Nothing’s Sacred

hipster_vice_hater.jpgHey, world: Stop Playa-Hatin’, okay?
First, you piss in our PBR by telling us that the batteries in our iPods have about as much lifespan as a potato clock.
Now, you rain on our dodgeball game by telling us that our bikes would be safer secured with a diary lock! Goddamnit! Why must you hate on our hipster lifestyles*? Are you jealous or something?
What’s next? Onion T-shirts cause cancer? Are you gonna tell us that The Killers abuse child labor laws? Oh, is blogging going to be characterized by the DSM V as a mental illness? Then I bet you’ll tell us that PBR is already 70 percent piss! Thanks for sharing, you goddamn haters.
* Yes, your middle-aged boss has an iPod and your mom has a bike. Maybe your boss and your mom are hipsters, ever think of that, jackass? (I guarantee your boss has a Member’s Only jacket in his closet and your mom wears those flat nurse’s shoes.) Next you’re gonna tell me that making fun of old people and squares makes you look like an immature, bitter, Urban Outfitters-shopping monkey-boy! Goddamn haters!


The Associated Press’ funniest caption ever

According to the Associated Press: “Three-year-old Sophia Parlock cries while seated on the shoulders of her father, Phil Parlock, after having their Bush-Cheney sign torn up by Kerry-Edwards supporters on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2004, at the Tri-State Airport in Huntington, W.Va. Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards made a brief stop at the airport as he concluded his two-day bus tour to locations in West Virginia and Ohio. (AP Photo/Randy Snyder)”


I Love These Countries!

In response to a string of terrorist acts by Chechen rebel groups, Russian President Vladmir Putin has formally announced plans to concentrate power through direct appointment of regional governors and the elimination of individual district elections for the Duma.
In response to these sudden moves, Colin Powell said “This is pulling back on some of the democratic reforms as seen by the international community that have occurred in the past. So yes, we have concerns about it, and we want to discuss them with the Russians.” But the democracies of the world are having trouble urging Russia to see things their way and the Bush administration is concerned that too-severe criticisms might only act to diminish any possibilities for further alliances, especially when it comes to cooperating in the war on terror.
But all of this is good news for Ukrainian-born funnyman Yakov Smirnoff who made a career with his “What A Country!” routine in the mid-80’s, appearing in guest spots on TV’s Night Court. You might remeber some of Smirnoff’s more memorable lines, such as:
In Russia, if a male athelete loses he becomes a female athelete.
or, this biting media critique:
In Russia we only had two TV channels. Channel One was propaganda. Channel Two consisted of a KGB officer telling you: Turn back at once to Channel One.
and, of course Smirnoff’s offbeat takes on Russian comedy:
Many people are surprised to hear that we have comedians in Russia, but they are there. They are dead, but they are there.
After 13 years since the Soviet Union collapsed, the comic has fallen on some hard times. However, Smirnoff is apparently working on some new material to update his act. Here are some ideas found in Smirnoff’s trash can more recently:
In America, terrorists come from other side of world. In Russia, they live next door.
In America, you can lose popular vote and still be elected president. In Russia, you can be president and just get rid of popular vote.
In Russia, state controls health care for people. In America, health care controls state. I love this country!


A handy guide to Bush’s supporters (as seen from front and back)

Via Reuters, “U.S. President George W. Bush speaks at a campaign rally in St. Cloud, Minnesota, September 16, 2004.”
From director Victor Salva, the monstrous villain in his monstrous film, Jeepers Creepers.


The new nickel: Thomas Jefferson’s greatest makeover since being portrayed by Nick Nolte in 1995



You see that wolf over there? It’s from Iran. Seriously. There’s a wolf. An Iranian wolf. I’m not kidding, this time.

Satellite images over Iran
Via Reuters, mere hours ago: “U.S. Says New Images Show Iran Plans Nuke Bomb”

A prominent international expert said on Wednesday that new satellite images showed the Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran may be a site for research, testing and production of nuclear weapons. Iran denies having an atomic bomb program.

Satellite images over Iraq
From U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell’s egregiously dishonest presentation to the United Nations in early February 2003, on Saddam Hussein and Iraq’s purported possession of WMDs and whatnot (via

Powell then showed satellite photos that he said indicated the presence of “active chemical munitions bunkers” disguised from inspectors.
The first photo showed was from a weapons munitions facility, which Powell said was one of 65 such facilities in Iraq. He said the photo contained “sure signs that the bunkers are storing chemical munitions,” including a decontamination truck and special security.


Bill O’Reilly, still reviled…but Al Franken? Mostly just ignored by subway riders

Most media-minded people are aware of last year’s imbroglio at the 2003 BookExpo in Los Angeles between vitriolic Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and his mealy-mouthed liberal arch-nemesis Al Franken. And, of course, there’s a fair amount of awareness of last fall’s lawsuit-and-taunting exchange between the two media figures over the distribution of author Franken’s “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.”
But what of the battle occurring underground? Earlier, we examined the treatment conservative firebrand O’Reilly has received at the hands of those with the inclination and opportunity to deface Fox News posters sporting his fleshy visage in New York’s subway system. Now, the gauntlet has been thrown…and another network, the Sundance Channel, is littering the city’s subway walls with advertising for Al Franken’s new television series.
The scorecard? It’s been several weeks, and Al’s face is still looking pretty pristine, in contrast to the “Nazi”-themed abuse heaped upon his Republican-leaning counterpart. Witness our representative sampling below:
But there’s always an exception, right?
So, wait…what happened with this image? Admittedly, the one sampled above is in the extreme minority, but are there still RNC delegates lurking in Manhattan? And are they sporting razor blades and Sharpies alongside their patriotic hats and neckties? Or maybe they’re simply carrying cages filled with crows, who are periodically released to peck out the eyes of liberal ideologues?


This fall, bad ideas just got a little…worse.

While it’s long been held that Hollywood’s best and brightest go to work in the studio system’s various marketing departments, never before has this been more apparent than with the onslaught of this fall’s round of catchy advertising taglines for upcoming entertainment productions. Incredibly, the folks in Burbank and Culver City and west Los Angeles are breaking radical new ground here with their ability to reduce the elaborate plotlines of, say, a thriller about a woman calling a cell phone to a simple, high-concept notion that even a third grader can comprehend. And in the wake of far too many two- and three-hour films coming forth from this town, that shows some skillful concision.
What follows is a round-up of some of these slogans and, quite simply, a resulting assessment of the perceived quality of each film or television series…
Cellular: “If the signal dies, so does she.”
Seriously? A movie this bad surely deserves a tagline this reductivistly imbecilic.
The Mountain: “Conditions are about to get nasty.”
OK, judging solely from the one-sheet and various ads, there seem to be a bunch of twenty-somethings doing something adventurous in, umm, the mountains. But this tagline? Does this imply that, in addition to action and adventure and tumult, the show features its bitches getting it on with the dudes in a skanktastic style? Or maybe the characters have some sort of personality problems akin to the castmembers of “Real World Las Vegas”? Fuck if I know, because I’m never going to watch this show.
Wimbledon: “She’s the golden girl. He’s the longshot. It’s a match made in…”
Oh! Oh! Oh! I know this one! Wimbledon! And – I’m totally guessing here – the tennis superstar played by Kirsten Dunst falls in love with the wizened underdog fleshed out by Paul Bettany. Or vice versa. One certainty: this seems to be a fairly conventional tagline structure for what must be a fairly conventional film. Syd Field would love this shit.
Head in the Clouds: “In a city of glamour at a time of decadence they met. An aristocrat, a soldier of conscience, and an entertainer. Together they shared a deep passion.”
Thank you for the summary. Now I don’t need to see this film, and neither does anyone else who read this little novella you pieced together here, Mr. Tolstoy.
The Motorcycle Diaries: “Let the world change you… and you can change the world.”
The story of a young Che Guevara and his youthful travels throughout South America. See, by virtue of his traveling, the world changed him…and he became a leftist rebel. Because, presumably, he saw all the various turmoil caused by economic injustice and military coups and secretive interventions by the U.S. government. Not to mention, it stars that totally hot guy from Amores Perros who looks a hell of a lot like an even handsomer Tobey Maguire. So there.
Shaun of the Dead: “A romantic comedy. With zombies.”
Short and punchy, but sort of…askew, right? Just like this film, I reckon! Well, if Moriarty liked this flick, then that’s good enough for me.
Mr. 3000: “He’s putting the ‘I’ back in team.”
See, star Bernie Mac is a loudmouthed fellow, and he’s arrogant, too. Also, sports are somehow involved in the storyline.
Shark Tale: “The story of what happens when one little fish tells a great white lie…”
So Dreamworks’ animation division decides to rip off Finding Nemo. The very first Shrek had all those adult-oriented digs at Disney at Jeffrey Katzenberg’s insistence. Jeffrey Katzenberg hates Michael Ovitz. And Michael Eisner, meanwhile, is slated to leave Disney by 2006. The two Michaels have historically argued over who prefers flounder and who likes trout, a schism which purportedly lead to the dissolution of their business relationship in the mid-90s.
The Last Shot: “The true story of the greatest movie never made.”
Forgive the Horatio-Sanz-as-Gene-Shalit routine, but…I only wish Alec Baldwin and Matthew Broderick hadn’t made this movie. Ha, ha, ha!
First Daughter: “The girl who always stood out is finally getting the chance to fit in.”
Hmmm…the President’s daughter finally gets to live a normal life? Because her dimwitted, lying, inept father was voted out of office this November? Or is that just wishful thinking?
The Forgotten: “On September 24th everything you’ve experienced, everything you’ve known, never happened.”
How very metaphysical! It’s like I never saw The Butterfly Effect! (Which I didn’t, for what it’s worth.)


Election 2004: Let’s get ready to rummmmble!

OK, scratch the boxing reference. Looking at the embarrassingly camel-toed Dick Cheney in action, so to speak, it seems as though some candidates are best-suited to coaching from the corner instead of “fighting the fight.”


It’s all relative

From the “It’s not breaking news per se, but good old-fashioned press-release analysis” department at the New York Times, we’ve got Adam Liptak’s “Fewer Death Sentences Being Imposed in U.S.” in the September 15, 2004 edition of the paper. The article is largely culled from data gleaned from a report put out by the Death Penalty Information Center, a research group that “says it takes no position on capital punishment, though it has been critical of the way the death penalty is applied.”

But the report’s thesis – that exonerations play a major role – as well as its data on the number of people exonerated are the subject of debate. The report says that 116 innocent people have been released from death row since 1973, after serving an average of nine years each.
Prosecutors said the report overstates the number of innocent people who have been released from death row. They said 20 to 30 is more accurate. “You’re talking about an extremely small, microscopic number,” said Ward A. Campbell, a supervising deputy state attorney general in Sacramento.

Fair enough. No word, however, on an as-yet-unannounced bill going through the California state legislature right now calling for the indiscriminate and unjust execution of 20-30 members of this Ward Campbell fellow’s extended family. Seriously, it’s an extremely small, microscopic number, and he probably won’t notice.