I'm not putting this in the "feminism" category because I gotta be honest: I can't get too feministically upset about Barbie. Yeah, "Math is hard!" was a stupid thing to have Talking Barbie say. Yeah, Barbie's original dimensions were preposterous. Yeah, no one ever believed in "Barbie the Astronaut" for a second.
Come on. We all know Barbie's a bimbo. We all know Barbie's a shitty role model. And yes, I think it's pretty clear that Barbie's being depicted as a prostitute here. "Celebrates the working woman," my ass. The only maids who work in 4-inch heels exist solely in Penthouse letters.
I went through my little-girl "I wuv Barbie" phase. I went through my "I'm too old to play with Barbies anymore, but I'm not PLAYING with her, I'm just POSING her" phase. I went through my "Hey, I know--let's BURN Barbie" phase. And I went through my "Barbie is the epitome of sexual objectification and vulgar consumerism" phase.
And that bitch Barbie, do you know what?--She's still here. I have some nutty Oscar De La Renta-costumed Barbie up on the plant shelf in the kitchen right now. There's a Victorian Barbie sitting in the closet somewhere. There's a Princess of Ireland Barbie (oh man, just kill me for even typing that) in the bedroom.
I keep trying to ditch Barbie, but Barbie keeps finding me. Barbie's a codependent. Maybe if I'd only made her sleep with Donny Osmond Barbie, I wouldn't have this problem.
Sleek and elegant, Muffy Roberts™ Barbie® doll
Muffy Roberts. Somewhere in the world is a woman named MUFFY ROBERTS and--AND--she DESIGNS BARBIES, and no one made this up, it's 100% for reals. I am dying.
is dressed for a stylish shopping spree
Barbie won't be coming with me to Wal-mart?
and a bite with the ladies who lunch.
Is there any phrase in all the language as hard on the teeth--the clenched, ever-grinding teeth--as "the ladies who lunch?"
Her flawless ensemble starts with a black and white shantung dress paired with a matching, fuchsia-lined jacket. A coordinating scarf and tricot gloves play brightly against her black straw hat, tricot hose, and stiletto heels.
Because when you're exiting Neiman's laden down with shopping bags, you want to be balancing them all while perched atop stiletto heels. The only way I could be down with these stilettto heels is if Barbie were depicted using them to give a swift kick in the pants to all the LADIES WHO LUNCH.
The final, delightfully appropriate touch?
Wait for it . . .
. . . waaaaaiiit for it . . .
A fluffy, plush, ebony muff!
Oh, Barbie. You forgot the bikini wax.
(Barbie Collector site links all courtesy of the Reclusive Leftist, who's betting that Prostitute Barbie's client "is probably Charlie Sheen," and, well! Can I resist a good dig at Charlie "I spent $27,000 on hookers and not only that, I paid them with checks" Sheen? Nope. Nope, I sure can't.)
If you've ever sat around wondering, "What's better than comic books and Charles Barkley?"--and I've lost countless hours to this activity myself--cheer up. It turns out that there's a very simple answer: Charles Barkley IN comic books.
(Via the JayPinkerton.com forums. The next time the man gives me aggro for lurking around there too much, I'm going to point to this and remind him that sometimes it pays off.)
Hi! So! Operation Condor, yeah, it had no plot, but it was great. First Strike? Great. And I'll take your word for it that the DVDs ordered direct from Hong Kong in the original Mandarin-or-whatever are even extra great.
Me gusta Jackie Chan. ˇSi! Did you know I even tried to watch the Disney version of Around the World in 80 Days? Even though it sucked? Even though, five minutes into it, I knew I could not continue? On account of the suckage? But I persevered for what must have been, gosh, almost 20 minutes. Just because it had Jackie Chan in it. JUST BECAUSE. I love him THAT MUCH.
So, thank you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for enriching my world with the J-to the A-to the C-to the K-to the I-to the E to the C-to the H-to the A-to the N.
Yes, I typed all that by my own self. Because I love Jackie Chan films that much. This is all your fault.
Why, why, WHY did you not mention to me that Mr. Nice Guy combines celebrity-cheffing with the trademark Jackie Chan ass-kicking? This is like Iron Chef if Iron Chef were any good anymore. Hey, how would you expect me to deal with the one-two knockout punch of celebrity-cheffing and ass-kicking? Would you expect me to spontaneously combust with happiness? Because I think you would perhaps be justified in thinking that!
The man makes fresh pasta from scratch, WITHOUT A PASTA MAKER. I mean he makes it using only the dexterity of his hands. And then, and then, God bless him, he kicks all kinds of ass.
This is my movie. If it only contained an Uncle Bob, and tequila, and an easily-expressed moral, it would surpass Urban Cowboy as my movie. Oh, yeah, the plot?--I don't CARE. It has celebrity-cheffing, and it has ass-kicking, in the same film. This movie officially RULES MY WORLD.
I am just saying, it was very mean of you not to tell me about it. And even if you told me about it and I forgot, YOU SHOULD HAVE REMINDED ME.
Watching March of the Penguins right now. I'm about to have to dip into the cat's insulin here.
. . . but still pretty tragic, and I admit it: The line about applying makeup from the free samples at Rite-Aid, eyes closed--I loved that line.
I got all over Vanderleun about the nothing-sadder-than-a-once-beautiful-woman thing here, right? Well, I still think (1) there are much sadder things than that and (2) it's a trite simile and (3) there's a terrible double standard at work when it comes to men's looks versus women's looks, and . . . do you know what I think is one of the saddest things? Old white guys on the news. It depresses me. In my perfect world the nightly news would be anchored by Charles Barkley. I would actually watch the news if it were only anchored by Charles Barkley. Even when he gets to be really ancient, you just know Charles will still pick out suits that look off the rack from Men's Wearhouse--he's gonna like the way he looks; I guarantee it--and he will still interrupt people he thinks are being stupid and he will still say whatever's on his mind, whether it has anything to do with the news or not.
(Here we pause while I try to remember what this post was going to be about before I got distracted by visions of the CBS Evening News with Charles Barkley.)
Right: Women who keep slapping on the war paint and baring their sternums after they're well over the hill. I don't think this is the saddest thing, but I do think it's a cringeworthy thing; only, I don't blame the women too much, because I look at it like a video game. You've got this bar, say:
And your goal is to get that bar as full as possible, then keep it there as long as possible:
And--this is why Pursuit of Hotness IV: The Perils of Applique will not be coming to a GameSpot near you anytime soon--maintaining that stupid little bar at an acceptably high level is the only point of the game. Also, if the bar gets too low, you die.
Are you longing for Pong yet?
See, you can't craft a culture-bubble like Hollywood, foolishly entrust it with setting trends for everyone else, make maintaining desireability a core value of that culture, and then get all "Why would she embarrass herself like that?" when Sharon Stone shows up to an Oscar party looking like something that should be taken out and shot, for our sake if not for hers.
Why wouldn't she embarrass herself like that? She doesn't know how to do anything else. And sure, that's probably because she's an idiot, but it's not only because she's an idiot, or even mostly because she's an idiot. It's also because keeping that hotness bar filled even at, say, level 68, the level it's nearly impossible to get past, the level at which even if you duck all the Crow's Feet grenades there are still the Chicken Neck bombs to defuse and those Bad Facelift missiles, forget it, it's not even worth trying to avoid those--what, exactly, do we expect women trained for this and only this to suddenly DO when they get old, don cable knit sweaters and fuck off to Connecticut? Fall onto a pair of nail scissors? Swallow a cup of hemlock astringent?
No, really, I actually do know what we expect them to do: Put some damn clothes on, for a start. Scrape off the cornflower-blue eyeshadow and cut or at least wash that hair, and (it's Sharon Stone, remember) PUT SOME CLOTHES ON, I'm not kidding. Don't make me tell you again, Grandma. Yes, we expect them to act their ages and have some dignity but maybe, just maybe, they would find it easier to do that if mouth-breathing cocktards weren't continually pounding it into their skulls from puberty onwards (if not earlier) that hotness is the only thing that matters, the only thing they're good for, and that once they don't have hotness they don't have anything; in fact, they might as well do us all a favor and just die already. But if they won't do that, they should at least start aiming, stylistically, for Refined Old Lady, and then perhaps we will toss them the crumb of remarking that they've aged "gracefully," or perhaps we will merely turn to each other and ask, "She's still alive? Get out, I totally thought she was dead."
UPDATE: Then again, we seem to have racked up more support for the "she's an idiot" theory--or, as
Meryl Lair Simon puts it, "Fourteen hundred years of looking for a way to permanently fend off the endless Quranic nightmare of conquest and destruction, reduced to a single act that many wouldn’t even do for a Klondike Bar."
A Klondike bar? I'm not that keen on Klondikes, but . . . a box of chocolate truffles? Only if she's not wearing the eyeshadow. And I get to irrigate my mouth with hydrogen peroxide afterwards, too.
I've only been trying to tell him that for years. Telepathically, you know, through the television. What?
(Via Kenneth in the 212.)
Hey kids! Welcome to the karaoke edition of Janet Reno's Dance Party.
The above is . . . something else. I don't think it could be improved even by being performed by Will Ferrell wearing that blue dress. No, not even with the help of former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala.
(Via It Comes in Pints?)
Why I don't care too much about the Euro-sneer that most Americans ooh, don't even have passports:
Because I've been a U.S. citizen now for 36 years and look how much of that map I've still got blank. Embarrassing!
Incidentally, I don't know most people fill these in but in my case, I marked it visited if I'd spent at least a night there, and left it blank otherwise. I've been through Michigan a dozen times if I've been through it once, for example, but having never lingered there, I didn't feel right counting it.
(Via Rambling Rhodes.)
I'm sorry. I couldn't take it anymore.
Why does Ted Casablanca have a job? Why does it involve "writing" things? Wasn't Morse code invented to prevent just such a catastrophe? Why do I ever visit E! Online when, deep down, I know better?
You have to admit, that's a formidable contender.
But have you seen Geek Empire's list? It's got your Britney. It's got your Christina Aguilera. It's got your Backstreet Boys, it's got your N'Sync, it's got your R. Kelly/Celine Dion duet that I didn't know ever even happened.
I can't even imagine what that sounds like. I mean, she is the best singer in the world!
Party like it's 1999--yeah, how can you, with that soundtrack? Did I mention . . . the Whitney Houston/Mariah Carey duet? That I also did not know ever even happened?
My goodness, but I suffered through some awful music in my youth.
Stolen from Michele. Here are the instructions:
1) Go to musicoutfitters.com and, in the search box provided, enter the year you graduated high school.
2) From the search results, click the link for the top 100 songs of that year.
3) With the resulting list:
a) bold the songs you like,
strike through the ones you hate
c) underline your favorite
d) and ignore the ones you don't remember/don't care about.
Lotsa strikethrough below the fold.
1. That's What Friends Are For, Dionne Warwick, Elton John, and Gladys Knight
2. Say You, Say Me, Lionel Richie [Shut UP!--ed.]
3. I Miss You, Klymaxx
4. On My Own , Patti Labelle and Michael McDonald
5. Broken Wings, Mr. Mister
6. How Will I Know, Whitney Houston
7. Party All The Time, Eddie Murphy
8. Burning Heart, Survivor
9. Kyrie, Mr. Mister
10. Addicted To Love, Robert Palmer
11. Greatest Love Of All, Whitney Houston
12. Secret Lovers, Atlantic Starr
13. Friends And Lovers, Carl Anderson and Gloria Loring
14. Glory Of Love, Peter Cetera [I SAID, shut UP.--ed.]
15. West End Girls, Pet Shop Boys
16. There'll Be Sad Songs, Billy Ocean
17. Alive And Kicking, Simple Minds
18. Never, Heart
19. Kiss, Prince and The Revolution
20. Higher Love, Steve Winwood
21. Stuck With You, Huey Lewis and The News
22. Holding Back The Years, Simply Red
23. Sledgehammer, Peter Gabriel
24. Sara, Starship
25. Human, Human League
26. I Can't Wait, Nu Shooz
27. Take My Breath Away, Berlin
28. Rock Me Amadeus, Falco
29. Papa Don't Preach, Madonna
30. You Give Love A Bad Name, Bon Jovi
31. When The Going Gets Tough, Billy Ocean
32. When I Think Of You, Janet Jackson
33. These Dreams, Heart
34. Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone), Glass Tiger
35. Live To Tell, Madonna
36. Mad About You, Belinda Carlisle
37. Something About You, Level 42
38. Venus, Bananarama
39. Dancing On The Ceiling, Lionel Richie
40. Conga, Miami Sound Machine [I really need something more violent than strikethrough for this--ed.]
41. True Colors, Cyndi Lauper
42. Danger Zone, Kenny Loggins
43. What Have You Done For Me Lately, Janet Jackson
44. No One Is To Blame, Howard Jones
45. Let's Go All The Way, Sly Fox
46. I Didn't Mean To Turn You On, Robert Palmer
47. Words Get In The Way, Miami Sound Machine
48. Manic Monday, Bangles
49. Walk Of Life, Dire Straits
50. Amanda, Boston
51. Two Of Hearts, Stacey Q
52. Crush On You, Jets
53. If You Leave, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
54. Invisible Touch, Genesis
55. The Sweetest Taboo, Sade
56. What You Need, INXS
57. Talk To Me, Stevie Nicks [I actually don't remember this one, but I struck it on the general principle that Stevie often gives me a pain in the tuchis.--ed.]
58. Nasty, Janet Jackson
59. Take Me Home Tonight, Eddie Money [The boyfriend hates this. And you--shut up.--ed.]
60. We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off, Jermaine Stewart
61. All Cried Out, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam With Full Force
62. Your Love, Outfield
63. I'm Your Man, Wham! [No, you are not.--ed.]
64. Perfect Way, Scritti Politti
65. Living In America, James Brown
66. R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A., John Cougar Mellencamp [Makes stabby motions with fist--ed.]
67. Who's Johnny, El Debarge
68. Word Up, Cameo
69. Why Can't This Be Love, Van Halen [They mean Van Hagar.--ed.]
70. Silent Running, Mike and The Mechanics
71. Typical Male, Tina Turner
72. Small Town, John Cougar Mellencamp
73. Tarzan Boy, Baltimora
74. All I Need Is A Miracle, Mike and The Mechanics
75. Sweet Freedom, Michael McDonald
76. True Blue, Madonna
77. Rumors, Timex Social Club
78. Life In A Northern Town, Dream Academy
79. Bad Boy, Miami Sound Machine
80. Sleeping Bag, ZZ Top
81. Tonight She Comes, Cars
82. Love Touch, Rod Stewart [More stabby motions.--ed.]
83. A Love Bizarre, Sheila E.
84. Throwing It All Away, Genesis
85. Baby Love, Regina
86. Election Day, Arcadia
87. Nikita, Elton John
88. Take Me Home, Phil Collins
89. Walk This Way, Run-D.M.C. [Nothing against Run D.M.C.--I just don't like any version of "Walk This Way." It's a dumb fucking song.--ed.]
90. Sweet Love, Anita Baker
91. Your Wildest Dreams, Moody Blues
92. Spies Like Us, Paul McCartney
93. Object Of My Desire, Starpoint
94. Dreamtime, Daryl Hall [I don't honestly remember this either, but come on, it's DARRYL HALL. It HAS to suck.--ed.]
95. Tender Love, Force M.D.'s
96. King For A Day, Thompson Twins
97. Love Will Conquer All, Lionel Richie
98. A Different Corner, George Michael
99. I'll Be Over You, Toto
100. Go Home, Stevie Wonder
There it is--100 reasons why I stayed home a lot building kitschy shrines to Joe Strummer.
UPDATE: I shouldn't ask this, seeing as how I just admitted to liking a Lionel Richie song (I had a dream! I had an AWESOME dream!), but as there are now a couple lists up from 1980, I've got to ask:
Am I the only person who does not want you to take me to Funkytown?
And I not only like disco, I admit to liking disco. If we did one of these lists from '77 or '78 it would be boldapaloozza up there. I am pretty pathetic, generally, about the disco.
But, no. No, you may not take me to Funkytown. Don't even try it.
NOT KIDDING ABOUT THE DISCO: You thought Lionel Richie and Peter Cetera were terrible? This is terrible. From the top 20 of 1978:
1. Shadow Dancing, Andy Gibb
2. Night Fever, Bee Gees
3. You Light Up My Life, Debby Boone
4. Stayin' Alive, Bee Gees
5. Kiss You All Over, Exile
6. How Deep Is Your Love, Bee Gees
7. Baby Come Back, Player
8. (Love Is) Thicker Than Water, Andy Gibb
9. Boogie Oogie Oogie, A Taste Of Honey
10. Three Times A Lady, Commodores [But I'm glad this song exists, because it works perfectly in that one scene in Election.--ed.]
11. Grease, Frankie Valli
12. I Go Crazy, Paul Davis
13. You're The One That I Want, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John
14. Emotion, Samantha Sang
15. Lay Down Sally, Eric Clapton
16. Miss You, Rolling Stones
17. Just The Way You Are, Billy Joel
18. With A Little Luck, Wings
19. If I Can't Have You, Yvonne Elliman
20. Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah), Chic [Even I have my disco-lovin' limits.--ed.]
I admit it gets too cheesy even for me after that, though--including one of my picks for Worst Song of All Time, Dan Hill's "Sometimes When We Touch." I can't even type that without shuddering. I'm not kidding. I can feel the hives rising up on me already.
You know, I never liked No Doubt. Underneath the vaguely--and I mean vaguely--alternative packaging, it was pretty obvious that what you were hearing was a band fronted by a woman who'd never quite got over failing cheerleading tryouts.
And don't leave me some nerdy-ass fanboy comment saying "Actually, I saw the Behind the Music on them recently and Ms. Stefani, far from aspiring to make the cheerleading team, was actually captain of the chess club." I DON'T CARE, for one, and for two, I refuse to believe that.
In any case cheerleaders, both actual and frustrated, are born, not made. It's a state of mind, or state of absence thereof if you prefer. I mean, listen to just one round of that chorus:
Few times I been around that track
So it's not gonna happen just like that
'Cause I ain't no--
--wait, what? What's that now? You have your hands over your ears and are trying to scream "STOP THAT!" through gritted teeth? Really? ME TOO. It doesn't work, though. You have to unclench your jaw to get a really good scream going.
Anyway I've been giggling over this write-your-own comic (fifth one down the page) that references, you know . . . off and on since I ran across it . . . and the problem with that is, it's a laugh that costs me every time, because it results in yet more hours of hearing, you know, on the mental jukebox, until I kind of wish I had a gun myself.
It is indeed your shit, Gwen. You did not need to explicitly state so for us to be able to tell that. And I'd like to know when it's getting flushed off the airwaves because already, ENOUGH.
(If you can stand it, though, this analysis of the deeper meaning of Stefani lyrics is pretty good.)
Superman had bad EMTs
Who plumb forgot their ABCs
Didn't get him intubated
(No wonder he wasn't resuscitated)
Was it his health plan?--We don't know
But I suspect an HMO
I know what she means about "Generation Repeat," believe me. It's an accurate moniker, and I feel terrible for the kids today who'll be stuck with it.
I only take issue with two points, really. First:
We never stole from other decades. You didn't see us suddenly showing up for prom in flapper outfits or hanging out at the arcade with a pack of cigarettes rolled up our t-shirt sleeve.Oh, no? Sure, there's no cigarette pack tucked into a rolled-up sleeve, but that's only because Setzer eschewed sleeves entirely for most of the 80s, the better to torment us with the nauseating worm-white glare reflecting off his hideously wizened deltoids. But the look of the group harked back to what decade? The genre of music played had last been popular when, now?
We didn't just strip-mine the 50s, either. Say! Whose face is that on the cover of Dramarama's 1985 release Cinéma Vérité?
The Sedgwick look was all over the 80s. It's who Siouxsie Sioux is aping in this photo:
Doubt me? I give you again La Sedgwick:
Name nearly any fashion trend of the 1980s, and odds are it first appeared in the 1960s. Miniskirts? Check. Big hair? Check. Day-Glo? Check. Kohl eyeliner, geometric patterns, an absolutely raging love affair with black and white--check, check, check.
Let's face it: We ripped off everything we could get our greedy little hands on. What didn't come from the 60s came from the 40s (crimped hair, shoulder pads) or the 50s (denim jackets, skinny ties). We ripped off everything, adding a few new things along the way. Unfortunately, few of those new things were actually any good. Anyone want to bring back fingerless gloves? Leg warmers? Yes, that's what I thought.
Oh, but we had original movies and music, right? It's not like every 80s band cited the Velvet Underground as an influence or borrowed heavily from them in style. It's not like the album Rolling Stone named as numero uno for the decade took its cover art from the 1950s. It's not like one of the best-selling soundtracks of the era took all its music from the 1960s.
The 1980s were one big love letter to the 50s and 60s. So I definitely think you've got to count us guilty on charges of ripping off decades gone by.
The second thing:
Stop buying into the whole "retro is cool" thing and they'll stop throwing our leftovers at you.Can we cut the kids a break here? First of all, kids are never an important demographic to the powers that be--because kids don't have any money. What money they do have comes partly from minimum-wage, part-time jobs, or . . . mom and dad.
Not only that, but we've done our level best as a society to rob kids of any freedoms we enjoyed growing up. Kids used to have time to make up their own goofy senses of style, develop their own taste in music, pick out their own movies, because we used to give kids more than 5 minutes at a time away from mom and dad. Kids used to walk to school by themselves. Get dropped off at the mall by themselves. Go out to concerts by themselves. Hang out in the park by themselves.
I never see teenagers walking around by themselves anymore, and I spent easily half my teenage years doing exactly that. Now? Never. Can't remember the last time I did see 'em. Even if they are out and about on their own, they're tied to home with cell phones. We never give them a moment's idleness. We never let them become independent.
To top it all off, when something new does blow in, we mock it mercilessly. Emo music? Hahaha! Hip-hop? Hahaha! Jailhouse fashion? Pull your pants up, young man, and get a job--and take that do-rag off your head while you're at it. No, you may not grow dreadlocks.
Plus, thanks to that 80s concept of greed being good, we own everything. And everything we own, we're consolidating. We're putting the squeeze on the little guy, the independent guy, every chance we get. So who's really to blame here?
You know what we've become? Baby boomers. We won't shove the hell off the stage and let kids have a chance to define the culture. We won't let go. We still think of ourselves as the stylemakers. We're in that 35-50 demographic, that categorically-no-longer-hip demographic, and we still won't shut up!
I mean it: I think if I were a teenager today I'd murder us.
If you grew up in the 70s and 80s, think back for a minute. Were you ever disgusted by the incessant nostalgia? The Big Chill. Happy Days. The secular canonization of John Lennon and all the rest of the Beatles. Aretha Franklin guesting on Murphy Brown. Hell, just the fact that Murphy Brown, starring 60s B-lister Candice Bergen, was on the air in the first place. I grew up thinking, These people will never die. They'll never go away. I will be hearing James Brown's "I Feel Good" in every movie soundtrack for the rest of my life.
But I suspect it's my generation, the forty-year-olds, who are dragging this mummified decade back into public and presenting it to everyone in the cheerful gift wrap of nostalgia. Are we psychotic amnesiacs, maybe?Please, let's not be like that ourselves. Please. It's not the kids' faults they're borrowing everything from episodes of Behind the Music--we gave them Behind the Music. How old do you suppose the executive producer of that execrable Dukes of Hazzard movie is? Given the dates in his filmography--there are no projects listed before 1992--I'd have to guess he's one of us too.
We're stifling the kids these days. We snoop through their LiveJournals and drive them to parentally-sanctioned events and just generally bother the daylights out of them. How and when are they supposed to come up with anything new when we're constantly popping up to cram our tired old crap down their throats?
No. I, too, feel bad for Generation Repeat, but I can't fairly blame them. We're the ones who refuse to grow up and get off the stage.
That's where I want to be--I'm tired of seeing Pauly's mug everywhere I go on the web. Can't we get him a drug problem? Convert him to Scientology? Marry him to Mariah Carey? Something, anything, besides . . . podcasting. Ech, I feel dirty just typing the word.
I mean, Belushi's dead, but Shore's alive. Does that not seem wrong to you?
Nice! The old "two cows" joke has been updated:
• You have two cows but you don't know where they are.
• While ambling around, you see a beautiful woman.
• You break for lunch.
• Life is good.
This is my own personal, shamebased version:
• You have two cows.
• They make a real mess of the apartment.
• Your father thinks you should clean up after them better.
• You don't.
• Oh hey! New emails.
Eventually, I will quit giggling. It just won't be anytime soon:
I caught an incredible performance by David Byrne at the Hollywood Bowl in LA tonight. Backed by the Texas-based Tosca Strings. Impassioned, funky, magnificent.Impassioned!
What do I smell? I smell home cookin'!
. . . it's only the funky!
It's only the funky!
Now I used to think this man was funky:
--but clearly, I had no idea the true nature of the funk.
I will find a city, find myself a city to live in--
--but only after I ascertain that it is FUNKY.
Okay, okay, okay: I didn't see the show, obviously. Maybe it was really and truly impassioned, funky, and magnificent.
It's just a little bit to me as if Charlotte had written "SLENDER," "BIPEDAL," and "AQUATIC" in the web above Wilbur.
I know, I shouldn't do it, and I'm sorry. That's not an apology to you, by the way: That's an apology to me.
Somehow or other I got hooked on all the delicious Scientology-bashing going on in the way-too-generous Defamer coverage of the whole Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes thing. I say thing because you can't possibly call it an engagement, not without inviting me to laugh at you. Those two are "enamored" of each other like I'm anorexic.
Tom, let me give you the opposite advice from that which Cartman once gave his dog: Be gay! Just be gay already. There. Was that so hard? Be gay so I don't have to read about you anymore. Thanks.
As for Scientology, how does it continue when Harlan Ellison's already explained its humble origins?
Ellison: Scientology is bullshit! Man, I was there the night L. Ron Hubbard invented it, for chrissakes!(Note to the skeptics: Yeah, it's taken from a usenet posting, but it's also referenced [albeit with dead link] on Ellison's homepage, which lends credibility. Plus, doesn't it just sound like him? Come on, it totally sounds like Harlan Ellison. I, for one, believe.)
I was sitting in a room with L. Ron Hubbard and a bunch of other science fiction writers. L. Ron Hubbard was famous among science fiction writers because he was the first one to have an electric typewriter.
. . .
We were sitting around one night. ... who else was there? Alfred Bester, and Cyril Kornbluth, and Lester Del Rey, and Ron Hubbard, who was making a penny a word, and had been for years. And he said "This bullshit's got to stop!" He says, "I gotta get money." He says, "I want to get rich".
Interviewer: He is also supposed to have said on that same night: "The question is not how to make a million dollars, but how to keep it."
Ellison: Right. And somebody said, "why don't you invent a new religion? They're always big." We were clowning! You know, "Become Elmer Gantry! You'll make a fortune!" He says, "I'm going to do it." Sat down, stole a little bit from Freud, stole a little bit from Jung, a little bit from Alder, a little bit of encounter therapy, pre-Janov Primal Screaming, took all that bullshit, threw it all together, invented a few new words, because he was a science fiction writer, you know, "engrams" and "regression", all that bullshit. And then he conned John Campbell, who was crazy as a thousand battlefields. I mean, he believed any goddamned thing. He really believed blacks were inferior. I mean he really believed that. He was also very nervous when I was in his office because I was a Jew. You know, he was afraid maybe I would spring horns or something.
. . .
So science fiction fans picked it up, they began proselytizing, he started making money, when he had made enough money he was able to spread out a little more, then he got more cuckoos, you know, pre-Charlie Manson assholes that had no place else to go, and he began talking to these loons as if "Dianetics" really meant something. Then he wanted to get tax-exempt status, so he called it "The Church of Scientology".
Now, they've gotten so big that they own property all over the country, and it is impossible to stop it. They infiltrated the FBI, they infiltrated the tax department, ... the funny thing is, Ron Hubbard and I still occasionally communicate with each other. Every once in a while, a couple or three times a year, we exchange letters. And I write to him, you know, and I say, "Hey Ron, when is this bullshit going to cease? These cuckoos are really driving me crazy! They come around the house with pamphlets!" And he writes me back, and he says, "It's the good work, it's the good work."
It's all very funny stuff. He was going to write a new story for me for the last "Dangerous Visions", but I guess he got too busy counting his money. I don't know.
Friend of L. Ron or no, I used to wonder how Ellison could just laugh off a pseudoreligion that commits horrors like this, but I think this bit--
then he got more cuckoos, you know, pre-Charlie Manson assholes that had no place else to go--serves notice that in the battle between Ellison's compassion for the downtrodden and his disgust for the idiotic, disgust won out.
Disgust is certainly closer to what I'm feeling now, after wasting all that time reading about Tom Cruise. But there, maybe I can just blame it all on science.
UPDATE: My work is complete.
'PRE-CLEAR' UPDATE: "No, you puss-bag. It's H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, and it wouldn't kill you to put his f--king name on it." (Much love and thanks to Ith, Fabulous Sci-Con Babe for the New Millenium, for that link.) Bits like this are why I would do Harlan even if he were 91--he's profane, sure, but he is profanely awesome, and he has a habit of saying out loud just what you were thinking anyway, and he tells stories like you only wish he could.
Which reminds me, buy his books. Make Harlan happy, and yourself too. That retrospective on the Amazon page is a helluva deal for $16.47 new, and it'll keep you entertained for weeks. Not a bad place to start acquainting yourself with a gifted writer.
1) Has your father the cheerfulness which is known you?
And then some! He has also the many sarcasms! Many ass remarks of wisdom hath my father's house!
2) It is many the dog and the cat it spreads out how, it has?
Under no circumstances should the dog and the cat be spreading out for each other. No.
3) How many licks it adopts obtains to the tootsie popular music center?
Didn't Jules Verne already write a book about this?
4) Which thing fairies for one life?
That Hubris, I think that Hubris might have been a fairy for one life once. I can't prove it, but how else are we going to explalin the whole Roadhouse thing?
5) The some box the grass spread out and for it left?
Many some box spread out grass and left, yes. So, so many.
Your turn. Pay attention and follow instructions:
1. Delete the first question listed above.
2. Bump the remaining four questions up one number each (question 2 becomes question 1, question 3 becomes question 2, etc.).
3. Make up your own fifth question. Translate it from English to the foreign language of your choice (I used the babelfish), then take that translation and translate it back to English, whereupon you should discover a perfectly formed question in, yes, ENGRISH.
4. If you got this from me, be a dear and link back to this post. If you got this from me but you hate me, link back to Jim. It makes him happy.
Oh heavens, but I love taking dating quizzes designed for the opposite sex:
You scored a 67 out of a possible 100 points. You’re pretty good with the ladies, but you can be intimidated by a woman who is exceptionally attractive. There are some women out there that you consider to be “out of your league”.These paragraphs make it sound like I did worse than I did (it's a "how to pick up chicks" quiz, for those of you in the slow lane who haven't figured that out). But 67%?
Sometimes when you see a woman you’d like to approach you become immobilized with fear, and by the time you figure out what to say, she's gone…
There have probably been several times in your life when a woman lost interest in you, and you just couldn’t figure out why. Maybe she gave you her phone number and then didn’t return your calls, or maybe you went out on a few dates with her and things seemed to be going good, when all of a sudden she became mysteriously unavailable.
Do the math, guys: That means if you can only manage to meet 5 new women a week, your odds are you score with 3.33 of them.
Hey, it beats zero.
I got tipped to this quiz by the boyfriend, who thought the author recommended strategies that were "too aggressive."
He does, in a sense. For example, let's go back to that first paragraph:
. . . but you can be intimidated by a woman who is exceptionally attractive. There are some women out there that you consider to be “out of your league”.There is nothing wrong with being intimidated. In fact, if you really think she's out of your league, work that. Now, don't overdo. Don't be a pussy. Don't apologize for asking her what time it is or anything stupid like that. Don't apologize for existing. Overly wimpy is always bad.
But deferential, when you're trying to trade up, is good. You should be deferential. A really good-looking woman knows who's in her class and who isn't. You're not gonna bluff her, unless you're totally over the top. And if you do happen to be totally over the top, she's going to think you're gay, because most guys who do over-the-top with any finesse are gay. In my humble, personal experience, that is.
My point is, you wouldn't go up to Nicole Kidman and lay it on thick, would you? You wouldn't push your luck. In fact, if you were really clever (and pardon the sexism in this aside, but few men are)--if you were really clever, you'd be sort of nonplussed by her, as best you could fake that. THAT would get Nicole Kidman's attention, because when's the last time a man made Nicole feel like she lacks it? Long long time ago, if ever--that's when.
Women want the surprise package. Women want something out of the ordinary. Women want the moon to come up where the sun should be--just for a change. Just for something different. Women bore easily. You know how y'all make those jokes about women changing their minds and how six kinds of dumb that is?--It's not that we don't know our damn minds, it's that we're bored with our damn minds. We like the change-up.
I hear a lot of men bitching, "Damn, that's a lot to ask of a fellow." Pardon, amigo, but not really. It just gives preference to the fellows with a little creativity, is all.
And is that such an unfair advantage? What if all the advantages went to the men with beefcake?--You know what we'd have? A bunch of stupid cavepeople who hadn't figured out the wheel yet, that's what. But we'd all have the means to smash elephant skulls into magickal Viagra-esque potency power, and we'd probably have invented futbol norteamericano centuries ago. Oh, hoo-ray. We could be on Superbowl MCCCLXIV by now.
I don't think this quiz has it quite right, because it seems to think that dating success equals going balls-out for a woman. In my experience, the guys who take this advice seriously end up talked about (and emailed about, and IM'd about, and, and, and . . . ) to no end. Oh, they get the discussion, but they don't get laid. They become this running joke, with the final punchline being that you ran into him in Starbucks and ohmigawd, girl, not only was he totally bald but he was with this chick that I swear I saw last week on Jerry Springer. You know, the one with them three potential baby daddies?
But hell, I'm a woman myself, so don't trust me. Try it your own damn way.
(Via the boyfriend, who won't stop reading World O'Crap.)
That show let me down. It got so stupid so fast. If I didn't have the love jones for Marcia Cross, I'd have given up on it many episodes before the finale.
Which, incidentally, sucked about as hard as a season finale can suck. Do you know what they did?
(Oh, wait! Helen might not know what they did yet. I'd better put it below the fold. Especially since the rest of you don't care anyway.)
This is why I need to remember that soap operas and Ilyka don't mix. They just rot my brain and break my heart.
What songs do you always, always leave playing (whether they're on .mp3, CD, or the radio)? What songs always sound good?
There aren't that many, if you're honest about it and really give it some thought. I have favorite songs, sure--but I'm not always in the mood for a particular favorite song. I like what Rob said:
Even on my own mix CDs that only contain songs I like, I come across songs that I don’t care to hear at that moment.Exactly. Call it attention-deficit disorder or (please!) just revert to that old word, fickle, but that's how I am. I'm not always in the mood for whatever I recorded, even if at the time I recorded it I thought, "Oh, this is gonna be perfect." I've made the perfect mix a thousand times; unfortunately, it's always been the perfect mix for the me I was at that particular moment.
Songs that never get skipped for me no matter what (those I can recall right now, anyway) . . . yeah, most of them are cliches and/or embarrassing:
"Sweet Home Alabama:" I have no idea. I was born in New Jersey? I just like it, a lot. It picks me up when I'm feeling blue. If you think that's dumb, I suggest you don't get between me and a jukebox containing that song. I'll show you dumb.
"Train in Vain:" Yeah, who saw that coming?
"Back in Black:" Another 80s thing. And now I think of it, basically any AC/DC. I can wake up convinced that the day is not a classic metal kind of day, only to be seduced by a random AC/DC track in spite of myself. In fact, I could easily substitute "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" for "Back in Black." There was only one Bon Scott, and alas, he is dead, his scorched larynx buried with him.
(Did you know there is a Finnish AC/DC tribute band that plays only the Bon Scott tracks? Seriously:
The singer Timo Heinonen, however, would probably score quite high in a "Finnish Bon Scott Competition", if there was going to be oneIt takes a Finn to write a blurb like that--proud, but modest. One of these days I need to write about my first visit to Finland's homepage--Finland's PINK homepage complete with bad MIDI and animated .GIF of a flying pig. This was Finland's official government page and no, I'm not making that up. I'm sometimes not convinced Finland is a real country, and that homepage didn't dissuade me from the notion that they're just faking countryhood, while counting on the rest of us not to notice. Someone should alert the U.N.)
The Van Halen cover of "Pretty Woman:" I know I'm supposed to get all eloquent about what a magical talent Roy Orbison was, but as far as I'm concerned, the guy lived mainly so that Van Halen could cover "Pretty Woman." SO SUE ME.
"Let's Go," The Cars. I like the nightlife, baby.
"Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing in the Shadow?" Or "Let's Spend the Night Together." I don't like the slow Stones songs. They need to be double-time, greedy-speedy, or I'm not much into them.
"Anyhow, Anyway, Anywhere." They never play this on the radio. You know why? Because the Radio Gods have decreed that, should the country need Who tunes, it must content itself with one more tired-ass round of "Won't Get Fooled Again." That's why.
"Sweet Jane." I owe my brother for introducing me to that song. I owe him double for playing me both the original release and the oh-look-here-comes-Lou-to-add-back-in-the-arty-instrumental-bit-they-initially-left-out version. Me, I like the original; you lose momentum with the arty bit. Oh, and they never play this on the radio either, least not where I live, and while I'm on that sore subject may I just say fuck you, Clear Channel.
I don't know, that's just kind of what they look like to me--the cartoons in this Towers-of-Hanoi type puzzle game. Rules explained in Engrish here; a solution (that I do not promise is the best or most efficient) is below the fold.
First, a review of the rules:
--Only the adults (the cop, the mother, or the father) may operate the raft.
--Maximum two occupants on the raft for any trip.
--A parent of sex a cannot be left with children of sex b, unless parent of sex b also is present.
--The thief cannot be left with any family member unless the cop also is present.
--Choose a sex, male or female, and denote it sex a.
--Send the cop and the thief on the raft to the destination riverbank.
--Return the cop alone.
--Send the cop with a child of sex a.
--Return the cop and the thief.
[The destination riverbank now contains one occupant, a child of sex a.]
--Send a parent of the same sex as a with the second child of sex a.
--Return the parent alone.
[Destination riverbank occupants (2): Both children of sex a.]
--Send both parents.
--Return the parent whose sex is b.
[Destination riverbank occupants (3): Parent and two children, all of sex a.]
--Send the cop and the thief.
--Return the parent of sex a.
[Destination riverbank occupants (4): Two children of sex a, the cop, and the thief.]
[Originating riverbank occupants (4): Both parents and two children of sex b.]
--Send both parents.
--Return the parent of sex b.
[Destination riverbank occupants (5): Parent and two children, all of sex a; the cop; and the thief.]
[Originating riverbank occupants (3): Parent and two children of sex b.]
--Send the parent of sex b with one of the remaining children, also of sex b.
--Return the cop and the thief.
[Destination riverbank occupants (5): Both parents and 3 (out of 4) children.]
[Originating riverbank occupants (3): Cop, thief, and one child of sex b.]
--Send the cop with the last child.
--Return the cop.
--Send the cop and the thief, and you're done.
It's got pudding, it's got murders. What more do you need in a game?
There's this guy I know. I'll call him Samuel C. Jackson, not to be confused with Samuel L. Jackson, who as we all know could kill you just by thinking about it. Yes, I am so not wanting to be sued by Samuel L. Jackson.
Anyway, Samuel C. Jackson is a friend of the boyfriend's and mine who has really only two minor flaws. The first we will not deal with in the interests of preserving me from the sin of gossip. The second has relevance to my topic and really isn't a sin so much as it is A Thing That Annoys Me A Whole Bunch.
The Thing That Annoys Me a Whole Bunch is that this guy, Samuel C. Jackson, he reads the movie critics / the music critics / the infotainment critics / the op-ed columnists like, devotedly, and then, worse, he takes them seriously.
So one night I'm hanging with Samuel C. Jackson and assorted others when Samuel C. Jackson turns to me and says, "Oh, hey, Ilyka, I been meaning to ask you. I think you told me once--you like The Clash, right?"
"So you probably know that Rolling Stone voted London Calling the top album of the 80s."
I did not know that. The last copy of Rolling Stone I bought featured Axl Rose on the cover. The last copy of Rolling Stone I bought was pre-Nirvana. I hadn't bought a copy of Rolling Stone--nor any of their music guides--in over 20 years.
But I could believe it, because I had memorized the second edition of the Rolling Stone Music Guide, and I knew they gave London Calling the highest mark in that one: Five stars.
"Really? Well, the critics loved that one," is all I said to Samuel C. Jackson.
In response, Samuel C. Jackson gave me a hunted look and leaned in closer to whisper, "That's what I don't get."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, look, I read all these guys, right, and even if I don't like something I can at least see why they're into it. I love Dave Marsh, I love John Swenson, I think those guys nailed The Who, okay, but I don't see why they were both so in love with London Calling."
"And it's not just them," Samuel C. Jackson went on. "I've had friends. Close friends. Friends whose taste I trust. They think that album is the bomb. And I bought it, too, so about every other year I put it on and say, 'Well, let's see if it sounds any better this time.'"
Samuel C. Jackson looked around as though the FBI were about to close in on him, and then he finished:
"But it never does. It always leaves me cold. I don't get the deal with London Calling."
"So you think it sucks," I offered, because I am helpful like that.
Samuel C. Jackson winced. "Not sucks, but not, you know, not best album of the 1980s."
Well. I didn't know what to say to that, because that's not, to me, an arguable point. I'm always confused why people do feel compelled to argue these things. Person X said it was the best; you said it wasn't all that. And? And . . . ? Where do we go from here? Why's this got to be discussed at all? Come on, I have like 2 Andy Gibb CDs in the changer right now. I AM NOT ASHAMED. But I'm not someone you should be discussing taste in music with, maybe.
So I said some general things about how I didn't think Samuel C. Jackson should take the word of a few respected critics so seriously. And Samuel C. Jackson eventually looked away disappointed, because apparently he was really looking for some sort of musical conversion of the heart regarding London Calling, and I didn't have it in me to give him one. I did not have me a testimony.
And I still don't. Look, London Calling, it's my favorite album. When I did learn it was actually voted top album of the 80s--even though I think Rolling Stone has sucked for, basically, years--I got a little tiny secret thrill in my heart: Finally, let the people recognize.
But I love that album for personal reasons. I love that album because I think it kept me going when nothing else would have. I love that album because--I can't tell you why. I can tell you two things that point to it:
One, this interview I read with Pete Townshend where he said he got this letter from a teenager saying, and I'm paraphrasing, "You don't know how much time I spend looking at and thinking about you lot."
(Incidentally, for the whole two Clash fans that may or may not be out there, that Who fan is someone I think Joe Strummer would have called a "bedroom kid," i.e., the sort of kid who never takes up guitar or drums or bass but merely spends hours in his bedroom with the stereo on, gazing at rock posters of his heroes--you know, those guys who actually take their passion for music and do something with it? But the bedroom kid, he never does anything.)
Anyway, Pete Townshend apparently wrote back, "You don't know how much time I spend looking at and thinking about teenagers." Hey! I'll thank you to spare me the obvious I-heard-Townshend-got-caught-with-child-PR0n-on-his-home-computer jokes, okay? Thank you; I just made half a dozen of 'em in my own head already, and I don't need your help.
My point is, I never had that sense that a band considered or remembered its fans like I had with The Who--until The Clash.
Two: This song off My Aim is True that never, to my knowledge, shows up on any critics' "Best of" lists: "Pay It Back." It's track 10 on the disc I've got. I can quote you the first verse:
Stop, thief!--You're gonna
Come to grief, if you don't take a little more care.
You're gonna get more than the family plan from this
One shoe-string affair
I may be principled but I can hardly wait here
Trapped between the doctor and the magistrate
One of these days, I'm gonna pay it back, pay it back
One of these days . . . .*
It's one of those things that reads terrible without the music, but it's like this: There are times when I've felt trapped and that song, whether I've heard it in days or months or years, will spring into my mind and when it does, I'm sort of immediately okay.
I don't even know what Elvis is on about with that family plan, one-shoe-string affair business, but there's something about "trapped between the doctor and the magistrate" (is he talking about an abortion? What?) line that seems universal in the sense that, everything you try to do, in this age when apparently we're enjoying more choices than human beings have ever enjoyed before--when every decision you make gets you to that place: Trapped between the doctor and the magistrate, between one source of authority and the other. You should pardon the total freshman English flavor of that interpretation, because as I suggested above, music criticism ain't my thing. Still, that lyric also explains why I think the Scots had it right with the proverb, "Better the devil ye ken than the devil ye don't." You need in this life to have some idea whether you'd be better off with the doctor or the magistrate.
So London Calling--it has to me both that sense that the band kinda cares and that the lyrics have some universal, uh, universality? See, I knew I'd regret sleeping through English.
It's to me two things: One, evidence that the Clash had heart, and to understand that, you need to understand the album before that: Give 'Em Enough Rope. Yes, titled after that stupid saying I always thought was attributed to Lenin**, about how the irony of capitalism is that the capitalist will sell you the very rope with which to hang himself; but it's saying something about how little the web records the actual literal sayings of Communists that I can't find a single direct quote anywhere, even after several Googlings. (Kids, don't ever let Google substitute for a good library). Hey, but I bet we have no shortage of Che Guevara t-shirts for sale on the internet. Am I right? Can I get a "ˇviva la revolución!" out there?
So you have this Give 'Em Enough Rope album that's supposed to be so revolutionary and, and . . . it tries, but it's saddled with the huge ridiculous irony of having been produced by the guy who used to produce Blue Oyster Cult. You know, the cowbell band of legend?.
Thus here you have these guys from London whose whole mythology depends on the story that they used to subsist on flour-and-water paste (because they were TRUE! To their PRINCIPLES! Of not WORKING! For the MAN! Or the DOLE! Which is not technically WORKING! But still!)--here you have these guys from an ostensible socialist paradise with missing teeth, teamed up with this bloated, on-the-way-out, metal-lite producer from the Los Angeles region of a capitalist Mecca, and . . . well. You're gonna call that album Give 'Em Enough Rope? Without any irony at all? Who's hanging who here?
So after Give 'Em Enough Rope The Clash did London Calling, and, supposedly, the genius of London Calling is that The Clash, subsequently older and wiser from their Sludge-O-Matic sound experience with La Perlman, got this washed-up alcoholic Brit producer, Guy Stevens, to produce it. And supposedly that was way better, because supposedly Guy just turned them loose in the studio and sat on the couch drinking brew for breakfast and encouraging them to do whatever they wanted, you know, musically. Well, if you really truly have a producer like that, you wind up with an album that sounds like shit, which is why I agree with the later biographers who say that isn't precisely how it went down. But that's the story.
What you do have in London Calling, drunk producer or no, is an album that sounds like people having fun.
I think that's why some folks furrow their brows and complain they don't get it--because fun is individual, fun is personal. My fun and your fun might never meet. Your fun is not necessarily my fun. Your fun might be the very antithesis of my fun, and if your fun is spraypainting Grateful Dead logos on the back of your denim jacket, I can just about guarantee that it is.
In that sense, I think London Calling is a poor choice for top album of the 80s--because there's nothing that attempts to reach OUT, nothing on it that attempts to embrace the early 80s rock audience, save maybe the last (hidden) track that went to, oh my, number 39 on the American billboard charts. Woo-hoo! Just barely in the top 40!
There's nothing in London Calling, though, that attempts to convert. There's nothing that says, "Love me, for I am catchy." There's nothing in it that says "Get on this train." Either you were already on that train, or you went into your first listen of that album with a willingness or a need to get on that train--but if you didn't, it's no wonder you don't like it. It's no wonder you wind up like a reviewer whose name and affiliation I no longer remember, whose comment on "Koka Kola" was, "What, does Joe Strummer own Pepsi stock?"
That album isn't for everybody, is all I'm saying. I wouldn't go with overrated, unless, like Samuel C. Jackson, you're the sort to be genuinely upset when people you admire don't dig what you dig. But you're talking about a band who, as one of Michele's commenters so aptly put it, is chiefly remembered as "those guys who did 'Rock the Casbah.'" They didn't make a fortune. They didn't go on reunion tour after reunion tour after reunion tour. Their chief lyricist and singer is dead, their lead guitarist is so bald it's embarrassing, and last I paid attention their drummer was permanently missing, presumed strung out on heroin. They didn't end up with much.
Let them have their little nod from Rolling Stone. Would it kill you? You can still shake your head in bewilderment to your Echo and the Bunnymen discs. Or, hey, how 'bout that Randy Rhoads solo on "Goodbye to Romance," huh?
*I looked this song up on one of those lyric sites that're out there, and they had:
I may be crazy but I can't contemplate
being trapped between the doctor and the magistrate
This isn't how I've ever heard it, but likely I'm wrong and just a bad, bad, very bad transcriptionist. In my defense, Elvis is much more intelligible on This Year's Model and Armed Forces--but that's not much defense, is it?
**Gads, or is it Marx? Now that I think about it, it sounds more like Marx. Cripes, but I'd make a lousy communist. I'm not even a very good American.
(If this is a years-old site that you've all seen before, I apologize for devoting an entire post to it. I don't get out much, see? No, not even on the internet.)
Songs I like in the springtime:
The Girl Stands Up To Me Now - Jonathan Richman
Nothing Was Exchanged - Jules Shear
Precious - The Pretenders
(Links suffer from accelerated decay. Right-click, save-as to preserve.)
And because this blog exists at least partly to amuse and provoke my brother, and I'm pretty sure this is a topic about which he has strong opinions:
(Note to all those people in the comments who keep nominating that beaky guy from The Who: It's "Townshend" with an "h." Don't know why that one gets under my skin, but it absolutely does . . . maybe because he is one of my favorite songwriters, and therefore I think it's worthwhile to spell his name right. And not that the guy ever wrote much, beyond maybe bathroom graffiti and letters to Oui, but in case it ever comes up?--It's "Daltrey" with an "e." If it looks like "paltry," you've spelled it wrong. It's worth spelling his name right because no one in rock will ever equal that scream and, also, because he's one in a long list of Diminutive British Singers Ilyka Spent Her Youth Wishing She Were Old Enough to Bang, Being Too Dumb to Realize That Her Being Only 14 Would Probably Have Been A-OK With Them, The Filthy Rotten Pigs.
Thanks, just getting that obsessive little monkey off my back.)
Tangentially related: My brother and I used to have this conversation about whether really great songwriters were ever good-looking--if you even could be a really great songwriter if you were really good-looking; was it even possible? And then I don't think we ever came up with a good example of someone who was both handsome and a really great songwriter. Debate that here, if you like. Or don't. Knowing you people, I'm betting you pick "don't." Lazy pricks.
During a break in whatever NCAA game he's watching this afternoon, the boyfriend did a little channel-flipping.
These two concepts should never be put together. I'm mad enough they coexist in the same universe.
I swear I just felt my hymen grow back.
Women of Hollywood: There are looks besides nude lipstick with high gloss, kohl eyeliner, and the mermaid dress. Points to all of you--it appears to be a grand total of three of you so far--who realized this.
The rest of you, it's like you came off the same pornographic assembly line. Never tell me what creative, artistic individuals you are again.
UPDATE: That really was all I had to say about the Academy Awards--especially since it looks like Phil Dennison's said anything else I might have wanted to, but didn't:
Well, Beyonce again. And she’s wearing an entire Cartier store around her neck. I’m not actually hearing a note of this song, because it’s so god-awful middle-of-the-road in its Andrew Lloyd Webberesness.Scroll up, down, and all around for more. Especially the part where he gets Sean Penn's number. (Can't tell if he's being serious or sarcastic about Hillary Swank, though. I'm hoping the latter. You ever have people you just dislike from the get-go? Hillary Swank is one of those people for me.)
In the interests of full disclosure let me admit right now that no matter what this woman did, no matter what she said, no matter how she looked, I wouldn't like her anyway:
Despite occasionally suffering from bouts of depression, I do not generally wish for disasters to strike the planet, and particularly not my own country . . . but you know what pictures like this make me wish for?
A nice famine.
Wouldn't a famine be great? For me, I mean. For Sheryl and Teri, maybe not so much. But for me? Storing fat is easier than breathing.
Of course, that would probably get me hunted as a food source, but I think I can fend off an 88-pound hunter.
Sheryl: Just let me carve a little off your triceps area. My God, do you even have triceps? That looks like . . . it looks so . . . so fat . . . so juicy . . . .
Me: Get stuffed. You're getting saliva all over my porch.
Sheryl: But I'm starrrrrrr-ving!
Me: You were starving before and you seemed all right with it. I mean, if it's working for you, you know, if that's kind of your look and all, well, I would hate to interfere with that.
Sheryl: I mean I'm reeeeeee-lee starving--hey! Is that a cat? Just let me have a bite of your cat. Oh wow, I haven't had cat in like weeks.
Me: Sheryl, Sheryl! Come now. What would PETA say?
Sheryl: Kidneys . . . failing . . . heart muscle . . . breaking down . . . .
Me: Fuck, don't die here. Don't be bringing down the neighborhood like that.
I figure that's about when I kick her down the stairs.
And let the cats out for a little snack.
(Via Go Fug Yourself.)
I do hope those handcuffs were stainless steel. Putting them in the dishwasher beforehand was a nice touch, provided they don't rust.
Look, nothing I say to describe this can possibly do The Feathered-Back Hair Site justice; you just run along now and check it out for yourself. Personally, I'm going to be stuck there for hours, reliving the horror.
People wonder why I hate to go to the salon . . . well, look at what I grew up with and tell me you wouldn't be rendered permanently terrified of hairstylists by it.
The best part? My hair refused to do any of this stuff. It would not feather, it would not form the triangle, it would not even lie in sausage rolls . . . but that never stopped those sadistic curling-iron-wielding witches from trying to make it do all those things. Oh, no. Not them.
I love it, I love it, I love it: Let a lefty write a novel shot through with tirades against, say, nuclear power, and he's a "concerned activist-novelist." Let Michael Crichton write, well, anything anymore, and he's "a right-wing noodge:"
For Crichton's fans, this has got to be heartbreaking: The boy-novelist who engineered a tyrannosaurus in Jurassic Park and mysterious pathogens from outer space in The Andromeda Strain has become a political pamphleteer, a right-wing noodge.Some people go for the meat, some people go for the bones, but I go first always for the nitpick: What is this "boy novelist" business? Crichton is my father's age: 62. That's a 6 in the tens place followed by a 2 in the ones place for those of you playing at home. The numberphobic might also think of it as "born one year after Pearl Harbor, currently seven years into enjoying the senior citizens' discount, now only three years away from becoming eligible to receive Social Security."
I suppose the guy could have meant that Crichton started out a "boy novelist," back in the days of Andromeda Strain, but frankly, by the time a fellow's quitting medical school, I've usually stopped calling him a "boy" anything. (Besides, the sentence doesn't read that way.) Does this mean one of these days I can finally get around to savaging "precocious wunderkind Stephen King?" Cripes, I know baby boomers fear the aging process like no generation before or since, but come ON.
And please, somebody call me when guys who spend their off hours bending spoons with their minds, having their "entities" exorcised by new-age gurus, and hiking in the desert to commune with cacti are "right wing." I know Rod Dreher had his precious "crunchy conservatives" catchphrase all set to go for just this sort of situation, but I think it's stretching the label out worse than a pair of John Kerry's bike shorts on Mike Moore to call Crichton "right wing."
Boy, you write one little novel revealing the cruel, terrible truth that given half a chance, women can be just as abusive to their male subordinates as men can be to their female underlings, and the book critics piss down the back of your neck for the rest of your life.
Curtis claims he's been reading Crichton since he was 13, so surely--surely--he must have figured out at some point that Crichton's favorite theme is people getting in over their heads with the latest technology. I believe the general literary concept is hubris. Apparently, this was just fine with Curtis so long as Crichton stuck to dumb stuff like space virii, pissed-off gorillas, and whatever the hell the monster turned out to be in Sphere; I admit I don't remember, probably because trying to finish that book induced narcolepsy. All A-okay with Curtis, but . . . killer nano-swarms? Ruthless businessmen? Bureaucracy that can't decide whether to police air travel or promote it? Ecoterrorists? Anything remotely plausible or topical?--Who asked that wingnut to start writing about this wacky stuff? Come to think of it, who let him near a word processor in the first place?
The worst part is, critiquing Crichton isn't exactly rocket science. The manual for that activity has been in existence for over 20 years; you just run down the checklist. Two-dimensional characterization, lately improved but still weak: Check. A tendency, markedly pronounced in later books, to write in anticipation of a screen adaptation: Check. Occasional clunky, shoot-I-done-wrote-myself-into-a-corner endings: Check. Killed the mathematician in Jurassic Park, resurrected him unbelievably in The Lost World, and permitted Jeff Goldblum to portray him in the movie: Oh, check.
You would think, wouldn't you, that if you worked at Slate and the editor said, "Here, go beat up on Michael Crichton's latest," that your reaction would be, "Sweet, something I can phone in for a change." Wouldn't you? Or perhaps you have a better work ethic than I do. Perhaps you would resolve to aim a little higher. Perhaps you'd ultimately decide to pursue the supah-fresh "attack the politics" angle that no one ever wore out to threadbare back when Disclosure came out.
So that's my review of Slate's review: Love it. If I were Crichton I'd frame that shit. Then I'd laugh all the way to my agent's, all the way to the producer's, all the way to the bank, all the way to the spoon-bender's, all the way to the Brugh Joy conference, all the way to my acupuncturist's . . . .
Maybe it's true everything gives you cancer . . . in any case, fruits and vegetables don't prevent it.
Personally, I've always thought a picture was worth a thousand words, myself.
(Image from The Sims Resource.)
UPDATE 09/19/2004: I'll echo the comments of Margi (below) and just say that I love this game. But I'm definitely in the market for a new video card and would welcome suggestions/comments below. Game specs state an NVIDIA GeForce 2 or better (or other manufacturer equivalent).
Actor Ed Harris offers guidance in the direction of future research efforts; fellow thespian Christian Bale rebuts.
Would the Coen brothers even have careers if you issued a judicial order prohibiting them from making fun of people who talk funny?
Sorry, but it's just that I've recently decided I kind of hate these guys. Part of it stems from trying a couple weeks ago to watch one of theirs I'd never got around to seeing: Raising Arizona.
You know, I used to work for Maricopa County. And you could get way, way, way out in the farthest reaches of it, the parts where people really do try to live in the desert in tin trailers because they can't afford anything better, and yet never hear a single person speak the way people speak in that movie.
Hell, I'm not entirely convinced you can find people in West Texas who speak the way people speak in that movie, though I suppose you might could . . . .
And call me nitpicky, but the Valley of the Sun is not exactly known for having "twisters" (which people there would call "tornadoes," anyway). Dear heaven, no wonder some folks up north hated Fargo, 'cause you just know for months after that movie came out tourists were begging the natives, "say 'Yah sure, you betcha!' for us!" just one more &%#$ time.
Today, I think, is "To Hell with Elitism" day around here. I'm going to celebrate it by being extra nice to people with low-rent accents. And when I say "nice," I mean genuinely, honestly nice, not "condescending to the poor slobs who don't know what an embarrassment their very existences are, who don't realize that they are infecting the neighborhood with their trashiness, who don't realize how lucky they are to share the planet with marvelous, sophisticated, erudite me."
And if you come near me with a bottle of vintage wine, I'm going to club you over the head with a bottle of the champagne of beers. And as the blood and beer run down your cheeks, I'll lean in real close and whisper, "Got quite a boo-kay on 'er, don't she?" I might even say it in a Raising Arizona accent.
It's just the kind of mood I'm in today.
So I'm cruising a restaurant menu online, a menu from one of my favoritest restaurants actually, a restaurant owned by a gentleman named George, and I get to the description for this item:
BF03 - SujukAnd I'm thinking, George needs to be more careful in the kitchen.
George's own hot, beef sausage bathed in lemon juice. Served with fresh tomato slices.
(Helper "I don't get it" link. WARNING: Linked article contains the phrase, "appetising vaginas," which surely did just do something to my appetite, all right.)
I think by now it's apparent I'm not the girliest girl out there, but nonetheless sometimes it's as though Anna Wintour barges into my head and I can't shut her up. Which means that for portions of the movie my stream of consciousness went like this:
Oh my God who are they kidding with her hair no way unh-uh that is not at all MJ hair--look at it all greasy and 1990s Seattle with the I-put-the-barrette-in-just-after-shooting-up-that's-why-it's-crooked look and when's the last time she had that mess cut, huh? When mine looks like that--wait, mine does look like that, just not that color. Which I guess is why the other day when I didn't bother to pin it up and I said "Man, I really need to get my hair cut," the boyfriend promptly replied, "Yeah, you really do," and I was too flabbergasted to get out even a lame line like "Thanks for your support, asshole." But that's me and I get paid like $0.075 per 65-character line of type and I firmly believe that no haircut beats a $12 haircut every time so until I can afford that girl at Toni & Guy who knows how to do my hair it's just too bad, so sad--but damn, what's Kirsten Dunst's excuse? Who allowed hair like that in this movie? And the color. Did they cheap out on a colorist for this flick? Did someone buy the wrong box of Clairol or what? Where's that unnatural MJ red like in the comics huh? Didn't they get it right for the last one? I think they did. I remember it as being seriously knock-you-on-your-ass red in the last one, but it's been awhile. I guess if I were like a serious fan I would have seen it 38 times by now . . . but come on, there is no excuse for this Nancy Drew strawberry blonde crap. Why do they call it strawberry blonde, anyway? This looks more like Velveeta to me.
And did she do something to her nose? Oh man, I think she's been getting the nose narrowed. Badly. You know that's what I never did the other day that I meant to, look her up on the IMDB and see if that was her in that awful movie I saw on the WB, that one that was like a sad ABC Afterschool Special where she's about the least-convincing pregnant teenager in the northern hemisphere. If that was her she's come a long way since then except wait, didn't she start out in Interview with the Vampire? I think that's right. So the teen pregnancy movie would have been a real step back but I guess it's hard for child actors--no, she definitely did something to the nose. Stupid girl, that was so stupid! So you have a wide nose, so deal with it. No one's looking at your nose anyway seeing as how they always manage to get you dripping wet and braless in these movies . . . aaaaannnd yup, what'd I say, did I call that or did I call that? How come the fusion thingie is pulling in taxicabs from blocks away but she's just standing there not five yards from it looking googly-eyed at Parker like they're in the middle of Central Park on a fine spring day or something? It's the hair I'll bet. Even the fusion thingie knows that her hair is just wrong and will have no part of it. It's probably sitting there going, no way, bring me the REAL MJ and I'll suck her into a flaming death, but this gal with the Cabbage Patch doll rhinoplasty who sprayed Cheez Whiz on her head?--Forget it, you can't fool me, I'm fusion, not a retard. Hey, that Tobey Maguire has really buffed up pretty nicely here. You know, filmmakers, as long as you have Spidey's mask off . . . .
So what happened the year YOU were born? In my case, it's mostly not pretty:
|In 1969 (the year you were born)|
Richard Nixon becomes president of the US|
Senator Edward Kennedy escapes injury when the car he is driving veers off a narrow bridge on Chappaquiddick Island
US astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to set foot on the moon while commanding the Apollo 11 mission
Breathtaking pictures of Mars are transmitted to earth from NASA's Mariner 7 as it passes within 2,200 miles of the Red Planet
Woodstock music festival begins in upstate NY, featuring performances by Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, and many more artists
250,000 Vietnam War protestors gather in Washington for the largest anti-war rally in US history
The first draft lottery since WWII is held in New York City
The Beatles' performance in public for the last time, on the roof of Apple Records
The Stonewall riots mark the start of the modern gay rights movement in the US
Marilyn Manson, Jennifer Aniston, Renée Zellweger, Edward Norton, Christian Slater, and Linus Torvalds are born
New York Mets win the World Series
New York Jets win Superbowl III
Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup
Sesame Street premieres
Midnight Cowboy wins the Oscar for best picture
David Bowie's debut single, "Space Oddity", becomes a huge hit - in part to the US landing on the moon
Sharon Tate & the LaBiancas are found murdered by Charles Manson & "family"
Riots, wars, Manson, Chappaquiddick . . . I don't think this is what Sinatra was talking about in "It Was a Very Good Year," although I suppose the moon landing qualifies as awesome.
No, really. Neither candidate escapes unscathed. Long load time (and I'm on DSL), but worth it--go grab some coffee or pester a coworker while you wait.
And Bill Clinton upstages both of them. I can't decide whether that's the saddest thing, or the funniest.
September 2001, The Onion: "A Shattered Nation Longs to Care About Stupid Bullshit Again." (No link available since they went premium, the bastards.)
May 2004, The Washington Post: "The Hill's Sex Diarist Reveals All (Well, Some)."
Mission accomplished, wouldn't you say?
I really don't have anything to say that hasn't been said already (and better) about this thing. I care about as much as I cared about Monica Lewinsky: It kinda sucks for her, but, well, that's what you get for thinking with your genitalia.
One overwhelming difference between Monica and Jessica: At least Monica humiliated herself for love. Jessica just did it for the money.
I hope she saved some of it, because if that book deal doesn't pan out (or, more likely, if it does pan out and then winds up overflowing the discount racks like . . . like . . . why, like Monica's book!), she'll find out what all whores learn eventually: Age happens. That's really my primary objection to prostitution--it's such bad strategy. No art to it at all. No long-range planning. Just bend over and take it while you can.
If you think about it, it's enough to make you envy the greeters at Wal-mart. Sure, they're stuck in that grisly polyester all day long, but at least they don't need to stock up on K-Y Jelly.
"Looking to get lucky?" I offered with a wink.As he says himself, read at your own risk.
"What you want?" she snapped, the necklace-chains of her bifocals jangling seductively, even wantonly.
"It's not what I want," I cooed. "It's what you want."
I let my raincoat fall open, revealing the fact that I was wearing a halter-style cut t-shirt that exposed my abdomen. I'd craftily drawn "cut lines" on my stomach with brown magic marker, giving the appearance of a nice six-pack. At least giving that appearance to a nearsighted elderly Korean woman.
"All this can be yours. For a price." I traced a line down the middle of my belly with a finger, making that "sssssss" hot-stuff noise.
"No sandwich after nine o'clock," she said. "Deli closed."
"I've got all the meat I could want right here," I whispered, trying to sound like Mickey Rourke before he got weird-looking. "Beef," I informed her, as I flexed a bicep and pointed to it. "It's what's for dinner."
"No sandwich after nine," she said. What a delightfully coquettish little minx Mrs. Kim was turning out to be.
And so the tango of desire continued.
American Digest links an interview at CNN with Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, in which it is revealed that Brown could have included even more speculative material regarding the life of Jesus than he did.
Here's what I'm waiting for: I'm waiting for someone to reveal that Dan Brown writes like ass and couldn't get even a "has potential" rating from The Fiction Bitch.
Can we just admit that much? What, you haven't read it? Or you've read it and you don't believe me? Look: This book actually contains the phrase, "He waved quietly." Now I want you to try something. I want you to try to wave loudly.
It's writing my fifth-grade teacher would have called a parent-teacher conference to lament. Never mind Jesus and Mary Magdalene; Brown's clumsy, half-assed approach to sentence construction is the heresy I can get righteously indignant about.
When someone writes a post that describes a friend as wearing "a Jaclyn Smith Charlie's Angels white bikini" and you picture it immediately-- no further description necessary, you know exactly what the suit looks like--even before you get to the helpfully-embedded graphic?
Well, it doesn't make me feel any younger, let's put it that way.
This policy of not linking Lileks is just not working out. I have been wanting to write about this dorky show for months now but I haven't done it and now Lileks sort of has and now if I were to write an entry about it I'd just be hopping on the bandwagon, and how come I always put off writing about my lame interests on account of, well, they're lame, but then someone else does it and does it really well and then I wind up feeling ripped off somehow?
Ahem. Anyway, he's right: Caillou is a total wuss. And the theme song! The teeth-grindingly irritating theme song!
I'm! only four years old
Each! day I grow some more
Blah! blah blah blah blah,
If you've seen it you'll know why I put the damn exclamation marks in such a goofy place.
The thing is, I don't see the show very often--I normally sleep right through it, on account of my odd working hours. Maybe once a month I'll catch an episode, and for some reason it's usually when I have a hangover.
You know how some people will get all liquored up and then, once they crash in the pre-dawn hours, they'll sleep for the next 10-12? That isn't me, which is why I am not a huge fan of alcohol. For some reason, if I have a night out at a bar, I'll wake up after only four or five hours of sleep--every time. And when I say "wake up," I mean I bolt out of the bed like it's made of nails and I am not just up and about, I am UP and ABOUT and SO FULL OF NERVOUS ENERGY you'd think it was lines of coke I'd had the night before instead of shots of Jagermeister.
Oh, and also I usually feel like hell. This, I find, is as good a time as any to watch Caillou: Right after a brisk walk down to the Deli News for a $3.99 plate of scrambled eggs, pan-fried potatoes, and bagel with cream cheese. (A proper bagel, too.) It helps work off the nervous energy and alleviates that awful hangover guilt. The walk, I mean. Not the Caillou-watching.
Of all the habits I have that irk my boyfriend--and those habits are many--I'd have to say the Caillou-watching tops the list.
"Why are you watching this crap."
"Because there's nothing else on. You could get cable, you know. Or the dish. People tell me dish is better."
"You're watching children's programming."
"No, I am watching Canadian children's programming. Ooh, hey!--The dad just said 'aboot' again!"
"Why's the kid bald?"
"I don't know but you totally missed it--they went to the beach and I swear the mother pulled off his ball cap and rubbed what looked like zinc paste all over his dumb head--for sunscreen, eh? And then she put the cap back on. It was easily the stupidest moment in television programming ever. It was classic."
"Is that his grandfather?"
"He looks like a child molester."
"Personally I'm a little suspicious about his motives for always wanting to take Caillou on overnight camping trips."
"What the hell kind of name is Caillou anyway?" (Notice that he's starting to get fascinated with the show himself now--not that he'll ever admit it.)
"You're the Francophile, you tell me."
The only way I could get my boyfriend to quit ragging me about watching Caillou was to introduce him to Jay Jay the Jet Plane. I've never taken a hit of acid in my life but the best argument against my ever doing so is that I'm seriously worried I'd start seeing those freaky jet heads on everyone around me.
(NOTE: We do not, under any circumstances [save once to see if it was really as bad as people told me and, oh, you betcha it was], watch Boobah. I have my limits.)
So, okay, I think I just took over 10 paragraphs to get to my point, which is that Lileks is right: Caillou blows. The kid is a wuss (but hey, he's only four years old! Each day he grows some more! Just not hair, eh?) and the parents really are sexually indistinct and if you want to see what our neighbors to the north think constitutes an ideal society with fairness and blandness for all, well, Caillou's probably as good an example as you're going to get. And on days when you're hungover and convinced the world is going to hell in a handbasket anyway, it's good for a bitter laugh or two. In fact, if you do what I do--which is make up your own sick, deviant Caillou plots "loosely based" on the actual one you're watching ("Caillou Gets Hepatitis," for example), it's good for a lot more laughs than that.
And whatever you come up with, I guarantee your alternative Caillou episode is going to be better than your actual Caillou episode. I say that because I just found the episode guide. A wuss, Mr. Lileks? "Wuss" doesn't begin to cover it. Selected titles:
Caillou Visits the Doctor
Caillou is Sick
Caillou Plays Baby (and why not? He's hairless enough.)
Caillou Forgets His Toys
Caillou Is Scared of Dogs
Caillou Develops Gender-Identity Issues
Okay, so I made the last one up.
Want to find out when it's on in your area?
UPDATE: Parents! Still stumped for ideas to improve your Caillou-watching time? See the comments to this post for further alternative episode suggestions, via--who else?--Jim Peacock of Snooze Button Dreams.
(Okay, I'm voting "more." I'd sooner suffer a few stirring rounds of "Mr. Roboto" than ever feast my eyes on the McKeithen family again.)
Thanks, of a sort, to Joyce of Spades.
Favorite recent FARK photoshop entries:
From Less Famous TIME-LIFE Music Compilations: Circumcising to the Oldies.
From Curious George Titles That Didn't Make the Cut: Curious George Blows the Butcher.
From Unlikely Sequels to a Favorite Book: A Farewell to Legs.
You know, I've spent a lot of foolish money in my time (shut up, parental units), but the only sum I regret is the $30.00 I paid for a subscription to Salon once upon a time.
And don't miss the letter from the editor, "David Talbot:"
Whether it's uncovering the crooked schemes of the Bush administration and its fat-cat cronies, putting the Bushies' hypocrisy on display for all the world to see, or chronicling the many ways that George W. Bush is trying to ruin us, Salon.com offers a diverse array of news and views you can't find anywhere else.
Can't you just become a Scientologist like everyone else in Hollywood? You know, I just think that in the capable hands of a talented director like yourself, Battlefield Earth really could have been something.
Just think about it a little, okay?