There's something wonderfully mesmerizing about this video. Maybe it comes from how much I used to love listening to music while just staring out the window of the train in New York City.
Here's Deftones offshoot Team Sleep -- Ever.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Today's piece for the Daily Banter takes a look at what the hell went wrong with Aliens: Colonial Marines.
Short answer: a lot.
Here's the opening shot:
"I’ve never attempted to dissect a video game before. Yes, I’m an avid gamer and on more than one occasion I’ve jumped neck-deep into the hype for an upcoming title that I’m excited about. (Beginning on September 17th of this year, don’t even bother trying to contact me for at least a month, seeing as how I’ll be immersed in Grand Theft Auto V to the point where my fingernails will likely grow into my XBox controller.) But I generally just play and don’t really think about the ins and outs of how a game was created, what succeeded, what failed, what behind-the-scenes machinations may have played a role in what ultimately became the final product.
Given that the video game industry, now grandiloquently referred to as 'interactive entertainment,' is a $70 billion-a-year business and is expected to climb to around $90 billion-a-year by 2017, though, I don’t think it’s too inside baseball these days to wonder aloud what happened when something goes horribly wrong. When a highly anticipated and oft-delayed game fails on such a spectacular level that it actually leaves not just the fans but the industry itself trying to figure out what the hell happened. When rabid gamers and even the makers of the title itself hint at looking to the legal system for the satisfaction they absolutely didn’t get from the game. When it threatens to ruin an entire software company. When it creates an actual, honest-to-God scandal.
Such is the case with Aliens: Colonial Marines."
Read the Rest Here
Seriously -- I give up.
"Seth MacFarlane has made millions off being an immature man-child. In fact, it was the success of his particular brand of gross-out offensive humor (served with a smile, of course) that got him the Oscar gig in the first place. So it came as little surprise, then, when base misogyny and racism dominated MacFarlane’s performance on Sunday. And while the musical opener 'We Saw Your Boobs' has been called immature (true) and sexist (also true) — it wasn’t just a harmless roundup of spicy movie scenes. Four of the films MacFarlane crooned about featured nudity during or immediately following violent depictions of rape and sexual assault, stripped of their context and played for laughs. Scarlett Johansson found herself on the list because of a real-life violation: Her nude photos were stolen from her phone and leaked online. Oh, your privacy was invaded and your breasts were splashed across the Internet against your will? That is hilarious!
-- Katie McDonough in a piece for Salon called "'We Saw Your Boobs' Celebrates Rape on Film"
I swear, at this point I think Salon is just trolling. No one can be this fucking stupid and still be able to write a series of complete sentences.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
This is the joke The Onion was trying to make, the thing it was attempting to comment on.
Salon sums it up perfectly without even trying.
"(Anne) Hathaway is the subject of more vituperative, angry scrutiny than perhaps any actress working today. 'Shut up. Shut up, Anne Hathaway. I honestly don’t know what it is. Maybe I’m jealous, but I don’t feel jealousy. I watch her in outtakes, and I feel like she’s not a real person,' wrote a blogger for women’s-interest site Crushable. 'I don’t find her perfection charming. I find it annoying.'
'She always seems like she’s performing, and her favorite act is this overstated humility and graciousness,' said a blogger quoted by Brian Moylan in a piece for Hollywood.com...
'Deep down, we loathe celebrities,' says David Thomson, film critic and author, most recently, of 'The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies.'
'We envy them,' says Thomson. 'We think they don’t deserve it. We hate the influence they have over us. And there have to be sacrificial lambs.' ...
Perhaps there’s a double standard at work here. Bradley Cooper comes in for criticism, too, but it has little to do with the degree to which he is or is not a grown man. 'People are rougher on young female stars than they are on young male stars,' says veteran Hollywood reporter Howard Karren, who served as an editor at Premiere in the 1990s."
Salon: Anne Hathaway: Hollywood's Most Polarizing Star/2.26.13
I'm going to collect these kinds of tweets and use them to write a book on how not to argue. When all you've got is the tired "White Privilege!" line -- which should be considered an internet-era argumentative fallacy it's so impossible to defend against and therefore such a shameless line of attack -- you've pretty much already lost the fight.
You wanna discuss issues like reasonable people who for the most part have respect for each other's views, perfect. You wanna make the pious and asinine claim that somebody's not allowed to comment on something in a way you disagree with because he or she happens to be of a certain race, sex or ethnic background, you're not even worth listening to.
Incidentally, this whole Onion thing isn't about race and never was. I consequently didn't inject race into it, but it's fascinating the number of people who are happy to.
Morrissey was always a miserable prick and the worst thing about the Smiths. Sorry, but it's true. Johnny Marr, on the other hand, is brilliant and remains the only truly great thing about the Smiths and is certainly what elevated the band from the boring-as-hell bunch of nothings they would have been from start-to-finish to what they became on their best songs.
Here's Marr's new solo single, The Messenger.
By the way, I'm in transit today so there won't even be a Banter piece from me. Going to meet up with Cesca in Tennessee for a couple of nights of heavy drinking. There will also, supposedly, be some kind of speaking engagement we're doing as well.
Monday, February 25, 2013
For those who figured that there was no way the controversy over The Onion's crude tweet involving Quvenzhané Wallis was going to simply vanish now that the website's CEO, Steve Hannah, has offered what appears to be a pretty sincere apology, give yourself a prize. Former president of Bennett College and current political commentator Julianne Malveaux, a very smart woman by any measure, is circulating through social media right now what she imagines will turn into a petition but what's inarguably a list of demands aimed at The Onion and its management.
I want you to remember something as you read this: Quvenzhané Wallis wasn't physically assaulted. Because of the Onion tweet that very unwisely used her to make an admittedly brutal comment on our popular culture, one that never should've been attempted at the potential expense of a 9-year-old girl, she won't spend years in therapy, nor will anyone else. No one else was physically or psychically harmed by one offensive bad joke (and anyone who claims otherwise is full of crap). There was no larger group that was demeaned here: not children, not African-Americans, not women, not actors or actresses, and there's no need for anyone besides possibly Wallis herself to demand any kind of satisfaction.
And yet, Julianne Malveaux has bestowed upon herself the right and privilege to decide what penance The Onion, a website that traffics in comedy, must pay to the community at large for its supposed sins. (In my opinion, the sin of making a joke that horribly misfired.) Julianne Malveaux has decided that The Onion's apology isn't good enough and that more action needs to be taken against the site. In essence, she's appointed herself and is drafting others to be enforcers of political correctness who deserve to be assured that The Onion will never cross the line -- whatever line they happen to determine is proper for all of society -- ever again. She believes that she and those who agree with her take on this miasma can and should serve as the arbiters of humor for our entire culture.
That's not only breathtakingly arrogant, it borders on flat-out crazy.
Here's the e-mail in its entirety, including not only Malveaux's letter to Steve Hannah but her entreaty to her friends to pass this along to anyone and everyone.
"Friends an dColleagues,
Please feel free to use all and any parts of thi to deal with the Onion. If there are those of you who will turn this into a petition, please do. I will be reaching out to women's organizations tomorrow. I remain incensed and the 'apology is simply note enough. I am modest in my 'demands' and at this point I am not working with others, but by tomorrow I will be. Take this to the next level if you will.
Dear Steve Hannah,
While your apology for the vile statement made by your staff regarding the wonderful and talented Quvenzhane’ Wallis is duly noted, it is an insufficient response to the heinous insult lobbed at a 9 year old girl. The communities of women, African American women in particular, and indeed the community of anyone with sensitivity, were utterly repelled by the ignorant genderized racism of your staffer. Thus, your apology is received, but not accepted. You must mitigate the damage that your comments caused, not only for Quvenzhane’, but also for the women who, reveling in her success, were damaged by the sucker punch we experienced when your writer found it acceptable to describe a 9 year old girl in a crude term for genitalia, a term at which most adult women would recoil.
Your apology might be more readily received if you and your team would:
1- Reveal the discipline that was imposed by the offensive writer, and that their identity was revealed so that their future offenses can be monitored,
2- Your company made amends to both Quenzhane’ and the community that supports her by;
a. Offering the organizations that monitor gender and racial discrimination through a financial contribution. My suggestion is that you direct at least $50,000 to The Black Women’s Roundtable, The National Organization for Women, and the National Council of Negro Women. Additionally, I would suggest that you offer $50,000 to the charity of Quvenzhane’s choice. If you choose to offer at least $200,000 to other organizations, you should reveal this information to the public.
b. Meeting with representatives of African American and women’s organizations in Washington DC on a date that is mutually agreeable, but no later than March 31, 2013 to discuss the thought process behind the insulting way a young black girl was described and the ways that future occurrences will be prevented.
c. Sharing information on the number of women and people of color on your staff, and share the ways that they impact editorial decisions.
3- Your company provides scholarship opportunities to African American women students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to indicate that you do not see young women in the disparaging ways, but as scholars and contributors. There are two HBCUs that are women’s institutions, Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. At least one scholarship for each of these institutions would be an effective way to offer recompense for your comments.
4- Your company provides speakers to the colleges that will have you to, at no fee to the colleges, explain the difference between satire and offense. To notify interested colleges, it is my suggestion that your company take out a full page advertisement in Diverse Issues in Higher Education to both reprint your apology and offer the opportunity for your staff to meet on colleges.
As an emerita president of an HBCU focused on women, I was repelled by your writer’s comments. Taking them down and then apologizing is the simple way out for this offense. I call upon you to take proactive action to redress this wrong.
I have no vested interest in any of the organizations I have mentioned here (except that I am President Emerita of Bennett College for Women). However, my constant association with young women and my association with young women make The Onion’s comments exceedingly offensive.
I am asking friends and colleagues to withdraw any support to The Onion until your apology is enhanced by action. I am also asking all women’s and African American organizations to join my insistence that your apology is insufficient. I expect that you will hear from them.
I do look forward to your response.
There's nothing wrong with being offended by The Onion's comment. There's everything wrong with taking that offense and turning it into this insanity.
It's been a while since I've bothered to bring up Glenn Greenwald but this is simply too good to pass up.
Ben over at the Daily Banter has posted definitive proof of Greenwald's complete lack of anything approaching a sense of humor. It comes during an exchange in the comment section of Greenwald's piece today in which he practically climaxes all over himself at the fact that Zero Dark Thirty didn't win an Oscar in any of the major categories last night, which he of course sees as an indictment of the film's treatment of the subject of torture and its supposed lionizing of the CIA. (Greenwald hilariously calls Oscar night a "bad evening" for the CIA, apparently failing to grasp that Best Picture-winner Argo was basically a love letter to the agency.)
Anyway, Greenwald can't help but crow about how he was right -- as he always is -- and the movie critics who raved about Zero Dark Thirty were wrong. And that's when a few commenters have their way with him -- and his response to them is truly priceless.
The Daily Banter: Glenn Greenwald Literally Has No Sense of Humor Whatsoever/2.25.13
I love it when Greenwald proves what an insufferable little cunt he is. And no, unlike with the Onion tweet, that crack wasn't aimed at us -- it was aimed squarely at Greenwald.
"It’s a blaring example of how casually racism and misogyny, even about young children, can be accepted and even celebrated by some percentage of the public — especially when it is couched in the form of humor. So many kinds of hostility — racial, sexual, homo- and trans-phobic humor — gain an easy acceptability, precisely because it plays into the ironic hipster self-aware racism of 'being so cool that we know it’s racist that it’s ok to participate in it. We’re above it.'"
-- Salon contributor Falguni A. Sheth, a professor of philosophy and political theory at Hampshire College and a self-described writer about politics, race, and feminism, on The Onion's Quvenzhané Wallis tweet
I won't lie, I was eagerly awaiting the entertainment sure to be had when Salon decided to step up and dispense the liberal intelligentsia's view from Olympus on this whole Onion thing -- and God knows, Falguni A. Sheth didn't disappoint.
Right off the bat in her piece, she talks about how she turned off the Oscars immediately after MacFarlane's "We Saw Your Boobs" song, echoing what she amusingly believes is the off-put sentiment expressed by the actresses cut to in the audience during the skit (and completely unaware of the fact that Naomi Watts and Charlize Theron's disgusted looks were, in fact, part of the skit).
She then goes on to hit all the touchstones of any good humorless screed from the hyper-sanctimonious contingent of the left in the wake of something like this: accusing The Onion of both racism and misogyny; bringing up a thirty-year-old dissertation on race relations and language from a law professor; mentioning Eve Ensler and her "One Billion Rocking" event and an address from Ravi Shankar's daughter, who recently admitted to being sexually abused, that the author insists should be viewed by the people at The Onion; declaring that what The Onion and MacFarlane do amounts to actual psychic harm against women. You get the picture.
The piece is so flawless in its depiction of pompous, politically correct indignation that it reads like satire itself. I'm wondering whether it was actually written by the staff of The Onion.
Again for the cheap seats: Quvenzhané Wallis is an incredibly talented young girl who was used in an admittedly tasteless and ill-advised joke to make a point about how our culture, often through social media, attacks celebrities. Wallis wasn't the one the joke was aimed at. It was aimed at us.
You knew this was coming: Today's column for the Daily Banter takes a look at The Onion's very crude crack that included 9-year-old Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis and the word "cunt."
Here's the opening shot:
"I had planned on waking up this morning and writing about last night’s Oscars: the good, the bad, the ugly, a thorough blasting of the decision to turn the damn things into the Tonys, an at least tepid defense of Seth MacFarlane as host, who I thought was actually too deferential to the crowd and wasn’t nearly as savage and caustic as he could and should have been, etc. etc. I was ready to just do a basic overview of the proceedings and had catalogued a couple of noteworthy moments, like Chris Tucker saying on the red carpet that it was a joy to work David O. Russell, a line that has never been uttered by any actor before in film history, Halle Berry choosing to pay tribute to the Hollywood classic Ghostbusters by dressing as Gozer the Gozerian, and the fact that in the technical awards it was a huge night for Edgar Winter’s hair.
But as the night wore on and I followed the real-time response to Oscar show on Twitter and Facebook, it became apparent that the social media guest of honor at the event was the same one who always gets invited to these things nowadays: bullshit indignation trolling."
Read the Rest Here
So I wake up to good news to start the week. Nine Inch Nails are once again being cobbled together and will begin touring through this year and next. The new lineup is interesting, including guitar legend Adrian Belew and original Jane's Addiction bassist Eric Avery.
Here's Every Day Is Exactly the Same.
Friday, February 22, 2013
A couple of weeks ago, New York Magazine's Vulture section published a pretty good little piece asking whether NBC had passed the point of no return when it comes to ratings. The gist of it was that with all the damage Jeff Zucker, Ben Silverman and the rest of the staggeringly incompetent NBC entertainment brass did during the first decade of the new millennium, not just programming failure after failure but ignoring shows that could have been nurtured into a solid foundation for the network, NBC may not ever be able to fully recover.
Now it's true that the TV business is much like the movie business in the sense that, as William Goldman famously said, nobody knows nothin'. But it's not crazy to look at the massive shift in viewing habits and the growing dominance of cable, subscription and DVRd TV entertainment and understand that clawing its way back to the light might not just be difficult for NBC -- it may be damn near impossible. Things are only going to get worse the the major broadcast networks, and NBC is now so deep in the hole that it may never be able to fully get out and stay out.
The Vulture article starts with this line: "It's impossible to exaggerate just how bad a 2013 NBC is having."
That was two weeks ago.
And NBC's year just got much, much worse.
Read it and weep.
The Huffington Post: NBC Falls To Fifth Place, Behind Univision/2.21.13
Join the After Party
This week: Airplane travel is an exercise in humiliation; Podcast production values; Our speaking engagement in Tennessee; Guy Fieri punked with fake restaurant menu; Domain name laws; Republican war on science; Redefining science; Another Republican fumbles an abortion statement; Obama to urge Supreme Court to overturn Prop 8; Corpse Water; Bob’s most harrowing story ever; and much more!
MSNBC Hires Gibbs and Axelrod and Makes Bob Look Bad; Right Wing Talk Radio Versus the Liberal Internet; Is it constitutional to sell guns for a profit?; Bring a Gun, Get a Discount on Pizza; State and Local Politics; Ellinger and the Assault Weapons Ban; Racism and Republicans and Joe Ricky Hundley; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius and the BobCesca.com Amazon Link.
Listen and subscribe for free on iTunes
Download the mp3 (54 minutes, 23mb)
Listen on your smartphone via Stitcher.com
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Today's column for the Daily Banter may start a new weekly francise. I say that now, but considering how writing just this one column made my head throb like someone had taken a wrecking ball to my brain, I can't promise anything. Maybe I'll do it once in a while. Either way, I suffer for you.
Here's the opening shot:
"For a while now I’ve contemplated this: A specific weekly column that catalogs for posterity the latest examples of the Republican party and conservative movement in general’s descent into absolute, painfully stupid chaos. Last week, an entire piece could’ve been written on the unprecedented filibustering of Obama defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel — notice how many, usually shameful and embarrassing, things have happened in American politics over the past few years that have never happened before? — and the fact that it stemmed from the ongoing apoplexy over conspiracy-minded Republican House-members’ Great White Whale, Benghazi. But certainly there was more than that last week. There always is. And I think that’s why I haven’t really bothered trying to keep track of the madness: It would take up too much of my time. A column detailing the damn-fool lunacy that is the modern Republican party on a week-to-week basis would probably take two full days to write and be 8,000 words long. Who has the time, or the miraculously regenerating supply of Tylenol, for that?
So I guess the best thing to do is keep it to only the biggest, most pronounced embarrassments of the week. I realize that even those will be up for debate by many, but I’ll do my best to highlight what I can and if I leave out your favorite example of conservative stupidity on occasion, my sincerest apologies.
So, let’s begin."
Read the Rest Here
You can tell that the death of Robert Been's father -- Michael Been, leader of one of the most underrated bands of the 80s, The Call -- has had a lasting impact on him. The reverence, sadness and gratitude toward the elder Been can be felt all over Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's new album. The first single, Let the Day Begin, was an actual Call cover. Now comes this piece of uncharacteristically uplifting gorgeousness.
Here's the latest from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. This is Returning.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Today's column for the Daily Banter examines the latest rumor coming out of CNN and the ways in which I hope it's not true (but think that it probably is).
Here's the opening shot:
"I get that as in every other field of modern entertainment, when it comes to TV news, a rumor is just a rumor. I also get that a rumor generated by The New York Post is often even less than a rumor. But given what we’ve seen lately, particularly what we witnessed last week from the network, the rumor that Soledad O’Brien is on her way out at CNN sounds anything but implausible."
Read the Rest Here
"Don’t piss off your mother-in-law is the moral of the story."
-- (Now former) WCBS anchor Rob Morrison, who was arrested over the weekend and charged with trying to strangle his wife, CBS Moneywatch anchor Ashley Morrison
Really? That's the moral of the story? Not, "don't try to choke out your wife?"
Morrison, who lives outside New York City, says he called his mother-in-law, who lives in Indiana, to ask for help in supposedly ending a fight between him and his wife. She thoughtlessly repaid his act of charity, I guess, by calling the cops, who quickly arrived to find Ashley Morrison with fresh red marks in the shape of hands around her neck and Rob Morrison looking like he'd just face-planted into the sidewalk. While in police custody, Rob reportedly said that he'd kill his wife as soon as he was free.
In case you haven't guessed, issues between the Morrisons go back years and feature plenty of drunken drama and accusations of infidelity on the part of Rob Morrison, who's kind of a legendary horn-dog.
Rob's now resigned from WCBS, although he probably would've been fired because -- conveniently for the HR department -- he lied about why he called in sick the day after his arrest. Ashley, meanwhile, is wisely being quiet.
So there you have it once again: either TV news is, as I've said many times, a business that attracts damaged, amoral shitheads like bugs to black-light or Mr. and Mrs. Morrison are actually assassins who use their roles as high-profile news anchors as cover and this was just a result of finding out they had been ordered to kill each other.
Update: You know how crazed Chris Brown fans always come out of the woodwork to defend him with 140-character nightmares of grammar on Twitter every time anyone says anything bad about him (like say, pointing out that he's an abusive, arrogant, comically self-pitying little cunt who deserves to have someone beat his ass into the ground)? Well, it looks like Team Moreezy is now in full effect. This is, I swear, one of the greatest internet comments I've ever read because it inadvertently says so much more about the personal history and state-of-mind of the commenter than it does about Rob Morrison or how the guy feels about him. From Mediabistro this morning comes someone who calls himself "Rob Morrisons Advocate." Gentlemen... behold:
A few areas of consideration and recommendatrions for Rob and Ashley Morrison:
1. Never, ever, ever, allow your in-law parents to live in or stay in the house. The facts are that parents of the female, inherently hate the male, because they know well that the male is having sex with thier daughter.
2. Never, ever, ever, move or reside in Darien, Connecticut. The Police Department is corrupt. They exagerate and sensationalizes the facts to the press/media. For example, (and admittedly, not the best comparison) if you were going 30 mph in a 20 mph, the Darien Police (specifically Captain Frederick Komm) will report to the media that you were doing 60 mph in that 20 mph. Darien Police love this stuff and will turn out in droves to a call like this.
3. How about the following defenses:
- Rough drunken sex? (Oh those big jugs swinging in my face, what I wouldn't do).
- She was depressed and wanted to commit suicide and Rob came to her rescue, only to be assaulted by her?
- They were both drunk, were dancing and fell and got scraped up? (Happens all the time).
- It was not her who assaulted him at all. It happened somehow else?
4. Rob, don't ever appologize to the Darien Police. We know that Journalists work hand in hand with the Police every day, because the media needs the Police to cooperate with them for content. While I applaud you for giving these cops a piece of your mind, when they were arresting you and literally and knowingly ruining your life, as the $h!T was about to hit the proverbial fan. I am disappointed that you appologized to them. Darien Police are liars, underhanded, break the laws themselves, deny residents of thier Constitutional Rights and participate in a "Good Ol' Boys mentality in this town. They dig people into a deeper hole than they may already be in. Retract your appology to the Darien Police, because they are nothing more than a bunch of immoral scum, who passed thier Police exam and commute in from thier home town of Bridgeport every day, to arrest people whom have worked hard to move to a prestigious community, by studying in school, getting good marks, and being a success for thier employers whom inturn reward the shareholders. And here we have a bunch of low life men and women, whom hide behind the guise of a badge and uniform aka the Darien Police, ruining successful peoples lives.
5. Now the person who you can genuinely thank for all of this is your dear Mother-In-Law, MARTHA RISK. She knew that by calling 911, that she would ruin, destroy and obliterate your fine reputation as a journalist. She knew or had to have known that her actions would have ended up splattering your face across the internet, newspapers, radio and TV, etc. forever engrained on the internet, and awarding you, your "MASTER STATUS" in life. MARTHA RISK branded Rob MORRISON a Drunk, Psycopath, wife beater, Felon, and Strangler.
6. Now I will tell you that most healthy relationships consist of some fighting. I am not condining what may have happened in your situation, however, the fact is that we are human and it happens from time to time. My father used to call me and my brothers and sisters down to the living room from time to time, for a slam, just to keep us in shape, as he put it. Around the time that the Women's Liberation Movement was born in the 1960's from second wave feminists, society began condeming domestic abuse in the household. Today, domestic abuse is regarded up there with petaphiles,
7. So the worst part of this is that Mama, Martha Risk, stuck her nose where it did not belong and got you busted, in retaliation for what she believes that you have done to her dare, precious, blond daughter in the past. Well you know what??? PEW and PEE on Martha Risk.
8. Incidentally, why does Mary Calvi, the former NEWS Who? Anchor have this giddy eat 5h!T grin on her face over the last couple of days. I can't stand that Mary Calvi. Way over rated.
9. Now lets talk about Ms. Ashley Morrison? Why wasn't she arrested and thrown into the POKEY of humiation at the Darien PD. With all of the blood and scratches that you had on your face, she certainly should have been arrested and tarred and feathered in the media too. WHY? Because the Darien Police (Chief Duane Lovello), have a highly unusual style of running a police department. It would not surprize me if your dear mother in-law MARTHA RISK was not calling from another state, when she called in her complaint. Because the Darien Police, do these things and give the weight and the benefit of the doubt to the skirt.
10. My suggestion to you is to get out of DARIEN! ! ! You will be watched and harassed by the Police there. They are not your equals or your friends, remember they are a bunch of Misfits from Bridgeport, who passed the police exam and now carry a badge and can't wait to bust guys our age, to earn thier stripes.
Incidentally, what normal guy does not like looking at PORN? What normal guy does not like getting drunk? You see this is the propoganda that the Darien Police Department and its Spokesperson, Captain Frederick Komm feed to the media. This is another reason why I don't like them, because they are so PERFECT.
If this guy isn't Morrison's attorney by tomorrow morning, I have no faith left in the universe.
"We went and bought the hedge clippers. You’re gonna give me 5 large for each one I get."
-- 23-year-old Tanner Ruane, who was allegedly contracted by a prison inmate in New Mexico last year to castrate Justin Bieber
A local station in Albuquerque just released audio tapes of the deal going down and, while a lot of outlets are calling the conversation "chilling" -- because news managers just love the crap out of that word -- it actually sounds like exactly what it is: a couple of white-trash idiots hatching a comically ambitious plan that never has a chance in hell of actually coming to fruition, because everyone involved has a lemon wedge for a brain.
But hey, wouldn't it have been fun to see the look on Tanner Ruane's face when he pulled down Bieber's pants to cut his balls off?
"When was the last time you heard about a rape on campus?"
-- Bob Beckel of Fox News's The Five yesterday
The show's roundtable dunce chair was heatedly debating a Colorado measure that would ban women, and everyone else, from carrying concealed firearms on college campuses when Beckel unleashed this little gem. The show's conservative contingent roundly condemned one of the bill's loudest supporters, Democrat and bow-tie aficionado Joe Salazar, for saying that women didn't need guns to defend themselves from rape, that call-boxes and whistles should suffice. According to Eric Bolling and Dana Perino, the threat college women face these days is serious enough that they need to be able to fight back with deadly force; this is of course one hell of a dubious argument, relying, as most vehement pro-gun advocacy does these days, on the kind of paranoia that paints pictures of an America descending into a Thunderdome-esque hellscape where danger from marauding bandits lurks around every corner.
Still, for Beckel to make the asinine statement that rape doesn't happen on college campuses only proves what I've said more than a few times before: Beckel is a slovenly blithering idiot, a tomato can brought in by Fox News to be an easy take-down for its more seasoned, brutish fighters. Of course rape happens on college campuses -- there more than just about anywhere else, in fact.
The most fascinating and entertaining thing about this, though, is watching how quickly the two sides of the ideological spectrum will switch when it becomes politically convenient. If the debate was over, say, abortion in the wake of rape, you just know Bolling, Perino and the rest of those clowns on the right would be arguing that rape isn't that big a deal and that it's often over-reported on college campuses for the sake of covering up sexual encounters thought the better of the following morning, while Beckel would barely be able to contain his gnashing-of-teeth at his co-host's deplorable misogyny. But make it about guns and watch the confirmation bias play hell with the traditional orthodoxies and articles of faith.
All that said, don't you somehow get the idea that if rape-fearing college girls had been heavily armed back when Bolling was in school, he wouldn't even be alive today?
For all her occasionally intimidating ferocity, Amanda Palmer has always been at her best when she pares it down to just her and a piano. The woman has the ability to emotionally devastate with a consistency few artists can match these days.
Here's her new single -- The Bed Song.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
And here we have what could very well be my favorite item of the week, compliments of Guy Fieri's unfortunate decision not to secure the domain name for his "Guy's American Kitchen and Bar" restaurant.
When you go to what by all accounts should be the web address for the legendarily maligned Times Square megalopolis of shitty food, this is what you get (click to engorge):
Today's column for the Daily Banter takes a look at a really ridiculous trend in entertainment analysis and criticism, specifically when it comes to film.
Here's the opening shot:
"Quick: There’s a big-budget Hollywood movie that’s nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture this year, a drama about a real-life event from America’s history, that’s currently being raked over the coals by some very vocal critics for what they claim is its lack of factual accuracy. They say its creators’ decision to highlight certain questionable parts of the supposedly true story while leaving others safely out amounts to little more than potentially dangerous propaganda. They say the film does a disservice to audiences by essentially lying to them about what really happened. They disapprove — and they want to make sure the movie is denied the official endorsement of an Oscar. What film am I talking about?"
Read the Rest Here
"But is the gun OK?"
-- Gawker commenter "MyNameIsJay" responding to the story of this morning's shooting rampage in Orange County, California in which a man shot five people, killing three of them, before finally killing himself.
Monday, February 18, 2013
Today's column for the Daily Banter takes a look at what's at first glance a real bombshell of a news story currently making the rounds.
Here's the opening shot:
"Since I get all my information these days from the always reliable Facebook News Service — basically whatever links my Facebook friends, in their infinite wisdom, decide to circulate and express an opinion about — I now know the real reason for Pope Benedict XVI’s hasty and startling resignation last week. Turns out he was about to be arrested."
Read the Rest Here
Thursday, February 14, 2013
L.A. has to be the worldwide capital of indie dream pop. Throwing another log on that fire are these guys, who I caught live a few nights ago and found myself liking quite a bit.
This is the Reflections -- Summer Days.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Today's column for the Daily Banter looks at the latest Sally Kohn column for Fox News's website -- and the completely predictable reaction to it.
Here's the opening shot:
"Today I’m doing you the favor of reading Fox News’s website so you don’t have to. Feel free to forgo any thanks in favor of donations to my PayPal account which will immediately go toward my medical care. Now keep in mind, I’m talking about the actual Fox News site, not Fox Nation — the one comically billed as the specialized 'opinion' face of Fox — so of course you can expect that since Fox News is the “fair and balanced” network there will be less Alex Jonesian lunatic ranting, fewer hysterical cries about the dangers of Sharia Law and creeping socialism, and a more even-handed and civil discussion of the events of the day, minus demands for anyone not to the right of G. Gordon Liddy to kindly pack up his or her things and move to Cuba, right? Sure thing."
Read the Rest Here
The Virginmarys debut, King of Conflict, is one those albums I haven't stopped listening to since I first heard it. Here's two from that record. Above it's Dead Man's Shoes and below it's a nicely stripped down version of Just a Ride.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Today's column for the Daily Banter treads familiar ground for me lately in that it deals with Lena Dunham. It also treads familiar ground in general right now in that it deals with Dunham's incessant nudity, a popular topic of conversation at the moment among journalists. Where it treads new ground is that it's probably going to get me called a misogynist prick.
Anyway, sharpen your knives and take a look.
Here's the opening shot:
"Here’s a little something I don’t think I’ve ever actually told anyone: Andrew Breitbart wrote to me not once but twice. Back in February of 2010 he rattled off a very strange late-night rant at me in response to something I’d written about his little Renfield, James O’Keefe. It was full of misspelled words and ended with a reference to Footloose, and it wound up getting quite a bit of press for my little corner of the internet given that it provided a flawless example of Breitbart’s pettiness when it came to taking on anyone at all who dared to write something about him and his acolytes that he didn’t consider properly hagiographic.
But a couple of weeks after that first e-mail I got another, this one reacting to a quickie diatribe I’d posted on my site that more met with Breitbart’s approval. The piece in question furiously questioned the sincerity of Hollywood’s decision to wrap its toned arms around Gabourey Sidibe and Mo’Nique, who at the time were riding a wave of critical praise for their performance in Precious, and declare them physically beautiful."
Read the Rest Here
If you haven't been listening to Boom Boom Satellites at all over the past decade-and-a-half or so you've seriously been missing out. The Japanese electro-rock duo have been churning out some of the most potent and propulsive stuff around, music that's both borrowed from and influenced dozens of their peers around the world.
Here's their latest -- Broken Mirror.
Monday, February 11, 2013
Today's column for the Daily Banter takes a look at what kind of changes we can expect for the Catholic Church in the wake of Pope Benedict XVI's decision to step aside. The short answer: not much.
Here's the opening shot:
"I suppose it would be too much to ask for the Catholic Church to simply close up shop once Pope Benedict officially steps down, eh?
The important thing to keep in mind in the wake of the once-and-future Joseph Ratzinger’s surprise announcement that he’ll be abdicating the papacy is that it’s likely going to change nothing about the Catholic Church. Yes, it’s an interesting and eyebrow-raising development, one that caps off a tumultuous eight year run for the current pontiff and the church in general, but let’s face it: Expecting that a new man at the top of the Catholic food chain will mean the sudden embracing of new ideas of right and wrong, of morality and modernity, would be sheer folly. The church has existed in its present state, for the most part impervious to human enlightenment and the march of progress, for centuries. Maybe the next pope will deliver the traditional canon and ancient edicts of Catholicism with the kindly smile, avuncular tone and all-around media savvy of John Paul II — rather than through the thoroughly creepy Galactic Emperor sneer Benedict has terrified the world with for almost a decade — but in the end the canon and edicts will be exactly the same. The messenger will change — the message will stay the same."
Read the Rest Here
"I am excited to have a patriot like Ted Nugent joining me in the House Chamber to hear from President Obama."
-- Republican Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas, who has personally invited Ted Nugent to be his guest for tomorrow night's State of the Union Address
I don't even know where to begin with this so, with regard to the Republican party, I'll just quote the great philosopher, Captain Malcolm Reynolds: Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle.
Friday, February 08, 2013
Today's column for the Daily Banter takes on a topic that I've written about many times and which was brought up again on this week's podcast.
Here's the opening shot:
"I’ve said this sort of thing before many times. Matt Taibbi’s said it. David Cross does an entire bit about it. But no matter how often it’s repeated, there are still those out there on the left who live in their own little epistemic bubble and don’t seem to get something: the 60s are over and continuing to protest like it’s 1967 will get you absolutely nowhere in the year 2013. Yes, it’ll grab you a little attention, but ultimately not the kind you want. It’s an ineffective model of activism in the new millennium and the predisposition to fall back on it needs to be shelved once and for all."
Read the Rest Here
Join the After Party
This week: William Shatner Rules the World; Khan in the New Star Trek Movie; Star Wars News; Erin Burnett is Cunty; Gun Nuts Harassing Families of Aurora Victims; Bob’s Harrowing Story Two Weeks from Today; The Awesome Homeless Hitchhiker Hero Tape; Too Much Hooplah Over Sports Issues; Don’t Feed the Trolls; The Most Awesome Judge Ever; The Problem with Kids and Parents These Days; and much more.
President Obama and the Drones; The Brennan Code Pink Protests; Blurring the Line Between the Right and Left; Presidential War Powers; American Citizens Who Take Up Arms Against the U.S.; Bill Maher’s Remarks About Good Guys with Guns; Americans are Really Confused About Gun Control; Bob Wants to Be on the NRA’s Enemies List; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius and the BobCesca.com Amazon Link.
Listen and subscribe for free on iTunes
Download the mp3 (55 minutes, 23mb)
Listen on your smartphone via Stitcher.com
Thursday, February 07, 2013
Today's column for the Daily Banter expands a little on what Cesca's been talking about for the past few days -- the reaction to the White House memo detailing its justification for using drones to take out American citizens overseas who've joined with Al Qaeda.
Bob was rational and analytical. I, as usual, am a blunt object.
Here's an excerpt:
"God bless Cesca for taking a reasonable and nuanced approach to the subject of the White House memo on the justification for drone strikes and the ongoing use of the drones themselves. God bless him because I’m glad he’s putting forth the effort and trying to carefully dissect an issue that’s much more complex than many seem to be willing to acknowledge. God bless him because he’s doing it so I don’t have to — which is good seeing as how I genuinely don’t give a crap about drones strikes or the legality or illegality of killing Americans who’ve taken up arms against the U.S."
Read the Rest Here
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
I occasionally spend an evening at home having a few drinks which means that every once in a while I'll get either a random answer to a text I don't remember sending or some other memento of my couple of hours on the other side of the looking glass.
Well, today I got a coffee mug in the mail. I don't seem to remembering ordering it, but it is, for the record, one of the most brilliantly hilarious things I've seen in a really long time. It'll provoke a little head-scratching from those who don't quite get the joke, but if you do, you'll love it.
So, whoever sent me this -- since it came with no card -- please step up and take the credit for it. And thank you. I haven't forgotten, nor will I ever.
Update: Turns out the unexpected gift was from Mike, who's sincerely one of my favorite people in the world. Thanks, man.
Today's extended column for the Daily Banter once again examines the subject of the good and bad of our internet outrage culture. Over the past week, we've seen two restaurants attacked through social media for business decisions they've made -- and one story of a really stupid move by a pop star publicist.
Yeah, we love it. But has it gotten out of control? Or was it never under control to begin with?
Here's the opening shot:
"I caught a decent little documentary on Netflix last week called Heckler. It attempts to document the contentious relationship between comics and comic actors and those paying comedy club patrons who take it upon themselves to confront them during their sets, hoping to, I guess, get the upper hand in a battle they’re sure never to win. At least that’s the way it starts. What the movie eventually evolves into, though, is an examination of every kind of criticism those who put themselves out there as performers have to endure in the internet age: from the traditional art of criticism that’s degenerated into an 'anyone can do it' mentality to the legion of snarky anonymous trolls who turn the comment section of every internet post into an ugly flamewar.
Keep in mind, given that Heckler was made all the way back in 2007, an eon ago in terms of social media development and proliferation, it barely scratched the surface of how vicious it is out there. These days, internet outrage is an everyday fact of life — one that’s been honed to a scalpel’s edge. If anything you do is public, you need to understand that your good reputation, success, even personal respect in the community exists solely at the mercy of the largess — or at least ignorance — of the internet millions. And here’s the catch: Everything you do is public — thanks to the internet. Whether you know it or not, you’re likely under surveillance, a permanent self-sentenced inmate in a digital version of Bentham’s Panopticon. If you’re not sitting alone in the panic room you built in your basement, making the mistake of thinking no one’s watching you can be a near-fatal one."
Read the Rest Here
The last of five separate two-song releases from My Chemical Romance's previously unreleased 4th album debuted yesterday.
From that, here's Surrender the Night.
Glad the band gave us a chance to hear this stuff -- while I didn't dislike Danger Days, the material on Conventional Weapons makes me a lot more excited for the band's potential moving forward.
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Gosh, I just can't believe it. He just doesn't seem the type to do something like this -- not Guy Fieri.
Us Magazine: Guy Fieri "Threw a Fit" After Being Rejected From VIP Super Bowl Party/2.5.13
The source of the story says that Fieri was turned away because, "He didn't have the right bracelet, and nobody in New Orleans knows who anyone is." This actually makes perfect sense when you consider that Guy Fieri looks pretty much like every other obnoxious fucking douchebag who trolls the French Quarter, Super Bowl weekend or not.
Update: Maxim magazine, who was throwing the party, says that the above story is bullshit -- that Fieri didn't get kicked out at all since he's Maxim's "good pal." You know, somehow this looks worse for Guy Fieri than not being allowed in in the first place.
From the "I Weep for the Future" file today comes the story of 18-year-old Penelope Soto of Miami (of course).
Just watch this from start to finish and tip a forty for the next generation.
My favorite part: when the judge asks this idiot how much money the jewelry she claims to own is worth and she replies through laughter, "Rick Ross." For that alone she should never be let out of jail.
Daily Banter overlord Ben Cohen made a nice little appearance on RT News's Thom Hartmann Show late last week to debate the Daily Caller's White House pretend reporter Neil Munro -- you'll remember him as the jackass who heckled President Obama during a Rose Garden press briefing last year -- and libertarian columnist Marc Harrold.
It not only features Harrold right off the bat living up to the stereotype of today's libertarians as conspiracy-spouting anti-government lunatics who live and die by the drivel Alex Jones spouts, but there's a lot of Ben's adorable British accent (which always makes me swoon). Given how much RT loves Ben, I'll have to ask him one of these days if he ever nailed Alyona Minkovski. Because, if so, awesome for him.
By the way, you know, Ben -- Munro is Irish. I think you're allowed under British law to seize his seat and arrest him if he gives you any crap.
(Yes, I know, I know. Almost every crack I've made in this post could be considered sexist or racist. As always, feel free to direct your complaints here.)
"If you have guns, if you own guns mostly we would prefer you have them in a lock box. At least have them out of the reach of children."
-- Greenville, South Carolina Police Media Relations Officer Jonathan Bragg, following the death of a three-year-old boy who accidentally shot himself in the head while playing with a real pink handgun that he thought was a toy (for obvious reasons)
Needless to say, the kid is dead.
There's an old Life in Hell strip, written by Matt Groening, that features a sign in a restaurant bathroom that reads, "Employees are encouraged by law to wash hands." I loved that surreal little touch the first time I read the comic -- and the above comment brings it right back to mind.
Really? The police would "mostly prefer it" if parents kept deadly weapons in lock boxes? Or "at least" out of reach of children?
First of all, if you buy a pink handgun you're an idiot who probably shouldn't have a gun at all since I seriously doubt you respect and fully appreciate the power of it. It's not a toy, whether you're a child or an adult. As for police preferring that guns in households with small children be locked safely away, sorry but that's not good enough. Put the fucking thing in a lock box or not only will you lose your child if he or she happens to find your weapon and play around with it -- you'll lose your freedom.
After 22 long years, My Bloody Valentine suddenly came out of hiding this past Saturday. The legendary band behind the undisputed masterpiece Loveless released an entire new record online and sent music fans and music critics into an orgiastic frenzy. It was always the very first punishing chords, which gave way to the unexpectedly lush, melodic first verse of Only Shallow that mesmerized me completely and would keep me a fan of MBV for more than two decades. Loveless is, as the Washington Post put it perfectly, "an album that still feels like a trip to the ocean floor -- beautiful, wondrous and crushing from all sides."
The new material doesn't grab you right out of the gate. In fact, while the band was a definite influence on Radiohead, in context a lot of it sounds like the more experimental material that followed the complex art rock/psychedelic hybrid that was the hallmark of Thom Yorke and company's late-90s sound. The Kid A to Loveless's OK Computer.
Regardless, there aren't words to describe how good it is to have My Bloody Valentine back.
Here's If I Am.
Monday, February 04, 2013
Some of you have complained today about getting a malware warning from Google Chrome when coming to this site. I'm working on trying to figure out what it is.
So far it hasn't given me or anyone else problems so I think we're all pretty safe, but I'm checking into it.
For now, go about your business.
Today's column for the Daily Banter is all about football and those who complain about how aggressive it is and would like to see it go away.
Here's the opening shot:
"Last week on our podcast, Bob Cesca threw out the question of whether it was a good idea for liberals to take on football and demand changes when it comes to the safety of players. He made a great point about how doping may be part of what’s creating monsters on the field so ferocious that their hits now cause permanent damage in the form of, among other things, chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Certainly keeping the game as safe as possible should be a major concern football fans, players, coaches and managers, but my reaction to Bob’s overall question was that overtly screwing around with the institution of football in America was a political and cultural third rail no sane person would get near."
Read the Rest Here
I've made no secret in the past of my affinity for Fall Out Boy. They've spent their career drinking from the same well as all the other Chicago-area bands and artists that seem to have an uncanny knack for writing damn-near perfect pop songs (Smashing Pumpkins, Cheap Trick, Liz Phair, Urge Overkill, Veruca Salt, etc. etc.).
This morning, after a three-and-a-half year "hiatus," Fall Out Boy announced that they're ready to reform and hit the road again. The thing is they've already reformed and have secretly recorded a new album. Which means that, as the guys on KROQ said this morning, they didn't really go on hiatus at all -- they just took three-and-a-half years to record a new record.
Here's the first single from it.
This is My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light 'Em Up).
Sunday, February 03, 2013
You know, I have to admit that I've been watching Jeff Zucker's considerable behind-the-scenes moves at CNN with some fascination. It's pretty well established by now that I think Zucker's a narcissistic prick and a destroyer-of-worlds when it comes to television; his tenure at NBC wasn't just disastrous, it practically brought 30 Rock to its knees in terms of ratings, reputation and respectability. But since taking the reins at CNN, he's demonstrated that he might actually be interested in honoring the network's legacy by restoring it to hard-news greatness. Hiring Jake Tapper was a terrific move -- as was excising CNN's stable of highly paid pundits -- and potentially casting Chris Cuomo for an upcoming morning show shows promise. (Even the decision to possibly pair Cuomo with Erin Burnett would likely dull the latter's edges by making her little more than a pretty newsreader instead of somebody misguidedly led to believe that her opinion, forged by years of blowing Goldman Sachs partners, actually matters.)
But alas, it was only a matter of time before Zucker showed his true colors and made a change at CNN so significant that it had the potential to entirely, negatively impact the direction the network's news department will take moving forward. And so comes word from Reuters that Zucker is considering hiring NBC's departing news president, Steve Capus, and putting him in a position of authority at CNN.
First the good news: After a disastrous eight years in terms of credibility, Steve Capus is finally leaving NBC News. His greatest hits while at NBC include firing Don Imus for a relatively inconsequential on-air comment then, not long after, airing the final videotaped manifesto of Virginia Tech killer Seung Hui Cho (the message seeming to be that insulting college kids on NBC gets you fired while killing a whole bunch gets you all the time you'd like to say whatever's on your mind); agreeing to pay Paris Hilton a million dollars for a post-jail interview (before being called out for it); publicly blaming the media for all the attention NBC's calamitous handling of the Conan O'Brien-Jay Leno affair received, and generally playing Salacious Crumb to Zucker's Jabba the Hutt at just about every turn.
It's sad, though not surprising considering the current corporate media climate, that it took the Today show's plummeting ratings and instantly legendary PR clusterfuck in the wake of Ann Curry's clumsy dismissal -- oh yeah, and Capus presided over that as well -- to finally force Steve Capus out at NBC, but that's exactly what's happened. Comcast began cleaning house as soon as it took over -- in a deal that Zucker's incompetence almost cratered -- and now it looks as if the lack of favors they did themselves along the way has led to most of Zucker's team being just about gone.
The questions is, will these people now resurface at CNN?
Because, you know, they were so effective at NBC -- the once-dominant network that Zucker and company unfathomably took to number four thanks to their collective ego juggernaut.
Friday, February 01, 2013
I was that kid. The one whose life was changed the minute he heard AC/DC and Zeppelin, Hendrix and the Doors, Dio and Iron Maiden, Black Flag and the Pistols. My unwavering devotion to rock and roll, in all its many forms, made me the person I am today -- and because of that I stand in awe of those who play it and feel a kinship with those who appreciate it with the same zeal that I do and always have.
Last night at the Palladium in Hollywood, I got the rare opportunity to bask in the glow of two full generations of the music I love, all thanks to Dave Grohl, who put together a tribute to Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, California by bringing together some of the most powerful names in pop and rock history. The Sound City Players featured members of the Foo Fighters and Rage Against the Machine as well as Alain Johannes, Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty, Rick Springfield, Corey Taylor, Krist Novoselic, Rick Nielsen, Lee Ving and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. I got to hear BRMC play with Grohl on drums. Alain Johannes do Eleven's Reach Out. Ving do old Fear songs backed by another punk legend, Pat Smear. Rick Springfield belt his way through Jessie's Girl. Corey Taylor, Grohl, Novoselic and Nielsen do Surrender and Grohl and the great Stevie Nicks close out the evening with a version of Landslide that just about brought tears to my eyes.
Sound City was a temple to the music I love. And the Sound City Players are a reminder of why I still worship rock and roll.