Monday, July 31, 2006

Music, Money and Misery in Massachusetts (Part 1)

Was everyone else aware that Boston was such a beautiful city? I'd always just assumed that it was a dirty, working-class town that occasionally sprouted 80's boy bands and genius janitors who like to "fuck up some smaht kids." I was expecting tough Irish gangsters and flagrant, raging Red Sox pride; dive bars and Big Dig disaster areas.

Turns out, couldn't be farther from the truth, except, of course, for the Red Sox part; they are the other major religion in Boston besides Catholicism and the Catholics are quickly losing ground because Jesus can't hit a home run like David Ortiz.

Anyway... oh, before I go on and on about the city, first, the Greyhound Bus experience. In a word: Don't. To elaborate, Greyhound Buses are designed for maximum discomfort and are traveled almost exclusively by the sorts of people you find in Wal-Mart at one o'clock in the morning. Compounding our misery, the bus driver (large, surly and indifferent to sorrow) put a DVD on the bus's TV system first thing and proceeded to let the menu page of Roll Bounce play on a loop, with it's ultra-peppy funk music, for about 45 minutes until he finally decided it wasn't working, pulled over and stopped the agony. Seriously, try to imagine watching the menu screen of a DVD, any DVD, for almost an hour at 7am. It's a very specific kind of torture and it nearly caused an in-bus riot. Once that had passed, the driver downgraded the abuse to merely playing rap music on the radio and occasionally taking lengthy personal calls on his cell phone. I'm sure he was also watching the road... I think.

So. Boston. Once we were released from our rolling prison (despite all the unpleasantness, it was a fairly brisk three and a half hour drive) we begin walking around the city, as we had a good six hours to kill before we left for the concert.

As I said, Boston is incredibly beautiful; surprisingly so. The first area we hit was the storied Boston Common which is a lush, green park area steeped in historical context and dotted with attractive fountains, ponds, floral landscapes and a few homeless people begging for change to remind you that you're actually in a city and not in Xanadu. We wandered around the Common for quite awhile, taking in the sights which included, but were not limited to: a man in full Revolutionary war garb (including snazzy tri-cornered hat) charmingly doling out some choice historical info, a 19th century-era cemetery that was incredibly creepy despite the fact that it was in the middle of a park on a sunny day, and a friendly squirrel who ate bread right from my girlfriend's hand, which thrilled her to no end though I was afraid it was going to attack us in a rabid frenzy and the day would pretty much devolve into blood-soaked hospital visits and regret. But that's me.

We moved on from there to the wharf area (one of Boston's many). As it was a nice day, the water was filled with boats; from massive, ostentatious ones that were clearly the result of many, many successful coke deals all the way down to humble, all-wood skiffs that were probably used to catch a few fish for a poor man's fancy dinner. There was a lot of character there and it was greatly marred by the fancy condos and hotels that seem to be recent additions to the area. They did not, however, spoil the view of the harbor and the ocean beyond. I'm a sucker for the seascapes and Boston did not disappoint. While there, we ate at the original Dick's Crab Shack, which, while a bit of a silly place (they can, at any time, force you to wear elaborate paper hats) has delicious seafood and amusingly curt waiters who throw straws and napkins at you; their schtick, I guess.

In short, with the Commons and the wharf, we were having a great time. Good company, good food, pleasant day and exciting, interesting surroundings. Things were going great.

Of course, that can only mean that things were about to go completely to hell...

Part 2, Coming Soon

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Going to Boston

Site's going to be dark for little bit; going up to Boston for a concert and some lobster rolls. Might steal a Red Sox player, just for funsies.

See y'all on Sunday!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Ant Fights Human (and Sucks!)

Morning, all.

Because selling your soul to the corporate monolith has it's advantages, I'm off of work today. So while I pad around the apartment in my underwear, half-heartedly eating cereal straight from the box, yawning and scratching as I start a slow slide into a weekend full of decadence so frighteningly tawdry it'd make F. Scott and Zelda look like the Donna Reed family, you should read this:

It's my latest review; this time, I take on Ant Bully... and win!

More later, m'sure.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Banner Excitement!!!

I trust you've all sufficiently marveled at my new fancy-pants banner design...

Please don't think that I had anything to do with it whatsoever; my computer skills are about on par with most woodland creatures and that crazy homeless guy who plays the harmonica on the subway and dribbles when he talks. Trying to create something like that would have left me weeping into my box of Cheez-Its and wishing I'd paid more attention the last time I watched Hackers.

In truth, it was designed by a lovely young man in Austin, TX who goes by the name ApeChest (or, occasionally, David) and he is truly a prince. If you happen to be in Vulcan Video, give him a warm, tender hug for me and remember to let it go on just a little too long so he's really uncomfortable.

Oh, but seriously... Thank You, ApeChest!!!

The Weekly Awesome! #9

100th Post Notes

Looks like this is my 100th post, kids. Who knew. They grow up so damn fast these days. Honestly, I was a little suprised because it doesn't feel like I've been doing this for that long, though I guess the fact that I'm stuck at a desk 8 hours a day in front of a computer probably has something to do with it. Also, I'm so needy for attention that blogging, for me, is just a way to prevent my standing on the roof and screaming "Look at me, look at meeeee!!!!" while I fire flare guns in the air. Again.

Anyway, to celebrate, here's some video of me* throwing down some mad breakdancing moves:

*that's not actually me. But I could do that if I wanted to. I just don't want to.

Songs of our Week

1. “Lost in the Supermarket” by The Clash

The Clash is one of those bands that’s become so culturally omnipresent, people tend to forget how good they actually were. They usually forget this right around the time they hear “Should I Stay or Should I Go” for the gazillionth time in movie trailers for supposedly wacky comedies (I’m looking at you, You, Me and Dupree). The problem is that the singles they put out, your “Rock the Cashbahs” and “Train in Vains,” were all so catchy, they got played to death. Thus, they’ve slipped a bit in the general public’s esteem. Shame… if you get away from the singles, you’ll be richly rewarded with some tight, punchy songs that serve as a great “Oh yeah” as to why The Clash are famous in the first place. This song is one of their greatest unheralded numbers. P.S: Ben Folds just did a cover of this and, like everything he’s putting out these days, it sucks. Avoid it.

2. “Bigmouth Strikes Again” by The Smiths

Your opinion on The Smiths is going to be directly tied to your feelings about Morrissey; when it comes to artists that are either love’em-or-hate’em, he’s pretty much the Mayor of that town. He’s vocal stylings are, depending on which side of the line you’ve set up camp, deeply emotional or deeply whiny and there’s no getting around that. Anyway, if you’re into The Smiths, then you already know this song, but if you’re a bit on the fence, this is a great place to start. It manages to typify what they’re all about without being too mopey or grating.

3. “Thirsty and Miserable” by Black Flag

Actually, anything off of the Damaged album is worth a listen. This is the kind of music that makes you want to get a bunch of tattoos, call a cop a motherfucker to his face and drink a lot of cheap beer until you hurl behind a scuzzy bar in the Bowery. It’s also the kind of music that gets you funny looks from the suits when you play it at your cubicle on your lunch break. As I just found out.

4. “Necromancing” by Gnarls Barkley

I really wanted to hate these guys, not because I dislike their respective musical styles, but because they did some promo photos for their album dressed up like the two main guys from the movie Napoleon Dynamite, otherwise known as the biggest con ever to be foisted upon humanity. However, though I’ll never understand why anyone would want to willingly associate themselves with that piece of crap, I have to admit that the actual music they’ve put out is top fucking notch. “Gone Daddy Gone” and “Crazy” are the big hits from the current album (St. Elsewhere), but try this dark, creepy tune on for size too.

5. “Pure” by The Lightning Seeds

These guys got a little lost in the cacophony of grunge in the early 90’s, and that’s damn near a felony. They’re a sunny little pop outfit, like if Echo and the Bunnymen were given anti-depressants. They tend to sing about simple stuff like love and hopes and dreams and all that crap, but with melodies so catchy you’ll still be singing them in the afterlife, pissing off the angels or the demons, depending on how nice you are to old ladies or whatever the criteria is these days for eternal happiness/damnation. Anyway, this song, “Pure,” was their biggest hit, which isn’t saying much.

Crazy Train

The Weekly Awesome! will be up later today, so put the gun down, but first, this:

Proof Positive That New York Has Made Me All Dead Inside

My subway stop was closed this morning and there were a bunch of police vehicles, ambulances and reporters all over the place. People were cramming themselves into shuttle busses, there were panicked conversations on cellphones and a general sense of chaos permiated the air. I asked a guy holding a fancy-looking camera what was going on and he informed me that someone had fallen onto the tracks and been run over by the oncoming train. A horrible tragedy. It happens a few times a year here in NYC, but it's still always a bit rattling; especially when it happens at your subway stop. However, despite the panic and the emotions and the queasy empathy that I should have by all rights felt, my first thought was this...

"Fuck... now I'm going to be late."

So I'm a terrible person, turns out. How was your morning?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Want a Cat In Your Mouth?

Feeling better, thanks.

Spent the majority of yesterday doing very little other than praying for, if not death, then at least someone with a large wooden mallet to come along and whack me a few times; give me something to think about besides my stomach doing it's imitation of a mosh pit. Anyway, that's all in the past now; I'm currently tap dancing, so good do I feel.

Anyway... So, here's a disturbing picture:

Yep... that's a Hello Kitty face and it's where some dude's molar should be. Is it real? Is it photoshopped? Dunno. But one thing's for certain: He's going to have the most adorable gingivitus on the planet.

Speaking of Hello Kitty...

(begin tangent)

...have you guys had the gum that they sell at the Sanrio store? I don't know if it's actually possible for gum to be "off da chain," but were it so, this would most definantly fall into that category. It's soft and crumbly, like Play-Doh that needs to assert it's self, and sweet enough to make your eye twitch for a good 45 minutes if you eat a whole package. Because it's Japanese, it's got some weird flavors (Melon... ew) but if you stick with the Blueberry or Raspberry, you'll be treated to a gum experience that could only be rivaled by gum that gave you a crisp 20$ bill when chewed. Just make sure you pay for it. The Sanrio store is notorious, or at least it is where I'm from, for prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law people who'd dare to shoplift even 50 cents worth of their pink-slathered, cute-animal-adorned merchandise. Maybe Sanrio is just hardcore in Texas, but I don't think so. They're straight up bastards. Great gum, though.

(end tangent)

Anyway, must go about the business of scratching myself and working up the motivation to get dressed and go to work. As I stayed home yesterday, the amount of emails that will be waiting, moistly and with bad intentions, at my office will be staggering. Not to mention the phone calls that must be returned.

So not going to be a fun day. Rather be barfing.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sick Bastard

Woke up feeling like hot death, so I think I'm going to take a pass on Tuesday. My goals for today are to lay in bed, engage in some theraputic low moaning, and make a concerted effort to not puke on the cat. Will I achieve my goals?


Dunno. But sitting up right now is making me nauseous, so I'd better bail. As I lay dying, you really should read this:

It'll take your Rock-Scissors-Paper game to the next level and you'll be the envy of everyone on the planet. Your prefered gender will be absolutely all over you. It's true and can be proved by science.

Be back soon and in healthier spirits, hopefully. Bleh.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Pretty Girl Showdown

Two giant cups of coffee, three Red Bulls, and numerous sugary candies later... I now feel that I'm sufficiently pepped enough to talk about last nights cultural hot mess du jour, the Miss Universe pageant.

Now, for the record, I didn't watch the whole thing. If we're being entirely honest, I didn't even watch the majority of it's broadcast or, really, even know that it was on at all. My girlfriend happened to stumble upon the last half hour during a moment of channel surfing and we watched more out of a lack of options than any real, burning interest in who among the women of the Universe is prettiest.

Regardless, my general impressions of the final five, in order from first loser to first place:

Miss USA

Eh. She was Southern and, predictably, gave we Southerners a bad name. Big hair, overly tan, dumb as a rock... she actually made a comment about "wearing her heart on her shoulder" during the question and answer period. I assume that she meant "sleeve," but... Jesus Christ, USA, at least learn your trite expressions correctly before you get on national TV. Only adding to her unpleasantness was her dress; even though it was brown, it looked normal, even pretty, all the way down to her knees. Once there, it exploded into a giant ruffley poof that gave the impression that she'd been hammered into a giant meatball.

Miss Paraguay

She was very pretty; a less threatening Catherine Zeta-Jones. Otherwise, she failed to leave any sort of impression one way or the other. I remember her dress was green and I remember at once point, she said something. That's about it.

Miss Switzerland

The winner of the Most Resembling a Barbie Doll award. Not bad looking (if a bit plastic), save for a giant, throbbing forehead vein. You could actually take her pulse just by watching her interview. Fairly unflattering pink dress, big blonde hair, cute accent... Not bad, overall, but pretty standard pageant fare.

Miss Japan

Should have won. Totally gorgeous, neat black lacy dress, smart answers... the total package. Apparently she speaks like 9 languages or something. Did I mention she was way hot? Anyway, she was my fave, but in the judges eyes, she was no match for Miss Bootylicious...

Miss Puerto Rico

To be fair, she was quite stunning. My biggest problem was that you could make out the exact definition of her skull just by looking at her head. Beauty queens shouldn't resemble Ghost Rider in any way shape or form, but that's just my opinion. I do think it's worth mentioning that, of all the five, she was showing the most boobage. Hmmm... wonder if that had anything to do with her wearing the crown this morning?

Anyway, it was interesting, I guess. If you're into vaguely automaton women in expensive evening wear. And who isn't? Note: If I made any mistakes in dress color, nationalities, or anything else, remember... I don't care.

Shopping Cart Spanking

So... tired... please... kill me...

Woke up at 4am and spent the better part of the wee hours watching VH1 and MTV, a lesson which I apparently will never learn. Suffice to say, it was pretty much wall-to-wall crap, the only bright spot being Shakira, who is ridiculously hot and is sending me morse code love notes with the shaking of her booty. There were a couple of other things that weren't terrible, but most everything else was either mumbled rap or the kind of music 13 year olds find edgy, neither of which are my particular cup of sonic tea.

Anyway, all of this is to say that I am currently functioning on a level comparable to the zombies who headed for the mall in Dawn of the Dead. So, while I drink enough coffee to trick my brain into thinking I'm alive, here's a clip of a guy getting hit in the ass with a shopping cart:

That's entertainment. Or somesuch.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday At Shea

Mets game this afternoon with Em, as is our wont. They played, poorly, the Houston Astros. It was a mildy disappointing experiance, though it's generally good to be out in the world on a pleasent day and, specifically, it was good to be at Shea Stadium with Emily. Herewith...

Thoughts On A Day Game:

- Sweet jesus, the weather. With the heatwave that's been as of late treating us like a rented bitch, I'd forgotten what a nice day in New York felt like. Cloudy, yes, but the temperature hovered around the Southern California ideal of 75 degrees with a cool breeze and it felt like Springtime in a magical land where it never gets so hot that you have to sleep in a pool of your own sweat and take showers cold enough to send your body into hypothermic shock to avoid dropping dead of heat stroke.

-Nathan's hotdogs. If you killed a man in cold blood in front of a bunch of priests and a whole phalanx of security cameras, you can get off with a 50$ fine if you can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that, just prior to you beating the victim into a bloody mush with your bare fists, he'd stolen your Nathan's hotdogs. It's true, look it up. It's the law.

- The Mets are a great team, currently 13 games ahead of the pack in the NL East, and today they played like the Bad News Bears. I should say, the Bad News Bears at the begining of the movie, not the post-montage, we've-got-a-surly-coach-with-a-heart-of-gold, suddenly-we're-inexplicably-talented Bad News Bears. Though they jumped out to an early lead with a two run homer courtesy of Carlos Delgado, they quickly started sucking with an intensity so powerful, a few fans in the field boxes were ripped from their seats and flung over the outfield wall. We're talking a marked lack of hustle, a propensity for missing catches my grandmother could make even without her walker, and a distinct absence of effort. Carlos Beltran, he of the multi-million dollar contract and pouty lips, seemed to be okay with strolling all casual-like towards incoming fly balls; sure he missed a few, but he never broke a sweat. He must have had fancy dinner plans and he didn't want to arrive mussed and smelly. Well done, sir.

-The one player who bothered to show up, right fielder Xavier Nady, absolutely worked his ass off. Everything that the rest of the team wasn't, he was. My girlfriend is threatening to leave me for him and I'm okay with that because, it's true, the man is a stud.

-Even if the team sucks, even if the weather had been bad and we'd had a fat, sweaty guy shouting racist epitatphs and vomiting pure Everclear sitting behind us. Even if, god help us, we'd been watching the Pittsburg Pirates play the Chicago Cubs in a battle of who can be the most futile, it'd still be a pretty okay time. Ballparks posses a strange magic. Just being there makes me happy, even if I'm seeing a bunch of overpaid jocks half-ass it.

-Also, like I said. Nathan's hotdogs.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Censorship is Alive and Well

I was all set to review Miami Vice on Monday, looking forward to it even, as I'm a fan of director Michael Mann's previous efforts and, hey, who can resist the charm of rolled-up sleeves on a pastel sports coat? Unfortunately, the screening has been taken away from me; my privileges have been revoked.

Why? Did I make specific threats against Jamie Foxx's person because I didn't like his R&B album? Did I go to the press and tell them I was going to pan the movie no matter what, due to my burning, Hinkley-esque desire to impress Colin Farrell?

No. Hollywood studios wouldn't blink an eye at those things; probably give me the royal treatment for doing them because, as they say, any publicity is good publicity.

The truth of the matter is this: My colleague at the magazine reviewed the unimaginable horror that is You, Me and Dupree last week and, because Brian is a rational man with a good soul and a pure heart, he basically told the movie, Owen Wilson, and everyone involved all the way down to the caterers to go fuck themselves. Apparently, disliking a shitty film such as this will bring down the hateful wrath of Universal Studios onto the heads of a scrappy independently run movie magazine such as Freeze Dried Movies; suddenly, the Miami Vice screening is overbooked. Sorry kids, no room for your cute litte "website," or whatever it is. Please let the door hit you in ass on the way out because that's what you get for bad-mouthing You, Me and Motherfucking Dupree, motherfucker!!!

We film critics... no, scratch that... we "unimportant" film critics are no longer able to give bad reviews. The fact that, when I see a film and don't like it, I actually have to consider watching my mouth in fear that I might not have work farther down the road is insulting, unfair and the worst, sneakiest kind of censorship. And I wish that I could say this was an isolated incident. A few months ago, another studio had my review for An American Haunting pulled from the website because it was negative, though their reason was that I hadn't seen a completed print of the film; that since then, a whole minute and a half of footage had been removed. Oooookay. Believe me when I say that there was a lot more than a minute and a half of crap in that movie.

Anyway, I suppose this is a lot like throwing rocks at a tank. They're not going to change their tactics and I'm going to continue getting banned from screenings because I refuse, as does my fellow writer Brian, to alter our opinions in any way. If the tank runs over us now and again, I guess that's just Hollywood, friend, and don't you forget it.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Lady, Water, Etc.

A few posts ago, I attempted to guess what my thoughts would be about a few movies I was set to review, one of them being Lady in the Water. Essentially, I said it was going to be stupid and that M. Night Shyamalan had officially disappeared up his own ass, never to be seen again. And, in fact, when I went to actually see the movie, I sat down with my arms crossed and an expression of, "Okay, let's get this over with" plastered firmly across my smug face.

Turns out... I couldn't have been more wrong. I'm officially classifying Lady in the Water as "certaintly flawed, but ultimately good."

Read my review for the whole skinny:

Got some reviews of Ant Bully, Miami Vice and a bleak, depressing French thriller coming up soon, so stay tuned for more exciting opinions and dime-store analysis!!!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Weekly Awesome! #8

Trailer Notes

Mad genius Micheal Gondry, he of The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, has finally got a new movie coming out and it looks typically trippy with the visuals and heart-tugging with the love story. The overwhelming fwainchness of the movie (Gondry's a Frenchman, dontcha know) may turn some people off, but that'd be their loss. We know this movie's going to rock the free world:

Love all the stop-motion work. Love the giant, rideable stuffed-animal. Good stuff. Weird... but good.

Songs of our Week

1. "Stupid Memory" by Sondre Lerche

If you're feeling a bit over Ben Folds... and after the queasy, sold-out-to-the-man tunes he recorded for the soundtrack to the kid's movie Over The Hedge, you have every right to be... I suggest a brisk trip to Norway for your indie flavored, male singer/songwriter needs. Sondre Lerche is the halfway point between Rufus Wainwright and Jason Mraz, taking the near-theatrical songcraft of the former and the pop accessibility of the later, while crisply sidestepping their mawkishness and self-conscious hipster pandering, respectively. This song in particular, a bouncy little number about one's own memory conspiring against them by bringing up an old flame, efficiently displays what the man's all about; unfussy (even clever) lyrics, tight musicianship and catchy hooks. So basically Ben Folds ten years ago.

2. "One Man Guy" by Rufus Wainwright

Lest you think I'm hating on Rufus with the above comments... Not for everyone, him, but surely for those who like some Broadway sensebilities with their piano-based pop ballads. If you're looking for a good starting point to his ouevre, skip the heavily-lauded "Want One" and "Want Two" albums and start with his sophmore effort, "Poses." It's overtly confessional songs of love, loss and being "drunk and wearing flip-flops on 5th Avenue" will resonate with everyone in one way or another. This song, about Wainwright's insistance that his lover is his only only, regardless of his departure, is particularly heartbreaking.

3. "Valley Winter Song" by Fountains of Wayne

The worst thing that ever happened to this affable Jersey band was having a huge hit with the radio-friendly, "Stacey's Mom." Good song, if ridiculously overplayed, but not the best representation of what the band's all about. Capable of surprising depth while wallowing in their own particular brand of nostaligia-rock, a lot of their songs will find instant places on the soundtrack of your life if given the chance. "Valley Winter Song," besides being the best Simon & Garfunkle song they never wrote, captures the snowy East Coast in a way that makes you want to buy a quaint house in New England and live there forever.

4. "Punks in the Beerlight" by Silver Jews

A favorite of record store clerks everywhere, Silver Jews (really just one guy, Dan Berman) has a way of writing about drugs, drinking, pain and loss that make them sound like a heroic rite of passage rather than anything remotely unpleasent. His early stuff can be a bit hard to wade through due to lousy recording conditions and Berman's own voice, which isn't the most ear-pleasing one out there, but anything off of his recent studio album "Tanglewood Numbers" is worth seeking out. This song is easily his most accessible and it makes the shitty punk clubs in the East Village seem like the perfect spot to have your honeymoon.

5. "Mexico" by Cake

College radio staples (meaning they're weird enough to feel like you're branching out, without being weird enough to actually qualify as branching out), these guy's have put out consistantly solid albums for much of the last two decades, despite the fact that all their songs sound somewhat the same. John McCrea's distinctive voice has the intractible range of a bullet fired point blank into a wall, so I wouldn't recommend listening to them in large chunks, but a song or two thrown on a mix CD is always welcome. This song, about some south of the border lovin', is one of their best. Side note: I've taken in a lot of concerts in my day and Cake's November show in NYC last year rates as one of the top 5 worst I've ever seen. Late to the stage, McCrea drunk, between song ramblings, lazy and uninterested musicianship... an altogether unpleasent experiance that serves as a lesson learned about sticking soley to their studio output.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Space Invaders: All Human Edition

This is pretty amazing:

I'm someone who's generally hard-pressed to muster up the motivation required to check the mail on a daily basis, much less anything that would require the amount of patience and planning as recreating Space Invaders in an auditorium with college students would, so this kind of thing absolutely knocks me on my ass.

Good show, kids with too much time on your hands!

Let's Get Critical

When you review movies on a part-time basis, and you're not represented by an outfit such as the Online Film Critics Society (yes, it's a real thing), work tends to be pretty slim pickin's during the summer months. The studios are all trying to make the bulk of their yearly earnings right now and they certaintly don't want some internet punk messing up their cash flow by bad-mouthing their product on these new-fangled "chat rooms" and "bulletin boards," ergo, we in the online press tend to get the royal shaft. Suddenly, press screenings are Print Media only, which is the studio's condescending way of saying, "Only the real media is allowed; please go play Pong or download porn or whatever it is you kids do with your long hair and your rock n' roll." Anyway, point is, it sucks ass being an unrepresented, online film critic in the summer because you never have any idea when you're going to get to do the thing you genuinely enjoy doing and you start to think that maybe you should just give up and resign yourself to working in an office for the rest of your life, every now and again kicking your dream hard in the ribs to make sure it's truly dead.

Then a week comes a long like this one and you think, "Oh, okay, mabye it's not all that bad." I'm reviewing, all of a sudden, three movies in the next week for the various magazines that I work for, and while I don't exactly feel like doing a celebratory tap dance, I'm certaintly a bit more optomistic on the whole "resigning myself to defeat" thing.

So, just for funsies, I thought I'd do a bit of pre-reviewing... take a look at the movies I'm about to watch and try to divine what my own opinion on them will be when I actually do see them. Is it dangerous to play around with preconceived notions like this, especially when you're all but required to go into each and every movie with an open mind? Sure, but... eh... I'm a rebel. Or something.

Anyhoo, here we go:

Lady in the Water - I've got a bad feeling about this one. M Night Shyamalan's movies are the very definition of a mixed-bag. He's made every thing from an elegent, scary, suprisingly moving horror film (The Sixth Sense) to one of the worst, contempt-for-the-audiance-having, witless psuedo-thrillers in recent memory (that'd be The Village) and, from the looks of it, I'd say Lady in the Water is probably going to favor the latter pretty hard. He seems to be working the "it's a bedtime story, a fable, a fairy tale, oooh!!!" angle pretty hard, which, to me, is a lot like saying, "be prepared to suspend disbelief like a motherfucker, folks." His stuff can be pretty hard to swallow anyway (see: the ending of Signs), and if we've got a whole movie of forced coincidences and specious logic to look forward to... well, it's going to be a looong night at the movies.

The Ant Bully - Eh. I'm kinda over animation, or at least current, computer-driven, "Shit, let's just have some more talking animals," animation. The Incredibles was the only thing I've scene in the last five years or so that's really clicked for me, and that had more to do with the script being airtight than anything else. The Ant Bully, to me, looks like half of an effort, at the most. First, wasn't there already a movie about talking, animated ants (I believe it was called Ants or possibly Antz)? Second, from the trailer, the actual visuals look like something the Pixar B-team threw together on a few consecutive lunch breaks, just to keep their minds busy. And third... again, a resounding "eh."

Miami Vice - Despite all logic, I'm actually kind of interested in seeing this. Not because Colin Farrell is dreamy (though he is, grrrrowl!) and not because Ray Charles is in it, but because its director, Michael Mann, actually knows his way around an action movie (see: Heat). Given his uniquely gritty, all-digital visual style, it's at the very least going to be something a bit different. Unfortunantly, the advance screenings have been something south of positive, but from what I understand, there has been a bit of re-editing, re-shifting of scenes, and they took out all the song and dance numbers that really didn't fit with the whole "undercover drug running" story. I'm holding out a little bit of hope, still, but I've been hurt before.

So there ya go. I'll post the actual, informed reviews when they come out and we'll see how close my predictions were. Can't you feel the excitment? Movie magic, at it's finest.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hotter Than You

We (the Northeast) are currently getting our asses handed to us by a heatwave. It's particularly bad for those of us that live in Brooklyn, a city that shuns central air conditioning like it was an open-sore sexual encounter. I'd write about my own personal attempts to stay cool, but Three Toed-Sloth already did it, and did it better than I would have. Here, holla at this girl:

Besides, I would have just told you to take off your pants. And you would have, too. Because I'm so damn smooth.

Spreading The Internet Love

I had kind of assumed that the only people reading this site were a few of my friends, my parents and the occasional drunk interlopers who'd stumble through looking for zombie porn (I know who you are, you sick bastards). Turns out, though, that elaborate combo sky-writing campaign/leaflet-drop was money well spent... I've had a fairly healthy amount of visitors lately, some of whom have even been nice enough to give me a "shout out" on their own respective websites, blogs and streetcorners where they preach about the end times.

The good folks at:

...get the lion's share of kudos these days, as they prominently featured Zombie Fights Shark! on their apparently quite-well-trafficked blog yesterday, and I've been reaping the rewards of their readership with a lovely amount of hits. Not to mention the fact that they've had the decency not to post those nude photos of me until we've come to a sufficient agreement over the price. Thanks, boys! Oh, Elephant Larry, by the by, is a sketch comedy troupe here in the Brooklyn/Manhattan area and, if their website is any indication, they are funnier than your mom's face (oooh, snap!).

I was brought into the fold, as it were, by one of their members... Jeff Solomon, by name... who, besides being a sketch comedian and a guy who sent me an email, is a rather talented musician. His own website (which is damn snazzy looking) is this:

...If you've been reading Zombie Fights Shark! for a while, you'll know exactly what kind of horrible music snob I am, so you know that I mean it when I say that this guy's got the goods, musically-speaking. We're talking piano-and-ukulele based pop songs here, folks, and if you're not into that than you can start slapping yourself about the face and neck until I can get over to your place and finish the job myself. Give him a listen, tell him I said, "What's up, yo!" and be on your best behavior... Remember who you are (stern-yet-paternal glance).

So, yes.... thanks guys, for the love, and may your blogs and websites be extra shiny on this miserably hot Tuesday.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Jesus Doesn't Like Your Swimsuit

You'd really think that a two-faced kitten would be, hands down, the most disturbing thing a person would see in a given day. Of course, that would be forgetting about the crazy Christians who are frightened of sex to the point that they design bathing suits that cover more than actual clothing and closely resemble that lead smock you wear during x-ray time at the dentists. See:

Ew, right? I mean, I totally get people not wanting have their respective T's and A's hanging out all over the beach and, frankly, there are a few people I've seen at Coney Island that could do with a few extra yards of fabric covering their frightening bulk, but... c'mon. Wear a t-shirt, put on a pair of old shorts... don't buy an outfit that was designed specifically to minimize any kind of fun and looks like a cult member's idea of a good time. It reminds me of, during my brief tenure as a football player, we played the wacky uber-Jesus school and they're cheerleaders were wearing skirts down to their ankles and thick sweaters to their wrists and necks. Our cheerleaders, wearing the normal fare, looked like the Pussycat Dolls by comparison.

The people that wear these sorts of things, or prefer their women to wear these sorts of things, are the kind of folks who don't own a TV because it's "devilish," go to church every night for fun, and try to hand me "some free reading material about Jesus" when I'm trying to read the sports page in the Subway.

The hell of it is, they're probably so much happier than I am. Meh. Lousy sense-of-purpose-having, perpetually-smiling, don't-care-that-they-don't-know-what-they're-missing Christians.

Their blissful lack of fun is making my abundence of fun less fun.

Awww, What a Cute... OH MY GOD!!!

Woah, woah, woah... it is way too early in the morning for something like this:

Apparently, this is a real thing; no fake computer trickery, no special latex molds, no nothing. Just pure, uncut genetic freakery. The creepiest part, besides it being a kitten with two faces, is that the mouths are, according to the video, mewling in unison!!! Um... I believe I speak for everyone when I say, "...the fuck?"

I'm pretty sure this is one of the signs that an Apocolypse is about to give humanity the flying off-the-ropes elbow.

Watch your backs, kiddos. And buy lots and lots of Meow Mix.

Friday, July 14, 2006

He's a Magic Man

Every once in a while, a trailer will come along that lights a bonfire under your ass... gives you that, "Holy shit, I have to see this movie right fucking now arrrrrggggghhh!!!" feeling that only the super-nerdy amongst us ever get.

Girls, boys, this is that trailer:

It's for the new movie The Prestige, which is directed by Christopher Nolan, he of Batman Begins and Memento fame. The dude knows his way around a weird story, for sure, and this one, about dueling magicians at the turn of the century, may well prove to be his greatest Wow.

Fair Warning: Despite the trailer's kickassedness, it it could reasonably be accused of giving too much of the story away. I mean, we don't fine out that Hugh Jackman's been dead the whole time or anything, but still. Just a heads up.

Is That a 1-Up in Your Pocket?

Okay, here's how we're going to make a few million dollars (Note: By "we" I mean "me and my girlfriend." You can go to hell.)

It's common knowledge that everyone likes strip clubs. Those that say they don't are either so deeply reppressed by religion that they're basically eunichs or they're just assuming you mean the "naked lady" kind of strip clubs, whereas they'd prefer the types that employ greasy Russian men with abs so hard, you could chop vegetables on them and legs so powerful and sinewy they're like bridge cables, all sweaty and thrus... hey, woah, sorry. Ha ha... heh... I am so hetro.

Boobies. See?

Anyway. Strip clubs... people of both sexes like them because everyone likes to see pretty people with their clothes off. Fact o' life. Now, the problem with strip clubs is that they are all, to varying degrees, disgusting. Sure, some gild their sleaze with lots of fancy lights, moderately tasty free snacks and make the occassional effort to sweep up now and again. But, by and large, most are like that place by the airport that's all-nude because the strippers can't afford their own outfits, it smells like Lysol and sorrow, and the only snacks are a bag of sunflower seeds that the bartender found in the parking lot.

There's just no appeal to that, naked though the girls or boys are. Where's the fun? Where's the enticement? And, more importantly, where's the 80's video game references?


That's right! We're going to open a strip club where all the strippers dress like 80's video game characters!!! Tell me that's a bad idea?

Princess Toadstool takes off that pink dress!
Link sheds his elvin duds and shows us the "real" Triforce!
Metroid was a girl, remember, and she's taking off more than the helmet to prove it!
Ninja Gaiden used to cling to walls and do backflips. Imagine that guy on a stripper pole!

And it's all going to be done to the soundtracks of your favorite video games. The Super Mario Bros theme will never be the same again!

All we have to do is plant this club in area with a high geek quotient; like off-campus at MIT or in Silicone Valley, and the nerds will be lining up like it was new Star Wars movie...

...Oh shit! Star Wars strippers! I gotta go write this down.

I am so going to be rich and shame my family.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Weekly Awesome! #7

Silly Music Notes

I'm not usually one for the comedic flavor of Jamie Kennedy; yes, he was good in the Scream movies but otherwise he's a bit like that kid who sat in the back of Math class and made fart noises with his armpit. So, me, in other words. Anyway, his stuff usually doesn't do it for me, however his new music video (he's a rapper now, apparently, albeit a jokey one) "Rollin' With Saget" is undeniably funny. Shot as a perfect mimic of shitty rap videos and all about, well, rollin' with Bob Saget (who also raps, quite well actually, in the video). It's a bit one-note, but it's a funny note, so worth a look:

And, yes, that really is George Lucas making a cameo. How they managed to get him in this thing is beyond me, but it adds a delicious undertone of What the Fuck to the proceedings, whatever the answer may be.

Songs of our Week

1. "Whiskey Lullaby" by Brad Paisley w/ Allison Krause

Yes, more country. Embrace it; pull it over you like an unabashedly emotional blanket and snuggle down. Actually, do that, but not with this song because if you get too cozy with "Whiskey Lullaby," you'll end up killing yourself. This is, hands down, no question, science can prove it, the most depressing song ever written. It's about two people who's relationship ends messily and, rather than seeking couples therapy or simply moving on with their lives by joining a singles group and taking Chinese cooking classes, they decide instead to drink themselves to death. It includes one of my favorite lyrics of all time... "He put the bottle to his head and pulled the trigger." Awesome. For reals, don't listen to this song while driving because you'll run your car off the road. And for fuck's sake don't listen to this song after a break-up... that's the dropped cigarette that ignites a forest fire and your friends will all abandon you because you won't stop sobbing.

2. "Blue Bayou" by Roy Orbison

When Stephen King picks a song to use as a touchstone in a book because of it's inherent creeptacular qualities, you know you're talking about a song that has terrifying and mysterious powers. Okay, maybe it's not going to throw open the doors between dimensions or summon the Cthulhu, but Orbison's haunted tenor and the vaguely ominous lyrics do inspire a tiny icicle of dread to slip down your back. So few songs are actually spooky; this is one of the best. Note: Avoid at all costs the Linda Rondstat version!!! It's like listening to Edgar Allen Poe read by Olivia Newton-John.

3. "Long Distance Call" by Phoenix

I hadn't ever considered French guitar-pop before I happened across this amicable band's album It's Never Been Like That but now that I have... eh, well I'll probably continue my lack of consideration. I mean, have you heard what passes for French pop music these day? Frightening. This is the nation, remember, that brought us Jordy, the 4-year-old singing sensation/future rehab frequent-flyer who sang about bedtimes and wanting candy. Truly, truly disturbing. Anyway, these guys, Phoenix, are good. They sound a bit too-hip, like they'd fit real well in Williamsburg, but this song's got a great mellow drive and needs to be on your stereo at night when you've just gotten in from the bars.

4. "Prom Night at Hater High" by The Long Winters

I would have included this song here for its title alone, but it happens be worthy of inclusion based on its musical merits as well, so that's a happy cowinky-dink. These guys kind of sound like The Shins and Counting Crows formed a band and listened to a lot of Three Dog Night before discovering irony and recording an album. An odd mix, but one that makes sense in a crazy world such as this.

5. "Beautiful Girl" by INXS

My friend Lisa turned me on to INXS; before, I'd always thought they were a bit of a joke. Michael Hutchence always struck me as a guy doing a bad Jim Morrison impression and they sounded, at least on their hits, like a Depeche Mode cover band. The thing is, all of their big hits... "New Sensation" and "What You Need" in particular... are some of their worst music. This song, "Beautiful Girl," is quite a different thing. Hutchence finds a smooth, Lou Reed-ish voice and the 80's drum machines and synths get toned way down; you can hear actual instruments on this track. Seriously, this song should live on mix CDs that you give to someone you'd like to see naked.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Kung Fu Cutie

Holy. Shit.

Note that she's wearing earrings while doing all that flipping around, proving that she's still totally feminine and shit, even though she could absolutely destroy you if it came down to it. The part where she kicks her leg up the back all of a sudden is my favorite "Woah!" moment, but others in the office like it when she demonstrates crazy flexibleness towards the end. But they're a bunch of pervs, so feel free to disregard them.

Finally, A Zombie Fights A Shark

Check it out!!!

I finally figured out how to post a picture on this blasted thing. I thought it'd only be appropriate that the first image seen on Zombie Fights Shark! was, in fact, a zombie fighting a shark. I know some of you are marvelling at how it could possibly take me so long to figure out the picture function on Blogger but, well, to that I issue only a hearty, "Bite me!" I'm utterly hopeless when it comes to computer stuff, to the point of where if my computer freezes up, it's actually easier to just buy a new one than attempt to fix the problem myself. It's either that, or going to one of my techno-savvy friends and, shame-faced and weeping, begging them for their help.

Anyway, so this is my mountain climbed for the day. Oh, if any of you are curious, the picture is a still from the Italian horror flick Zombie; the movie it's self is pretty bad and, truthfully, the zombie fights shark part is much better in theory than it is in actual application. There is an absolutely brutal eye-puncturing scene though, so if that's your bag, then by all means check it out.

Thanks, as always, to Braden for finding the pic for me. He's pretty.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Grumpy McCrabbypants

Thanks to the subway being slow, me being late to work, and the fact that it's currently hotter than Baptist hell in my office, I'm in a bit of a cranky mood. If you could see me right now, I'm all tense-shouldered, scowly-faced and I'm threating everyone that walks past my cube by shaking my fist and saying, "You want a piece of me, tough guy?" Okay, when I say "everyone" I mean "the 60-year-old office assistants" because there are some pretty big guys that work here, ex-jocks probably, and they'd have me in a headlock faster than I could scream out, "I bruise easy, stop it!!!"

Anyway, because I'm grumpy and irascible today and need to somehow focus the venting of my spleen, here are three things that are currently in my line of whiny, white-boy rage:

1. Bobby Flay - Has there ever been a bigger douche on TV? He's fairly smarmy and obnoxious when he's just demonstrating how to grill a steak, but now he's got this new show where he finds people who are really good at cooking a particular dish (pizza, for example) then he shows up to their houses and says, "Hey, I can cook better than you. Let's have a cook-off so I can prove it." He, a professional chef, if challenging amatuer chefs so he can kick their asses on national TV. This is the equivilent of the star quarterback picking on the guy in the Lord of the Rings t-shirt, but with food. Asshole.

2. The N Train - Apparently somewhere between the 59th street stop and the 36th street stop, there are great herds of cattle who graze and amble about and, occasionally, need to be cleared from the tracks so the trains can pass. I'm assuming that that's why we stop in the tunnel every day during rush hour for ten or fifteen minutes. Not that I don't enjoy standing in a hot, unmoving subway car next to a large sweating man who's giving the car an impromptu hip-hop performance while listening to his iPod and forgeting that, yes, we can hear you when you rap along out loud, there, my gangsta friend.

3. My Own Worthless Butt - There's this scene in Evil Dead where Ash is looking in the mirror and all of a sudden, his reflection reaches out and grabs him, all menacing-like. I wish I could do that with myself. I'd like to kick my own ass for not being more productive with the writing and with the career advancement. I have this awesome play that's so close to being done and, yet, I can't seal the envelope on it. I suck royally and I know it.

Whew... that feels better. All is sunshine and light. Now... time to input invoices! That's sure to put a spring in my step! Trying to stay positive here, but sometimes... boulder up a hill, you know.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Junk Food Tsar Tries New Things

I like to think of myself as a bit of a junk food expert. No, I'm not necessarily thrilled with this fact; it's kind of like someone proclaiming themselves the World's Greatest Deadbeat Dad or the King of Farts. Nonetheless, I cannot ignore my calling; if it's got a shelf-life past twenty years, contains more fat content than actual unprocessed fat and is Nacho Cheeze flavored, well then, chances are it's passed between these lips during a late-night viewing of Evil Dead.

So you can imagine my twin emotions of excitement and shame when I'm confronted with a brand new (at least to me) snack food; something heretofore unseen amidst the Mustard-Flavored Pretzles and BBQ Bugles in the pantry of my heart. As it were.

Emily and I were in Chinatown yesterday, as is our Sunday-afternoon wont. We looked at the buckets of baby turtles and went, "Awww..." and we looked at the sawed-off pigs legs (hooves attached) in their display cases and went, "Ewww..." and wandered in and out of various little markets, comparison-shopping the dried squid. Now, a little background... since Em and I have been dating, she's talked fondly, even wistfully, about a certain Asian snack known as Prawn Crackers that she used to eat in High School. We've found them pre-bagged before but, no, those aren't the right ones. The good stuff, the Texas T of the Asian snack-cracker world, are the ones that you throw into a pan of hot oil and they, as she put it, "puff up." We've searched for them before, of course, to no avail and whenever we're down Chinatown way, we'll keep an eye out. Disheartening results tend to follow and I became, over time, convinced that she was making it up to look cool in the eyes of me, the Junk Food Tsar.

You always find the things you're looking for when you're not paying attention. Almost by accident, we stumbled across them in a random, though well-stocked, fish-market on Baxter Street.

For shame! They're real! For joy! New junk food!

We hustled home, bounty in tow, and I steeled myself for a new, possibly mind-expanding, snack experience.

Pan on the stove, oil heating up, she opened the bag. Exposed, the Prawn Crackers in their un-puffed state, are science fiction bizarre. Imagine multi-colored, glass, potato chips and you're in the neighborhood. But when a handful are thrown into the now-hot oil... magic. Like watching a time-lapse video of flowers blooming, the pan is suddenly full of exploding color rising from the oil with only a faint sizzle as background music. They do, in fact, as Em said, puff up. There's no other way to put it. Em ladles each one out, now at least 10 times it's original size, and places it on a paper towel to wick away the extra oil. Soon, we had a pile on the plate that resembled a mass of festive styrofoam; pork rinds on their way to a party.

We sat down to eat them with a culturally-appropriate episode of Cowboy Bebop and I took my first tenuous bite. You have to be careful with snack foods from Asia because they, often times, taste like fried fish guts and, to our Western palates, are more useful as pranks and punishment than actual for-enjoyment consumables.

So... the verdict? Suprisingly tasty.

Almost the exact same texture as the aforementioned pork rinds, but extrodinarily, at least for Asian snack food, mild in flavor. A hint of seafood, a bit like french fries, and with a hint of a smoky overtone, wanting only for a dusting of salt to knock them out of the park. In short, a nice addition to the pantheon of snack foods for to eat while watching movies of questionable taste and merit. The only flaw is that, well, you have to do a bit of work to get them on your plate; fun, freaky-transforming work though it is.

Be that as it may, the Junk Food Tsar deems them worthy and that's all you good people need to worry your pretty little heads about. And be sure... I'm here, ever-vigilant, keeping watch for new and exciting, possibly lifestyle-altering, junk food on the horizon. For example, they just came out with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups with an added layer of marshmallow creme...

Quick, to the Junk Food Jalopy! Junk Food Tsar is on the case!!!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Hunting Your Loved Ones

Playing Halo with the one you love is deeply theraputic.

One two-hour session of 10-kill, multi-weapon, head-to-head combat is equal to three and a half months of intensive couples therapy with an obese psychologist who takes Freud seriously and hasn't touched a girl since he was sixteen. If they could market couples therapy that was something along the lines of you and your partner are dropped into the forest at midnight with paintball guns and the object is to hunt and "kill" each other... well, then... that'd be money in the bank.

Anyway, that's all I got. Word of advice: Don't use the sniper rifle in heavily enclosed areas; it's for precision, not melee. Also, when you find that your partner is better than you at Halo, don't get pouty and throw the controller at their head. Just smile, accept defeat and cut their hamstrings while they sleep.

Or something less violent. I don't know. I've been playing a lot of Halo recently.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Bad Pun About Horses

It's Saturday and I'm feeling a bit eh about stuff in general, so, rather than be Whiny Blogging Guy, I'll leave you with this:

Yes, it's a man getting hit with a horse. Faaaantastic.

Maybe more posts later this weekend, maybe no posts until Monday. Ooooh... the suspense.

Take 'er easy, kiddos.

Friday, July 07, 2006

MTV: Popular Music And Scars For Life

Don't ask me how it happened because I'm not entirely sure, but this morning I found myself watching, of my own free will, a seven-or-eight minute chunk of MTV programming. Please folks, I know you're scared, but get your hand off the phone; the police can't do anything now and an ambulance's arrival would only provoke me into a frenzy of pouty-stomps and shouted demands that I, "get to sound the siren or I'll hold my breath 'til I'm all blue n' stuff!!!"

Nobody needs that.

Anyway, MTV... yeah, so I've admited here before that I'm not exactly current in my music tastes or even, truthfully, awareness, but even I was shocked to see how bad things have gotten on the musical landscape, or at least the musical landscape that's relevent to the 15-year-old girls and newbie gangstas of the world.

Apparently, the ideal musician these days is a gaunt, sallow young man with pretentious hair, femme body language and a pretty severe case of epilepsy. This was particularly evident in the video for a band called, I believe, Taking Back Sunday in which the lead singer gyrated around so much that I was afraid he was going to bite off his own tounge before the paramedics could administer the appropriate anti-seizure medications. I was further disconcerted by the fact that bass player standing behind him looked exactly like a deli-owner from Queens as opposed to someone who should be actively filmed for other's amusement.

Further compounding my horror was the video for a musical outfit known as AFI. Each member of the band appeared to be a subtle variation on what happens to people from deeply religious backgrounds once they go away to college and hear The Velvet Underground for the first time. Of course, because they have nothing but heresay and conjecture to base their look on, they do it wrong and start dressing like goth versions of World War Two soldiers (what is up with that, by the way?) and begin an eye make-up addiction so powerful they make Karen Oh look like a Disney store employee.

Then they get famous for writing music that actual curdles milk and that's when I stumble upon them at 7:30 in the morning, instantly recoiling at the mere sight of their milky, greasy skin and trying hard not to black out.

Following my encounter with these two troupes of hobgoblinish nightmares, they showed a video of a black guy in glasses who rapped over a bunch of skateboarding footage.

After that, my head just exploded.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Weekly Awesome! #6

Emmy Notes

Emmy Nominations came out this morning and they are a bizarre amalgamation of craziness, wrong-headedness and tiny bursts of exciting inspiration. Even more so than normal, and that's saying something, considering the Emmy Noms are, year in and year out, a veritable country-style buffett of the bizarre and profane. So let's break it down:

The Crazy and Wrong-Headed

- Lost got completely and thoroughly shut out in all the major catagories, save for a single writing nomination. Um... wha...? I'll be the first to admit that it wasn't as steller a season as it's first but still I think it'd be hard to argue that it's not one of the best drama's on TV. Certaintly better than that Grey's Anatomy nonesense.

-This isn't surprising, but once again the cast of Scrubs, TV's best comedy, end of story, was completely ignored. It did pick up a Best Comedy nod, so that's cool, but the cast it's self is flawless and deserves some individual recognition. I refuse to believe that Jon Cryer and Sean Hayes are more deserving of an Emmy for their hackishness and hysterics, respectively, than Donald Faison and John C. McGinley for their subtle, deeply funny work.

-Kevin James got a Best Comedic Actor nod. Um... is it 1998? I like the guy and I think he's funny on the show, but... c'mon. He must be dying of cancer or something.

-The Comedic Lead Actress catagory is just a mess. Stockard Channing is nominated for a show that lasted four episodes, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss is nominated because she used to be on Seinfeld, Lisa Kudrow is nominated because she was on Friends, Debra Messing is nominated because they forgot to take her name off the ballot from last year, and Jane Kazmerick is nominated because they technically have to have five people on the list. Not a deserving one in the bunch.

-Shatner's nominated again for Boston Legal. Academy... stop it. It's just mean now. Seriously. Stop.

The Inspired

-Will Arnet, who in a normal world would be the always funny but criminally ignored supporting character on Arrested Development, got a suprise nod. I think the fabric of our reality is tearing.

-Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchent got a writing nod for their HBO show Extras which was, sorry to all anglophiles, better than their own The Office. It just was, that's why.

-Despite Six Feet Under's slide into weirdness and off-putting story twists, Peter Krause was always rock solid and heartbreaking and his nod, one of the few for the show this year, is well-earned.

-Hardly any nominations for Desperate Housewives. The national nightmare is over?

-Steve Carrell. This is just his year, I guess. Hell, the guy's funny and seems like a genuinely nice guy. Hope he runs with it.

Songs of our Week

1. “Help Yourself” by Tom Jones

Yes, Tom Jones is cheesy and oily and probably smells like hot-buttered steak all the time, but, be that as it may, I would gladly give at least an arm and possibly a buttock to be him for a long holiday weekend. Despite the fact that he’s a rather unappealing Welshman, women go absolutely batshit for him; proof, I think, that he’s got some kind of mind-control device hidden in his pants (if there’s room in there for anything other than the rather obvious torpedo that he’s packing). Anyway, most of his music has aged about as well as polyester pants and feathered hair, but this song, used to great effect in the movie Anchorman, has withstood the test of time. Fun and silly; good karaoke song.

2.“When You Were Mine” by Prince

Speaking of people I’d glad part with appendages to be for a few days… Yes, I know that Prince has gone a little North of crazy in the last few years and he’s supposedly all religious now (which is really sad, considering this is the guy that wrote Darling Nikki and Head), but… hell… he’s still Prince. Okay, an amendment; I’d like to be Prince back in the 80’s when he was all about playing guitars in leather jockstraps and trying to name his back-up singers Vagina (true story!).Anyway, for me, he hit his peak not with “Purple Rain” but a few years earlier with the album “Dirty Mind,” which really had him firing on all cylinders. This song, which was eventually covered to great effect by Cyndi Lauper, is the best break-up song of all time that’s not written by Tom Waits.

3. “Big Brown Eyes” by Old 97’s

This is just one of many, many outstanding songs by Old 97’s, so feel free to just go nuts with the downloading; anything off the “Too Far To Care” album will do right by you. If you’re not familiar with them then, I’m sorry, but you’re just an inferior person or living in some sort of Slavic prison that doesn’t allow awesomeness. To be fair, they’ve never really hit it that big outside of Texas, for absolutely no reason other than their particular brand of country-friend rock just hasn’t found the right outlet to punch through the nation’s collective conciousness. But whatevs, you’re still partly at fault for not being in to them and we that are all laughing at you.

4. “Those To Come” by The Shins

I know that everyone is already over The Shins and even though you listened to Chutes Too Narrow all the time when it came out, you pretend you hate them now that 15 year-olds love them because they were on the Gilmore Girls once. That’d be a mistake, I think, because even though they’ve gotten a tad overexposed (thanks, Zach Braff!), they’re still one of the finer bands to come out of the indie scene is quite some time. Two rock-solid, immentily re-listenable albums and being great live sometimes are enough to make people want you to stick around for ever and ever. This song, in particular, is a fave.

5. "Into My Arms" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

He writes songs about murderers and death and riders on pale horses that tell of the coming apocalypse. And, occasional, he writes tender love ballads. While the gloom and doom stuff is fantasticly dark and you really shouldn't listen to it when you're depressed and within easy access to firearms, his love ballads will make you want to drink bourbon in bed with a pretty girl during a rainstorm. There's not enough music like that.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sympathy For The Me

I feel like absolute crap today. It's that kind of miserable where I could probably vomit without any kind of effort; just lean over and clench my stomach and, presto, stomach contents. Meh.

One could make a case that it's all my fault that feel like death; I may or may not have had a bit to drink last night as a run-up to the fireworks festivities. I'm not saying. The point is that, at the moment, I feel like my guts have been put in a blender and pureed.

So please send me your sympathy... I need you now more than ever. Also, if you have any Maalox, that'd be awesome.

That's One Way To Avoid Prison

Seems that Enron-founder, convicted swindler and the all-around personification of evil Kenneth Lay died of a heart attack yesterday:

Personally, I think he faked his own death to avoid prison and is currently on his way to Argentina with a fake beard and and forged documents, but that could just be the crazy conspiracy nut in me talking.

Anyway, interesting nonetheless.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Fireworks For Your New Enjoyment

Wandering through the streets of Chinatown, woozy from too many eggrolls and disoriented by the smell of dead fish, you're bound to buy a bunch of illegal fireworks accidentally, especially this time of year. But it's cool because Chinatown always has the best illegal fireworks that are right off the boat, new to this country, just wanting the chance to work and maybe, one day, own a small deli on the outskirts of Queens where they can overcharge for Snapple and be suspicious of black people. To wit, the newest fireworks on cheap cardtables below Houston Street (original package copy left intact, for freshness):

The Super-Fire Deluxxxe: Create a beautiful shower of white sparks in nighttime sky. Ha! Fooled You! They really white-hot pieces of your car's windshield. We stole your car!

Rad Exterminator 3: Blooms of gold, blue and green. A ninja appears. Not in the sky. Behind you. Your dead and you heard nothing.

So Crazy Night Flower Explozion: The prettiest ecstacy of marginal colors. Tan! Grey! Manilla! Your firework party so boring and no one likes you. I date your wife!

For Fun!: Smell that? It's chicken that you exploded. Tasty inthe sky as it rains down like heaven's tears. It burns so bad because it's hot!

Princess Nikimoto's Lovesplosion: Colorfullness pops in four seperate colors to form little girl from school in night sky. Police come then. You so dirty for looking at little girl! Prevert!

Thanking You, American: It's red, white and blue. See how pretty it shimmer. While you look, we take all your jobs to our China. We cheaper there. You poorer now. We win, we win, we wine!!!