Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Oops, I Sculpted Again

A pro-life monument to birth in Brooklyn features a nude Britney Spears on a bearskin rug while giving birth to her firstborn.

Is there anything I could say here funnier than that sentence?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Super Payouts, Chilean Tragedy and Auto Parts Co. Bankruptcy

A trio of the seven stories I cranked out in a busy week in Joisey. "I am such a stud," she says mockingly.

New Brunswick Board of Education defends their superintendent's golden parachute, not the golden rule.

Monroe mourns for the 10 people whose bus flipped off a mountain in Chile.

And Delphi workers wait for the ax to fall and maybe deliver some cash on the way.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Hockey's "Doc" Swats, Slaps, Nubs and Drubs the Competition

This week's column: a repurposing of my tribute to Devils TV announcer Mike Emrick. With another crappy headline written by someone without any flair for the task and (apparently) the inability to take my suggestions without feeling slighted.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Falafel House

The best argument every written for the in-depth study of that peculiar cable animal in its habitat: Bill O'Reilly.


"Back in the classical period, liberal media-watchers did a brisk trade in pointing out that Fox News was not actually “Fair & Balanced,” as its slogan claimed. That was not an earth-shattering revelation; “Fair & Balanced” had always been a code whose meaning—here’s news that gives you the world as you already see it—was perfectly understood by the Fox audience...

Mainly, O’Reilly, like every political talk-show host with a big following, is a populist, who, in his beyond-irony way, is a rich, middle-aged white guy aligned with the ruling party, and who has the guts to stand up to the élitists who run (but also hate) this country. To say that that doesn’t make any sense is to deny oneself the pleasure that a close study of O’Reilly affords...

O’Reilly begins each program with an editorial called “Talking Points Memo,” which is often about the news of the day. When the subject is the Bush Administration, O’Reilly is supportive, if not in the respectful manner of most of Fox’s personalities. He seems like a guy who was initially skeptical but had a few candid, head-clearing conversations with people in the Administration and eventually came around....

O’Reilly is an amazingly nimble talent, and part of his skill is how persuasively he communicates that he is completely uncensored and incapable of guile or calculation."

Sunday, March 19, 2006

All this war needs is a little more spirit! Who's with me?

Detachable Penis

Some John Wayne Bobbit/ King Missile fan threw his severed penis at police during a rampage in Chicago.

Stupid prick.

Happy Anniversary, Iraq War

Three years, 2,300 U.S. soldiers killed, 17,000 wounded. Maybe 50,000, 75,000 or more Iraqis killed. One stupid, stupid, dangerous president in a bubble surrounded by incompetent boobs.

The people speak.

What if what you do to survive
Kills the things you love
Fear's a powerful thing, baby
It can turn your heart black you can trust
It'll take your God filled soul
And fill it with devils and dust

--B. Springsteen

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Rock And Roll Hall of Lame

It's time to shut the doors to The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.

Five acts might have been inducted last night, but I see where this thing is heading and it's time to pack up the stratocasters and coke and call it a day.

The Hall's first inductees in 1986:

Chuck Berry
James Brown
Ray Charles
Sam Cooke
Fats Domino
The Everly Brothers
Buddy Holly
Jerry Lee Lewis
Elvis Presley

Last night's class:

Black Sabbath
Miles Davis
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Sex Pistols

Granted, there was bound to be some fall-off over the years from Chuck Berry and Elvis. But landing on Blondie is kind of like, I don't know, landing in Blondie I suppose.

Black Sabbath is worthy, for sure, blazing the way for an entire new and pathetic genre of poofy-hair Satanic metal.

And Lynyrd Skynyrd sure could make a cliche interesting, couldn't they? Easily the best band to die in a plane crash since The Big Bopper.

The Sex Pistols might as well be celebrated for their longevity. I mean, if we can't honor a group designed to implode in a matter of months, when why even bother calling ourselves rockers?

Now tell me who is left to induct? In the Hall's first years, it was almost a race to include every legend without whom music would never have been the same: The Coasters, Eddie Cochran, Bo Diddley, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Bill Haley, B. B. King, Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Smokey Robinson, Big Joe Turner, Muddy Waters, Jackie Wilson, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Drifters, Bob Dylan, The Supremes.

I mean, shit. It took four years to induct The Rolling Stones.

But now these icons are sharing space with unspectacular folks like Jackson Browne, Dusty Springfield, and Percy Sledge. I mean, Jackson Browne is a nice, introspective, unoffensive singer-songwriter. Percy Sledge did "When a Man Loves a Woman", eh, ok.

What's gonna happen in five or 10 years. Does Motley Crue get in? Mettalica, for sure. Will rap be considered Rock and Roll? Miles Davis was inducted last night. So Run DMC should make it. Then what? The Sugar Hill Gang? The Beastie Boys? Jay Z? Madonna is a ringer, but will Cindi Lauper make the cut? Is she any less worthy than Blondie and her proto-punk new wave thing?

Point is, this place has become diluted by mediocrity and acts with a collection of songs instead of a career. It's become poluted by morphing genres and self-congratulatory mutual masturbation. Rock shouldn't be so inclusive. And an institution like the Hall should be run by rock snobs anyway.

If everyone gets in, who's gonna clean up the jizz stains after the party?

For that job, my vote's for Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Big Bucks, No Whammies, No Whammies...D'oh!

This headline is in the worst taste ever. Please ignore.

"Press Your Luck" gameshow host Peter Tomarken died yesterday when the plane he was piloting crashed near Los Angeles. Tomarken, his wife and two others were killed when they volunteered to fly a medical patient from San Diego to L.A.

The Whammy thinks he's great, the Whammy thinks he's nice,but inside that body, he's got a heart of ice. ---Terry & Kevin Seagal, Carmel, IN

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Defiled and Lazy Guy

One of the horrors of writing for a newspaper is when a pathetic copyeditor slaps a wildly lame headline on your story. It's even worse when you've been recruited to write neutered personal columns that run with your picture.

This headline somehow evokes both Steve Martin's doofus hipster and Joe Piscapo's Jersey Guy characters from SNL. Not flattering. Humiliating, actually. But some decent writing for sure, that might look familiar to fans of my Thailand journal.

Homer Sapiens

By popular (Perl) demand, here's that live-action Simpsons intro. A little creepy if you ask me.

Even more peculiar: this home in Las Vegas that bears an uncanny resemblance to one in Springfield, State Unknown.

S(h)ave Douglass College

Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick recommends the all-women Douglass College remain a four-year women's residential college. Women -- many of whom shave -- rejoice.

Except this group, who apparently didn't get the memo (about rejoicing, not personal hygeine. Near as I could tell).

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Sports Guy and The Tipping Point Guy

ESPN's Bill Simmons emails with The New Yorker's Malcolm Gladwell -- chatting about effort vs. talent, learning about sports by reading Sports Illustrated in rural Canada, and the enigma of Jake Plummer. It's a lot more interesting than it has any right to be.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Oscar The Grouch

Tonight is the night the stars come out on the red carpet and Star Jones's residual fat rolls come out of her tightly constructed cow dress while I do my best to pick the winners and try not to feel gay because I enjoy this all so much.

Some folks have accused me of being secretly ashamed of my interest in Oscar night while pretending not to care. The truth is that I certainly don't care in the sense that I have no stake in the proceedings. And I'm not ashamed to say that I've watched just about every Oscar telecast for the past 20 or so years. I'm not alone, you know. As a self-designated arbiter of taste and a pop-culture war chicken hawk, when America watches something, I'm watching America.

The outcome of the evening means tiddly squat to me, simply because the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences' voting record is about as good as the Palestinian people's. Or the American people's, for that matter.

Of course, there's the perpetual snubbing of Alfred Hitchcock and Martin Scorsese. Not like these two deserve any sort of recognition for, I don't know, the best films of their generations.

And I think Roger Ebert pointed out the beautiful irony that this year the Academy will honor Robert Altman for his lifetime achievement after ignoring him for his lifetime.

In recent years, you don't need to look much further than Ordinary People beating out Raging Bull for Best Picture in 1980 or the 1990 travesty of Dances With Wolves beating out Goodfellas. Don't even get me started on Forrest Gump over Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption in 1994.

Ok. You got me started. Forrest Fucking Gump? Granted, I like this movie when I first saw it. It was exceptionally well crafted, and I was even able to get past some of Tom Hanks' acting ticks to be truly moved by his performance. But if there has ever been a more cloying, crass attempt to manipulate an audience without an actual purpose or message, then I haven't seen it.

Seriously. What are we supposed to take away from this film? Stupid is as stupid does? America has gone through some tough and interesting times? War and AIDS are bad? Life is like a box of morons spouting inane drivel to a captive audience?

Forrest Gump is stubborn in its insistence to avoid any message or even the thinnest of themes throughout. It's like crying at a funeral for an advertising campaign character.

Anyway, Gump is not alone. Here are some other high crimes and Oscar snubs:
  • 1941: How Green Was My Valley beat out Citizen Kane. Any idea which one has stood the test of time better?
  • 1979: Kramer Vs. Kramer beat out Apocalypse Now and an un-nominated Manhattan
  • 1983: Terms of Endearment beat out The Right Stuff
  • 1992: Al Pacino won Best Actor for Scent of a Woman. After years of playing actual, layered human beings, he takes home the trophy for playing some absurd blind curmudgeon by yelling non-sequiters braying like a syphilitic gorilla. Hoo-ha!
  • 2001: Ron Howard won Best Director and Best Film for A Beautiful Mind against anything other than this criminal manipulation of the audience and facts in service of a hyped-up shit sandwich of a movie

Friday, March 03, 2006

RIP Mr. Furley: Wear your garish neckerchiefs in that big Regal Beagle in the sky

Singing Competition and Stinging Condemnation

An all-girl group practices for tomorrow's International Championship of Collegiate A Capella semifinals at Rutgers. I maintain my journalistic decorum.

And New Brunswick moves closer to booting private property owners off their property to make way for mostly private development. Yay eminent domain!