Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Sacrilege

Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome are Garfunkel and Oates. If for some weird reason you're not aware of them, shame on you.

And speaking of shame, here's The Loophole.

The Book of Wes

Since June 27th up until today, Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland has used his Twitter feed to do nothing but post little tips for navigating life that he feels like he's learned throughout the years. Some are practical and direct, some are personal and involve making music and art, some are spiritual and inspirational -- all of them, though, certainly when taken as a whole, are wonderfully affecting and a great reminder that while Limp Bizkit may have its reputation, the mysterious Borland has always been something special in the band and as an artist in general.

These are my favorites among his Twitter list:

One of my very first, and most lasting memories, is hearing Erik Satie's Gymnopedies as a child and being so moved by it that it actually made me cry. It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever heard and maybe still is. I was about Inara's age at the time.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Listening Post: Friday Bonus Edition

Trent Reznor.

David Lynch.

Brand new.

Came Back Haunted

Listening Post

Is it really the Pixies without Kim Deal? Well, it sure sounds like the Pixies. Here's their first single in almost ten years.

Brand new, this is Bagboy.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

28 Gays Later

Comment of the Week

In response to today's earlier post, reference Nick Denton's insinuation that Glenn Greenwald's home in Rio is often overrun with "boys" -- really, what appears to be more like young men -- who sleep over and play videogames. Denton's comment came attached to a piece at Gawker detailing Greenwald's involvement in the business end of a gay porn operation years ago:

"Having gone back and read the post Denton's comment appeared under, my favorite bit was this:

'With Greenwald's help, the company began making money, but when it came time to pay up, Haas refused, saying Greenwald had demanded changes to the content of the videos which were and are unacceptable.'

I can only imagine. At first, they filmed and released a half-hour gay porn vid. But then, Greenwald decided they needed a five-minute post-credits scene. After a second set of credits, this was followed by an additional three minutes of extra footage, complete with a third set of credits. The now 38 minute video was finally released to the public, but after a scathing review in an adult video industry mag, Greenwald insisted the video be recalled and had an additional ten minutes of footage shot, which were appended to the end of the video, which was then re-released. The release delays prompted complaints from several adult video rental stores; these complaints infuriated Greenwald, who recalled the video a second time and re-released it with an additional forty-two minutes of footage, followed by yet another credits roll, followed by nine minutes of deleted scenes....

As last observed, the half-hour gay porn video is now only available as a seventeen-hour box set. Greenwald's former business partners obviously can't afford a sequel.

-- Eric"

The only thing missing is Greenwald openly attacking critics of the film as cultists and intellectually dishonest servants of the gay entertainment media complex who cravenly show fealty to the brand of male-on-male 69-ing deemed acceptable by the authorities.

Incidentally, I really wanted to try to start a #GreenwaldPorn titles meme this morning on Twitter because it's so ripe for great material, but there's no way in hell anyone would go near something like that.

I was gonna start with "Manning Bradley" and work my way down from there.

Anyway, congratulations, Eric. As always you win a brand new Chrysler Cordoba and you can pick it up at Morty's office.

The Bob & Chez Show After Party, 6.27.13

Join the After Party

This Week: Rick Perry Calls Another Special Session To Pass SB5; Elections Matter; Democrats Should Disenfranchise Old People Because They Don't Contribute Shit; Paula Deen’s Weird First Apology; Paula Deen on the Today Show; Dixie and the Stupid Southern Accent; Sad Dixie; Racial Slurs and Generational Racism; Food Network Star’s Unfortunately Timed Elimination; Our Tribute to James Gandolfini; The Genius of the Final Sopranos Episode; NIH Retires Research Chimps; Reporter Says "Fuck"; and much more.

The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show, 6.26.13

Rand Paul Agrees with Glenn Beck on Man-on-Dog; Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA; Supreme Court Dismisses Prop 8; Supreme Court Destroys the Voting Rights Act; Scalia is Nuts; Judicial Review; Leviticus; The List of Chez Abominations; Racism and Pre-Clearance; Michele Bachmann’s Reaction to DOMA; The Dramatic Filibuster of the Texas Abortion Law; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius, the Amazon Link and the Bowen Law Group.

Listen and subscribe for free on iTunes

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Bob & Chez Show Archive

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Thinking Outside the Inbox

Yet another entry in our ongoing series which brings just some of the PR-firm junk e-mail I regularly get to you, the readers.

"Hi Chez,

I wanted to get in touch about 3 Doors Down and Daughtry, who, as you might know, are co-headlining a 13 date summer tour starting on July 3rd. Both Daughtry and 3 Doors Down are active members of the 'askem' community, which is mobile platform that allows users to engage their social network by asking them questions they would like answered.

For example, 3 Doors Down recently asked: 'Chet's new guitar -- what do you think? #3DD #askem', which results in 72% answering 'This is badass' and 28% answering 'I really liked the old one'. Daughtry recently asked: 'Who is the real star?', which resulted in 49% answering 'Lil’ guy', 39% answering 'Tough choice' and 11% answering 'Big guy'.

Now Askem would like to ask you: which band are you excited to see this summer?

-- Daughtry?

-- 3 Doors Down?

-- Or both?

Please contact me if you’d like to learn more about 'askem', this survey, and if you’d like to speak with the CEO of 'askem', about the platform and their partnership with Daughtry and 3 Doors Down.



And now, my response...

Dear Alex,

Thanks for taking the time to write as I so rarely get to the chance to talk to someone as smart as me. First off, might know about the upcoming Daughtry/3 Doors Down tour? Are you kidding? As a former 37-year-old gas station attendant in Ocala, Florida and a recent proud half-semester graduate of Apex Tech's prestigious school of refrigerator repair, I already have my tickets well in hand for their big show at the Gatorama amphitheater just off Route 27. Asking me to decide which band I'm more excited to see is like asking -- well, I just don't know! I guess that's why I need your product.

About that: So what you're saying is that I now never have to make a decision again because I can just ask the always trustworthy people of the internet what I should do in any given situation, do I have this right? And what's more, to avoid the uncomfortable situation that arises whenever I already do this on Twitter and get back one of those pesky 140-character essay answers (TL;DR!), I can just put it in the form of a multiple choice question, thereby truly dumbing the whole process down to the level of a retarded three-year-old who's just had an ice-pick lobotomy, right? Well, where do I sign up?

You have no idea how handy your product would've been a couple of months ago when I was trying to figure out whether to hit my girlfriend with an open-hand or a closed fist for accidentally throwing out my favorite Puddle of Mudd t-shirt. Or when I had to decide between 20x12 American Racing bolt-pattern rims for my truck or a new roll bar and custom decal for the back window memorializing my brothers Donnie and Randy who died last year in a rollover crash because they didn't have a roll bar. Or when I needed to decide whether to secretly go down on that guy behind the 7-11 last Tuesday night or let him go down on me.

Bottom line here, yeah, I'd love to talk to your CEO. At least I think. How about I get your product and let the public decide for me -- would that be possible? I'm so bad at this decision thing.

Before I go, because I see that Junior's started a fire out in the shed, I think I figured out the answer to that question you asked.

Which would I like most:

1. Seeing Daughtry

2. Seeing 3 Doors Down

3. Both

4. Falling into the pit at Gatorama before one note of "music" is played and being ripped apart by hungry alligators and crocodiles while a crowd looks on in horror.

I'd say #4. Sure, I added that fourth choice, but your product lets me do that -- right?



Quote of the Day

"I did hear another story, not from Greenwald himself, about the Guardian writer's life in Brazil. The Out profile of him mentioned the pack of stray dogs that Greenwald had adopted. But it skipped over the boys — mainly friends of his partner David Michael Miranda — who sleep over and play videogames at the house. That would have given too much ammunition to Greenwald's conservative critics."

-- Gawker Publisher Nick Denton on Glenn Greenwald

I'm really not sure what the hell to make of this. There's a story in today's New York Daily News that digs pretty deeply into Greenwald's life and finds that he used to be involved in the business side of a gay porn company and that he continues to have all kinds of problems with the IRS, including tens of thousands of dollars in outstanding debt, but I honestly don't care about that. As Greenwald essentially says, everybody's got their trouble. It is entertaining to get further confirmation that he's a pissy, demanding little pain-in-the-ass who lives for unnecessary melodrama and who thinks his shit doesn't stink -- also that he considers ancient history to be about ten years ago -- but for the most part the Daily News revelations are meaningless.

Now Denton's insinuation, on the other hand, seems pretty nasty. But the above quote is really all he says about it aside from saying that he met Greenwald in Rio 18 months ago, which means, I assume, that he's claiming to know about Greenwald and videogame-paying boys from some kind of personal experience, either with Greenwald himself or someone close to him. Denton threw the link to Gawker's story on the Greenwald report up on Twitter just a little while ago with this headline: "Finally, an excuse to share my Glenn Greenwald gossip."

It's a pretty damning charge to make, even as subtle innuendo. I hope Denton's got something to back this kind of thing up seeing as how vindictively sue-happy Greenwald has proven himself to be over the years.

This is one of those cases, though, where whoever loses, we win.

Picture of the Day

I'm really enjoying the uncharacteristic brush-off the usual dingbats on the religious right are getting in the wake of yesterday's Supreme Court decisions on DOMA and Prop 8. For years, political leaders and polite society in general have felt like those who've stood in the way of progress in the name of adhering to the tenets of a 2,000-year-old book of fairy tales require a certain amount of respect and deference, but I get the impression that this is finally changing. That's not to say that our politicians will, at any time in the near future, completely abandon the faithful and their little delusions. But it goes to show that people like Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee, Bryan Fischer, Rick Perry and so on have so co-opted and codified what it means to believe in something spiritual that they've essentially created a product out of it -- and one whose image they've now ruined.

That's what makes it so easy to dismiss out of hand Mike Huckabee's laughably self-pitying quote from the Bible -- which of course assumes that he knows what the hell the supposed creator of the universe thinks -- and so much fun to watch Nancy Pelosi literally roll her eyes and not even bother to throw shade at Michele Bachmann because she just isn't worth the effort.

If you haven't seen this Pelosi response yet, it's sincerely one for the ages.

Duckworth and Cover

Here's the best thing you'll see all day.

Wendy Davis of course stood for 13 hours to personally stop a draconian abortion bill being put forth by the paleoconservative white men of Texas, and for that she's rightfully being called a hero. But before her, there was Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, who can barely stand because she lost both of her legs flying a chopper in Iraq.

Obviously, Duckworth knows something about serving her country and about sacrificing in the name of that service -- which is why there's no way in hell she's going to suffer some perfectly able-bodied asshole pretending to be a handicapped vet in the name of gaming the system. And that's why, yesterday, she figuratively got up onto the top turnbuckle, jumped off, and brought the 600-pound people's elbow down upon a guy named Braulio Castillo. He's the CEO of Strong Castle Inc. and he's currently at the center of an investigation to determine whether he ripped off the government and, by extension, America's veterans. When he started his company, he applied for and got a specific rating from Veterans Affairs that allowed him to call the business service-disabled and veteran-owned, which helped him to better secure fat government ocntracts. And how did he get that rating? Because, in his own words, he broke his foot while playing sports at a military prep school back in '84.

Truly, an American hero.

There's even more to the story than that, including the fact that old X-rays showed no break in his foot and it turns out he had a connection at the IRS who helped him push this nonsense through the proper channels, but really that's all incidental to Tammy Duckworth verbally shaming this guy damn-near into committing public suicide on the floor of the House Oversight Committee.

The whole above clip is great but the truly awesome stuff starts at around 4:35.

Listening Post

James Gandolfini is being laid to rest today, the funeral service going on right now at St. John the Divine in New York City.

If you're a fan of The Sopranos -- or of Gandolfini himself -- this astonishingly beautiful video, edited by Lyle at, will make you cry.

The music is the great Shawn Smith, frontman of bands like Brad and Satchel.

Here's Trapped in My Memory.

So long, James.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Grand Finale

Act 1: "Try To Remember the Times That Were Good"

Lately I've found myself obsessed with the ending of The Sopranos.

Surely you remember it: Tony and two-thirds of his family, sitting in Holsten's diner, casually munching on onion rings while the tabletop jukebox played Journey's anthemic Don't Stop Believin', a song which suddenly seemed to take on an odd menace given the setting. Tony had just made an uneasy peace with the New York mob, but both he and we understood that threats to him still lurked in every shadow simply by virtue of the life he'd chosen, what had already killed off almost everyone around him, turning him, maybe through sheer good luck, into the Jersey crew's last man standing. So there he sat, grabbing a bite with the people he truly loved, the blood family he'd tried to protect but whom he had inadvertently poisoned via the same cycle of ruthless violence that created him. Only one person was missing at the table: his daughter, the one whose voice he had come back to at the beginning of the year after being shot by his uncle and put into a coma. She was trying to parallel park outside and once she finished she'd come in and sit next to her father and the Sopranos would be together again as it had always been. We watch her finally pull into the space after three tries, watch her stride across the street to the front door of Holsten's. Tony hears the bell ring on the front door and looks up. Then an abrupt cut-to-black. Nothing.

At the time, the way The Sopranos ended felt like a cheap parlor trick, the final triumph of creator David Chase's more cynical tendencies and a big "fuck you" to the audience. At the time, the sudden cut-to-black felt like Chase telling us that life would go on for Tony; we simply wouldn't be around to see it. Of course, the reality of that ending was that nothing could be further from the truth because the reality was that Tony was killed at the end of The Sopranos, he simply wasn't around to see it and therefore neither were we. If you doubt this interpretation of what's gone on to be perhaps the most controversial finale in TV series history, go back and watch it again -- and this time, look closer. As Chase would say in a later interview, all you need to know about what really happened at the end of that iconic scene is there in the minutes, hour, and weeks that came before it. In the end, he practically spells it out on the walls.

Watch the man in the gray Members Only jacket get up from his seat at the bar and walk into the bathroom behind and to the right of Tony just before Meadow presumably walks in. Remember that the title of the final season opener was "Members Only," and in it Tony was shot by Junior and Eugene Pontecorvo carries out a hit in a restaurant wearing the same jacket. Think back on the conversation Tony has with the recently murdered Bobby Bacala on the lake, when Bobby muses on being whacked that "you probably don't even hear it when it happens" and how Silvio didn't hear the initial shots that killed Gerry Torciano right in front of him. Notice the split-second that Jay and the Americans' This Magic Moment is shown on the jukebox at Tony's table, the same song that played after Bobby made his first kill. The woman who walks in who bears an uncanny resemblance to Janice. The two black men who look strangely like the guys who once tried unsuccessfully to kill Tony. The scout leader who looks and dresses like Phil Leotardo and who makes his finger into a gun. Remember Paulie's comment about the orange cat -- the one that seems to stare intently at a picture of Christopher -- being a bad omen. Now look over Tony's right shoulder at the giant painting of the orange tiger on Holsten's wall and remember Adriana's affinity for orange tiger print. Also on the wall, the inescapable image of the Inn at the Oaks, which represented the final acceptance of death -- what Tony Blundetto called "home" -- in Tony's dream-state after he was shot. As Chase said, it's all there. Everyone is in place at Holsten's for Tony's final reckoning, his life truly flashing before his eyes just before the end comes.

Then there's the pattern. Tony hears the bell, looks up, the shot reverses and we see what he sees, his family coming one-by-one through the door. First Carmela. Then A.J. Then Tony hears the bell, looks up, and sees -- nothing -- because there's nothing to see. Tony is dead, shot in the head in front of his family by the man in the Members Only jacket. Rather than show us Tony being killed Chase does something far more diabolical and powerful: he makes us experience it. This choice represents perhaps the truest stroke of genius in a show that was full of them from beginning to end. It makes you understand that almost nothing you saw up to that point was by accident. Every single little detail mattered and it was all leading you to the same place -- to the death of Tony Soprano. That's what this extended tragedy was always about: his rise, attempt and failure at moral redemption, and ultimate fall.

In the very first episode of the show, Tony panicked over the ducks leaving his pool and understood that it represented his fear of losing his family. In the end, he lost them by being killed right in front of their faces.

Tony never heard it coming. And neither did we.

Act 2: "You're Going Home"

It's been so long since I've written.

Yes, technically I write almost every weekday, upwards of 4,800 words a week, for The Daily Banter, but for me it's not the same as writing. I bang out polemics which I sometimes feel very strongly about but which can, I admit, occasionally be little more than the fulfillment of a job requirement. This doesn't in any way mean that I don't care and don't take pride in the work I do for Banter, only that I miss the comfort of expressing the parts of my personality that don't want anything at all to do with politics or media or generally being a smart-ass, and those parts are many. I always wrote because I needed to, not for anyone else but for myself; I don't do that anymore. I don't do it for reasons purely practical and for reasons I try to convince myself are purely practical: because I simply don't have the time or don't have the will. There are so many days that I just do not give a shit about the Republicans in Congress, or Barack Obama, or the latest scandal, or who's outraged over whose crude joke, or what insufferable thing Glenn Greenwald said this week. There are so many days when I spit fiery opinions into the ether that I barely believe and hate myself for pretending to hold to ferociously. You can typically spot these instances by way of a counterintuitive and yet incredibly obvious tell: they're the ones I defend with the most egregious amount of venom. I fight back the hardest and in the most personal manner when I believe my own bullshit the least. This is the unnatural order of things. And I'm beginning to think that it's literally killing me.

Ironically, all the poison I regularly unleash is nothing compared to the poison I keep inside. It churns constantly, feeling at all times like it's threatening to eat a hole through my sometimes fragile psyche. When things were at their worst in my life a few years ago, it was my ability to express what I was going through -- the release of putting it down and pushing it far away from me -- that saved me from going completely crazy. But I don't do that anymore. No, at face value things are nowhere near as relentlessly punishing as they were from mid-2009 through the next couple of years, when a combination of pain and paralysis caused by the collapse of my marriage and being removed from my child left me floating adrift and alone: no real home to speak of and no real sense of who I was as a person, what beliefs I still had to cling to, or where to turn to make the almost constant anguish stop. But something is still wrong -- naggingly, achingly wrong -- and I'm finally having to truly come to terms with the fact that it isn't something being generated from without but from within. I have a beautiful and caring girlfriend, whom I love (dearly). I live in sunny Los Angeles (again). I don't do drugs or drink too much (they don't work in the end). I have major financial considerations that I at all times feel like I'm being crushed by and they cause me to work almost inhuman hours just to keep my head above water (but it's not as if it's the first time in my life that I've been in this position). Like everyone else, I deal with good and bad and try to navigate the world as best I can. And yet I don't sleep most nights. I often wake up crying. I rarely want to get out of bed. I sometimes dread leaving my home. Even when I'm laughing, I can feel desperate and broken inside. And always present at the front of my mind is that the older I get, the more hopeless my future is going to seem.

Here's something I've been longing to say for quite a while because I always felt like it was important: My divorce taught me something that I desperately needed to learn. It taught me something I was supposed to learn twelve long years ago, when I was in rehab for a devastating heroin addiction. Put simply, it taught me the truth of the Serenity Prayer. Anyone who's read my book, Dead Star Twilight, knows that that seemingly trite nostrum is a common refrain for those who hold tightly to the wisdom of "The Program." While I always understood the idea of it, I never actually accepted it -- until I finally put my arms in the water and began to paddle after almost three years at sea in the wake of my break-up from my wife. It was then, at long last, that I "got it." You have to accept that there are some things you simply can't change or control, another person's actions being one of them. I couldn't do anything about what had happened to me. I was completely at the mercy of what someone else wanted for both her life and mine, with our daughter caught in the middle, and I had only two very clear choices when it came to how I dealt with it: in the immortal words of Andy Dufresne, I had to get busy living or get busy dying. So I made a choice to come back out west, to the Pacific, which, again according to Philosopher Dufresne, has no memory -- hopefully no memory of what happened to me the last time I was in L.A. My drive across the entire country was the metaphoric made literal, a sudden bolt of physical momentum that finally led me forward for the first time in a long time -- appreciating each new day rather than uselessly looking back on anything that had happened in the past, any of the immutable events of history that had led me to each precious new second in time. It was good. It was the lesson I needed.

But it's a difficult outlook to maintain when you realize that each time your child visits from her expensive three-story home in Dallas, you have to convert your bedroom into hers and play a personally heartbreaking game of pretend, hoping she doesn't notice or care about the difference. When you're struggling with the kinds of money issues that seem to have ceased being a problem for other people years ago. When you can't understand why anything can make you cry. When you truly come to believe, finally, at the age of 43, that there's a very good chance you're not going to live to see old age, nor would you much want to.

Yesterday, I was wandering a local Rite-Aid, looking for a bottle of water and a bottle of Tylenol. As I moved through the aisles, I noticed that the music playing on the overhead speaker system was Tears for Fears' Everybody Wants To Rule the World, a seminal song from my high school years. I try not to look back on those days too much because nostalgia gets you nowhere; again, the past is past and there's no changing it. But I do miss the optimism of that era, the knowledge that no matter what went wrong, there would always be time to fix it. Tears for Fears then segued into Bon Jovi's Who Says You Can't Go Home. A New Jersey band. Singing about going home.

Act 3: "Every Guy Who Ran That Crew..."

There aren't enough superlatives to fully and properly express the impact that James Gandolfini had on television as an art form and, as has been almost universally acknowledged, on those he came into contact with throughout his career. He died last week at the far-too-young age of 51 of a massive heart attack -- cut to black, likely didn't even hear it coming -- but by creating the most complex, indelible and influential character in dramatic television history, he ensured that his legacy will live on for a very long time indeed. Like his alter-ego Tony Soprano, he was taken from us so quickly that we barely had time to process it, each, some have argued, a victim of his own bad choices. In Tony's case it was a life of crime; in James's case, a potential lack of attention to the deterioration of his heart. Either way, the end result is the same: death, an abrupt nothingness. I'm left wondering, though, whether Gandolfini ever looked back on his work on The Sopranos and felt somewhat haunted by it, if he pondered whether he'd ever do something that good, create something that undeniably flawless, again. An artist, of course, isn't merely to be judged by his or her current output but is in reality the sum of it over a large swath of time; provided they've got real talent, people tend to judge artists by what they've done throughout their lives, not simply what they're doing at any one moment. But creative types themselves don't always see it that way; they can go completely fucking crazy, unleashing their own private hell, simply by doing nothing more than constantly asking if their best days as a painter, actor, musician, writer, and so on are behind them.

I don't claim by any means to be a great writer, but I admit that I now go back and look at the material I wrote for years on this site and in Dead Star Twilight and it's as if I'm reading the work of someone else. I remember the act of writing but I can't for the life of me explain how I came up with the words that I did. What I read from years ago feels fearless and passionate, far too fearless and passionate to come from the person I know now to be me, the person I live with every day and night. That person is timid, frightened almost all the time, aware maybe of the best way to proceed but once again too trapped under the weight of mid-life stasis to actually proceed that way. That person has proven time and time again that it all comes back to this: feeling despondent, feeling overwhelmed, absolutely sure that his best days are behind him. Only now it's worse because I'm finally willing to -- have no choice but to, really -- admit that a lot of the past wasn't all that great. So if the past was bad and it's the best it's going to get and there's no other way to live but for today, what the hell do you do? How do you continue to move forward?

In the last season of The Sopranos, David Chase put Tony Soprano on the final path toward his inescapable end. Tony was shot and awoke from a near-death experience to find that he'd been given a second chance to redeem himself and possibly live out his years in peace with his family. But it took almost no time at all for him to return to the life he'd come to know all too well and enjoy far too much. He cheated on Carmela, killed Christopher, arrogantly and ignominiously gave up on his treatment and was consequently dumped by Dr. Melfi, and with all of this, the wheels were set in motion for Tony's doom. Again, as Chase said, it was all there. Anyone could see it. In fact, if you go back and watch all of Season Six of the show from start to finish with the knowledge that Tony is killed at the very end of the final episode, it's impossible not to see just how obviously, meticulously, and brilliantly that outcome was set up.

Everything in his life led to what finally happened to him.

It'd be nice to believe that he could have changed it, could have averted his ultimate reckoning. But who can really say for sure? Maybe he hadn't, in fact, chosen it. Maybe it was something he couldn't change and something he therefore had to simply accept. Maybe his death, like his life, was inevitable. It was the only ending that made sense.

Listening Post

British electronic gods Chase & Status put together one of the best albums of 2010 -- and now they're back.

Here's their new single.

This is Lost & Not Found.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Listening Post

While their first two records were damn near masterworks of blistering rock, Living Colour did quite a bit beyond that. Like this song, from 1993.

Here's Leave It Alone.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Listening Post

One of the most annoying things for me about the all this Edward Snowden crap is that now I can't help thinking about that idiot every time I hear the name of this song. And there simply aren't words for now much I love this song and this band.

Here's Doves -- Snowden.

Happy Monday, hamsters. Back to the wheel with you.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fry a Little Tenderness

I just wanted to take a second to follow up on the whole Paula Deen miasma, which culminated yesterday in what had to be Deen's worst day ever. In a period of less than ten hours she bailed on the Today show, posted a bizarre, rambling apology on YouTube, took that apology down, put it back up, and lost her home at Food Network after executives there decided they weren't willing to take the heat of keeping her around. You have to have a lot to feel the excruciating pain of losing a lot, and yesterday Paula Deen lost a lot. I get the impression that she'd love to figure out a way to just make the whole day go away entirely.

There are a lot of people gloating right now over Deen's downfall and I fully admit to not being a fan of hers at all. I also admit to gleefully taking part in the hilarious Twitter pile-on both yesterday and Wednesday when this whole thing first broke. Having a somewhat good-natured laugh at pain, even someone else's pain, is what we human beings do; there's just no way around it, I guess. But believe it or not there truly is a part of me that feels a little sorry for Deen. Obviously, she's still got a giant bag of money she's sitting on and there's no way in hell this controversy is going to sink her entirely, so my sympathy is tempered quite a bit. Still, Paula Deen's brand of racism, while potentially far more insidious in the big picture, isn't the same as the brand that shows a true internal hatred for people of color.

Yes, an argument can easily be made that it's casual, inadvertent racism that allows for the more blatant, in-your-face kind, but as I often say when someone gets in deep shit for saying or doing something the masses find reprehensible -- rightly or wrongly -- you have to consider a person's intent before deciding what punishment to mete out. If Paula Deen truly didn't understand that what she was doing could be construed as incredibly hurtful and that it both enabled and perpetuated the problem of racism in America -- certainly in the South -- does she deserved to be publicly eviscerated and lose a substantial portion of that for which she obviously did work pretty hard? It's absolutely fair to refuse to tolerate racist behavior or language of any kind, but I'm genuinely not sure Paula Deen had any idea what the hell she was doing. If that's true, isn't it better to give her a hand to hold rather than one that beats her over the head?

It may be tough to see it as a legitimate excuse, but Deen's apparently blithe attitude toward racist language really is a product of her surroundings. That kind of crap still goes on all over the place in the South and I'm certainly not condoning or suggesting we let it slide. Far from it, in fact; I generally hate the fucking South. Deen is a hugely popular face of that region and its sometimes intransigent beliefs, though, and rather than trying to take several pounds of very fatty flesh, would it possibly be a better idea to reach out to her in the spirit of the understanding we all purport to crave and let a public conversation with her on race and racial issues perhaps be an example to those who look up to her? Of course we all know that there's a part of her that's crying more for herself than anything or anyone else when she pleads for forgiveness, but that doesn't mean her transgressions can't serve a useful purpose for everyone.

Maybe it's a bitter pill for all of us who seek to eradicate racism to swallow -- and maybe it's easy for me to say because I'm a white guy -- but if creating an open dialog by showing a little kindness and compassion to somebody like Paula Deen furthers that cause, maybe it's worth it.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Listening Post

Every couple of years around here I bring this back as a Listening Post.


Because it's one of the best damn soul/funk/rock songs ever.

Stevie Wonder's Living for the City.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Bob & Chez Show After Party

Join the After Party

Here’s What You’re Missing This Week: Paula Deen and the N-Word; Our Favorite Contributions to the Paula Deen Hashtag; Food Network Star and Farewell to Danushka; Career Reality Show Stars; Spoiler-Filled Review of ‘Man of Steel’ (Timecode :32 through :44); Phlegmy the Movie Clown; Sarah Palin Returns to Fox News; Allen West to Primary-Challenge Marco Rubio; Masturbating Fetuses; and much more.

The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show, 6.19.13

The NSA Eavesdropping Story Week 2; The CNET Meltdown; Snowden’s G20 Surveillance Leak; Irresponsible Journalism; All the President’s Men; Link Bait; The FBI Uses Surveillance; Masturbating Fetus Drones; The Growing Division on the Left; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius, the Amazon Link and the Bowen Law Group.

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Listening Post

Somehow it just seems necessary this morning.

The show that redefined television -- and the song that redefined television show title sequences.

Here's A3's Woke Up This Morning.

So long, T.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cut To Black

I had been in the New York City area just a couple of months when I got stuck in traffic on Route 17 out in North Jersey. I was still living in a hotel room then not far from the MSNBC studios, covering the aftermath of 9/11, and wanted to go grab some decent food without actually having to go into the city, so I headed west into inland Jersey and ran headlong into a dead stop, bumper-to-bumper.

I sat in it for maybe ten minutes before I finally gave some thought to getting out and having a look around to see what the hell was going on. That thought stopped cold the second the guy in front of me got out of his car.

It was a maroon Chevy Suburban. The driver's side door opened and out crawled a giant bear of a man dressed in a Tommy Bahama-style short-sleeve button-down with beige palm fronds on it and a pair of basic Men's Warehouse-looking slacks. As he looked around a bit in front of him, I couldn't help but feel like I'd absolutely seen him before but I just assumed it was the type more than anything. This was Jersey, after all.

And then he turned around and faced me. And it was James Gandolfini. No, it wasn't James Gandolfini. It was, sincerely, Tony Soprano.

The SUV, the wardrobe, the guy. On Route 17, the location of the infamous Satin Dolls strip club, better known to TV viewers as the Bada-Bing. I literally froze -- my mouth open slightly, breath shallow, heart-rate spiking -- because, for just a second, I wondered whether the man I was looking at really was Tony, the New Jersey crime boss whose exploits I had watched religiously since The Sopranos debuted on HBO. I wondered whether this guy would take me home to have dinner with Carmela, Meadow, and A.J. if I approached him, or better yet, to the Bada-Bing where I'd get to hang out with Silvio, Christopher and Paulie. I was a good Italian boy, after all.

It was one of the most surreal -- and one of the coolest -- experiences of my entire life.

Several outlets are now confirming that the great James Gandolfini, Tony Soprano, died today suddenly at the age of 51. While vacationing in Italy, naturally. The effect Gandolfini had on the way television characters are portrayed, with the anti-hero suddenly becoming the star, and the effect The Sopranos in general had on television simply cannot be overstated. It's still one of the best shows that's ever graced the medium, and Gandolfini, one of the best actors to ever create an indelible character, possibly the greatest, most fully-formed dramatic character TV has ever seen.

I'll always love The Sopranos. And I'll always remember my thrilling, kind of terrifying brush with Tony.

Picture of the Day

Palin. Shit. I'm still writing about Palin.

So Sarah Palin got all dolled up for her triumphant return to Fox News and was predictably greeted by the paparazzi she'd called in advance. I always thought it was needlessly snobby for the truly wealthy to look down on the nouveau riche, but taking this sight in from head to toe, I kind of get it now. If the first thing that pops into your mind as you feast your eyes upon Palin -- in her reflective wraparounds and Valentino-meets-Jeffrey Campbell high-heels -- isn't the old adage about money not buying class, well then it had better be something along the lines of "The nannies have tucked the kids in -- it's girls night out in Orlando, ladies!"

Pretty soon I'm going to return to this site in a very authoritative way. I'm going to do it because, quite frankly, I miss my home and I feel like I've drifted too far away from it. For now, though, let's resurrect a classic from the DXM vault that dissected Sarah Palin's initial transformation from dumb-ass backwater hick to phony-baloney populist belle of the ball.

The Meta-Metamorphosis of Sarah Palin (Originally Publishes, 10.24.08)

Remember Sarah Palin's hilarious appearance on Saturday Night Live last weekend?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

The truth is that Palin's SNL cameo was, by almost any reasonable standard, entirely uneventful -- shocking only for its complete lack of shock. I'm not sure what most people were expecting, but given her reputation for self-satisfied feistiness I think it's safe to say that Sarah Palin-as-barely-there-window-dressing probably wasn't it. Think about it: the woman who's been a weekly punching bag for a bunch of New York City wise-asses who can barely hide their disdain for her finally gets a chance to turn the tables and take a few shots of her own on national television and what does she do? Nothing. She talks to Lorne Michaels, shakes hands with Alec Baldwin, doesn't even speak to Tina Fey -- who's been personally responsible for the merciless mocking which many believe has helped to cement her image as a worldwide laughing stock -- but instead allows Fey to shoot her a look of absolute contempt, and throws her hands in the air for an "Alaska Rap" that makes MC Rove's little dance a couple of years back look like Chris Brown.

Sure, the writers likely had plenty of say in just how Palin would be used on the show -- but she's a candidate for the second highest office in the free world. Don't think for a second that she couldn't have flexed some muscle to ensure that she'd come off less like a wallflower and more like the kick-ass Vice Presidentrix holding her own in the lion's den against the snooty liberal onslaught she regularly rails against in small towns across America.

She could've done that. She had the chance -- not to be rude or vicious, but to be sharp and assertive -- and yet she didn't take it.



Because no matter what she says to the robotic throngs of Joe Six-Packs who show up at her rallies -- no matter how strenuously she demonizes the so-called elitism of those Times-reading pseudo-intellectuals on the coasts -- make no mistake: She loved every second of being on Saturday Night Live.

Loved it.

She couldn't get enough of hearing the audience laugh.

It thrilled her to no end to shout, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!"

She got wet when Alec Baldwin stroked her hand and spoke to her in that soothing tone.

Sarah Palin was, in a word, starstruck -- both by those around her and, yes, by herself and how far she'd come. There she was, living out her Small Town TV Reporter/Miss Alaska Pageant fantasy of being on one of the biggest entertainment stages in the country, surrounded by celebrities. And she was the hottest thing there -- the belle of the ball.

We know this because according to SNL costume designer Tim Broecker, Palin was somewhat of a prima donna, upset that producers wanted her to wear the same kind of red skirt suit that Tina Fey's dead-on impression of Palin wears each week -- the kind Palin herself wore when she first hit the campaign trail. As it turns out, however, Fey's parody may not be so dead-on anymore, at least not when it comes to the way she dresses. Put simply, Tina Fey's version of Sarah Palin's fashion is so September, and Palin saw no reason to go back to that frumpy look, even for a comedy bit -- not when she'd worked so hard and spent so much of the Republican National Committee's money over the past few weeks to carefully cultivate a new image as America's Next Next-to-Top Executive.

By the way, now might be a good time to remind yourself of that whole Obama-Paris Hilton comparison that John McCain shamelessly pushed earlier this year and marvel at how the entire McCain campaign has become one constantly constricting Ouroboros of bald-faced hypocrisy.

Sarah Palin honestly thinks she's a star -- a pop culture icon. She now believes her own hype.

That pandering and sloganeering and droppin'-her-g's garbage? That's all a means to an end. I have no doubt that Palin actually buys into the crap she's shoveling -- that she's a True Believer in the power of Joe Six-Pack and a lockstep warrior for nonsensical neo-con values. It's just that over the past several weeks, it's become glaringly obvious that Sarah Palin's primary concern throughout this campaign has always been Sarah Palin. Like the proverbial ingenue, she was plucked from relative obscurity by a sad, aging once-great looking for that last shot at glory -- a guy convinced that her youth and vitality would be just what he needed to finally thrust him into the big time. And like the Hollywood ending that you could've seen coming a mile away, the ingenue quickly outgrew the one-time father figure and realized that he was actually nothing more than an obstacle on her own road to fame and fortune. Just like John McCain now at least partially blames Sarah Palin's shallow ignorance for his spiraling political fortunes, make no mistake that Sarah Palin -- in a breathtaking lack of gratitude -- likewise blames McCain's doddering buffoonery for hers, which is why, if you pay close attention, you can see that she's already subtly distancing herself from her running mate in what some are saying is an effort to sow the seeds of a personal run for the presidency in 2012.

As he often does, Bob Cesca cranked out a pretty entertaining piece for the Huffington Post recently in which he heralded the death of what he calls "Larry the Cable Guy Politics"; the idea being that for years Republican mainstays like George W. Bush have been playing dress-up, pretending to be just your average uneducated dumb-asses in an effort to ingratiate themselves to the real uneducated dumb-asses they rely on to keep them in power -- the same way comedian Dan Whitney has assumed the entirely fraudulent persona of "Larry the Cable Guy" because it's made him really, really rich. Cesca likens it to the meta-performance of Mark Wahlberg playing Eddie Adams playing Dirk Diggler playing Brock Landers in Boogie Nights. But now comes this little twist: that Sarah Palin, despite actually being a hockey mom and working off the premise that she's just Jane Six-Pack when trying to sell herself and her "vision" to NASCAR America, in reality doesn't think of herself as average at all. She in fact sees herself as a fashion plate, some hyper-hottie in a tight leather blazer and knee-high black boots, someone worthy of a $75,000 shopping spree at Neiman Marcus. Sarah Palin is now everything she ever dreamed of being: Sex and the City, right down to the "city" part. Sure, publicly she rebukes and ridicules those cosmopolitan urbanites in their bustling elitist hubs, but she knows damn well that she can't buy Valentino and Louis Vuitton at the Wal-Mart in Wasilla -- and if you don't think that Sarah Heath Palin has always fantasized about wearing Valentino and carrying Louis Vuitton, I've got a bridge to nowhere I want to sell you. She may still be a backwater dingbat, but she's now a very well put together backwater dingbat -- which I'm willing to bet has convinced her that she's no longer a backwater dingbat. If this is true, then it would mean that Palin has essentially ascended to the same position as George W. Bush and her GOP benefactors: she's only playing the part of the rube and is, in fact, secretly talking down to every one of those pick-up-driving Toby Keith fans who show up to her rallies -- the Dickies-clad folk not lucky enough to have won the Miss Vice Presidential pageant and been scooped up to a life of charter jets and appearances on Saturday Night Live.

But the new and improved Sarah Palin is more than just a simple case of someone taking on a part or putting on airs -- "lipstick on a pig," as it were.

I don't think Charlie Kaufman himself could've dreamed up a more Victor/Victorian mobius strip of meta-fiction than Saturday Night Live sticking the real Sarah Palin into her old red skirt suit to play Tina Fey playing Sarah Palin.

It would be enough to make your head spin were we not already talking about a woman whose willful Extreme Makeover had transformed her, ironically, into the very thing she purports to despise.

Of course, I'm not sure that -- as with everything Sarah Palin has shown us to date -- all the folksy indignation wasn't just bullshit anyway.

Listening Post

The only thing this song is missing is Ian McCulloch shouting, "Spare us the cutter!" That's how Echo and the Bunnymen this new Editors single is.

Here's A Ton of Love.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Listening Post

I really hate Kanye West. I hate him precisely because, for all his narcissism, his insufferable persecution complexes, and of course his idiot bride, I can't hate him. Every time I promise myself that I'm done with him, that he's gone so far off the rails that I simply can't overlook his personal ridiculousness -- that nothing he does in the studio could be worth it -- he steps up and reminds me and everybody else why we put up with him: because he is just that fucking brilliant when it comes to making music.

His new album, Yeezus, drops today. It's got a couple of DOA tracks, certainly, but the stuff that connects knocks it out of the park.

This, in particular, is easily one of the best songs of the year.

Here's Black Skinhead, live on SNL.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Listening Post

New Mayer Hawthorne is always welcome, and this is a damn good track. Just can't stop listening to it.

Here's Her Favorite Song.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Quote of the Day

"Greenwald has not yet made a public evaluation of whether or not he agrees that he made that mistake. He owes it to us to do so, with as much speed as practicably possible. It’s not too much to say that the fate of his broader NSA project might hinge on doing so effectively—because the powers that be will find it very easy to seize on this one error to discredit his every NSA revelation, even the ones he nailed dead to rights... Such distraction campaigns are how power does its dirtiest work. Think of the way the questions about the authenticity of the 'Killian documents' were able to obscure the fact that George W. Bush actually did go AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard or how the unrelated or how the unrelated killing of a CIA station chief in Greece was used to discredit the congressional investigations of CIA wrongdoing in 1975—cases with which Greenwald should be well-familiar. So, Glenn Greenwald, what’s the word? The fate of our civil liberties may depend on it."

-- The Nation's Rick Perlstein on questions being raised about Glenn Greenwald's dubious reporting on the PRISM program and the NSA's data-mining in general, including an apparent mistake that Perlstein is calling Greenwald's "epic botch"

Meanwhile, over at Mother Jones, Kevin Drum has some questions of his own about Edward Snowden. What's interesting is that Drum links back to Andrew Sullivan, who links to the guy who's turning out to be Patient Zero in the push-back against Greenwald and Snowden's claims, the guy who first started asking very serious questions and demanding that Greenwald clarify his claims: Bob Cesca. These people are basically quoting Cesca and the stuff he's been writing for the Daily Banter all week, word-for-word.

A big standing-O for Bob today, my friends. He's doing a yeoman's job.

The Bob & Chez Show After Party, 6.13.13

Join the After Party

Here’s What You’re Missing This Week: Mad Men Spoilers; Cleaning Out the Bucket of Show; Listener Reaction to Last Week’s Show; More on the NSA Story and Greenwald; Scrambling the Left-Right Paradigm — in Hong Kong; Obama Supported the FISA Amendments of 2008; Taibbi Versus Greenwald; Food Network Star; Chez Feuds with Restaurant Stakeout Host; New Superman Movie; New Hobbit Trailer (Which Chez Doesn’t Care About); Forgotten Sequels; The New Mr. Rogers Remix: Sing Together; and much more.

The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show, 6.12.13

The NSA Eavesdropping Story: Snowden Leaks to Hong Kong Press; A Million Questions; Greenwald’s Agenda; Misleading Reporting; Where Was the Tech Vetting; Chez’s Media Guide; "Direct Access" is an FTP Server; Credibility and Transparency; Where Do We Draw the Counterterrorism Line; Greenwald Blocked Bob; Ron Paul and Drones; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius, the Amazon Link and the Bowen Law Group.

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When it comes to interesting musical projects, ex-drummers for Nine Inch Nails have pretty much everybody beat. Josh Freese has worked with artist after arrist and his solo stuff is fantastic. Chris Vrenna created the great Tweaker and a couple of months ago was playing with Clint Mansell live, and then there's this: Jerome Dillon's criminally underappreciated solo band, Nearly.

Nearly released a record back in 2005 that's still one of my favorites of the last decade, the kind of thing I go back to again and again. Last night one of the NIN fan accounts tweeted out a link to a Soundcloud sampling of Nearly's stuff that includes an outtake from a 2010 studio session -- and as expected, it's lush, sensual stuff.

This is Thirteen.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Comment of the Week

I'm always curious what leads people to old pieces I've written, and certainly what would lead someone to comment on an old piece that I've written when it should be abundantly clear that pretty much nobody will see it -- unless of course the comment in question is as insane as this one.

Five years ago, I wrote about CNN correspondent Richard Quest's unusual run-in with the law. For those who don't remember, he was arrested in Central Park with a bag of meth in his pocket, a dildo stuffed in his shoe, and a rope tied around his balls. (For the record, that's how I go out every day.) He was jettisoned off to rehab for a bit but in the end didn't actually lose his job at CNN, which at the time kind of peeved me given that I had just been fired for blogging.

Anyway, it turns out the reason he wasn't let go involves, of course, the Great Zionist Media Conspiracy, which also includes Wolf Blitzer and -- eh, fuck it, just read the anonymous comment that came in overnight.

"LMFAO! The REAL reason Quest was retained (while you were not) is because he is JEWISH. It's no secret that CNN is Zionist dominated; Wolf Blitzer who is the chief anchor for CNN, is a Mossad Agent (everybody know it, nobody says it) and most of the reporters there shill for Israel; they're only 'liberal' when they criticize anybody else - otherwise they're hawkish when it comes to protecting Israeli interests. Hey, they fired their BEST reporter Peter Arnett because he was unbiased and they fired Octavia Nasr for having an opinion (something that I'm told is common in a democracy) so dumping a meth head (especially someone stupid enough to tell his arresting officer he has drugs in his pockets!) would be a no-brainer; But NOOOOOOO! The Mr. Bean copycat still has a job. I used to enjoy Quest when he was on The BBC; he was so insane (I think they deliberately let him run riot just so that they could laugh at him behind his back) at the drab BBC that he livened up the proceedings; but at CNN he was insufferable. It's hard to stand apart when you're a clown because the circus around you is even more ridiculous than you are! He seems to get picked for news that's NOT in his field of expertise and I don't learn a thing from his reports! No good if you're going to call yourself a journalist. I wouldn't be surprised if this is HIS (unique) way of getting himself fired! Amazing! Perhaps you should have tried to DELIBERATELY get yourself fired; then they would have retained you!"

It's been a while since I truly maintained this site in a manner befitting it and its storied history, and, believe me, no one's more upset about that than me. But I guess it's nice that I can still draw the occasional Thorazine-addled reader onto the premises.

Listening Post

Boards of Canada, along with Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky, sit atop the list of bands making wonderfully experimental "soundtrack music." I'm talking about the kind of evocative, mysterious material that feels like it actually has the power to transform the world around you as you listen to it.

Here's the new single from Boards -- Reach for the Dead.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Listening Post

The new single from the Civil Wars is available beginning today -- and as you might expect, it's damn good.

Here's The One That Got Away.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Quote of the Day

"I get so tired of having to cry out 'misogyny,' but that’s what’s going on in this situation. People questioning the idea that a woman could sleep with a man who defied her lot in the looks bracket hews so closely to these really outdated ideas about what makes a woman worth spending time with. Really? Can you not imagine a world in which a girl who’s sexually down for anything and oddly gregarious pulls a guy out of his shell for two days?"

-- Lena Dunham on those who say that a man who looks like Patrick Wilson would never stoop to having sex with a woman who looks like Lena Dunham's Hannah Horvath character on Girls, as he does for an entire episode last season

Trust me, Lena, there are plenty of us who are just as tired of hearing you cry out "misogyny" over every little goddamned thing, too.

I did actually see the episode she's talking about, the one in which her character comes on to a doctor played by Patrick Wilson -- an intelligent, established, seemingly normal guy, as opposed to the insufferable shitheads who populate the Dunham-centric view of Brooklyn where most of Girls takes place -- and the two wind up screwing and basically playing house for a couple of days. I didn't find the premise at all hard to believe because, what the hell, she made it clear she was completely willing and he obviously didn't have anything important to do that weekend.

Notice, though, that the two of them never left the house. In other words, he didn't go anywhere he could be seen with her -- certainly not someplace he might run into friends who'd ask, "Who's the dumpy little hipster troll and can you get her to stop talking?"

I think I hear Lena Dunham crying out again.

Adding: I got an e-mail response to this post that I just have to share. It's pretty much spot-on:

"What a baby Lena Dunham is. A big, whiny, stupid, baby. She wants all of the plaudits and credit for being 'daring' but she wants ZERO criticism. For her to cravenly cry 'misogyny' -- just because the idea of her obnoxious doughball character hooking up with a hot doctor is considered laughable to all sensible humans -- shows just how much of a coward she truly is.

I laugh at the idea that she's any kind of a hero. She's not brave in any way. Yeah, she takes her clothes off on film, but we're not allowed to have an honest reaction to her body. And I think we both know that she couldn't handle 1/100th of the criticism an actual non-famous ugly girl has to deal with on a daily basis. Normal ugly girls are just stuck being ugly and having to deal with it. They don't get to have makeout sessions with handsome actors.

I also don't think she's unfairly maligned due to her gender. If anything I think she gets a substantial amount of kid-glove treatment because she's a woman. Imagine if a male writer/actor did what she was doing. Imagine if, say, Jonah Hill wrote a series about himself as 'the voice of his generation' and had scenes of him banging Jessica Alba. He'd be laughed out of Hollywood. Jezebel would devote a week's worth of articles to him, roundly mocking him for the adolescent jerkoff fantasies he'd written.

But Lena Dunham is a visionary.

Here's the most revealing quote: 'Can you not imagine a world in which a girl who’s sexually down for anything and oddly gregarious pulls a guy out of his shell for two days?'

But see, a guy like that wouldn't be in his shell. He's a handsome doctor in New York, you really think Hannah Horvath is the best he can do on a random weekend? See that's the kind of shit that reveals how delusional Lena really is. She sees nothing fraudulent or self-indulgent in this little fantasy she's concocted. 'What man wouldn't want to spend an uninhibited weekend (probably with anal) with little old me? I'm so witty and free. Down for anything!'

I just don't think she gets that she's writing a character who's NOT on TV. She's not writing about her ideal self. She's writing about a normal, dumpy schlub of a girl who lives in a city where dumpy girls don't talk hunky doctors into bed for two days. That ain't how it works.

Here's the sobering truth that Dunham doesn't understand, the truth that none of her friends or handlers will tell her, the truth I'd like to tell her personally: this is life in the big city. You don't have the options you think you do. Maybe in Mobile, Alabama you're an 8 1/2, but here in NYC you're a 3-4 at best. I don't care what you're 'down' for. Because here in the big city a guy can find smart, funny, sexy, ballsy, hard-drinking, down-for-anything girls who are also drop-dead gorgeous or at least not trollish and irritating. Because it's the fucking city. Sorry to blow your mind, honey.

Lena Dunham the famous actor/writer probably can land a hot guy. Hannah Horvath the obnoxious shitty writer who lives in a crappy NYC apartment and ISN'T FAMOUS, cannot.

-- Julia"

That's actually a terrific point: While I actually do think there are guys in New York City -- and everywhere else -- who'll sleep with just about anybody who offers, the arrogance in creating a character played by yourself whom a gorgeous guy way above the character's station falls for completely is just breathtaking. And I've heard the theory that the entire episode is a fantasy in Hannah's head, but Dunham's snotty defense would seem to cast doubt on that possibility. Also, yes, remove the sexual component from the mix -- in other words, make Hannah a schlubby, talkative, badly dressed doof who isn't immediately making it clear that she's willing to put out -- and watch how quickly that scenario would go from laughable to impossible. M. Night Shyamalan was pilloried for being so egomaniacal as to cast himself as a writer whose work was going to change the world in Lady in the Water, but Lena Dunham casts herself as a chubby manic hipster dreamgirl who beds a really hot doctor -- helping him learn to live again in the process -- and she's a genius.

The Bob & Chez Show After Party, 6.6.13

Join the After Party

This Week: The New Paul Thomas Anderson Movie; Bob and Chez in a Foul Mood; Emotional Drama with Chez on the Couch; Pandering for Blog Traffic; Listicles; TV Abuse, Spoilers and the Game of Thrones Season Finale (No Spoilers Within); Self-Indulgent Cable Drama Series; It's Time Once Again To Hate-Watch "The Next Food Network Star" (This Season With "Pie Fieri"); The Dog That Screams Like a Man; and much more.

The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show, 6.5.13

Michelle Obama Confronted By Heckler; Ineffectual Protests and Activism; Right-Wing Racism; Breitbart Reactions to Susan Rice Appointment as NSA; The Morton Downey Jr. Phenomenon; Tea Party Racist Accidentally Speaks the Truth; Racist Judge Attacks African-Americans; Glenn Beck Interviews Glenn Beck; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius, the Amazon Link and the Bowen Law Group.

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Listening Post

Last week I said I was on a Wings kick but maybe I'm just on a 70s kick, because I've been listening to a hell of a lot of Rose Royce lately.

Here's a classic that I still can't get enough of.

From 1977, it's Wishing on a Star.

Happy Friday, all.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Tweet of the Day


Listening Post

Dear God, yes.

Here it is, folks: brand new Nine Inch Nails.

I have to admit I was wary given the turn Trent's music has taken over the past few years. Not that I don't like it; I like it very much. It's just that it's been very experimental, free-form and obviously made to be applied to movie soundtracks. I wondered if he could regain the kind of focus that would create not just great music but great Nine Inch Nails music.

And he has.

This sounds like the old material I love so much. This sounds brand new. It's just fucking great.

Here's Came Back Haunted.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Quote of the Day

"The headline-grabbing outburst is a common ploy, one that, it depresses me to say, is far too often used by those of us here on the crunchy left. We can say that dire circumstances call for extreme reactions, but really, all that heckling does is broadcast to the world, 'What I feel right this moment is more important what everybody else in the room paid money to experience.' We see it again and again, and never satisfyingly. Last summer, a comedy club patron enticed Daniel Tosh to make some very unfortunate remarks about rape – an event that was set in motion the woman decided, 'I felt that sitting there and saying nothing, or leaving quietly, would have been against my values as a person and as a woman.' In other words, much like Sturtz, she decided that her values should be made known to everyone in the audience, because they were more important than anything anybody else was saying or doing. Certainly more important than what the person the rest of the assembly had paid their money to see was saying and doing.

I believe in vigorous debate and fighting with all the passion we have for the issues that matter. And that is not possible when we are selfish, self-appointed arbiters of what the person in the front of the room with the microphone ought to be talking about. There is plenty to be pissed off about in this world. I’m in the Yes to Equal Rights, No to Rape camp too. I think that Rick Santorum actually looks better covered in a sparkly dusting of glitter. But the moment we play the 'I just couldn’t help myself' card we shut down meaningful conversation. Yelling at someone is not 'interaction.' Sure, we get noticed, but it’s easy to get noticed. A no-nonsense mom like Michelle Obama could tell you that any two year-old in a WalMart can get noticed just by throwing herself on the floor of the sporting goods aisle. That doesn’t mean anybody is going to take her seriously."

-- Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams on getEQUAL activist Ellen Sturtz's highly ill-advised attempt to shout down Michelle Obama at a fundraiser last night over the subject gay rights

Fuck. Yes.

This sums up so much of what I've said before about both the ridiculous Code Pink-style protest model of screaming, shouting, and general disruption and why heckling a comic opens you up to just about whatever abusive response consequently comes your way.

Listening Post

I realize this song has been used and overused, but it's still a singularly extraordinary cover. It was also the soundtrack to a pretty bad little breakdown I had at around three in the morning overnight. Not that it was playing or anything; I just woke up with it in my head and everything sort of went downhill from there.

So here it is.

Gary Jules -- Mad World.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Listening Post

Maybe there's something to be said for the fact that Filter hasn't really changed in almost 20 years. While some would see it as tedious and
unimaginative, I kind of feel comforted by it. They've made blisteringly heavy but endlessly melodic rock going all the way back to 1995, with quite a bit of their stuff acting as a soundtrack to various points in my life between then and now, and I can't think of that as being anything but good.

Here's "new" Filter. This is What Do You Say.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Listening Post

Given that this clip has about 55-million hits on YouTube it's not like it's brand new or little-seen. Still, it's a great song.

Here's Justin Timberlake's Mirrors.

I mean it when I say that things will get back on track here soon. Today will be a 15-hour workday for me -- and that's about average these days. So you have an idea what I'm up against in my life right now.

I miss writing, though. I mean writing I'm not doing for Banter but for me. That has to return soon otherwise I'll go crazy.