An incomplete list of reasons why Carly Rae Jepsen finds it hard to look right at you, baby  

Saturday, July 14, 2012

  • You're the sun, baby.
  • You're standing next to the Ark of the Covenant, baby.
  • You're Bigfoot, baby.
  • You're burning magnesium, baby.
  • You're a Gorgon, baby.
  • I have macular degeneration, baby.
  • You're a sensitive, top-secret document, and I don't have the necessary clearance, baby.
  • I don't want to collapse your wavefunction and force you out of superposition and into one of the various states you're currently occupying, baby.
  • You're a Magic Eye picture, baby.
  • You're wearing your father's cloak of invisibility, baby.
  • You're made of dark matter, and the only way I know you exist is by observing your gravitational interactions with other objects, baby.
  • You're a bloodthirsty paparazzo, and I don't want to end up in a tabloid, baby.
  • Because without my ruby-quartz glasses, you'd be exposed to the focused totality of my optic beams, baby.
  • You're only detectable in the nanoseconds following a high-energy particle collision, baby.
  • You're an elder god from a dimension beyond human comprehension, only entering ours when the stars are right, and your eldritch visage may drive me to the very brink of madness, baby.
  • You're to my left, baby.

Welcome to Camp Crystal Lake!  

Friday, April 13, 2012

A letter to new employees from Steve Christie
Executive Director, Camp Crystal Lake

On behalf of the entire Camp Crystal Lake family, I want to welcome you to our team! We are looking forward to a very lively summer, but before we begin I need to highlight some changes to our personnel policy.

First and foremost, our calendar is a little different this year. We understand that most parents want to get their kids off to camp as soon as the school year ends, but we’ve made the decision to delay the start of camp until Saturday, June 14. This is an accommodation being made at the demand of our lawyers, but I mean, come on; this is the seventh time we’ve tried to re-open this camp, doesn’t it just make sense? I suggest you use Friday as a Yom Hashoah-esque day of remembrance to reflect on the decades-long genocide of attractive 20-somethings.

Second, I know in previous summers it has been our policy to hire one black, handicapped or gay counselor for diversity. For obvious reasons, this policy has been discontinued.

When you arrive at camp, there will be several points of business we will have to address. After krav maga training, we will consider the matter of replacing our ridiculously outdated camptheme song; I can’t believe we ever thought it was cool.

Speaking of which, our new dress code prohibits the wearing of crop tops. Gentlemen, I shouldn’t have to explain that this policy applies just as much to you as it does to our female counselors, but experience tells me that I absolutely must. Same goes for shorts, men. Everywhere I go, men seem to have figured out this whole wearing pants thing, then camp starts and – bam – batch city. So yeah, I need you to have at least 20 percent of your quadriceps covered at all times.

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the stories, so I want to make a promise to you: I will never ask you to lie about what kind of institution we’re running here. Our camp is very forthright about its history. Yeah, there were some murders, yes the United Nations deemed it a human tragedy, we’ve dealt with these issues and moved on. That being said, we do not acknowledge anything that occurred between 1984 and 1986; there was some shit with a psychic and zombies that we’d all just rather forget.

Some of you may wonder how we are able to be so open about a safety record that is, by any humane standard, simply reprehensible. We’ve actually decided to embrace it. The summer camp industry is very competitive, but it also affords us a certain latitude. You see, no decent parent would send their child to us. So we’re left with a clientele that really has no other options. I don’t mean like one of those 80s movies where our kids are a bunch of scrappy ne’r-do-wells who couldn’t afford to go to the rich-kid camp across the lake, I mean the kids who come to our camp can’t go to other camps because other camps have policies barring children who have deemed burdens of the state. We take the outrageously poor, children with drug-resistant forms of leprosy, that sort of thing. We’ve got juvenile sex offenders in spades.

If your best option is working here this summer, I fully expect you fall into one of these categories yourself, but again, my expectations are pretty low. As long as we keep Camp Crystal Lake one step ahead of Jerry Sandusky’s camp, it’ll be a great summer.

Sincerely yours,
Steve Christie
Executive Director, Camp Crystal Lake, a division of Halliburton

Stocking Full of Shit: A Christmas Rap Round-Up  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas is a douchebag. Its trappings are so gaudy that even St. Patrick’s Day comes off as the quiet, classy drunk in the corner of the bar in comparison. By some miracle, it manages to be the most overly commercialized holiday, while simultaneously serving as the most incredibly sanctimonious. And to top things all off, there’s just something about Christmas that seems to bring out everyone’s inner retard. (Don’t believe me? Drive to the mall tomorrow at about noon.)

All of these special ingredients mix together to form one of the most noxious concoctions known to man: Christmas rap.

Nasty Boys – All I Want For Christmas is to Get Crunk
The only reason I know about this song is because it was available for free download on iTunes about five years ago but any song that samples Tchaikovsky over lines like “dashing through the snow in a stolen Chevrolet” is well worth that price. Apparently, the Nasty Boys didn’t make Santa’s nice list, because even though they said it’s all they wanted for Christmas, I’ve still never heard them on the radio. Of course, they also said that “all” they wanted for Christmas was to be Jay-Z, be exonerated for multiple felonies, to get a “ho ho ho,” a T-Mobile Sidekick (which now, five years and several iPhone models later, even failed rappers could probably afford), payment of back child support and of course, to get crunk. Perhaps Santa didn’t appreciate their apparent misunderstanding of the “all I want for Christmas” song. Traditionally, “all” you want for Christmas is something simple like “you” or “my two front teeth,” but this ostensibly short list of Christmas wishes turns into the Spanish Inquisition.

J. Randall – Santa Gimme
So did you ever wonder what happened to Henry Rowengartner after guiding the Cubs to the World Series, and presumably being named the National League Rookie of the Year for 1993? Well, he’s been lying low for a while, and is finally launching his rap career under the name J Randall. And what better way to launch it than with a Christmas song? You see, around 400 B.C.E., ancient Sumerian rappers discovered the “my name is X and I’m here to say” cadence, and shortly thereafter discovered that Santa Claus’ association with the word “ho” offered the clever wordsmith an opportunity to discuss women of ill repute on Clear Channel radio stations. But for the subsequent two millennia, this bon mot was relegated to only single verses, a shame since such cutting wit really deserves an entire song. In all seriousness, though, for all that this video makes me think the Atlanta Hawks must have traded Kirk Heinrich to Def Jam Records (and his corporate sponsor is Bod), if all Christmas music were like this, I probably wouldn’t dread December anymore. I still wouldn’t like it, but you know, that’s something.

Ying Yang Twins – Carol of Da Bellz
Have you listened to the whole song? Really? Not just had it on while you were doing other stuff, but actually paid attention to what the Ying Yang Twins were saying? If you did, you’re ahead of me. I made it through exactly 1:24, less than half of the song. What you need to realize, though, is that there is a whole EP like this. The Ying Yang Twins recorded a Christmas album. Having listened to parts of several of the songs off the album, I can imagine only one scenario as to how such a thing came to be: Tired of hearing that the crunk rap that they (along with Lil Jon) are largely credited (blamed) with innovating is awful and uncreative, the Twins set out to defend their genre by showing that even if crunk music is just an uninspired collection of obnoxious noises repeated in a 3-5 minute loop, so is most Christmas music.

Busta Rhymes ft. Jim Carrey – Grinch
I once read a pretty convincing argument once that Dr. Seuss was the world’s greatest rapper. So a Christmas rap about one of Dr. Seuss’ most beloved characters is bound to be a hit right? Maybe, but this song is pretty determined to prove that theory wrong. First off, it’s a rap song written for a movie soundtrack. Strike one. Second of all, no good rap song has ever been written using the “rapper meets movie character” premise. The soundtracks of the 1990s stand as a hilarious monument to those many souls who tried and failed. Also, consider the following: the song is based on a shitty movie; it contains a children’s choir; you can’t understand most of the words; and of course, it is credited as “featuring” Jim Carrey, who unfortunately does sing-talk through most of the song. Oh, and did I mention that Busta Rhymes is a fucking human abortion? Seriously, of all the vile trends that came out of the 2000s – openly celebrating ignorance, teen girls having anal sex to preserve their virginities, voting for George W. Bush – not one of them can hold a fetid, shit-smeared candle up to Busta fuckin’ Rhymes. Listening to Busta Rhymes is like a napalm enema. Did you notice all of the noise that sounds like someone shouting and/or laughing during the chorus? Well now that you know it’s a Busta Rhymes song, you can easily identify the sound’s source: That’s the sound of Busta’s metaphorical dick ripping apart the metaphorical vagina of your childhood, then digging up the corpse of Boris Karloff, and going balls deep in his very real, very dead asshole.

Easy-E – Merry Muthafuckin Xmas
And there were in the same country, drivers in their cars, avoiding the all-Christmas music radio stations. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and hit seek on their radio, and they were terrified. And the angel said unto them: Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you, is born this day in the city of Compton, a Savior, which is Easy Motherfucking E. And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find his Christmas song on YouTube, because there’s no fucking way they could play this on the radio. And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying “Merry muthafuckin Xmas.”

Roger Klotz: American Badass  

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The best part of any kid's show is that joke that you don't really get until you're too old to be legitimately watching the show. It's like an unspoken social contract between you and the writers: I won't tell anyone that incredibly dirty joke into the after-school animation bloc if you don't tell anyone that I was watching it.

There are some real classics, and then there is the dirtiest thing ever spoken on television, compliments of Doug:

Two lessons, kids: 1) Roger Klotz doesn't fuck around with his insults. 2) Don't fucking call yourself Skeeter.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I've spent a lot of money in my life. I probably own a conservative down payment on a house in suits. My book budget over the last five years blows away that of small town libraries. If I had all of that -- plus the money I've spent on awful movies -- back, I'd invest it like this, and on August 3, when the rest of the country is still Googling the word "default," I'd be retiring.

Suffice it to say that won't be happening. But while I will be suffering through the same apocalyptic double-dip recession as the rest of you, I will be doing it with somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000 worth of albums and memorabilia related to 1970s progressive rock band Yes. That would be one of every album on CD (two of some), all of the good albums on vinyl (and some of the less-than-good ones too). I've been to a couple of their concerts, have a t-shirt or two, and own a nifty foamcore poster autographed all of the members of the band's second best lineup.

Like I said, I've spent a lot of money in my life. And yet, the purchase I regret the most -- without question -- is the $20 I spent on the new Yes album, "Fly From Here." I once bought a 2000-model MP3 player that connected to your computer via parallel port, and even though it turned out to be too old to interface with my Windows Millennium Edition, it now looks like a savvy purchase in a post-"Fly From Here" world.

On the surface, buying this album is a no brainer. The Roger Dean album art is back. Win. The album is supposed to mark a return to the large-scale epics that defined the band's best years in the early 1970s. Major win. And the title of the album's signature song, "We Can Fly From Here," is so perfectly Yes; it's the perfect set up for the band that gave us "Tales from Topographic Oceans," "Keys to Ascension" and "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" to once again mix their stream of consciousness imagery with musical virtuosity.

Looks can be deceiving. It was disappointing to hear that classically-tinged rock keyboard player Rick Wakeman wouldn't be involved, but that's not the end of the world; Wakeman's son Oliver would be filling in. I'd love Rick Wakeman, but I'm willing to take a flyer on the guy who it would appear has spent his entire life trying to be him. Oh wait, Oliver quit too? That's not good. Still, it's a Yes album; I own them all. I may as well give it a shot. Besides, the core of the band -- bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White and iconic lead singer Jon Anderson -- have produced good music even without Wakeman.

What? You've got to be shitting me; they kicked Jon Anderson out of the band? How the fuck does that even work? How do you have Yes without the keyboard player and lead singer? Well, on the plus side, at least it means the band is done. There's no way in hell they could record an album without a singer. Oh, I see; you bring in the guys from The Buggles. But who's going to sing? What are you going to do, hire a singer from a tribute band like that stupid Marky Mark movie? No fucking way!?! Benoit David?

This all played out over the course of two years, leading up to today, when I pushed aside a physical sense of dread, and purchased "Fly From Here." It's just shameful. Instead of the classical-progressive rock fusion that coined the term "Bach 'n' Roll," "Fly From Here" offers really long, really boring pop songs. And the title track, for all its promise of a song invoking the image of flight as a spiritual and emotional metaphor, turns out to literally be a song about a fucking airport.

A bonus "Making Of" DVD only makes this $20 investment worse, because it only means there's more of it.

So CD in hand, I wandered through the mall, identifying the following items that I would feel better about buying:

Duke University Championship Banner -- $49.95

Waterford Crystal Ashtray -- $179.99

Cleveland Browns Window Cling -- $4.99

No fucking clue -- "Uhhh, Make me an offer..."

Really gay shirt* -- $79.95
*Indicates items I may have purchased.

Justin Beiber Cardboard Stand-Up -- $34.99

Ed Hardy Cologne Set -- $75.00

105 Minutes of Forcible Sodomy -- $3.99

Pewter Statue of a Demon Playing a Saxophone Solo -- $150

Yes, yes, yes, long exaggerated list of ridiculous crap (and one awesome shirt) that I'd rather own than "Fly From Here." Funny. Unfortunately, if you've read this far, you probably just want to hear it more. Fucking don't.

Deep Thought  

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Mix Han Solo and Sam Malone: Baloo from "TaleSpin."

A cocky, for-hire pilot having adventures while growing to have a filial relationship with a teenage orphan. That covers about half of your average "TaleSpin" episode. The other half is about his antagonistic/flirtatious relationship with the shrewd businesswoman who bought out his business and installed herself as his boss, straight out of the Ted Danson/Kirstie Alley years of "Cheers."

George Lucas is a Genius  

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ever since The Phantom Menace, people have been complaining about how George Lucas ruined the Star Wars series through a series of stupid plot points and plodding movies. After all, he took two of the most badass, fan-beloved characters in the series...

...and turned them into annoying, whiny bitches:

Not only that, but it introduced annoying characters like Jar-Jar Binks and then proceeded to make them central to the mythos (go ahead, try to forget about him. Try to explain the backstory of the Empire, the driving force behind the trilogy that you actually like, without noting that Jar-Jar Binks cast the deciding vote to making Palpatine Emperor). It's really almost surprising that we weren't treated to a shot of young Han and Lando whining at each other over a game of space-marbles or something.

But while watching bits of Attack of the Clones on Spike today, I think Jon and I stumbled onto the truth. This wasn't George Lucas being some dumbass hack who can't write dialogue or a coherent plot, who thinks that political discussion between two unlikable one-dimensional characters belongs in the middle of the second film of a trilogy.

No, this was George Lucas, the genius who has had to deal with legions of Star Wars fans for the last thirty years. George Lucas, the man who couldn't escape from under the shadow of this fucking trilogy if he tried--and if he did, he'd still end up under the shadow of the Indiana Jones films.

So this is George Lucas's letter to the fans: Hey, you know those badass characters? Those mysterious and awesome people that you've been pestering me about for decades? Well, it turns out that they're whiny fucking bitches...Just. Like. You.

And man, after falling right out of Star Wars fandom, I can totally sympathize with that. Lucas knows that his fans want to identify with the characters, and so he's thrown them the biggest bone ever: now you can identify directly with Boba Fett and Darth Vader--the fans' favorite characters!--who have become whiny, obnoxious little shits that ruin the whole goddamn experience. It''s kind of brilliant in its spitefulness.

So good on you, George.

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