Thursday, January 31, 2013


Today's piece for the Daily Banter expands on the outrage over two commercials produced for this weekend's Super Bowl broadcast.

Here's the opening shot:

"There’s an old saying that I used to live by but which I let fall by the wayside years ago because it kept getting me into trouble: It’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission. I’m sure you understand how this philosophy works, particularly if you’re married. Basically you just go ahead and do whatever the hell you want, even if you know it’ll infuriate your partner, and pretend to be sorry later. Sure, you’ll spend some time in the dog house, but you got to do whatever it was you wanted to do in the first place. Beats asking if it’s okay ahead of time and risking him or her telling you no. Nobody wins there. Well, you don’t win, and that’s really all that counts. (See why I eventually abandoned this way of thinking?)

Asking for forgiveness instead of permission is the selfish asshole’s credo. If you are indeed a selfish asshole, it should be tattooed across your upper back.

With that in mind, I can’t help but wonder why so many of the various companies paying a bloody fortune for ad space at this year’s Super Bowl have decided to prerelease their commercials on the internet in the run-up to the game."

Read the Rest Here

High Note

This is my favorite story of the day -- because you all know how much I hate Glee and its egomaniacal creator, Ryan Murphy, who believes that all bands should not only give their songs freely to his unholy creation so it can utterly destroy them, but should also grovel at his feet for seeing fit to use their music in the first place. (And no, do not tell me that he redeemed himself with American Horror Story; that show is predictably self-indulgent and ridiculous.)

Well, kind of like the Foo Fighters before him, Glee picked the wrong guy to fuck with when they decided to rip-off Jonathan Coulton without giving him an ounce of credit.

Zap2It: Glee vs. Jonathan Coulton/1.28.13

Picture of the Day

Posted to Reddit by an Applebee's waitress named Chelsea who has since been fired for doing so.

The receipt was apparently signed by a local pastor who, as you can see, removed the included tip and wrote, "I give God 10%, why do you get 18?"

The original title that went with the Reddit post read, "My mistake sir, I'm sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries," which is pretty good.

My comment would've been more like, "Because I actually exist and was able to take care of you."

I have no doubt that Chelsea, as a budding internet sensation whom many already believe was unjustly canned, will be the beneficiary of a massive Kickstarter campaign or something like that, inadvertently making her just as insufferable as the asshole who took away her tip. But for now, she's got my sympathies. Besides, once people figure out who the pastor is and begin personally bombarding him with the abuse he deserves, it will all have been worth it.

Instant Update: That took no time at all. The pastor is 37-year-old Alois Bell of St. Louis -- he's a she, not a him, by the way -- and she's now apologizing and kind of groveling for forgiveness from an entity even mightier than God: the internet. "My heart is really broken," she says. “I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.” She goes on to say that the stiffing was a lapse in her usually good judgment. By the way, Bell was the one who called Applebee's and got Chelsea fired when she saw the receipt online.

Quote(s) of the Day

"The Coke commercial for the Super Ball is racist, portraying Arabs as backward and foolish Camel Jockeys, and they have no chance to win in the world."

"What message is Coke sending with this? By not including the Arab in the race, it is clear that the Arab is held to a different standard when compared to the other characters in the commercial."

-- Imam Ali Siddiqui, president of the Muslim Institute for Interfaith Studies, and Abed Ayoub of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, respectively, calling Coke's new Super Bowl ad racist and demanding that it be changed before it airs during the game this Sunday

I was just about to present this without comment, because, like the "controversy" over the Jamaican White Guy Volkswagen ad, it's just that absurd. But I think it's worth making it clear that I do in fact believe that no group of people is above any other group of people -- regardless of race, religion or ethnicity -- and will therefore treat the Arab-American organizations taking offense to this ad exactly the way I'd treat anyone else demanding satisfaction over something so silly and inconsequential: by saying, for God's sake, sit down and shut up before you make yourself look any more ridiculous. It's a fucking commercial -- save the indignation for something that actually matters. It's not like there aren't enough real problems out there for Arab-Americans to contend with on a daily basis.

Listening Post

These guys have a new album out and, for those who happen to live in the L.A. area, they're doing a quick residency on Monday nights in February at Los Globos in Silverlake.

Here's Gliss -- The Weight of Love.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chicken Tender

Today's Daily Banter column asks whether the battle between Chick-fil-A and the gay community has finally ended. At least two people seem to be trying to move in that direction -- but is their truce to be trusted?

Here's the opening shot:

"According to the stats that the Daily Banter numbers crunchers keep track of, one of the most popular columns I’ve written for this site had to do with my decision not to eat at Chick-fil-A anymore. I’m sure you’ve only recently been discharged from Walter Reed and are still nursing serious physical and psychological wounds from the Great Chick-fil-A War of 2012. I myself haven’t been able to sleep since returning from the front, haunted by memories of old people and drag queens beating each other to death in the street while chicken sandwich mortar fire rained down like death from above all around them. And pickles — so many pickles.

For the few who were lucky enough to be living under a rock or in a neutral, sane country at the time, in July of last year Chick-fil-A President and COO Dan Cathy made a lot of enemies within the progressive and gay community by stating in no uncertain terms that he and his company were against same-sex marriage and would continue to support Christian, anti-gay initiatives. The resulting dust-up turned into exactly what every politically charged, pop culture-fed controversy does these days: a media circus, with a freaking chicken sandwich suddenly becoming a cudgel in the never-ending left-right culture war.

Well, six months later the dust has finally settled and, in an admittedly surprising move toward peace that the Jews and Palestinians could learn a thing or two from, one of the marriage equality activists who initially decried the unabashedly anti-gay stance of Chick-fil-A is now 'coming out' and admitting that in the resulting months since the whole controversy blew sky-high, he’s struck up a friendship with Dan Cathy."

Read the Rest Here

Assistant Quote of the Day

"He fired a warning shot and then when the car was accelerated to go in reverse he perceived it differently. He’s an elderly man, he perceived the car going towards his house, towards him."

-- A lawyer for 69-year-old Georgia man Phillip Sailors, who shot and killed a Hispanic guy who had accidentally pulled into his driveway, supposedly because he thought the guy's car was trying to ram him when it in fact was backing up

Apparently, a GPS mistake had led the victim, 22-year-old Rodrigo Diaz, along with his girlfriend and two other friends, into Sailors's driveway. Witnesses say Diaz recognized that something was wrong, but Sailors had already rushed out of the house carrying a gun and screaming, "Get off my property!" (Please take a moment to revel in the almost perfect old-white-guy stereotype.) Diaz reportedly rolled down the window to apologize as he was backing up and that's when he was shot. Sailors is now charged with murder.

You know, this should go without saying, but if you're too goddamn old to be able to tell which direction a car is going I think it's safe to say you're too goddamn old to be allowed to own a gun.

What do you want to bet that in the moments before Diaz's ill-fated turn into Sailors's driveway, Sailors was sitting in front of his TV doing what he does for hours each day: watching Fox News? Maybe this is how the network will continue to lose viewers. They won't just die off -- they'll be arrested for angrily, frighteningly reacting with deadly force to every little perceived threat.

Quote of the Day

"I think it is a relevant point of conversation. If he is a skeet shooter, why have we not heard of this? Why have we not seen photos? Why has he not referenced it at any point in time as we have had this gun debate that is ongoing? You would have thought it would have been a point of reference."

-- Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, questioning whether President Obama was lying when he said that he occasionally goes skeet shooting at Camp David

My favorite part of the above quote is the first sentence: "I think it is a relevant point of conversation." You know what else the current crop of Republicans and conservatives have considered relevant points of conversations? Where Obama was born and whether his birth certificate is phony. Whether he faked his college transcripts. His use of teleprompters. Whether Obama's real father was a communist. If his family's Kenyan background trained him to hate America. Whether the president's speech to children was an attempt to secretly indoctrinate them with socialist propaganda. That Obama may have engineered a series of shooting sprees as a pretext to taking away Americans' guns. Whether the Obama administration faked the falling unemployment numbers in the lead-up to the 2012 election. Whether he ousted Gaddafi so that al Qaeda could take over in Libya. Whether he's at the top of a conspiracy of silence in Benghazi.

And that doesn't even include non-Obama-related conspiracy theories like the encroaching threat by Sharia law and the U.N. and, of course, the belief that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax.

And now this: A Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives is basically asking for proof that President Obama has gone skeet shooting.

Marsha Blackburn, you are sincerely a fucking idiot -- and your party is thoroughly devoid of even an ounce of intelligence or a single good idea. All you have is desperate nonsense.

Cesca wrote an entire piece on this today over at Banter. It's definitely worth reading.

Listening Post

Dark, menacing and sensual, this song is used to great effect in the movie End of Watch (which is excellent, by the way).

Here's Puscifer's Momma Sed.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


From the "Political Correctness Is Awesome" file, here comes the latest example of people losing their shit over something that pretty much nobody should be losing their shit over.

First, take a look at this:

I know what you're thinking right now: "Those racists at Volkswagen! How dare they! A white guy doing a Jamaican accent for a Super Bowl ad -- unacceptable! I'm so offended that I'm taking to the streets in protest and ceremonially setting my wife's Jetta on fire! Bow before the incredible might of my easily rattled liberal sensibilities and complete lack of anything approaching a sense of humor! AAARRGGGHHH, HULK SMASH!"

Kids, say hello to the latest ridiculous non-controversy to give the perpetually aggrieved something to bitch about.

The Huffington Post: Volkswagen Super Bowl Ad Accused of Being Racist/1.29.13

Dear God are we a stupid, stupid country.

Stay Classy, Assholes

Today's column for the Daily Banter is a response to what happened last night in Hartford, Connecticut, when a grieving father tried to speak.

Here's an excerpt:

"If you haven't yet seen the video clip of gun enthusiasts heckling Neil Heslin, the father of 6-year-old Sandy Hook shooting victim Jesse Lewis, last night in Hartford, Connecticut, get ready to want to put your fist through a wall. It's so sickening, so profoundly disrespectful that I can't imagine anyone with a soul defending it. There honestly isn't language strong enough to describe the kind of mentality it must take to try to overpower the voice of a man who's holding a picture of his dead child in his hands while he's speaking publicly, fragilely about his personal pain. And to do it simply because you're that obsessed with being able to own as many guns of as many shapes and sizes as your heart desires without ever having to meet an ounce of resistance from anyone is fucking insane. Completely fucking insane."

Read the Rest Here

Voice Over

A couple of people have sent me this already, but it really shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

Mediaite: Major Shakeup at CNN/1.29.13

Basically, some of CNN's highest-profile political pundits have been sent packing. The comedy duo of James Carville and Mary Matalin won't have their contracts renewed and Erick Erickson, fulfilling his destiny, will be heading to -- wait for it -- Fox News.

Zucker's asserting his authority and definitely signaling a change for CNN and I have to admit that if his goal is to ultimately cleanse the network of ridiculous partisan hackery in favor of people like Jake Tapper and Chris Cuomo, I can't find a reason to argue.

Your Band (Name) Sucks

So I'm just sitting here as I do most Tuesday mornings, going through the new stuff on iTunes, and I have a question: Can we please stop the hipsterfication of alt music? I don't meant to impugn anyone's material as I already know that some of the bands I'm about to mention are pretty good, but a quick scan of the latest alternative releases available reads like a South Park parody of indie music band names.

Let's run down the bands who line the front page of the alternative section of iTunes right now:

Rah Rah, Ducktails, High Highs, BOY, Y La Bamba, Cave Painting, Wildlife Control, Skinny Lister, Spectral Park, Leagues, Big Harp, Blaudzun, Hey Ocean!, Bleeding Rainbow, Sleeping at Last, Air Review, Thao & the Get Down Stay Down.

I get that the hipster aesthetic dictates that your band name should generally be an inanimate, single-word object, two words picked out of a hat that make no sense at all together, or an opaque, strangely non-descriptive action that's so not a band name that it strikes exactly the right note of aloof irony (or, of course, the name of an animal). But I feel like bands these days are just trying to be elusive and weird simply for the sake of being elusive and weird.

Maybe I'm getting old.

I was going to say that I think I'll start a band and just call it "Noun" -- but of course that's already taken.

Listening Post

The very early 90s was an interesting period for metal, mostly because a lot of bands finally started crossing things up and experimenting with funk, punk and alternative. One of the better bands to come out of this period of genre-bending was Warrior Soul, who looked like and were initially sold as a metal band but who sounded a lot like a punk band, complete with a giant helping of nihilistic political commentary on the decline of American society.

This was from their second album, Drugs, God and the New Republic. It's a song I still listen to quite a bit because more than 20 years after its release it hasn't lost a bit of its sonic fury.

Here's The Wasteland.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Armed Response

You know, it used to be that when I wrote something that got published at the Huffington Post, the blowback I received came from HuffPo's regular peanut gallery of humorless, perpetually aggrieved professional liberals. These days, though, especially when you dare to get near a landmine in the culture war, the angry comments tend to come more from the right. I'm not sure whether there's always been a bunch of holdovers from the site's infancy -- when Breitbart was associated with it -- living underground at Huffington, waiting for the right time to stage some kind of coup, or it has something to do with HuffPo's merger with the official internet service provider of the flyovers, AOL, but there seem to be more and more voices from the far-right hijacking any and every conversation over there.

Case in point: the somewhat surprising amount of anti-gun control vitriol and general resistance in response to my piece on the role that Joe Arpaio's "posse" is playing in the guarding of schools in Maricopa County, Arizona. A good portion of the comments -- I'd say most of them, actually -- took me to task for daring to suggest that cracking down on guns and gun possession is a better idea than putting an armed retiree in a car in front of most Phoenix-area schools to defend against the problem of gun violence rather than actually trying to stop the problem of gun violence.

Behold, my public:

"Stop at your local shooting range and see who is there. You'd be hard-pressed to find a police officer.

Most of the regulars are just ordinary civilians. There are many talented people there. Yes, I want them around when the SHTF.

I don't expect libs to know these things."

-- bloodytongue

For those of you who don't speak crazy, let me help you out: SHTF, which of course stands for "Shit Hits the Fan," is a common refrain among the conspiracist "prepper" crowd. It's lingo that not only allows one nutjob who believes that some kind of societal collapse is imminent to easily know that he's talking to another, it justifies his desperate need to build a panic room in his basement, stock up on canned goods and, of course, assault rifles, and otherwise prepare himself for the arrival of the end of days. The above commenter's use of that acronym tells you immediately where he's coming from -- and it's basically a homemade bunker.

"The author is surely against anything that remotely shows signs of protecting the 2nd Amendment by utilizing trained volunteers, who have been praised by the DEA, the FBI, the DPS, ICE and Border Patrol for their conduct, behavior. knowledge and dedication. Sheriff Joe does what he feels best to protect the citizens of Maricopa County - after all, that is his job."

-- jwb544

Arpaio also unlawfully harasses Latinos, disregards the Constitution when he feels like it and has failed to investigate more than 400 sex crimes cases, most involving molested children, because he was busy taking on the Mexican menace and self-servingly grandstanding. That also part of his job?

"Assault rifles aren't used in crimes or mass shootings.

Yes we are going to 'fix' the problem of crazy people killing other people by taking away one thing they can use. Then the crazy person will be snapped back into sanity and say, 'I can't use a rifle to kill anyone, so I guess that means killing is bad and I shouldn't kill.' Magically all homicidal and suicidal thoughts stop at the signing of the AWB.

I don't think a AR-15 would make someone 'heavily armed.' Also they aren't 'military grade'"

-- Spot the Mighty

If you don't think wielding an AR-15 makes you heavily armed, it terrifies me to imagine what you think does.

"This article shows the utter absurdity of the gun control extremist position

According to the author, a gun makes an untrained kid invincible, but it's useless in the hands of a good citizen, no matter how well trained they are.

His position is a complete contradiction and makes no sense at all.

Also, mass shooters almost never seek out gunfights. That's why they virtually always carry out their massacres at gun free zones. They want helpless victims, not people who can shoot back.

If they wanted shootouts, they would go to a police station, gun shop, or target shooting range, where the people at those locations would be happy to oblige them.

Instead they pick gun free zones full of people who are disarmed and defenseless. That is not coincidental."

-- Ohio9

"Yet, mass murderers always seem to target areas where the ability to defend your life is denied. Your premise suggest we are way past due for a sociopath to show up and start shooting at a gun show or public shooting range."

-- William Ashbless

The above two comments were a pretty standard response -- that school shooters and others willing to incite an active shooter situation in a public place drop their weapons or take their own life at the first sign of armed resistance. There's a difference between being surrounded by a 30-man ESU or SWAT team and having the drop on one old guy sitting in a car, armed or not. The fact is, as I said in the piece, it would take all of two days of casing the area or simply noticing your surroundings to figure out how to easily get rid of that kind of threat. The shooter has the element of surprise and that counts for quite a bit. There very likely wouldn't even be a gunfight. The shooter doesn't need to be invincible -- he only needs to pay attention.

"Many private citizens ARE more skilled with a gun than the average cop, that is a fact."

-- EZSundayAM

"Since the feds can't enforce the existing laws on the books, then Sheriff Joe wil along with volunteers and vigilantes who cost ZERO tax payer dollars."

-- InspectorClouseau

Yes, and, I'd bet, zero taxpayer accountability.

"Well the Presidents response was to put together a crack team of gun banners to have a 'conversation' and put together a plan to ban some guns... All the while the guns were still out there, the crazies were still out there, and the kids were still in so called 'gun free zones.'"

-- Brian Bender

Ah, yes, those pussy, gun-hating liberals and all their talking. I swear, I'm seriously considering shooting the next asshole who rails against how our kids are left as defenseless lambs by any attempt to stop guns from getting near their schools. I get the impression that eventually these psychopaths are going to lobby for the right to arm the kids themselves (if they haven't already).

"I think you are missing the point, the guard aren't there to act as a deterrent, they are they to act as a barrier. If some kid with a gun rolls onto campus carrying a shotgun in plain view or tries to shoot through a door to get in, the guys with guns are there to shoot back. No remorse, no stopping to ask questions. if you walk onto campus with a rifle in plain view, you get a copper jacketed ticket to the afterlife."

-- Trevor Lawrence

A copper-jacketed ticket to the afterlife. Settle down there, Clint. Sure, this is a throwaway line but it inadvertently provides all kinds of insight into the way some of these guys regard guns and the use of them -- the 'roided out, hyper-masculine fantasy they have of what it must be like to kill somebody the same way they get to in Black Ops 2.

It's this way of thinking, this kind of gun idolatry, that's the problem. And a person who talks this kind of shit, who looks at the act of killing another human being as some kind of expression of macho bad-assery, is the last person you want carrying a gun.

Tweet of the Day

You're right, that is a little confusing. How about I just call you dipshit?

Listening Post

Back in December I picked Zedd's Spectrum as one of the Best Singles of 2012. Well, here comes the second single from Clarity album -- it's the title track, with U.K. singer Louisa Rose Allen -- better known by the stage name Foxes -- on vocals.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Our Long National Nightmare Is Over

A special early column this week for the Daily Banter takes a look at the merciful end of Sarah Palin's reign of terror.

Here's the opening shot:

"I have to admit that in the few months immediately leading up to the presidential election of 2008, Sarah Palin provided me with some of the best material I’ve ever had the opportunity to write about and the result was some of the best political stuff to appear on my site, Deus Ex Malcontent. In the years since the 2008 election and the utter evisceration of her and John McCain’s intellectually insulting gambit at the hands of Barack Obama and the American electorate, I continued to bring up Palin, her family of Beverly Hillbillies and whatever new venture they were undertaking together or separately in the name of grifting more money and mileage from their status as political and pop culture celebrities. I did it because it was entertaining — until the point where the Palin shtick became so pathetic and desperate, her patriotic indignation so contrived, that giving it any attention at all merely fueled an unnecessary yet ultimately destructive fire. After a while, the con got old and the act became stale and so it wasn’t even worth commenting on anymore; doing so did more harm than good. For me and a lot of other people, the line with Palin was crossed a couple of years back, but now we can officially say that it’s been crossed by everyone who matters and Sarah Palin has finally fulfilled her destiny of becoming a pop culture has-been. The political version of Paris Hilton. A former reality TV star nobody cares about anymore."

Read the Rest Here

Friday, January 25, 2013

Quote of the Day

"I will look closely at my own understanding of the constitution, my own study, and will put that in the context of what ... others say."

-- South Carolina Sheriff Al Cannon on his potential refusal to enforce gun control laws he considers unconstitutional, during an interview on CNN this morning

Rightly, Carol Costello smacked Cannon down, reminding him of the obvious: It's not his place to determine whether a law is unconstitutional or not, only to enforce the laws as they're written. This is what we're dealing with -- gun lustful yahoos who'll do anything to thwart even common sense gun safety legislation. If they can, at the same time, take a shot at what they consider overreach by our increasingly tyrannical government, even better.

As for Sheriff Al here, it's worth repeating: It's not your fucking job to apply your "own understanding of the Constitution" in deciding whether or not something is legal. Nobody gives a crap what you think, Al. Your job is to enforce the law. Period. So shut the hell up and do that.

The Bob & Chez Show After Party, 1.25.13

Join the After Party

This week: Modern Seinfeld; Chez’s Hipster Ennui; Alex Jones’ Newest and Most Ridiculous Conspiracy Theory; New Star Wars Director Confirmed; Movie 43; Pundits We’d Like to Punch; Crazy South Carolina Gun Classes; New Mexico’s Rape and Abortion Bill; Hillary Clinton’s Badass Takedown of Ron Johnson; Beyonce and Lip-Syncing; Keep Zuckerberg Away from The Facebook; Chez is in Love with Matt Bomer; Our Man-Crushes; Busey Talking About Hobbits; Dogs Skyping; Wheel of Fortune Fail; and much more.

The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show, 1.24.13

Inauguration Recap; The Historic Lines; The President and First Lady Feel Vindicated; First Lady’s Eye-Roll; Al Roker Scared the Hell Out of Us; Republicans Trying to Rig the Electoral Vote; Republican Gerrymandering; Republican Annihilation; Ted Nugent’s Threat Against the President; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius and the Amazon Link.

Listen and subscribe for free on iTunes

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Perez Greenwald

It's been a long time since I bothered mentioning Glenn Greenwald and that's by design. I've come to believe that the best way to deal with his insufferable sanctimony is to either ignore him completely or treat the irrelevant self-parody that he's become as just that: irrelevant self-parody.

With that in mind, this is the best thing you'll see all week. Adrian Chen and Max Read of Gawker potentially spawning an entirely new satire column -- one that would be just fucking brilliant.

Listening Post

Been a good week for new music.

Here's the first single from Paramore's upcoming album and it proves that losing two founding members hasn't exactly taken the fire out of the band, because this is a pretty damn good song.

Here's Now.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Safety Worst

Today's column for the Daily Banter is all about living cartoon character Joe Arpaio, whose "posse" is now officially standing guard over Maricopa County, Arizona's schools.

Here's the opening shot:

"I have this great image in my head of Joe Arpaio with a patch over one eye and wearing a long black leather coat, walking into a tiny dishwasher repair shop in a strip mall somewhere in unincorporated Phoenix. He approaches the aging owner of the place, seeming to appear from out of the shadows, and says, 'You’re pretty good with your hands, so good in fact that you’ve become part of a bigger universe — you just don’t know it yet. I’m here to talk to you about a very special team we’re putting together.' He then repeats this same basic thing all across town at various used car dealerships, bowling alleys, Home Depots and blood pressure testing machines at Rite Aid pharmacy. And this is how he puts together his own personal Octogenarian Avengers Initiative."

Read the Rest Here

Q & A

It's Thursday, which means it doesn't hurt if I troll you for questions for this week's Daily Banter mailbag. You know the drill -- I ask you nice people for questions about politics, pop culture, the media, drugs, guns, sexual issues, etc. and Bob, Ben and I try to keep a straight face while we answer them.

Submit your questions via the comment section of this post, Facebook, Twitter DM or e-mail -- the address is to the right -- and maybe you'll see yourself on the pages of the Daily Banter tomorrow morning.

Or maybe not.

Tweet of the Day

I've been not only a big fan of Ellis's for decades but a big defender of his as well. Anyone who's read my own book, Dead Star Twilight, knows that I paid homage to Less Than Zero in it in several, often very direct ways and I still think that American Psycho is the most scathing indictment of the new culture of greed spawned in the 80s ever committed to posterity.

But, Jesus, Ellis needs to have his Twitter account taken away from him. It's a nonstop, raging menstrual-flow torrent of egomaniacal id that reduces Ellis to nothing more than a paper-thin character from one of his books. When Ellis isn't tweeting at 4am drunk off his ass and probably coked to the gills, usually about whatever ridiculous thing pops into his buzzing head, he's posting painfully stupid pop culture nuggets, suggestions and "predictions," like the one above, that never -- and I mean never -- pan out to have any bearing in reality. If he's going for meta, he did it better in Lunar Park, which at least had a surprising streak of humanity at its core.

Ellis raves about Silver Linings Playbook for the same reason he cast crap-acting porn star James Deen in his new movie, The Canyons: Because he spends an inordinate amount of time concocting fantasies about being able to fuck a guy he's seen in movies whom he really thinks is hot (in the case of Silver Linings, Bradley Cooper).

Speaking of The Canyons, no one associated with the production of that movie has a right to pretend that he's got any wisdom to impart on anyone or should otherwise be taken the least bit seriously. That fucking train-wreck was already rejected by Sundance and has now been passed on by SXSW, which cited "quality issues" and called the movie "ugly." This of course follows an instantly classic New York Times piece from a couple of weeks ago that publicly tore the movie's production to shreds and made its star, the execrable Lindsay Lohan, out to be the walking nightmare she is.

Ellis should wise up and pull a Garbo or something -- for his own sake.

Hell, at least Jay McInerney has made the decision to spend his literary twilight years tweeting nothing but insufferably pompous boasts about which vintage of Chateau Lafleur he's currently drinking in the Hamptons.

Listening Post

This popped up out of nowhere a couple of days ago and immediately started all kinds of buzz, for obvious reasons. It's new music from Prince, and it proves that even at the age of 54, one of the most towering musical icons of our generation still has a lot of surprises left in him.

Leave it to Prince to just do a straightforward, bad-ass pop-rock song -- one that sounds like it truly was recorded in a garage somewhere -- at this stage of his storied career.

Here's Screwdriver.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

USA Not-Today-but-a-Couple-of-Weeks-Ago

I didn't even realize this but an Alert Reader informed me that an excerpt from my piece on the Steubenville, Ohio rape case from a couple of weeks back made USA Today's website.

USA Today Opinionline: Ohio Rape Case vs. Anonymous/1.7.13

Man, this is exciting news.

Assistant Quote of the Day

"We’re expecting over the next 22 months to be the focus of this administration as they attempt to annihilate the Republican Party... And let me just tell you, I do believe that is their goal, to just shove us into the dustbin of history."

-- John Boehner in a closed speech yesterday to the Ripon Society, a conservative think tank in Washington, DC

If the Republicans weren't one of this country's two major political parties it would be hysterical how utterly lost they are.

No, Boehner, you blubbering idiot, Obama isn't out to "annihilate" your party because he doesn't have to -- you're doing that just fine on your own. Your version of outreach in the face of assured demographic extinction is this kind of horseshit: continuing to fear-monger in the hope of somehow -- what? -- encouraging your dwindling base of bitter, resentful white men to breed more? Yeah, good luck with that.

You're right about one thing: You are being slowly relegated to the dustbin of history. But for that you have no one to blame by yourselves.

By the way, Matt Taibbi has a great post currently up at Rolling Stone that takes a look at what he amusingly calls the "worst week ever" for conservatives. As you might expect it's worth a read.

I Love You, Matt Bomer

Today's column for the Daily Banter is basically an open letter to White Collar's Matt Bomer. Whom I'm in love with.

Here's the opening shot:

"So I caught the season premiere of USA’s 'White Collar' last night. I don’t think I’ve ever watched the show, although I admit to having been inundated with commercials for its new episodes for weeks leading up to it; they punctuated each marathon of Law & Order: SVU that I willingly submitted myself to with enervating regularity and to the point where I now have the song from the ad, Ghostland Observatory’s Sad Sad City, on repeat on my iPod because I can’t feel normal without it ringing in my ears. Anyway, after sitting through it for an hour last night, I have something important to say to White Collar‘s star.

Damn you, Matt Bomer. Damn you."

Read the Rest Here

Quote of the Day

"If some people on this committee want to call this tragedy the worst since 9/11, it misunderstands the nature of 4,000-plus Americans lost in the War in Iraq under false pretenses."

-- Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut moments after Rand Paul told Hillary Clinton, during her Capitol Hill testimony on Benghazi, that were he president he would've fired her for her "culpability" in the "worst tragedy since 9/11"

There are a lot of great quotes coming out of Clinton's testimony today, most coming from Clinton herself being that she's not the type to suffer fools lightly and Lord knows most of those trying to milk this bullshit for political gain are fools of the highest order. But Murphy's is the most pointed for cutting right to the core of what this nonsense is really all about.

Benghazi isn't the worst tragedy since 9/11. It's barely even the worst tragedy since the last eleven deadly attacks on one of our embassies in the Middle East, West Asia and North Africa in the past decade. Not to dismiss the deaths of four people, including a U.S. ambassador, but there's something that needs to be said over and over again as the Republicans continue this ridiculous farce in search of a legitimate scandal: While absolutely tragic, what happened in Benghazi is a relatively by-the-numbers incident. The United States has made the choice to attempt to undertake diplomacy in some very, very dangerous places, and violence against the dedicated men and women stationed in those areas is, as callous as this sounds, the cost of doing business.

Every single question that can be asked about Benghazi should be asked in an effort to determine what happened and to help ensure that it doesn't happen again. But to forcefully suggest that the Benghazi attack and its aftermath were the result of institutional incompetence or that there's some kind of cover-up afoot at the highest levels of government is nothing more than the nihilistic politics of a desperate opposition party.

If a Republican had been in the White House when Benghazi happened -- and this attack and the immediate administration response to it would've been largely the same regardless -- none of this would be going on right now. Fox News would be shouting down anyone who dared to ask questions and calling that person a traitor guilty of giving aid and comfort to the enemy during a time of war.

Guys like Rand Paul didn't deserve to be taken the least bit seriously going into this dumb-ass dog and pony show on the Hill today, and they're only making themselves look more ridiculous as the day goes by.

Adding: A bonus Quote of the Day from Joan Walsh over at Salon:

"The stature gap between Clinton and those possible 2016 rivals – OK, nobody’s announced they’re running, but I couldn’t help thinking about it – was enormous. When Rand Paul huffed 'had I been President at the time and I found that you did not read the cables (from Benghazi) I would have relieved you of your duties,' it wasn’t intimidating but funny. President Rand Paul? Try to say that without laughing."

Listening Post

It's rare that I post music clips shot from somebody's phone, but this one's pretty good quality and, besides, it's just too damn cool not to share.

This is the Sound City Players -- essentially Dave Grohl's new supergroup that includes him, Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear and pretty much the rest of the Foo Fighters, members of Rage Against the Machine, Lee Ving of Fear, Stevie Nicks, Krist Novoselic, John Fogerty and a whole hell of a lot more -- with Rick Springfield up front doing a live version of Springfield's Jesse's Girl at Sundance a couple of nights ago.

It rules in so many ways.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

All That's Left

Today's column at the Daily Banter deals with the petulant far-left and the fact that continues to give it a pretty big voice.

Here's the opening shot:

"A couple of days ago it dawned on me how many columns and assorted quickie pieces of mine have been pegged off of articles. For years I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Salon: On the one hand it’s been a home to people like Steve Kornacki, Joan Walsh, Alex Pareene and Mary Elizabeth Williams, all of whom I like quite a bit. (I don’t always agree with Mary Beth but she’s a personal friend and is sincerely one of the best people I know.) On the other, it slavishly played host to the insufferable Glenn Greenwald and inexplicably gave a forum to hack writers like Heather Havrilesky and Stephanie Zacharek while continuing to roll out the red carpet for the serially comical David Sirota. I suppose I shouldn’t be too harsh on the site, since there’s a lot of great material regularly published there and when it comes to progressive politics it runs the gamut between the center-left and far-left viewpoint, but maybe the fact that it’s willing to give any kind of outsize voice to the petulance of the far-left proves how intolerable I think the far-left is.

Case in point, not one but two pieces currently running over at Salon that act as perfect examples of why so many who consider themselves liberal True Believers don’t deserve to be taken the least bit seriously."

Read the Rest Here

Listening Post

It's always a good day when there's new Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Here's the brand new first single from their upcoming album.

This is Let the Day Begin.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Listening Post

This is a pretty terrific song and it's probably destined to be Coldplay-style big, or at the very least used in all kinds of movie trailers and TV drama final montages.

It's Kodaline's All I Want.

I'm taking the day off because my girlfriend has the day off. Have a good MLK day, folks. And yes, Obama's inaugural speech was moving, powerful stuff. I have a feeling his second term is going to be marked by a lot more righteous fight than his first.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Right Hook

Today's bonus Friday column for the Daily Banter examines Dennis Kucinich's new role as a Fox News contributor -- and Fox News's ongoing unwillingness to face somebody who actually has a chance of kicking its hosts' asses.

Here's an excerpt:

"So last night Dennis Kucinich made his debut as a Fox News contributor. The former Ohio congressman, perennial presidential candidate and liberal stalwart officially joined Fox earlier this week, but it was on yesterday’s O’Reilly Factor that he had his official coming out party. As you can imagine, Kucinich received a very cordial welcome from O’Reilly, who couldn’t resist taking the opportunity right off the bat to make the claim that Kucinich’s very presence on-air disproved Fox News’s critics, who insist that the network is nothing but a propaganda machine for the right. 'Wow, what a conversion!' O’Reilly said to Kucinich. 'Congressman, how did that happen? You know all the people on Fox News are far-right crazy people!'

Uh-huh. Because casting an ineffectual laughingstock like Kucinich as one of its maybe three token liberals, all of whom are ineffectual laughingstocks of one stripe or another, really proves that Fox News is committed to presenting a progressive viewpoint that’s as bold, slickly packaged and indomitable as the traditional conservative viewpoint that’s made it famous."

Read the Rest Here

Tweets of the Day

In case you haven't seen it yet, yesterday Donald Trump offered a hearty congratulations via Twitter to Deadspin for breaking the Manti T'eo story. Deadspin responded with one for the ages.

Well, if you thought that Donald Trump would simply do himself a favor, take his licks and retreat back to whatever garishly decorated office penthouse he spends his days sitting around in doing nothing, you seriously don't know Donald Trump.

Behold, his change of heart toward Deadspin, which pretty much defines the term "butt-hurt."

The Bob & Chez Show After Party, 1.18.13

Join the After Party

This week: Sandy Hook Truthers; Wackaloons Harass Sandy Hook Hero; Ridiculous InfoWars Conspiracy Theorists; False Flags; Ghost Douches; Republican Birthers; Business Profits Way Up on Obama’s Watch; Arnold Schwarzenegger on Gun Control; Chez on Django Unchained; Depiction Does Not Mean Endorsement; Golden Globes in Review; Jennifer Lawrence rules; Lena Dunham and Mumblecore suck; More on Lance Armstrong’s Confession; Celebrities and PEDs; Hunter S. Thompson’s Daily Routine; and much more.

The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show, 1.17.13

Lance Armstrong’s Confession; The Second Amendment is Obsolete; Second Amendment Written to Protect Slavery; President Obama’s Gun Control Proposals; Fighting the NRA Until We Win; Glenn Beck’s Grifter Theme Park; The EPA Deliberately Fumbled a Fracking Emergency; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius and the Amazon Link.

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Listening Post

I'm such a sucker for great harmonies and Little Green Cars, from Ireland, are all about them. The result is one of those singles I just can't get enough of.

This is The John Wayne.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bad Review

Today's column for the Daily Banter takes a look at the dangers of corporate media ownership, as made glaringly obvious by the way CBS just fucked CNET.

Here's the opening shot:

"An unfortunate truth about most examples of the dangers of corporate media ownership is that they’re invisible. This is because it’s often not about what a corporate media owner does do but what it doesn’t, what stories don’t get reported and what actions aren’t taken. There’s a design to this and it’s basically so that there’s always plausible deniability. How can you prove something that never actually happened? It’s rare that a massive multinational, media-oriented or otherwise, puts visible pressure on one of the smaller media companies it owns and therefore makes it obvious to everyone watching just how insidious corporate ownership can be when it comes to what the general public sees and hears. In other words, it’s rare that this kind of thing doesn’t operate in the shadows and a big media owner comes right out and admits that it’s screwing with the flow of information.

Maybe that’s what makes CBS’s colossal overreach with CNET so damn startling and fascinating."

Read the Rest Here

Tweets of the Day

Listening Post

It's not summer yet -- far freaking from it -- but damn if we don't have our first entry for Official Summer Song of 2013. The 1975 come to us from Manchester and this is quickly becoming one of those songs that's never far from my car stereo.

Here's Sex.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Love Hurts

I'm not sure it was last week, but recently on the podcast I mentioned a movie that I was looking forward to because its trailer alone basically devastated me. Well, that film, a nice-sized success at Sundance, now has a March 1st release date.

It's called The End of Love and it was written and directed by and stars Mark Webber of one of my favorite movies pretty much ever, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. In the movie, Webber plays himself as a struggling actor and recent widower and he casts his real-life little boy as the son he's trying desperately to be a single father to. His real Hollywood friends also make appearances as themselves.

The emotion is raw, honest and moving in a way that makes me both want desperately to see the film and terrified of its effect on me. This is one I'm probably going to wind up seeing alone because, to be honest, I just don't think I want anyone witnessing my reaction to a lot of it.

Here's the new trailer for The End of Love.

Net Worth

Today's column for the Daily Banter deals with the lost promise of the internet.

Here's the opening shot:

"Last week on the podcast I regularly do with Bob Cesca, I mentioned, only half-jokingly, that there are times I wish the internet would just go away. Obviously, there’s no denying that the internet as a global public forum, marketplace for the exchange of ideas, and tool for researching and networking is truly one of the great wonders of the world, a creation so culturally significant that it’s almost impossible to remember what our lives were like before it came along. Also, I won’t deny the irony of the fact that I made my little negative comment about the internet — and am making this one — on a platform that wouldn’t exist were it not for the hyper-connectivity provided by the internet itself. Still, while digital media have allowed us access to an unparalleled amount of information which should, by any measure, make us the smartest our society has ever been, they’ve also allowed idiots access to an unparalleled amount of misinformation and elevated it to the point where the moron hive-mind can become just as powerful as the intellectual one. I realize I’m not breaking a lot of new ground by saying this, but rather than making us smarter as a culture, I’m pretty sure the free and instantaneous exchange of ideas provided by the internet is actually making us dumber because so often those ideas we’re freely, instantaneously exchanging are fucking nonsense.

Case in point: A YouTube clip called 'The Sandy Hook Shooting — Fully Exposed,' which advances the theory that the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting last month was at least partially a hoax, has garnered almost nine-million views in just one week."

Read the Rest Here

Listening Post

This is really cool. While on the road in the fall of last year, the Offspring brought Dead Sara along with them as openers and the result was honestly one hell of a show. One of the things the two bands apparently did night after night was a pared-down version of the Offspring's Far Away. The awesome Emily Armstrong would basically take the stage and sing the song as a duet with Dexter Holland.

This is a clip of Far Away being performed at the Hollywood Palladium show in October, which I was lucky enough to be in the audience for.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Weapons Cash

If you haven't heard, the Atlantic is taking a giant amount of crap for its running of an "advertorial" -- a paid ad disguised as legitimate comment, the kind of thing that can often be the financial bread and butter of websites these days -- promoting the Church of Scientology. The ad was put up, then quickly taken down once the editorial people at the Atlantic realized what it was. (Chances are the sales department never made it clear that it had sold space to Scientology.)

Well, to its credit, as usual, the Onion has the best response to this controversy -- its own advertorial.

The Girl You Don't Want

Today's column for the Daily Banter takes a second look at Lena Dunham -- and pretty much finds the same thing I did the first time around.

Here's the opening shot:

"When I first started my site, Deus Ex Malcontent, back in the spring of 2006, the original personal bio on its front page had a line in it that slammed Sarah Jessica Parker. I can’t remember the exact words right now but I basically said something about how I didn’t like Hollywood trying to convince me that she was attractive. It was, I admit, a really obnoxious thing to say right out of the gate but being that the blog was in its infancy and I wasn’t sure what I wanted it to be or what I’d eventually be writing about a good portion of the time it made sense to just come out swinging. Even at the time, though, my point was never that I didn’t like Sarah Jessica Parker — I simply didn’t like what the arbiters of pop culture were constantly telling me I should like about her. In other words, my issue wasn’t with SJP the Person, it was with SJP the Product.

I try to keep that thought process in mind these days every time I read one screed or another defending Lena Dunham."

Read the Rest Here

Listening Post

Jason Newsted was always my favorite member of Metallica -- not simply because he was a damn good metal bass player but because he came into the band under impossible circumstances and spent the duration of his time there basically at the mercy of egomaniacal idiots like Hetfield and Ulrich. He never got a fair shake and so when he left in 2001 I was thrilled for him, even though it was obvious that it'd probably be a tough road ahead.

He spent years playing with Voivod, but now, finally, he's out on his own -- with a new band, a new EP, a shot at singing and songwriting and a sound that puts everything Metallica's done in the past two decades to shame.

Here's Newsted -- Soldierhead.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Jodie's Choice

Today's column for the Daily Banter takes a look at Jodie Foster's wonderfully personal speech at last night's Golden Globes -- and the reaction to it.

Here's an excerpt:

"This morning, quite a few pieces have been published lauding her for speaking somewhat openly about her sexuality but wondering aloud why it took her so long to get to the point where she felt willing to talk about it, given that so many others opened the closet door before her. I guess the implication is that it isn’t as fearless a statement to make as it would’ve been, say, a decade or more ago. The people making this argument seem to be saying that it was Jodie Foster’s responsibility as a gay woman to be up-front about who she was and is as an example to others — that she owes the gay community, including the many who are struggling with their identities and those who are fighting injustice out in the open, a debt and should be willing to 'take a side.'

The thing is, that’s bullshit."

Read the Rest Here

Listening Post

Atoms for Peace is an alt supergroup consisting of Thom Yorke, Flea and Nigel Godrich among others -- and their music is about as lush and hypnotic as you'd expect.

Here's Judge Jury and Executioner.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Listening Post

The 1996 debut album from Fun Lovin' Criminals, Come Find Yourself, is one of those records I seem to go back to every few years not only because it's really terrific but because it's such an entertaining time capsule. From the early Tarantino references in Scooby Snacks to the unabashed, Brooklyn street mook-centric worship of John Gotti in this track, it's always a smooth blast from the New York City hip-hop past.

Here's The King of New York.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show, 1.10.13

Alex Jones on CNN; Another School Shooting; Armed Guards Clearly Don’t Work; Biden’s Task Force Recommendations; Chris Christie More Popular Than Democrats; Congress Less Popular than Nickelback; Jack Lew Nominated for Treasury; Hagel Nominated for Defense; The Hottest Year Ever; The Tea Party is Dying; Karl Pilkington Was Right; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius and the Amazon Link.

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Fighting Words

Today's column for the Daily Banter is actually pegged off of a column currently running over at HuffPo. It's a piece that had me nodding my head over and over again.

Here's the opening shot:

"I’ll make this quick because I’m still fighting the flu and it’s winning.

My favorite quote this week comes from New York City-based musician Keo Nozari, writing for the Huffington Post. It has to do with a recent Twitter war between hip-hop rising star Azealia Banks and Perez Hilton — one Hilton decided to involve himself in for entirely self-serving reasons — in which Banks called Hilton a 'messy faggot.' This, of course, resulted in Hilton hilariously clutching his pearls and GLAAD stepping into the fray to condemn Banks’s comment, insisting that it 'hurts kids.'

Here’s Nozari:

'We can’t be outraged when a 34-year-old gay man who built his career on bullying is in turn ‘bullied’ by a 21-year-old bisexual woman employing his same methods.'


Read the Rest Here

Point Blank

This is perfect.

Q & A

It's Thursday, which means that it's time for me to hit you up for questions for this week's Daily Banter mailbag. You know the drill -- I ask you nice people for questions about politics, pop culture, the media, drugs, guns, consent laws, etc. and Bob, Ben and I try to keep a straight face while we answer them.

Submit your questions via the comment section of this post, Facebook, Twitter DM or e-mail -- the address is to the right -- and maybe you'll see yourself on the pages of the Daily Banter tomorrow morning.

Go ahead, kids. Do your worst.

Gold Crush

I haven't seen Beasts of the Southern Wild, though I hear it's excellent, nor have I seen Amour, though I hear it's excellent as well and I admire Michael Haneke as a director. What I will say following the Oscar nominations announcement made just a little while ago, though, is that while I'm not against making sure that smaller movies get a shot at the gold -- you've gotta be fucking kidding me, right?

This year's Best Director category manages to pull off a pretty impressive feat, glaringly snubbing not one, not two, but three extraordinarily talented directors who all saw their films nominated for Best Picture. It's heresy that Kathryn Bigelow didn't get a nod, likewise for Quentin Tarantino and, from what I hear, Ben Affleck.

I got yelled at a little last year because I criticized the Academy's fawning over The Artist, a movie that I considered to be more a foreign film than anything else, but I admit now that I was kind of an ass about that. Amour, however, really is a foreign film -- entirely in French and directed by an Austrian, which, while certainly not precluding it from putting Haneke in the running for Best Director, should at least be taken into consideration when people like Bigelow and Tarantino are other possible contenders.

Beasts of the Southern Wild, meanwhile, I'm sure is every bit as good as they say. It's still directed by a 30-year-old and considering the subject matter, its elevation over so many others by the Academy -- and here's where the knives will come out -- smacks of the usual white liberal condescension Hollywood is too lacking in self-awareness to actually pride itself on. I'm absolutely all about seeing the little film that could do, but when it's always a sure thing that Harvey Weinstein's promotional machine and backroom politicking will win the day for at least one film -- this year it's Silver Linings Playbook -- and it's all but a guarantee that Spielberg will pick up a nom for a beloved historical epic what you're left with is a lot of deserving people having to fight it out.

It's true that not everyone will get a seat, but Jesus -- leaving Bigelow and Tarantino without one makes me wonder if I should start taking the Oscars about as seriously as I take the Grammys.

(Incidentally, I couldn't care less about Les Miz, but if you count the snubbing of Tom Hooper, then it's four talented directors who got screwed.)

Listening Post

The latest two-song release from My Chemical Romance's previously unreleased fourth album hit iTunes this week and I'm once again left wondering why they didn't just go with this Brendan O'Brien-produced record in the first place since it's proven itself to be much better overall than Danger Days.

Granted, it's brilliant that they have an entire separate album to push in between recording sessions this way, but still.

Anyway, above is a track that sounds like what was promised by Gerard Way during interviews leading up to the scrapped record -- namely that it was going to sound like the Stooges.

Below, meanwhile, is a song from last month's release that's so good it really makes you wonder what Gerard was thinking by not immediately releasing it. Especially considering the fact that it was written for his young daughter (hence, my immediate love of it).

It's Make Room!!!! and The Light Behind Your Eyes.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Thirty Shades of Grey

Today's column for the Daily Banter takes a look at the debate over torture and Zero Dark Thirty, which opens in wide release in two days.

Here's the opening shot:

"Just before the limited release of 'Zero Dark Thirty,' I wrote a column for this site that took to task those who hadn't seen the film yet but were already howling about its portrayal of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques -- torture by any other name -- and their effect on the manhunt for Osama bin Laden. The criticism ranged from those who believed that by taking no moral stance on torture and instead simply presenting it as a fact of the times, director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal were in fact issuing tacit approval of torture, to those who couldn't fathom how any critic could detach him or herself from the content of the film and laud it despite knowing that it seems to falsely link torture to the capture of Bin Laden. My point at the time was simple: shut up until you actually see the movie and know what the hell you're talking about. I hadn't seen 'Zero Dark Thirty' and therefore knew I couldn't comment on it with any kind of intellectual honesty so I was willing to give the filmmakers the benefit of the doubt until such time as I had the chance to take in what I assumed would be a complex and potentially unsettling moviegoing experience for myself.

Well, yesterday I saw 'Zero Dark Thirty.'"

Read the Rest Here

The Congressional Medal of Dishonor

From the polling firm PPP -- and no, not from the Onion -- comes the funniest thing you'll read all day.

"Facing low approval ratings after a historically unproductive 112th
session and a series of last-minute showdowns over fiscal matters, Congress is now less popular than root canals, NFL replacement referees, head lice, the rock band Nickelback, colonoscopies, carnies, traffic jams, cockroaches, Donald Trump, France, Genghis Khan, used-car salesmen and Brussel sprouts.

When asked if they have a higher opinion of either Congress or a series of unpleasant or disliked things, voters said they had a higher opinion of root canals (32 for Congress and 56 for the dental procedure), NFL replacement refs (29-56), head lice (19-67), the rock band Nickelback (32-39), colonoscopies (31-58), Washington DC political pundits (34-37), carnies (31-39), traffic jams (34-56), cockroaches (43-45), Donald Trump (42-44), France (37-46), Genghis Khan (37-41), used-car salesmen (32-57), and Brussels sprouts (23-69) than Congress.

Congress did manage to beat out telemarketers (45-35), John Edwards (45-29), the Kardashians (49-36), lobbyists (48-30), North Korea (61-26), the ebola virus (53-25), Lindsay Lohan (45-41), Fidel Castro (54-32), playground bullies (43-38), meth labs (60-21), communism (57-23), and gonorrhea (53-28)."

I do spot at least one potential problem with this poll: Aren't Lindsay Lohan and gonorrhea technically the same thing?