Sunday, February 26, 2012

Urinal Tales

When I stand before the urinal, I’ll hear a loud sniff directly behind me. I’ll be startled and disgusted for a second until I realize it’s the motion-activated mechanical air freshener bolted to the wall. One of these days, some allergy-suffering assassin is going to get the drop on me because I was lulled into a false sense of security.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Internet Browsing Club - February 2012

Since Google Reader imploded, I've missed reading articles and bitlets that my friends recommended. I sent an email to some internet power users to see what's up, and here are the results:

from myself:

Raise The Crime Rate - A long discussion about the American prison system:

"If, in the popular imagination, the primary purpose of prisons is to keep us safe from (the vanishingly small number of) people like Charles Manson, then we should simply kill Charles Manson. Prison abolitionists should be ready to advocate a massive expansion of the death penalty if that’s what it takes to move the discussion forward. A prisonless society where murderers were systematically executed and rapists were automatically castrated wouldn’t be the most humane society imaginable, but it would be light-years ahead of the status quo."

Rocky VS Rambo - Mr. Show writer Scott Aukerman, Parks and Rec writer Harris Wittels, and others' absurd 103-page screenplay:

- Rocky is bench-pressing Mickey while a pair of pelicans
look on. He finishes a set and rests Mickey on amakeshift bench. Rocky lifts one of the pelicans up toreveal a nest of blue pelican eggs. He takes three ofthe eggs and cracks them into a gigantic wooden bowl.These eggs are much bigger than normal eggs. He breathesdeep and starts drinking, chugging until he gets themdown. Rocky is disgusted but Mickey nods his head inadmiration.
- A room full of other prisoners hung up by their handslike animals in a meat locker. Rocky is punching one ofthem in the sides, you can tell that this is agonizingfor the prisoner. Rocky mouths “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” 
- Rocky looks up at a photo of his old boxing gloves thathe has hung up on the wall of his cell. He looks down tothe make-shift gloves he’s got now - cobbled togetherwith rags and gauze and pita bread. He eats a littlebite of the pita bread and looks ahead with renewedvigor. 
- Rocky runs up the long staircase of an ancient temple(a la the stairs sequence in Rocky I). The stairs aresteep, and much sweat drips from Rocky’s hoodie.The old stone steps crumble under his feet as the MUSICCLIMAXES - Rocky reaches the top! A Buddhist monk ispraying nearby as Rocky punches his fist through areligious statue at the pinnacle of the temple invictory. Rocky pumps his fists, the Buddhist monk isvery sad about the statue though.

She Found Out You’re One Of Those Guys Who Throws A Ball Around The Office At Work Day! -
Yet another amazing short story by Bob Powers:
I was bored and I found myself perusing your work website, and I checked out the “Staff” link to see if there were any photos of you. I found one. Such a nightmarish one. One of you in your desk chair with your shirt sleeves rolled up, tossing a Nerf football to one of your co-workers.
Review of "I Will" by Danny Brown - Matthew Perpetua (click through to hear the song):
Danny Brown spends a lot of time rapping about his intense love for performing cunnilingus, and this track is pretty much his most enthusiastic ode to that act. Even though there’s a number of other emcees from Brown’s generation who are keen to boast about their love of going down on ladies, it’s still pretty refreshing to hear hip-hop music so focused on selflessly providing pleasure to women. Well, it’s not that selfless. Danny’s clearly having a grand old time down there, and the chorus about how he’ll do what some other guy will not suggests that this is just as much about competition with other dudes than it is about making his girl happy.
Bobby sez, "I came across this article today, addresses issues that my other attorney friends have encountered so far. The traditional law firm model is an antiquated relic that many excellent attorneys in our generation aren't buying into, and it is a case study in the different types of folks described in this article":
Because vampires and divas and underminers are so loud and distracting, they take up all the emotional energy that we should actually be devoting to the real enemy. This is why we never destroy the soulless careerists. This is, I think, the number one mistake that we make in the world of work.
 V passes on the NYT profile of Sleigh Bells, if you were wondering who the hell that was on SNL yesterday:
In March 2008 Mr. Miller moved to New York expressly to find a female vocalist for a duo. 
 James passes along How Carrots Became The New Junk Food 
What a silly use of advertising dollars to tell people that vegetables are healthy.
From Alipete, two New Yorker articles:
The Caging of America, by Adam Gopnik
For most privileged, professional people, the experience of confinement is a mere brush, encountered after a kid’s arrest, say. For a great many poor people in America, particularly poor black men, prison is a destination that braids through an ordinary life, much as high school and college do for rich white ones. More than half of all black men without a high-school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives. Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today—perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850. In truth, there are more black men in the grip of the criminal-justice system—in prison, on probation, or on parole—than were in slavery then. Over all, there are now more people under “correctional supervision” in America—more than six million—than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height. That city of the confined and the controlled, Lockuptown, is now the second largest in the United States.
The Plagiarist's Tale, by Lizzie Widdicombe
The author of “Assassin of Secrets” was a thirty-five-year-old début novelist with the pen name Q. R. Markham. Just before the book’s publication, in November, there were signs that it would be a hit: it had blurbs from the spy novelists Duane Swierczynski and Jeremy Duns (“instant classic”) and glowing early reviews. Kirkus pronounced it “a dazzling, deftly controlled debut,” and Publishers Weekly wrote, “The obvious Ian Fleming influence just adds to the appeal.” On the James Bond fan site, someone linked to an excerpt, which the publisher, Little, Brown, had posted online, and wrote, “Anyone read this novel? I’m ordering it next month . . . it’s very Bondian.”
But, as in a thriller, no sooner had the book’s trajectory been established than it was reversed. That day, another Bond fan wrote to the thread, “Why order a copy? Just read chapter 4 of ‘License Renewed’ ”—by John Gardner, who continued the Bond series after Ian Fleming’s death. “It’s all there, the ‘matched luggage’ . . . ‘What’s it like to kill a man?’ the son et lumiere at ‘Frankie’s’ flat—entire paragraphs copied verbatim from John Gardner’s text.”
Like a spy hiding in plain sight, “Assassin of Secrets” appeared to be a bizarre aberration: an homage to Bond that plagiarized Bond.
 And finally Cara wants you to know about PerezHamilton - celeb gossip meets a daily dose of history: 
John Locke Writes Carolina Constitution with Rumored Lover

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Television Roundup - Winter 2012

Television shows I’m currently making time to view, in order from most consistently enjoyable to less so, bearing in mind that God don’t make no junk but TV networks do, but I don’t watch no junk unless it happens to be what Kim wants to watch while I occupy myself online:

This shouldn’t be a surprise, since it’s written by the same guy who created Sealab 2021, and I own all those DVDs.

Parks & Recreation
Aside from its general hilariousness, it’s got even more going for it. You can count on some physical comedy from Chris Pratt, and the show almost always puts you in a happy mood.

Happy Endings
Very snappy dialogue, an no shortage of puns, unique abbreviations, and fun phrases. I think of Damon Wayans saying, “Daddy likes a deep tuck” every time I don an undershirt.

The most recent episode centered on potato skins. A full half-hour of television. Absurd without being aggressively absurd, a la Tim & Eric.

30 Rock
Still strong.

Chopped (via DVR)
You can fly through a recorded episode in 35 minutes, skipping over the inter-chef and judge chit-chat that makes it unwatchable live. If the producers would stop forcing the contestants to constantly mention their personal “hook” -- my mother died, I’m trying to win for her, etc etc -- I’d have no complaints. Well, except maybe the dessert round, give those guys 10 additional minutes so they can BAKE, yo! French toast ain’t no goddamned dessert!!

Top Chef
We should probably DVR this as well, but it’s a Wednesday night tradition.

An Idiot Abroad
Makes you feel good about your limited vacations.

At its worst, still funnier than 90% of television.

The Office
At its worst, still funnier than 89% of television.

The Soup
Inessential, but a breezy way to spend 30 minutes.

The Walking Dead
I suppose it’s a good sign that there’s only one show I watch to mock, and I suppose it’s higher quality trash than reality shows on Bravo or TLC. So, good for me?

Conan (via DVR)
Daily Show (first 10 or 20 minutes)
CBS This Morning
The usual schedule is record Conan, watch the Daily Show’s first segment or two before bed, then wake up and see what Charlie Rose is talking about. Charlie Motherfucking Rose is in the house! CBS is in serious danger of airing a news program in the morning, with no chuckling between annoying weathermen and softball-question-lobbing anchors. If I don’t care to hear the latest news, I watch Conan’s previous night’s monologue while eating cereal.

*  *  *

Television greivances, in no particular order:

Arby’s spokesman that sings “It’s Good Mood Fooooooood!”
Soaring higher on my list of Most Punchable Humans. Also, no it isn’t. There’s a reason why The Simpsons coined the phrase, “I’m so hungry I could eat at Arby’s.”

The Bud Light Platinum advertising campaign
Would someone inform the idiots at Anheiser-Busch that the people who drink Bud Light DON’T GIVE A SHIT HOW THEIR BEER TASTES?! You won the light domestic beer battle. That’s not a compliment, but it seems to be a fact. Anyway, you can stop innovating. Just keep pumping out the same old swill and your loyal customers will drink it.

The low-rent cable ads, especially during Comedy Central programming
Dipped strawberries? Just the type product that is best ordered via telephone. Sexytime phone chat lines? In this digital age, I don’t understand how could those still be in business, let alone profitable. Catheters? Yikes. I’ll stick with the strawberries.

The guys Zooey shares an apartment with on “New Girl”
I find them all unlikeable.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Walking Dumb - Season 2 Resumes

Seven episodes of season 2 have aired, and the final 6 begin this Sunday. Everybody spent all of season 2 looking for the missing little girl Sophia, and it turns out she was a zombie locked in barn on the farm they were staying at the whole time. That old trope. The Asian Dale and the farmer’s daughter are in love. Shane and Andrea are in LUST. Grime’s wife is pregnant. The farmer wants the group to leave. Grimes doesn’t want to leave. WHAT? WILL? HAPPEN? NEXT???

Over/under on number of zombies we see this season? 10? How many Carl Faces? 10?
(via Videogum, home of the world's greatest Walking Dead commentary)

Hmm. I’ll guess they will kill one or two per episode until the finale, when 4 will be killed. I guess I’m taking the over.

What are you hoping will happen in these next 6? We have really only seen zombie problems for them. I’d like to see other apocalypse issues arise, like lack of food, supplies, and bad weather. I hope that winter will come and it will get all Valley Forge on them, even though they’re in a relatively warm Georgia climate. Wikipedia tells me that Atlanta experiences the low 30’s during winter months, so that would be bad enough to get the group out of stupid tents and into some real shelter.

I think I'll split it into two categories: A. What I would like to see happen, and B. What I think will happen

A. I'd like for Sad, Useless Mom, Andrea, T-Dogg, Asian guy, Rick's wife and Carl to be immediately killed off by a rogue pack of zombies. This should take about five minutes or so. Then Hershel freaks out and tries to kill the survivors. Shane gets crazy-eyed and kills Hershel with a saw or something, then cries or something over dead Andrea and Rick's wife, then tries to rape Farm Girl, who blows his brains out or something. (Also, anybody not named died in the initial zombie attack.)

So now we're left with Rick, Old Guy, Farm Girl and I think that's it.

Then in the second episode, the farmhouse is swarmed by zombies and kill Rick, Old Guy and Farm Girl. Fade to black, roll credits.

B. The episode will start with some kind of stupid flashback that won't be referenced again. The first 40 minutes or so of the first episode will be people anguishing over Sophia and other dead zombies. Carl will ask where Sophia went, and Rick and wife will tell him she went to live on a different farm or something. The last ten minutes, Hershel will get angry and try to make everybody else leave the farm. Rick will say they have to find something somewhere else, probably another military base or something like that. Supplies are still abundant. There will no live zombies in this episode, except for maybe in the flashback.

Here’s what I think will happen in the 6 episodes:

1. Hershel will argue with Grimes and company for 40 minutes, then decide to let them stay. He will order the fattest calf to be slaughtered, open his cellar’s finest wines and canned vegetables, and host a huge feast. Everyone has a nice time at the special dinner. After Hershel finishes the post-meal prayer, red lights on the ceiling start to flash, and a robotic female voice comes over the house PA: “Self destruct sequence initiated. 3 minutes remaining.” For the next 15 minutes (because of how goddamn slow this show is) everyone will freak out. Shane will try to rape somebody so he can “go out in style”. Everyone except Hershel and his family, who he has chained to a radiator, will escape the house JUST RIGHT AS it blows up, and they’ll do that cool jump while it explodes at their backs.

2. Zombies have been attracted by the explosion setting off another one of the farm’s secrets: another secret barn filled with homemade fireworks. Old guy in the fisherman’s hat makes a joke to the Asian guy about fireworks. Two zombies are killed as the group makes a getaway. For the final 50 minutes, Asian guy ruminates on his lost love. Shane tries to rape him.

3. The first 10 minutes are a flashback of Shane’s high school conquests. CUT TO: Shane was just daydreaming. The next 50 minutes are Shane wandering the fields of rural Georgia scavenging for a deer to eat and/or rape.

4. We finally see T-Dogg in this episode. He’s getting a glass of water before going to sleep. Then he goes to sleep. The group continues to move in a certain direction, having lame conversations along the way.

5. The group arrives at somewhere and things don’t go smoothly! At the very end, there’s hope!

6. The hope evaporates. Grime’s wife has a very graphic miscarriage, but they are able to use the dead fetus to distract the zombies and escape from whatever bad situation they were in. They posthumously name the heroic baby “Shane”, for no good reason. Grimes talks about moving on to another location where there just MIGHT be safety for everyone. Shane says no. They argue for 45 minutes and the group decides to split in two. Each pile into two different vehicles, but when they turn the keys neither will start. Shane looks right at the camera and says “OH BROTHER!” and Grimes wryly smiles like “THAT’S MURPHY’S LAW FOR YA” and Carl throws up and cries.

Monday, February 06, 2012

2011 Recap - Music


I normally have a year-in-review regarding lyrics -- best rhyme, best simile and metaphor, other examples -- but all I only noted three measly songs in 2011. Yikes! So if you have some lyrics from 2011 you want to talk about, let me know! Then we can combine everyone's thoughts and talk about them!

* * *

Here are the 2011 albums I purchased, in order from most enjoyed to most I realize it's acclaimed and technically sound but it still pretty much puts me to sleep except for that super weird jazz freak out at the end of "The Shrine / An Argument" but I still like 'em okay.

Quite Good

Okkervil River - I am Very Far
Black Keys - El Camino

Pretty Good

Peter Bjorn & John - Gimme Some
Dodos - No Color
We Were Promised Jetpacks - In the Pit of the Stomach
Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part Two

A Few Good Songs on There

Telekinesis - Twelve Desperate Straight Lines
Mates of State - Mountaintops
Eleanor Friedberger - Last Summer
Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

Stuff I bought in 2011 that wasn't released in 2011, in no particular order because it was all quite good:

Frightened Rabbit - Winter of Mixed Drinks
Two Door Cinema Club - Tourist History
Kathryn Calder - Are You My Mother?
M Ward - End of Amnesia