a complete waste. Ann Harding is also very good, very sophisticated in a script that asks so little of her; she really elevates the role. Not bad, but not something to seek out. *** stars.

The new Futurama feature is, it must be said, a bit of a step down from the first one. Bender's Big Score, which I watched again in anticipation of the new one, is about as perfect a Futurama movie as I could've wanted. The new one is very funny (even lesser quality Futurama is better than a lot of other shows at their best), but it makes the mistake of sticking Bender in a B-story that never really goes anywhere interesting. That's not to say it isn't good, it just isn't as good as Bender's Big Score, which is a high target to aim for. I did like that there's more of Zapp Brannigan in this one, though. Can't go wrong there. *** stars.

10,000 B.C. (2008)
Okay, I rented this movie in order to see cavemen fighting prehistoric creatures. That's really it. That's all I wanted. And, sadly, I barely got it (except for one good sequence with gyornis, the so-called Terror Birds). Instead, I got an overly-earnest, badly-narrated mess that so blatantly rips off every Michael Bay and Peter Jackson and Ridley Scott film of the new millennium that I kept waiting for Russell Crowe or a Transformer to show up. Hell, director Roland Emmerich was also ripping off his own, better films. Seriously: this is easily his worst film since Universal Soldier and Moon-44. Worse than fucking Godzilla. The whole thing revolves around some pretty caveboy (they never look manly in these faux-epics anymore) who crosses several types of terrain (from snowy mountain to hot jungle to arid, badly-rendered-in-CGI-with-a-texture-mapping-program-that-looks-to-be-from-1980 desert) to save his girlfriend (Camilla Belle, very beautiful but not making the case that she ever needs to be a romantic lead in any kind of movie). Here are some things we see that I either don't believe or (in cases) no for a fact did not exist in 10,000 B.C.:
* horse riders
* saddles, stirrups, bridles, and reins
* beaten rope
* shackles with metal hinges
* doors with metal hinges
* houses with thatched roofs
* metal swords and spearheads and shields
* pulleys
* sailboats, sails, and sailor's knots
* metal cages
* finished leather boots
* star navigation
* levels and masonry equipment
* masonry
* monumental architecture
* monuments
* straight teeth and teeth-whitening strips
* dreadlocks
* bad wigs
* razors (for men and women)
* lip gloss, eyeshadow, and false eyelashes
* plucked eyebrows
* weird British/Israeli/Slavic accents
* biblical allegories
* pyramids
* mammoth slave labor
* straight pillars
* sophisticated construction equipment even the pharaohs didn't have
* a concept of extraterrestrials
* dyed silk
* leather bracelets
* bullwhips
* metal helmets
* drawbridges
* tailored pants
* curved daggers
* maps, ink, surveying equipment
* limited visibility of the stars
* harnesses and yokes
* fulcrums
* whistles
* ladders
* balconies
* engraved gold jewelry
* civilization
* heavy-handed anti-imperialist messages
Even for this kind of movie, it's incredibly stupid. And dull; very, very dull. We basically get a replay of the scene from Conan the Barbarian where Thulsa Doom takes everyone for slave labor, so caveboy follows with a couple of buddies to find his people (and his cavegirl) and does way too much talking about angsty bullshit. Things are so shitty right now in action movies that even cavemen are talking about their self-doubting angsty bullshit. The problem is, caveboy and his band are just so fucking dumb that you can't care about them. They still think the best way to hunt a mammoth or an antelope is to just try and outrun it. Meanwhile, after a series of puke-inducing Lord of the Rings rip-off helicopter shots that add nothing to the proceedings, this white caveboy manages to unite every single tribe of black people he meets under his inept leadership. Even in 10,000 B.C. there was this kind of racist bullshit. (Also in the movie, all Asian people have magical powers. And there's still an annoying teen sidekick.) The bad narration (by Omar Sharif, no less, phoning it in from his deathbed) tries to make things clear, but is so thuddingly pedantic it doesn't make a difference. Around 65 minutes in (at least this movie has the taste to only be an hour and 48 minutes long, instead of nearly three hours like every Michael Bay movie), it's intimated that the reason everything is suddenly so advanced is that the priests who have everyone building pyramids are from Atlantis. They don't use the word Atlantis, but they're implying it. Or they could be "from the stars." Either way, it's way too late to make up for all the stupidity by introducing more outlandish elements. Who cares?

The ironic thing is, I've given it this long review, but it's not a memorable film in any way. Except for the cool effects shots of Terror Birds (the only good effects in a movie where the effects, editing, cinematography, set design, costume design, character design, and score are total shit), I'm not really going to remember any more about this movie than I do about Emmerich's last lame movie, The Day After Tomorrow. I don't care. No stars.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Health Report, Year 2: Week 28

Audrina Patridge

ME: What I'm really sick of is these gossip sites acting like anyone on The Hills or Laguna Beach or any of those fake reality shows are actually famous. Like, they've worked for fame somehow, instead of just being lucky enough to go to school in a place chosen by MTV. The only one they talk about where I know who she is, is Audrina Patridge, but that's just because I've seen her tits. They keep trying to convince me that the girls on The Hills are hot, but they're really not.

BECCA: But you like Audrina Patridge? She's so fake and plastic-y.

ME: I know, but sometimes the simulacrum works on me. It's like a weird, anti-uncanny valley thing. I don't know why, but I'd do her for sure.

BECCA: It makes sense. She looks like the kind of woman you go for.

ME: You think so?

BECCA: Yeah. Like a skanky cartoon character.

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin 1937-2008

George Carlin was my comedian. He was. I first got interested in stand-up comics because of him. And language. And critical thinking about politics. My local library started branching out their audio-visual selection when I was in junior high, and that included a comedy section. I knew George Carlin from the first episode of Saturday Night Live (which Nick at Nite started airing around the same time), and I tried out his albums and... blown away. He's always been a hero of mine. He was my pop culture bullshit detector, an example of how someone could recognize the human condition for what it was and say what was true. He was a goddamn humorist. And now, at the age of 71, he's gone. Thankfully, I have CDs and books to remember him by.

A selection of quotes, as I sometimes do. Goodbye, George, and thanks for everything.

* "I would never want to be a member of a group whose symbol was a man nailed to two pieces of wood." [As Jesus: "Especially if it's me."]

* "Don't give your money to the church. They should be giving their money to you."

* "And Edwin Meese alone has been investigated by three separate Special Prosecutors, and there's a fourth one waiting for him in Washington right now. Three separate Special Prosecutors have had to look into the activies of the Attorney General. And the Attorney General is the nation's leading law enforcement officer!"

* "[The Reagan Administration] want to put street criminals in jail to make life safer for the business criminals. They're against street crime providing that street isn't Wall Street."

* "How to get rid of counterfeit money? Put it in the collection plate at church!"

* "Here's another question I have. How come when it's us, it's an abortion, and when it's a chicken, it's an omelette? Are we so much better than chickens all of a sudden? When did this happen, that we passed chickens in goodness. Name 6 ways we're better than chickens. See, nobody can do it! You know why? ‘Cause chickens are decent people. You don't see chickens hanging around in drug gangs, do you? No, you don't see a chicken strapping some guy into a chair and hooking up his nuts to a car battery, do you? When's the last chicken you heard about come home from work and beat the shit out of his hen, huh? Doesn't happen, 'cause chickens are decent people."

* "Catholic - which I was until I reached the age of reason."

* "'Happens to be.' 'He happens to be black.' Like it's a fucking accident, you know. He happens to be black? Yes, he happens to be black. Ah, yes, yes, yes. He had two black parents? Oh, yes, that's right, two black parents. And they fucked? Oh, indeed they did. So where does the surprise part come in? I would think it would be more unusual if he just happened to be Scandinavian!"

* "No one is 'openly' black. Well, maybe James Brown. Or Louis Farrakhan. Louis Farrakhan is openly black. Colin Powell is not openly black. Colin Powell is openly white. He just happens to be black."

* "Whoever coined the term 'Let the Buyer Beware' was probably bleeding from the asshole."

* "Here's another bunch of ignorant shit: school uniforms. Bad theory. The idea that if kids wear uniforms to school it helps keep order. Don't these schools do enough damage makin' all these kids think alike? Now they're gonna make them look alike too? And it's not a new idea. I first saw it in news reels from the 1930s, but it was hard to understand 'cause the narration was in German."

* "Religion has actually conviced people that there's an invisible man. Living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day of your life. And he has a list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any, any, of these ten things, he has a special place full of fire and smoke and ash and torture where he will send you to suffer and burn and scream and cry forever and ever until the end of time. ... But he loves you. He loves you and he needs money."

* "Names are an interest of mine. Not a hobby; hobbies cost money. Interests are quite free."

* "I'm never too busy that I can't stop to enjoy someone else's suffering."

* "Here's a bumper sticker I'd like to see: 'We are the proud parents of a child whose self esteem is sufficient that he doesnt need us promoting his minor scholastic achievements on the back of our car.'"

* "So what if some civilian contractor from Oklahoma gets his head cut off in Iraq, fuck him! If you don't want to get your head cut off, stay the fuck in Oklahoma! But if you're going to go into someone else's country carrying a weapon, you better expect some fucking action!"

* "One guy, about a month ago, was given three consecutive life terms, plus two death penalties. How the fuck do you serve that? Even David Copperfield can't do that shit. In order to do that, you'd have to be a Hindu."

* "I'm not giving anything back to the community. You know why? Because I didn't take nothing. You can search my fucking house."

* "This conversation is bound to turn up. Two guys in a street meet each other and one of them says, 'Hey, did you hear? Phil Davis died.' 'Phil Davis? I just saw him yesterday.' 'Yeah, didn't help. He died anyway. Apparently, the simple act of you seeing him did not slow down his cancer. In fact, it may have made it more aggressive. You know, you could be the cause for Phil's Death, how, do you live with yourself?'"

* "Every child is clearly not special."

* "Raising a child is not difficult, you just have to follow the steps. Step One: you take the kid, and you put him on the street corner, and you leave him there. Come back a week later, if the kid's still there, ya got yourself a stupid fucking kid. And then you proceed from that point."

* "I don't understand why prostitution is illegal. Selling is legal. Fucking is legal. Why isn't selling fucking legal? You know, why should it be illegal to sell something that's perfectly legal to give away? I can't follow the logic on that one at all! Of all the things you can do, giving someone an orgasm is hardly the worst thing in the world. In the army they give you a medal for spraying napalm on people! In civilian life you go to jail for giving someone an orgasm!"

* "I love and treasure individuals as I meet them, I loathe and despise the groups they identify with and belong to."

* "For a while, I thought of myself as an atheist until I realized it was a belief, too. It's a shame everything has to have a label."

* "When fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts. It will not be with jack-boots. It will be Nike sneakers and Smiley shirts...Germany lost the Second World War. Fascism won it. Believe me, my friend."

* "Have you ever wondered why Republicans are so interested in encouraging people to volunteer in their communities? It's because volunteers work for no pay. Republicans have been trying to get people to work for no pay for a long time."

* "Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?"

* "You can't fight City Hall, but you can goddamn sure blow it up."

* "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out."

* "This country was founded by a group of slave owners who wanted to be. Am I right? A group of slave owners who wanted to be free! So they killed a lot of white English people in order to continue owning their black African people, so they could wipe out the rest of the red Indian people, in order to move west and steal the rest of the land from the brown Mexican people, giving them a place to take off and drop their nuclear weapons on the yellow Japanese people. You know what the motto for this country ought to be? 'YOU GIVE US A COLOR, WE'LL WIPE IT OUT.'"

* "Conservatives say if you don't give the rich more money, they will lose their incentive to invest. As for the poor, they tell us they've lost all incentive because we've given them too much money."

* "In America, anyone can become president. That's the problem."

* "Once you leave the womb, conservatives don't care about you until you reach military age. Then you're just what they're looking for. Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers."

* "I have as much authority as the Pope. I just don't have as many people who believe it."

* "I'm completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death."

" The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post 'Thou shalt not steal,' 'Thou shalt not commit adultery' and 'Thou shalt not lie' in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment."

* "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately."

* "I never eat sushi. I have trouble eating things that are merely unconscious."

* "I'm always relieved when someone is delivering a eulogy and I realize I'm listening to it."

* "Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don't have time for all that."

* "Just think, right now as you read this, some guy somewhere is gettin' ready to hang himself."

* "The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it."

* "A lot of these people who keep a gun at home for safety are the same ones who refuse to wear a seat belt."

* "As soon as someone is identified as an unsung hero, he no longer is."

* "The IQ and the life expectancy of the average American recently passed each other in opposite directions."

* "Ya ever notice who it is, got to think who it is we kill? It's always people who've told us to live together in harmony and try to love one another. Jesus, Gandhi, Lincoln, John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, John Lennon - they all said, 'Try to live together peacefully.'"

* "There's no present. There's only the immediate future and the recent past."

* "When someone is impatient and says, 'I haven't got all day,' I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day?"

* "I put a dollar in a change machine. Nothing changed."

* "If a man smiles all the time, he's probably selling something that doesn't work."

* "Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit."

* "Nobody 'owns' anything. When you die, it all stays here."

* "The planet is fine. The people are fucked."

* "The very existence of flame-throwers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, 'You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done.'"

* "One great thing about getting old is that you can get out of all sorts of social obligations just by saying you're too tired."

Chris Noth Is Not Cary Grant

From a letter in this week's Entertainment Weakly: I saw a glimpse of it on Law & Order. I definitely saw it on Sex and the City. So why does no one else see that Chris Noth would be the perfect candidate for any Cary Grant film remake? The Philadelphia Story, starring Noth, Cate Blanchett, and Tom Hanks, anyone?

On behalf of everyone, can I just say: no, no, a thousand times no. That's just stupid. Very, very, very stupid.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Song of the Week: "The Thoughts of Mary Jane"

It's pretty Sunday morning stuff. It was Nick Drake's birthday earlier this week, and I like this song. It's a good morning for it.



375 years ago today, Galileo was forced to recant his claim that the Earth revolved around the Sun. Thankfully, we live in a more enlightened era where science isn't under constant attack from religious fanatics... And the Vatican quickly realized their mistake and pardoned him right away in 1992... Something to recall on a Sunday.

I'm a Sad, Old Nerd from the Eighties

Walking around the third grade class, joking with the kids, checking on the art project they're working on. One girl holds up a picture of herself in outer space for me.

ME (without even thinking) : Greetings, Starfighter. You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the Frontier against Xur and the Kodan Armada.

GIRL: What?

ME: Sorry, that's from a movie.

GIRL: What movie?

ME: The Last Starfighter.

GIRL: Is it an old movie?

ME: No! It only came out when I was your age.

GIRL (giving me a look that patently screams "You were eight years old once?"): How old are you know?

ME: 31.

GIRL: Wow! My dad's 31!

ANOTHER GIRL: My dad is 31, too!

THIRD GIRL: Who's 31?

GIRL: Mr. Frog.

THIRD GIRL: Really? Both of my parents are 31!

FOURTH GIRL: Mine too!

I think I'll just slink off and resign myself to never having children ever and it not being the eighties anymore... or something.

Todd Rundgren Is 60

He's one of my big musical influences, if a man who doesn't play music can have such a thing. Happy Birthday, Todd, and thank you for Something/Anything?, A Wizard/A True Star, Hermit of Mink Hollow and Utopia.

Bruce Campbell Is 50

He's a year younger than my mom, who is, incidentally, the only person I know who watches Burn Notice. But he's still the King of Awesome.

Happy Birthday, Bruce Campbell!