Archive for January, 2011

My son Aubrey had a recent brush with Bears fandom. With the NFC Championship approaching, I used it as a Teachable Moment.

We were at Saver’s (it’s a Least Coast thing, sort of a cross between K-Mart and a refugee camp). As it happens we were passing by the pre-stained visors, and Aubrey indicated that he really wanted this particular visor. I saw the blue and orange, but since it looked like a golf visor to me, I assumed it was for some caddy-training facility in North Carolina. I let him wear it until I noticed the insignia…then we had to have a little talk.

I knew it was time for some of life’s Harder Truths, but I figured it best to start gently:

“Son, the ‘Chicago Bears’ as they are popularly known, are a Communist front, and also a Satanic cult.

I knew it would get easier from there. “The entire organization – from GM Jerry Angelo all the way down to the lowliest kielbasa-monger in Soldier Field – HATES CHILDREN. Soldier Field was built over a Chuck E. Cheese and a waterpark. In 2003 the organization bulldozed an orphanage just to build an extra warehouse for off-site penalty flag storage. Chicago Bears Football Organization, Inc. is also the world’s largest producer of poison lollipops.”

Some of the more famous Chicago Bears:

George S. ‘Papa Bear’ Halas: inventor, sadist, coach, arsonist, communist spy. Before he came to this country he was a Romanian dictator. After inventing the landmine, he lobbied for legislation to abolish Christmas. Then he coached the Chicago Bears for 40 years. Before he died in 1983, he created fat-free pudding and disco.

Dick Butkus: When he was 12, Dick Butkus used his dad’s pickup to run over a Nativity scene in his childhood neighborhood of Roselawn Chicago. When asked how he lost control so completely in the tiny church parking lot, young Butkus replied that it wasn’t an accident, he just “hates the Baby Jesus real bad.” He is also addicted to dog’s blood. That’s right – he’s like a vampire, but for dogs.

And Mike Ditka, my god. In the early nineties “Iron Mike” Ditka played weekly cribbage games with Richards Nixon and Cheney. In 1993 – in order to pay off his cribbage debts – Ditka sedated his mother and sold both of her kidneys to an unlicensed medical facility in Mumbai. She died of renal failure later that day.

Today’s Bears: When he’s out of uniform, Jay Cutler will wear nothing but puppy skins. He has been acquitted three times of date-rape. Each time he blamed it on drinking buddy Mathew McConaughey, but in the third case McConaughey was actually a plaintiff.

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I just never knew.

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“And when she gets to Washington, it’ll be cold as hell…”

Two things that I suspect have not occurred to these good-hearted folk: 1. They’re chorus thesis hangs on the cultural idiom, “Hell Freezes Over.” Which is to say, Hell will never freeze over. Ergo: Sarah Palin will never get to “Warshington.” She couldn’t finish her term as governor.

2. Commandment Number 2: “You shall have no other gods before me.” This song is elevating Palin to Golden Calf status, by conflating “Battle Hymn of the Republic” as a church hymn. Pretty dubious as a church/state conflict, let alone borderline blasphemous.

Hey, man, just sayin’. Besides that, they seem like good church-goin’ people who are troubled by the rampant socialism that Jesus preached.

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Baman Piderman

A tuba eating cakes? That’s crazy!

How I went this long without seeing this series is staggering.

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I don’t know why British people make the best animal voice-over artists. Or why they make Imperial Officers in the Star Wars films seem at once menacing parts of a fascist machine and comically inept choke-donkeys for Lord Vader.

But they’ve got range, man.

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Some musicians are born, not made:

I’d love to see this dude with a Korg Wavedrum or a J Dilla style set-up, where he could trigger samples with a drum machine. I’ve never seen an MC drum before- I think it’d be incredible to see him with a hi-tech rig.

Then again, the foot-and-pens thing is pretty damn great on its own.

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“A million people die in Iraq, and all these people go, ‘Hey, as long as it doesn’t happen over here.’ But it is over here! It’s over here=over there! It’s people you don’t know, who were born somewhere else, who fucking got jacked.

You get trapped in that whole idea of ‘this is my team, these are my people.’ And someone fucking plays a country music song,  and throws up a flag. I’m in. Fuck it. Feels good. Feels good to be in, doesn’t it?”

I haven’t always been a Joe Rogan fan- his Carlos Mencia call-out was pretty epic. But this video definitely puts me in his camp. Do I believe that Obama is equal to Bush? God no. I believe that Obama will be a transformational two-term President. (Who’re the Republicans gonna run? Huckabee? Romney? Pawlenty? PALIN? Please.)

But questions being asked are never a bad thing. And 90 percent of his points are spot-on.

And his points on Eisenhower’s “Military Industrial Complex” speech are so apt as to be goddamn depressing. Roll on, great river, roll on.

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Video from CNN of a remarkable guy who, you know, just got sick of feeling empty and started feeding people. You know, like the sort of thing Houston, Texas fines people for unless they’re certified.

America is insane.

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Remember when the Seattle and New Orleans both sucked? If it’s not what I love about the NFL, it’s what I’d hate: a new phoenix is always waiting to rise from the charred feces of last year’s phoenix. While my Chargers hasten to dismantle during the offseason and I look to find a new Cinderella Story for XLV, here is a Matt Taibbi Men’s Journal article that made me guffaw in a silent waiting room a while back: (the goodies are on page 2)


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I never understood why la Ardilla is not the dominant scavenger in the shared human landscape. They may not be as smart as rats, but they’re 10X faster. Squirrels can scrabble up the side of a windy day. They’re very talented jumpers, and persistent in the way that is only possible when desperate hunger and super-high metabolism overlap. To wit:

This takes place in England – the owners of the yard added each piece of the Rube Goldberg contraption slowly so that when the squirrel learned one section and got the nuts, they then added the next section. Finally it ended with what you see on the clip! It took over 2 weeks to get to this point.


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Oy and Vey.

Cool! Expolsions!

My apologies for the lack of embeddedness: The Last Mountain is so Rebellion that Teh Goog refused! [sic] to allow them to post their trailer on You Tube. You’ll have to follow the link and then click again to watch the trailer. The sign at the state line to West (By God) Virginia says, “West Virginia: Open for Business.” I saw it, I’m not messing. The Democratic party in West Virginia is where Massachusetts Republicans go to retire.

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Meet The Swaggers

Recently one of my more sage-like friends was commenting on yet another iteration of one of our culture’s most enduring (if not annoying) comedy tropes: a white doofus trying to act like an urban black. It’s a gag that is probably about five seconds older rap music. From SNL’s 1985 “White Guy Rap” and onward, the wayside of our cultural is littered with new & uninspired versions each year. And yet, you can know that a joke is formulaic and still laugh first.

Enter last year’s finest example of bourgeoise Big Primpin’, and one of 2010’s most viral ads: Toyota Sienna’s SE ad “Swagger Wagon.

The most common version of dweeb-hop is a straight-up parody of outsider aspiration, uncomplicated by any actual ability in the style being mimicked. In White Guy Rap, even by 1985 standards the “rap” is a joke. (One the other hand, one could say that Chamillion’s song Ridin’ Dirty was a joke before Weird Al got ahold of it.) With self-conscious suburbanites as the target market, the Sienna campaign had to thread the needle: you can’t really poke fun too pointedly at the intended buyer. Swagger Wagon braids gentle acknowledgment of the concessions of parenthood with passably authentic commercial hip-hop production. The gag is upheld by maintaining a wide gap between content and delivery: rapping about culdesacs with a stone-cold face. It’s an amusing novelty, but it also satisfies a deep need for cultural relevance on the part of those with no capital of any sort to invest in hipness. I’m told that one has to sacrifice enormous tracts of their former persona when they embark down the path of child rearing. And let’s face it: there is almost nothing less sexy than diapers.

I make a mean gel mold, I perfected my trick

back when – I used to party as a college chick

now I’m cruisin’ to their play dates lookin’ all slick

in my Swagger Wagon

Bridging the gap between dorm party Jell-O shots and kid’s birthday parties speaks powerfully to lost youth. The message is clear: the wife is paunchy (or outright prego, depending on which spot in the campaign you see) but not without a certain milfaliciousness. She doesn’t just apply Band-Aids: she’s a Sexy Nurse fetish. The husband ranges from contemptibly meek co-parent to comically hard-ass gangsta stoicism. The entire song is a stubborn reaffirmation of virility long-since sucked into the vortex of parenthood, like a Bob Seger ballad turned inside-out. I still laughed first. (Then I cried!)

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I plan to see Tron: Legacy in the theater. I know it’s getting bad reviews. One of the President / Also-a-Customer founder-members of this blog has a position on the use of CG “salt” in a movie. His position is that the Star Wars prequels are a creation of pure salt. I disagree. The Star Wars prequels are a bouillabaisse gone bad: over salted as hell to hide the flavor of contaminated shellfish. The first Tron was a creation of pure salt: a beautiful inorganic structure, as perfect as a crystalline crystal. I loved Tron.

There is also a sniffling, douchebaggy position that likes to hold spectacle/popcorn/explode-a-ganza movies to some kind of Dan Day Lewis acting standard. This is like complaining that they changed the recipe for steak tips at the The 99. If you are getting steak for $5.99, there is something you need to know: you are eating a steak that cost $5.99. Some people complained that the plot was paper-thin in Jurassic Park II* (49% rating on Rotten Tomatoes). And it was. But to be fair, I’m not sure there was a plot in Jurassic Park II so much as an arbitrary sequence of semi-logic, contrived to run a boat filled with kickass FX into Port of San Diego.  (I think it was the also only time Vince Vaughn tried to play a character that gave a shit about anything other than Vince Vaughn.) But the reason I went to see Jurassic Park II – the only reason – was to see a Tyrannosaurus Rex rex run ripshit through downtown San Diego. It took a long time too long for that ship to finally hit the docks, but it was worth the wait.

David Edelstein – who’s opinion I very often agree with – said that Tron: Legacy was an extraordinarily bad film, and that I should send people that I loathe to see it. And that it reminded him of “Disco Night at the High Life Ran Tan.” (You understand what he means even though you have no idea what he’s saying?) And that he thinks it has given him a brain tumor.

If Tron was an inert polyhedron, then Tron: Legacy looks to be a silicon-based life form. I’m prepared for the tumor.

* Roger Ebert said this of Jurassic Park II: The Lost World, “It can be said that the creatures in this film transcend any visible signs of special effects and seem to walk the earth, but the same realism isn’t brought to the human characters, who are bound by plot conventions and action formulas.” Since we’re working a theme.

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