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December 21st, 2005

The truth will set you free...

I did it!! We've all waited for 5 years for something good to come from W's presidency, and after all that waiting and moaning and beating of your head against the wall, we finally have it. And I'm not even at all being facetious. (OK, I doubt he intended this. I can almost guarantee he didn't, but hey I'm giving the ol' coke nose credit anyway.)

Federal Judge John E. Jones III (a W appointee) declared yesterday that the teaching of intelligent design in public schools violates the establishment clause of the constitution. Hooray for reason! Yippee for science! And the best part is, not only did he rule on the side of every level headed person in the world, he bitch slapped the ID movement in the process.

"We have concluded that it is not [science], and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents," wrote Jones in his ruling. "To be sure, Darwin's theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions."

Huh? How you like me now? Of course the whackos that lost are claiming both victory and that they will persevere, but I'm not giving them face time here even to mock them. The truth is, the judge made his decision based on rule of law, and that's all 'intelligent' people ever want. Sorry Flying Spaghetti Monster, those of us who have been touched by your noodly appendage will have to take our fight underground.

Posted 11:37pm

Shit, that didn't take long.

Completely forgot to put Spoon's Gimme Fiction on the top ten list. It actually belongs at 6, moving everything behind it down a notch. I also just got The Hold Steady's Seperation Sunday. I don't know if its top ten material yet, but at first listen its pretty fuckin' good.

Posted 11:16am

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December 20th, 2005

Best of 2005 - Music Edition

The year is winding down and while I'm sure that within the next 18 months I'll find some musical gem from 2005 that I completely somehow missed, I'm pretty ready to dole out my best albums of 2005. A fairly good year - including some old favorites, some new gems and a couple albums that took me by surprise and knocked me on my ass. On a personal note, 2005 was also the year I realized that I was no longer (and probably never was) a complete emo boy, because Bright Eyes sucks. On to the list...

10. Hot Hot Heat - Elevator
The 2005 re-release of Heartbeat City. And that's high praise. Let's see if they can come back a little grittier and become really interesting.

8. Kanye West - Late Registration
If I knew anything about Hip Hop, I might even have more appreciation for it. As it stands, I find myself shouting out 'We want pre-nup! We want pre-nup!' randomly throughout the day.

8. Nada Surf - The Weight is a Gift
I thought maybe when Nada Surf's last album came out it was a fluke. How good the guys from the one-hit-wonder "Popular" make such sublime poprock? Weight is little lyrically trite from time to time, but just try to not get swept up in it.

7. White Stripes - Get Behind me Satan
Not just one of the many great album titles of '05, one of the most eclectic amalgams of rock styles. Its almost like Jack White sold his soul to the Devil to be able to blow your mind with his guitar.

6. Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have it so Much Better with Franz Ferdinand
New year, same old Scottish dance rock. Its nice when you can depend on things. Especially things that are consistently this good.

5. Beck - Guero
Mr. Hanson returns to dance party form. While not quite the landmark album that was Odelay, certainly a conscious effort to return the style that made Beck the album to spin when I was in college.

4. Death Cab for Cutie - Plans
This is the album I will probably listen to the most of everything on this list. Yes, I'm a little gay for Ben Gibbard. But how many beloved indie bands can jump to a major label and make the album that's the the next logical progression for them? DCFC rocks a little less here, but breaks your heart all the more.

3. Danger Doom - The Mouse and the Mask
I'll admit, I checked this out based more on the fact that it was 'inspired' by Cartoon Networks adult Swim line up than the fact that it was Dangermouse and MFDoom. What I found was undeniable sonic goodness. And a lot of laughs. If you watch ATHF, Master Shake's voice mail messages sprinkled throughout the album are comic genius.

2. Sufjan Stevens - Come on Feel the Illinoise
Yes, the annual critics darling that no normal person has heard of. But this album sounds like nothing I've ever heard before. And it makes me want to get up, jump around and shake my ass. As scary as that may be for others in the room, for me its gold Jerry.

1. The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema
When it comes down to it and no matter what you call it, I will always come back to good ol' fashioned pop/rock with a side of raunch. Give me some dirty guitars with a 1908's Cars synth melody on top and I'm in heaven. If a I've never heard of before does it to me, I'm blown away. Thanks New Pornographers - for the great music and the great name.

Posted 11:01am

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December 13th, 2005

Thanks for sprinkling in the boobies

I've been noticing a new trend at the local multiplexes and its time someone says huzzah and kudos. Boobies are back at the movies and I for one say its about time. Last night I saw Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and much like other recent fare (The 40 Year old Virgin, Wedding Crashers, etc.) it was peppered with nudity. Sometimes it was gratuitous, sometimes it was a plot device, but it was always pretty cool. It used to be that if we went to see an adult comedy we'd expect a little boobage, but then all of a sudden it seemed like we were in the middle of a boobless desert with the only oasis being Shannon Elizabeth. Now it seems like the boobies are back. I'll never get the puritanical ideals that yawn at graphic violence and act like the world is coming to an end if we see a little nipple, but I now have hope that things may be changing. Viva la boobies! Now if we can just get them to stop making Vin Diesel movies...

Posted 9:07am

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December 8th, 2005

Emo washes itself in the 1950's (again)

How did I miss this? Well, I guess since I'm telling you about it, I didn't exactly miss it, just a little late. ANYWAY, Emo and the hipster nation has always kind of wallowed in the kitsch of yesteryear, what with the Chuck Taylors and black rimmed glasses. So leave to some unheralded video game to realize that these two things go together like peanut butter and chocolate and run with it. Stubbs the Zombie is apparently a video game. Great. Who cares? Not me. HOWEVER, they had the brilliant idea of taking your favorite indie rock bands and having them record the hits of the 1950s. Death Cab doing Earth Angel, Cake doing Strangers in the Night. You get the idea. You can listen a bit on their myspace page, and of course as always over at Amazon. Check it out and then find the whole thing in your local music store or floating out there in the ether.

Posted 3:00pm

Is 'Lady Lumps' supposed to be sexy?

No one is above being offended. That's been my stance for a long time. Anytime someone wants something removed or taken down because they find it offensive my pat response is always 'Who are you that you shouldn't be offended once in a while?' Of course that's easy for me to say as its near impossible to offend me. I can justify a lot and the things that others get their ire up over usually makes me laugh.

Of course I get completely indignant over things most people don't think twice about. And more to the point, its usually over things a lot of other people actually like. Take The Da Vinci Code. I used to tell people I found incredibly offensive. 'As a Catholic?' they would usually ask. 'No, as someone who knows anything about art.' I would scoff. (I also found the fact that a book that was so poorly written was so popular offensive as well - just for the record).

And of course the most common source of me being offended is music. When something god awful becomes popular it always makes me mad and occasionally it goes so far as to offend me. The latest perpetrators are the Black Eyed Peas. Their whorish success has pissed me off for the last 6-8 months or so, but their latest single 'My Humps' is down right offensive. And of course not because it talks about ass or boobies, but because its almost comically bad. It sounds like a song an elementary school kid made up to taunt someone on the playground. The fact that I hear it in bars and see people dancing and enjoying it is patently offensive. I don't mind gay people kissing, nativity scenes at Wal-Mart or seeing a nipple at the Super Bowl, but cartoonish, paper-thin techno beats and moronic lyrics about getting me drunk off the sight of your ass makes me irate. But I'm not demanding it go away, I'm not calling for a ban and I'm not insisting that since I don't like it, I shouldn't have to endure it. Now if we could get the easily offended to do the same.

Posted 9:38am

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December 2nd, 2005

Nerd alert.

OK, first let me say the king is dead, long live the king. Sort of. I used to love Salon.com. Great liberally slanted reporting and commentary. A lot of stuff I agreed with and some I didn't that made it a necessary daily destination. Then they started with the 'you must view this 30 second ad before you read our site'. Fine. I understand revenue streams (sort of). But then a few months back they redesigned the site and now it SUCKS. It may just be me, but it seems like the content has been cut in half and they topics they're talking about are things I could give a shit about.

Enter the new king - slate.com. Slate has picked up the ball where Salon dropped it. Its also the home of one of my favorite online features - The Explainer (now with podcast!), where they find an expert on some phenomenon or event that no one really understands but never finds the time to answer. Thanks Slate. Keep fighting the good fight.

Except of course we have to get to the title of the post. Slate gets a WTF? for its article on The Watchmen, Alan Moore's seminal 1980's comic book. It sounds like you understand the importance of the book and that you even might kinda like it, but why deride it for being high minded? That's like saying don't bother with movies that make us think, just let Jerry Bruckheimer produce everything. C'mon Slate, you're better than that. But then the next day you put out a great article on where Billy Joel belongs in the collective conscience of music and I completely forgave you. I just can't stay mad at you Slate, you precocious little devil.

Posted 11:48am

I laughed so hard, milk just came out my nose...

...and I haven't had milk since 1994. Normally seeing the name Scott Stapp is enough to illicit laughter from me. Never has there been a bigger joke of a band than Creed. I was almost sad to see them break up, because now who would sing for me with such laughable sincerity (and not to mention Jesus!)? Well Scott was in the news this week, once because he got in a fight with a band that's way cooler than him (311) and because he has a new solo album coming out. Somehow I saw this quote, and the laughter flowed like wine:

I think my record is going to speak for itself to the Creed fans, I think its going to be like when Sting left the Police.

Oh Scott. We always knew you must think quite a lot of yourself to perform the way you do, but please, comparing yourself to Sting? That's like Tara Reid comparing herself to Stephen Hawking because they both read a book once. (And I know that there are problems with that analogy, since Tara probably hasn't read a book much less know who Stephen Hawking is.) And not to nitpick, but I can only assume that Scott has never heard the Police. Not just because he obviously has no affiliation with quality music, but the Police sound NOTHING like Sting. OK, they both have Sting on bass and vocals, but Dream of the Blue Turtles ain't Regatta de Blanc. Now I just have to decide if I'd rather have him fail miserably and laugh for a little while, or have him succeed marginally so I can laugh a while longer. Decisions, decisions...

Posted 9:28am

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November 28th, 2005

Didn't we just have a Christmas like, last year?

Here's a shock - I'm a little bah humbug about the holidays. Lots of pressure to get appropriate gifts. Lots of running around to malls and family functions. Lots of people who want shit from you and very little relaxation and enjoyment. At least that's what it seems like going in every year. I'm barely out of Thanksgiving and already there's 1000 miles on the Mazda and $500 on the credit card. The reward for all this is? Hopefully you have some friends and family to spend 5 minutes with and convince yourself its all worth it. And alcohol. Lots of alcohol.

Posted 10:48am

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November 27th, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen, the next Bob Stupak

In what can only be described as the most dramatic finish in Picks League history, I have won the 2005 Picks League Championship. Needing San Diego to beat Washington by 3.5 points, I was in the hurt bucket with the Chargers down 10 points in the fourth quarter. Then sweet, sweet Ladanian Tomlinson saved me. After tying the game in regulation with a 30yd TD run, he pulled the double dip in OT and turned what was surely a .5pt loss by field goal into a 2.5pt cover by touchdown. Thanks LT, the $300 swing from second to first will make the holidays a little brighter around the Brubaker household.

Posted 5:10pm

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November 21st, 2005

Monday morning inside the hurt bucket

Ah what could have been. So close to all being right with the world. But lets not relive it people. Its only football. Needless to say my body is fighting me right now. "Why?" it screams at me. My only solace is that I can still get it done at thirty like I did when I was twenty. The lack of differences is quite shocking. Thanks Stov for letting us decimate your house. Thanks Naptowners for coming up, and more importantly leaving. We'll see you next year down in the den of inequity. God help us if we lose that one.

Posted 9:33am

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November 17th, 2005

Oh how I miss the Coop-dog

Its finaly here. That weekend that takes Christmas, Easter, Halloween, St. Patty's Day and the Fourth of July and shoves it right up its balloon knot. Only God knows why I was born in Ohio. It makes no logical sense when you think about it. The only plus side of be being born in that god foresaken state is this weekend. Its Michigan/ Ohio State people. For the twelfth straight year I will spend the weekend before Thanksgiving going into a self-induced alcoholic coma. I haven't been able to sleep or concentrate since Monday. My nervousness is growing. My hatred seethes from every pore of my body. The mere sight of the color red makes me want to punch the person to my immediate left. And I wouldn't have it any other way. If only John Cooper were still around. I was going through some files of UM/OSU years past and found the remnants of a website that used to exist in this very space (you think my html is bad now, you should've seen it then). I would be remiss if I didn't include at least part of it here. So in the interest of good ol' days nostalgia, I give you the wisdom of everyone's favorite football coach, John Cooper:

(28-0, 1993)
"That's one of the most embarrassing games I've ever been associated with"

(31-23 1995) "I don't think I've been as disappointed in my life as I am standing here today"
"When will I get over that game? Never. Absolutely never."


(13-9, 1996) "Obviously, I'm tremendously disappointed for our football team, for our fans . . . for our senior football players".
"A good season? Yes and No. It's not a very good season when you don't beat Michigan."

(1996)"Blame me for not getting the job done."

(1996, referring to Streets' touchdown,) "They had a player make a play."

(1996)"They beat us up fron unmercifully."

(prior to the 1997 game)"I'm 1-7-1 against Michigan, in case you didn't know that, in case it hasn't been in your paper this week."

I miss the days of Coop when OSU ran there mouths every year. Which brings me to the closing of the last post before I leave you for sweet mistress alcohol. One of my favorite Michigan quotes ever, by fellow Ohio native Marcus Ray:

"I think they say they want it more and they have their pep rallies and former coaches talking to them...The way I see it, we at Michigan do less talking and more football playing..."

Go Blue. See you on the other side.

Posted 9:33am

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November 16th, 2005

Two in the Bush, one in the Cheney

Funny how you come across some things. I was reading an article in Salon today about how and when the baby boomers will roll over and die so subsequent generations can take their rightful control of the media. Near the end of the article the author mentions that when he sees the Times mention the shocker, he'll know the King is dead (long live the King). Of course 'shocker' was hypertexted, so I click the link the find the Wikipedia entry for said hand gesture. I laughed for a good five minutes reading the synonyms. Of course if you don't know the shocker, don't go to the link if you're easily offended. If you're depraved and have loose to no morals, go get a good laugh out of 'Two at Yale, one at Brown'.

Posted 9:33am

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November 15th, 2005

Sweet Home Chicago

I love Chicago. I've drunkenly wandered its streets more times than I can remember. St. Patty's Day pub crawls, Cubs games and of course the great eL train incident of 2003 - my memories of Chicago are vast and wonderful. Last Saturday night may me the best ever.

First it was the mother of all redeemers - The Promise Ring show. It may be closest I've felt to being truly part of a cohort of 1100 people. Everyone in their Chuck Taylor's and funky clothes, drinking PBR and feeling euphoric that they got one last chance to experience TPR. I may have teared up when Davey vonBohlen said "Pretty good chance this'll be the last time we ever play 'A Picture Postcard'." (OK, no tears, but a wry smile of satisfaction and pleasure).

Then it was time to cab it from Wrigleyville back down south of the loop to see the Meters at the House of Blues. While these weren't exactly 'my people' I felt comfortable going from the aging hipsters to the aged hippies. Drink prices shot up and friendliness of the staff went down, but to see any show in that room is an experience.

Then it was time for the after party. At this point I've had a dozen or so drinks, and the sensibility of the group being different from my own, I'm along for the ride at this point. So a guy knows a guy who's deejaying at some club where we can get 'on the list' and on our $20 cover will be waved. Now I'm not wont for places with velvet ropes and lines outside the door, but to walk right into one while the unwashed masses wait outside for a glimpse of the hotness indoors is a nice feeling. Of course that feeling lasted about five seconds when the bouncer looked at my Chucks and told me 'next time wear dress shoes'. Of course my neuroses occupied the rest of my night, wanting nothing more than to go tell the 250lb muscle bound freak of nature to go fuck himself. He was right in one respect, I was way out of my comfort zone. I used to pretend to like places like that, but life's too short at this point. Several vodka tonics later I started to enjoy myself again, but in my heart I would've rather been back in Wrigleyville, slamming PBRs and wondering if Davey vonBohlen and I would ever be friends.

Posted 2:06pm

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November 11th, 2005

All aboard.

I know that the posts have been infrequent at best lately, but I think that's just because I've been waiting for a story this good. Last night neighbor Troy and I went to the middle of nowhere to visit the Chief and his band - just to hang out and have a beer or two. The evening started out innocent enough. Sitting around the living room, talking about music and the proletariat. But of course eventually the time to go to the bar arrived, and that's when things got interesting. Chief and the rest of Embassy live on a lake. The local bar is on the other side of the lake. Locals warned them when they moved in that said bar is watched closely by the police. So how does one get to the bar and avoid the DUI? See where I'm going with this? Ten O'clock at night. 45 degrees. Pitch dark. Five people in a fishing boat built for two. The only two thoughts in my head the entire trip over were 'Man its cold' and 'Damn this is awesome.' Of course when we eventually crossed the lake and got off the boat, we found out that the bar was closed. I was barely disappointed. The trip back somehow seemed more precarious, and I found myself trying to calculate how long I could survive in the icy water. But still, I will never forget the image of the Chief standing in the back of that boat and steering us to alcohol. Thanks Naptowners. Its a great feeling to be thirty and still do the colossally stupid.

Posted 11:17am

I needed a fix...

Its been a while since we've had a post about America's creepiest couple Sweethearts, Tom and Katie. And while yes, this is from the Star, how much like an abduction does this sound?

Posted 10:58am

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November 7th, 2005

Why would a postmodern philosopher pee on a Chevy logo?

Never underestimate the ability of any art form, no matter how apparently lowly, to actually produce great art. Well, great is a subjective term, but there's certainly times when I would refer to Calvin and Hobbes, without reservation, as brilliant. There's a really nice piece in Slate today that gives a strong overview of what Calvin and his stuffed tiger were all about, and how they likely signaled an end of an era.

Posted 11:06am

I'm fuckin' dyin' Larry!

Brit mag Empire has compiled a list of the fifty greatest independent movies of all time. I could argue some of the placements and how its a little 'heavy' with recent films, but they got enough right for me to endorse you giving it a look-see. Although I can't resist noting that Sideways is in the top ten (?) and Cube made the list (?) WTF?

Posted 10:16am

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November 4th, 2005

Don't hate me because I look like I might eat you.

What is it that makes us enjoy seeing others fail? OK, dumb question. The reasons are obvious. Which makes seeing Kelly "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful" LeBrock look like this so much fun (click on 'meet the cast'). This is why you don't yell "scoreboard" at a sporting event before the final buzzer people.

Posted 10:20am

Worst... President... Ever...

Now I've never cared for the man, but I'm beginning to believe that history will judge this guy as one of the worst presidents ever, and subsequently view us as a society of utter imbeciles for electing him. Twice. And people may just be coming around to my way of thinking. To borrow a phrase, ball don't lie.

Posted 10:16am

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November 3rd, 2005

Let's make the internet interesting again

Ah 'blogs. Let's be honest, present company excluded - not that interesting. I mean, do I really need to read how you totally had deja vu last night over your server at TGI Fridays because they reminded you of your elementary school gym teacher? While I'm sure its totally Fascination Street for you, the answer is no. HOWEVER, 'blogs are great when they condense some aspect of the web into just the juicy center. Everyone loves fark.com, and I just found another that'll be sure to help kill an hour whenever you need a stress reliever and there's no hope of an alcoholic beverage. transbuddha.com offers some of the funniest and most interesting video clips from around the web. Its even got a great name. Check it out and pee yourself.

Posted 2:30pm

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October 29th, 2005

I can see your dirty pillows

Night #5, where the real life monsters come out to play. I'm of course referring to the high school kids in Carrie. There really is no way to go over the top with how brutal high school kids can be to each other. This of course is a pretty extreme example, and most of the time, the taunted doesn't have mind bullets (that's telekenisis, Kyle). Honestly, not that big of fan of this movie. For one, I loathe Brian De Palma. How a fifth rate hack like him ever became acclaimed on any level astounds me. And all in all, not that scary a movie. Its mid-tier Stephen King on the adaptation scale, behind stuff like Shawshank, Stand by Me and Misery. The story is really good, which I guess explains the longevity and saturation of the name Carrie being associated with a misanthrope's revenge. That and the fact that Carrie's date went on to become the Greatest American Hero.

Posted 11:30am

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October 28th, 2005

Do you like scary movies?

Night #4, the postmodern horror film of my generation (and the reason we have Dawson's Creek) - Scream. I admittedly hadn't seen this film in years, so I was worried going in that it would seem stupid and campy. But I needn't worry, I was in the hands of the master, Wes Craven (for the second night in a row no less). I am happy to report that Scream holds up pretty well ten years later. All the snarky goodness and in jokes are still there, waiting to be gobbled up again and again. Off the top of my head, this is one of the few modern horror classics (modern meaning say, post 80s) And more importantly, it seemed to spark a horror revival that we're still feeling the effects of today (Did we need a remake of The Fog? Of course the answer is no). I think I saw the sequels to this, but the fact that I can barely remember if I saw them should speak volumes about their quality. As always in horror franchises, stick with the original and pass on the rest. But oh that original, such bloody goodness.

Posted 10:55am

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October 27th, 2005

It's only a dream!

Night #3, another classic from my misspent youth - A Nightmare on Elm Street. Much like Halloween or Friday the 13th, this franchise-to-be quickly lost its way after the superb original, but lets not hold that against it. Wes Craven obviously knows how to scare people, and even though the entire movie is extremely dated and pretty poorly acted, it still holds up as a horror movie. Imagine how many people there are who know who Freddy Krugger (or Jason or Michael Meyers) is and what he looks like but have never seen an Elm Street movie? Its a pretty strange cultural phenomenon for the horror genre. I mean, you can't get through life not knowing who Darth Vader is and what he looks like, but that's because of television commercials, advertisements and passing by toy stores in the mall. But unless you spend a lot of time in Halloween costume shops, where does Freddy's high Q rating come from? If you're one of those who's never seen the original, check out. If nothing else you can watch a young Johnny Depp display absolutely none of the acting acumen he will later become known for.

Posted 4:10pm

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October 26th, 2005

Holy Sweet Mother F-ing Second Chance Jesus...

There's very few times in one's life that they get to right past wrongs. Very few second chances that help rid you of the gut wrenching feeling you get when thinking about missed opportunities. I am proud to announce that someone somewhere likes me, and has granted me such an opportunity.

I never got a chance to see the Police in concert. I can live with that. They broke up when I was 10. No one ever came up to me in fourth grade and said "I've got an extra ticket for the Police at the Silverdome tonight, wanna go?" HOWEVER, I had ample opportunities to see The Promise Ring between 1995-2000. Sometimes I'd find out about the show a week late. Sometimes I'd be poor and couldn't afford the $15 ticket. Sometimes I couldn't find anyone to go with me. When I heard they broke up a few years back I immediately became light headed. This was one of my favorite bands, and now I'll never see them. I know this is a stupid way to feel about something so trivial. But music is important to me, and so was seeing The Promise Ring.

Fast forward to today. As I scour the internet, I bring up eBay and I type in 'Promise Ring' as I am wont to do when bored and looking for T-shirts or new vinyl. When I see a listing under the heading 'tickets', my eyebrows raised. When I clicked through, I saw the words 'Reunion Show - Chicago' and the hair on my arms stood on end. As I sit here now (listening to Nothing Feels Good) I can barely keep my seat thinking about it. I may never get a second chance with all the women I swore were interested in me but I was too drunk to act, but I will get to hear Davey Von Bohlen sing 'A Picture Postcard', and that's more than most of us get.

Posted 10:30am

Heads will roll...

Its scary movie week, day two. Last night's feature was Sleepy Hollow, Tim Burton's 1999 take on the old Washington Irving tale. This is unfortunately only one of two good movies Burton has made in the last decade (the other being the enjoyable Big Fish). But I've always been a big fan of this movie. It works for me as horror, suspense, thriller and whodunnit. And I really like Christina Ricci's boobs. Johnny Depp gives a great performance as constable Ichabod Crane, walking the tightrope between ahead of his time supersleuth and uptight nancy boy. Speaking of Johnny, he's been pretty good to pretty fucking awesome in just about everything I've ever seen him in. But what was up with him as Willy Wonka? I don't know how anyone can view that performance as anything but really creepy. I guess you try and make interesting choices and eventually one will go awry. But I digress. If you're looking for something a little smarter than your average Halloween fare, this is a good place to start. A little gore, a little action, some good scares and a lot of fun. And it won't leave that sick feeling in your stomach like after watching The Exorcist.

Posted 10:30am

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October 25th, 2005

This house is clean...(whoops)

Its Halloween week, which means its time to watch some scary shit on the ol' TV. What better way to start off the week with what is, for my money, the best haunted house movie ever. This probably is largely due to me seeing it at a much-too-young age, but after watching it last night, I stand by it. Despite the fact that Tobe Hooper directed this film, its total Spielberg (except for maybe at the end when the closet turns into the world's scariest vagina. That could be Tobe's influence) Either way, if you haven't seen this movie, now is the time. Good scares, good gore, good comedy and really watchable front to back (which let's face it, most horror movies aren't).

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the best MST3K moment of the evening. The Buddha was watching the first part of the movie last night, right after the fit hits the shan the first time and Carol Ann gets abducted by the ghosts. It went something like this:
Buddha: What happened to the little girl?
T: The poltergeist took her.
Buddha: Where is she?

T: In the TV.
Buddha: If that happened to me, I would totally move.
T: What about the little girl?
Buddha: Well they can take the TV with them..
.

Oh I love the Buddha. Classic. It was almost as good as this one, when we were watching the shitball action movie Paycheck, starring Ben Affleck:
Buddha walks in while I'm watching Ben and Uma in a high speed motorcycle chase.
Buddha: What cha watchin'?
T: Paycheck.
Buddha: So what, this guys all pissed off because he didn't get his paycheck?

The next 8 years are gonna be interesting...

Posted 10:30am

Quick Hits...

- Pretentious British (read:redundant) Film mag TotalFilm has put out its version of the 100 best movies of all time. Number one? Goodfellas. If you think that's weird, wait till you see where Fight Club ended up. Seriously?
- Time has the 100 best contemporary novels. Its in the alphabetical cop-out format. Look through it and see how many you've tackled post-college. Best inclusion: Alan Moore's Watchmen.
- More lists? Premiere has the 25 most shocking movie moments. Number One? Jaye Davidson's penis.
- And finally, not in the best-of-list category, but a personal pet peeve of mine. Slate has an article about how people don't know how to drive stick anymore. Which in my mind, should prevent you from getting a driver's license. That and the ability to change a tire.

Posted 10:20am

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October 20th, 2005

Open mouth and insert foot... big time

I should have known the night I was in for when I was hanging out with a girl who had never seen Three's Company (turned out she was born in 1985, but that's neither here nor there) The second clue was that she was at the bar after she had been in the hospital that same day. Strange? Yes. But not out of the ordinary. I could imagine myself doing the same thing. So she takes her coat off to notice that she still has the hospital ID bracelet on. 'Does anyone have scissors?' She jokingly asks. 'I have a swiss army knife on my keychain,' say I. She holds her arm out and I gently slide the knife under the bracelet to cut it off. 'There,' I say 'Now no one will think you've just escaped from the psych ward.' Everyone laughs. I repeat the joke in several ways over the next 20 minutes, figuring that it'll be funny for me to continue to refer to her as 'crazy'. At one point she even says 'What if I actually did escape from the psych ward?' I say something to the effect of 'What are the chances?' and then that I don't think it would bother me. When she finally leaves the table to go to the bathroom, my friend leans over and says 'Dude, she was in the psych ward.' I look around the table and everyone verifies this. It had apparently been discussed before I arrived, and they failed to repeat it to me before she showed up. So I spent part of the evening calling an emotionally disturbed person crazy to her face. I guess it did make feel a little bad. But seriously, what were the chances?

Posted 3:52pm

Blinding me with science

Here's a quick question and answer that appeared in an article today on Salon.com:

"So you want to change the definition of science to include the supernatural?" "Yes," he says, "we need a total paradigm shift in science."

The 'answer' comes from the lawyer defending the school board in the Pennsylvania evolution case. Who'd of thought we'd have to go to court to prove that supernatural is an antonym for science? You're wasting everyone's time people. Go teach ID in Sunday school and keep science classrooms teaching science.

Posted 3:40pm

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October 19th, 2005

Its sacrilicious...

How often have you passed a bum on the street and wondered 'What if that's really Jesus?' Sometimes its hard to tell. The line between a bearded homeless man and a dirty Jesus is a fine one. That's why Homeless or Jesus is so much fun to play. Go try it and tell me I'm wrong. I'll see you in hell.

Posted 11:52am

It tastes like burning...

Everybody's favorite 'pedia (Wikipedia) has done it again. This time they've catalogued all (?) the made up words in the Simpson's universe. Take a trip down memory lane and add more than 'saxamaphone' to your standard Simpsons references.

Posted 11:46am

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October 18th, 2005

Dick is a Killer

I'm quickly becoming a hip-hop guru. Stop laughing. OK, now that's out of your system. Someone (apparently calling himself RX) has mixed himself some GW with some mad beats. A lot of it I guess is more techno, but we already covered and laughed at my whiteness, so lets move on. Join the party here. Be sure to check Dick is a Killer.

RX is even better than my former favorite Bush based music, the George W Bush Singers.

Posted 3:20am

Die you stupid bitch, die

Seriously, someone shut Yoko Ono the fuck up. Being a star fucker qualifies you to judge or comment on NOTHING. It certainly doesn't give you license to verbally bitch slap your dead husband's partner. But she did it anyway (here). And to add insult to injury, she went to say that John would have loved Oasis. Now I'm no Lennon expert, but that doesn't really seem like John to me. I take a lot of heat for being more of a McCartney fan than a Lennon fan, but let us all agree that Yoko is giant bitch.

Posted 3:20am

Three words: Catch and Release

If you're not watching/TiVoing How I Met Your Mother (CBS, Monday @ 8:30) before turning it to MNF, you're missing out. Especially the performance of Doogie Howser himself, Neil Patrick Harris. His character from the show has a blog (which he always references on the show) which you can read here (the link is to his '24 ways in which women are like fish'). This is apparently a trend, as Dwight from the Office is psuedo-blogging here.

Posted 3:10pm

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October 17th, 2005

Don't you get me started now...

I'll admit, I loved being edge-of-my-seat excited all day Friday and having no one understand the reason for it. I wasn't the oldest person at the Death Cab for Cutie show on Friday, but I certainly brought the average age up. I guess that explains why I had a hard time getting anyone to understand my excitement. The show was fabulous, despite the fact that they failed to play my three favorite songs. Eternal thanks to the lovely Kara for taking me to the show, even though she mocked me all night for my man-crush on Ben Gibbard.

 

Posted 10:20am

Will the A2 Tippy Cup All Stars go pro?

I've always considered myself to be at the forefront of drinking technology and a connoisseur of drinking games. But even I never imagined the day when I would see a story in the Times about Beer Pong and Tippy Cup (the story calls it 'flippy cup'. Please. Its tippy cup or flip cup. Not flippy cup. I expect more out of you Times). Its kinda cool, but kind of lame how main stream and accepted this has all become. But that's just the snob in me. I remember when all we had was Zoomie and P's and A's, and no one wants to go back to those dark days. Driving down Packard on a Friday night and seeing Beer Pong tables in the front yard of half of the houses brings a tear to my eye. Partly because its so beautiful, and partly because if I wandered into any of those front yards, everyone would be like 'Who's the old dude?'

Posted 10:09am

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October 14th, 2005

James Blonde

Its official. Daniel Craig is the new Bond. Not a bad choice. He's played an effective asshole in the past, and you need that smug, asshole quality to pull off Bond. But the more important 'news' (although its been known awhile, I'm just getting around to commenting on it) is that the next Bond movie (Casino Royale) will be directed by Martin Campbell. Big whoop you say? What if I told you that Martin Campbell was the guy who directed the last good Bond movie, Goldeneye? That's what I thought. Goldeneye is, in my opinion, the best non-Connery Bond film. And I grew up watching Roger Moore people. That sentiment may or may not have something to do with said film being the inspiration for one of the greatest video games of all time. In any case, hopefully Martin can bring some integrity back to the franchise and not have Bond surfing. Twice. In the same movie. This important stuff guys, lets try and get it right.

posted 2:04pm

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October 13th, 2005

We wants it, the precious...

The long rumored holy grail for geeks and technophiles alike has been brought forth - the video iPod. You can click here to get the specs and crap like that. But let's face it, you already want one. As if the iPod wasn't effective enough already at helping you avoid human contact, now your eyes have somewhere to go. No more of that pretending to be spaced out when you accidentally make eye contact with someone whilst under the spell of the white magical earbuds.

Posted 2:04pm

2 quick hits

- Someone managed to turn one of the great horror movies of all time into pure saccharine schmaltz.
- Finally well documented proof of what many of us have know for some time - Bill O'Reilly is the new Joe McCarthy

posted 2:00pm

Horseshoes, hand grenades and batting titles

It was a short lived victory. Going into last nights double header, I was sitting on top of the team batting average standings at something around .618. I was about one hit better than the next two guys. Anyone who has known me for any period of time would see this as amazing. I was the least athletic of all my friends growing up. A little awkward, a little clumsy, a little uncoordinated. Not a complete spazz, but given I hung around kids who worshiped sports, I was generally last picked.

Fastforward to 20 years later and I somehow have found a niche on my softball team. We're not great, but we've got several good athletes on our team. And going into last nights game, the title of best batting average was mine for the taking. In true flashback fashion, I couldn't hit to save my life last night. I eventually found my way to 3 for 6 with a walk. Not bad considering. And when the unofficial results came in, I was champion. The guys behind me had off nights as well, and somehow I managed to hang on. For a few hours at the bar, I was the champ. That was until the actual numbers we tabulated. John's 6 for 7 night sunk me. I lost the title by a hit. I should be happy with .586 (even after batting over .600 over the summer) but the victory would have erased a lot of demons.

Posted 12:00pm

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October 11th, 2005

Quick Hits

- David Lee Roth is replacing Howard Stern when he goes to Sirius satellite radio in January. Yes, that David Lee Roth.

- My Morning Jacket has a new disc out simply called Z. The other the day they played live on NPR (yes that NPR). You can hear it here.

- I've been saying forever that the Smurfs had it coming. Somebody should've smurfed them a long time ago.

- Finally this picture of nubile coke head Kate Moss is one of the strangest things I've ever seen. Its like a cross between ET and Mr. Fantastic.

Posted 10:15am

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October 7th, 2005

Did he say 'making fuck?'

Kevin Smith is headed back to the wheelhouse for a sequel his breakthrough feature film Clerks. Clerks 2: The Passion of the Clerks is in preproduction right now, and Smith is keeping a video diary of the whole process at clerks2.com. He recently posted a teaser trailer that basically edits together all the profanity from the original movie. Definitely worth a look for those of you who get nostalgic when thinking about snowballing and the number 37.

Posted 10:15am

Make the girlies wanna scream

Most of you who know me know what a hip-hop guru I am, so it should be no surprise to hear me rave about the new Danger Mouse/MF Doom compilation. OK, what if I told you its based on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim lineup? Now you get it. Its called Danger Doom - The Mouse and the Mask. You can hear the whole thing right now on MySpace.

Posted 10:09am

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October 6th, 2005

Rosemary's Cruise's Baby

While we don't know if his name is Legion yet, the unholy union between Cruise and Holmes hath born ill fruit. USA Today (what does it say that this is America's newspaper?) is reporting that Katie Holmes is pregnant. I'm almost speechless. Which is what Katie is going to have to be when the kid is born, since Scientologists are supposed to have their kids in complete silence. I kid you not. Click the link and see for yourself. A woman having a baby isn't supposed to scream. Or even shush. You know how babies are born, right? You can at least imagine that its painful. What is going on in Katie Holmes head? And wasn't she supposed to be a virgin? Why aren't you more creeped out by this? Because your level of outrage is completely inappropriate.

Posted 10:20pm

What is your favorite color?

Two great interviews today. One with uberauthor Kurt Vonnegut, the other with former indie darlings Death Cab for Cutie. You should be into both of these entities, so read the interviews and then go out and read and listen to their work.

Posted 10:15am

Suck on this juicebox

The Strokes have a new album coming out soon, and you can download the first single 'Juicebox' here. Sounds a little Franz Ferdinand-ish, a lot Strokes-ish.

Posted 10:10am

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October 3rd, 2005

Two, two, two addictions in one!

From the 'I just quit smoking and all I got was 10 years added to my life' front, a company in Germany has invented nicotine beer. Finally I can get my two favorite drugs in one convenient package. Something tells me this ain't gonna make it, but of course given my proclivities, I'll be first in line given the chance.

Posted 4:16pm

But the rainbow has a beard...

I'm on my semi-annual quest to see if I can grow a beard. I take that back. I'm performing a semiannual ritual in where I prove to myself that I can't grow a beard. I'm a week in and its better than expected. Not that its good mind you, but its performing better than in years past. Who knows, if I tough it out another week I may actually be the proud owner of a new beard (assuming I don't get a date or anything of the sort that would likely require it to be shaved). I'll consider posting a pic (for comedic purposes only) before I 86 it. If you see me in the street before then, please don't point and laugh. We don't want to scare the hair back into my face.

Posted 3:02pm

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September 30th, 2005

That's so Facinelli

So last night I'm sitting at home, drinking a bottle of wine, reading the new Chuck Klosterman and watching Fastlane on the video game channel. Suddenly, I get a call from Stov to meet at our friendly neighborhood Applebees. He's says he and Dan are going for at least one beer. I've known Stov for some time now, and there's never been such a thing as just one beer. It actually turned out to be 19 beers between the three of us in a little less than two hours. I'd like to have some kind of vote or contest as to what is the saddest part of all that, but in truth, the only point was so that I could write Facinelli in the headline, because I think the name is inherently funny.

Posted 10:27am

Never trust a monkey

Ah evolution. What a hot button you've turned out to be. Who would of thought something so well accepted in the science community would be such a hard sell everywhere else. I love evolution because its an nice barometer for other peoples worldview. Those who don't believe in evolution are on some level a kind of ignoramus zealot who likely has never been to a museum or the grand canyon. Those who shake their heads and laugh at these people are the ones who paid attention in high school biology. Now of course there are those in the middle who understand the basic principles and tenets of evolution and believe them to be true, but have problems somewhere along the way. These are the people I'm interested in (beyond comedic value). In Slate today, there's two great articles about intelligent design and why it isn't science, here and here. And a little while back there was a fabulous article in the Washington Post about how the case for evolution only gets stronger. High school science teachers should be required to teach that.

Posted 10:27am

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September 28th, 2005

Things that go bump in the night.

I love my apartment. I've been here over three years, which means I've lived here longer than any other place during my 11 year tenure in Ann Arbor. I've hung my pictures, painted the walls, and become right accustomed to living here. Especially since for the last year and a half my building's been mostly empty.

A while back the complex got sold and long story short, people have moved out, but no one's been moving in. So in a way, I've learned to enjoy the quiet life. I like my hallways not smelling like other people's food, and my parking lot still having a space for me when I get home from the bar at 2:30am. But then - again to make a long story shorter - they moved 'em back in. The building filled up again and now my hallways smell like a China Buffet and I have to circle the parking lot twice if I stay till last call. Now spending several years in the apartment slums of A2, neither of these things should bother me terribly, they should just be mild annoyances.

I'm a modern apartment dweller. Or an Ann Arbor one, I'm not sure which is relevant, but either way, I don't get to know my neighbors. Other than one crazy lady who used to come by and tell me how she invented the phrase 'as good as it gets', I don't know anyone in my building, much less my complex. Yet now I have to smell their food, put up with their giant SUVs taking up two spots in the parking lot, and listen to them come home drunk at 1am when I couldn't find anyone to go out drinking with (OK that last one rarely happens).

I've been saying recently I will stay where I am until a miracle happens and I can afford a house. I pray it happens soon, because this semi-communal living is for the young. I need my space. I need to pull into a driveway and walk less than ten feet to get to my door. And most importantly, I need the smells around me to be my own.

Posted 11:15am

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September 25th, 2005

Sucking on chapstick

I intended to provide a detailed, blow by blow description of my 30th birthday and the rampant alcoholism that accompanied it. But I quickly realized that those two things don't go hand in hand. So instead, some highlights:

- I started Thursday evening with a trip to my old bosses house to wish her luck on her move out of town. Much alcohol was drank, stories exchanged and gifts given. I then headed home for some more alcohol and little food (for the soaking up of alcohol) before heading out to see The Aristocrats. I've easily seen hundreds of movies in a theater in my life, but this was the first time I can remember that the feature was preceded by a warning. A representative of the theater actually came out and warned us of the filth we were about to endure (and specifically that of Bob Saget). All I'll say is that she was right and I loved it. It was laugh out loud funny at times, interesting in others and unspeakably filthy throughout. I then went home for a nightcap and to wait for my gut to expand and my hair to fall out at midnight. Luckily neither happened (but I swear to God I was sweating waiting for it to happen.

- Friday was low key to start. Kara took me to lunch and suggested that since I was going to Heinygate, I should push my quit date back a day. I thought it a solid suggestion and immediately went out and bought more cigarettes. Then I went to go see The 40 Year Old Virgin. There's nothing more depressing people, than walking into see a movie by yourself, on Friday afternoon, called the 40 Year Old Virgin, and being one of three obviously single dudes in the theater. Its got the French stink of I-don't-know-what, but it isn't good.

-I've been driving down to Columbus on Friday nights in the fall for ten+ years - all to drink my face off for 48 hours. Stov and I found an unspoken comfort in that thought as we headed down for the 11th consecutive year of partying with Ohio's best all-gay band. After the oh-so-painful 3 hour drive through nowhere, Ohio, we got to the Barlows and began the drinking. The three dudes headed to the bar to play Golden Tee and other things that involve anything but talking to women. We were accosted by a drunk skank that was too nasty for even two guys as desperate as me and Stov - but it was a highlight for the evening.

-5 hours later its time to go to Heinygate. We've had insufficient sleep and its raining. We know that the beer will be cold and plentiful on our arrival and are buoyed at the thought. The next 8 or so hours are exactly what you would expect out of Heinygate. All I'll say is that everyone involved performed as advertised, doing nothing to illicit talk of anyone maturing after all these years. Next thing I know I'm in a cab headed to Mongolian BBQ, where I will cross a busy street to get cigarettes (falling twice in the process), piss off a bar full of Buckeye fans, and spill large quantities of sauced up meet on my shirt. I'd go into more details if I had them at my disposal.

-We get back to Barlows where I immediately pass out, telling Anee to wake me up when its time to go to the bar. Somewhere between 5 minutes and 2 hours later, Anee is ready. I trip over Stov's carcass and go to change out of my BBQ stained clothes. The next several hours involve lots of alcohol, a baaaaad cover band and the scariest group of locals you ever did see. We managed to close the place down and I vow to never smoke again. Its 36 hours later and while I hate myself, I'm committed to do this.

Thanks Barlows, Stov and everyone else who made the weekend special. What its possible for me to remember of it I will always treasure...

posted 2:00pm

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September 22nd, 2005

Old man take a look at my life...

OK. 12 hours left in my 20s. I don't want to be overly sentimental about any of this, but turning any significant number can give one pause for reflection. So I thought about a lot of ways to put down what's been running around my noggin - what angle to take, how serious to be about it, etc. So in the end, I decided to try and pass on the few nuggets of wisdom I've gained in the last ten years. Some of it has been suspected for a long time and only made its way into what can actually be called knowledge or wisdom recently, but I'm stalling now. So with out further ado, what I learned in my twenties...

He who holds his composure wins...
I've been in a lot of arguments. A lot. Now I'm a big fan of passion, its what makes life worth getting out of bed in the morning, but usually the person who can calmly state everything as fact in the argument ends up winning it. Or at least they can feel like they won.
Although a well timed rant that can completely silent your competition is much more satisfying (they're just harder to come by).

Parenting isn't that hard...
Most people don't spend their entire twenties as a parent, but its been the most rewarding and fascinating part of my last ten years. And don't believe the hype, its not that hard. Just keep your eye on your levels of love and discipline and keep both extremely high.
Although it is a little relentless - its like the mail, every f-ing day (without Sundays and government holidays off).

Stereotypes work...
If you see a drunk blonde in a tube top and a skirt she needs two hairdos for, she's probably not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Don't feel bad making assumptions about people, it saves lots of time and energy.
Although always keep an open mind - if that drunk blonde can liberally quote Shakespeare, she could be your dream girl.

Country music and Vin Diesel are here to stay...
Never underestimate how low the American public is willing to set the bar. Songs about how she done you wrong and physically fit dopes will never go out of style.
Although Garth and Shania are gone and people now seem to love the man in black (I have nothing positive to say about Vin Diesel).

Experience is a great teacher...
Without anyone popping up to bear witness, I do sex and drugs (mainly meaning alcohol) a lot better now than ten years ago.
Although, you never quite regain the awe and wonder of those first couple years.

Less than 1% chance off death, get in there...
I've done a lot of stupid things. Things involving alcohol and nudity and conversations with figures of authority. But there were times where I said no. Opportunities to do the truly head-scratching can dwindle with age as your cohorts grow up and get responsible and you have responsibilities of your own. So get out there and naked stage dive, tomorrow the opportunity may be gone.
Although if said opportunity could immediately lead to brain damage, VD, or loss of limb, take an extra second or so to weigh the options.

Cell phones, the iPod and TiVo are the greatest inventions of the last decade...
Let me get this straight, I can talk to anyone, regardless of where they are? And I can put my entire music collection on something the size of a pack of smokes?! And I can watch my favorite TV programs whenever I want?!? I never would have guessed these improvements on existing technologies ten years ago. I can never go back to landlines, CD players and VCRs.
Although the ability of anyone to get ahold of me anytime has its drawbacks - thank God for the phrase 'I couldn't get a signal' (FYI, there are no drawbacks to TiVo or the iPod).

TV is inherently better now...
Yes, there is an exponential more amount of crap, but cable now produces original shows, allowing them (and to lesser extent the networks) to produce stuff that actually has originality and can appeal to people in a real way. This weeds out middling crap like Full House.
Although the deluge of cheap reality tv is a stiff price to pay.

TV is inherently better now (part 2)...
How little did we know that back in the 90's the TV we were watching would be equivalent to a 13" black and white by today's standards. HD and DVD have made old analog TV its bitch. Once we get Blu-ray DVDs and all HD broadcasts, we will never have to leave the couch again.

Although the price of keeping up with all of this is getting a tad ridonkulous.

Never deny yourself enjoyment based on popular opinion...
I was never a big victim of this, seeing as how I tend to relish it when I can find joy in something few others have. But nevertheless, social instinct can steer people to the middle. Let me tell you people, the middle almost always sucks. Nobody wins. Never go with to see Armageddon with a group of people you want to look cool for when you can go see a Jean-Pierre Jeunet movie by yourself.
Although you should never shun anything just because its popular - always remember that everyone agrees that the Beatles were the best band ever.

Expensive beer is never worth it after the first two...
Let's face it, it's all the Beast after you've had a couple. Kegs of Honey Brown and Killians Red shouldn't even exist.
Although there's nothing quite like that first Oberon of the evening.

Nothing worth knowing is summed up in a list or pamphlet...
These are things put out by people either trying to get something from you or make you feel better by making the complicated seem easy. Guess what - its all complicated. You will very likely never get to the core of anything in your lifetime, and that's OK.
Although given that line of logic, I should stop with this right here.

And finally, as the MoeMan says, What goes around, comes around...
Nobody stays on top forever. Spielberg made 1941 between Close Encounters and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Honey Pie is on the White Album. Its a rollercoaster people, enjoy the ride.
Although it is OK to expect the best out of your significant other and your favorite sports team (just be ready to immediately forgive them or hate them and yourself until they fix it).

posted 12:00pm

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September 19th, 2005

Welcome to the end of life as we know it.

This is it. The last week of my twenties. The last week of a fifteen year adventure that has been smoking. The beginning of the end. Assuming the quitting smoking thing takes, lets be generous and call this the half way point. Its been a helluva ride so far. But lets try and keeps things less gloomy. Friday night I was victim to that I swore I was always too smart for - the surprise party. Thanks to all of ya who planned, prepared, kept the secret, wrote messages, called and (most importantly) bought me alcohol Friday night. It was a great time - even if those of us who attend Cubs regularly may now be on probation due to things like shirtless bowling. May those of you who will shortly follow have it so good. Cheers.

Posted 2:11pm

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September 13th, 2005

We're on a mission from God

Ah Google Maps. Soon to make us all forget that Mapquest ever existed. And someone has found a way to make it even cooler. Or at least put its coolness to good use. This site has taken every significant or even recognizable site from The Blues Brothers and mapped it out - including stills and descriptions - all in chronological order. Pretty damn cool if you're any kind of fan of John Landis' masterpiece. Now all we need is someone to do this for Ferris Bueller's Day Off and I smell one helluva road trip photo essay.

Posted 3:53pm

Don't Mess with Texas.

Someday we'll all look back and scratch our heads.
Go to www.google.com
Type failure
Click 'I'm feeling lucky'

posted 3:38pm

If people think nature is their friend, then they sure don't need an enemy.

Kurt Vonnegut was on The Daily Show last night. I spent an enjoyable while looking for a quote as the headline to this entry, and finally decided the above was too timely not to use (for more see here.) If you've never read Vonnegut or only read Slaughterhouse Five, take the time to read some(more). Absolutely a once in a generation mind and writer. He'll make you think and make what you think better. Or something like that. I'm no Vonnegut.

Posted 1:39pm

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September 12th, 2005

You could have it so much better...

Not due out for a few weeks yet, the new Franz Ferdinand album (You Could Have it So Much Better with Franz Ferdinand) is out there floating in the ether. Not that we condone those with loose enough morals to just go out there into the electronic information superhighway and steal the creative works of others. However, we are happy to report that it is the perfect piece of pop goodness that you were hoping for. It will complete eliminate the need to make a sweet playlist for your next party, as you can easily just throw Franz on and let it spin (at least for its 41 minute running time - then the heats back on). So look for it October 4th, or before if that's the kind of person you want to be, and enjoy being awash in its bouncy, jangly, witty, rocking, toe tapping aesthetic.

 

Posted 9:51am

Monday morning mourning

You'd think at this point I'd be old enough and experienced enough not to feel like shit after a Michigan loss. Especially by Monday morning. Ah well, I'm sure once the morning sports talk goes off the air and I get rolling at work I'll forget about it. Thank yous to the tailgate crew as always (although another week of so-so effort) and especially the Moeman, who is always a welcome sight in A2. Big ups to Vincent Young for making Saturday night a little less painful. And finally thanks Stov and your sub-zero basement for making hangover Sunday much more tolerable (due to the NFL Sunday ticket). And finally finally a reunion of sorts on Saturday. We were able to re-create a Rose Bowl moment at the tailgate. Its a little scary that 7 years later how little has changed. Or maybe its comforting. Jury's still out...

posted 9:51am

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September 8th, 2005

America's sweethearts return (kinda)

After what seemed like, weeks, of no news about Tom Cruise and his creepy relationship with Scientology Katie Holmes, we have a red hot bulletin! Katie is not only changing her last name to Cruise, pending the nutty nuptials, but her first name as well! In a turn of how-much-more-creppy-can-this-get, Katie Holmes will become Kate Cruise, because Tom calls her Kate and suggested she start going by that. Somebody needs to burn this girl with a torch a la Shortround to Indy in Temple of Doom. Snap out of it!

posted 11:15am

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September 7th, 2005

iPod mini, we hardly knew ye

Apple takes a step forward towards the brain-implant iPod with the new iPod Nano, which replaces that enormous iPod mini, which now looks like cell phone Danny Glover carried around in the first Lethal Weapon. Engadget has some details on the specs. I have to admit, its pretty cool. I may have finally found justification for the second iPod. The Nano can be my laptop to the original 20gb desktop version. In a related story, they also cited a study where it stated that the average portable audio player only had 375 songs on it. C'mon people, 375? Either upgrade your memory or start ripping those old Hootie and the Blowfish albums and get 'em on there.

Posted 2:50pm

Katrina Aftermath

OK, so I pledged to myself to stay away from this stuff, at least in this forum, but the things I've seen, heard and read in the last 24 hours prohibits that. First off, let us never have to be reminded that no one cries bullshit better than The Daily Show. Jon Stewart seems to have the appropriate take almost every time. Last night's coverage of Bush's ineptitude and disregard of his administrations bungling was no exception. He called the handling of the catastrophe an inarguable failure and to quote the man: "Was there bureaucratic bungling? The short answer is: yes. The long answer is: YEEEEEESSSSSS!" Kudos as always Jon. Secondly, if you haven't heard W's mom Barbara's comments yet, they're quickly making their way around the Internet In short:

And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them.

Swear to God its real. You can hear the audio here.

Posted 1:26pm

Don't let the door hit you on the ass...

Trev Alberts, ESPN college football commentator, was fired today. And there was much rejoicing. Bye bye you whiny fucker. You won't be missed. That is all.

Posted 11:01am

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September 6th, 2005

Death to Reality

I hate reality TV. I watched the first couple of seasons of The Real World on MTV - but that was back when reality TV didn't even hold that moniker. I've never watched Survivor. I could care less about The Bachelor. Some of this bullshit sits higher on the totem pole than others (I can understand why people get emotionally involved in Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, but The Apprentice? seriously), but I guess even with the dearth of quality television available, I've never understood the reality phenomenon. I have my own low brow pleasures (mostly teenage melodramas) but I at least initially get into those shows because of what I deem clever dialogue and plotting (they eventually turn into formulaic crap with hot chicks, but by that time I'm hooked). The truth is that 95% of reality TV is so contrived, it shouldn't even hold the term 'reality'. But I'll leave that argument to one of my biggest man-crushes: Steven Soderbergh. He's releasing a movie simultaneously on DVD and in the theaters that has a 'reality component'. Sounds a little like Gus Van Sant recently, which has all been very interesting (go check out Elephant if you haven't yet). Anyway, get the Soderbergh snippit here, then take all the reality shows off your TiVo and start watching Lost.

Posted 11:15am

Quick Notes on Katrina

I debated whether or not ot even mention the whole disaster in New Orleans. Its obviously devastating to see what has and is taking place, while heartening to see how we as Americans can rally to each other's side in the face of tragedy. I'm of two minds as to the New York Times Op-ed stuff. I agree with alot of the Bush bashing of course, but the timing is a little uncomfortable. I somehow caught Kanye West's rant during the benefit concert that appeared over the weekend, which was a sight to see. I felt bad for Mike Myers, who was there to show some Canadian support (though not in an official way I suppose) and ended up blindsided when Kanye went off the prompter. I don't want to turn this into a political rant or try to sit in judgement of how anyone responds to such a tragedy, I'll just say if you want to help, go see the Red Cross.

Posted 11:01am

Monday Tuesday morning Thank-yous

Another weekend and summer gone. Labor day weekend never seems to hold the special significance of Memorial Day around my house. It was especially true this year as it was near impossible to get me off the couch come Sunday/Monday. However, Saturday did mark the start of the college football season and another year of debaucherous tailgating. Thanks to all of the members of the TIC (Tailgate Improvement Comittee) who did a bang up job of getting DirecTV running in the parking lot. We've got lots of room for improvement, but its off to a good start. Then after 12 hours of tailgating, it was time for a trip to the Blind Pig for a little hard Lessons/Sights action. A great show. Thanks Markie C for dragging me out and letting me prove to myself I can still get it done. Yes, this will likely become a recurring theme here as the countdown to thirty begins. If I survive the next few weeks, it'll be a miracle.

Posted 10:20am

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September 1st, 2005

What'd you put in my drink?

Almost thirty and still getting it done. Three adults killed a fifth of tequila and twelve Coronas (it was taco night after all) and then scrambled around the house looking for more alcohol last night. And one of us had to work the next day. Unfortunately it was me. So here I sit, hating myself, trying to make the time pass at more than a slow burn. The fact that I'm less than 24 hours away from my first tailgate of the season can't even get me going. The fact that I was 3-0 gambling last night isn't even inspiring me. I guess maybe I'm not getting it done on the level I thought I was. Then again, when I was younger I could afford to sleep until my heart was content. Those were the days. Now I'm in the penultimate circle of hell.

Posted 11:11am

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August 29th, 2005

Rock Rock 'til you drop

Saturday night marked my triumphant return to the world of Rock 'n' Roll. Sort of. Heather and Steve decided to have their bevy of talented friends come over for an evening of balls to the wall rocking. From 20 minutes jam sessions to 3 minute power ballads and everything in between, it was an evening of musical delights and debacles that never failed to at least be interesting. Thanks for the opportunity to be in front of people with a guitar in my hand again - for the first time trying to impress with my vocal stylings. I'd forgotten how quickly it all rushes by you when you're up there. Trying to just hang on and keep up while doing your best to remember what's next. Its certainly a rush not easily duplicated.

posted 10:11am

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August 24th, 2005

May you forever be touched by his noodly appendage

Here's a favorite subject of mine recently. Its not all that current a subject (in the sense that its not currently burning up the press like it has in the past 18 months) but one that is near and ever so dear to my heart: Intelligent Design. To me, the arguement for ID is something along the lines of "Nature is so complex, the only possible way to explain it is with God." (I'm sure ID advocates would argue, but you get the gist) Of course my arguement on the bottom line would be God's got no business in science class. To me the reasons are obvious, but apparently not everyone agrees with 99.9% of the world's scientists. But in a gesture of appeasement, here is a counter theory to evolution I'm willing to get behind. May you forever be touched by his noddly appendage.

posted 2:39pm

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August 23rd, 2005

I get knocked down...

This article over at the snarky pitchforkmedia.com talks about online music sharing and how consultants track who listens to what and how much and how people who like the Arcade Fire also like Coldplay. Its especially interesting near the beginning where they talk about the "Chumbawamba Factor":

If you remember the song "Tubthumbing"-- the one that goes, "I get knocked down/ But I get up again"-- you may recall that the album, Tubthumping, and actually every other album that the one-time punk band ever recorded, sounded nothing like their big hit.
"Chumbawamba sold a lot of records, and every single one of them ended up in a milkcrate at a yard sale, six months after it was purchased. And what we told [the record labels] is, 'Look, you had a great long run of business essentially built on regrettable impulse buys,'" says Garland.

It made me cringe thinking about all the embarassing CD purchases I've made over the years, and then gave me hope, thinking that maybe this factor could reduce the amount of crappy one hit wonders I have to endure. I'm sure that's wishful thinking, but a boy can dream.

posted 11:16am

The Moog will live forever in our hearts

Robert Moog died Sunday. I didn't know the man. I can't say whether or not he had done anything recently that the public at large is now or will be denied. But I can say we all will forever be in his debt. From Prog to 80's synth to Beastie Boys to Wilco - the Moog synthesizer was a revolutionary instrument that's still sought after for its unique qualities. I'll defer to the NYTimes for a complete obit (even though it does make a Kraftwerk reference (?)). I'll just say Thank You Robert Moog. You left the world a more interesting place.

posted 10:11am

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August 22nd, 2005

Imagine... Then again maybe you shouldn't

After a discussion/arguement Saturday where I almost had to beat a kid with his own crutches (we get it, the Beatles were great. We all agree. Its just not an interesting conversation anymore) someone (Steve) brought my attention to this NYTimes review* of the new musical Lennon. I'd heard it was bad, but this particular review had me laughing out loud (God bless the Times). I'll spare everyone my musings on why I like Paul better than John and if certain things were reversed so would most people. If you know me you've probably heard at least part of it. If not, by me a drink sometime and I'll tell ya a tale...
*The Times requires a registration before they let you view full articles on their site. But honestly, if you don't have one already, you should get one. It'll make you smarter.

posted 2:41pm

Making the most of the waning summer

Its really hard to believe that summer is over. Well, almost over. Another week before school starts. One more weekend before college football begins another year of being the all encompassing fixation of my life. The high temp today in A2 is supposed to be 70. 70. After 60 straight days of it being 90+. Despite the pending arrival of cold weather and my thirties, I can't wait for the fall. There's still plenty of proverbial daylight for all day drinking Saturdays and the wearing of flip flops though, so enjoy while you can. It was great to see the Barlows this Saturday as well as Neil and Gabe, and Heather and Steve injected a little excitment into a hangover Sunday by getting me off the couch to come watch Topaz. Thanks y'all. Let's keep getting things done before we retreat indoors for winter hibernation.

posted 9:08am

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August 19th, 2005

Almost Famous

Napoleon, Ohio has always been world reknowned for its drinking and subsequent drunks. Get a few people together and chances are someone knows someone from Snap-Town. Turns out this year's PIB (Put-in-Bay) trip has garnered national media attention. OK not really, but sort of. RJ sent notice today that an 'independant' newspaper in Orlando (which reads like a cross between Pitchforkmedia.com and a high school newspaper (read: mean spirited, petty and stupid)) picked up a blog entry from his girlfriend in an effort to smear the Orlando Sentinal (where he and his girlfriend work) by calling them boring. Following me? Well bottom line these buddhas on the mountaintop dared to pass judgement on the bucket wearing in the Roundhouse. The line read: Another just got back from a trip to Ohio where she drank a lot of beer and put a bucket on her head. The whole article is here if you're having trouble sleeping. Be nice to the drunks people, they're having more fun than you. Tania's entry on PIB (with photos!) can be found on this page. My busted photo essay (for context only) is here.

posted 3:57pm

Death of the telephone

Months ago I finally ditched my landline phone in my apartment since A) I never used it and B) It was costing me close to $30/month (what the phone company said was their 'minimum plan'). Only problem was cell phone service in my building is spotty at best. Enter the world of VoIP and Skype. Skype is a free service that allows you to call other PC users that also have Skype. OK, kind of pointless given IM accounts and what not, but it gets better. For a fee, they let you call actual telephones. I was immediately intrigued. I signed up for $10 (actually 10 euros, which I'm sure is slightly more). The rate for calling anywhere in the U.S. is $.02/minute, so the $10 should last me easily for the 6 months until they expire. The quality is fair to good when I use my headphones and noise cancelling microphone. I hear the international rates are out of this world as well, which is what most people who are on the Skype bandwagon use the service for. You can also get a service where people can call you, but let's face it, I don't want anyone calling me, so you'll have to check that out for yo' self. Its only a matter of time before communication takes place only on computers and cellphones, so get on the bandwagon now.

posted 10:50am

Tar-zhay

This article in Slate does a good job of explaining why I feel so much more at home in Target compared to Wal-Mart when for all intents and purposes, they're the same store. I mean, I could give a shit about a Michael Graves tea kettle, but there's still nary a fortnight that doesn't require a run to Target (my son and I ran out last night to buy Star Wars Risk). On the other hand, going to Wal-Mart is the shopping equivalent of taking home a skank at last call. I hope nobody sees me and I immediately need a shower afterwards. But hey, maybe that's just me.

posted 10:11am

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August 18th, 2005

Welcome to my Dojo

I just realized that I have yet to give a shoutout here to the greatest thing to happen to bars since Golden Tee, or maybe even beer itself. The game that made boobie match all but obsolete: Word Dojo. There's little on the web about the Dojo, but that's OK - because it really needs to be experienced to be believed. So next time yu're in your favorite watering hole, step on over to that 'Megatouch' machine you've always seen losers hanging out at waiting for someone to talk to them and pop a quarter in. One round of Dojo is all it takes. As someone once said "Its like crack for intellectuals."

posted 4:15pm

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August 16th, 2005

Chicken in the bread pan, pickin' out dough

One of my favorite McSweeney's contributers (John Moe) has some interesting questions for Charlie Daniels on today's site.

posted 10:04am

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August 15th, 2005

Tap-Tap-Tap-a-root

Everybody's favorite rockers (two of which are my former roommates) Taproot will finally see the release of their third album Blue-Sky Research tomorrow, August 16th. Amazon.com says:

Taproot returns to the scene with Blue-Sky Research, their melodic yet hard-hitting follow-up to the critically acclaimed Welcome. Studio wiz Toby Wright (Alice in Chains, Kiss, Korn) pushed the band to write over 80 songs for this record. The hard work has paid off handsomely, as Blue-Sky Research delivers not only on every song, but as a cohesive album.

Sounds good. Now everyone go out and buy a copy. Only $10 at Best Buy. Skip the new Brad Paisley CD and go for this. Trust me.

posted 11:19am

Clerks is overrated? You cocksmoker.

Premiere magazine joins VH1 and the E! network in the 'let's make a list that pisses everybody off' club with this list of the 20 most overrated movies of all time. Now there are some movies on here that I love but will begrudgingly admit can tend to be overrated (Good Will Hunting and yes, even Clerks) but 2001? 2001? C'mon people. Hopefully we can all someday agree that A Beautiful Mind sucked, but even if you hate sci-fi and don't get 2001, please admit that if anything, its underrated.

posted 9:32am

I'm a pony! I'm a pony!

The 2005-2006 "30 year old birthday party extravaganza tour" kicked off this weekend in fine fashion. Guest of honor Troy wanted a carnival, so we got him a pony. Imagine a bunch of immature drunks in that thing and you've pretty much got the evening. Here we see what happens when you put several large-sized adults into a structure designed for children. This of course elicited cries of 'Worst Birthday ever' from Troy (we assume he was being sarcastic). Thankfully the pony recovered to provide many more hours of drunken enjoyment. The bar has been set - we all now have a lot to live up to for our birthday parties.



posted 9:11am

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August 9th, 2005

The glove compartment, is not accurately named

If you're a Death Cab for Cutie fan and have loose morals, the new album Plans is folating out there in the ether (which is all I'll say about it other than on first listen, it doesn't disappoint).

posted 10:04am

Hot chicks on the beach vs. Hot chicks kicking ass

This probably isn't news, but I just found out that The O.C. will be on the same night and time as Alias, which of course really chaps my ass. (Lesser conflicts include House vs. The Office and Lost vs. Veronica Mars) Its apparently time to either get a second TiVo or a life.

posted 9:53am

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August 8th, 2005

I'm going camping and I'm taking a television

For the fifth weekend in a row I left the friendly confines of Ann Arbor - this time to head North into the Michigan wilderness and spend the weekend camping, canoeing and of course, drinking. Not suprisingly everything on my body aches this morning and my liver is crying 'no mas'. But a great time - especially an impromptu 2 hour conversation about the soon-to-be craze that sweeps the nation, Poop Dollar. Don't ask.

posted 10:02am

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July 29th, 2005

Serenity Now!

Not a Buffy fan so I completely missed this in its initial run, but Sci-Fi Channel is showing Joss Whedon's Firefly. You should definitely check it out - especially if you like space westerns (and even if you don't).

posted 12:07am

Back again...

Holy Moses am I getting old. The trip to Put-in-Bay '05 is over and didn't disappoint - if you don't count the fact that I feel like hell. If you've never been and are anywhere near NWO and love alcohol, its worth the trip. If you plan to stay on the island (and its the only way to fly) get your reservations for next year now. It fills up fast.

posted 11:55am

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July 20th, 2005

F-U

I'm learning to love the Wikipedia. This, for instance, is awesome. I would have sworn Casino was the champ.

posted 10:07am

Holy Winnie Cooper

God bless the smarmy men's psuedo porn mags that allow me to see the girls I grew up watching on TV in their underwear. This reminds me of my very first erection.

posted 9:55am

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July 18th, 2005

Hot in the City

There was panic in the streets of Chicago Saturday night as the local taverns became increasingly worried that a small group of Michiganders in town for a weekend furlough would drink the city out of alcohol. Okay, hyperbole aside, thanks to the Grzyms, my fellow road warriors and the great city of Chitown for showing us one hell of a time. Hopefully our livers will let us one day return (and Megan will let us back into her hotel).

posted 2:39pm

Dreamier than Undone

It would probably take you all of ten seconds to figure out who's behind the camera here (if his name wasn't listed right beneath the video) but its still some dreamy goodness to admire whilst waiting for his next film.

posted 2:50pm

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July 13th, 2005

Sweet Love Hangover

I'm finally back to feeling normal after going to see my buddies Taproot Monday night at the Mchine Shop in Flint. Yes, I'm officially getting old and can't go out and drink till 2 on a Monday (at least not when I have to be at work the next day) But anyway, the show was great. Their first headlining gig in a while and it was worth the wait. The boys were in (almost) midseason shape and kicked some old school jams along with some of the new material. So everyone go on iTunes and buy their new single (Calling), request it on your local radio station and of course buy Blue Sky Research when it rolls out in August.

posted 3:25pm

Wardrobe by Bernini

Ok, its not a wardrobe item, but have you seen the new set for The Daily Show? It looks like a 1970's designed space ship control room. And eschewing the coach for the desk makes things waaaaaay too CNN/Charlie Rose. Let us not turn on our backs on our fake news bread and butter people. Seems like they're trying to make the political guests feel like its a more respectable place. Hopefully that's not the case. I've always had a fear that TDS would eventually start to take itself too seriously - especially after all the pub they got over the last election. For now I'll keep my faith in our dear steward John - don't let us down (and fire your decorator).

posted 3:18pm

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July 12th, 2005

Your peanut butter is in my chocolate!

Speculation is running rampant as engadget is showing off a 'leaked' image of what's being referred to as the 'Netflix Player'. Their best guess is that its part of a partnership between them and our beloved TiVo. Sounds interesting. My guess is that Blockbuster is pissed.

posted 4:30pm

Witchhunt!

Wanna watch Republicans (okay, this particular White House) do what they do best? Go to Salon.com and read the "You're in a bad spot here, Scott" article. Its filled with all your favorite doublespeak, hipocrasy, backtracking and of course - blatantly denying what we know to be true.

posted 11:59am

Katie Watch, day 47

OK, I'm breaking my promise to stay away from Tom Cruise, but this in the interest of hoping there's still a chance to save katie Holmes. After reading this article on style.com, it appears that she has been completely brainwashed. And I don't mean in the 'blinded by her love for Tom' kind of brainwashed. The 'I loved it. It was much better than Cats.' type of brainwashed.

Oh yeah, and here is some gossip that will have you worried for Felicity (whilst reinforcing the skin crawly feeling we still have about Tom)

posted 10:59am

Fantastic Alba Four

OK, so the special effects aren't that spectacular, the plot is dumb and they screwed the pooch on Dr. Doom - but I still liked it. To paraphrase what I read in Salon, this is what Summer blockbusters are supposed to be - mindless PG fun. I'm glad for War of the Worlds and Batman Begins, but I'll take Reed Richards and the gang over past summer stinkers like I, Robot and Armageddon.

posted 10:30am

Back from vacation

As if anyone noticed, I was gone for a week and not posting. Hooray I'm back at work and adding to the blog - waiting for the sweet release of death.

posted 10:28am

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June 27th, 2005

A better man than me

This guy heard that the Modern Library had released a list of the top 100 novels of the 20th century and decided to read them all. He's been at it since 1999 and hasn't finished, but he's still working on it. He even takes the time to review each book, although he gave Slaughterhouse Five two out of three stars, so you might steer clear of his advice. I decided to do the same thing with AFI's 100 years...100 movies list when that came out. I'm still about half a dozen movies short. Ah well, best laid plans. These are the things I tell myself I'll do when I'm old and alone and smell wierd but no one has the guts to tell me.

posted 2:59pm

Trailer Park Time

If you haven't seen it yet, the ridiculously advanced trailer for the Peter Jackson King Kong remake is floating in the ether of the internet (Here's hoping Jack Black does his best Bill Shatner and at some point screams KOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG!!). As well the new Cameron Crowe flick Elizabthtown. (Here's hoping Crowe can make Orlando Bloom a little less, say, elvish than he usually is in his non-elf roles.) Find them at the appropriate links below.
King Kong
Elizabethtown

posted 2:25pm

Come on Feel the Illinois

The new Sufjan Stevens album is streaming on the internet here. On first listen, it has the same dreamy and wonderful qualities as Greetings from Michigan, the Great Lakes State. You already love the title, so give it a listen - you won't regret it.

posted 2:10pm

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June 28th, 2005

I got a secret I won't tell...

For the uninitiated, check out POSTSECRET. I'm too lazy to make a postcard, but this would be mine:

posted 3:30pm

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June 27th, 2005

Sweet Holy Moses

Say what you want about Maxim, FHM, Stuff and whatever psuedo porn you may adore, but when Rolling Stone features a starlet, I tend to fall in love on the spot. Case in point:

posted 1:33pm

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June 27th, 2005

The last Cruise/Scientology link ever

At least I hope so. In any case I couldn't pass this up. Salon.com is doing a four part series on Scientology, starting today with Tom Cruise's recent turn as their #1 shill. I love Salon's reporting, so having them delve into Scientology is a dream marriage for me. You will have to watch an ad in order to get on the site, but trust me, its worth it.
Salon.com

posted 9:57am

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June 22st, 2005

Avengers Pumpkins Assemble!

Billy Corgan took out a full page ad in the Chitown Trib' yesterday to announce his plans to reform/reunite/reassemble the Smashing Pumpkins. Not surprising that the announcement comes out the same day as Corgan's solo album. Well hell, if the Pixies can do it, why not the Pumpkins? Read a more informative and concise breakdown at Pitchfork. Or go and see the actual ad here.

posted 10:30am

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June 21st, 2005

Back to back AFI events

Last night USA aired the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award to George Lucas. It was overly long and featured a completely superfluous appearance by Maroon 5, but it almost brought a tear to my eye to see Harrison Ford, Carrie Fischer and Mark Hammil on stage together (plus they all rode George pretty hard for his well-known shortcomings). If you missed it, look for it on your TiVo scheduler - It plays again like next Sunday at 2am or something. And of course tonight is another installment of AFI's 100 years, 100 movies series. CBS airs 100 years... 100 movie quotes at 8pm. My guess is that 'Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn' will be #1 - although I'm hoping for 'May the Force be with You.' You can get the list of the 400 nominated quotes in PDF format here (pretty cool if you're a huge geek and have a lot of time on your hands) I'm sure the AFI site will have the ordered results on their site soon.

posted 9:54am

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June 20th, 2005

What the deuce?

I'm not convinced that this show deserves as much praise and devotion as it gets (although I myself have seen every episode and catch re-runs on cartoon network now and again.) but the Family Guy movie is on its way. Smartly, it will be direct to DVD so you can watch it in your underwear with one had down your pants, the other holding a beer and a smoke burning in the ashtray. Please though not while company's over. Read more here.

posted 2:15pm

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June 20th, 2005

Wham! Pow! Biff!

So the new Batman is out. While I strictly read the Marvel brand as a young comics snob, I've always had a soft spot for the Dark Knight. If you were super rich and really bored, would you don a bat suit and fight crime, or just get really drunk and hang with the beautiful people? Well for the first time in cinematic history, director Christopher Nolan tries to get to the bottom of the fact that while most of us would choose the latter, Bruce Wayne goes with the former. Its dark and stylish - probably slow and short on action from some. And it falls prey to recent trend of up close/quick cut action that tries to make you feel like you're in the armpit of what's happening, but actually just prevents you from really seeing anything. But I loved it. Dead nuts casting and thematically perfect. Best Batman movie yet for my money. Go see it quick before War of the Worlds comes out and we can debate how much the fact that Tom Cruise is creepy affects how we feel about the movie.

posted 9:35am

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June 20th, 2005

Die, Stephen Malkmus, die.

Spin is out with another list to promote vehement heated shouting matches between music snobs everywhere. I didn't see anything about it on the actual Spin site yet, but USA Today had a story on it here. Now while I like their choice at number one and I respect the shit out of Spin if for no other reason than Chuck Klosterman works there, but will everyone kindly remove their noses from Pavement's ass. As I writer at a college newspaper in the 90's I learned to hate Pavement and those who believed it when the were told how good Slanted and Enchanted was. As long as there is music, there will be bands who get by on a bunch of snobby music critics who pass the name on to others who feel the need to like something either that everyone else doesn't or at least before everyone else does. Pavement is the penultimate example of this. Listen to Slanted and Enchanted, realize it sucks, and then find some hipster friends what they think. The first one who starts to extoll its virtues, slap them in the back of the head. Hard.

posted 9:15am

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June 16th, 2005

The return of college football

Its that time of year again, when next year's national championship game for college football begins to be decided. The 2005 college football preview magazines are beginning to show up on newstands, bringing drunken debates on where everyone's favorite team is ranked (and should be ranked) to sports bars across our great land. Fortunately the internet has swooped in again to save you time and energy. While I'm sure the hard core sports geeks out there will rush out and buy at least one magazine so they know who the backup tackle for Boise State is, Yahoo! has provided a consensus poll to help give you an overall idea on who the professional geeks think is the best. I'm not sure that this page will be updated in the same spot, but you can get the initial poll here.

posted 10:12am

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June 16th, 2005

Undercover at Dean and Deluca?

Something's not quite right with this. Keri Russell, she of Felicity fame, has signed on to play a secret agent in Training in the new Mission: Impossible movie. She's taking the place of Scarlet Johansen, a casting choice that makes a bit more sense. Obviously M:I3 director J.J. Abrams has some influence here. He's now officially in Keven Smith territory for recycling actors. I'm sure I could show 30 seconds of one of J.J.'s shows that you might have trouble identifying as Lost, Alias or Felicity. Ah well, I didn't really care for the first two M:I movies. You can read more here.

posted 9:31am

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June 13th, 2005

Where have you been Yoshimi?

Some good news on the Flaming Lips front - Looks like they will a contribute a song to the soundtrack of The Wedding Crashers starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson (which if they concede to an R rating should be wonderful). Sounds like we'll be waiting until '06 for a whole new album though. Read more about it at everybody's favorite snooty music site, Pitchfork.

posted 1:31pm

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June 13th, 2005

Beware the Return of Xenu!

Now I may not be the most religious person in the world, but I like to think I tolerate other people's spirituality. But we all have a line that shan't be crossed and mine is right in front of Scientology. People, this organization is scary. Even if you only believe what THEY tell you its frightening, much less if you take time to read the horror stories of its past members and critics. My impetus for all this is the recent trainwreck that is Tom Cruise, who is apparently gunning for Crispin Glover status. To that end, I encourage all of you to support this initiative:
Free Katie
And in the interest of informed dissent, here's the official Scientology site, along with one of my favorites that takes a more critical view:
Official Church of Scientology Site
Operation Clambake: The Inner Secrets of Scientology

posted 1:11pm

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February 11th, 2005

Name That Movie

Now I can't exactly verify that this is actually true (actually I probably could but didn't actually bother to) but this supposedly was the listing in the Marin paper for a classic movie:

Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets
and then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again.

The movie, of course, is The Wizard of Oz. Real or not, I think it makes the movie more interesting. Now all they need is to recommend getting high and synching it up with Dark Side of the Moon.

posted 9:42am

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February 4th, 2005

Looking for new music?

This is hours of fun. A site that takes your favorite artist and tells you what else you should be listening to. At least that's my log line for it. Check it out at http://musicplasma.com/

posted 9:36am

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January 23rd, 2005

The Best Movies of 2004

Well its still January so I feel pretty good at having this done already and I'm fairly sure there's nothing left off - i.e. a movie I haven't seen and would be on here had I seen it. Well that's probably not true, but that's what mulligans are for. So as of this second, these are my favorite movies of the last year:

10. The Dreamers
Come for the nudity, stay for the tension. I'm still not sure I get everything that Bertolucci was getting at here, but watching a bizarre love triangle implode on itself in a way that parallels the 1968 Paris riots that are its backdrop is definitely a scene. Its got a hot chick that's constantly naked and is in love with film. It makes the list on that alone.

9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
After making a coming of age road movie that includes lamentations on Central America's eroding environment and a three way, it was time for Alfonso Cuaron to take the reins of the biggest family film franchise ever. I was ecstatic when I first heard they were going to take this movie away from one of the biggest hack directors of all time and hand it to somebody with vision up the butt - and I wasn't disappointed. Cuaron focused more on the every day, real world aspects of wizard teenagers and realized that in order to make a movie out of a book that things need to be changed and left out. If only we could get the first two back...

8. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
This is kind of a mess of a film with spotty dialogue and a somewhat laborious plot. But its still a beautiful Wes Anderson movie. Which means it exists in its own separate universe that is apparently neither past not future. OK, so its not Rushmore or even Tennenbaums, but its stilll one of the most original movies of the year and one that I would encourage everyone to see without reservation.

7. I Heart Huckabees
David O. Russell is one of Hollywood's most idiosyncratic filmmakers. If you didn't relaize that yet, it will probably occur to you after seeing I Heart Huckabees. If someone watched this and told me they hated it, I probably wouldn't try to talk them out of their opinion (which as most of you can attest to isn't my normal course of action). But I revelled in all of the existential silliness and have the utmost respect for a film that sets out to competely make fun of any philosophy, and then ends up believing in it -just a little bit - as if to hedge its bet.

6. Spider-man 2
Not only the best comic book movie ever, but an actual great movie. The stunts are fantastic sure, but the focus on Peter Parker's struggles in coming to terms with his dual identity as well as his every day, average teenager struggles make this a film where we can root for the hero when he's not wearing the tights as well.

5. Before Sunset
No one makes movies where people sit around and do nothing but talk better than Richard Linklater. Its the best kind of sequel in that it deepens and continues what we saw nine years earlier in 'Before Sunrise' rather than trying to give us closure on an ambiguous ending. Your mind will race in the sappiest of ways thinking of every person you wish you had one more chance with, but Linklater never lets things get too schmaltzy. The suspense towards the end is as good as anything where shit blows up or a killer is finally revealed, and again we get an ending that's as ambiguously satisfying as they come.

4. Sideways
From here on in its essentially a four way tie for first. But since we have to start somewhere... Alexander Payne makes movies about people who really aren't any more interesting than you or I. And for the most part, the things that happen to them aren't that much different than perhaps the best story any one of us could tell. Somehow Payne manages to these things and turn them into some of the best films around. Sideways feels like it should've been made in the early 1970's with Jack Nicholson or Ryan O'Neil. Paul Giamatti is a master of the emotionally stunted, and his relationship with Thomas Hayden Church is a great conduit to show that two middle aged schlubs can still learn a thing or two. It gives hope to us all.

3. Garden State
This is probably the movie that I'll watch the most out of everything else on the list in the coming years. Its the best of Cameron Crowe, Jon Favreau and The Graduate, all rolled into something that's not nearly as scmaltzy as you'd think it'd be given those influences. This is the romantic comedy you always hope you're going to see but end up never seeing. Watch it again and again and again.

2. Kill Bill Vol. 2
After last years grind house vol. 1, we finally get a what we've come to expect from a Tarantino movie. Quentin brings his love for Sergio Leone and Howard Hawks to the front this time, with an ending that is vintage Q. Also includes my favorite line reading of the year, when the Bride tells Esteban that "My pussy wagon died on me" and he says "The pussy died?"

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
I used to think that Spike Jonez should direct every Charlie Kaufman script. That was before I saw what Michel Gondry could do. Using Kaufman's best script, Gondry gives probably the best filmic interpretation of what its like running through the memories in your head that I've ever seen. And Kaufman again bends conventions and plays with non-linear narratives in a way that actually adds to the plot, rather than distracts from it. Tom Robbins once wrote that the only serious question was how does one make love stay. This movie starts by posing the opposite question and ends up getting back around to finding a way to answer the original. What a ride.

posted 11:49am

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January 14th, 2005

And the winner is...

The New York Times currently has a listing of every film ever to win the Best Picture Oscar, along with the original NYTimes review. Interesting in and of itself for those film geeks out there like myself. But take a look at the winners decade by decade. Sad, huh? I thought the 1970's were in a lot of ways analgous to the 1990's in Hollywood, with the re-birth of independent film and what not. Then you look at the two decades and note the disparity. Perhaps had Pulp Fiction beaten out Forrest Gump and Fargo had beaten The English Patient I'd feel differently. It just doesn't feel right as is. The fact that Silence of the Lambs won is great, and no one can deny Schindler's List, but it will forever irk the living shit out of me that Titanic won the same award as Annie Hall, The Godfather, and Lawrence of Arabia. And don't get me started on the fact that two Russell Crow movies won Best Picture back to back. Perhaps a small, interesting movie like Sideways can win this year, and we can look back on all this previous foolishness as 'the dark times'.

posted 11:49am

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January 12th, 2005

The TiVolution marches forward.

TiVo is the greatest thing ever. I'd rather ditch my cell phone then be without TiVo. And just when you thought it couldn't get any better, TiVo has just announced TiVoToGo. Yes, now you can transfer shows from your TiVo to your computer, making your laptop even more of a multimedia juggernaut. And soon, you'll be able to archive this stuff to DVD. My life is now complete, and my VCR officially dead to me.
http://www.tivo.com/4.9.19.asp

posted 4:42pm

So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

I will never understand how Apple didn't win out over Microsoft. Well, I guess as I sit here typing on a Windows machine I suppose I have a vague understanding. But still, Apple is so cool. Take for instance the new MiniMac. Who wouldn't want one of these?
http://www.apple.com/macmini/

posted 11:21am

One more thing I didn't know I was doing wrong

I've been folding T-shirts almost my whole life. But I just found out that I've been doing it like a retard. Watch this to see what I mean. It will change your life.
http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/fold.php

posted 10:00am

 

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January 3rd, 2005

Worst Name Ever

The first big, fat, stupid, head-shaking, shoulder-shrugging mistake of the year:
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Read about the colossal blunder on USAToday.com

posted 3:23pm

 

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December 22nd, 2004

The Best Music of '04

Another year filled with some great new bands, some old favorites and as always, some out of the blue surprises. For the few who care, here's my picks for the best of '04:

10. Modest Mouse - Good News for People Who Love Bad News
My favorite Album title of the year. Will probably work its way up the list in weeks to come, but since I just got it, it starts at 10. Still getting used to some of the stranger stuff on here...

9. Snow Patrol - Final Straw
Part Doves, part Death Cab for Cutie, Snow Patrol know how croon, whine, rock and keep it interesting all in the span of a four minute pop song. Add the British accent and they're number one with a bullet in the flavor of the month club.

8. Keane - Hopes & Fears
Like most piano-rock that isn't made by Ben Folds, I really wish these guys would just rock out a little bit - once in a while at least. I hesitate to take the easy way out and compare them to Coldplay, but I will say that I don't really like Coldplay and I love Keane.

7. Rilo Kiley - More Adventurous
Girls who cuss with as much spite as Rilo Kiley tend to scare me a tad. But in the end I fall for them. Especially if they can make me feel like Rilo Kiley does.

6. Cake - Pressure Chief
Still obsessed with old fashioned American consumerism as much as bass lines and guitar melodies that seem to pick at each other while a trumpet does play by play. Thank God.

5. Maritime - Glass Floor
Maritime rises from the ashes of my beloved Promise Ring, this time with horns. One of the bazillion times I've heard something, loved it, and wondered why it wasn't on the radio. Then realize I probably wouldn't love it as much if it was.

4. William Shatner - Has Been
A tongue in cheek parody that takes itself deadly seriously. Shatner must be the world's best sport, and Ben Folds is a musical genius for navigating a potential minefield and coming out with honest to goodness pop gold.

3. Wilco - A Ghost is Born
Jeff Tweady follows up the decade's best album with a slightly tighter, still sprawling, almost none-the-less-magnum opus. Throw it on right after you finish listening to the White Album and see what I mean. Someone called this album 'a real motherfucker'. I tend to agree.

2. The Walkmen - Bows and Arrows
Yes, they were on the O.C., which only makes me love them more. OK, maybe not more, but certainly not less. A barage of accusations and musical questions, this album could easily be split up to suit the 1am party and the 10am hangover.

1. Franz Ferdinand
The most fun rock has been since Talking Heads. You'll be singing to yourself in the car at the top of your lungs before you even know the words. There's no better endorsement than that.

My yearly mulligan - The Postal Service - Give Up. Came out in '03, but I just found it and I would be remiss not to include it here. Any album that can get me to appreciate techno indie pop deserves a mention.
Also special nod to my favorite lyric of the year, from the Walkmen:
When I used to go out I knew everyone I saw
Now I go out alone if I go out at all

Happy holidays...

 

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December 6th, 2004

Michael Ian Black and Nick Hornby

I saw on McSweeney's today two things of note. The first was an essay by Michael Ian Black about his availabilty as a late night talk show host (which included the laugh out loud line "And while being famous is great, being famous without being correspondingly wealthy is a lot like being a really hot nun. Totally pointless.") The other was the pending release (insert gratuitous sex joke here) of a new Nick Hornby book. Which gives me a chance to promote his collection of essays called 'Songbook' which features some great writing about music. And if you're into that at all, let me just say Lester Bangs.

posted 4:28pm

The internet has come to this?

This is the first of what I hope to be several entries on this space relating to things I find interesting. The name will hopefully change to something more humerous, the focus will remain on me. Those things include, but are not exlusive to music, movies, books, the internet, events both local and global and things that happen to me. Boring? More than likely. Trivial? For sure. But perhaps from time to time I can find something that will make you laugh, question, ponder, or just say "Hey, that's all right."

posted 3:47pm

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This page is written and maintained by Tyler Brubaker. All content is spewed forth from the author's brain, unless otherwise credited. He views his opinion as much more valid than yours, but welcomes all thoughts and comments.