Friday, March 29, 2013

The Bob & Chez Show After Party, 3.29.13

Join the After Party

This week: The Conspiracy Theory Show; Jon Hamm’s John Ham; Genetic Karma; Good Friday and Maundy Thursday; The Shroud of Turin Guy Has a Super-Long Monkey Arm; Oliver Willis versus Glenn Greenwald; The ACLU Supports Drones; The New Alex Jones Conspiracy Theory; Obama is the Leader of Al-Qaida; Al Sharpton Screws Up the Deficit & Debt; Beasts of the Southern Wild; High School Teacher Punished for Saying Vagina; Walmart’s Dumbest Idea So Far; MMA Fighter With an Unfortunate Last Name; and much more.

Quote of the Day

"I think if I’ve learned anything over the past year, it’s that facts matter. And we shouldn’t be afraid to have tough and honest conversations, and maybe even argue a little bit when there’s a lot at stake. And yes, Gov. Sununu, I am talking to you."

-- Soledad O'Brien, signing off her morning show at CNN

So, there she goes: pretty much the last, best hope CNN had at doing real journalism -- certainly in the morning.

O'Brien's Starting Point, as you probably already know, will be replaced by a new Jeff Zucker-engineered Today show-like morning fluff-fest hosted by Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan, which means that at all times the anchor team of this new show will look like it's about to be run down by a car on a quiet forest road late at night. Bolduan, in particular, is an almost comically perfect choice for a morning show host: plainly, unthreateningly attractive, with an on-cam delivery that acts as a kind of televisual morphine -- someone guaranteed never to say anything the least bit interesting who, as it turns out, happens to be married to Michael Gershenson, a real estate investment principal within the Carlyle Group, making her both Beltway and Wall Street royalty.

As the now-famous promo goes -- this is CNN.

The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show, 3.28.13

Same-Sex Marriage, DOMA and the Supreme Court; The Most Homophobic Quotes of the Week; ‘Shame on Us’ for Forgetting Sandy Hook; New Information About Adam Lanza’s Arsenal; Rand Paul’s Next Filibuster; Star Trek TNG vs Star Trek TOS; Greenwald is Anti-Gun Control; Josh Marshall is Apparently a Drone Apologist; "Zero Dark Thirty" Isn’t Pro-Torture; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius and the Amazon Link.

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Listening Post

At the end of 2012 I chose Glasgow outfit Chvrches -- yes, it's stylized that way -- and their song Lies as one of the best singles of the year.

They really are a terrific synth-pop band and here's their new single, Recover.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Weeping Angels

Today's Daily Banter column looks at the collective freak-out the Christian right is having over gay marriage and how evangelicals and the like now want us to believe that they're the persecuted ones.

Here's the opening shot:

"It’s always entertaining to watch the right, particularly the Christian right, whine about victimization. As Steve Benen over at the Maddowblog says today, no one’s raised self-pity to a melodramatic art form the way America’s conservative Christians have, regardless of their particular political or denominational bent. To hear Pat Robertson, or William Donohue of the Catholic League, or Bill O’Reilly, or many, many others tell it, you’d think Christians were still being thrown to lions, maybe along the Capitol Mall, and a date with the cross awaited anybody who dared to slap a Jesus fish on the back of his car. If the Sodom-and-Gomorrah-esque anti-God dystopia Christians complain exists in American society really did exist, Tim Tebow would’ve been burned alive years ago rather than be allowed to become a guy who gets paid an obscene amount of money to be a shitty quarterback."

Read the Rest Here

Tweet of the Day

Listening Post

This track's everywhere right now thanks to its featured position in The Host, a movie that will test whether very smart writer/director Andrew Niccol can make something good out of source material that comes from someone as hacky and talentless as Stephenie Meyer.

Either way, it's a pretty damn good song.

Here's Imagine Dragons -- Radioactive.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Like Father, Like Son

You know, I'm sure that somewhere in the back of my mind I've always wondered if there was anything that could make me despise the breathtakingly pompous and relentlessly humorless Sean Penn any more than I already do.

Well, I give you the pissy, entitled little twat his rancid semen predictably grew into.

TMZ: Sean Penn's Son To Photographer: "You're a Fucking Faggot! Fuck You, Nigger!"/3.26.13

Son of Man-on-Man

Screw the Quvenzhané Wallis controversy from a couple of months back -- it's stuff like this that makes The Onion a national treasure and should buy it a bottomless reservoir of good will.

The Onion: "I Feel Very Strongly About Gay Marriage Because I Have a Gay Son" by God/3.26.13

It makes a positive statement about same-sex marriage and promises to infuriate the Christian Right even more than a positive statement about same-sex marriage. Win-win.

Quote of the Day

"In Texas, it is fairly clear about where this state stands on that issue. As recently as a constitutional amendment that passed, I believe, with 76% of the vote. The people of the state of Texas, myself included, believe marriage is between one man and one woman."

-- Rick Perry on same-sex marriage

Uh-huh. Let's see what else the intellectual titans of Texas believe.

51% believe that that evolution is a myth, with 38% saying that man was created in his present form by God 10,000 years ago.

58% of likely voters in Texas supported a bill -- now law -- that requires a woman to undergo a sonogram before being granted access to an abortion.

Republicans control every single statewide elected office in Texas, with a 19-12 majority in the state senate, 95-55 majority in the state house along with both of the U.S. Senate seats and 36 of the U.S. House seats.

With that information as a guide to give you an idea how dominant conservative politics are in Texas:

67% of Texas Republicans want to see Barack Obama impeached.

48% of Texas Republicans would like to see the state to secede from the union.

Texans own approximately 51 million guns. More than two for every man, woman and child in the state.

What's say we not defer to the people of Texas on any question more significant than, "Where's the best place to buy a set of Truck Nutz?" eh?

Forever Hold Your Peace

Because it was late last night when I posted it and frankly I was too tired to link to it here, let's go ahead and do it now. Last night/today's column for the Daily Banter is all about gay marriage.

Here's the opening shot:

"I’ll make this quick and to the point.

I don’t know what decisions the Supreme Court will return regarding California’s Prop 8 and the national Defense of Marriage Act, but in the end it will hardly matter. Oh, sure, it will certainly matter in the short term because it will immediately affect the lives of millions of gay Americans, men and women looking for nothing more from our nation’s legal system than the same rights it affords their straight counterparts: the right to marry the ones they love. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Prop 8 and DOMA, legalized gay marriage across the United States — afforded the full faith and credit of the United States — may wind up being deferred to another date, very likely in the not-so-distant future. But make no mistake: gay marriage, as a legally accepted practice from coast to coast, is going to happen. It’s an inevitability, no matter how desperately those who want to cling to the past try to stop it."

Read the Rest Here

Listening Post

I'm probably one of the few people in the world willing to admit that he's always been a fan of Orgy. Yeah, they hit big during the unfortunate nu-metal outbreak of the late 20th century, but their sound felt both traditional and appropriately futuristic and the songs they churned out were just all kinds of listenable. If they hadn't been lumped in with so many other bands of the era they might've actually had a legacy worth tipping your hat to.

I have no idea whether they'll ever make a full record again, but this single, released a couple of months back, is their first in many moons.

Here's Grime of the Century.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Listening Post

Every once in a while I stumble across a band that I really want see become big, or if not big at least successful enough that I don't have to worry about them going back to working at McDonald's instead of making music. Such a band is the Epilogues.

Somewhere between Manchester Orchestra and Silversun Pickups, they're probably my favorite new band out there right now. Their most recent album, Cinematics, is brilliant from start to finish and you should download the whole thing immediately. Why? Again, because I want to make sure they're able to record another one and then another one after that because they throw so much fire and passion at this effort that I have to see what they do next.

Seriously, get this record.

Here's Hunting Season.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Zero Dark 30 Rock

Today's Daily Banter column expands on yesterday's admittedly pissed-off piece taking aim at NBC's decision to go with an interview with Jerry Sandusky that it didn't even shoot.

Here's the opening shot:

"It probably seems like I write quite a bit about NBC and its problems. In fact, I do, and there’s a reason for this. I spent a good portion of my career in television news working for NBC, at both the national and local level, and that time with the network always represented one of the proudest accomplishments of my life in the business. It’s easy to pick on, say, Fox News over and over again; with the exception of my good friend and former coworker Shep Smith, the place is generally a wasteland of lunacy and nonsense. But I expect more from NBC and always have. I know what the network is capable of, what its reputation has meant, and what those who worked under its banner years ago expected of themselves and the product they created. NBC, as far as I’m concerned — and I know there are plenty of others who feel the same way and would tell you the same thing — used to be the top of the heap in broadcasting and to work there was an unqualified honor. That was then, anyway. Now? Now I have no idea what the hell is going on at the network. It’s nothing short of shameful to see how far NBC has fallen — how far it’s been allowed to fall by those whose job it is to steward its good name."

Read the Rest Here

Listening Post

A month or so ago I heard rumors through a friend of mine close to the action that My Chemical Romance was basically about to fold. I kind of hoped it wasn't true, but given that Gerard Way's ego was in control of the band and had been for some time, it didn't seem unfeasible. Well, over the weekend MCR announced that they were calling it a day, which is a real shame.

Anybody who's followed this site for the past several years knows that this band has been one of my favorites and The Black Parade in particular is an album I listen to from start-to-finish over and over again to this day. Sucks that they're splitting, but knowing Gerard and his need for attention -- a need I think he's going to be shocked to find won't be satisfied any other way than with My Chemical Romance -- there's always the possibility this break-up will be short-lived.

Anyway, once more for the memories -- here's Dead.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bend Over

A special Sunday column for the Daily Banter takes aim at NBC's inexcusable decision to air an interview with Jerry Sandusky on tomorrow morning's Today show. An interview like this would normally be questionable, but the details of this particular interview make it completely outrageous for a responsible news organization to get anywhere near.

Here's the opening shot:

"I was going to save this for tomorrow’s column and actually may still have something to say about it after the segment in question airs in the morning. But in the desperate hope that somebody at NBC News might listen and put the brakes on what could very well be the biggest betrayal of its journalistic integrity since its repugnant and indefensible decision to air the Virginia Tech Killer’s posthumous manifesto, I figure it’s worth at least getting this into the ether.

You can’t do this, NBC. You just can’t do this."

Read the Rest Here

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saturday Morning Cartoons

I realize that it isn't morning pretty much anywhere in the states at this point, but, hey, I needed some extra sleep for a change.

From 1962, here's Shishkabugs.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Tonight Shove-Off

Today's Daily Banter column is all about the news that The Tonight Show is once again about to undergo some major changes.

Here's the opening shot:

"It looks like Jimmy Fallon will be the next challenger to step up and try to knock Jay Leno off his throne on The Tonight Show. If you believe Bill Carter over at The New York Times, and there’s no reason not to given Carter’s unparalleled expertise on the subject, NBC is planning to once again attempt to rid itself of the Fidel Castro of late-night TV, this time in 2014. Supposedly, the deal’s already been scribbled out in pencil and a very quiet transition is now underway behind the scenes at both 30 Rock and Burbank that would send Leno on his way once and for all and not only christen Fallon as the new host of Tonight but move the entire show back to New York City, where it was uprooted from in 1972 at the request of a more West Coast-friendly Johnny Carson.

The New York relocation is hugely important because it’s something NBC isn’t doing just to change things up."

Read the Rest Here

Listening Post

Last week I raved about the first single from the new Justin Timberlake album (as if he needs me to do this to increase album sales). Well, this week the full album was released and, I gotta say, it's just damn brilliant. The second single, Mirrors, has already been made into a video that I'm sure I'll post at some point, but the best track on the record by far is this one: an eight-minute neo-soul journey that makes your skin tingle and your mind feel like it's wrapped in a warm blanket, a journey that eventually descends into a bossa-nova coda of pure Timbaland-engineered joy.

Here's Strawberry Bubblegum.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Listening Post

Still working insane hours -- while trying to get over the cold Inara gave me -- putting together a project that's up against deadline, so it's still going to be pretty quiet around here today and through tomorrow.

Here's the new Thirty Seconds To Mars single -- Up in the Air.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Listening Post

With Inara now back in Dallas, unfortunately, I'm going to have to dive head-first into all the work that I put off last week. In other words, things are going to be pretty spare around here the next few days because I'm up against a deadline on a producing project I need to get done.

But hey, there's a new Suede studio album for the first time in more than ten years -- and that's always a good thing.

Here's It Starts and Ends With You.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Drama Kings

Today's Daily Banter column tries to dissect what went wrong with CNN's Steubenville coverage over the weekend.

Here's the opening shot:

"Let’s get right into it. Yes, CNN’s coverage of the verdict in the Steubenville rape trial, whether entirely intentional or not, came off as more than a little biased in favor of the teenagers who were on trial for the crime rather than either extending the same courtesy to the victim or, even better, remaining objective and dispassionate. Now, if you can’t see why this is, why CNN did what it did, you’ve apparently forgotten that this is the same network that went completely ape-shit over a stranded cruise ship last month, putting every available reporter on it, at the exclusion of a lot of other important news, and blowing up what was essentially a nonsense story that affected exactly nobody in the audience into the second coming of the Hindenburg. How CNN didn’t print up t-shirts with a picture of a cruise liner and the words '2/15 – Never Forget' on them is startling when you consider the amount of resources and airtime the network dedicated to the Carnival Triumph 'disaster.'"

Read the Rest Here

Listening Post

I've been overplaying the hell out of this song on my iPod lately and I'm nowhere near getting tired of it.

This is MS MR -- Bones.

In transit today, folks, as I take Inara to Dallas. There may be a quick Daily Banter piece later but that's probably going to be it. Sorry.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Quote of the Day

"This began with Ed coming to me ... And I will tell you that Ed has an incredible following in the network ... Ed and I were talking about his contract, and Ed is a very sharp guy. He said he wanted to be here long term ... He wanted to spend more time in Minnesota. I said, ‘Well, Ed, I am extending the weekend. I need someone for 5 to 7. It’s critical. It’s going to be as important as 8 to 10 (weeknights).’ And he came back to me and said, ‘I want to do that long term.’"

-- MSNBC President Phil Griffin on the network's decision to move Ed Schultz from prime time to weekends

I like to think that after 21 years in the TV news business -- in the trenches, writing about it, or consulting on it -- I'm anything but naïve and I'm certainly well beyond the point of being able to be shocked. But then I read something like this and I'm reminded that it's still staggering how easily and shamelessly the people who are trusted to tell you the truth about what's going on in the world can not only lie to your face but lie to your face and expect you to believe it. When it comes to official office PR, everything you hear that comes out of the mouth of a TV executive is exactly that: PR. This is especially true at NBC, where the network is still suffering the consequences of its incompetent, damn-near sociopathic handling of the firing of both Conan O'Brien and, of course, Ann Curry.

Still, maybe the quote above isn't a flat-out lie. It's probably more like an example of almost admirably Clintonian verbal sleight-of-hand, where every word has been carefully chosen so that technically what Griffin is saying isn't a lie -- it's just not at all the truth.

It probably went more like this, with the reality of the situation in parentheses:

"This began with Ed coming to me. ('He stopped by my office to shoot the shit about something completely inconsequential and not at all related to his place at the network or his time slot.')... And I will tell you that Ed has an incredible following in the network. ('I have to say this. It's the nice thing to do. The truth is that a lot of the staff like him, but no one enough to actually risk his or her own job going to the mat for him.') ... Ed and I were talking about his contract ('This was at a different time than when he came to me to shoot the shit.') and Ed is a very sharp guy. ('Again, I have to say this.') He said he wanted to be here long term. ('He let me know he was going to be staying late tonight.') ... He wanted to spend more time in Minnesota. ('He put in for a week-long vacation in April, as he always does.') I said, ‘Well, Ed, I am extending the weekend. ('Fast-forward to when I actually approached him about pushing him out of prime time.') I need someone for 5 to 7. It’s critical. It’s going to be as important as 8 to 10.’ ('Okay, so not really, but by this point in corporate-speak this falls under forgivable-things-you-say-to-convince-someone-that-he-or-she-isn't-really-being-demoted-when-he-or-she-most-certainly-is. Call it a pride-booster, even if it's crap.') And he came back to me and said, ‘I want to do that long term.’ (Ed: 'Because the choice is obviously that or I get fired, and since I'm going to get paid the same amount either way... Oh, and I still get my free town cars, right?')"

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saturday Morning Cartoons

It's been so long since I've done one of these but I'm going to do my best to start bringing them back.

From 1951, it's Bugs Bunny in Hare We Go.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Bob & Chez Show After Party, 3.15.13

Join the After Party

This week: Talking to Kids Like Normal People; Louis CK Destroys a Heckler; House of Cards on Netflix; Ed Schultz Moving to Weekends on MSNBC; The New Pope and His Brutal LGBT Positions; Questioning the Catholic Church; Liam Neeson’s ‘The Grey’; Chez’s Daughter Records a New Liner for the Show; More Drone Comments from Huff Post; Ted Nugent is a Sociopathic Asshole; The North Korean Propaganda Video; Billy Joel Performs ‘New York State of Mind’ with a fan; and much more.

Extreme Makeover

Today's Daily Banter column takes a look at the decision that completes and sets in stone MSNBC's transition from Bush-era center-left opposition to Obama-era full-throated intellectual liberalism.

Here's the opening shot:

"Call it one hell of a shot across the cable news bow. In the span of just 24-hours MSNBC has made it perfectly clear exactly what kind of network it wants to be. The outraged populist with the combative tone, force-of-nature personality and tendency to let his constantly running mouth get him into trouble is gone. In his place will now be a cerebral, wonkish, self-described facts-and-figures nerd who couldn’t fit the traditional conservative cliché of an elitist left-wing weenie more if he wore a bow tie and had pure New England ivy growing out of his ass. Both are liberals, but the kind of liberals they are — at least in presentation and tenor — are light years apart. And MSNBC has chosen not only which person it wants but what message it wants to send in its highest-profile spot, cementing a line-up that officially marks the self-coronation of the network as an unapologetically intellectual powerhouse of liberal politics, for better or for worse."

Read the Rest Here

Response Time

This week's Daily Banter mailbag is now up, featuring an image you'll probably spend all day trying to get out of your head.

The questions:

1. There’s been a lot written at The Daily Banter this week about drones and a lot of calling out, mostly aimed at Glenn Greenwald, David Sirota and their ilk who seem to be fixated only on the drone issue. Is it really possible for these kinds of short-sighted purists to have an impact on American policy or are they just pissing into the wind?

2. What’s the craziest thing we can expect to hear at CPAC?

3. Who would win in a battle to the death, Pope “The Emperor” Benedict with his Nazi lightning fingers or Pope “General Zod” Francis and his powerful anti-queer eye lasers?

Read the Answers Here

Listening Post

Happy Friday, kids. It's Santigold and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O, doing Go!

Then below, as a little bonus, the new single from the forthcoming Yeah Yeah Yeahs record -- Sacrilege.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show, 3.14.13

More Drone Hysteria; HuffPost Commenter Outrage; Drones Versus Toys; Chez Versus David Sirota; CPAC Crazy Quotes from Gohmert, Alan West and Marco Rubio; Republicans Can’t Let Go of Old News; Ted Cruz and Birtherism; Anti-Gay Marriage and Anti-Miscegenation; Republicans Target ‘Obama Phones’; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius and the Amazon Link.

Listen and subscribe for free on iTunes

Download the mp3 (55 minutes, 23mb)

Listen on your smartphone via

Quote of the Day, Jr.

"Again, there are no birds in the trees, apart from these, which will be eaten on Tuesday. They are yummy."

-- North Korean anti-American propaganda video

This is sincerely my favorite thing of the week. It's like one of those Tribulation 99-style cult videos I used to rent and watch while I got high back in the 90s.

You know, if the North Koreans really want to make their people believe that America is a desolate hellscape where everyone is jobless, miserable, and living in squalor, they should just show them an episode of Girls.

"This is what American women look like: homely, unable to afford clothes, and insane. Some women, such as this one, are so thin and desperate for food that in, order to survive, they are forced to eat the semen of men who haven't been able to shower in months."

Quote of the Day

"The scene is raw, it’s brave, and it’s the boldest thing we’ve seen Dunham do yet: a smart, unsanitized comedy of errors that perfectly captures the experience of being at the ob-gyn."

-- The Onion, in a story called "Next Episode Of 'Girls' To Feature Lena Dunham Shitting Herself During Gyno Exam While Eating A Burrito"

As always, the Onion's satire is pretty much indistinguishable from reality. For all the stories the site has done that have fooled a people into thinking they were for real, this may be most understandable for somebody to fall for. All you had to do was watch even five minutes of this past week's Girls episode, with Dunham's character puncturing her eardrum with a Q-tip because she's insane and Adam Driver's Ugliest Hipster on Earth coming all over his inexplicably adorable girlfriend's breasts because he's a tortured artist, or something, to realize that there's nowhere the show won't go to be unwatchable.

Yes, I once again sat through an episode On Demand because I was curious to see what all the "controversy" was about -- what was making the fingers of a million little New York City-based liberal arts grads work at warp speed banging out blog posts for Slate, Salon, Jezebel, XOJane and Feministing -- and, as usual, I was really sorry I did.

As The Onion kind of alludes to, it doesn't take much thought, talent or even courage to show ugly people doing really ugly things to get people talking.

Listening Post

I've got three shows coming up, thanks almost entirely to my really wonderful girlfriend and her connections: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Fall Out Boy, and these guys, all at the Wiltern here in L.A.

Apparently, for this video, somebody said, "We really wanna make Hayley Williams look like Rooney Mara's interpretation of Lisbeth Salander." Also, for some reason I just noticed a couple of days ago how fucking incredible the drumming is on this track.

I posted this as an audio clip last month, but here's the video for Paramore's Now.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Unleash Hellfire

I like to think that my misanthropy is having a positive impact on Cesca.

His Daily Banter column today once again takes on Glenn Greenwald, only this time he foregoes ceremony and that "all due respect" nonsense and just thunders away at him. And that's an unqualified good.

The Daily Banter: The Most Terrifying Drone Ever! Run Away!/3.13.13

The Return of the Thing

Today's Daily Banter column expands on something I've brought up here a couple of times over the past several months: the Republican insistence on never giving up a fight and their refusal to accept that Americans don't like some of their ideas.

Here's the opening shot:

"Here's the beauty of Paul Ryan's new budget, the one saving grace amongst all the horrific awfulness it promises for the country: nobody gives a shit about it.

If you've been plugged into the political wing of the internet at all over the past couple of days, you wouldn't be blamed for thinking it was 2012 -- or even 2011 -- all over again. That's because Paul Ryan has rolled out the new GOP budget for this year and it looks suspiciously like every other budget he's rolled out since the Republicans put him in charge of such things and the beltway media inexplicably decided that he deserves to be taken seriously rather than laughed out of town. At this point, Ryan budgets -- all middle-class-screwing austerity in the name of tax breaks for the rich and attempts to gut America's social safety net -- drop with the regularity of a beloved series of Hollywood epics filmed back-to-back. It's like the GOP is Peter Jackson and the Ryan budget is The Lord of the Rings -- if The Lord of the Rings sucked."

Read the Rest Here


Let me explain to you what's going on at NBC right now: A bunch of frazzled assholes in expensive suits are crowded into an office at 30 Rock trying to figure out how to put Justin Timberlake in every single show in the NBC lineup. (They already managed to get him to do an entire week with Fallon, what the show oh-so-cleverly called "Timberweek.")

The Huffington Post: NBC Ratings Sink Even Lower, Post Lowest Prime Time in Network History/3.12.13

By the way, read the above story and notice something interesting: despite NBC sucking wind just about across the board, Brian Williams's Nightly News still pulls in an average of nine million viewers a night. This is important to keep in mind because whenever anyone tells you network news is dead, or, worse, that Fox News dominates the conventional wisdom of television news these days, they're talking out of their ass. On a great night for, say, O'Reilly, he'll maybe grab about 2.5 million viewers -- across the entire country. In the great scheme of things that's not that big a deal. Williams and his network news contemporaries can triple that number in their sleep.

Quote of the Month

"A screed of pure personal and profane invective."

-- David Sirota's description of my Daily Banter column from yesterday, which took aim at his and Glenn Greenwald's hysteria over drones, the Obama administration's use of them, and Rand Paul's supposedly principled stand against them

I'll give Sirota this: He knows personal and profane invective when he sees it, because that's exactly what my piece was. To be honest, while I knew going into it that Sirota loved the sound of his own voice and had a tendency to not only Google himself regularly but respond in appropriately butt-hurt fashion whenever he felt he'd been insulted, I didn't think I'd hear from him in response to my column. And you know what? I didn't hear from him. There wasn't a word from him aimed in my direction. What I started, though, unintentionally, was a pretty epic Twitter fight between him and MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor.

Taylor tweeted out a link to my post yesterday evening and Sirota completely lost his mind. Given that she's a much bigger target than I am, he immediately turned any guns that he may have been ready to train on me directly toward her. What resulted was one hell of a back-and-forth, with Sirota pompously moralizing about how there was "(n)othing more distasteful than privileged US elites telling everyone not to care about people we're murdering abroad" -- he actually did RT the link to my piece to his acolytes -- and Taylor eviscerating him for being a rich white guy scolding a black woman about elitism.

Now Sirota's wise enough in the ways of self-promotion to know that going after Goldie Taylor, again a nationally recognized figure, will garner much more attention than punching down to a nobody like me. While I won't defend his relentless silliness, he's also got a point when he expresses shock that an MSNBC face would retweet a piece that came right out and said "fuck David Sirota and Glenn Greenwald." I actually think it's pretty damn cool that someone in the spotlight put her name to something so caustic, but he's right that it violates accepted protocol. I wouldn't be surprised, knowing his predilection for self-righteous umbrage, if Sirota approaches MSNBC and tries to make a stink about this whole thing.

If not that, then you can almost be sure that he'll try to spin shit into gold for himself by challenging Goldie Taylor to come on the show he deigns to co-host with Michael "Heckuva Job Brownie" Brown in Denver.

Sirota blocked me on Twitter, by the way, which is amusing given that I'm not following him, would probably never tweet him, and generally don't do Twitter anyway, let alone get into Twitter feuds. Also, Greenwald, predictably, isn't saying a word. Even if he did read what I wrote, he would never bother coming down from his Rio Olympus just to crush a mere mortal like me.

Listening Post

One hell of a group covering one hell of a song.

Here's the Civil Wars doing Portishead's Sour Times.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

That's Not Funny!

So, let's spin the Wheel of Indignation and see what kind of humorless hilarity we come up with this week.

Yesterday, a jury found former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick guilty of 24 counts of racketeering, extortion, attempted extortion, bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud and filing false tax returns. The verdict ends what's been a lengthy process for an angry and betrayed city of Detroit -- so when the decision came down, Detroit radio station Channel 955's morning show, Mojo in the Morning, flew a banner over the city courthouse that read "Don't Drop the Soap Kwame!"

That of course led the outrage trolls over at the Huffington Post to ask whether the station had gone too far with its joke.

And that, of course, led to comments like this gem:

Because, again, prison rape is never funny.

By the way, before you ask, yes, this is going to be a regular feature at DXM going forward. Feel free to e-mail me with a spy report whenever you come across an example of this kind of fucking ridiculousness. If the past couple of years are any indication, I doubt we're going to run out of material anytime soon.

Endless Drone

Today's Daily Banter column cuts to the chase on the subject of Glenn Greenwald, David Sirota, Rand Paul, and, of course, drones.

Here's the opening shot:

"This has been alluded to a couple of times here over the past two days, mostly by the always thoughtful and analytical Bob Cesca, but as usual I’ll be the one to dispense with all the pleasantries and just come right out and say it: Fuck Glenn Greenwald and David Sirota. Fuck them because their opinions don’t deserve to be taken the least bit seriously. Their supposedly bottomless reservoir of intellectual honesty is really puddle-deep and, in fact, they’re nothing more than what their fiercest critics have always accused them of being: sanctimonious jokes who pretend to be dedicated, indignant fighters of all manner of civil liberties injustices when in reality they’ve bequeathed to themselves wide latitude to choose which sins to prosecute and which to forgive or overlook completely. They don’t care about all affronts by authority to your civil rights. They only care about the select few they’ve chosen to plant their flag in and dig deep on and if their slavish devotion to those signature issues happens to force them into a position of defending a set of civil rights offenses they care less about but which are in the grand scheme no less awful, then so be it."

Read the Rest Here

Listening Post

Look, let's face it -- if you're folding your arms across your chest and sneering disapprovingly at Justin Timberlake at this point you're probably just a contrarian asshole. Over the past several years the kid has proven himself to be, without question, one of the most impressive talents of his generation. He killed this past weekend on Saturday Night Live, hosting for a fifth time; he's about to kick off a summer stadium tour with Jay-Z; and this song, the first single from his new album, is the definition of irresistible. It's blue-eyed soul at its finest, with more infectious swagger than, say, Mayer Hawthorne but the same sense of devotion to the greatness of the source material.

Plus, the video is directed by David Fincher.

Here's Suit & Tie.

Monday, March 11, 2013

To the Matt-resses

Today's Daily Banter column takes a look at how Matt Lauer is blaming NBC for the colossal Ann Curry fuck-up -- and how the network is letting him do it.

Here's the opening shot:

"Jesus, how desperate is NBC to save the Today show? Desperate enough to let Matt Lauer publicly scold them for screwing up the firing of Ann Curry.

It was just four months ago that then-Today executive producer Jim Bell essentially pleaded with the public not to blame Lauer for the ugly debacle that was Ann Curry’s dismissal. At the time, the hope was that by taking the bullet for both the host and the network Bell would stave off the relentless negative publicity that was being heaped on Lauer and the show, publicity which had gotten so awful that Lauer, the once-beloved Today show host, was being confronted on the street and yelled at by average people for being a smug, imperious prick. Today’s ratings plummeted and Lauer was suddenly a cultural pariah."

Read the Rest Here

Quote of the Day

"I decided not to post anything about it; instead, I wanted to wait and see which right-wing media outlets would fall for the hoax, and came through! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go give a lavishly paid speech to Friends of Hamas."

-- Paul Krugman on Breitbart's falling for a satirical piece in The Daily Current which claimed that the Nobel Prize-winning economist had filed for bankruptcy

If there isn't an official rule, à la Godwin's Law, that states that in the internet era, if something seems too good to be true in appealing to a journalist outlet's fundamentalist political ideology it should immediately be suspect and should be researched thoroughly before being run, there needs to be. Maybe it can be a codicil of Poe's Law, which deals with the inability to recognize political satire from what it's parodying.

By the way, credit to regular reader John Foley, who created what I'm calling "Foley's Law." It's a little like Godwin's Law, only adapted for modern social media arguments over things like gay issues, race issues, women's issues and cultural difference issues, usually applied when one person is expressing offense and the other isn't. Basically, it dictates that eventually the accusation of "white male privilege" will come up, often brought to bear as a cudgel against the person asking everyone angry over a perceived insult to just calm the hell down. In other words, as Foley said, white privilege is the new Hitler.

Picture of the Day

Okay, at this point it's becoming comedy. Here's the giant headline currently running over at the Huffington Post, your new headquarters for all things associated with drone hysteria. Sure, very serious guys like Glenn Greenwald can relentlessly self-flagellate over the horror of drone technology but they aren't usually into using Google Image Search to help drive their point home.

Incidentally, while we're on the subject of Greenwald, Cesca made what I consider to be the colossal mistake of going down the sanctimony-and-intransigence rabbit hole by getting into a debate with him over drones via Twitter on Saturday.

He wrote about it today over at the Banter.

Panic Womb

No sooner had I promised to essentially vanish for the week than I turned on the TV to find Nickelodeon for Inara and who did I happen to come across on NBC's Today show? The Duggars. All 106 of them. On the show for a -- wait for it -- "big announcement." Yes, one of Jim Bob and Michelle's sons, Josh, is having a baby with his wife, the apparently insane Anna. This is their third. The Duggars have now spawned so many children that their bloodline is guaranteed to be Today show fodder well into the next millennium. I can't help but figure that Michelle Duggar's vagina is so irreparably wasted by this point that she's now forced to outsource the baby-making to her kids and grandkids, kind of the way that Adam Richman had to inevitably turn Man vs. Food into Man vs. Food Nation, where he pawned the face-stuffing off to other hapless idiots because his stomach had finally just given out on him.

Speaking of reality shows, the Duggars also pushed the fact that theirs will be coming back to TLC. (Catch it right between Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and the show about the two-headed woman!) The new season will kick off later this week with the entire family taking their lunatic Christian "Quiverfull" beliefs on the road to Asia. They said the first thing that shocked them about places like Japan is that everyone has only one child. In the world of the Duggars this is what's known as crazy. To everyone else, particularly in places like Japan and China, it's called being responsible -- or being forced to work so many hours because you don't have a reality show gravy train that you just don't have the time or resources to spend all your time on your back cranking out babies like chocolates coming down a conveyor belt.

Anyway, you know the drill by now. Every time there's a new Duggar announcement on Today -- and I know about it -- this piece comes back. The only saving grace this time is that Today's ratings are in the toilet these days, at least in comparison to a few years ago. I like to believe that their slavish, pathetic obsession with the Duggars is part of the reason why.

Birth Defects: An Open Letter To The American Media (Originally Published, 12.22.08)

Dear Media,

I'm writing today to issue a plea on behalf of the sane, reasonably well-adjusted people all across this country of ours. It's admittedly a move borne out of desperation and spawned from the mind of someone who's been pushed to the brink of madness, but I would only hope that this fact underscores the anguish being felt by the American people and therefore the seriousness of what I'm about to say.

Please, in the name of all that's decent, stop, stop, stop treating the Duggars like they're celebrities.

This morning, like clockwork, the Duggar family -- Jim Bob, Michelle, her clown car vagina, and the 18 kids whose names all inexplicably begin with the letter "J" -- made their traditional appearance on NBC's Today to show off the latest addition to their constantly expanding litter. As always, they basked in the glow of the national media spotlight, were treated to oodles of warm encomia, and took the opportunity to joyfully drop the name of the Lord every few seconds like there was some kind of Skinner Box treat in it for them.

The Today show has become something akin to the official press secretariat of the Duggars -- excitedly fawning over each birth and the fresh pregnancy announcement that invariably, immediately follows it as if this information were something that actually mattered to anyone. But, obviously, Today isn't alone in its cultural elevation of the Duggars from crazy homemade cult to all-American heroes.

And make no mistake -- these people are indeed crazy.

Completely out of their fucking minds.

You know something, though? That's okay. They're entitled to live their lives however the hell they want; as long as none of their kids -- born an average of one a year since 1988 -- ends up on welfare and we the taxpayers have to foot the bill for little Jolene or Jonah. I honestly couldn't care less that there's an insane family living in Arkansas cranking out children because God says so. The problem is that you, the media -- NBC, ABC, TLC, etc. -- keep giving these people face time, thereby convincing them that everyone in this country not crazier than a shithouse rat actually loves hearing the latest news about Michelle Duggar's de-elasticized cervix. I'm not suggesting that you're encouraging them -- since you couldn't, as they take their cues from a supposedly higher authority -- but you are giving them the chance to hawk their books, TV show and the assorted other crap that allows them to afford to continue spitting out kids like chocolates coming down a conveyor belt. These people shouldn't be cast in a positive light. They shouldn't be cast in any light at all. If they want to keep trying to single-handedly overpopulate the Earth for Jesus, they should have to pay for it without the help of your unwarranted free publicity, media.

Let's see how long they'd last once the gravy train you guys happily play conductor of dries up.

Like Paris Hilton, whose career you're also guilty of perpetuating and foisting on an exhausted public, the Duggars are famous only for their unusual sexual habits.

And like Paris Hilton, they've never deserved the wealth of attention you've lavished on them. They're religious zealots who won't stop having babies. That's it. Nothing more.

So once again, knock it the hell off. Stop shoving this family down our collective throat.

If the Duggars one day make the announcement that they've decided to start using contraception, or if one of their kids comes out with horns or something, feel free to give them a couple minutes of airtime. Until then, remember that you're the mainstream media -- not Procreation Quarterly and not a carnival barker.

Leave the freakshow to the circus folk, okay?

Thanks and Happy Holidays,


Listening Post

Dear God, did these guys crank out some cool stuff.

Here's Sweet -- Fox on the Run.

Inara's in town and I've got a project to work on in between having fun with her so it might be a little slow this week. Promise I'll post whatever I can and that things will definitely pick up next week.

Happy Monday, kids.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Quote of the Day, Jr.

"Yes. We're going to propose replacing Obamacare with patient-centered health care, with a better health care system for everybody."

-- Failed vice-presidential candidate and lead singer of Steak Baby Paul Ryan answering Fox News's question about whether the new GOP budget assumes that Obama's Affordable Care Act will be repealed

Astonishing. They're never going to stop beating this dead horse, no matter what. I said this once before, quite a while back, but I'm not sure whether to admire the GOP's tenacity or despise their relentless obstinacy in the face of the will of the majority of Americans. These people never give up. No matter how much time goes by, how ingrained into our culture a system becomes, or how broad-based a decision's appeal is, if the Republicans don't like it as far as they're concerned it's illegitimate and they'll fight to the death to do away with it. It's staggering when you consider the fact that they continue to refight, over and over again, battles over social security, abortion, and civil rights laws -- battles they were utterly defeated in the first time around.

Their war to end Obamacare will never end. We'll still be listening to this crap 40 years from now.

Quote of the Day

"I can see how the lettering is offensive. They could have made the statement of 'Fry Rice' without changing the lettering. That obviously made all the difference. I don't think it was racist, just borne out of ignorance. They clearly don't know why many Asians might find it offensive. It's a good opportunity now for them to learn. It's hard to comprehend what you don't know, and clearly the editors of the newspaper have no idea what many Asians experienced and experience in terms of racial prejudice."

-- Huffington Post commenter "Kacey" on the controversy over a poster printed by a Vermont newspaper supporting a local basketball team whose opponent was Rice High School

The poster read "Fry Rice" in the standard "Chinese calligraphy" font. You can see it for yourself above.

I love this comment because it's all there: the concerned suggestion of alternate routes that somehow might've been less offensive, as if there's anything you can say these days that won't offend someone; the call for this to be a teaching moment about tolerance; the insinuation that white, or some other kind of majority, privilege is to blame for this supposed ignorance. It's all so, so -- utterly fucking joyless.

You know, the theory of Dunbar's Number -- what David Wong of Cracked humorously calls "the Monkeysphere" -- dictates that a human being can really only care about 150 other people, maximum. That after that it becomes a zero-sum prospect where in order to bring new people into your sphere of concern you have to turn a certain number of people out. I swear, these days my circle is down to about twenty people. I care about them very much and would fight to the death for them. Everyone else I just don't give a shit about. You're the victim of ignorance or injustice? Sorry, life sucks. Thankfully, while my circle may be closing in an effort to keep out the stupid, the circles of others, thanks to the various media that connect us all, are rapidly expanding. There's always somebody willing to endlessly fret over your plight. Which is good because it means I don't have to.

Misanthropy. It's the new black.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

The Division Hell

There's nothing about this I don't love, because Maher is spot-on across the board -- especially his point about how we've politicized so much of our culture that no one accepts a common reality anymore. We have the conservative view and the liberal view and each side comes to the table seemingly not with its own set of opinions but its own set of facts. Is one side of that equation far worse these days? Absolutely. But the end result of the political fragmenting of our society, largely through niche media, is furious chaos, and not much more.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Pledge Hammer: Day 5

Well, this is it, kids -- the final day of our big pledge drive here at DXM.

If you haven't given yet and feel like you can and want to, you know what to do.

There are three ways you can put your cash toward the this site and its humble proprietor. The first: Just click the Paypal electronic tip link in the right-hand sidebar of this screen and donate away. You can also use the Paypal tip jar to pay-what-you-want for a digital copy of my book, Dead Star Twilight, for iPad or Kindle. Go here to begin your instant download. Remember, it's a full length book and it can be yours for whatever you feel like putting toward it. The last way you can give is by buying a physical copy of Dead Star Twilight from Amazon. To purchase the paperback, just click here. (Buying the book gives the least amount of money to the site since I only get a small cut; I want to sell book but I also need to make that clear for people interested in giving to the site.)

A very big and special thank-you to Matthew Leskey, Janean Stepp and Barbara Lancaster. Your generosity is honestly jaw-dropping and it's so very appreciated.

We're really close to the completely arbitrary goal that I set for this little drive, so if you think you can throw a little toward my wise-assery, please do.

To everyone, though -- thanks for reading, commenting, sharing and donating.

All That's Left

Today's Daily Banter column takes a look at MSNBC and what's becoming of it.

Here's the opening shot:

"I’ll make this quick because it’s Friday and I have no desire to work late tonight.

MSNBC’s heading faster and faster down a dangerous road and it needs to put the brakes on. Now.

For a couple of years now the network has been fielding accusations of being the liberal answer to Fox News and for a couple of years now I’ve defended it as being nothing of the sort. While Fox News has had a top-down political mandate from the start, one that’s not only allowed to but is expected to directly impact every single facet of its coverage, MSNBC has always been in a more precarious position journalistically."

Read the Rest Here

Assistant Quote of the Day

"My theory about Taylor Swift is that she's a virgin, that everyone breaks up with her because they date her for two weeks and she's like, 'I'm not gonna do it.' And they're like, 'Oh, well, forget it, then I don't want to date you.' Every guy thinks they're going to devirginize her, and they're not. She's never going to get devirginized, ever, ever, ever, ever."

-- Chelsea Handler

There's nothing particularly insightful about the above quote, but the "never, ever, ever" thing is fucking gold.

Quote of the Day

"We’re what needs to be fixed in the Republican party? Seriously?"

-- Rachel Maddow on RNC Chairman Reince Priebus's claim that Republicans had so much trouble in the 2012 election because of MSNBC and the way it hosted presidential debates

And here I thought MSNBC was a non-entity that could be easily dismissed -- a bunch of liberal losers who pose no threat to Fox News's domination and the GOP's messaging stranglehold.

The Bob & Chez Show After Party, 3.8.13

Join the After Party

This week: The whole sordid story of our alcohol-drenched air and road trip to Johnson City, Tennessee and Our Panel Discussion at East Tennessee State University; The airlines; The snow; The bourbon; The Refrigerated Panel; The Man-Confessional; Comedy Fred; The TSA; The Po’ Boys; The Moonshine; The Awkward Photographs; Plus, Goats Singing Along to Bon Jovi; Success, Failure and Mid-Life Crisis; and much more.

Comment of the Day

In response to my Daily Banter piece on the dethroned Miss Delaware Teen USA Melissa King, which was cross-posted over at the Huffington Post: (Remember, the title of the column was "Today, We Are All Beauty Pageant Winners Who Did Amateur Porn.")

"No, we are not all beauty pageant winners or amateur porn performers.

Some of us are doctors, lawyers, scientists, chefs, teachers, physical therapists, veterinarians and pilots. Some of us chose to rely on our brains and skills to make our way in the world instead of trading on our youth and beauty and sexual appeal to horndog men. We knew better than to do porn for money.

Sorry, but anyone who does porn has no business in any role where girls are expected to look up to them or where they will be role models for girl children.

Men like you are behind the destruction of girls and women's lives, men like you who consume porn and who think that girls exist for your sexual arousal, titillation and gratification, men like you who want porn for masturbatory material, men like you who want prostitutes available to service you. Porn is prostitution, it is having sex for money. that is prostitution, and you are perfectly happy to turn our daughters into prostitutes because your heart and soul are too calicified and depraved to know that love and sex are sacred gifts not meant to be exploited by crass capitalism. Men like you reduce women to objects here to service men and their programed misogynistic and patriarchal sexual desires.

No, we women are not all beauty pageant winners or porn performers. But it is looking like most men are pornheads who view women as nothing but objects and body parts. Blame yourself."

Mere words can't express how much I love the HuffPost peanut gallery. It's where the ability to know a joke when you see one goes to die.

By the way, the screen-name of the commenter?


Listening Post

Over the past few years, Sweden has consistently proven itself to be the place for alternative music. The country has turned out more interesting, strange and eminently listenable bands than just about anywhere else on the planet. The Knife are a really good example of that. While I've always loved the band's offshoot, Fever Ray, just a little bit better, there's no denying their ability to make oddly intoxicating music.

Here's their new single -- A Tooth for an Eye.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Pledge Hammer: Day 4

Just a reminder that we've got just one day left in our pledge drive.

You know how it is: If you like what you find here at DXM, on The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show podcast and at the Banter -- if you enjoy my inability to tolerate the perpetually pissy left and anyone dumb enough to bitch about Jon Stewart and call him or herself a liberal -- then by all means feel free to throw some money toward keeping the proceedings here at DXM moving along.

There are three ways you can put your hard-earned cash toward the this site and its humble proprietor. The first is the easiest: Just click the Paypal electronic tip link in the right-hand sidebar of this screen and donate away. You can also use the Paypal tip jar to pay-what-you-want for a digital copy of my book, Dead Star Twilight, for iPad or Kindle. Go here to begin your instant download. Remember, it's a full length book and it can be yours for whatever you feel like putting toward it. The last way you can give is by buying a physical copy of Dead Star Twilight from Amazon. To purchase the paperback, just click here. (Buying the book gives the least amount of money to the site since I only get a small cut; I want to sell book but I also need to make that clear for people interested in giving to the site.)

A special shout out to Riles, Trish and Paul Murphy. You guys rule.

One more day to go. Let's light up that wheelchair and hit our donation goal for this season. (I know we can do it!)

A final update tomorrow, kids.

The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show, 3.7.13

Eric Holder and Drones On American Soil; Rand Paul’s Filibuster; Ted Cruz and Bombing Starbucks; Greenwald and Drone Hysteria; Dead Baby Photos; The Most Ridiculous Pro-Gun Law So Far; Roger Ailes’ Dog Whistle; States Can’t Run Elections; House Republicans Defund Nonexistent ACORN; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius.

Listen and subscribe for free on iTunes

Download the mp3 (55 minutes, 23mb)

Listen on your smartphone via

Friendly Fire

Today's Daily Banter piece is kind of pegged off something from my old nemesis, Salon. (I'll chase them 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares maelstrom and 'round perdition's flames before I give them up.) What I've written points out the breathtaking arrogance and ingratitude of those on the left who complain that Jon Stewart isn't tough enough, and reminds them that Stewart is the best fucking friend they've got.

Here's the opening shot:

"I’m not sure where I’d be if I woke up one morning and discovered that Alternet and Salon were suddenly bastions of rational, practical thinking, free from ridiculously pie-in-the-sky moralizing and a lot of liberals shooting themselves in the collective foot. I think it would be like Matt Taibbi finding out that Tom Friedman had finally learned how to use metaphors properly and wasn’t incessantly fixated on drawing grand global theories based on a two-minute conversation he had with his driver. What would I have to give me a laugh with my morning coffee if there weren’t David Sirota and columns like the one on Jon Stewart currently getting the Alternet-Salon double-barreling?

In the piece, titled '7 Examples of Cowardice on The Daily Show,' blogger Scott Hill calls out what he sees as a pattern of spinelessness on the part of Jon Stewart, even going so far as to ask why the host 'wimps out' so often."

Read the Rest Here

Listening Post

School of Seven Bells wanted to do a music video for their most recent single, so they went to Genero, which is a Kickstarter-esque website that puts out the call for filmmakers to step up and try their hand at various projects. The entry the band liked the best was this one.

Here's The Night.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Pledge Hammer: Day 3

Just a reminder that we're smack-dab in the middle of our big pledge drive here at Deus Ex Malcontent.

You know the drill: If you like what you find here at DXM, on The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show podcast and at the Banter -- if you enjoy my stories of meeting women who've been in amateur porn, my admissions of watching porn and my intimations that I masturbate to online porn -- then by all means feel free to throw some money toward keeping DXM humming along.

There are three ways you can put your hard-earned cash toward the this site and its humble proprietor. The first is the easiest: Just click the Paypal electronic tip link in the right-hand sidebar of this screen and donate away. You can also use the Paypal tip jar to pay-what-you-want for a digital copy of my book, Dead Star Twilight, for iPad or Kindle. Go here to begin your instant download. Remember, it's a full length book and it can be yours for whatever you feel like putting toward it. The last way you can give is by buying a physical copy of Dead Star Twilight from Amazon. To purchase the paperback, just click here. (Buying the book gives the least amount of money to the site since I only get a small cut; I want to sell book but I also need to make that clear for people interested in giving to the site.)

A special shout out to John Foley, Gordon Jennings, Brett Skean and the always generous Mr. Gwaltney. You guys are honestly the best and the fact that you care so much about this little site really humbles me.

Another update tomorrow, kids.

We Are All Beauty Pageant Winners Who Did Amateur Porn

Today's Daily Banter column takes a look, in more ways than one, at Melissa King -- the 18-year-old girl who was forced to resign as Miss Delaware Teen USA because she did amateur porn.

Here's the opening shot:

"Several years back I was out with some friends in Fort Lauderdale when I came across a porn star. No, not literally.

Our group had decided to go grab sushi at a popular place and as we approached the hostess stand to put our name in for a table, I basically froze in my tracks, my eyes suddenly widening and my gaze fixed directly in front of me. The girlfriend of one of my friends turned to me with a bemused look and tossed out a cliché that was actually perfectly appropriate: 'What’s the matter with you? You look like you’ve just seen a ghost.' I was honestly speechless, because, as it turned out, it wasn’t a ghost I was looking at but someone I’d recently seen naked. Having sex. Pretty damn well, I might add.

'I know that girl,' I finally said, still a little dumbstruck. I then shook myself out of my daze, hurriedly dragged my friends off to the side, and explained that the hostess at the sushi restaurant — the 20-something blonde with the pixie-cut and the tattoo around her bellybutton, visible because of the halter top she was wearing — had done porn for an amateur website run out of South Florida. (They didn’t bother asking how I knew this; they know me.)"

Read the Rest Here

Quote of the Day

"There's absolutely no pretense from any of these publications of giving a policy a sort of objective hearing. It's very clear that it comes from the same mindset as talk radio and Fox News. This is something that's by and for a particular kind of conservative. It’s a circle jerk, isn’t it?"

-- Daniel McCarthy, editor of The American Conservative, on the state of conservative media in the era of Breitbart, The Daily Caller, and Drudge

Michael Calderone over at the Huffington Post dissects the whole conservative entertainment complex and the problems it presents for the modern right pretty damn well in a piece he's just published. It's amusing to see quotes like the one above -- the kind of thing that goes on record with the fact that a major disservice is being done to conservatives by their own "news" organizations -- and then to watch idiot pretend-journalists like Matthew Boyle of Breitbart and pretend-thinkers like Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post defend the state of things on their end.

Think about the big "scoops" conservative media outlets have spit into the echo chamber lately: Chuck Hagel's disturbing connection to "Friends of Hamas," a story based on a joke, and Robert Menendez's affinity for Dominican hookers, a story that fell almost completely apart even as it was being shouted from the rooftops. And those are just the ones we've seen over the past month. Go back a bit and you truly see the pattern of inanity that's been allowed to develop.

I've said this on more than one occasion, mostly on the podcast, but I'm not actually one of those people who wants to see the Republican party and conservatives in general drown in a puddle of their own spit. Having at least two vital political parties is good for America and I didn't completely abandon the Republicans until after they lost their minds. The reason I find it almost impossible to side with anything the GOP or the conservative movement says or does these days is that they've willingly let themselves become dominated by the most stridently insane and anti-intellectual within their ranks. When the inmates completely overrun the asylum and no one even bothers to try to stop them, it's time to just cut your losses and bail before you become part of the madness.

A press that lives for actual news, regardless of whether it's left-leaning, right-leaning or straight down the middle -- one that isn't intent on using phony scandal to try to take down its political enemies -- naturally creates an atmosphere where common sense political compromise can flourish. That's because truth and a dedication to it fosters respect between the sides. That's good for the country. Period.

Listening Post

There's a reason this video has more than 35-million views on YouTube: it's four-and-a-half minutes of pure "Whoa." Seriously, this will both thrill you and depress you that you're just sitting there in front of your computer like a log.

It's Hadouken!, with Levitate.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Pledge Hammer: Day 2

So while I'm waiting to sort out the details for a potential Daily Banter piece -- long story -- let me go ahead and remind everyone that it's pledge drive time again around these parts.

You know how it works: If you like what you find here at DXM and, more recently, on The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show podcast and at the Banter -- if you enjoy watching me make fun of homophobes and make myself crazy trying to find long-lost songs from 1982 -- then by all means feel free to throw some money toward keeping these proceedings at DXM going.

There are three ways you can put your hard-earned cash toward the this site and its humble proprietor. The first is the easiest: Just click the Paypal electronic tip link in the right-hand sidebar of this screen and donate away. You can also use the Paypal tip jar to pay-what-you-want for a digital copy of my book, Dead Star Twilight, for iPad or Kindle. Go here to begin your instant download. Remember, it's a full length book -- 300-some-odd pages that'll feel like 299-some-odd-pages -- and it can be yours for whatever you feel like putting toward it. The last way you can give is by buying a physical copy of Dead Star Twilight from Amazon. To purchase the paperback, just click here. (By the way, buying the book gives the least amount of money to the site since I only get a small cut; I want to sell books but I know there are some people out there who would want to be made aware of that.)

Thanks so much to those who've stepped up so far, including J.D. and Art (Vandelay) Vandermeer. Another update tomorrow, kids.

Nothin' But a G-A-Y Thang

You know how I feel about internet sensations. You know how I despise virally created superstars or even laughingstocks. And yet I just have to circulate this, even at the risk of being part of the crowd that will surely make this girl the most (only somewhat unfairly) loathed idiot in America by this time two days from now.

Sure, there'll be the inevitable backlash from hardcore Christians who'll call her a martyr and will hold her up as some kind of modern day Joan of Ark, come to save us from ourselves and ruthlessly struck down for it upon the altar of our culture's depravity. But fuck it, the whole thing will have been worth it just for the opportunity it afforded most of us to mercilessly mock someone who truly, deeply deserved it.

I give you, Rated T for Tolerance, a Christian, anti-gay "rap" from some teenage girl standing in the woods.

Good luck making it all the way through.

(via Christian Nightmares)


It's been a really long time since I used the awesome might of the DXM Media Empire® to crowdsurf for an answer to one of those weird questions I wake up pondering in the middle of the night.* The last time I did this I'm pretty sure I asked whether anyone had ever heard of a dog dying of natural causes -- not put to sleep and not hit by a car or something, just, wake up and, hey, dead dog.

So here's my question, one that I so far haven't been able to find an answer to anywhere on the internet: Don Johnson's 1986 single Heartbeat is generally and generously considered one of the worst songs in the history of recorded pop music. It showcased a preening Johnson at the height of his cultural domination, thanks to his role as Sonny Crockett on Miami Vice, and was quickly turned into a ridiculously MTV-of-the-era video that featured Dweezil Zappa playing a green guitar and dressed in a white blazer with giant padded shoulders. The video alone was the kind of thing that made you wish the Russians would just bomb us already and end our suffering.

Anyway, here's the thing: Heartbeat itself, minus Johnson, actually wasn't a bad song at all. In fact, it was a cover. The original version was sort of Pretenders-y, with a lot heavier guitar, a quicker beat and quite a bit rougher production.

But to this day I have no idea who did the original version of it. And I'd love to find out. I'm sure it isn't available anywhere at all, given that my search probably would've turned it up by now, but at the very least I want to know that I'm not crazy and I really did hear another version of the song -- which I can still clearly hear in my head -- a few years before Don Johnson massacred it.

Anybody able to help? Whoever can, as always, gets a brand new Chrysler Cordoba that you can pick up in Morty's office.

*No, not, where did that wet spot come from?

(Update: Okay, so congrats so far to J. Walker who discovered that, of all people, Helen Reddy did Heartbeat in 1983. But I mean it when I say that's not what I was looking for. There's still another, heavier version out there somewhere. The only thing I can think of is that the original writers of the song did a version of it or maybe the radio station I heard it on forever ago was playing some local band that was covering it. I'm out of answers. And I hate myself.)

(Update to the Update: It looks like the right answer is Wendy Waldman. I can't say for sure because I can't find a clip of the song but she's the actual songwriter and she released it on her own album a year before Reddy's version and four years before Johnson's. She also has a bit of the Chrissie Hynde style going on and her voice on other songs sounds like it fits.)

(Update to the Update to the Update: Success! A clip of the original can be found here. Damn if it isn't still the spectacular song I remember. And now I can sleep comfortably in my wet spot tonight knowing I'm not insane.)

Quote of the Day

"You know, Katie Couric is one of my favorite people, because she said to me she had heard a quote that she loved, that said, ‘There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.’"

-- Taylor Swift to Vanity Fair, taking a shot at Tina Fey and Amy Poehler for their jokes about her during the 2013 Golden Globe Awards

You'll remember, Fey joked, "You know what, Taylor Swift? You stay away from Michael J. Fox’s son," during her and Poehler's stint as hosts of the awards. She then followed it up by saying that Swift needed a little time to learn about herself. None of it seems out-of-bounds when you consider the fact that Taylor Swift is completely insane and if she weren't famous would have been arrested years ago for stalking. She's always been one nervous breakdown away from driving cross-country in a pair of diapers and carrying a trunk full of rope and duct tape -- and her pissy, childish reaction to being called out for inflating every little perceived slight to earth-shattering levels doesn't do much to prove otherwise.

What's fun about this is that it's actually the second time in a couple of months that somebody with a brain and some cultural cachet has publicly slapped down one of these pre-packaged teen sensations. Olivia Wilde made herself even cooler a few days ago by tweeting to Justin Bieber, "Put your fucking shirt on," after pictures of the shirtless little douche were snapped during his birthday bash in London. It goes without saying that the Belieber backlash on Twitter was instantaneous, with zillions of nobodies bombarding Wilde with gramatically challenged tweets defending their idol. Fey and Poehler faced the same kind of thing following the Globes and likely will again now that it's been confirmed that Taylor Swift was so hurt by their jab that she's probably going to write a song about how much she was hurt by their jab but how she's now standing tall because she's really, really strong, and, yeah, girl power and stuff, take that!

Swift is sincerely going to have the shortest shelf life of any of these pop tarts -- male or female -- because her cycle of dating-rejection-revenge song has already reduced her to a self-parody. Yeah, her fans don't care now, but once that cynicism gland starts going into overdrive around 19, she's done for.

Before that happens, though, can I make a suggestion to any Tiger Beat cover boy who's contemplating dating her? Please, I'm begging you, tell her right off the bat that you're really into doing it in the ass.

Because I'm seriously going to enjoy listening to We Are Never, Ever, Ever Having Anal Sex.