Monday, September 29, 2008

Here's the thing.

When I go to the doctor, I want a doctor who is smarter than me, at least at the doctoring game. Someone who's been to med school, who didn't get her training from mainlining several seasons of House, who has been tested and credentialed and knows her shit.

When I get on an airplane, I want it to be flown by someone smarter than me, a pilot who has experience flying this type of aircraft, whose skills are up to date, who knows what the fuck to do to get the fucking thing from point A to point B.

When I go to a goddamned HAIR SALON, I want the stylist to have worked on a few heads before mine, to have a current license, to wield the scissors in a manner more expert than I myself could.

So why the fuck would I want someone "just like me" to be the President of the United States?

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Best. Image. Ever.

Oh my fucking god.

"As Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state."
I trust I don't have to tell you who said that, right?
(Image credit: BoingBoing)

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And modestly dressed, as well.

Remember when I said I'd found the whitest thing ever?

I was wrong. THIS is the whitest thing ever (courtesy of my imaginary BFF BlabberMouse). Check out the FONKY MOVES on this fuckin guy. I'm sure Jesus is thrilled with their praise and worship. I mean, wouldn't you be?

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Avada Kedavra to YOU, Spencer!

Internets, there is ALL KINDS OF CRAZY going on right now – real olde-tyme rootin’ tootin’ shit-the-couch kaaaaaah-RAY-zee up in here.

Seriously, Marie Osmond’s twisted-psycho-eyed Jenny Craig commercials are the very least of it. Even the bizarre email feud in which my once-Bushie, now pro-Obama in-laws find themselves embroiled with friends of fifty years’ standing – about which I assure you I will blog later, this is good shit – pales in comparison.

First, you got perky little puffballer Katie Couric nailing Sarah “Apocalypto” Palin to the fucking wall:

Then you got David Letterman cock-punching McCain for bailing on him and lying about it (admittedly, this is less “crazy nutso” and more “crazy fucking awesome”):

And then comes the (surprisingly un-surprising) revelation that the vile beast Palin got freed and protected from witchcraft at her signs-and-wonders Pentecostal church just three years ago, in anticipation of her run for governor (and excitedly recounted her experience in June 2008, see Olbermann for video), by a preacher whose claim to fame was ridding his own village of a literal, actual witch (link to video is at the end of the story).

This is the total maniac, Internets, whom nearly HALF of the citizens of this once-great nation fervently desire should be one aged, cancer-riddled heartbeat away from the Presidency.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

You think you can mock me, SPENCER?

Hey, remember in college, when you thought getting up in time to make your 11:00 CC class was really pretty heroic of you? And how that 9:10 a.m. "required elective" for your major was a real bitch to have to haul your ass to, but you did it (most of the time) (except when you were really too hung over from $4 pitcher Wednesdays)? Yeah.

[been up since 6:15, exactly like every day since October 2007, except those times it was 4:45 or 5:37]

Thanks for the trip in the wayback machine, Panda.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

You're OLD OATS, Spencer.

Potpourri Sunday!

Here's another singin' Swede for you all -- Theresa Andersson, lately of New Orleans, whose new CD Hummingbird, Go! you should all buy right this minute (my favorite song is called "Hi-Low," fwiw). I happen to know Theresa personally, because she is married to my friend Weird Arthur from kollege, and we went to see her one-woman show at Amnesia last weekend in SF. Lemme tellya -- the girl's got pipes! She goes all Johnny Greenwood with this massive pedalboard and all this live looping (her violin, drums, her own backing vocals, a dulcimer), and it's just amazing -- so much fun to watch & hear.

Listen up, fools: You can't just throw the word "fetish" around. It doesn't mean "something you're, like, into." It means:

1 a: an object (as a small stone carving of an animal) believed to have magical power to protect or aid its owner ; broadly : a material object regarded with superstitious or extravagant trust or reverence b: an object of irrational reverence or obsessive devotion : prepossession c: an object or bodily part whose real or fantasied presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification and that is an object of fixation to the extent that it may interfere with complete sexual expression.

So, in other words, something you worship in a religious way, something you're really, REALLY into, or something you need in order to get off. Choose carefully, people -- using words that have religious or sexual baggage when you don't mean it that way makes the baby Shatner cry.

As a known Lost obsessive, I get asked fairly often whether I'm watching Fringe or not. Answer: no. Reason: Twofold. One, I've already seen enough stupid damn X-Files, and the first ep of Fringe was all-cliche all the time; two, in the second goddamn episode, we're already introducing surgical torture. Now, Shatner knows how many vile sociopaths are going to get to this fine blog via searching for that exact term (if they can spell it), but SERIOUSLY. This has to stop, people. What the fuck is wrong with us, as a nation, as a species, that this is now a thing, a thing which we accept as entertainment? I can't do much about it in the global sense, but I can enforce my rule of instant total disqualification of any alleged entertainment featuring the aforementioned act, and so I shall. Suck me sideways, Abrams.

So I poured some coffee beans into the grinder yesterday, and neglected to shut the lid before moving on to something else. Mr. Gleemonex grimaced and shut it for me, informing me of my crime against humanity as I came back into the kitchen -- he hates coffee, hates the smell of it, always calls it "yucky" when I'm drinking it. I ask you. So I reached in, grabbed a bean, and ate it -- just crunched it up, right there in front of him -- while he twitched with disgust and I laaaaughed and laughed. You'd'a thought I just ate a giant cock-a-roach, the way he was carrying on. It was hilare. I might do it again in a minute, just to make him howl.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

you're a tall glass of water, SPENCER

For a baseball-obsessed person, I sure haven't blogged much about the greatest sport this season, have I? Well, if you follow baseball at all, you know what a sad, melted season this has been for my Yankees -- about whom I had so much hope at the beginning -- and that just doesn't lend itself to frequent blogging. I blame the long farewell to Yankee Stadium for the general malaise -- at least, the part that isn't due to the ever-present Failure Stank of Alex "Fucknuts" Rodriguez. The whole Joba thing (I TOLD you guys not to make him a starter -- he, who could be the setup man that makes the difference, the closer for the next ten years once Mariano "Greatest and Most Beloved Closer of All Time" Rivera hangs 'em up and becomes Pitching Coach For Life), injuries, near-misses, total misses, bobbles, blowouts, slo-mo trainwrecks, lightning bolts of bad juju -- it was all too much, it overwhelmed the good and the occasional flash of brilliant, like fireworks on a foggy SF 4th of July. Derek Jeter is really the only reason anybody's watching these last few games -- he's still playing like the Series is on the line, because he doesn't know any other way, Shatner bless 'im. Last night, Mike Mussina -- thinky, headcase old Moose, a guy whose career was given up for dead before the season started -- won another one (his 18th) in this strange renaissance year he's having, and I swear to y'all, I actually got teary-eyed when he left the mound -- his last (Real) Yankee Stadium start ever (although if I were they, I'd sign him for another year or two -- there's life in them old legs yet!). Sorry for the thought salad, y'all ... guess my brain's as jumbled as the team has been. Well, there's always next year!


Thursday, September 18, 2008

I need your teeth … for the Federal Reserve!

[headline apropos of something over on dooce that y’all should also watch]

Internets, this little music vid is the whitest thing I’ve seen in years, and certainly the most heart-stoppingly funny thing I’ve seen since “Ostrich feathers, anyone?” Instead of embedding it, I’m gonna link to the blog were my friend Lebowski found it, because the guy’s commentary is hilarious and I wouldn’t want you fine folks to miss a single ounce of hilare.


[You’ll get it after you watch the vid.]

OK but so this got me thinking about one of my Really Serious Confoundments: Why does Christian music suck so much? Because seriously: It sucks. It sucks the big hairy Shatner. And you all know it. Even the people who listen to it have to, on some deep secret level, know it. Major points as to why:

--It’s so fucking earnest. You don’t goof around or joke about the Big JC, I guess. You have to sing everything in this voice-trained unaccented churchy tone, usually with eyes closed or raised heavenward, often with tears just about to squeeze out.

--It’s so clean. Ain’t no dirty fuzz or weird e-bow or whiskey fumes, no sense of a dark club with sticky floors or a seventeenth cigarette stubbed out just before they got to the chorus. Everybody hits their marks and plays this generic elevator bullshit with solid competence, and nobody’s ever yearning for anything but a seamless take on the synth drum track.

--It’s got to have whole sentences and paragraphs. The words are always like they’re reading out of The Purpose-Driven Life or some other pile of xtian “living your faith” crapola, or sometimes the bible if they want to get all old-school on us. This does not make for a catchy little ditty, people.

--It’s got to have at least one of the following words in each line: praise, worship, faith, Lord, Him, Christ, God, me, lift, uplift, cleanse, save. Too many Required Elements can really fuck up your program.

--It’s made by and for people who really don’t actually care about music. Probably you could get away with any or all of the above, but this last one’s the real killer. They need sounds for the part of the service where people are supposed to stand up and sway, and this aural Jell-O does the trick.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The harder they fall

OK, there's excess, and then there's excess, and then there's Ski Dubai, which is just fucking ridiculous.

I've long been aware of this bullshittery, but we were watching an episode of Extreme Engineering about it last night so we got the full story, and I almost couldn't stand it -- I was so ... offended. This is a crime against nature, it's a symbol of absolute filthy reckless excess, it's a monument to hubris so gigantic it makes the Titanic look like a modest little rowboat.

Skiing. In the desert. With hundreds of miles of pipes full of caustic chemicals and god knows what labor and energy-suck to keep it cold -- this makes me feel INSANE. It's my generalized Mall Anxiety times about a million. Where are the comets when you need one?

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

In which the blogger waxes verbose in re: a much-admired writer w/r/t writer's untimely demise

Internets, we heard last night that David Foster Wallace is dead, apparently by his own hand; he'd hanged himself.

I'm sick of people clocking out -- DFW was only 46 -- and leaving to their families the bad job of finding their lifeless bodies in their own home (I'm looking at you, Hunter S. Thompson).

But more than that, I'm so sorry we've lost the creative genius and the strange pure heart that was David Foster Wallace. I'm one of three people I know who have actually read the entirety of Infinite Jest; it's the strangest and best book I never want to read again. Ten years since the unemployed summer I devoured that thing, and phrases, passages, images, whole chapters are lodged permanently in my brain -- some so vile I wish I could forget them, some so funny they make me laugh randomly in the supermarket or on the street, and many so transcendently brilliant they just humble me, as a person, a reader, a would-be writer.(1)

But let's pretend there's no Infinite Jest -- DFW's essays and non-fiction and other short fiction would be enough to ensure his place in a really rarefied sector of contemporary literature. You often hear him compared to unreadable masturbators like Pynchon, De Lillo, and that douche that wrote The Corrections, but to me, there's no comparison. Sure, DFW made you work -- the footnotes, the endnotes, the digressions and philosophical asides, the brain-stretching vocabulary and sentence structure -- but it was totally worth it. You feel smarter after you read his writing, you feel you've been somewhere you didn't even know existed, like you've peeked through all these oddly-shaped windows in weird buildings and seen all the fascinating things happening right on the other side of the glass. DFW never yanked your chain or threw stuff in just to make himself look clever -- he really was the genuine article.

For my money, the best of the best is his collection of essays, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. I've given that book as a gift to all of the readers in my life -- some more than once, probably -- and it's one of those books that just stays with me, always somewhere in my thoughts (in the best possible way). So funny, so twisty and intriguing, sometimes serious, but always just head-shakingly awesome.

During the Olympics, I was going to write a post on the inanity of athlete interviews ("How great was it to win gold, Michael?" arrrgh!), and use excerpts from DFW's essay on tennis player Michael Joyce to back my argument that maybe we don't need to interview these people at all, considering that they've spent their lives developing one gift and we don't really need to see their lack in other areas (like insightful on-camera interviews), but I got distracted by reading the titular essay, concerning DFW being sent on a "luxury 7NC Carribbean cruise," and then flipped to the David Lynch piece, then the one on the state fair ... and etc. etc. etc. I never did write the post.

I met him once, after an appearance he did in San Francisco a couple or three years ago, did I ever tell you guys that? I had him sign a couple of my books, and when he spoke to me, I answered something light and flip, from the conviction that this famous, admired author had spoken to thousands of fans and certainly didn't need to engage in real conversation with this one so I should keep it quick and get out of his grill, but he met my eyes, paused in thought, and continued our conversation as if I were the only one in the room (there were hundreds in line behind me), and I felt simultaneously like a jackass for having assumed his disinterest and like I was looking into a mind operating on a plane so far beyond my own that it was a real struggle for him to slow it down to my level -- but he did it because he wanted to, without condescension, with nothing but interest and kindness in his soft, tired eyes.

In a way, hindsight being what it is, this early, self-directed merge with the infinite is not entirely unexpected. DFW was never far from thoughts of death, never at ease with living or with the sad grinding struggle that life can be even for happy, passionate people -- the knowledge that decline and certain death come for us all informed his character and his writing in a deep and inescapable way. And though we of course don't know what made him decide to kill himself and then carry that out, it seems clear that the dark parts of his triple-size brain got the upper hand at last.

Here's hoping that whatever's on the other side is more beautiful than what's on this one, David.

(1) Upon my first reading of A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, the selfish thought surfaced in my brain that "This fucking guy -- he's got the niche I wanted to be in! And he's way way waaaaay better than I could ever be! Fuuuuck!" It handicapped my writing efforts for years, people. Years.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Palate cleanser

Sproinging away from the heaviness of yesterday, and indeed the past few posts, I'd like to direct the whole Internets' attention down the series of tubes to these two girls, the teenage Swedish sister duo known as First Aid Kit.

This is them doing a cover of Fleet Foxes' Tiger Mountain Peasant Song, and it is just amazing -- spare and lovely.

Go pound sand, Miley Cyrus.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

[no title]

So, 9/11 here again. Seven years, people. Seven years since something they were saying on Stern penetrated my sleeping brain and made me sit bolt upright in bed at 6:15 a.m., going, “Wait! What?” and knowing that something really bad ugly was happening. Thirty seconds later we had the computer and the TV both on as well, and saw and heard and felt all the same things you saw and heard and felt. Wondering whether my sister was OK (she had just started a job 2 blocks from the WTC). Fighting thick cobwebs of disbelief and shock, thoughts from “oh god I just saw 10,000 people die” to “well I guess I won’t be wearing those cute new red pants, this isn’t that kind of world anymore” ping-ponging around in my head with almost equal weight, deciding fuck NO I wasn’t going to work in downtown SF today – remember that? Remember how dangerous everything suddenly felt? Remember that core-level terror, the fear that made you cower in your apartment and try to call everyone you knew? And as the horrible day wore on, realizing with sucking, paralyzing dread that the hand of George W. Bush was on the wheel of the ship of state, and knowing without a shred of doubt that as horrific as this day was, things were actually about to get worse?

Monday, September 08, 2008

and another thing

People: When we're talking about something that disturbs, it's "faze." Not "phase."

"The selection of the unqualified, aggressive sociopath Sarah Palin as nominee for Vice President didn't faze the Republican conventioneers."

"The McCain-Palin Administration plans to phase reeducation camps in on a rolling basis, beginning with Obama-Biden donor lists and continuing to all Democratic party members, then all Americans and resident aliens who failed to display McCain-Palin campaign materials on lawn, person or house."

Choosing the wrong homophone makes the baby Shatner cry.

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Do I have to explain every little goddamn thing?

So I was going to come in here and throw a fit about the evil beast that is Sarah Palin, but my homeslice the Hip Hop Lawyer, the sharp-clawed Spanish Johnny and the potty-mouthed Mega Superior Gold covered my major points for me, and with less foamy spittle and more … whaddyacallem … actual words … than I could reasonably have summoned.

So lemme hone in on an issue highlighted rather brilliantly by Samantha Bee on the Daily Show’s RNC coverage: the issue of choice.

Choice only really means one thing in today’s America. And the Republican/Neocon/Godbag demographic is decidedly, loudly, unilaterally against it (often with charming posters and rousing slogans!). But hey now, here comes Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old daughter, knocked up by a mouth-breathing, Junior-Federline jockstrap of a kid, and all of a sudden, what happens to the fetus is “Bristol’s decision.” She “decided” to keep the baby (and to marry L-Fed) (as IF) (whatEVER) so we should keep our dirty paws and filthy minds out of it and leave the poor girl alone how DARE we bring this into the discussion!

"Decision," though, as Samantha Bee points out, is a synonym for “choice.” And the “decision” this girl is making is one her own mother and her mother’s political party want to keep every other woman in the world from getting to make for herself. (Watching those Republican conventioneers try to wiggle out of saying “choice” was one of the most painfully funny things I have seen in the history of ever.) And this, folks, is the reason the unfortunate Family Situation of Bristol Palin is a legitimate issue in this election.

See, here’s the thing: if you could ever imagine any human female, ever, reaching the conclusion that it would be best for her, the fetus, and/or the rest of her family to terminate a pregnancy, YOU ARE PRO-CHOICE. Even if you think it’s mostly godless heathen hippies having baby-murdering parties for fun, BUT you could see driving your fourteen-year-old daughter to the hospital to abort the pregnancy that resulted from a roofie-enabled date rape – YOU ARE PRO-CHOICE.

Nobody loves them some abortionatin’, I promise you that. But YOU don’t get to put conditions on it – what business is it of yours if it was rape (how do we propose to test and regulate that?) or incest (gonna go before a judge with your Uncle Dale to tell your story?) or to save the woman’s own life (sop up your tears, get a babysitter for the other two very-much-wanted kids, hobble into court with your doctor and two independent inspectors with testimony about the gnarled state of your uterus, and we’ll give it a listen, there, missy)? Besides, who the fuck are you – you alleged small-government fucktards – to tell ME I “could just put the baby up for adoption”? There’s no “just” about pregnancy and childbirth, you smug shiteating swine, and Sarah Fucking Palin – mother of five (or four …) – ought to very well goddamned know that.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Also, was Miss Zuckerman-Vasquez supposed to be Ahhhhndrea’s daughter, or what?

All right, class. I want you all to put your heads down on your desks and close your eyes. No peeking.

Now, raise your hand if you watched the new 90210 last night.

OK, you can all open your eyes now. See? Everyone else did too. It’s all right. You don’t have to lie about it or hide what you did. So let’s discuss.

Internets – I wasn’t going to, honest I wasn’t. Even though I was glad to see Michael from The Wire getting work (not one of those actors ought to have a single day of downtime they don’t want, ever again). And even though I had a certain amount of morbid curiosity (I mean, this was ridonculous escapist Teevee at its best back in the day, not believable or even desirable for even a minute, but hilare and a ton of fun). But then I read where two of the guys responsible for the late, great Freaks and Geeks and also Undeclared were involved, and my resistance crumbled.

So how was it? Well … huh. Time has treated both Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty really strangely. The setup was better than the old one (guy raised in BevHil brings his family back from Kansass when the BevHil High principal job suddenly opens up, and yes, that makes more sense than a CPA getting called suddenly into service). The disgusting drunken lech of a grandma (clearly modeled on Holland Taylor’s role in Two and a Half Men) provided a few laughs. The kids were hotter and more sophisticated than in the old version (more what I would expect for the actual 90 zipcode), “The Pit” – still apparently the only coffeeshop/diner and hott nightclub in the Los Angeles metropolitan area -- made me laugh like a loon every time it was onscreen. The wife – chick from Full House – no WAY she’s been in Kansass all her life, not with that body, those clothes, that hair and teeth. The main girl – the new Brenda – is pretty cute, and the parents proudly uphold the 90 tradition of being about five years older than their children. I could’ve done without the big musical numbers (what the fuck is WITH America and our sudden nightmarish obsession with pro-am SINGING?). That guy with the jet is SOFA KING GAY.

So anyway -- I’m pretty sure I don’t need to add this to the TiVo lineup, but – it didn’t suck as bad as I thought it was going to.

When’s the next episode of Mad Men?

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Tap-dancing my cold black heart out

Schadenfreude is one of my favorite emotions. I am currently enjoying a nice hot cup of it at the Repuglicans' expense right now, as I read reports of how their little convention is going. The whole Sarah Palin thing is just blowing up in their faces, a train wreck in hi-def slo-mo -- holy SHATNER, how I love it!

See, a person close to me whose intellect and opinions I respect happens to be an embittered Hillary supporter, and she predicted -- with a certain amount of grim glee -- Obama getting trounced in November, thanks in no small part to the Palin half of the ticket. I disagree mightily (she brings nothing to the table that wasn't already on it -- anti-choice women, right-wing zealotry, Godbaggery of a really scary stripe), and now, what with the 17-year-old pregnant daughter whom Palin's about to force into a life of indentured misery (yay abstinence-only sex ed!), the reports of Palin's husband's drunk driving arrest, Troopergate, the whole Alaskan-secession thing, the fact that as a speaker, she is Not Ready for Prime Time (Biden will destroy her) ... it ain't lookin too good for Grimace, I don't think.

Besides, as I have opined elsewhere on the Internets already: I think this is McCain more or less conceding, but deciding to score some cheap points by picking Palin since he's going down anyway. You know, mavericky points, irrelevant points (like A-Rod homering in the 9th when the game's already 12-2) -- McCain's all, "See? The Democrats won't nominate a woman, but I'm not scared to!"

Silly bastard. This is fucking awesome!

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