Friday, May 29, 2009

Gut Check

It must be tough to work in research and development for a company whose product requires neither research nor development. Mass-produced foods immediately spring to mind. Pizza, for example. Once you've offered a wide array of toppings and stuffed cheese into every possible orifice, we're set. A pizza isn't complicated. Nevertheless, Domino's has Bread Bowl Pasta. It's pasta. In a bowl made of bread. People are clamoring for this? Pasta alone is a tad too light for the discerning palate? Take the noble taco: steeped in simplicity and needing no exaggeration. Nevertheless, Taco Bell has a Volcano Taco, covered in "spicy hot lava sauce". Now, I love Taco Bell. But, a delivery system for instantaneous diarrhea isn't a plus. How many more permutations of meat, cheese, and beans do they think we need? (Speaking of hot lava sauce, who really thinks toilet paper needs to constantly undergo cosmetic changes? Animated Charmin bears don't distract me from the fact that their "improvement" is a new 12-ply which is "20% more absorbent". Yuck.)

Aside from being unnecessary, these products are insulting. With everything else in our lives experiencing a seismic shift toward caution, it would be nice to see our diets follow suit. I know the mantra "less is more" is seen as vaguely French by most red-blooded Americans, but just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Life On The Street

This week is the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street (prompting those of us who grew up with it to feel especially old). But with innumerable reasons to be depressed these days, sometimes finding a bright spot is as simple as revisiting the basics.

10 Awesome Moments From Sesame Street

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Loose Change

At a Memorial Day press conference, the President told the WH Press Corps, "we are out of money". At what point does this guy just say, "Fuck it. I want to pack my shit, grab Michelle and the girls, and just head for the caves with Elijah Wood and that blonde chick, Deep Impact-style"?

You know, like you and I whisper to ourselves every day.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Morituri Te Salutant

As surprised as I am to say it, one of my biggest regrets is that I never spent any time in the military. I was born at Ft. Lee Army Base in Virginia right after my dad had gotten his orders to Vietnam. The fact that I was born by emergency caesarean section (a big deal in the 70's) kept him from going. In high school, I joked that he had me to thank for still having his legs. A week ago, my girlfriend's grandmother was laid to rest at Great Lakes National Cemetary in Michigan. As a Coast Guard vet, she got the 21-gun salute and the whole pomp and circumstance. I'm usually guilty of looking at Memorial Day as just a day off, but I've given more thought to the sacrifices our veterans have made and how poorly they're generally treated upon their return. I'm a proud liberal and I scoff at a lot of empty gestures. People with "Support Our Troops" stickers on their cars who ignore the homeless vet at the stoplight don't impress me. However, I'm also deeply grateful to the thousands of our brothers, sisters, moms, dads, sons, and daughters who are half a world away continuing the life-threatening work that you and I will never have to do.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I Guess Clean Water Will Have To Wait

Some of the the finest engineering minds in the world are sequestered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ostensibly working on some of society's most pressing issues. Evidently, they think a pimped-out bus shelter tops the list. It seems other humanitarian considerations have taken a backseat to the homeless toilet of the future. Finally, our mentally ill veterans will be able to check sports scores while taking a dump. What a gift from the nation they fought so hard to defend! And that touchscreen is going to look sweet covered in crudely-drawn penises and Vice Lords graffiti. Bravo, eggheads.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pole Position

It's interesting how we re-evaluate our standards in times of crisis. More unemployed, well-educated women are looking for work in adult entertainment to pay the bills. Despite the fact that women still earn less than their male counterparts in most job markets, biology becomes the great equalizer in a down economy. We all gotta make a living and the skin trade is a built-in option for women that guys just don't have. I guess desperate times call for sexy measures.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Arizona Bay

New stats from YouTube report that 20 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute. I can only assume our collective response would be something like, "let me get my camera if you're gonna light that fart!". As enamored as I am of the possibilities inherent in advancing technology, I also appreciate that we will use it in the most mundane and banal ways possible. YouTube is great for a lot of things- if you want to see an old George Carlin appearance on Johnny Carson, you're golden. Get a midday hankering for some OG DeGrassi episodes? Go nuts. Flock Of Seagulls videos? Take your pick. But with 20 hours uploaded per minute, that means a lot of the public are also spending an inordinate amount of time on their "What My Nipple Is Doing Today" video log. (Which reminds me, my left one is feeling a bit peckish. I'll post later.) Some people decry these trends as cultural de-evolution. I prefer to enjoy it as the sum total of what we'll leave behind; an exquisite balance of the sublime and the ridiculous. Millions of terabytes of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Exactly as it should be.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mal Content

Not satisfied dragging the shallows of their own archives for ideas, now the networks are cribbing from each other. ABC has announced that they will remake the 1984 NBC lizard-alien series V for their 2009 season. The show was pretty kickass (in a completely cheesy kind of way), and featured a pre-Nightmare On Elm Street Robert Englund. I wonder how they'll update the FX for a generation weaned on Saw and Hostel movies?

Dig all the latex and hamster-chowing craziness below!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Abort Mission

With the hullabaloo over Obama's remarks on abortion at Notre Dame's commencement, it's interesting to note a predictable inconsistency. While a recent survey says that the majority of Americans consider themselves "pro-life", a significant number of those also support the death penalty. Given the number of protesters who interrupted the President's commencement address on Sunday, where was this righteous indignation at any of President Bush's speeches? Where are the pro-lifers protesting the thousands of US troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan? Anti-choice advocates have fooled themselves into believing that "pro-life" is confined to the abortion issue. Nope. Doesn't work that way. You don't get a pass by making a distinction between children and adults. It's PRO-life and if you acquiesce to a grey area on the subject, then the issue of a pro-choice President getting an honorary degree from a Catholic university is moot. It's a football farm, not the Vatican.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

May The Fierce Be With You

Last night was the season finale of America's Next Top Model, and I'll admit it: I'm a sucker for this show. I don't wait for each "cycle" with bated breath, but if you can withstand the insufferable ramblings of Tyra Banks, it's a very entertaining hour of television. On the one hand, it's fun to mock young women who are convinced that being the hottest chick at their jerkwater high school puts them on the fast-track to the good life, despite being in an industry that considers 25 "too old". On the other hand, criticizing models for being vapid is missing the point; they're not trying to win a Nobel Prize. The show proves that modeling isn't nearly as easy as the rest of us would like to believe. Even if you're impossibly attractive, that's different than knowing what to do when the camera starts clicking. You and I couldn't do it. So, god love these little vessels of delusion and their fight to be on the cover of Seventeen magazine, where they can possibly inspire 13 million young girls to explore the empowering world of bulimia! And the cycle begins anew.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Notorious P.I.G.

The WHO is investigating a claim by an Australian researcher that the swine flu was created by human error. Technically, isn't everything created by human error? I doubt there's such a thing as divine error (unless you count humans themselves. Oh, sweet irony!)

Virtual Eric Clapton

iPhone apps have officially jumped the shark.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Having A Ball

If there was a god, I'd still have both nuts. - Lance Armstrong explaining why he's an atheist.

Way to distill thousands of years of philosophical discourse into a single fart of narcissism, Lance. Then again, the concept of religion is selfish in nature. To believe that an otherworldly supreme being has each of our best interests in mind is a funny thing, especially when so many of those interests will invariably conflict. For all of our scientific breakthroughs and technological advances, religion reminds us that we are merely two opposable thumbs away from crawling on our bellies. It inspires rational individuals to incredible flights of fancy because we're rolling snake-eyes on the fundamental question of post-mortem accommodations. If it were unquestionably determined that we are nothing more than future worm food, churches worldwide would shut down tomorrow.

I'm Catholic-school-superstitious enough to believe that god exists. But, unlike Lance Armstrong, I doubt he/she is overly focused on the testicular fortitude of some load who rides a bike for a living.

Monday, May 11, 2009


What is with these douche nozzles who shoot their hot ex-girlfriends? If you're a balding hippie who's lucky enough to have dated above your pay grade for a few months, revel in your good fortune and accept it for what it is: college is not real life. I realize there is an entire generation of men with no relationship coping skills; guys whose idea of communication is quoting Death Cab in their Facebook status. But once she no longer finds your affinity for Sartre dazzling, she'll move on and you should let her. Nobody should have to get a restraining order because you can't get your shit together. Knuckleheads who think any woman deserves a bullet would be better served putting one between their own eyes. Or something.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I got into a lot of trouble as a kid. Not the cherry-bomb-in-the-toilet, goldfish-up-the-nose kind of trouble, but class clown trouble. My parents (paying good money for Catholic school) were not nearly as amused as my classmates. The irony of being punished by my mother for these infractions was that she is mostly to blame for my sense of humor. I've always regarded my mom as a glorious contradiction and someone who defies convention at every turn. She's a devout Catholic who ignores the pettiness of Bible-thumping, instead choosing spiritual growth over dogma. She has overcome life-threatening adversity with an unwavering optimism that still eludes my grasp. Since my dad was diagnosed last year, that glass-half-full perspective has kept my dad healthy and the rest of the family hopeful. She's funny as hell, too. Some of the most subversive humor I've created professionally has been inspired by her. Children naturally want to make their parents proud. I've always been proud to have a mother worth emulating.

Here's to the moms.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I Was Really Rooting For "Assclown"

I'm a word nerd. And our native tongue is creeping up on one million of them. Ironic, since the bulk of our fellow natives regularly mangle the same 200. Granted, none of us will ever use more than a few thousand, and we've imported so many words from so many languages, that it's hard to keep track of what's what. (For instance: unless you're discussing music, "not my forte" isn't pronounced "for-tay", people. Blame the French.) I don't need to live in a land of English Lit students, but could we at least place more emphasis on basic diction before tethering half-words like "noob" to the lexicon?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Calling Dr. Love 2: Electric Chair Boogaloo

I guess it's true what they say: today's couples don't have the same resolve as generations past. After saying she would stand by her man, Megan McAllister, the fiancee of the "Craigslist Killer", has decided to head for greener (or at least, less gory) pastures and call off the wedding. One hooker murder and your trust goes out the window? Ah, well. Now that gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts, the ditched groom should have no problem getting hitched in the joint.

Chicks today, huh? Just looking for any reason to bail.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Was It Something I Said?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

If Anyone Would Know "Outlandish"...

In a sign that spring has truly sprung, Catholic groups are attacking the film sequel to The DaVinci Code. The new Tom Hanks/Ron Howard epic, Angels & Demons (things the Catholic Church still believes actually exist, I might add) is about a symbologist who is enlisted by the Vatican to uncover a revenge plot against the Church by the Illuminati. Man, those Hollywood types are cuckoo!

Though, as somebody raised Catholic (and still racked by the requisite doubts of self, soul, and soil) I could probably rattle off a few dozen stories that sound crazier by comparison. You'll find them in a wacky little tome called the Bible. Talk about being hoisted by your own petard; you've gotta love the lack of irony inherent in organized religion. Whenever any God group stages a protest, it puts itself in the position of criticizing a secular portrayal of something of which they themselves have no firsthand knowledge. It takes Almighty-sized cojones to call a modern book "rubbish", when it's being compared to an ancient one full of virgin birth, goats in robes, and flaming, talking vegetation. Then again, cojones is the one thing not lacking in the Catholic Church. As I recall, their indecent exposure has cost them quite a bit of money in the past few years. Crazy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sicko De Mayo

It turns out that swine flu (or C3PO, or whatever they're calling it now) is no worse than regular flu. Of course, no state or federal health organizations are copping to that, since they would have to explain why a panic was created on the basis of something that already happens every single year anyway. However, combine the flu's more negative impact in Mexico with a continued economic downturn here in the States and you'll notice an interesting side effect of the outbreak- policymakers are using swine flu to reinvigorate the immigration debate. The "build a 2,000 mile fence at the border" crowd are getting grande boners over the notion that they can finally put a face to their xenophobia, even if that face is delicious with lettuce and tomato. Not coincidentally, a potentially bigger threat comes from within- our nation's insatiable desire for illegal substances.

The coming public health issue is the exponentially increasing violence among drug cartels along the border, collateral damage as they deliver our goodies to us. With thousands of murders and turf-killings every year and Mexican governments losing their grip on the country, we should be girding ourselves for when the "hollow-point flu" crosses our borders, because we've invited it. Until we take a serious look at drug reform, we remain able to do more damage here than a handful of pigs.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dumb As A...You Know

While other companies are bending over backwards to attract customers in a recession, Wal-Mart's size and consistent profit puts them in the enviable position of still not having to give half a shit about their customers.

Teen Finds Rocks In Nintendo DS Box