Friday, October 28, 2011

Listening Post



He's the cousin of Ice Cube, he's worked with Dan the Automator and Gorillaz, and he's just generally all kinds of cool.

Here's a hip-hop classic from Del the Funky Homosapien -- Mista Dobalina.

I'll likely be out of the loop until next Tuesday. Going up to New York to pick up Inara this weekend. Make it a good one, kids.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Pastor Is Prologue


Now it's a party:

"Quran burning pastor Terry Jones, last seen protesting Sharia law outside the White House and accidentally setting off his gun during a trip to Michigan, is getting ready to light up the presidential race. A press release from Jones’ Stand Up For America Now announced his bid for the White House on Wednesday."

This officially makes Jones the sanest person running for president as a Republican. How long before he becomes this week's frontrunner?

By the way, when abbreviated Jones's group spells SUFAN, which, in addition to being the name of a Chairman Mao-ordered crackdown on the ideologically impure in 1950s communist China, sounds an awful lot like an Arabic word -- maybe something related to Sufi Islam?

My God! Sharia law! They got to Pastor Terry!

Listening Post



Honeyhoney's new album, Billy Jack, is for the most part a nice little triumph of passionate and mournful alt country. It's definitely worth your time to give a listen to.

Here's the first single from the record -- L.A. River.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Quote of the Day


"What he's telling the GOP field is this: If you tell people what we honestly believe, an electoral majority of those people will freak the fuck out. He's saying that the first rule of Right Club is, you don't talk about Right Club."

-- Jon Stewart, deciphering the meaning behind Pat Robertson's warning that the Republican presidential candidates need to tone down their extremist rhetoric

Not-So-Deep in the Heart of Texas


Matt Taibbi takes apart the ingratiating Sears mannequin that is Rick Perry in his new piece for Rolling Stone:

"But this is America, remember, where one should never underestimate shallow. And Rick Perry brings shallow to a new level. He is very gifted in that regard. He could be the Adolf Hitler of shallow.

Perry's campaign is still struggling to recover from the kind of spectacular, submarine-at-crush-depth collapse seldom seen before in the history of presidential politics. The governor went from presumptive front-runner to stammering talk-show punch line seemingly in the speed of a single tweet, rightly blasted for being too incompetent even to hold his own in televised debates with a half-bright pizza salesman like Herman Cain and a goggle-eyed megachurch Joan of Arc like Michele Bachmann. But such superficial criticisms of his weirdly erratic campaign demeanor don't even begin to get at the root of why we should all be terrified of Perry and what he represents. After all, you have to go pretty far to stand out as a whore and a sellout when you come from a state that has produced such luminaries in the history of political corruption as LBJ, Karl Rove and George W. Bush. But Rick Perry has managed to set a scary new low in the annals of opportunism, turning Texas into a swamp of political incest and backroom dealing on a scale not often seen this side of the Congo or Sierra Leone.

In an era when there's exponentially more money in politics than we've ever seen before, Perry is the candidate who is exponentially more willing than we've ever seen before to whore himself out for that money. On the human level he is a nonpersonality, an almost perfect cipher – a man whose only discernible passion is his extreme willingness to be whatever someone will pay him to be, or vote for him to be. Even scarier, the religious community around which he has chosen to pull his human chameleon act features some of the most extreme end-is-nigh nutcases in America, the last people you want influencing the man with the nuclear football. Perry is a human price tag – 'Being There' meets 'Left Behind.' And sometimes there's nothing more dangerous than nothing at all."


I think Taibbi may be the only guy in the world who can mention Hitler in an argument without technically violating Godwin's Law -- and the only guy who can actually outdo a Hitler reference by bringing up Hannibal Lecter in the same piece.

Listening Post



Just oozing late 60's go-go-girl cinema cool, here's the Brian Jonestown Massacre.

This is Anemone.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quote of the Day


"Those people in the Republican primary have got to lay off of this stuff. If they want to lose, this is the game for losers."

-- Televangelist Pat Robertson, warning the GOP presidential candidates about taking extremist positions like an embrace of birtherism

Wow.

When the guy who claims that gays and abortion doctors were to blame for 9/11, and Katrina and the Haiti earthquake were acts of divine vengeance says you're being too extreme -- you're officially six rungs up from crazy.

Game On


The obsession begins again.

The new trailer, 11.02.11

Listening Post



Foster the People's Pumped Up Kicks is one of the biggest songs on the planet right now, which is interesting because it's definitely a case of a piece of music and a band finding an audience almost a year after they actually debuted. Not to be some snobby hipster or anything, but you'll remember I named the song among the best singles of last year.

Well, with that in mind let's skip ahead to their follow-up to Kicks, and it's almost as breezy and catchy as their debut.

Here's Helena Beat (which I guess is also now pretty old).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Campaign Supernova



I did a lot of drugs many years ago -- LSD, ecstasy, heroin, etc.

Never at any point during that period was I insanely delirious enough to be able to dream up anything even remotely approaching Herman Cain's new campaign commercial.

It seems mildly weird for most of its 56-second run time -- like, as Gawker joked, you're listening to a drunk homeless guy ramble outside of an Olive Garden. But then the 40-second mark comes -- and, well, that's when the acid kicks in and knocks you on your ass.

There is no way -- no way -- that this man is serious about running for president.

Quote of the Day


"Do you really want the bar set this high? Do you really want to live in a society where just getting by requires a person to hold down two jobs? Is that your idea of the American Dream? ... Do you really want to spend the rest of your life working two jobs and 60 to 70 hours a week? Do you think you can? ... And what happens if you get sick? ... Look, you’re a tough kid. And you have a right to be proud of that. But not everybody is as tough as you, or as strong, or as young. Does pride in what you’ve accomplished mean that you have contempt for anybody who can’t keep up with you? ... And, believe it or not, there are people out there even tougher than you. Why don’t we let them set the bar, instead of you? Are you ready to work 80 hours a week? 100 hours? Can you hold down four jobs? Can you do it when you’re 40? When you’re 50? When you’re 60? Can you do it with arthritis? Can you do it with one arm? Can you do it when you’re being treated for prostate cancer? ... And is this really your idea of what life should be like in the greatest country on Earth?"

-- Max Udargo in the Daily Kos, responding to the ex-Marine who posted the above picture of himself on Erick Erickson's "We Are the 53%" Website

Udargo echoes the exact sentiment I expressed last week in talking about Herman Cain and the relentless praise he heaps on his parents' willingness to hold down three jobs while raising him. Not the fact that they did what they had to do, which is inarguably commendable, but seemingly the fact that they lived in a country where such a thing is not only possible but preferable -- as if it's some sort of honor to work your fingers to the bone just to scrape by.

To his credit, Udargo addresses this insanity -- and the guy in the picture who appears to be 100% behind it -- pretty brilliantly.

Credit Default Swap


If you were wondering how Glenn Greenwald was going to figure out a way to not give an ounce of credit to the Obama Administration for fulfilling the progressive dream of pulling all American troops out of Iraq, oh boy are you not gonna be disappointed.

The answer is so flawless in its Greenwaldian-ness that it borders on self-parody.

Apparently, not only does President Obama not deserve any recognition for effectively ending the war -- the guy who was truly behind the pullout, the one the government doesn't really want, is (of course) American martyr Bradley Manning.

You know something? I'm not even linking to the piece. It's over at Salon -- feel free to find it yourself.

Grown Cold


I've got a hell of a lot on my plate at the moment, but before I dive into all the work I have to do this morning I figured I'd throw out a pretty random question I'd like an answer to: Am I the only one who doesn't care one bit about Coldplay anymore?

Now before anybody mouths off and says, "I always thought they were awful," please just cut it out. Parachutes was a damn good record and A Rush of Blood to the Head remains one of the best and unexpected pop releases of the last decade or so. The latter is the often dark, lovely and powerful work of a band really finding its footing and improving upon its debut by giant strides; it cemented Coldplay as the kind of band that wasn't merely going to be a flash in the pan. And to be fair, of course, they haven't been at all. They're huge. Massive. The new U2, if you believe a lot of network morning show hyperbole.

But here's the thing: They really kind of suck now.

The band's been on a downward trajectory since Rush, first with X & Y, which was a decent record but one that felt like a pale copy of its immediate predecessor. Then of course came Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, an album whose name pretty much summed up what you were getting yourself into by listening to it and spelled out in no uncertain terms the kind of band Coldplay wanted to be: wildly pretentious and completely in love with their own bombastic art-rock self-importance. Yes, Viva La Vida was actually a damn good pop song, but the rest of the record was just -- meh.

And now we get Mylo Xyloto, released today. Again there's more soaring, more hollow grandiloquence, apparently more of the band in matching clothing (dear God) -- only this time around, if you can imagine it, the proceedings have been taken to a whole new stratospheric level because the record isn't simply sporting an obnoxious mouthful of a title, it's a 100% concept album. And what is the concept, you ask? Well, let's let Chris Martin (aka Mr. Gwyneth Paltrow, and the seeds of the problem could very well lie there) explain it to you. From Wikipedia:

"The album is 'based on a love story with a happy ending', in which two protagonists: Mylo and Xyloto, who are living in an oppressive, dystopian urban environment, meet one another through a gang called 'The Lost Boys', and fall in love."

Oh for Christ's sake.

Again, though, here's the thing: I'll bet that if I listened to it a few times I'd really grow to like it -- but I'm not willing to. And that's what I'm kind of trying to figure out -- how a band I once enjoyed so much now barely even summons a passing interest from me. I'm not the least bit excited about a new Coldplay record, and I'm not sure I ever will be again.

I mean, I like Rihanna -- I really do -- but could you ever have imagined Coldplay doing a duet with her?

Update: Interestingly, I hadn't seen this in today's Salon: "Why I Can't Hate Coldplay Anymore."

Listening Post



Apparently, what's going to save the world is a bunch of dogs. Who knew?

Here's Swedish House Mafia's Save the World.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Still Born


Hey, kids -- guess what non-story isn't dead and buried yet?

Let's go to an interview with Rick Perry, published in Parade online today:

"But you've seen (Barack Obama's birth certificate).

'I don't know. Have I?'

You don't believe what's been released?

'I don't know. I had dinner with Donald Trump the other night.'

And?

'That came up."


I swear, you want a clever Halloween costume? Dress as Obama's birth certificate. When people ask you what exactly you are -- tell them you're a zombie. It works on a bunch of different levels.

As I said last week, Rick Perry is a) ambitious, and b) dumb as a bag of cat litter, so dredging this up yet again as a bone to the lowest common denominator among the GOP base -- which is itself the lowest common denominator among American society these days -- is thoroughly predictable. But this should again leave no doubt as to who the lone adult in the room is when you put President Obama up against any of the first ones out of the Republican presidential candidate clown car right now.

My favorite part of that excerpt, by the way, is when the interviewer asks, "And?" You can almost hear her biting her tongue to keep from saying, "And? And?! And what, you shit-kicking moron? What wisdom did perennial con man and pathological fabulist Donald Fucking Trump impart on you? How was dinner? Were you so smitten by him that Texas stars danced over your head and you blew him in a car on the ride home? Bet you two really solved the world's problems during that little uptown summit." Well, at least that's what I like to imagine she was thinking.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Listening Post



Dear God are these guys still one of the greatest bands in the history of everything ever, ever, ever.

Bow, motherfuckers -- here's two from Fishbone.

Above, it's When Problems Arise -- below, Sunless Saturday.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bonfire of the Inanities


The above picture is exactly what you think it is: A bunch of copies of Bill O'Reilly's new book, predictably and ridiculously titled Pinheads and Patriots, being torched. What's interesting is exactly who the ones doing the torching are.

This is what was posted on the Tumblr account that put up the picture:

"Some jerk sent us two boxes of this awful book (SPOILER ALERT: George Washington - Patriot; George Soros - Pinhead) instead of anything soldiers at a remote outpost in Afghanistan might need, like, say, food or soap. Just burned the whole lot of them on my Commander's orders."

Yes, apparently it was a group of U.S. soldiers behind this little bonfire.

Now of course because the soldier in question goes by the screen name "Everqueer," he'll be able to be handily dismissed by O'Reilly and the bitter septuagenarians who makes up 97% of his audience. (The other 3%, I'd imagine, are people who simply died in front of the television.) But there's still something startling and surreal about a) seeing the tables turned and a conservative demagogue's book being burned for a change, and b) knowing that it seemingly came at the hands of our traditionally inviolable troops.

Needless to say, the soldier behind this has already received more than a few complaints, which led him to post a follow-up message:

"The motivation behind the order to burn them was not political...as mentioned in the original post, we are in an extraordinarily remote location. We don't have a post office here, so sending them back wasn't an option. Extra space is scarce and alternatives that a few mentioned, like recycling, are nonexistent...I'm aware of the historical implications of book-burning. I won't say I didn't take pleasure in removing a few copies of this bigoted twerp's writings from circulation, but the reason for doing so was military necessity."

Like this guy, it's tough to cheer the burning of a book -- and yet I can't help but admit that while I'm stoic on the outside when it comes to this, somewhere deep inside myself I'm doing the Snoopy dance. If nothing else, I'd love for this to be a lesson to right-wing jerks everywhere who presumptuously believe that they and they alone have the right to co-opt our military -- that all our men and women in uniform share their narrow worldview.

Seriously, the person who thought it was a great idea to send a bunch of Bill O'Reilly books to Afghanistan -- that our troops over there at the far end of the world dodging bullets would just eat them up? That guy's an asshole.

Quote of the Week


"I have trouble keeping lunch down when I read these jeremiads about how sad and mysterious it is that our institutions of government are failing. It’s not a mystery. One side wants them to fail. And there’s very little the other side can do about it, besides point it out, which the president has started doing — and now he’s the one being divisive! They’ve turned the world inside out."

-- Michael Tomasky in the Daily Beast

Steve Benen's addendum to Tomasky's piece is also required reading.

And these assholes have the nerve to wonder why people are taking to the streets -- and what's more, to demonize and denigrate them for doing so.

Guillotines.

Seriously -- fucking guillotines.

Speed Trap


I know that quite a few of you have complained about how slow the site's been running lately. I've had some problems myself, so I and my crack team of IT specialists -- meaning that they're all on crack -- have gone through and cleaned a few things up, and hopefully this should help us run a little smoother and a lot faster around here.

Thanks for your patience.

Quote of the Day


"The song needed a chorus and they didn't have one. So Kathleen and I said, 'Come on, we're talking about New Year's, let's just do it!' And if you've ever been at one of those gatherings where things went badly, where we all sing even though the fireworks scared the dog and he's been gone for two hours, and someone lit the sofa on fire, and Marge got food poisoning, and Bill O'Neal called the cops... I want you to play (it) like you’re miles from home, and your legs are dangling from a boxcar ... play like you have no pants on."

-- Tom Waits on the song New Year's Eve from his new album, Bad as Me

God I want to go to one of Tom's New Year's parties.

Picture of the Day

Listening Post



Pixie Lott is not a porn star -- well, not exactly. She's a British pop star who seems like she was created in a lab somewhere for the express purpose of burning through whatever music chart you put in front of her.

Yeah, her stuff is basically pabulum, and the makeover she recently got -- seemingly in an effort to endear her to U.S. audiences, who never met a strutting, sexually suggestive blonde they didn't like -- feels unbelievably cynical and tawdry. But this really is a catchy-as-hell song. And yes, she's obscenely hot.

Here's Boys and Girls.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Dream Is Collapsing


I don't generally swipe material wholesale from other people's sites, but a) what you're about to read really struck a chord with me, and b) it was posted in the comment section of Cesca's post promoting this week's Bob & Chez Show podcast, of which I'm obviously a part.

The person who wrote this is named Curtis Robert Tyree.

"I was listening to your show, and I have to say that it really hit me hard. I am working three jobs right now, one as a fre-lance reporter and the other two at museums. The museum jobs end in October and December. So I'm going to have to get at least one more job, maybe another. All of this while living at home because I can't afford an apartment and living expenses. I have a bachelor's degree in Communication and can't find a full time job, each position I apply for want MBA's or many years of experience, things I don't have. Plus, my student loans are coming up to be paid soon and it will be around $600 per month, which is more than I make right now with those three jobs.

On top of this, my father owns his own business, but he doesn't have any work right now because his drafting business deals with infrastructure, something that isn't being done right now. And my mother is a pastor at a church that doesn't have enough money to pay her full-time now, so she will be out of a job at the end of January. I'm seeing the collapse of the middle class every time I go home.

My grandfather, my dad's dad, was the shining example of the middle class. He had a manufacturing job, a pension, healthcare, and owned a home and new cars every couple of years. That dream is gone. Even when it comes to cars now. My car is 14 years old and has over 162,000 miles, my dad's car is 18 years old and over 150,000 miles and my mom's car is a 2004 with over 100,000 miles and all three are falling apart and we don't have the money to fix them. Living in appalachia, we do need them, there is no public transportation and for my three jobs I drive it's no rare occurrence that I drive upwards of 200 miles per day.

So to hear that people like me and my parents who aren't rich and that it's our fault really pisses me off. I do what I have to do to survive. My parents do what they have to do to survive. Herman Cain's parents did what they needed to do. Having 3, 4, or 5 jobs isn't, and shouldn't be, a defining thing about America but it is increasingly becoming our defining trait. Which is a shame. America used to be defined by boundless opportunity and hope, now it's just making sure the car works so you can shuffle between multiple jobs.

So to the people like Herman Cain, and those who cheered last night at the debate, tell me what I'm doing wrong."


First of all, to Curtis: I can't express enough sympathy and empathy and I couldn't wish more good luck to you. As Bob said in his own response -- you're not alone. Not by a long shot. And you're not doing a damn thing wrong.

Curtis's comment was likely a direct response to one particular segment of the podcast. In it, Bob and I talked not simply about the state of the economy -- with millions out of work and others forced to work far beneath their abilities -- but about the kind of country that those who contributed to it and who deny the average American's hardship seem to be willing to settle for. My point specifically was that Herman Cain speaks effusively about how his parents had no choice but to work three jobs to provide for him while he was growing up -- and he says this as if it's a point of pride. Sure, there's no shame at all in doing whatever you have to do to get by -- but there should be a monumental amount of shame in claiming that that situation is the ideal rather than the exception. I guarantee you that if you'd asked them, Herman Cain's parents would much rather have been at home spending time with their young son than working as a cleaning woman, a barber and a janitor just so that he could have something to eat.

You do what you have to do, certainly, but to claim that it's what you want to do and that it's the best case scenario is obscene. Occasionally that's just the way things have to be, but it's never the way things should be.

And that was the dream of the great American middle-class: the idea that a vast swath of this rich, powerful nation could and would work hard, produce, and take pride in its overall contribution to society -- and in return the people within that group could be reasonably assured that they would be able to carve out a small slice of the American dream. That there'd be roofs over their heads, food on their tables, that their families would be provided for and they'd be able to spend their golden years not living in fear. That was the contract America made with its people -- and it was always expected that each side would hold up its end of the deal. What's more, that's what made this country great. That's what made us powerful and the envy of the world.

How did we get from that to a crowd full of people at a presidential debate sociopathically cheering at the idea that it's the fault of 14 million unemployed people that they're unemployed?

How did we get to the point where Herman Cain feels like there's no shame or sorrow in holding up his very good parents' lack of any other choice as a new American ideal to which all our families should aspire?

Where the hell did we lose our way?

Quote of the Day


"The awesome part is that the two life partners probably went back to the kitchen and yelled at someone because having some cartoony jackass dry hump a ham and bark out unrelated catch phrases for 15 minutes weirded them out."

-- Brendon at What Would Tyler Durden Do? on a story which claims that Food-Douche Guy Fieri lost it on his producers when they didn't warn him that he'd be interviewing two apparently gay restaurant owners, since gay people "weird him out"

If all of us are lucky, this will be the one and only time the tag "Guy Fieri" appears on this site.

But seriously, take one look at this Sammy-Hagar-meets-frat-boy jagoff. Did you really think he was gonna be anything other than scared to death of the gay?

Update: It's worth mentioning that a battle between Fieri, the notoriously volatile creator of his show and the suits at Food Network may have been what led to this allegation. Regardless, Brendon's line is pretty damn funny and describes Fieri perfectly.

The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show 10.19.11


A Very Special Bob & Chez Show -- Recorded on Tuesday: The CNN Republican Debate; Competitive Patriotism; Lapel Pins and Bumper Magnets; Right-Wing Talk Radio; Occupy Wall Street Is Not Anti-Capitalist; Wall Street Corporate Crime; Obamabots Article in Politico; Smart Accountability; Herman Cain Said Jesus Was A Conservative; Tea Party Urges Businesses To Stop Hiring; and much more! Brought to you by Bubble Genius.

Listen and subscribe on iTunes

Download the mp3 (70 minutes, 29mb)

Listening Post



Bow to French synthpop musicians bearing gifts.

Anthony Gonzalez, the creative force behind M83, has just given us one of the year's most captivating records, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming -- and this is the first single from it.

Here's Midnight City.

As for the video, at least now we know where the kid in Skrillex's First of the Year clip escaped from.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Assistant Quote of the Day


"Cantor has demonstrated a remarkable ability to combine complete ignorance of practically every major issue with the unctuous personality of a third-string maitre d’ at a fourth-string steakhouse."

-- Charles Pierce in a hilariously brilliant must-read post for Esquire

For his part, Taibbi is going to town on the fact that the usual far-right blowhards like Rush Limbaugh are losing their shit over both how troublesome the Occupy Wall Street movement has been to contain and destroy -- and how it's now forcing even the Eric Cantors of the world to kiss its collective ass. Limbaugh and his ilk are doing everything in their power to demonize this movement -- and the reality is that it's not working one bit.

Rolling Stone: Taibblog: Why Rush Limbaugh Is Freaking Out About Occupy Wall Street/10.18.11

Picture of the Day


Remember, kids, follow your dreams. No matter how big.

Every Second Counts



Unless you're currently sleeping with me, this is the funniest three minutes you'll experience all day.

Quote of the Day


"Survival isn’t just for those who, as Herman Cain puts it, can only 'blame yourselves' for not being rich. And death and disease are not just for those who, like Ron Paul, think that’s 'what freedom is all about — taking your own risks.' All the riches and 'freedom' in the world won’t save your ass if you don’t have access to the right treatment. And when effective medicine isn’t getting out there because the financial incentive isn’t compelling enough, it’s just plain sickening."

-- Mary Elizabeth Williams in Salon, on the difficulty some patients with life-threatening diseases are having finding drugs to treat them and how it pertains to her own current battle with metastatic melanoma

That other person I know and care about very much who's battling an aggressive form of cancer? The one besides my mom and the guy who's blogging, that I mentioned a couple of days ago? It's Mary Beth. I didn't want to say anything more simply because it's been a while since she made any of the details of what's going on with her public and it's not my place to talk about it if she's not talking about it. Suffice to say, though, she's still trying to kick this thing's ass -- and thankfully she has the help of the best cancer center in the world and, as she says, a radical clinical trial that not everyone has access to.

And anyone who claims that the market should dictate whether she -- or anyone's loved one -- should get the care she needs to survive can go fuck himself.

Related: DXM: Death Be Not Proud (But It Is Cost-Effective)/12.30.07

Listening Post


There's no denying that somewhere between A Beautiful Lie and This Is War, Jared Leto and 30 Seconds To Mars developed a seriously inflated sense of self-worth. While the former was a damn good, relatively straightforward alt rock record, the latter album is full of angelic choral bombast and audacious themes and every promotional clip made from it has billed itself as an epic "short film" rather than a simple music video -- culminating in this 13-minute monstrosity.

Yeah, this thing is filled to the brim with artistic ambitions, Kubrickian pretensions and ostentatious shock value -- but there's no denying that it's sumptuously shot and at least it's doing something interesting with the video medium. Plus it succeeds in making the song seem quite a bit better than it is when you take away all the impressive visuals.

Here's the unedited version of Hurricane.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Moment of Truth

Assistant Quote of the Day


"For the same reason that Zach decided to come out, I too, no longer wanted to hide this part of my life. There have been too many tragic endings and too many cases of bullying because of intolerance... as a journalist, I don’t want to be the story, but as a gay man I don’t want to stand silent if I can offer some inspiration or encouragement to kids that might be struggling with who they are."

-- ABC News Anchor Dan Kloeffler on the fact that he essentially admitted to being gay on national television after the network ran a story on Zachary Quinto's recent coming out

Man, it's gotta be a nightmare being an aging intolerant conservative right now. I mean, it was bad enough when there was just a multi-cultural black guy in the White House -- but these days average people are storming Wall Street and protesting banks across the country and around the world, a Mormon who used to be the governor of Massachusetts is the best the GOP can do for a presidential candidate, and now network news anchors are coming out of the closet live on the air.

I wonder what the breaking point will be -- that one world-rocking development that'll finally lead thousands of panic-stricken tea baggers to either lock themselves in their basement bunkers or go the full lemming.

I just keeping thinking of Tobey Maguire at the end of Pleasantville haranguing J.T. Walsh about how everything's changing and there's nothing he can do to stop it -- all in an effort to make him lose his mind.

You know, now that I think about it, Glenn Beck kind of looks like Walsh's character in that movie -- they have the same pudgy face and stupid haircut. And just like "Big Bob," Beck is constantly trying to reassure his terrified, white middle-class constituency that everything's going to be okay.

"What do we do, Bob?"

"Well, we're safe for now -- thank goodness we're in a bowling alley."

Picture of the Day


I can't think of a worse way to go.

(via Simon Owens)

Pro-fanity


No shit.

Scientific American: Why the #$%! Do We Swear? For Pain Relief/7.12.09

Quote of the Day


"My home state of Texas and Israel share the experience of ‘civilized men and women thrown into new and harsh conditions, beset by enemies.'"

-- Rick Perry on President Obama's support of Palestinian statehood in the Jerusalem Post

Perry's quote cribs a line from historian T.R. Fehrenbach, but since Perry's neither scrupulous nor particularly bright it goes without saying that the reference was taken completely out of context.

Max Blumenthal digs up the original quote, which deals with Texas's systematic extermination of the Comanche Indians:

"The Texan’s attitudes, his inherent chauvinism and the seeds of his belligerence, sprouted from his conscious effort to take and hold his land. It was the reaction of essentially civilized men and women thrown into new and harsh conditions, beset by enemies they despised. The closest 20th-century counterpart is the State of Israel, born in blood in another primordial land."

I'm kind of thinking that would make a great bumper sticker: "Chauvanism. Belligerence. Texas."

By the way, correct me if I'm wrong but isn't attacking the President of the United States in a foreign publication the equivalent of treason? Don't I remember hearing Republicans drumbeat that kind of thing to death from 2001 to 2008? Oh forget it. Why bother.

Listening Post



Originally from Australia but now based in L.A., Sick Puppies are never going to change the world. They make serviceable straight-forward AOR in the Lifehouse-Goo Goo Dolls vein. Their secret weapon, however, is bassist Emma Anzai, who's as talented as she is ridiculously gorgeous. This track gives her a chance to shine a little beyond her usual guitar skills and it's admittedly a really nice song.

Here's an acoustic version of White Balloons.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Now Let's Blow This Thing and Go Home


I feel like I'm in a shooting gallery.

There are now three people close to me who are battling cancer.

Obviously, what my mother is going through at the moment has been touched upon here a couple of times. I also recently learned that someone I care about quite a bit who was diagnosed more than a year ago is nowhere near as out-of-the-woods as I had foolishly assumed her to be. And now possibly the biggest shock of all: a young guy who's about as dear to my heart as any human being on this planet; a guy I've known, incredibly, for almost half his life; a guy who less than two weeks ago was diagnosed with AML -- acute myeloid leukemia -- and who's now indefinitely confined to one of the country's premier cancer centers. He's got one hell of a fight ahead of him and he knows it -- one he was dropped into the middle of very much against his will -- and yet in keeping with his wonderfully singular personality he's handling it with a kind of humor and grace that I'm not sure I'd be able to summon to my disposal were I in his position.

He's decided to blog about everything that's happening to him, and needless to say the stuff you'll find on his site is occasionally heartbreaking, often hilarious and ultimately very, very human -- as frightening and disturbing as it is ferociously life-affirming.

I can't recommend enough that you follow his story.

The Great Monocyte Purge

Sunday Sacrilege


With the Occupy Wall Street protests spreading globally, the economy seeming to sink further and further into the toilet, and the Cavalcade of Clowns running for the GOP nomination currently taking up a lot of airtime and copy-space, you might not have remembered that the world's going to end in five days anyway.

Don't worry -- Pastor Harold Camping and his increasingly disillusioned flock haven't forgotten.

Beliefnet: Pastor Harold Camping Says The Rapture Begins October 21st/10.6.11

Saturday, October 15, 2011

October 15th, 2011



Times Square


London


Amsterdam


Brussels


Hong Kong


Madrid


Stockholm

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Anti-Social Network


"You Know You Want It"

-- Tagline from the 1995 Kathryn Bigelow film Strange Days, which centers around a character who deals in "clips" of people's lives, extracted directly from their cerebral cortexes



Christopher Chaney now says he's sorry.

For those who haven't been playing along at home, Chaney is the 35-year old Jacksonville, Florida man who admits to hacking the e-mail accounts of a few dozen celebrities, including Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera and Mila Kunis. (Yeah, I didn't know anyone in Jacksonville knew how to use a computer either.) He says that once he got in, he set up a forward feature that basically sent a copy of any e-mail to and from his victims' accounts directly to him. Chaney's actions may have been what led to nude photos of Johansson leaking out onto the internet, so if you feel like writing to thank him, at least he'll have a pretty stable address for the next 121 years or so.

In a recent interview with a Fox News affiliate, Chaney fell all over himself to grovel at the feet of the starlets whose privacy he invaded, saying that what started as a minor diversion quickly became a full-blown obsession for him. He describes himself as having ultimately become "addicted" to the 24/7 streams that gave him unfiltered access to some of the most famous women in the world -- and he says that when the FBI finally battering-rammed his door and ripped his computer out of the wall, it was actually something of a relief.

Of course what Chaney did was unequivocally wrong. But two things: First, would you be able to give up that kind of rush once you'd mainlined it? Would you be able to just walk away from a window into the uncensored, real life of, say, Mila Kunis? Second, how thoroughly have we as a culture devalued privacy anyway? For many of us, the threshold at which we lose our tolerance for our once-guarded lives being made public has risen considerably over the past several years. If you're reading this, there's a pretty good chance you know more about me than you ever could have known were we all living in the 1950s -- or really at any period before the advent of social networking and the rise of reality television. What's more, you know what goes on in my life because I offer it to you willingly -- on Facebook and Twitter, through this site and even in a memoir. Like millions of other people -- millions of you -- I live my life at least partially in the public eye, not as some kind of celebrity but just as an average person who's chosen to allow you a glimpse into his life. For all I know, my "reality" is your prime time entertainment -- as is the reality of a whole lot of other people.

But how real is what I'm offering you? If I have the ability to share only as much as I want, even if it seems to you like it's an immense amount, how can you be sure you're getting something genuine? And does the specifically edited slice of life that I or anyone else provides online -- or that television producers engineer on so-called "reality TV" -- simply whet your appetite for the whole pie? Might you even feel entitled to know the truth?

Social media sell the illusion of intimacy and honesty -- and we're admittedly a more exposed society than any that's come before us. But after a while, surrounded by all of this supposed openness, I have to believe that our cynical institutional memory kicks into overdrive and we start to question whether the honesty itself is a lie. Again, if that threshold has shifted drastically and what's being pitched almost constantly as "real" isn't real at all -- if our entire popular culture is now nothing but the Matrix -- imagine how far you'd have to go to experience the authentic. How much of an obsession it would become to get beyond the lie.

Maybe that was part of the thrill for Christopher Chaney. The tearing down of the artifice. The peek behind the curtain -- a curtain that's often sold to the public as partially transparent, but which we know damn well isn't at all.

Although there's a pretty good chance Chaney was just hoping to see Scarlett Johansson and Vanessa Hudgens naked. And I guess I can't blame him for that.


I've written before about our invasive entertainment culture and how privacy is quickly becoming an archaic notion. Even before the recent News Corp hacking scandal -- which centers around acts that I maintain were committed as a matter of policy, mostly because the notion of privacy has become such an afterthought -- I dug into it a little in a piece from October of last year on the suicide of Rutgers Student Tyler Clementi. The column drew all kinds of fire at the Huffington Post.


"Tyler's Burden" (Originally Published, 10.7.10)



By any standard, the death of Tyler Clementi is a tragedy.

At this point, you're probably well aware that late last month Clementi, an 18-year-old Rutgers University student, killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge between New York and New Jersey; he did this apparently because his college roommate and a friend had surreptitiously set up a web-cam in his dorm room and streamed a sexual encounter he had with another man on the internet. Clementi's death is the latest in a series of recent and highly publicized suicides of kids, some of whom were or believed they might be gay, two of whom were only 13.

Once again, genuinely heartbreaking tragedies? Absolutely.

But an epidemic? Not a chance.

And yet that's not stopping many in the media from desperately attempting to connect dots that in reality have no connection whatsoever and trying to draw some larger conclusion from the series of similar but entirely unrelated events. Statistically, there's been no recent increase in the number of documented bullying incidents, nor has there been an increase in the number of teen suicides nationwide; there's simply coincidence and an American press that's suddenly attuned to spot items of a certain kind and broadcast them far and wide, creating a strangely symbiotic feeding frenzy wherein the stories reported in the news seem to inspire new incidents like the ones that created those stories in the first place. There weren't really more sharks making the conscious decision to attack unfortunate swimmers in the summer of 2001; there were just more reported -- and reported on -- shark attacks.

And if you believe quite a few news outlets, that's what the autumn of 2010 is shaping up to be: the new Summer of the Shark. Only with bullies.

There's nothing particularly wrong with drawing attention to an issue that negatively impacts a lot of people, and obviously kids getting the crap kicked out of them by bigger, more popular, more obnoxious kids has been a problem for generations. Throw in digital age technology, which now allows for the psychological torment that used to be confined only to school to be relentless and omnipresent, and you've certainly got yourself a topic that on the whole is worth discussing. But it's one that can and should be reported without the sort of hype that accompanies a supposed "epidemic"; the story is good enough on its own without having to create a bombastic news peg to blow it out of proportion, making it sound like, no matter who you are, bullies are waiting right outside your door to shake you down for your lunch money or have told everyone online that you're gay. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that the gay angle that many in the media are putting front and center right now is really the least controversial thing about the death of Tyler Clementi. That's because of one undeniable fact: Tyler Clementi isn't really dead because he was gay.

Don't get me wrong, as with at least three other cases this year in which a young person was harassed to the point of suicide, Tyler Clementi had his personal life splashed all over the internet because that personal life included the desire to be intimate with someone of the same sex. The desperate wish not to see that exposed, ostensibly, led him to kill himself. But this doesn't explain why his tormentors, the roommate and friend, felt no compunction about violating Clementi's privacy in such an egregious and cruel manner. They didn't feel like they could do it because, well, the kid's a queer, so who cares. They felt like they could do it because everybody does it. A good portion of our media culture is now based on prurient voyeurism and a constant invasion of privacy. The public disclosure of a person's most intimate secrets and moments is no longer considered shameful or condemnable -- it's just called entertainment. Why wouldn't a couple of college kids turn their classmate into an unwitting reality TV star? It's basically the same toxic horseshit they grew up watching on MTV, VH1 and E! For all they knew, maybe Tyler Clementi would've loved the mainline of notoriety. If the dipshits on Jersey Shore don't have a problem mining their most repugnant traits in the name of 15 minutes of fame -- if anyone can go to YouTube and post video of a guy complaining about how there are rapists in his neighborhood and suddenly turn that guy into a viral sensation and his complaints into a catch phrase -- why the hell can't two Rutgers freshmen live-stream a roommate in bed with a man? This is the age of the unauthorized sex tape. This is Bentham's Panopticon come to fruition on a global scale. You're always being watched. You're always on camera. You have no expectation of privacy. Clementi should have known that, right?

Which brings me to the person whose name I'm loathe to even mention for fear it'll give him more publicity and credibility than he already gets and has: Perez Hilton.

The erstwhile Mario Lavandeira has joined a group of celebrities advocating understanding and tolerance for gay young people and reaching out to them in an effort to let them know that suicide isn't the answer if they're being victimized by bullies -- particularly cyber-bullies, who mercilessly persecute their prey via the internet. Perez says that he's "beyond sad, crushed" that there are kids like Tyler Clementi out there being bullied because they're gay or think they might be gay, and that he's stepping up to provide a "role model" for the LGBT youth of America. Someone they can look to and realize that there may very well be untold wealth and success at the end of the, pardon the pun, rainbow. In case you're missing the staggering irony of all this, let me spell it out for you: Perez Hilton is the world's most famous cyber-bully. His entire career is based on publicly humiliating anyone he personally feels deserves it and he and his website are at the forefront of America's culture of shameless voyeurism and a constant, irrepressible invasion of privacy. It's because someone like Perez Hilton has spent the past few years making himself rich by indiscriminately circulating images of Miley Cyrus's crotch to the world that the two teenagers who tortured Tyler Clementi likely didn't think that what they were doing was a big deal.

What's more, the hypocrisy of Perez coming to the defense of Clementi -- a kid who was outed against his will -- is just fucking stupefying. This is the same sanctimonious turd who took credit for personally outing Lance Bass and who's been on an almost non-stop crusade to expose anyone gay he omnipotently deems necessary. The guy who delights in labeling certain men who prefer not to discuss their sexuality "fags," who draws semen on their faces, and who once said, "If I have to drag some people screaming out of the closet, I will." So what's the difference between "some people" and, say, Tyler Clementi? The difference, I'm sure Perez would say, is that Clementi wasn't a celebrity.

But here's the thing: If he had savored the attention brought on by his very public private sexual encounter instead of letting it destroy him, given our current culture, he may very well have become one.

In some ways, he became one regardless.

(A portion of this was inspired by comments made by Jim Norton yesterday on The Opie and Anthony Show, Sirius XM radio. Thanks, Jimmy, for helping to put into words what had been bugging me for a week.)

The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show 10.14.11


We Introduce the Show to The Huffington Post Audience; Herman Cain and his Ridiculous 999 Plan; News Media Policy Coverage; Corporate Media Monopolies; Michele Bachmann and the Hero Worship of Saint Reagan; Tax Rates in the 1980s; The Values Voters Summit and the ‘Cult’ of Mormonism; Senate Republicans Filibuster the American Jobs Act; and much more! Brought to you by Bubble Genius.

Listen and subscribe on iTunes

Download the mp3 (63 minutes, 25mb)

Listening Post



Sometimes you just wake up wanting to hear Queens of the Stone age. They have that effect on a guy.

Here's one that goes way back for them -- The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret.

Happy Friday, boys and girls.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Picture of the Day


From a Funny or Die slideshow imagining what it would be like if Rick Perry were behind the Siri feature on the new iPhone and could answer any question you asked

Occupational Hazards


God I wish there was a mainstream news publication in America that had the full-on balls to do what Canada's Globe and Mail occasionally does with its photo captions.

Imagine us being willing to truly skewer the famous the way this series of snapshots does.

The Globe and Mail: Celebrity Photos of the Week: Occupy Wall Street Edition/10.13.11

The Markdown of Cain


For those of you who immediately thought of some crappy pizza deal held over from his Godfather days the minute you heard about Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan, Spirit Airlines is now happy to confirm your suspicions.

I'm not sure whether this is brilliant or entirely offensive.

Either way, Spirit kind of sucks -- and so does Herman Cain, come to think of it.

Quote of the Day, Jr.


"I love how this Canadian official, to disparage Amnesty, cites the criticisms of war zealot Christopher Hitchens."

-- Glenn Greenwald, tweeting a link to a story in Politico about a push by Amnesty International to have George W. Bush arrested

Greenwald cranks out a dozen or so of these kinds of tweets a day -- always smug and sarcastic, always dripping with prickish piety. Generally, they're not even worth the two seconds it takes to read them.

But when a pseudo-intellectual drama queen like Greenwald has the galactic balls to punch way above his weight class by attacking a Christopher Hitchens -- well that constitutes a moment of pure, lovely schadenfreude. First of all, the fact that Greenwald chooses to go after Hitchens while conveniently leaving out the other person cited in the article who takes issue with Amnesty -- that would be the brilliant Salman Rushdie -- shows his almost comical level of intellectual dishonesty. Second, there's nothing -- and I mean nothing -- I'd more enjoy seeing than Christopher Fucking Hitchens debating the insolent zilch that is Glenn Greenwald and ripping him to shreds.

By the way, I'd love to see George W. Bush and pretty much the rest of his administration hauled before the Hague, but I'm not arrogant enough to make my argument by denigrating a guy who's a hell of a lot smarter and more respected than I'll ever be.

Quote of the Day


"There shouldn't be anything controversial about a .45-caliber bullet. If it were up to me we would just throw them off the Sunshine Skyway bridge and be done with it."

-- Republican State Representative Brad Drake of Florida, who filed a bill on Tuesday to bring back the firing squad as a method of executing death row inmates in that state

You might think that the bill itself makes this story so Florida -- but you'd be wrong.

It's the fact that the epiphany that led to the bill came to Representative Drake while he was having a conversation at a Waffle House -- that's what makes this story so perfectly, gloriously Florida.

Listening Post



The Big Pink are back and sounding pretty much the same as they did on their last album -- but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Here's their new single, Stay Gold.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Headline of the Week




TPM: Amish Mob Broke Into Homes and Cut Off Hair and Beards/10.12.11

The Kids Are Alright



I feel kind of crappy for resorting to something this cheap and easy when I'm not posting a lot of material right now. But I cannot stress enough how every time I see this ad I get a huge, unbelievably stupid grin on my face that you couldn't get off with a crowbar.

Mark your calendars. The boys are back -- just when we need them most.

Beavis and Butt-head return two weeks from tomorrow.

Quote of the Day


"When you take the 9-9-9 plan and you turn it upside down, I think the devil's in the details."

-- Michele Bachmann, finally noticing that Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan is 666 upside-down

I'll give Bachmann this: It takes skill to say the most ridiculous thing at one of these GOP Clown Car debates, so good on her.

To his credit, the normally sycophantic Howard Fineman sums up the entire milieu of last night's debate -- which he called a "strange faculty lounge" -- in the Huffington Post. It's worth a read.

Listening Post



So many years have gone by and so much music has bombarded us from so many different genres that it's occasionally easy to forget just how brilliant the deceptive simplicity/complexity of Crosby, Stills and Nash (and, of course, Young) was in the band's heyday.

This is one of my favorite unsung tracks from CSN.

It's Daylight Again.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Faith No More


I'll try to make this quick, since as I said I'm kind of pressed for time right now.

Chances are by now you're aware of the fallout from last week's Values Voters Summit, the annual event in which the hard-right Evangelical nutjob segment of the electorate gathers to throw King James Bibles at the feet of Republican leaders to see who will be the last one standing after beating his or her competition to death with one. This year, everybody seemed to be gunning for one guy: Mitt Romney. Poor Mitt got it hard from both ends, so to speak, as his place on the speaking roster happened -- through what I'm sure was complete coincidence -- to fall between Dallas megachurch demagogue Pastor Robert Jeffress and psychopathic talk radio host Bryan Fischer, both of whom have railed against Romney's Mormon faith as an insult to the one, true God.

Jeffress, who astonishingly is the cuddlier of the two, merely referred to Mormonism as a cult while lavishing praise on Rick Perry for supposedly being a trustworthy follower of Jesus Christ; Fischer took it three or four giant steps further, saying not only that a proven Christian and a proven Christian alone should be our next president, but that Sharia law is coming to take over our courts, homosexuals are a threat to the public health and the reason we haven't seen a successful attack on the contiguous 48 since 9/11 is that crowds sing "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch at major league baseball games. And no, I'm not making that last one up.

Romney, to his credit, tried to take the high road in his reaction to all the hyper-pious pummeling. Of course at something like the Values Voters Summit, the high road doesn't need to be very high; the Lincoln Tunnel towers over the discourse at this thing.

So is Mormonism a cult? Was it, for the most part, the brainchild of con-men and has it been perpetuated by the power-hungry and adhered to by the weak and desperate? Is it a lunatic belief system that should have no place influencing American politics? Yes on all counts. But here's the thing: That makes it no different than any other faith-based religion.

Fischer and Jeffress have always been despicably hateful fuckers whose opinions needed to be pushed so far to the fringes that they practically vanish into the ether. But at this point more than any other in our recent history, this country does not have the luxury to concern itself with with ridiculous contrivances like which ancient superstition a candidate aligns him or herself with -- whether he or she passes some religious purity test by properly genuflecting before the right god.

Over the next few months, as the campaign ramps up, you're going to start hearing a lot more proclamations of faith from those running for the highest office in the world. They'll talk about how their belief in Jesus or whatever-the-hell guides them, and what's more, they'll do it largely as a theatrical act of indulgence, as a means of cynically pandering to those they feel they need to pander to in order to get elected. Their command performance may not always be at the whim of blatant sociopaths like Jeffress and Fischer, but it will certainly be as a show of respect to the supposedly benign faith of which these men have become extremist purveyors and arbiters. And that faith, while something I disagree with wholeheartedly as a rational human being, should at the very least be a personal choice and a personal choice only -- it should be something that at all times is excluded from American politics.

At this fragile point in our nation's history, the fact that our presidential candidates will feel that they have the latitude, even for a moment, to gush metaphysical politics-as-usual platitudes is simply terrifying. Discussing something as abstract and ineffectual as faith at this moment is akin to extolling one's own favorite lottery numbers. Neither offers a concrete method of action. Faith will never defend this country's people from the ongoing threats to their livelihood. God won't save us from the mess we're currently in.

We need something more than wishful thinking, and we don't have the time to talk about anything less.


Above it's Chris Matthews taking apart an unbearably smug Pastor Robert Jeffress on Hardball last night.

Delays, Delays


Just a little advance warning that it might be kind of sketchy around here over the next couple of weeks. I've got quite a bit on my plate at the moment, including two big projects that are going to require a lot of attention.

Still, as always, I'll do my best to keep things as interesting as I can for you nice folks.

For now, you can go about your business.

Listening Post



It's interesting how much was clipped from this song for the sake of being able to bring the video to a really cool and jarring end.

Regardless, it's another dark and atmospheric song from the guy who helps to make Jay-Z and Kanye's No Church in the Wild such a knocked-out-of-the-park lead-off track on Watch the Throne.

Here's Frank Ocean's Novacane.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Paperback Writer


After few more delays than I had expected, I'm happy to announce that it's finally here: Dead Star Twilight is now available in paperback.

For those of you who were waiting to buy a physical copy of my memoir rather than opting for the pay-what-you-want digital edition for Kindle, iPad and so on, you can purchase it from Amazon beginning today. Unlike the e-book, there's a fixed price of $14.95 for the paperback; I tried my best to push for it to be as inexpensive as possible but, unfortunately, that kind of thing is out of my hands. Still, I'm more that satisfied with the finished product; it looks terrific and I have to admit that it's a pretty big thrill to actually hold in my hands the book into which I put so much blood and sweat. Up until now I've only seen it as an image on a computer screen, so I guess it's a little like finally being able to wrap your arms around your baby.

If I could ask everyone for a minor favor: Even if you're not picking up a copy of Dead Star Twilight, if you've read it and enjoyed it, please either take the time to write a quick review on the Amazon page or at least click the page's Facebook "like" button to help spread the word. I actually am going to put some effort into making sure promo copies of this thing get sent around so we'll see where that takes us.

To those who've already read the book, thanks so much. And to those who plan to buy it now that it's available in paperback, thank you as well.

Amazon: "Dead Star Twilight" by Chez Pazienza

Listening Post



From what's hands-down one of the best records of the year, here's Wye Oak doing Hot as Day live in the studios of KEXP.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Sunday Sacrilege


I love the ultra-Christian. I love them because they make it so easy for me. One of the least mentally taxing things I do around here is wake up Sunday morning and find a post for the Sunday Sacrilege segment. It literally requires almost no effort to locate something completely absurd from, say, Christian Nightmares to pop up on the main page -- and generally whatever item I grab turns out to be so hilariously surreal that I don't even have to create a punchline for it. The whole thing is one big punchline; I couldn't improve on it comedically if I were the reincarnation of Bill Hicks.

Take, for example, "Jesusween."



There are so many possible jokes about something called "Jesusween" that, again, it's probably not even worth bothering. I mean, after the initial giggles, my mind immediately went to thoughts of a particularly cruel pet name concocted by Mary Magdalene -- and that was just for starters.

But here's the thing: The fact that a group of highly devoted Christian types came up with this name, without one single person apparently shooting it down, proves just about incontrovertibly that the hyper-religious don't have a damn thing even approaching a sophisticated sense of humor, to say nothing of a lick of common sense (which I guess sort of goes without saying). If you didn't instantly grasp that the word "Jesusween" was ripe for playground taunts between fourth-graders and outright ridicule from misanthropic jerks like me, I have no idea how your doe-eyed ass walks out of his front door every morning without being eaten alive by the world.

While we're on the subject of a more "Jesus-y" Halloween, though, I figured I'd bring back a classic quickie from the DXM Vault. This one goes way back.

"And By the Way, If You See Your Mom This Weekend, Would You Be Sure and Tell Her... SATAN! SATAN! SATAN!" (Originally Published, 10.31.06)

I always found Halloween to be kind of a silly holiday. I certainly understand its pagan roots, but at this stage of civilization -- things being what they presently are and all -- I can't help but feel that the inflated emphasis on ghosts, witches, black cats and the like as objects of fear is, well, Rockwellian in its quaintness.

I mean, could any of Edgar Allen Poe's delusions -- even at its most brutally drug-induced -- have ever metastasized into something as perfectly evil as Dick Cheney?

Terrorists want to kill me; my President doesn't have a brain, yet still inexplicably walks, talks and smirks; his second in command is regularly seen growling, and shoots his elderly friends in the face; human viscera lines the streets of Iraq -- and you're telling me the ranch-style house up the street with a couple of tombstones in the front yard, a vegetable with a face carved in it, and the all-night Monsterfest on A&E is supposed to scare me?

Sure thing.

That said, I'll relay a truly terrifying tale from my short time at one of the most frightening places on Earth: Dade Christian School.

The God-fearing men and women who ran the place were -- and no doubt still are -- committed to making sure that all of their students have a Halloween that's happy, safe, and free of the torment of eternal damnation. That's why every year the school has its own Halloween party in which each child is encouraged to dress as -- wait for it -- his or her favorite Bible character. Needless to say, this typically causes some confusion, seeing as how the whole beard and robes thing was pretty much the only look going back in the day.

Upon learning the theme of the traditional Dade Christian Halloween-Without-Hell Extravaganza, I of course began peppering the teacher with question after ridiculous question about what my costume could and couldn't entail:

Could I pour salt all over myself and be Lot's wife?

What about water, would dousing myself in water help me to stand out as obviously being Noah?

Could I just come naked and be Adam?

If I dressed as Pharaoh, could I cast the entire school into bondage?

Isn't Satan technically a Bible character?

These annoyances continued until the teacher finally ended them in the usual way: by sending me to the Dean's office.

Surprisingly, he wasn't expecting to see my face again so soon -- being that a few days earlier an angry and frustrated faculty chaperone had deemed that I be exiled to his office for reading the novelization of Halloween III: Season of the Witch during the entire bus ride to and from our class trip to Disney World.

You know something? Now that I think about it -- maybe dressing as a Christian really is the scariest costume imaginable.

Hope you have a good Halloween this year, kids -- and whatever you do, stay away from Old Man Cheney's house.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Quote of the Day



"Overtly racist bullshit thinly painted over. Honestly, could anyone have written a better metaphor for the modern Republican party?"

-- Bill Maher on the infamous "Niggerhead" rock on Rick Perry's property in Texas

Friday, October 07, 2011

Quote of the Derp


"I like the idea of MGMT using their popularity to bring some new bands into the fold. And not just new bands but really nice sounding bands. I didn't hear of any of the other bands on this album but I gotta say that I really like them. For MGMT to vouch for all these guys it makes sense that they must meet their high musical standards which I suspect that they do."

-- Commenter Drew G. at iTunes, who rates the new MGMT release, Late Night Tales, at a full five stars

As Drew alluded to, the record is a compilation of music from some of MGMT's favorite bands and artists.

Included are tracks from the Velvet Underground, Julian Cope, the Durutti Column, Spacemen 3, Felt and the Chills.