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Friday, January 30, 2004
Confessions of a Halo junkie
Halo is a drug and I'm addicted to it.
From afar, the Xbox's flagship game seems bland. It's just another first-person shooter. You play a space marine, you mindlessly shoot things, blah, blah, blah; it's the same drip-feed hackery that game companies have been dishing up for their addicted clientele for years. Then you begin playing and it hits you like a rush. Gorgeous graphics, perfect game play, cocky aliens that shout insults at you before you mow them down with a space-aged machine gun. It's better than Samus, it's better than Mario, and better than (dare I say it?) even Link. OK, maybe not Link.
When I had to return it to the video store, I immediately went into withdrawal. I didn't just want Halo, I needed it. I drove to the nearest Target and bought the last copy in stock along with a desk lamp. In certain chain stores, the registers now require employees to enter the birthdate of customers attempting to purchase video games over a certain rating level. The machine didn't like my b-day for some reason. After five minutes of toil, the clerk finally bagged my stuff and I was on my way.
A few hours later, I couldn't find Halo I searched the house, the car the driveway...no space marine game. I broke out in a cold sweat and began inspecting every bit of carpet. It had to be here, it just had to be. After tearing up the floorboards and knocking down the walls like Gene Hackman at the end of the French Connection, I decided to retrace my steps. When was the last time I actually saw the game? Then I realized what happened. The clerk never put Halo in the %&%&^! bag.
I drove back to the Target this morning and stormed to the electronics’ department for my
Somewhere, in the dark basement of his parent's Lake Oswego homestead, that clerk is playing
This is my woeful tale. Learn from it. Don't play video games. If you do, duct tape them to your hands before leaving your favorite retail chain. You never now when some shifty-eyed Jesuit High brat will conveniently forget to bag your
Thursday, January 29, 2004
...Super-Duper, Incredibly Interesting Thing that was promised yesterday has been delayed. It may be posted tonight, it may be tomorrow. There's also the chance it may never be posted at all. When it comes to Super-Duper, Incredibly Interesting Things, this sort of happens all the time. It's the nature of the beast.
Meanwhile, this is huge.
Bar Banter from Beyond the Realm of Reality - #2 of ?
There comes in a time in every young man's life when it happens. For some, it happens early. For others, it comes late. There's countless factors involved and scientists are still baffled this unique right of passage.
I was in the Marathon Tavern when it happened to me. It came from across the room and from out of nowhere.
"Where's all the pussy at?"
It my table a full 10 seconds to realize that the question had been directed at us. These words came from an older gentlemen, in a white baseball cap, clearly quite inebriated.
Blog is now a man.
I can only think of one suitable response to this question:
"They keep it all in the back, stacked like shoeboxes."
This uncommon, arcane response threw him for a loop. It's sure to work for you, the next time you're presented with this enduring, timeless inquiry.
The sewing circle that is SNL
I received a copy of Live From New York for Christmas and it's a fun read, a regular kick in the pants...why, I'd go so far to call it a "hootenanny." If you're not familiar with the book, it's 600+ pages of former Saturday Night Live writers and cast members saying horrible things about one another. Only Belushi and Farley are above reproach. It's chock full of repulsive and funny anecdotes, among them, this gem from former head writer Fred Wolf:
-----If you have a sensitive stomach or brain, do yourself a favor and don't read this-----
"[Chris] Farley once stuck his out the window of the seventeenth floor of 30 Rock and took a shit. Another time, in front of twenty or twenty-five people in a very crowded writer's room - mixed company, women, men - Farley came in naked. He has his dick tucked between his legs and he was doing Jame Gum from Silence of the Lambs. He took a golf club and shoved it three inches up his ass, then pulled the club out and started licking it. "
Awww, magic moments the whole family can enjoy!
In Memoriam: KOIN Cinemas
The KOIN Cinemas, quite possibly the oddest theater* operating in Portland, went dark last Thursday. Its final lineup consisted of The House of Sand and Fog, Kill Bill, My Baby's Daddy, Master and Commander, and, ugh, Mona Lisa's Smile.
Prior to the launch of the Fox Tower Stadium, it was one of the few places in town to catch movies that walk on the artsy-fartsy side. A few years back, it was turned into a second-run theater by Regal before switching back to more independent films. In recent years, it served as an outlet for features that had worn out their welcome at the Fox or deemed not worthy of its screens.
What made the KOIN special was not so much the films it ran, but its unique layout and mystique. It was located on the second floor of the KOIN Tower next door to a country radio station. For a multi-screen cinemas, it was unusually tiny. One theater only contained fifty seats. Two of the larger ones had "cry rooms" in the back, which were rarely used and shielded by pitch-black glass. Its dark, elevated hallways felt like something out of Battlestar Galactica.
The KOIN is what introduced me and countless others to the world of "indie cinema." One of the first movies I caught there was Clerks, which I and my friends snuck into. It was sold out and my English teacher was sitting a row away. She had brought what looked like her elderly parents. She fell out of her seat laughing. They didn't crack a smile the whole time.
It was here that many Portlanders saw Reservoir Dogs, Dead Man, Lost Highway, Trainspotting, Swingers and countless other movies with posters that adorn dorm rooms all over the world.
Damn, I'm gonna miss that giant Amadeus poster in the lobby.
* The Movie House, which was owned by a private club, held this title prior to the KOIN. It was located in an old mansion on SW 12th. The ticket booth and concession stand was on the main floor, beside a living room with couches and a fire place. Upstairs, there was Victorian sitting room filled with thousand year old board games. The theater itself was outdated and looked like something that belonged in the Playboy Mansion. The Movie House closed sometime in the '90s. And now you know, if you didn't already.
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
There's no stopping the mighty power of the puppy
Blog is taking a day off to recover from yesterday's seemingly endless Oscar tirade. Tomorrow, he will return with a Super-Duper, Incredibly Interesting Thing that, unfortunately at this time, must remain top secret.
In the meantime, please bask in the spreading cultural phenomenon that is puppy bombing. PBs received a partial two-page spread in the most recent edition of the Oregon Commentator (pages 28 and 29). If you type the words "puppy" and "bomb" into Google, Wazeth's blog is the first thing that comes up.
Is this the next "santorum"? Not a chance but, if you're bored, you could always help spread the phrase by attacking the talkback sections of your favorite websites and blogs. Fark could use a few well placed puppy bombs.
Also: the cat smash pic also made the OC. Hooray for cheesy animal humor! Hooray! Hooray!
I leave you with the words of a coworker, who is currently watching Commando on mute. "That Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's always thinkin'!"
PS: For some strange reason, the movie is showing on Black Starz.
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
...New Hampshire? There's something going on in New Hampshire? Where's that...
...can't think straight...
...need sweet mother
Blog's Obscenity-Filled Oscar Tirade!
The Oscars are Blog's Super Bowl. Every year, I break out a beer helmet, a jersey with my favorite film of the year's logo on it and spend four hours screaming at the TV. Last year, my head exploded when Chicago took Best Picture. A full week and countless rolls of duct tape were involved in the rehabilitation process.
It's that time year again. The bloated, worthless gasbags that comprise the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have released the contenders for this year's Oscar race. As usual, they included a few films that deserve to win alongside mainstream tripe that doesn’t even deserve to be nominated (but will inevitably win). Here is Blog's potty-mouthed analysis of the nominees.
BEST PICTURE: Return of the King is on list and deserves to take the trophy even if it is easily the worst film of the trilogy.
Wait...did I just say that? You bet I did. While everyone else creamed their jeans over ROTK, I merely drooled. The biggest problem with the film is that it pushes crowd-favorites Legolas and Gimley to the background to focus entirely on their boring, blonde-haired colleagues in arms. The movie is also centered around an hour-long siege on a human city when it should be following the trials of Sam and Frodo. A sub-plot involving Arwen, played by Liv Tyler, is conveniently resolved with little explanation.
It's also restrained by its source material. I've never been a fan of Tolkein and I detest the ending of ROTK. With Middle Earth saved, why do the elves continue to flee? And I still have yet to find anyone who can adequetely explain why Frodo gets on that boat. He needed to die as a martyr on Mount Doom. Fellowship of the Ring should have taken Best Picture back in 2001.
Lost in Translation is also here and it's the one I'm rooting for. Yes, it's directed by Sophia "Daddy?" Coppola and has its flaws. Regradless, Tokyo + Bill Murray + Scarlett Johansson = a movie that seems tailor made for Blog. Even if no other films were nominated, Lost would still, somehow, lose.
Master and Commander and Mystic River are both obvious Oscar fodder. They're both "safe" high production dramas that Academy voters love to death. Because Mystic River is centered around the important topic of child abuse, it has this award in its pocket.
As for Seabiscuit, well, at least they didn't nominate Cold Mountain, a piece of shit that should come with a Surgeon General's warning. Seabiscuit's slot should have gone to a long-shot like Big Fish, 21 Grams or, hell, even Kill Bill.
Prediction: Mystic River. Sci-fi and fantasy films, no matter how good, always get snubbed. If 2001 couldn't convince Academy voters, the hobbits sure won't.
BEST DIRECTOR: YES! Fernando Meirelles was nominated for City of God, which means it will probably be re-released and more than 10 people will see it. His film is a poignant, ballsy take on youth mobs in Rio de Janeiro. Have you ever wished you could see a current movie with the daring bravado of Scorcese's work in the '70s? This is it. City of God is the sort of tragic roller coaster ride that hasn't been made in years. It begins with a shot of a chicken jumping into street traffic to flee a butcher's blade and never stops until the closing credits. Nevertheless, Meirelles stands no chance of winning.
Coppola, Jackson and Meirelles all deserve the award. As for Clint Eastwood and Peter Meier, fuck them.
Prediction: Jackson will probably take it.
BEST ACTOR: OK, I knocked Return of the King. Now it is my unfortunate duty to tear apart your precious little pirate movie. No one else has the guts, so I guess the privilege falls on my shoulders. Pirates of the Caribbean sucked and so did Johnny Depp's performance in it. The movie is over-long, its action sequences are boring, and with all those cloud covered vistas, it looks like it was shot off the coast of Cannon Beach.
Johnny Depp does a great impersonation of Keith Richards. And...? So what? His performance is irritating, inexplicable and distracting. Imagine if Han Solo had been played by a drag queen in heavy mascara who couldn't sit still and constantly acted like they were overdosing on crank. Clearly, this was a practical joke on Depp's part and you've all fallen for it hook, line and sinker. He got away with acting like a tool in a major motion picture and he's laughing all the way to the Academy Awards for it. If he wins, which he won't, I'll laugh with him and AT all of you.
As for the others, no one cares about Ben Kingsley or House of Fog. Bill Murray deserves to win but won't. Jude Law is too young and hasn't lost enough Oscar races to deserve a statue. Meanwhile, Sean Penn's been nominated several times, even for that wretched fart-bag I Am Sam.
Prediction: Because the Academy always eventually rewards those they've nominated numerous times, Spicoli can clear some space on his mantle. And I thought all he needed were some tasty waves and a cool buzz.
BEST ACTRESS: I'm with Roger Ebert on this one. If Charlize Theron doesn't win, the Oscars NEED to stop handing out awards altogether. Monster (yep, I saw it. So there!) is a fantastic, bleak journey into the black heart of Florida. Theron doesn't just portray Aileen Wuornos, she acts likes she's been possessed by her ghost. The metamorphosis rivals Robert DeNiro's in Raging Bull. Yes, the movies has its problems but Theron absolutely nailed the part.
Morton and Watts haven't paid their dues, Hughes is too young and Keaton has already won a million-billion times.
Prediction: The award goes to Theron. If anyone else wins, a vortex in the space time continuum will open and swallow everyone in attendance. On the other side, they will be attacked with steak knives by Orson Welles, Stanley Kubrick and hundreds of other incredibly-talented nominees that never won squat.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Why do people like Renee Zellweger? She can't act and she's not too pleasant to look at. I've seen exactly ten seconds of her performance as a shit-kickin' cowgirl in Cold Mountain and I laughed for three hours straight after getting kicked out the Fox Tower. Still, for reasons unknown, she was nominated here.
Prediction: I haven't seen most of the films in this category and probably never will. Patricia Clarkson? Shohreh Aghdashloo? Who ARE these people?! I've never heard of them and I doubt Academy voters have either. I'll put my money on Holly Hunter.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: In The Cooler (yep, I saw this one too), Alec Baldwin was kickass as corrupted casino boss longing for the old days of Vegas. Too bad the movie wrapped around his performance was as awkward as a junior high school dance. Benecio won a few years back, no one saw In America, everyone hated The Last Samurai so...
Prediction: ...Tim Robbins takes the Oscar. He's been around forever. He's never won. You can bet on it.
BEST SCREENPLAY: This category is always up in the air. Sometimes they give it to a mainstream film. Other times, it goes to the film that should have won Best Picture. There are no rules here and anything goes. Because Lost in Translation will lose in the bigger categories...
Prediction: ...after making movies like Jack and The Rainmaker, Francis can finally be put out to pasture. His daughter, along with her little Oscar friend, can take his place.
BEST ANIMATED FILM: Finding Nemo. Ugh, yet another beloved film I'll never understand. It's become the highest grossing movie in Pixar's catalog and it's the only one I didn't think was less than a masterpiece. Nemo is episodic, horribly redundant, obvious, boring and it stars Albert "Never been funny, never will be funny" Brooks. How many "Oh no! The main character is dead, no wait, he's alive. Hooray!" cop-outs does one movie need? Yes, I'm at least 10 years too old to enjoy a movie like this but so is 95% of Nemo's fanbase. This doesn't change the fact that it sucky-sucky-sucked.
Triplets of Bellville (yep, I even saw this one) is a bit tedious but still a film chock full of weirdness and brilliant character design. It deserves to win. As for Brother Bear...no one gives two tenths of a fuck about Brother Bear. It was the death knell for Disney's traditional animation department and doesn't even deserve to be nominated.
Prediction: Obviously the fish movie will get it.
BEST FOREIGN FILM: Uh...er...I haven't seen any of the nominees.
Prediction: The Barbarian Invasions is the only one that made it to Portland. It played for two weeks. Therefore, somehow, it will win.
ALL THE OTHER CATEGORIES: No one cares so neither do I.
Whew! That was fun. Did you actually read all of that? If you did, you deserve a prize. For lack of anything better, here's this.
I don't shut up, I grow up and when I look at you...
The steady, downward spiral of Willamette Week continues unabated with last week's cover story. "Grow Up, Already!" attempts to offer helpful advice to 20-somethings coming to terms with "the real world." WW's solution to digging your way out of credit card debt, getting organized and becoming a responsible adult? $150-an-hour personal advisors, $90 tote bags and $450 memberships to Club Sport.
If you can find me a young adult, living in Portland, struggling with student loans that afford a personal advisor, I'll mix a stack of overdue Direct Loan statements with my nightly plate o’ Ramen.
The article comes on the heels of January 14th's abysmal "Urban Sprawl" cover story. In an attempt to expose the reason why Portlanders are more flabby than the national average, WW devotes 3,000 words to an obvious answer. Ask anyone. We don’t' exercise because the economy stinks, no one can afford health clubs and it rains 375,000 days out of the year. Who wants to jog or bike in monsoon conditions?
As The Oregon Blog pointed out a few weeks back, WW seems to be in the middle of an identity crisis. With the Mercury appealing to the kids and the Portland Tribune covering local news, what's left? Well, the same thing it's been so good at over the years: in-depth coverage of stories that have fallen through the cracks. "The Great White Hoax" (Jan. 7th) is a perfect example of this. Too bad it was followed by two weeks of filler that even WM Stephen Humphrey would refuse to print.
Lame attempts to pander to the Mercury's audience appeals to no one. Here's hoping WW can find its way again.
Monday, January 26, 2004
Dada? What does that mean again?
Thursday January 22 Celebrate Chinese New Year by grabbing a musical instrument, noisemaker or a washtub and spoon, and make some noise at DADA DADA DADA Night at the Clinton Street Theater. What could be more dada than the audience performing the soundtrack to great films from the dada and surrealist masters? Every year brings a bigger and weirder crowd. Fist fights are narrowly avoided.
Musical instruments? Surrealism? Potential fist-fights? Like I could miss something like this.
Unfortunately, Dada Night ended was a disappointment. Only seventy or so people turned out and they were not appropriately drunk and rowdy. Something like this should probably be held on a weekend. Still, maybe my expectations were set too high.
Practically everyone in attendance had a musical instrument, ranging from trombones to keyboards to slide-whistles. They weren't afraid to use them. Over avant garde shorts usually only shown in film history classes, the audience made as much noise as possible while talking back to screen. The highlight was Felix Woos Whoopee. In it, Felix gets raging drunk and hallucinates that buildings and everyday objects are trying to kill him.
The audience also went crazy for An Andalusian Dog, a short film written by Salvador Dali. At the Paris premiere in 1929, Luis Buñuel, the director, hid behind the screen with stones in his pockets for fear of being attacked by the confused audience. The opening sequence, involving a razor blade and an eyeball, still scares the hell out of people today. If you're curious for more info, click here. Consider yourself warned.
If the Clinton does this again next year, here's hoping they have an open bar. And lasers and smoke machines. They make everything better.
Bar Banter from Beyond the Realm of Reality - #1 of ?
This post marks the first installment of BBBRR, a new continuing feature on Blog that's sure to either capture your imagination and/or cause you to slip into a coma. Portland's bars are chock full of interesting conversations. While most can be easily ignored, others demand to be written on the back of the nearest napkin.
The following bar banter was overheard at the Alibi, everyone's favorite North Portland tiki lounge. It has been transcribed off the back of a Portland Mercury coaster for your enjoyment. One of the persons involved looked and dressed like Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon. He will be dubbed "Murtaugh." His colleague looked nothing like Mel Gibson but will still be referred to as "Riggs." Let's see what they had to say for themselves.
MURTAUGH: "You're lucky I'm still talking to you after the incident."
RIGGS: "Oh, yeah. The incident. That's a good name for it."
MURTAUGH: "You are so lucky, man."
RIGGS: "Too bad he's got a fat wife. If I was him, I couldn't stand it."
MURTAUGH: "Hey, he's happy. We've been everywhere together. Even Tahiti. This place is like Tahiti."
[The owner of the Alibi walks by. For reasons unknown, Riggs recognizes him and pulls him aside.]
RIGGS: "Hey, how much would you sell this place for?"
OWNER: "Uh, how do you know I’m the proprietor?"
RIGGS: "We've met before."
OWNER: "I've always said that I wouldn't sell it for anything in the world."
MURTAUGH: "Everybody's got their price."
OWNER: "One time, a guy came in here and, seriously, told me to name a number. I said $10 million. We settled on $8 million. I spoke with him a few times later on the phone but it never came together."
MURTAUGH: "So how much?"
OWNER: "I always say $10 million now. That usually scares them away."
The owner politely and quickly excused himself. The specifics of "the incident" and their interest in the Alibi remain a mystery.
Oregon Sports Fan
OSF, a one stop resource for state athletics, is the latest genesis of Armed Prophet. It's neat concept and one that's sure to earn him oodles and oodles of money. Soon, he'll have a Pay Pal link on the site. You should give OSF 10% of income. Consider it a tithe to the god of sports. No, he is not paying me to write this. Honest. On the other hand, I may be hypnotized.
The current motto for the site is "Live. Lively. Updated compulsively." Taking a tip from Tony Montana, I suggested "[The internet] is a great big pussy just waiting to get fucked" instead. Come on, isn't that gold? For some strange reason, I couldn't sell him on the idea.
So...yes. Go to Oregon Sports Fan. The site is good. The site will make you happy. It will help you grow facial hair, clear up your acne and make you more attractive to women.
Perversion for Profit?
The Internet Archive has moved me one step closer to stealing a copy of Pro Tools and devoting my life to making terrible electronica. The site is an overstuffed cache of instructional films, news reels and corporate propaganda just begging to be streamed or downloaded. DJs and others obsessed with kitsch could spend entire lifetimes sorting through this public domain paradise. Among the entries:
Are You Popular? - A post-World War II social guidance film, offering examples of "good" and "bad" girls, proper and improper dating etiquette, and an analysis of what makes some people popular and others not.
Perversion for Profit - Anti-pornography film produced by financier Charles Keating, linking pornography to the Communist conspiracy and the decline of Western civilization.
Making of a Shooter - An instructional film from the late '40s. It follows a teenager named Jimmy as he learns the joys of firearms. Helpful instructors and narrators repeatedly tell him and the audience to "aim the weapon away from those around you."
Out of This World - This one (pictured above) features a bickering angel and devil that explain the wonders of cellophane.
There's a thousands of others along these lines, including a Coca Cola short that explores the positive effects the company is having on oh-so-happy workers in the Philippines. Thanks go out to "Fyuko" for passing along the link.
Friday, January 23, 2004
Work? Bleah. Study? *yawn* It's FRIDAY and it's time to watch videos of exploding whales
That it is. If you're stuck in front of a computer, the last thing you should be doing is something productive. Why work when you can watch QuickTime videos instead? To further lure you down the road of procrastination, here's a series of links. Before you know it, it'll 5 PM, you will have accomplished nothing today and it will be time to drink yourself stupid.
Our first video is comes from Flirting with Coherence. He posted this link with a dire warning: "You don't want to see this. It's horrible, and you will have nightmares." Is it as bad as "Diary of an Unborn Child"? Click and see. All I'll say is that it involves Leonard Nimoy and singing.
Would you like to see the best music video in the whole wide world? Well, here it is. The link leads to Beck’s "Sexx Laws" and it co-stars Jack Black. As it begins, a group of men are under-going sensitivity training. Suddenly, the walls explode and hoard of football players invade the room. The men flee into a kitchen, where various objects begin "boinking" each other. A can of EZ Cheese gets it on with a can of Spam. The refrigerator humps the stove. And Then Things Get Really Weird.
Here's the teaser trailer for the up-coming Frank "Yoda" Oz remake of The Stepford Wives. Unfortunately, it contains no cheese-on-spam footage but it does have Nicole Kidman in it. That should count for something.
Do remember The Rocketeer? Of course not. Do you know why? It's because you and everyone else spent the summer of 1991 drooling over Terminator 2. The Rocketeer was a great little adventure movie that one no one gave their money to. In a better world, it would have spawned several sequels. Years later, most people just remember the Rocketeer's great '30s deco poster that was in theater lobbies for months before its release.
Anyway, this summer Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow will starring in a movie called Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. It's in the same vein of The Rocketeer and it was filmed entirely in front of blue screens. Rather than reading a description of magnificent vistas of 30s-style sci-fi planes attacking giant robots, you should watch the trailer here.
Finally, the whale video. Sometime in the '70s, a large whale washed up on the shores of a beach north of Florence, Oregon. Nobody knew what to do with it. The decision was made to Blow It Up. KATU filmed the explosion. Here's the newscaster's description following the detonation:
"Our camera stopped rolling immediately after the blast. The humor of the situation gave may to a run for survival as huge chunks of blubber fell from the sky....no one was injured, with the exception of this car."
Could the whale video be The Greatest Thing Ever Put on the Internet? Decide for yourself. I change my mind on an almost daily basis.
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Cartoons go to war
Since we're already on the topic of war and cute widdle animals, here's a synopsis of the first night of The Wild and Abandoned Animation Festival at a certain local theater that will remain unamed. The festival concludes tonight with a "dada" Chinese New Years celebration.
In the first evening, the only one I'll manage to catch, the theme was Strange and Vicious War Cartoons. Most of the shorts were dated, misguided and incredibly racist. It's weird to see high-quality Disney and Loony Tunes cartoons rife with propaganda themes. Among those shown:
TOKYO JOKIO: This short was put out by Warner Brothers and features an array of incredibly offensive Japanese caricatures. In a series of short segments set up as a news reel, an announcer describes various facets of the Japanese military.
EDUCATION FOR DEATH: Hans is a young student living in Germany. Every day, he goes to school where his teacher, a general with no neck, tells him classic fairy tales chock full of Nazi rhetoric. In Sleeping Beauty, a prince, depicted as Hitler plants a huge kiss on Germany, in the guise of an enormous women inexplicably wearing a Viking helmet. But Germany is too much for him to handle. As he carries her to his horse, his knees buckle and she crushes him. Hans grows up and becomes a storm-trooper. A final shot of marching troops fades into a graveyard of white crosses. Yep, this cartoon was made by the Walt Disney Company.
PRIVATE SNAFU: Two SNAFU cartoons were shown. If you're not familiar with "SNAFU," it an old military acronym for "Situation Normal, All Fucked Up." Private SNAFU isn't the brightest GI. He likes to get drunk and tell secrets to Nazi spies. SNAFU also spreads rumors. In one short, a ship he's on, departing for France is bombed by a German submarine. He winds up in a boiling pot in hell. After asking Satan how he wound up there, he shoves a mirror in SNAFU's face. The message to be learned here? "Loose lips sink..."
BUGS BUNNY NIPS THE NIPS: Bugs has found himself in the middle of the Pacific in a floating box. He washes up on the shore of an island occupied by, you guessed it, incredibly offensive Japanese caricatures. Not content to share the island, Bugs breaks out an array of dirty tricks to kill them. After reinforcements are sent in, the bunny dresses as an ice cream man and cons his opponents into buying popsicles filled with grenades. As he happily marks a forest of palm trees with a Japanese flag for each kill, a US battleship appears on the horizon. As she he tries to flag it down, a girl bunny appears. Bugs opts to stay. This one drew the most gasps from the audience in attendance.
SUPERMAN AND THE WORLD'S BIGGEST BOMBER: Oh no! Three Japanese spies have captured the World's Biggest Bomber and they're about to attack Metropolis! To make matters worse, Lois Lane has stowed away in a locker!!! Superman rushes to the rescue but the plane goes into a tailspin. He leaps out and manages to stop it from exploding in the middle of downtown Metropolis. Afterwards, he runs off to an amusement park with Lois. What a mofo.
DER FUEHRER'S FACE: This one, made by Disney, actually won the company an Academy Award. In the years since, they've tried to wipe it off the planet. Donald Duck stars as an Average Citizen living in Nazi-occupied Germany. We follow Donald through a typical day. He wakes up and sieg heils a poster of Hitler before a nutritious breakfast consisting of water and stale bread. At work, Donald struggles to keep up with a rampant assembly line. Seconds before he's about to drop from exhuastion, his boss allows to go on vacation. Relieved, Donald accepts as a background of the Swiss Alps falls behind him. The vacation lasts ten seconds and he's put back to work. The line eventually drives him insane and the duck begins to hallucinate. What ensues is a segment of animation more freaky than the elephants in that old Winnie the Pooh short. Donald finally wakes up in American flag pajamas. He's back home, safe and sound in the US. It was all a dream. Overjoyed, he kisses a miniature Statue of Liberty.
OK, if you got through of all of this, you deserve a prize. Don't you wish you could see at least part of this Donald Duck cartoon? Well, you can! Click here but be wary. The site contains pictures of boobs.
Mission NOT accomplished
I write this words from inside a spider hole.
It's true, Flog's endless bombardment of cuteness has completely conquered Blog's feedback forms. Currently, thousands of adorable animals have formed an occupying force, currently attempting to reconstruct these forms as they see fit. But he has declared a premature victory.
The efforts of Flog and his allies will be meet with fierce opposition. Blog will strike back at them where it hurts most: right in the belly of their feedback forms. Blog will fight them on Flog's website. Blog will fight them on his allies website. There will be no mercy for those that have mercilessly ravaged Blog with their weapons of mass cuteness.
This war is far from over.
They do not know when the attacks will come. It could be thirty seconds from now. It could be a fortnight (it's a secret. Shhhhh!) But they will come. Blog will not rest until they are the ones sitting in a spider hole eating lukewarm hot dogs.
Victory will be Blog's. It's just a matter of time. In the immortal words of Howard Dean, "WHAHOAHOHAHAYAOOOOO!!"
You can't do that on television
Last night, during a commercial break for The Daily Show, something terrible happened. It was foul, it was horrible and it surely made eyes across the Pacific Standard Time Zone burn. This "thing" was a man's nude derriere in an in-house ad for Comedy Central.
Have they no-shame? The ad went something like this:
ANNOUNCER: "Ted works from his home. Ted likes to make egg sandwiches. Ted has a baby alligator that he keeps in his bathroom. Ted also doesn't wear pants."
Cut to a shot of "Ted" grabbing a box out of a cabinet. The shirt goes up and, there they are, two bulbous, middle-aged butt cheeks for all the world to see.
Last year, the station broke the "shit" barrier by allowing the kids on South Park to cut lose with not just one, but several hundred "shits." That's fine, what isn't fine is two bulbous, middle-aged butt cheeks for all the world to see. It's a cultural barrier that really isn't asking to be broken.
First off, middle-aged butt cheeks are not a pleasant sight to behold. Secondly, this ad further draws attention to an unfair double-standard in American television. Consider your average diaper ad. You'll lots of baby boy behinds, but not a single girl cheek. There's also NYPD Blue which subjected the American public to countless shots of Dennis Franz's hairy ass over the years. Even the Simpsons shies away from showing female booty while happily flaunting 99% of Homer's flab.
Now that you're attention has been drawn to this grave matter and countless images of disgusting behinds have attacked your brain, write to Comedy Central. Then write to the FCC. Then drop a line to your local congressman. US television's obsession with sagging butts must come to an end at once!
Win Beck's bunny
In probably the most interesting rock contest since MTV's "Win Bon Jovi's House," Beck's bunny is up for grabs. Rocket the Rabbit co-starred in a recent video for the song "Lonesome Tears" and, as part of a promotion for a new DVD set, he's being given away. The contestant that can prove themselves worthy in an essay, and can cough-up a vet's letter of recommendation, gets Rocket.
Maybe if the Beastie Boys had a rabbit, maybe this would inspire them to come up with another album. What has it been, six years since Hello Nasty?
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Is this the face of a paranoid android?
Depending on who you ask, a movie version of <The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, is finally going into production. The staple of middle-school libraries has been in development since at least the mid-80s. It was originally optioned by Ivan Reitman in 1982, who wanted to cast either Bill Murray or Dan Akyroyd in the role of Ford Perfect. After Aykroyd passed along a script with the words "Ghost" and "Busters" stamped on it, the idea was scrapped.
In the '90s, the director of Austin Powers was attached to the Hitchiker's but he eventually gave up on it after a series of intense budget negotiations.
Currently, an unknown named Garth Jennings is in control of the project. If it ever gets off the ground, it's slated for a 2005 release (just like the perpetually-in-development Fletch Won, Goonies 2 and Indiana Jones IV). According to rumors, Garth has the best intentions and has begun assembling a cast of British actors, among them Martin Freeman, who played a character a UK sitcom called The Office. He's slated to play Arthur Dent.
Today, Ain't It Cool News ran a picture of the proposed design for Marvin, the Paranoid Android. He's slated to be played by Warwick "I'm the Leprechaun, an Ewok AND Willow” Davis. I've always pictured the android as looking like a suicidal CP-30. The image above would better suit an angst-filled son of Marvin.
Click here to watch test footage of Marvin sulking.
Don't believe their lies - pt. 2
Again, there are no cute puppy dogs anywhere on Blog. It is 100% free of puppies, kitties and others of its ilk.
Meanwhile, Flog is being torn to shreds by a mighty barrage of puppy-bombs. Soon, he will admit defeat and crawl back into the filthy capitalist pig hole from which he came. Victory is already mine. Bwahahahahahaha!
I always liked "Just Left of Jesus."
KWVA, the U of O's campus radio station, is looking for a new slogan. Past ones have included "(Kill Your Television)...Just Don't Kill Your Radio" and "Smell the Music." Here's what Blog has come up with:
"Twelve terrorists. One cop. The odds are against KWVA... That's just the way KWVA likes it."
"Last time, KWVA blew you through the back wall of the theatre. This time, it will blow you sky high!"
"On a good day, KWVA's a great cop. On a bad day, KWVA's the best there is.
"KWVA: We like punk. No, we really, really like punk."
All right, almost all of these are taglines from the Die Hard movies. Think you can do better? Suggestions are being accepted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What's next, "London Calling" on an ad for Reebok?
The appropriation of pop songs into commercials keeps getting weirder and weirder. The latest example is a new Oldsmobile ad that mixes The Flaming Lip's "Do You Realize?" with graceful shots of their latest model. The only lyrics included in the ad are the inconsequential opening line, skidding around the fact that the song's themes are focused on fleeting mortality. The chorus ("Do you realize that everyone you know, someday, will die?") is probably not the best thing to have associated with an automobile.
Still, this isn't nearly as strange as a recent Carnival Cruise Lines commercial that mixes "Lust for Life" with shots of happy families frolicking in swimming pools. Again, this one focuses on only key portions of The Stooges' classic anthem, neglecting lyrics about stripping, torture films, drug abuse, passing out on sidewalks and...chickens. Carnival has also dropped one of the nastiest lines in the history of music from the ad: "I've never had it in the ear before." It's a shame, really. There's probably a lot of ear-fucking on the average cruise. They should make it a selling point.
But the king of all ads with misappropriated pop songs has to be another recent car commercial that uses The Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" as a soundtrack. Maybe I’ve been reading too much into it but doesn’t this song compare the blood lust of youth gangs to Nazi war tactics?
Also: last year, lead singer Jello Biafra lost a court case to former members of The Dead Kennedy’s who wanted to sell "Holiday in Cambodia" to Levis. While the ad has yet to appear, this hasn't stopped them from touring under the name, sans Biafra.
Yes, this was all bound to happen once the teens of the late '70s hit middle age. Still, it's one thing to combine ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" with advertisements for Passats. The last place DIY punk, which was meant to incite and shock, is on top of a car commercial.
Things should really get interesting in about ten years, when members of Generation X begin creeping into their 40s. NIN's "Hurt" would go great with an ad for Kodak.
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
What would Alexander Pope think?
Because I'm chained to a desk Monday - Friday with little to do, I wound up reading the script for Charlie "Malkovich? Malkovich!" Kaufman's next movie. It's called Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and there's a 60-70% chance that it will rock your socks off.
The story is centered around a young couple. After a nasty argument, the girl runs off to a Total Recall-esque clinic to have her memory of her boyfriend erased. To get back at her, the guy decides to the same. Unfortunately, half-way through the procedure, he changes his mind. Wackiness and weirdness both ensue.
The script is great and so is the trailer but there's just one little problem: Jim Carrey stars in it. Will he single-handedly sabotage the whole thing? Maybe. The movie's release date is set for March 19th.
There's also the website for Lacuna Inc., the movie's fictional clinic. It is both creepy and neat.
Don't believe their lies
There are NO pictures of adorable animals and/or robots on Blog. Blog's feedback area is completely and utterly free of these images. Do not believe the lies of Blog's enemies. Flog did not respond to an alleged puppy-bomb attack on his website with an aggressive, shock-and-awe campaign against Blog.
The picture above? It isn't there. It's in your imagination. You are hallucinating it. The woman with the robot Does Not Exist.
Blog's royal army of puppy-pictures will crush Flog. They will tear through his website like a pair of mighty Fischer-Price scissors through a piece of construction paper. He, along with the rest of Blog's enemies will cower like the capitalist heathens they are.
Worry not. Blog is safe. Blog is protected. Allah, God, Buddha, L. Ron Hubbard and the chick that used to run the 24-Hour Church of Elvis are all on Blog's side. Together, they will stop this evil (yet, oh-so-cute) threat once and for all!
The nerd hierarchy
This Maakies strip from two weeks back contends that bloggers sit lower on the nerd hierarchy than stamp collectors and ham-radio operators. Comics nerds, on the other hand, are one step away from the bottom rung. The absolute bottom? Metal-detector enthusiasts, of course. Unfortunately, the placement of comic strip artists remains undetermined.
Meanwhile, Ziggy-With-a-Hat finally has his own website. If you look at no other series of esoteric comic strips today, ZWAH vs. The Portland Mercury, should be it.
Monday, January 19, 2004
You could be, the most [dangerous song] in the world - pt. 2
It didn't take long for everyone to track down the name of the "artist" responsible for "Diary of an Unborn Child" and the link to a streaming copy. There's really no sense in keeping everything a secret. The stage name of the mind behind the song is Lil' Markie. To get a look at the uber-creepy cover of his first volume of songs, click here. If you're really feeling brave, click on the mp3 link. If you don't what this is all about, you should probably read the disclaimers attached to the original post before you click on anything.
The link belongs to Show and Tell Music, a kick-ass site offering an extensive look at kooky, hard-to-find LPs. Here's my favorite.
Meanwhile, not much is known about Lil' Markie. His albums are out of print and impossible to find (that's probably for the best). Apparently, he's the alter-ego of Mark Fox, a devoted Christian responsible for at least ten albums chock full of morbid tunes designed to, all together now, literally scare the hell out of us. Mark's act was part of a traveling kids that churches would hire to entertain and inform rugrats with songs and ventriloquist acts. Fox's heyday was in the '70s and, sometime later, he retired in Gladstone.
Yippie, Oregon can add another jewel to its crown.
This site provided the most information and even a picture of the man himself. A few years back, Fox released a new batch of material on CD. His latest is called "It's a Whole New World." There's also a Lil' Markie Christmas album out there. Just imagine the sort of songs on that one.
There is also this.
Is there anyone here that isn't offended? Have I covered everybody?
Blog Vs. Snow - The Final Battle (Take 2)
As promised last week, the conclusion to the earth-shattering (and seemingly endless) rumble has been chronicled over at Website. What you'll find is a 3,000 word epic with over 26 super-exciting pictures from The Worst Winter Storm in the History of Mankind. Here's an excerpt:
Only one car has passed since I began this journey.
"Help me Obi-Wan. Help me," I mutter, delirious.
Obi-Wan appears over a Toyota dealership.
"You will go to Dagobah. There you will meet Yoda, who will teach you in the ways of the Force."
Did Blog survive the storm? Is he actually writing these entries from an internet cafe in purgatory? You'll have to read the article to find out.
Meanwhile, here's the final score. Despite (possibly) killing Blog, Blog is still blogging while snow isn't. That alone earns him 950,000 points The winner and Champion of the World is...
New scandal rocks PPD
This story appeared on Good Day Oregon this morning. Had it been transplanted to The Daily Show, I don't think anyone would have noticed.
Officials within PPD are cracking down on further misconduct within their department. What, has one of Portland's finest shot another unarmed woman? No, apparently our boys in blue have potty-mouths.
Last year, a whopping 60 complaints were filed by citizens to draw attention to the amount of obscenities used by local police. In an effort to put a stop to this, the department is encouraging citizens to file reports every time they over hear a "fuck" instead a "please" when they're caught robbing a liquor store. The directive, which went into effect January 1st, also requires officers to "self report" each time they use a bad word.
If a police officer receives a certain number of complaints, they could face counseling, an official reprimand and could quite possibly have a bar of soap shoved in their mouths. One PPD official's response to this, not verbatim, was:
"What's a police officer supposed to say in a tense situation with an armed suspect? 'Put down that gosh darn gun'?"
When I was in New York last summer, I asked a cop in Times Square where the nearest White Castle was. His response, (verbatim) which I remember for no apparent reason?
"Naw, but you got your fuckin' Burger King, your fuckin' Mac Donalds and there's a fuckin' Hardees 'round the corner. Where's the nearest White Castle? Fuck, beats the shit outta' me."
So is this whole thing a solution looking for a problem? Survey says...yes.
There's also this and this.
Friday, January 16, 2004
You could be, the most [dangerous song] in the world
And now a story that you just might lose sleep over. Why am I putting here for all the world to see? Because it's too weird not to share.
Last week, I was mercilessly stealing an album off of Soulseek. Why? Because I obviously hate my favorite artists and won't be happy until they're living in the streets with the roaches. I received a strange message from the person I was downloading it from.
OTHER USER: You NEED to download this album.
Just like that. No explanation. I tried writing back but didn't receive a response. Like a fool, I went along with this mysterious demand. What I wound up with was Cool and Strange Magazine's Thrift Store Compilation.
I used to volunteer at college radio station and I've always had an appetite for kooky music from bygone eras. The comp is like the weirder, more mean-spirited nephew of Incredibly Strange Music. Most of the stuff on it comes from gospel records and live recordings from '60s NYC nightclub acts. There's tracks like "Christian Cowboy," a WW2 propaganda track called "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Syphilis" and "Kitten on the Keys," which is a commercial for an organ company that sounds like it was put together during the Truman administration. For the most part it's kitschy and harmless. Then there's a certain song towards the end.
I'll stop here for a DISCLAIMER. If you're at all sensitive about abortion rights or religion, you should Stop Reading This Now. If you've got a strong stomach for these things, by all means, keep going but don't say I didn't warn you.
I sent this mp3 to a friend to see how they would respond to it. This is the sort of person, to my knowledge, has never, ever been offended by anything, ever. Not only was he not amused by the mp3, he was angry. He was shocked that I would have something like this in my possession. We argued for almost an hour about it.
I did a lil' internet research about the artist responsible for the track. What turned up was a surprising number of webpages devoted to him. Here's one review of his only album:
There's no photos or credits anywhere on this album. Just the sickly drawing on the cover and a list of song titles. As far as bizarre Christian LPs, I gotta say, this is this most extreme thing I've ever heard. It's some full grown man with a munchkin voice, singing terrifying songs about drug use, abortion and being a fat kid and each filled me with a profound sense of dread, horror, and disgust. This really, truly scared me the first couple times I played it, and I haven't played it since.
That's a pretty apt description. The track off the Cool and Strange Comp is called "Diary of an Unborn Child." Here's a sample from the chorus:
Why did you kill me, mommy?
God made me special for you
I only wanted to see you
and put my little arms around you
Further searches for the comp turned up no results. There's also no mention of it on Cool and Strange's website. Could they have disowned the album because of this track? Mayhaps.
So you think this is much ado about nothing? Well, you'd instantaneously change your mind if you heard it. I've got a pitch black sense of humor, have a copy of the Kids of Widney High in my collection and even I think it's evil and creepy. It's pretty nightmarish to think that there's something like this floating around out there.
Now that you've heard about it, you're probably eager to hear the track and see what all the fuss is about. This is the way people usually respond after hearing about something like this. With a little effort, you can probably find a copy. But trust me. You don't want to. "Diary of an Unborn Child" is probably God's way of punishing people who steal music off the internet.
What has David Grohl done to Darling Nikki?!!
Sometime in the '80s, my then 13 year-old cousin brought over a copy of Purple Rain during a holiday and played it to poison the young minds of those of us that were still in elementary school. All I can remember from the incident is that Prince's voice scared the hell out of me.
One of the tracks on this album is called "Darling Nikki." This lil' song convinced Tipper Gore to co-found the Parents Music Resource Center in 1985. The group went on to successfully pressure big record companies to create a warning-label system for pop records.
If you've never heard it, the track is about a young man who meets dominatrix in a hotel lobby that's having a little too much fun with a magazine. After seducing him and forcing him to sign a waiver...well, you can read the lyrics here. Yes, it's dated but the song is still nasty and funny as hell.
Now, years later, the Foo Fighters have sunk their teeth into "Darling Nikki" to completely drained it of all life. Hearing David Grohl sing lyrics like "thank u 4 a funky time" over a thudding rock riff, without the slightest hint of irony, is as wrong, wrong, wrong as a Bonnie Raitt cover of "Hot In Herre." The Foo Fighter are many things but "funky" is not one of them.
It should go without saying that the new version is cruising up the pop charts. After not listening to the corporate radio for 6-months, this is the first thing that hit me when I turned on KUFO last night. The feeling can be summed up with one word: BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!
What's so funny 'bout peace, love and Life in Hell?
As Elvis Costello would put it, the answer to all three is "nothing."
If Life in Hell is a practical joke, it's a good one. Since it isn't, someone has to put a stop to it. For the past ten years, Matt Groening has been basically running the same strip over and over and over again. Akbar and Jeff's monotonous squabbles were amusing...but only the first 300,000 times. Life in Hell has overtaken even Garfield and Marmaduke to become The Most Redundant And Boring Comic Strip of All Time.
While those two pet strips were never funny, there was a time when Life in Hell was easily the most brilliant comic being published in newspapers. This is probably a bold statement, given the competition at the time (Calvin and Hobbes, Bloom County, Far Side, etc.). Still, you need look no further than the Work is Hell or School is Hell comps for further proof of this grandiose statement.
The comics page of the average daily has become a travesty in recent years. Over-run by the likes of Rose is Rose and Get Fuzzy (yes, Get Fuzzy. That strip is as lame as Family Circus. You know this to be true), it isn't even worth a passing glance anymore. The sad decline of the weekly Life in Hell strip is just another indication that comics page in your daily newspaper is dead. No amount of Opus comebacks is going to resurrect this beast.
And it's downright sad, given the level of talent being displayed on the internet right now. Penny Arcade, with its fluid, clean design and youth-appeal could throttle For Better or Worse and finally kill the never-ending boredom parade that is Dilbert (I work in office and I still don't find it the slightest bit funny).
Why is something like Blondie still being published while Exploding Dog, Angry Little Girls, Daily Dinosaur, Big Fat Whale and thousands of others are waiting in the wings? The last Blondie fan died long before the last veteran of the Civil War did. Yes, these strips are more controversial than these ancient chestnuts but they're also something that they aren't: humorous.
There's only so many jokes out there that can be made about finicky felines, cubicles and the preciousness of small children. They were all used up sometime in 1987. It's time for those that have made millions off drawing pictures of cats, babies, office drones and #@#$#! Cathy to step aside.
Because everyone else is doing it, that's why. And Blog just can't say "no" to peer pressure.
Yes, Blog now how has a comments feature. Ho. Ho. Ho.
Click on the link below each post to say somethin'. Please no puppy-bombs. If you have a puppy-bomb going to waste, send it here.
Still, Blog's not a chicken, you're a turkey!
PS: If you don't instantly recognize the preceding pop-cultural references you either A: Didn't grow up in the '80s or B: Don't remember the '80s.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
Would you consult this alien for marital advice?
This may well be the most amusing thing ever posted on the internet. Budlight.com, of all places, is offering a super fun gizmo that allows you to combine audio with still photography to create herky-jerky (but fun-knee) animation.
Hmmm...what to do with this new found toy? Why not combine a passage from Pat Robertson's Bring It On - Tough Questions, Candid Answers with a picture of this lovable little alien alarm clock? Here's a question from a chapter titled "Love Marriage and Sex."
Q: My Christian husband is infatuated with (addicted to?) computer pornography. He says it is harmless and educational, but I say it is ruining our sexual intimacy. Who is right and why?
Click here or on the picture for Pat/alien's answer. This may well be the strangest thing you view this morning/this afternoon/this evening.
You say sacrilegious, I say sacri-licious!
PS: Wazeth, this is all your fault.
And then there was Soulseek
People, gather round. There is a better way to mercilessly steal milk money from the pockets of your favorite artists' children. It is called Soulseek and it is a David to KaZaA's Goliath.
Imagine a peer-to-peer program that isn't overrun with users looking for Beyonce tracks and Christina Ricci fakes and actually offers the music you're looking for. Imagine a simpler version of KaZaA, sans copious amounts of spyware, that offers simultaneous searches and fast downloads. Imagine a place where you can search for indie bands and find entire albums instead of glitch-filled singles. This place exists. Yes, it is called Soulseek.
I have seen the light. For months, I searched in vain for all the songs on Fever to Tell. After discovering Soulseek, I found the entire thing in mere minutes. KaZaa couldn't even cough up a quality copy of Room on Fire. With Soulseek, I found dozens of copies, all in a clean, crisp 192 bitrate format. White Stripes bootlegs, The Hives, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs...all your favorite pop-py, psuedo-garage bands are here, just waiting to be plucked.
Put simply, it is the finest peer-to-program ever.
Go forth, my brothers! There are musicians and record companies that are still making minute profits from their releases. This must be stopped at once!
The force will be with you. Always.
This rumor is gaining more and more steam. Another Star Wars trilogy? Another movie more could be too much to handle.
At this point, it looks like Lucas is keeping his options open based on the performance of episode 3 in 2005. The Phantom Menace pulled in $431 while Attack of the Clones pulled in a relatively paltry $310. Given the bashing both films have taken, there's a good chance #3, or #6 depending on how you look at it, could flounder faster than The Hulk.
Lucas has mentioned in interviews that he wants to return to making more low budget features like THX-1138 and, everybody's favorite, The Radioland Murders, after the next film is released. Still, walking away from this golden goose could be tough. It took Paramount a 10 Star Trek outings to finally run that sci-fi series into the ground. The last geriatric Trek film made back only half of its budget at the box office.
Given the patience of sci-fi fans and the blind faith of Star Wars devotees, there could be another dozen of these things in the pipeline. If another trilogy is made, they'll be sequels to the original set. The big question here: will Lucas and Mark Hamill be able to set aside their differences for episode 7?
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
You're pretty good looking, for a girl, but your back is so broken
I visited Paul Allen's nightmarish Experience Music Project back in November and found this picture, blown up to the size of a VW Bug, in the lobby. This is as close as a single image will ever get to capturing the White Stripes in a nutshell. Yet, here's what the photographer, Annie Leibovitz, has to say about it:
"I don't know what this picture means. The truth is, there's nothing more to it than dada. It's just a dada picture. And that's who the White Stripes are....we actually had the target left over from a Cameron Diaz shoot for Vogue."
The real question here? What does "dada" mean? Here's Webster's definition:
A European artistic and literary movement (1916-1923) that flouted conventional aesthetic and cultural values by producing works marked by nonsense, travesty, and incongruity.
I thought the White Stripes' music was all about misogyny, arcane references to the '30s and painkillers. Looks like Annie was right all along.
Rather Good is rather...
Yes it is. But you already know that.
Wha...?! You've never been to rathergood.com? What have you been doing with all of your time? Working? Bah, that's no excuse. Going to school? Psah! "Having a life." Yawn!
If, for some strange reason, you've have not seen the rockin' cats or the strange, moon-obsessed critter singing his heart out, go here.
Work your way down the row of links on the left. If, by the end, you're not laughing or banging your head against the sidewalk, then....well...uh, go here.
Make it Suntory Time
The Park Hyatt Tokyo, featured prominently in Lost in Translation, has come up with a vacation package based on the movie. It includes....
• Five days accommodations in a Park Room or Park Suite
• Complimentary breakfast daily
• Complimentary use of Club On The Park spa and fitness facilities
• Complimentary bottle of sake upon arrival
• One hour introductory Japanese culture and etiquette lesson in New York Bar
• One cocktail nightly in New York Bar
• One dinner at Kozue (traditional Japanese meal)
• One half-day city bus tour around Tokyo including lunch
• Map of sites featured in film (karaoke bar, arcade, nightclub, etc.)
• One Shiatsu massage...
...all for the low, low price of 380,000 yen. Strangely absent from the list: the "rip my stockings" prostitute. A dream date with her probably costs extra but the existential angst still comes with the room.
Do the math
As posted on Yahoo News this morning:
Bush Seeks $1 Billion for Moon, Mars Missions.
Bush to Promote Marriage in $1.5 Billion Plan.
Are you looking forward to four more years? I sure am!
UPDATE: A middle-aged coworker's response to these headlines:
"I think that's great. We really should be promoting these values, no matter how much it costs."
Four more years....four more years...four more years.
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Emails from beyond the realm of reality pt. 2
Blog is the propritor of a little something called Chevy Chase: Unauthorized! It's a shrine to a man who was once held the title of "Funniest Human Being Alive." Every once and a while, a truly interesting Chevy email arrives in the in box and demands not only an interesting response but to shared with the world...in a forum where the author is unlikely to know. Is this mean? Maybe. Is it funny? Hopefully. David Letterman does it so that makes it OK, right?
Subject: chevy chase
Date: Sat, 10 Jan 2004 14:02:52 +0100
I heard that Chevy Chase died in a aeroplane which crashed during attacks at the World Trade Center . Another thing I heard is that he died in a aeroplane crash with his family is that true ?? Do you know anything about it?? Please write me back. I really would like to know if he's is alive or not. I love this guy his movies are great!!
Subject: re: chevy chase
Date: Tues, 13 Jan 2004 11:018:21 +0100
Thanks for your email. Is Chevy dead? Well, we must first ask ourselves this: Was Chevy ever actually alive? Could someone so talented and humorous actually be human? There's a good chance Chevy is a space alien or, more likely, a really funny cyborg. This begs the question, if Chevy is a robot, what sort of robot is he? Is his body designed like Robocop’s, with human organs and tissue combined with mechanical parts? Or is Chevy more like the Terminator- a standard cyborg covered in fake human skin? There's also the Gizmo Duck factor to consider.
But back to your question: was Chevy destroyed in the September 11th attacks? Well, maybe. There's the distinct possibility that the original, lost "ChevyBot" was replaced with a newer version but we'd never know it. If that's the case, the new ChevyBot is completely indistinguishable from the older model. Take a look at the alleged ChevyBot 2.0's recent appearances at his Friar’s Club Roast or on SNL. If it's a copy, it's a really good one.
We hope this answers your question(s).
-Chevy Chase: Unauthorized!
The website's hits have been down in recent months. It's probably because of behavior like this.
Earlier this afternoon, a driver was shot and killed while waiting at a fast-food drive-through. Where could this have happened? South Central? Nope. DC? Nope. Baghdad? Nope. Where was it? Beaverton! Bland, boring Beaverton! That's right, Beaver "Chock Full of Car Dealerships and Strip Malls" Ton!
The shooting occurred at Mexicali Express, which is located a mere .7 mile Blog's office. The driver was killed and the passenger was injured. A short time later, the shooter turned himself into police.
Scary? Yes. Tragic? Of course. But does this mean Blog can finally bob his head to "Gangsta Gangsta " without remorse?
Life clocks are a lie! Carousel is a lie! There is no renewal!
It's still a rumor at this point, but Matt Damon is supposedly involved in a possible remake of Logan's Run.
1. The first one is one of the finest science fiction films ever made and an influential precursor to Star Wars. It was incredibly popular at the time of its release but has since been overshadowed by Lucas' saga.
2. Part of the charm of the original is the special effects, which include an obvious model of a city in front of a blue horizon wall. The update would use CGI and there's a good chance it won't look like it was filmed in a shopping mall.
3. Damon's 33 and too old for the starring role. The little crystal in his hand burned out back in 2001. Send in the Sandmen!
Monday, January 12, 2004
...a link to a story about keeping glowing fish as pets.
It really is a truck that goes "VROOM!"
The votes are in from last week's reader's poll. The pro-VROOM! vote won in a landslide victory over the anti-VROOM! contingency. Blog regrets ever doubting the vrooming capabilities of this fine American motorcar. It will permanently be added to the Blog's cannon of vehicle's that go vroom!
On a sadder, the submitter of this photo put his own blog, "This is How I Will Get to Russia," to sleep over the weekend. The author cites various reasons for his decision. Strangely enough, none of the ones listed were "the damn thing keeps piddling on the carpet." Blogs are notoriously difficult to housebreak. Just ask Flog.
It really is a small world afterall
Little Lost Robot writes:
Here's a weird coincidence: That night I was trapped
on Skyline all night in my news van, I was playing a
Super Mario Bros. 3 ROM I got off YOUR WEBSITE. I went on your site today to get another game and was like,
"Hey, was that my name?"
Thanks for the ROMS. Made the night go little faster.
It was a weird coincidence and one that has ushered in a new section on Blog full of links to other bloggers living in the Portland area. These blogs are 100% unaffiliated with Blog but contain all sorts of pretty pictures and tasty stories cooked right here in the Land o' 97--- .
Does this mean that Blog will...GASP!....actually add more than one column like so many of its colleagues? Never! Blog prefers the straight and narrow. Afterall, the pathway to bloging is as narrow and as difficult to walk as a razor's edge. Oh wait, that's salvation. Nevermind.
And now a word on gun safety
As a wise man once said, "Everyone should fire a shotgun in their life...but safely!"
When you finally suppress years of anti-firearms propaganda and heed the call, be sure not to make the same mistake I did. The butt of a shotgun should be held firmly against the shoulder. If you make the mistake of tucking the butt (*giggle*) under your arm, which feels more comfortable and logical than the shoulder, you could wind up with...
...something like this. I found this picture while digging through an old archive earlier today and felt the need to share. This bruise took about three weeks to fully heal. As a result, I've reverted back to my old gun fearing ways. Nevertheless, there's still this article over at Website.
Blog Vs. Snow - The Final Battle (Take 1)
The ongoing war between Blog and Snow came to a head on January 6th, a day that will live in infamy for many Portlanders. On this day, Snow delivered his most devastating soul-crushing bitch slap yet, paralyzing the city for most of last week. But you already know this. What you don't know is the outcome of a cataclysmic 3-day battle royale between one man and a whole lotta snowflakes.
Who finally won? What happened? Check back in a few days, when the REAL Final Battle will be posted. Yes, this is a total cop-out but hold on a second. This full recount will be accompanied by an extensive Website article chock full of pictures from The Worst Winter Storm in Over a Decade (AKA Winter Blast 2004). Will these pictures be any different from what you've already seen on television and the internet? Well, they'll be the only pictures of the event taken by Blog. So that should count for something...right? As Robert Zemeckis might put it...
...to be concluded...
Friday, January 09, 2004
Get Your Ass to Mars or No Wonder You're Having Nightmares, You're Always Watching the News
It's been rumored for weeks and, sure enough, he's gone and done it. If everything pans out (which it probably won't), in a few years we'll have a permenant science facility on the moon and we'll be on Mars by 2014. Was this all inspired by a certain Austrian accent to the governship of Cal-ea-fornea?
The announcement, by He Whose Name Will Remain Unspoken, is the first policy of this administration that I agree with. NASA has been a joke for decades. Back in 1984, if you asked me what I'd be doing in 2004, I probably would have told you that I'd be blasting through space in my own, personal Gunstar. Many theorized that the Columbia disaster would be the death knull for the US' space program. Now, nearly a year later, here we are.
The price tag to set up a station on the moon will make that for Mir look miniscual in comparion. Given the "jobless recovery" and the ongoing conflict in Iraq, is this the right time to be looking to stars? No, but if I'm going to see an effective warp drive in my lifetime, NASA had better break out their compasses...or whatever it is they do. I'm perfectly willing to betray my nagging liberal reservation, just this once, if it will lead to X-Wings being released to the public by the time I'm old enough for a midlife crisis.
Blog Vs. Snow - Days 3 - 6
With the thaw coming fast and furious, the "use by/freshness date" for this saga is quickly approaching. Are you ready for days 3 -6? You're not? Oh, come on. This one will be quick. To tell the truth, not these two combatants barely clashed between the 3rd and 5th. Still not ready? Too bad, here we go!
- Blog wakes up to find the streets clear. Rising temperatures have sucker-punched Snow in the gut. By noon, Blog can even see his lawn again. 10 points.
- Snow may be gone physically but his ominous presence still lingers. The news prophesizes an additional 3-4 inches within hours. 2 points.
- Despite the doomsayers on KGW, Snow doesn't strike back. Monday comes and goes w/o incident. Blog does the Funky Robot atop Snow's melting carcass. Triumph! 5 points.
Could this be the most amazing comeback in the history of comebacks? At the end of day 6...
So Snow vanished quickly. Mayhaps, a little too quickly? Could he have returned to his secret layer to plot his most nefarious attack yet? Sure, you know already know the answer but you don't know all the details. Will Snow rest on day 7? Or return with a little bit of the Ol' Soul-Crushing, Bitch Slapping, Ultra-Violence? Stay tuned.
The worst idea in a long line of incredibly bad ones
The feature article in this week's edition of Willamette Week says it all. Not learning a lesson from the financial wasteland that became PGE Park, mayor Vera Katz and the PDC are masterminding a plan to renovate the Armory and turn it into a new home for Portland Center Stage.
There is no end to the mind-numbing roadblocks that will eventually sabotage the project. The city paid $2 million too much for the Armory, PDC is planning to partially fund the project with misappropriated funds, PCS' ticket sales have dropped by nearly a third in their past 4 seasons and THE BUILDING IS A 113 YEAR OLD, ROTTING HUSK MEANT TO HOUSE BULLETS AND HOWITZERS, NOT ACTORS.
This project epitomizes everything bad, stupid and wrong with a local administration that has spent the last 7 years with their heads in the clouds while the city around them has floundered. If you live in Portland and if you read nothing else today, it should be this.
Blog Vs. Snow - Day 2
At the end of day one, Snow was leading Blog by a single point. With an ace up his sleeve, Blog prepared to crush his opponent with a pair on tire chains on January 2nd. Who pulled ahead in day two? Let's take a look.
- Snow forces Blog to wake up early so he can get to work on time. 2 points.
- Blog, running late, confidently strides out to his vehicle, ready to cruise to work in record time because it's outfitted with an invincible set of snow chains. No points...yet.
- Snow laughs like Cobra Commander as one of the chains slips off a tire, bringing Blog to a standstill a block later.
- Snow raises his arms in a V as Blog inspects the problem The chain has wrapped around an axle, forcing him to crawl under the vehicle to remove it. Despite his "waterproof" jacket and ski pants, a pool of slush soaks through to Blog's skin. 3 points.
- Blog lets out a triumphant war cry as he manages to remove the chain. 2 points.
- Blog rolls up to a nearby intersection where his vehicle is trapped on a patch of strategically-placed black ice. Evidentially, Snow stayed up late to lay this booby-trap the night before. A line of motorists screams for blood as Blog is forced to flee and call AAA. Snow is on the floor, clutching his frosty stomach and laughing hysterically. 3 points.
- A tow truck arrives in record time and hauls Blog's vehicle to safety. 2 points.
- Blog makes it to work w/o further incident. 2 points.
- Snow has caused Blog to arrive an hour late. 2 points.
- Blog zooms home and enjoys a meal consisting of chili mixed with leftover Xmas stuffing. Snow is forced to hungrily look on as the temperature drops outside. 2 points.
Whew! What a battle! Snow delivered quite the soul-crushing bitch slap to Blog in day two. Will Blog manage to keep his cool, avoid any technical fouls and close the gap in day three? Only time will tell. At the end of day two, the score is:
Portland is finally beginning to thaw out after being hit with a soul-crushing bitch slap by The Worst Winter Storm in Over a Decade (AKA Winter Blast 2004). MAX is finally running, planes are beginning to trickle out of PDX and the roads are clear (mostly). Still, Blog's car is still landlocked in a driveway lake of ice and those rotten PPS kids got another snow day. Bastards.
Then there's the ice.
It's falling all over the place. Last night, Blog witnessed a small avalanche roll off the top of Pioneer Place within inches of two cackling shoppers. A car outside of a Portland Blockbuster had its front window shattered. The roof of an industrial plant in east Portland collapsed and a Gresham Fred Meyer was evacuated earlier today. To view highlight footage of the storm and evac footage, click here. Just click on the red links once you get there.
In other news, did you hear about the tug boat? You didn't?!! Well, then go here.
Thursday, January 08, 2004
Making up for lost time
The incredibly thrilling recount of Blog's week long battle with Snow has been postponed for another day. To catch up, the next three installments will be posted tomorrow.
Snow Comes to West Slope: Special Edition
These two pictures, possibly the most interesting of the lot, were left out of the article currently posted over at Website. "Someone" mentioned they wanted to see them, so here are, a shot of the Eastern Pearl's puke bucket (strangely empty) and the deer head covered in Christmas lights. They've also been added back into the article.
The last time I was in there, the large space over the bar contained an empty chair with a Santa jacket slung over it. Close by was a table with an empty whiskey bottle and a shot glass. I forgot to take a picture of this weird little diorama. Unfortunately, they've probably taken it down by now. Talk about a lost opportunity.
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Frozen wee on the news van
Little Lost Robot is a Portland blog written by a KPDX cameraman. Last night, while reporting on Skyline, Robot's newsvan was assaulted by three men in an SUV. After spinning around in circles, one man jumped out and inexplicably began urinating on the front tire. Trapped in the back, robot fought back with a gigantic spotlight.
It should go without saying this blog, still in its infancy, is both quite neat and quite good. The author also has healthy fetish for toy robots. To learn more, click here.
"Snowblast Brings Much of Oregon to a Standstill"
Planes are grounded at the airport, the Blazers aren't playing, MAX still isn't running, every business in town is closed and the streets are lined with abandoned vehicles. Despite all this, I've been stranded in Beaverton since 9 AM yesterday because my department head refuses to close things down for something as "simple" as Oregon's nastiest winter storm in over a decade. To make matters worse, every other department in this building has been closed since 8 PM Monday.
My employers may not respect the dire straights of this winter storm but at least Matt Drudge is tipping his fedora. Earlier today, he linked to this story from the Statesmen Journal.
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
Blog Vs. Snow - Day 1
Today marks the eighth straight day of unusually cold weather in the Portland area. On New Years Day, an unprecedented amount of Snow dropped in uninvited and unnannounced. It was also the first day of this frigid string of days inconvenienced Blog.
Snowbound and stuck at home on a day off, Blog officially declared war on Snow. Who will come out the victor in this conflict? That remains undecided. Here is the first installment of the ongoing battle from the very beginning.
In this corner, weighing in at a whopping 150 pounds is the master of half-assed digital photography, the slinger of internet bitching Blog Jesus Xavier McRodriguez!
In this corner, embodied as a poorly-made snowman, is the Thunder from the North, Mr "HA! I Made Your Car Slide Into a Ditch!" himself, he who puts the "sno" in SnoCone, Snow.
DING! DING! DING!
- Snow breaks off to an early lead after drenching Blog's house in 5.5 inches of frigid glop. 4 points.
- Blog fires back with a shovel, clearing his driveway of all powdery ice. 1 point.
- Snow freezes Blog's hands and drenches his jacket and shirt as he struggles to put chains on his tires. 1 point.
- Blog successfully installs the chains, which will hopefully pull into a large lead in day 2. 2 points.
- Snow conspires with a group of neighborhood children to launch a daring snowball attack. 2 points.
- Blog returns fire with a massive bombardment. His amazing aim and skill forces Snow's merchenaries to retreat behind a Toyota Tundra. 2 points.
- Blog spends the evening in front of an Xbox with a bottle of Kahlua while Snow is stuck out in the cold. 3 points.
At the end of day one, Blog trails Snow by a single point. The score is: