Thursday, August 31, 2006

Times Have Changed and Times are Strange, Here I Come, But I Ain't the Same, Mamma I'm Coming Butt

I will try to update more seriously from the airport tomorrow, since I believe at least the ROC has free wifi. Until then, I just had to jump in to shout a public Happy Birthday to Katie. We’ve had a binge week or so of eating, shopping, spending, and general craziness. The Katie Birthday Extravaganza, if you have never experienced it, is really something to behold. It’s not low on calories and it’s not cheap, but you usually have coupons and it’s always been thoroughly researched. Ninety nine times out of 100 it will be cooler than you thought it was, whether you were skeptical or psyched.

Seriously, Katie’s Birthday (Birthday Weekend/Week/Month/evs) is probably my favorite time of the year. We do it better and better every time. Hell, even if we spend gangbusters for another week, we can’t spend as much this year as we did in 2k5. I have some things to say about Philly, cuz besides Donovan McNabb that is an awesome city. We ate well, we saw some beautiful stuff, we seriously relaxed.

Hippo missed us a lot, but she is so excited for Katie’s Birthday that she is still purring with contentment. I’ll be on my way to Minneapolis in the morning. Midwest homecoming.



Thursday, August 24, 2006

And A Fat Ass J, of Some Bubonic Chronic That Made Me Choke, Shit This Ain't No Butt

Don’t have a lot to say at the moment, but we are goin to Philly tomorrow, so I thought at least briefness was in order. Especially since we had an incredibly productive day, worked out, got stuff done at the ROC, and I believe I finished the entire first draft of the dissertation. Its obviously not done, but at least a version of it is written. Of course that meant I didn’t finish until 7:15, and it was sort of too late to start grilling, since dinner would have been at least 1:45 away and neither of us could last. That’s unfortunate for healthy food, but meant that we got Domino’s thin crust pizza and some brand spankin’ new Brownie Bites. My official review: pwnz.

Pretty awesome week for reality TV. It sucked for Howie, but at least he was entertaining on his way down. Janelle played well, got rid of James McFuckhead and set up a decent chance for the eviction of Danielle. Patrice rightfully bit it on RockStar and I believe that Katie and I were responsible for Storm staying out of the bottom three. They did decide to rename the Results Show the Screw Dilana Show, since the first half hour was just two reasons she was an ass. I mean, she dealt pretty well, and I understand that she is probably kind of an ass, but she freaking rawks.

This is literally the mildest August I have ever experienced. Admittedly, my August memories are tainted by years of two-a-days, but I characterize the month as generally equivalent to living inside a burning house made of blankets soaked in butt. The year I lived alone in Lockport I didn’t turn the a/c off until mid-September. This year, I bet we haven’t had it on more than 7 days. Its sunny but the highs are in the low 70s. Its outlandish and it rules.

I had something that I was totally gonna talk about for a couple paragraphs, but I lost somewhere between talking about it with Katie the other day. It was really good though, my take was like a warm Krispy Kreme donut, it was hot, but drew you in. It was sugary and delicious, but moltenly dangerous at the same time. Appreciate this analogy in its absence.

Katie and I did get into an argument today (about debate, no less, cuz we are some hardcore dorks) and it was one of these incredibly bizarre situations, which nearly never happens to us, where I was 100% absolutely freaking certain that I am right and Katie had the opposite opinion. There are lots of times where I express an opinion with some reduced level of certainty and Katie contradicts it. Very rarely though, do I believe something with a level of certainty that is simply unquestioned and find out that Katie does not. It could well be because I am an arrogant ass, but this comes as no surprise to anyone. That’s said, if the counterplan solves the link in its entirety, and the result of the permutation gets that solvency, then you vote aff. I mean, its not as obvious as the fact that running a counterplan concedes the harms.

I don’t know if anyone who didn’t debate reads my blog, but sorry. On a lighter note, I love the fact that Reese Witherspoon was in American Psycho. I want to go back and rewatch American Psycho like three times, imagining Reese as a different one of her three best roles:

1) June Carter (Walk the Line)—Rule number one, never propose to a woman on a bus. Rule number two, don’t kill her in a hypersexualized fashion.
2) Annette Hargrove (Cruel Intentions)—I don’t trust myself around you, Bateman
3) Elle Woods (Legally Blonde)—pink is the new stabbing prostitutes

Hippo is still too kittenishly innocent to enjoy Bret Easton Ellis, though she agrees that his specific strategy of revealing the violence of capitalist economics is engaging and productive. She is hella diplomatic on this question, refusing to put herself too far into the middle of intense debates between mainstream literary intellectuals. Classic persian kitty. I think she would like a kitty chow milkshake, so I’m gonna look into that.



Monday, August 21, 2006

Well I Guess It Would Be Nice, If I Could Touch Your Body, I Know Not Everybody, Has Got a Body Like Butt

It’s a bit rainy here in Rochester this afternoon. Or it was, when it was, you know, afternoon and raining and I was typing originally. Now its night and while perhaps still rain-y, not rain-ing. Immediately after I typed that first sentence Katie decided that a shopping trip had to begin and it had to be followed up by dinner at the Macaroni Grill. I only technically objected to one part of that sequence, but it went surprisingly painlessly. Had a pretty decent beef and arugala salad for dinner, a somewhat surprising choice for me, but tasty. We only had one crayon at the table, which is weak for the Mac Grill, but thankfully our food was ready very quickly and it was irrelevant.

Watching Tiger now, brwnzing and pwnzinig his way through the PGA. I guess that indicates yet another gap in the time between writing and posting. I could attempt to develop this singular post over a period of like 5 days, but that seems excessive.  Also, it seems lame—maybe a tad penis-like. I’ve been watching the Yankees and Red Sox a little bit this weekend, in addition to the golf, to get my sports watching back in tune for football season. It’s not like it really takes a lot of preparation for me to watch the NFL, but I suppose it helps me deal with commercials if nothing else. Live TV is such a bizarre concept.

Why, on the PGA Scoreboard, do they show the flags indicating country of origin for each of the players? That seems like something that is not at all relevant, seeing as how the players are not representing their country in any specific sense. It is not an international competition of any sort, so they might as well just display a picture of their favorite food or something.(“Ernie Ells, stepping up to the tee. He’s 3 under on the day, native of South Africa and he really enjoys banana splits.”) I just wonder if there was any discussion about displaying that information on the broadcast or if some assistant director just carried over the Olympic formatting without consultation.

I hadn’t been watching a lot of Showtime recently, but that has changed this week. On the obvi-hand, Weeds has returned, bringing another 12 or so weeks of Mary Louise Parker deliciosity and Kevin Nealon-ish hilarity. On the less obvi, is the new series Brotherhood. I really only began it tonight, as Katie and I taped the pilot yesterday. We are gonna catch up with the first 6 episodes on demand. It’s an Irish Sopranos so far, but that sounds like a winning formula by all accounts. Hippo, though she is only honorarily Irish, agrees, at least so far. She is meowing for a classic HiDef episode of Life on a Stick, so I must oblige.



Friday, August 11, 2006

Life is a Mystery, Everyone Must Stand Alone, I Hear You Call My Name, and It Feels Like Butt

Ah, sitting down and watching my first hi-def NFL game of the season. Its preseason jobviously, but it still feels good. I am pissed that Fox is being an ass about this whole thing, and hopefully they will figure out their HD nonsense before the season is fully underway. Until that point, I will just watch the AFC a little more ardently than usual I guess. Packers play for the first time manana, but I won’t get to see what happens. Have to start reading my Packers blogs again I guess.

I’ve had some strong feelings about reality shows this week. It kicked off with Janelle winning the power of veto in a great competition that really made me pleased with the state of the game. I love Kaysar and am seriously pissed that he is gone, but it was inevitable I guess. They could always redo America’s Choice and end up making Kaysar the only person to ever get evicted 4 times. I think James has made a mistake, summarized best by Boogie’s admission that you need to be careful when you align with the villains.

RockStar went fairly well, sending home Josh (who sounded like Kermit the Frog and looks far more like a Maroon 5 cover band then a rock singer) and Jill, who in my mind is consistently terrible. My top three remain, without question, Dilana, Storm Large, and Lukas. I can’t deny that Magni is hella talented, but I’m a bit scared he will turn into this year’s J.D. Fortune. Certainly he’ll be cooler than J.D.

Project Runway went alright, Michael won the contest he deserved to win. More importantly Heidi for some reason decided that to mix it up, they would make the contest for the models resemble pull tabs more than, let’s say, a modeling competition. I like the “models choose designers” twist, but have some foresight huh.

Then we had Last Comic Standing, where Josh Blue won the contest that has really been his to lose from the beginning. To some extent I think Josh deserved to win, he really is a funny dude, though I think he sometimes suffers from Dat Phan syndrome—that is, taking a singular trait and making it the only punch line you have. Let me say again, I think Josh Blue is a far far superior comic to Dat Phan (they even performed on the same show and Dat Phan continued his unending streak of not making me laugh) but I’m scared about the prospect of a 1 hour Josh Blue special. For me personally, Ty Barnett was a superior comic.

Katie and I have talked a lot about a phenomenon that seems to underlie a lot of really popular comedy, the idea that it gives mainstream society the opportunity to laugh at characteristics they usually are not allowed to. My Big Fat Greek Wedding, for instance, was obviously funny, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it was so enormously popular because it was an outlet for ethnic jokes that remained “non-racist” since they concerned white people. Dat Phan is an obvious example, since his bit is pretty much just repeating stereotypes about Vietnamese and Southeast Asian people in general. There are some things that can moderate this, making fun of rather than supporting those stereotypes, let’s say, or the fact that someone is doing this self-consciously to make money. I’m not sure I think the latter is a good idea or politically acceptable, but it’s not really my place to decide, so I will leave it at that.

I talk about this more cuz I heard an interesting interview on the Al Franken show this afternoon with Juan Williams. This interview was interesting not only because it mentioned his son Toni, who I knew fairly well at Macalester, but also because there was a large discussion about Dave Chappelle. I read some of the material that came out when Chappelle took off and abandoned the show and it was really interesting to me. I support the guy—I would imagine he must have felt pretty significantly terrible to give up that kind of money—even though I wish I had more episodes of his show to watch. From what I understand, Chappelle began to wonder (I’m not sure how conclusive he was on this point, if he thought the show was moving towards this, or had reached it, or had been doing it from the start) if he was no longer satirizing stereotypes, but instead just reinforcing them. Juan Williams, whom I usually have agreed with, suggested that he was not satirizing them, going so far as to literally call Chappelle’s Show a “modern minstrel show.”

I am sure that there are people who took his comedy in the wrong way, that’s sort of inevitable. Even the “pixie sketch,” which has been so controversial, in my mind, was pretty explicitly mocking racial stereotypes (you can watch it on comedy central’s website, though I can’t link it). Isn’t the point, in virtually every one of Chappelle’s sketches, recognition of the gap between stereotype and reality or the lack thereof. The pixies sketch, for instance, is funny because of the way it relates actions that have nothing to do with race (if you want chicken or fish for dinner) to traditionally racist ideas (black people love fried chicken). I am not criticizing Chappelle for this, cuz I don’t know nearly enough about his situation, but I feel like Williams’ position at least is sort of giving up humor as a political strategy. Race, gender, class, etc. at that point are reduced to only negative categories, that is, they can only be used to hurt people. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t bad uses or instances of humor, but those occur regardless of positive political strategies to counter them.

Anyway, Hippo has not had the opportunity to see the Rick James episode of Chappelle’s Show, one of the all time classics of sketch comedy in my mind. She may end up preferring to watch something more up Katie’s alley, but regardless.



Sunday, August 06, 2006

Out Here in the Fields, I Fight For My Butt

After my last entry I was under the impression that I had cooled down from Dana’s being booted from RockStar. As I watch a tivoed rerun of CSI: NY and hear the Who’s “Baba O’Reilly,” the last song she performed on the show, I can say in retrospect that I was wrong.

I didn’t realize that I was wrong until we were driving home from an exorbitantly expensive Target run on Thursday evening. I quickly realized that the tire was flat and, after attempting to re-inflate it at the nearest gas station, was in fact punctured on the side. It was a pretty significant hole and apparently unpatchable. Thanks only to the fact that d00d at the gas station had a hydraulic jack, I was able to get the tire changed in time to get home and tape Big Brother: All Stars. I realized, as I prepared to throw a tire iron through the nearest possible window, that things had been building since Dana’s booting and I was furious. I usually deal with my anger by screaming obscenities at no one in particular and hopefully destroying something unimportant and nearby.

It was all very Josh in “Noel,” in a way, since I had no reason to believe that this was still explicitly an issue. Literally, as I was swearing and going through the process of preparing to change the tire I could hear Dana’s voice repeating Who lyrics. Kinda insane. Thankfully, the rest of the night was relaxing with a big ass casual Italian restaurant dinner, some cheap Pinot Noir, and high def reality TV in an over air conditioned house.

I went to see the Bills practice yesterday at St. John Fisher, about 20 minutes from our place. I was there for a little over an hour: 10 minutes or so within about 10 feet of the linebackers, who were doing pretty basic positioning drills and stuff, but the closest group to the fence and probably the most interesting group of Bills players anyway. London Fletcher-Baker and Takeo Spikes were right there and both pretty impressive looking guys. When they split up into line-work and 7-on-7 I went and watched the big guys. McCargo, the new d-tackle, looked pretty impressive, faster than I would have thought. It was incredible that they essentially have a brand new offensive line, I barely knew any of them and it was a little hard to say how they will look. I watched the scrimmage for a little while until I had to go. Holcomb and Losman appeared to be splitting the snaps pretty evenly; Craig Nall wasn’t wearing pads, but was tossing around on the sidelines. It’s pretty apparent that he has the best arm of the three, but shockingly, even less experience than J.P. Though I think he is the obvious choice for this season, since I just don’t believe Holcomb has the playoffs in his blood, I must admit his fundamentals are lacking, apparently even to me. Maybe it was just an off series. It’s pretty hard to tell I’m ready for football season, huh.

I think I am going to buy a bag of those googly eye stick on things and go into the grocery store at night. Then attach two of them to vegetables and fruits that are like one below the surface. Do you think someone would be freaked out when they pick up the top butternut squash and see the bottom one staring up at them? Maybe grapefruits are funnier.

I think I have mentioned the grocery combination fun game before, where you imagine lists of things that you could buy together at the grocery store that would cause the cashier/other customers to wonder (i.e. KY, a cucumber and adult diapers). I wonder if the same thing could be done at the dollar store, cuz that would be way more economical to actually execute. I tried to come up with something at the DSW yesterday, but no matter which pair of heels you buy, its hard to really get any more kinky than a mild foot fetish when you only have shoes at your disposal. You’d have to be a bit more imaginative at the Dollar Hut, but I’m sure that a pair of discount panties, a traffic cone, and 20 packs of generic minty chewing gum could strike some sort of chord. Even if no one gives you any looks at all, its only three bucks.

Hippo is currently making far more noise upstairs than is reasonable or prudent for a 6ish pound Persian cat, even one as adorable and fun loving as she. Hence I will answer her mews and bring a feather toy or two.



Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I Never Found the Words To Say, Youre The One I Think About Each Day, And No Matter Where Love Takes Me To, A Part of Me Will Always Be, With Butt

Fucking RockStar just jobbidied it hardcore. I mean, I understand that people don’t like Dana like I do, but come on. That is ridiculous. Patrice was boring, Jill is boring every week and Zayra is terrible/hideous/etc. to the nth degree. Seriously, if I didn’t like Dilana and Lukas so much, I would stop watching this show because of how bad this decision is. There has only been one 1.3-ish seasons of RockStar and there have been three (by my unofficial count) wretched elimination decisions. That isn’t explicitly meant to temper my enjoyment of the show, as mentioned only a few entries ago, but simply to question if the quality of the music and entertainment is not matched by the final judges. (By the time I finished typing this entry I had calmed down enough to realize that many of these statements aren’t really true, specifically the not watching RockStar part. Nonetheless, deleting them seems to overly moderate what was indeed a pretty serious anger, so far as I get seriously angry, so it stays.)

Another reality TV note comes from the world of So You Think You Can Dance, a show which I must say always turns out to be far more enjoyable than I would anticipate. Its certainly got some neat stuff, especially when the routines are trick filled and such. I still can’t take dancing seriously, but maybe that’s a character flaw on my part. Maybe it’s just some sort of fucked up family dynamic, since my uncle was a professional ballroom dancer for a while. I can’t think of a reason why his dancing would make me take it less seriously, since I always liked him, despite only seeing him once a year or so, significantly less since I entered high school. I could go off on other side notes regarding the fact that Eric took me to Hooters at the MOA when I was still in elementary school or that he drove a white convertible, liked to play with nunchuks and throwing stars and used some of the weakest old-person trying to sound hip insults even when he was like 20 years old. I think I always had the suspicion that he was not actually cool, despite believing as a 12 year old that he was, but that may be retrospection. Also to be noted, I have seen him I think for a grand total of 30 minutes in the past decade, so my evaluation, contemporary or not, of his relative level of cool should prolly be taken with several grains of very coarse salt. The point of this paragraph was So You Think You Can Dance, however, and my absolute favorite parts of the show are both near the beginning. Favorite part 1: introduction of the host, in this case, the perky blonde brit named Cat Deeley. Her name always makes me think of a brand of toy that hippo would enjoy, you know, playing with her cat dealey. Favorite part 2: Cat Deeley models Ryan Seacrest in introducing us every episode to “our judges.” Technically, she says “your judges,” but I figure you folks can make the transition in speakers pretty easily. Anyway, she says it the exact same way every week and it’s this hilarious but cute pronunciation that I can only describe as a combination of classic British accent, times nasally lisp, times Bill Cosby. That description does nothing, so just watch it and see how accurate it is.

Hippo got up from under Katie’s chair but appears playful, so I am going to divert my attention to her for a while. Her eyes widened (if that’s even possible) at the prospect of a feather on a stick.



Devil Inside-The Devil Inside-Every Single One of Us the Devil Inside Here Come the World With the Look In its Eye Future Uncertain But Certainly Butt

Meiches alerted me today to a very interesting article published by some crazy bastards over at Human Events. Just clicking that link probably made you shiver like the devil was gently fingering your butt in preparation for something that you suspect would be less than enjoyable, but as of yet, cannot be certain. Anyway, the website whose home page seems like it is desperately trying to convince people that there seriously are multiple attractive blonde female republicans, has decided to compile a list of what they call the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Century.

In the first place, what the hell nonsense allowed you to group the 19th and 20th centuries together randomly. If you just wanted to make sure that you got Marx and Hitler in the same list I suppose you succeeded, but why the random time selection? Is it like people who just really like to play suited connectors so they just chose the most recent consecutive centuries. I think my next move will be to make a list of the top 10 websites of 2005 and 1895.

Beyond that, who gave you the fucking right to label books as harmful. I hate to sound like NRA propaganda, especially in regard to this group, but I’m pretty sure the books were not the ones inflicting the harm. Thankfully, there is a pretty significant difference between the exchange of intellectual material and freaking firearms, so while Mein Kampf prolly didn’t kill anyone I’m willing to bet that AK-47s have. I agree that there are a lot of stupid/problematic/bigoted ideas that have been written down and published over the years and a lot of things that I have read which I fervently disagree with. The freedom to engage in these debates is fundamentally relevant, not only to democracy, but to the maturation and development of these ideas themselves. I seriously thought that the embracing banned books movement had gotten rid of this shit, but apparently we can pretty clearly identify the dangerous material, all we have to do is survey some conservative PoliSci profs and think tank directors.

The Communist Manifesto at number one is a pretty obvious choice, probably so when arguing with liberal/reasonable/intelligent people, the backers of the list get to trot out the “Communism killed more people than fascism, genocide, etc.” bit. I’m not even going to go into it for the moment, but have you fuckers even read Captial? That book is about 99% a description of capitalist economics and in the area of 1% proscriptive as to the course that economy will take. What exactly is dangerous about explaining commodity fetishism? Any explanation as to why the distinction between use and exchange value contributed to the gulag? I suppose its best explained by their shiningly accurate summary at the end of the blurb: “He could not have predicted 21st Century America: a free, affluent society based on capitalism and representative government that people the world over envy and seek to emulate.” Was that supposed to read “a free society for the affluent?” Do you think Hamas is more involved in the emulation or envy portion of that equation?

I suppose including Keynes on the list legitimates economics as more than just ideology for these folks. Possibly more interesting than the list itself are the items that didn’t quite make it. (That’s not to say that its not interesting to put the Kinsey report on this list). Maybe its just the cynic in me that thinks the ones that didn’t get quite enough votes were left off because they were trying to avoid its reading as a list of the “dangerous minorities” who at some point learned how to stick up for themselves in print. Fanon and de Beauvoir were a bit uppity I guess. I’m really sad that we didn’t get to hear why Darwin and Nader were so dangerous. I suppose it cost the lives of all those converted fundamentalist Christians who went to search for the missing link and the jobs of the Corvair designers.

I know that wasn’t particularly heavy on anecdotes or the word “hella.” Hippo thinks its even funnier that Madness and Civilization made the list, since it’s a pretty accurate description of the normalization process going on in this article. She adds, “purr.”