Archive for May, 2010

Random Excellent Item of the Day
May 28, 2010

Don’t mistake this as an endorsement; I haven’t had this particular brand, but the one time I did have “bacon-infused” vodka it was awfully disgusting and disgustingly awful.

No, the excellence lies in the over-the-top chic-ness of the name, Bakon, and how the mere existence of this product illustrates as well as anything the morbidly hilarious fixation we have on coming up with such utterly perverse amalgams of food and drink.

Cheers to that!

Yeah, her again
May 25, 2010

Several years ago The West Wing ran an episode in which a stupid Republican quoted Robert Frost’s line that “fences make good neighbors” while being completely unaware that the line was not meant to be taken seriously:

JOSH
Here he quotes Robert Frost. “Good fences make good neighbors.” Did he talk about that?

DONNA
Yeah.

JOSH
What did he say?

DONNA
Basically, that if you stay within your personal space, you’ll end up getting along with everyone.

JOSH
You had to study modern poetry.

DONNA
Yes.

JOSH
Is that what Frost meant?

DONNA
No, he meant that boundaries are what alienate us from each other.

JOSH
Why did he say “Good fences make good neighbors?”

DONNA
He was being ironic.

Earlier today, this from stupid Republican Sarah Palin, after an evil journalist moved in next door to her:

Welcome, Joe! It’ll be a great summer – come borrow a cup of sugar if ever you need some sweetener. And you know what they say about “fences make for good neighbors”? Well, we’ll get started on that tall fence tomorrow, and I’ll try to keep Trig’s squeals down to a quiet giggle so we don’t disturb your peaceful summer. Enjoy!

I don’t even know what to say anymore, except that this woman is a living parody whose very existence defies all probability and explanation, and that if she ever became self-aware I think the universe would explode.

Sonic Sez
May 25, 2010

If in your YouTube travails you should ever happen upon this impostor Sonic, do not be fooled, and certainly don’t listen to him. To help you recognize this charlatan hedgehog, I’ve put together a list of tip-offs for you to be on the lookout for.

List of Tip-Offs for You to Be on the Lookout For

1. He’s black.

2. See tip-off #1.

I hope this helps avoid any future confusion. And for the record: liquor is good for everyone. Even robots. Especially robots.

Some say liquor is even better than bacon, but I leave the Big Questions like that to the sophists amongst us.

Credit where it’s due
May 24, 2010

In an otherwise meh finale, filled with anticlimaxes and unsatisfying conclusions, Sunday’s Lost had some truly affecting character moments that made me remember why I originally came to love this show six years ago. And that while I haven’t felt that way about the show itself in quite a while, after all this time I still do love these characters.

Specifically, Matthew Fox (Jack), Michael Emerson (Ben) and Terry O’Quinn (John Locke, one of the great characters in the history of the medium) deserve to be singled out, as does Jorge Garcia (Hurley), who damn near made me cry as he begged Jack not to do what amounted to killing himself.

As for the other stuff… *shrug*. It was what I expected in just about every respect. I didn’t think they’d go with what’s been the oldest theory around (a sort of purgatory), but given Lost’s history of ordinary answers for extraordinary questions (when it bothers to provide answers at all), I probably should have.

Bye, Lost
May 23, 2010

And don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

This won’t be a long one, promise. I’ll say my piece and let you all get back to the pre-finale hype or post-finale analysis, depending on when you’re reading this. But as the resident Lost skeptic, (or realist as I’d prefer) a few words:

This show used to be about characters pushing the plot forward; it is now the total opposite. It used to be about people first and mystery second; it is now dominated by the latter.

If you can, rewatch the fourth episode of the first season, Walkabout. Witness how there is more character and drama and pathos in any one of John Locke’s flashback scenes than in all the Machiavellian manipulations of Ben or Jacob combined, than in all the show’s convoluted time travel, atrociously written mysticism and pseudo-scientific explanations put together. Remind yourself of a time when Lost was about people instead of pawns, when those people felt damn near real to you and weren’t defined principally by the nonsensical actions and piss-poor communication skills required to move the plot forward, to get to the next BIG. FUCKING. MYSTERY. (Lazy, lazy writing.)

Whatever you do, please do not compare those genuine character moments with the mawkishly overwrought “true love” stories of later episodes like The Constant and Ab Aeterno, so shameless in their pandering to male wish-fulfillment they make me recoil in nausea. (And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, stop and think for a moment: these are romances where the girl characters are wholly defined by the men in their lives. And they’re hot. And the love they share is just epic; listen to that swelling orchestral music… That kind of wish-fulfillment is to hipsterish guys what Sarah Palin cooking breakfast, naked except for the gun she’s wearing, is to rednecks.)

Characters replaced with chess pieces, intriguing mystery replaced with cluttered, labyrinthine mythology, wit of conversation replaced with dreadful, on-the-nose dialogue and groan-inducing Star Wars references.

Yeah, it’s time to go.

A long time (30 years) ago…
May 21, 2010

The best sequel ever made. One of the best films ever made, period. The Empire Strikes Back premiered 30 years ago today, and 30 years later Hollywood still hasn’t figured out how to craft a summer blockbuster that delivers half the adventure, thrills, gravitas, humor and character that Empire pulled off so adroitly.

This was one of the biggest gambles in movie history. Self-financed by George Lucas with his earnings from the original (no one, but no one puts up their own cash for an expensive blockbuster, then or now), Empire took the good guys and sent them through, to put it mildly, hell. It’s one setback after another for our heroes, one brutal defeat only begetting the next and worse one. By the end of the two hours we’ve spent with them, Luke Skywalker is an amputee and Han Solo is an ice cube, both having been tortured and maimed by Darth Vader, who just threw everyone in the world for one hell of a loop.

But that’s Empire – it’s the blockbuster that didn’t play by the rules. No rousing, triumphant finale – just a barely hopeful cliffhanger. No closure. No real sense of optimism. Just brilliant, classical, affecting storytelling, overflowing with wit and imagination.

Yoda. Hoth. Snowspeeders vs. Imperial walkers. The chase through the asteroid field. Boba Fett. Carbonite. John fucking Williams. The craziest game-changing twist ever put to film. How perfect is this movie? Harrison Ford ad-libbed the greatest response to “I love you” that anyone has ever delivered. Even the shit they made up on the fly is classic.

Incomparable amongst films of its type, unique in the uncompromising vision of its creators, The Empire Strikes Back represents everything modern adventure should be but hardly ever is. You watch it and wonder why all movies can’t be like this, why it’s nigh impossible to find this level of care and craftsmanship in its modern day descendants, and why candor over coin is the exception and not the rule.

A Few Good Men and One Bad Critic
May 17, 2010

Kyle Smith is a hack critic who writes for a rag called the New York Post. His latest piece of tripe is this, a babbling screed about the supposed conservative values espoused by Iron Man 2. Having not seen the film I probably shouldn’t comment, but I’m going to briefly anyway: he’s probably wrong, because everything this man says tends to be wrong, because he is, in the Michael Medved fashion, a conservative toolbag first and a critic second – that is, his primary mission is to whine ad nauseum about the “liberal bias” of Hollywood while occasionally pulling a white rabbit out of his ass for us to follow as he takes us on an abysmally incoherent path of tortured logic leading to the inevitable conclusion that “(insert blockbuster movie of the year) is really a conservative message, hahaha lolz all you lefty fools.”

Remember The Dark Knight? Smith and his ilk fellated Christopher Nolan endlessly for his supposed defense of Bush-era conservatism. Well gee, I don’t know about you, but that’s totally the message I took from that movie.

But anyway, fuck Iron Man – I really don’t care about it. And I don’t care about this dime-a-dozen, conservatarded film-basher cum columnist, except that at the very beginning of his piece he a) invokes a movie I do happen to care about in order to advance his nonsense, and b) exemplifies as well as anything you will ever see the absolute lunacy of the right wing’s populist champions.

Little did Aaron Sorkin suspect, when he wrote the lefty drama “A Few Good Men,” that the only thing anyone would ever remember about it was Jack Nicholson’s Col. Jessep speech, which Sorkin accidentally made more convincing than any liberal argument he ever offered: “Son, we live in a world that has walls and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. You want me on that wall — you need me on that wall. My existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.”

All hyperbole aside, this is the wrongest thing in the history of things that have been wrong.

The “You can’t handle the truth!” speech Smith refers to can be seen here. It’s a wonderfully written and played scene, a full-throated defense of military elitism, essentially saying, “I’m in the military, I protect you in ways you can’t understand, now shut up and let me do my job as I see fit.” It is also utterly, utterly wrong. And the movie tells you this!

Specifically, Nicholson’s Col. Jessep is defending his decision to order a “code red” (think a more violent version of frat hazing) on a whiny private who was pissing everyone off. Only instead of just scaring the piss out of the recruit, the gag shoved in his mouth inadvertently leads to his death. Jessep’s argument is a fantastic canard, forceful and eloquent but totally bereft of any shred of logic – the idea that being charged with defending this country entitles you to run your own little autocracy, dispatching underlings to serve at the pleasure of your extrajudicial whims is, on its face, ludicrous. This is not how the military in any civilized nation has ever, ever worked.

Yet that is exactly what Smith proposes to be “more convincing than any liberal argument”. You see, it’s apparently a “liberal” tenet that the military, um, follow their own fucking rules:

Nonjudicial punishment or “NJP” permits commanders to administratively discipline troops without a court-martial. Punishment can range from reprimand to reduction in rank, correctional custody (aboard ships only), loss of pay, extra duty, and/or restrictions.

Do you see the provision in there that allows one dickhead colonel to order his subordinates to beat the shit out of a recruit? Yeah, I must’ve missed it too. Oh, and you know what happens to our red-faced defender of “the walls”? He gets arrested. Because he was wrong. But that doesn’t really matter to people like our friend Kyle Smith, does it? Because today’s conservatism is exactly like Jessep’s speech: emotion in place of logic, bluster in lieu of nuance, authority without accountability, fear-mongering instead of debate. Call it Colonel Jessep Conservatism – whoever can shout the loudest and suck America’s cock the deep-throatest wins.

Smith’s joke of an assertion (“Sorkin made his own case against himself, hahaha fuck you stupid liberals!”) is only the latest in a long, long, long line of right winguts conflating “sensible positions I disagree with because I’m a backward fucking loon” with “liberal”. Run a news story about global warming without having a knownothing panelist on to decry its non-existence? That’s liberal. Cover gay marriage without hearing from a bigoted “family values” closet-case about how it will lead to people marrying dogs and their kids sticking their dicks in electrical sockets because they’re “confused”? Liberal. Talk about evolution without input from a crackpot creationist about how the world was created six thousand years ago by the magical man in the sky and “Darwinists” are all secretly afraid of going to hell? Liberal.

Bullshit. Bullshit, bullshit, a thousand times bullshit, and fuck anyone and everyone who tries to label “fact-based reasoning” as “liberal”, and especially this Kyle Smith dope for trying to make his abortion of an argument with a movie I like.

And, um, A Few Good Men rocks. See it if you haven’t already.

Lesson for the Day
May 14, 2010

(click to enlarge)

And the moral of the story is: don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do.

You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me
May 11, 2010

Another Sarah Palin book.

Yes, former sportscaster, mayor of Wackyland, half-term governor of a giant hunk of ice, vice presidential selection of Ted Williams’ cryogenically frozen head, the Disasta from Alaska herself, apparently didn’t get it all out the first go around.

And the best part? It’s not the very idea of this functionally illiterate fool “writing” a book to begin with – that was the joke for the first one. No, the joke this time around is that not only is she not the one actually, you know, writing her book – her fucking ghostwriter isn’t even really writing her book!

As with “Going Rogue,” Palin will have a collaborator, but there are “no specifics to announce yet,” Andreadis said… It will include “selections from classic and contemporary readings that have moved her,” according to HarperCollins, along with “the nation’s founding documents to great speeches, sermons, letters, literature and poetry, biography, and even some of her favorite songs and movies.”

Honestly, this just about floored me, and this is Sarah friggin’ Palin we’re talking about. Just when you think she can’t possibly lower the bar any further, BAM, there it is – her “book” is a collection of other people’s writing (which she needs a ghostwriter for!) plus… a list of her favorite movies.

Un. Fucking. Real. You cannot, you cannot, you cannot make this shit up.

You know, it’s cool and all that Obama nominated Jon Lovitz to the Supreme Court, but I gotta throw my hat in the ring on this one. Barry, please put me on the Court so I can use my powers of judicial activism to actively facefuck the shit out of this indecently incurious, inarguably inane, innately inept and, if you’ll allow me to ditch the alliteration, just plain wholly farcical dumbfuck yokel cuntrag every time she opens that black hole of suck in her face.

Trust me, we’d all be better off.

New definition of irony
May 9, 2010

May 7th:

“Now, look, I really don’t want to extend his extra 15 minutes of fame.”

Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez on Oakland starter Dallas Braden

May 9th:

AP – Dallas Braden pitched the 19th perfect game in major league history on Sunday.