Friday, October 31, 2008

Banned from Gawker?

What have I done to piss off the gods of commenting over at Gawker to the point where my account is "not enabled" for commenting? What will I do all day when I should be working? I'm thinking it's a mistake because I can still post comments on their sister sites, but it sent a Halloween chill down my spine.

Wiccans Support Obama

In a "big tent" party you get support from all over the place. The question is, can't the Wiccans just cast a spell on McCain? Why do they bother with putting Obama links on their websites?

The Wiccan Pagain Times

Thursday, October 30, 2008

NYFA: Overheard convo

So I'm in the elevator where I work on the way down to the lobby, and guess what? It stops on the 2nd floor, the home of fake college/enterprise/whatever New York Film Academy. These two lovely young British girls get on, one of which is gently praising her new, entirely paid for, Manhattan apartment:

Girl 1: Yeah, it's really simple, just a room and a loo. But it's in Chelsea, which is pretty nice.
Girl 2: Oh, yeah, Chelsea is really cute.
Girl 1: ...and there's a Stahbucks right downstairs.
Girl 2: Well that's what matters, roight?

This is the state of young "artists" in New York. Used to be, you moved into a rat-infested raw space in an abandoned neighborhood. Now your parents select your multi-thousand dollar studio based on its proximity to chain stores.


Modern Times: Numark iDJ2

Oh happy day! Yesterday I defied the shit economy by marching into B&H Photo and dropping my hard-earned cash (or credit, rather) on this baby:

It's the most awesomest thing ever. You just stick a thumb drive in the back and start mixing your tunes. You can also plug in turntables or other external devices.


Numark iDJ2

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Best passive-aggressive notes ever

From the Passive Aggressive Notes blog:

Men who look like old lesbians

Modern Times: Buying a pack of gum

This is a true account of buying a pack of gum at Duane Read today:

I put the gum on the counter.

Cashier: Hi do you have a club card?
Me: No.
Cashier: Would you like to sign up for a club card today?
Me: No.
The cashier types in $1.35 and the register adds the tax, totalling $1.51 (why don't they just price the fucking thing with the tax at a round number?). I hand the cashier two dollar bills and fish around my pockets for a penny. In that time the woman has typed in $2.00 and the register indicates that I am getting 49 cents change. I find the penny and hand it to the cashier. This causes some confusion.
Cashier: well, I don't have two quarters so I'm going to have to give you...
Me: Fine.
The cashier extracts a quarter a dime and three nickels from the register, waits for the receipt to print, puts the receipt in her hand and the change on top of the receipt. I take the whole ungodly mess and leave the receipt on the counter.

I walk out feeling vaguely guilty that I have left the responsibility of throwing out the goddam receipt for my pack of gum with the cashier and determine that I will blog about the absurdity of modern life.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thank you, Christopher Hitchens

Hitchens can be a real pain in the ass, particularly for a few years after 9/11 which he spent being sort of a neocon, but he hit the nail on the head on Slate today eviscerating Sarah Palin:

This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just "people of faith" but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity.

Sarah Palin's War on Science

Friday, October 24, 2008

Just to get that hideous Ashley Todd image off the top of my blog

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

On looking in the mirror and carving a 'B' in your face

By now we have all met Ashley Todd, the enterprising young Republican alleging to be the victim of a political hate crime: Todd claims that a tall, scary black man robbed her after she had used an ATM and upon seeing a McCain bumper sticker on her car (wait, now it's a McCain button on her lapel, because she couldn't explain how he knew which car was hers) carved a B in her cheek. B for Barack, yo. Naturally, Todd refused medical treatment as would anyone who wants a permanent 'B' shaped scar on their face.

Oh, and the B is carved backwards. A mirror image of a B if you will. Like if you were to look in a mirror and carve a letter in your face and were too dumb to realize things appear backwards in a mirror. Also, that black eye looks like makeup.

These conflicting details have moved Todd's story from 120 point red type at the top of the Drudge Report to regular size type among links to stories about how Obama's lead in the polls is causing the financial panic.

Fameball falling fast.

UPDATE: Hey hey! No sooner do I post my bitchy fuck you to Ashley Todd and wonder whether I may have to eat my words do we learn that the whole thing is, in fact, bullshit. Charges pending.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

At the Table with Anthony Bourdain: Why ?

I love Anthony Bourdain. Everyone I know loves Anthony Bourdain. From his junkie/chef memoir "Kitchen Confidential" to his magnificent food and travel show "No Reservations" (which has inspired several imitators), he has always come across as the type of guy I'd like to have a drink or ten with.

So why is his new show "At the Table with Anthony Bourdain" so awful?

At 52, Bourdain is hitting his mid-thirties — quitting smoking, having a baby, etc. — and I assume he wants to spend more time with his family. So now he's doing this show where instead of flying to Laos or Dubai every other week he cabs it to a New York restaurant. Fine. The problem is that the new richer, more famous Bourdain seems kind of full of himself, and shows about people bullshitting their way through a meal don't work.

Bourdain has become caught in the same narcissistic muck that director John Favreau wallowed in several years ago with his loathsome watch-the-celebrities-eat show Dinner for Five. You can understand the thinking behind these shows: we all have a good time having dinner and getting drunky with friends, and as the night goes on (and more wine is consumed), everything seems so funny and interesting and hey, wouldn't this make a great TV show?

But a dinner party is not a television show; your dinner party is fun and interesting to you because you are with your friends. Your insidery repartee is great within your group, but when broadcast it takes on the quality of a loud conversation at an adjacent table, at best irrelevant, more likely annoying and offensive.

Which brings us to the first episode of "At the Table", featuring an unpleasant supporting cast of well-heeled, jaded New Yorkers: ex-celeb-club maven/perennial irritant Amy Sacco, Page Six gossipeuse Chris Wilson, New Yorker contributor and charisma black hole Bill Buford, along with the usually tolerable straightish guy from "Queer Eye" Ted Allen, who struggles in this company to be appealing and reasonable but is generally ignored or shot down.

Bourdain opens with probably the most inappropriate convo topic of late '08: is it morally wrong to spend $1800 on dinner for two? Oh no, everyone agrees, if you have the money, just enjoy it. In fact, why even discuss the morality of gluttony? Everyone knows that rich people should never feel guilty about spending gobs of money on whatever frivolous shit catches their fancy. Bill Buford helpfully adds that if you didn't spend the $1800 on dinner it's not like you'd give it to the poor or anything. Okay, next topic! But first, let's pause for the waiter to serve and explain these tiny plates of nitrogen-frozen fois gras with a tarragon foam and truffle shavings.

Jesus, how out of sync with the times can a television program be? This show isn't just alienating to the red state "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" crowd, it's alienating to anyone who doesn't go on speaking tours.

This is television created by and for rich people, and it's an embarrassing and sad departure for our former New York everyman.

Tony, please, please leave the wife and kid and get back on a plane. Or write another book. Or just go away for a while.

UPDATE: you get the feeling from the promo they think the show is kind of crap too...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gawker fameballs

This skyscraper ad placeholder has been in rotation lately on Gawker. It's a collage of some of the notorious nobodies they have elevated in order to shoot down over the last year or so.

My personal favorite is the cash fan waving dude with the Kanye glasses.

How many can you name?

Brit atheists to spread blasphemy across England!

I love this (via BBC News):

Bendy-buses with the slogan "There's probably no God" could soon be running on the streets of London.

The atheist posters are the idea of the British Humanist Association (BHA) and have been supported by prominent atheist Professor Richard Dawkins.

The complete slogan reads: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

Bizarre Japanese toilet training cartoon

Since almost all my friends have babies now, here's a public service in the form of an astoundingly weird Japanese cartoon (via Gawker):

Monday, October 20, 2008

One good thing about L.A.

Although I generally feel that L.A. is a loathesome, soulless place, it does have excellent radio. Coming from New York, where the middle of the dial is dominated by tacky lowest common denominator shit, turning on the radio in L.A. can be an exhilarating experience.

In L.A., KCRW and KXLU are great options for alternative or just downright weird music, and when I was growing up KDAY (1580 AM) was one of the first stations in the world with an all rap format. And let me tell you, in 1988, it was off the chain.

This last time I was in L.A. I discovered Indie 103. At first I was like, oh God, another corporate entitity appropriating the term "indie" to push populist corporate dreck. But the DJs quickly put me in my place with The Juan Maclean, The Duke Spirit, obscure 80s stuff, and the better part of an hour dedicated to verbatim Motown covers - in German.

Sure they had to play some lesser Death Cab for Cutie tunes and TV on the Radio and Does it Offend You, Yeah? etc. But they counterbalanced that with free-spirited programming unheard of outside of college radio, practically rising to the gold standard set by BBC 6Music.

Indie 103

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Okay, officially sick of L.A. now

Yeah, I've been running on the beach every morning and the weather has been 75 degrees and sunny everyday and they have like a dozen Trader Joe'ses, but honestly this place sucks. There's just no life anywhere. I think the only people having any fun are the gangbangers in their El Caminos. And I am terrified of them.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Camille Paglia: Palin's Not Dumb!

Professional contrarian Camille Paglia has a long respond-to-emails piece on Salon that, among other things, heaps praise on Sarah Palin. Paglia has long used the discourse of academia and feminism to attack academes and feminists, so I wasn't surprised to see her sycophantic fawning over Mrs. Palin. But, for chrissake she just sounds so inane! How can you so vociferously defend the intellect of someone who cannot name one newspaper or magazine she reads? It may be chic in conservative academic lesbian circles to tout Palin as some sort of amazon warrior goddess or whatever, but this is just ridiculous:

One of the most idiotic allegations batting around out there among urban media insiders is that Palin is “dumb.” Are they kidding? What level of stupidity is now par for the course in those musty circles? (The value of Ivy League degrees, like sub-prime mortgages, has certainly been plummeting. As a Yale Ph.D., I have a perfect right to my scorn.) People who can’t see how smart Palin is are trapped in their own narrow parochialism — the tedious, hackneyed forms of their upper-middle-class syntax and vocabulary.

Yeah, whatever, Pags.

Nobody’s dummy (via Salon)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Christian Audigier - WTF?

So up and down Broadway everybody and his brother is wearing these Christian Audigier shirts and hoodies lately. Huh? They look like King Midas threw up on a Guns 'n' Roses album. But for $200 and change you too can stroll down Broadway looking like you can't afford $200 t-shirts.

Full disclosure: in the early 90s I rocked baggy, faded Girbaud jeans to look like all those Puerto Rican kids who used to dance to acid house in front of Unique and hit the Red Zone every night. I have to believe that the effect was somewhat subtler than the Baroque mess you see here. One would hope.

But if you must:

Luxury Streetwear Produced by Christian Audigier

King Bloomberg

Regarding Bloomberg's effort to extend term limits so that he has something to do for the next four years: just say no.

I thought we went through this debate after 9/11 when Rudy Giuliani wanted to get an extra term because of extraordinary circumstances. At that time Mike Bloomberg and pretty much everyone else rightly said forget it. The voters have twice affirmed the term limits for city politicians. You may not like it, but too bad. This issue is settled.

Now Bloomberg wants to give himself a third term because of financial crisis. Extraordinary circumstances. Really? So 9/11 wasn't that big a deal then?

It's common knowledge that once you've been Mayor of New York, there is pretty much no place else to go. In the senate you'd have to compromise too much. Governor of New York is kind of a demotion. You could always try running for President, but your best shot is probably writing film reviews for a neighborhood paper.

In any event, I don't need any more of Bloomberg's volunteerism. If I had the kind of money he has, I'd buy a fucking island and teach myself to fish. It smacks of desperation that he needs to be Mayor so bad that he's willing to do an end run around democracy to stay in power.

No thanks.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

More on the Times Style section expose on Men and Cats

Today Slate has a fairly nice evisceration of the Men and Cats piece in the Times Styles section.

NYFA elevator skills

Okay, so the kids down at the New York Film Academy on the 2nd floor of the building where I work have elevator issues. First off, why ever take an elevator to or from the 2nd floor unless you have lots of stuff or are on crutches? Really, will it kill you walk up or down a flight of stairs and not tie up the elevator? Or will it just impinge on your self-defining sense of entitlement?

Also, it is not necessary to ask the people in the elevator whether it is going up or down every time it stops at your floor. You see there are these little arrows by the door that light up to tell you where the elevator is headed. Isn't that neat? You don't even have to know how to read.

And it's not just the bubble-headed students who apparently don't know how elevators work. Today two "professors" or whatever they call them there got in and were so surprised to see we were headed to the 11th floor.

I know there are no GPA requirements, letter grades or standard academics at this, um, school, but can't they just offer a Remedial Life Skills 101 unit or something as a favor to the rest of us?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Men and Cats

Fans of this blog know that it started as pastime/chronicle of my summer off, then turned into a kitten blog about my beloved Dusty, and now it's just a bunch of random rants and political stuff.

Well, the NY Times has a piece about Men and Cats, and how there is a growing movement of men who ARE DEFINITELY NOT GAY who are obsessed with their cats. There's lots of Styles section pablum including quotes from professional upper middle class Manhattan women about how great cat-owning men that they've dated are, as well professional upper middle class Manhattan men with cats talking about how secure they are with their sexuality, and so on.

And of course there is now an obligatory blog about Men and Cats, Men and Cats.

Does every aspect of life need a blog? I guess so.

No I don't need a receipt, thanks

Okay, at what point did it become mandatory to get a receipt for every single thing we buy? Pack of gum? That'll be 65 cents. Thanks and here's your receipt. But why would I need a receipt for this? Am I going to return the gum if it doesn't fit? Will I put this in my "gum and candy" file for next year's taxes? Am I keeping a record this year of all my chewing-related expenses? No. There is no conceivable reason I would need a receipt for a pack of gum, and you really don't need to waste the paper printing it out. Oh I see you are going to print it anyway. Oh and you are putting it under my change so that if I want my goddam 35 cents back I must take the receipt. Shall I be passive-aggressive and leave the receipt here on the counter for you to throw away? Then I would just feel shitty.

Okay, you win. Thanks for the change and the receipt. Now I just want to litter.

Friday, October 3, 2008

More racist Obama opponents

I really want to publicize these incidents of overtly racist Obama opposition we are starting to see around the country. Unlike the relatively mild sexism directed at Hillary during the primary , there are almost daily acts of outright racism occurring as the McCain wackos get more and more desperate. Today we feature a Florida teacher:

A Florida middle school teacher has been suspended for writing a racial comment about Barack Obama on the chalk board at school.Greg Howard is a seventh-grade teacher at Marianna Middle School, about 60 miles west of Tallahassee. Howard reportedly wrote the word "change" as an acronym and wrote a derogatory word with the letter n.The teacher will be transferred to an adult education program. "

Hmm...a derogatory word with the letter n. Way to go Republicans! You're so gonna lose.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

International Male revisited

For those of you not familiar with the now defunct clothing retailer International Male, it was a legendary over the top catalog retailer for men with highly flamboyant taste. At first glance you think, oh these clothes are supergay. Deeper investigation reveals that the aesthetic was way beyond gay, more like an alternate universe of dandyism so extreme that it demanded a gender and sexual identity of its own.

Anyway, I recently stumbled across an old Radar piece where they paid the writer to traipse around New York in International Male duds for a week and write about people's reactions. The results are hilarious (with more pictures):

Adventures of an International Male

Update: "Worst of" pics from the final IM catalog (via Jezebel)

Obama: Muslin?

So this is what the Obama opposition has come to? At least this dipshit in Florida has the guts to put his ignorance on a sign and post it in his front yard. When I hear people say things like, "I'm just not ready to vote for Obama," and "I just don't know him," make no mistake, this is what they are trying to say.

Perhaps worse, though, are the people who say things like, "I'm leaning toward Obama," or "I just haven't heard anything specific," or whatever. For chrissake people, we've had 17 months of non-stop coverage of this friggin election! Should we just have a full four year election cycle, and require every candidate to sit down with you in person and explain their positions?

If only there were some way for people to access information about the candidates in their own homes at their convenience, some sort of communication system where they could do research and interact with other voters and learn about the candidates in depth. Well, we can dream...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Middle class offered one of John McCain's mansions

via Wonkette:

"It’s a 5,000+ square foot estate with nine bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a seven-car garage, an entire extra gourmet chef’s kitchen out by the swimming pools, a 1,750-square-foot guest house, and it’s all on 2.7 gated acres. Remember, you’re middle-class if you make up to $5 million a year, so following the old rule about buying a house — the purchase price should be no more than three times your gross annual income — you can easily afford $12 million. But go ahead and offer $7.5 million, because the real-estate market in Phoenix is wrecked."

New York Film Academy Schwag

I have noticed recently that the kids at the New York Film Academy (whose classy side of the bus ad campaign is pictured above) just love wearing their NYFA t-shirts and bags. Like all the time and everyday at school. When I went to NYU Film School in the late 80s/early 90s, we always thought that the kids who wore the NYU Film threads were douchebags. They were.

University wear has always bothered me anyway. When I see those groups of girls in the airport waiting to board an international flight rocking "MICH U" across the asses of their sweatpants, it makes me cringe. Why would anybody, particularly outside of this country, care which 3rd tier state school you go to? Get a life!

As for the NYFA students, is it not enough that your parents pay $34,000 a year for a no-GPA-requirements, drop in-drop out crap factory, but must you also advertise this fact to the world? I'm glad your parents have money. Really, it will make your life much easier when your aspirations of directing prove to be too much of a hassle. Or maybe mom and dad think you need a six figure cash infusion to become the next Shia LeBouf. Fine, good luck with that. But can you just wear a t-shirt that says something like, "I'm a rich, uneducated asshat who hears Hollywood calling" instead? It would be helpful to those not familiar with your little school/enterprise.

In defense of average

Quoth Sarah Palin:

"Oh, I think they're just not used to someone coming in from the outside saying you know what? It's time that normal Joe six-pack American is finally represented in the position of vice presidency, and I think that that's kind of taken some people off guard, and they’re out of sorts, and they’re ticked off about it."

Yeah, it's about time that we had someone of average to below average intelligence in the White House. Who wants some smarty pants elitist dealing with foreign leaders and making complicated decisions on policy? Just crack open a PBR, put on the monster trucks and run the country. What could possibly go wrong?

But Sarah, don't you mean Josephine Six Pack?