Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Top Ten Tuesdays: How are we celebrating the successful launch of the Large Hadron Collider?

The Large Hadron Collider finally started smashing together subatomic particles. How are we celebrating this scientific breakthrough?

10) Holding most explosive matter/anti-matter party ever.

9) Grabbing pet spider, crossing fingers, and jumping into particle stream.

8) Mixing protons and electrons with our lab partners, if you know what we mean.

7) Calling stupid brother-in-law who said we would blow up the world and telling him to suck our neutrons.

6) Preparing for guest appearance on The Big Bang Theory, where the cute girl will ask, “Is that a Large Hadron Collider in your pants or are you just happy to see me?”

5) Getting our favorite isotope tattooed on our shoulders.

4) Watching everything turn white before waking up on The Island.

3) Watching the particle collisions under a black light while listening to Dark Side of the Moon.

2) Unclenching our black holes in relief.

1) Hoping that this amazing triumph of technology and physics will inspire people to see how valuable science is and teach children that science is a noble, rewarding career…just kidding, we’re going to use our extra free time to work on our girl robots.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10!

Barack Obama came to Iowa City this week and The Lovely Becky and I weren’t there. He even went to Prairie Lights bookstore and I missed an opportunity to press a copy of Icebergs by Rebecca Johns into his hands. He would have given it to Michelle, who would have recommended it to Oprah, and who would have made me a kept man. The only thing worse is finding out Stephen Colbert was in the neighborhood when I was out of town, missing my chance to land a gig on The Colbert Report by giving him my best dick joke puns.

The sad thing is, I don’t think the president stopped at the Hamburg Inn for a pie shake. If you come to Iowa City, you have to go to the Hamburg Inn for a pie shake. It’s pie, it’s a shake, morphed together into a super dessert alloy that would make an Al Qaeda operative spill every single secret they’ve ever learned. And now that we’re all getting health care, there’s no reason not to enjoy this cold, creamy cobbler bomb. Hell, order four, one for each chamber of your heart. The pie shake is a sign God loves us and wants us to be happy.

1) “Destroyer,” The Kinks. A classic Kinks song, with Ray Davies doing a terrific job sounding like he’s losing his mind. My only wish is that the guitar had been turned up. It sits a bit in the back like it’s stalking the listener instead of breaking down the door.

2) “Our House,” Madness. Not many 80s hits sound timeless, but this is an exception. It avoids a lot of the reverb/synthesizer/electronic drum issues that date even awesome 80s songs, and in fact sounds less 80s than some new stuff like The Killers.

3) “Glad Tidings,” Van Morrison. I am a recent member of the Van Morrison Appreciation Society. My only real previous contact had been drunken sing-a-longs to “Brown Eyed Girl” in various bars. Once I sat down and started to really listen, I understood what all the fuss was about. He has one of those voices that’s both warm yet powerful, like a hug from your dad when you’re a kid. Surprisingly not on YouTube.

4) “As Ugly As I Seem,” The White Stripes. Bongo time for Meg. Also, the title would work as the theme song for Bill Donohue. While I never advocate murder outside of traveling back in time to kill Hitler, there are some people who I would enjoy seeing die. Bill Donohue is one of them. How can someone take the awful, awful news of the Catholic Church keeping a serial abuser of deaf children in the priest business and twist the story around into some anti-Catholic bigotry by the media? That’s exactly what this puffy, red-faced taint has done. So fuck him, I hope he dies, and better yet, I hope I get to see it, at least on YouTube. I hope it’s one of those great ironic deaths, too, where a sex toy factory explodes and he gets crushed under a hail of falling dildos. And if I’m lucky enough to walk by a burning building and learn that the only person trapped in it is Bill Donohue? Damn if I’m not pulling up some curb to make sure he doesn’t get out. I may even start a chant of “The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire….”

5) “Dodging Invisible Rays,” Guided by Voices. Even as a pretty big GbV fan, I admit they recorded way too much shit. They could have been a huge band if Robert Pollard had any ability to edit himself. Having said that, though, they have more hidden gems than any band in recent memory. Combing through their various albums, box sets, and EPs is like Antiques Roadshow: amid the stuff that’s not worth as much, you find a shiny heirloom like this bit of sunny guitar pop.

6) “Monty Got a Raw Deal,” R.E.M. (good cover since YouTube is cockblocking me today) I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: I think this is the best R.E.M. album. The early rock albums on IRS have a ton of classic tracks, but I always found the actual albums somewhat uneven. Out of Time is terrific, but it sounds dated to me, like it was custom-made for MTV Unplugged. Automatic for the People, though, takes all the stuff that made R.E.M. great up to that point and pours it into one pristine album. Dark, hopeful, quiet, strong, serious, silly…it’s about as complex of a rock record as I’ve ever heard, like a person you’ve known all your life but who you still learn a little bit more about every time you talk to them.

7) “Day Tripper,” The Beatles. The riff is definitely the meat of this song, one of the best and most memorable that The Beatles ever recorded. It’s like finding a pinky of some ancient human ancestor: you can trace almost the entire lineage of jangle pop to that intro. But Ringo is the bread holding this together. The beat and those little fills were just perfect.

8) “Professional Againster,” New Bomb Turks. Seriously, it's like it's Shitty YouTube Clip Day. This doesn't really do justice to the studio version of this song, which is revved up to 7000 rpms with a bit of crazy piano that sounds like a coked-up Jerry Lee Lewis sitting in with a punk band. Never get tired of NBT’s Scared Straight, best 90s punk album after Rancid’s And Out Come the Wolves.

9) “Reach for Love,” Ollabelle. Conflict of interest disclaimer: The bass player is an old friend. Having said that, Ollabelle is a terrific Americana rock band who sound like the offspring of The Band, which is unsurprising since Levon Helm’s daughter is in this band. This is one of those laid-back Seventies-style songs about love troubles that manages to sound sexy and woeful at the same time. No YouTube clip, but check out “Blue Northern Lights” from the same album.

10) “Blue Monday,” New Order. I have probably danced more stupidly to this song than any other because I love it so, and that love floods my usual self-consciousness about dancing. Best dance drums ever, as if the drum machine is a machine gun, shooting at the ground and forcing me to dance, only without the sadism and possibility that the next last shot is for me because I’m a dirty, backstabbing narc. All of the excitement without the pain and annoyance of exit wounds! It also helps that the main beat is tailor-made for the White Man Shuffle.

11) “Move On,” Chris Knight. (Drunken Redneck Hootin' YouTube Mix) Holy shit, this guy is terrific. A random Pandora discovery that has left my ears in better shape. This is from his album The Trailer Tapes, which Knight actually recorded in his trailer in Kentucky. He channels Steve Earle here, but his studio work also had the best John Mellencamp qualities to it. He’s one of those, “Wow, how have I not heard this guy” kind of discoveries, and well worth checking out.

Bonus clip: What better way to head into the weekend than a 1976 interview with AC/DC where Bon Scott is rocking a mullet, wearing shorts that Freddie Mercury would have found too tight, and has a banana sticking out of his waistband?

Thursday, March 25, 2010


On a golf course, a man lines up a short putt. He hits the ball too hard, however, and it lips out of the hole.

MAN (shaking fist)

At a restaurant, the Man sits at a table with other diners. One of them finishes a joke as the man takes a bite of food.

“…and the guy says, ‘That’s not my dog, you idiot, that’s my wife!”

The Man laughs but immediately starts choking uncontrollably. The Diner gets behind him and gives him a Heimlich maneuver, dislodging a bit of food.

Are you okay?

MAN (gasping)

In the bedroom, the Man lies with his Wife.

It’s okay, honey, it happens. We can just cuddle tonight.

MAN (making a fist and whispering)

A DOCTOR appears.

Do you or anyone you love have an uncontrollable hatred of President Obama? Do you find yourself blaming the president for every and any problem in your life?

If so, you may be suffering from Chronic Obsessive Obama Transference Syndrome, a serious medical condition that affects millions of Americans. While COOTS is most prevalent among the elderly, it can strike young and old, of either gender and any race.

But now you have a chance to overcome your COOTS with new Liberus.

A montage shows the man yelling at his elected official, carrying a sign that says “No Death Panels”, and weeping while watching Glenn Beck.

DOCTOR (voice over)
Liberus is a powerful new medicine that can relieve the worst symptoms of COOTS: the huffing, puffing, marches on Washington, marches on city hall, disrupting town halls, disputing birth certificates, uncontrollable filibustering, and bedwetting.

On screen, a picture of a brain shows angry red arrows being transformed into soft blue arrows that enter the nervous system.

Liberus stimulates the relaxation centers of your brain, the portions that control heart rate, breathing, and rectal clenching, while blocking the neurons that cause shouting, finger pointing, and apocalyptic predictions.

Another montage plays while the warning message is spoken: The Man having a polite conversation with his representative, the Man raising his hand to speak at a townhall meeting, and the man laughing as he watches The Colbert Report.

VOICEOVER (read quickly).
Warning: Liberus is not for everyone. Side effects may include an increase empathy for the less fortunate, trust in the scientific process, trust of official government documents, a decreased interest in carrying firearms in public, and Palin repulsion. Republican members of Congress who take Liberus may suffer a severe loss of talking points; this is normal and will be replaced by a surge in bipartisanship. Taking Liberus while watching Fox News may cause bouts of cognitive dissonance which can be relieved through sarcasm and drinking games. If you currently suffer from cranial-anal insertion, talk to your doctor before taking Liberus, as he may want to return your head to its original upright position before starting treatment.

To take back control of your anger, your saliva glands, and your life. Take Liberus.

In their bedroom, the Man and his Wife sit watching TV.

Honey, do you want to watch Sean Hannity? I think Ann Coulter and Charles Krauthammer are on.

The Man grabs the remote and turns off the TV as he pulls the Wife toward him.

Oh, honey, what’s gotten into you?

MAN (looking at the camera and winking)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Top Ten Tuesdays: What steps are we taking to prepare for the end of America?

Special health care will kill us all edition!

12) Passing No Child Left Unarmed.

11) Taking out home equity loan to install catapults on our walled compounds.

10) Stocking up on Kook-Aid to sweeten our main water supply: Glenn Beck’s bitter tears.

9) Claiming tinfoil as a medical expense.

8) Steeling ourselves for the possibility that, in order to get through that first winter, we may have to eat Rush Limbaugh.

7) Looking to the Bible for answers, preferably for those involving smiting and/or stoning.

6) Perfecting our combustion engine that runs on rage, hyperbole, and drool.

5) Practicing how we’ll talk to our subjects when we emerge from our parents’ basement to become the new Lord of Smith Street.

4) Heating our caves in the hills of Los Angeles with remaindered copies of Liberal Fascism.

3) Forming our own Teabagger Navy with sailboats powered by mouthbreathing.

2) Polishing our replica Lord of the Rings sword so that Queen Palin can knight us.

1) Breathing into a paper bag until we can think straight about how we’ll survive the coming Obamacalypse.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10!

Sad news this week with the passing of Alex Chilton of Big Star, who was just 59.

Chilton had one of those blessing and a curse kind of lives. He created music that practically created a blueprint for a host of amazing 80s alternative bands—R.E.M. being his most prominent disciple. And while Big Star never had much commercial success, Chilton at least got to bask in the glow of his critical acclaim and extensive influence (unlike, say, Nick Drake). We should all be so lucky as to have Paul Westerberg write a kick-ass song about us.

At the same time, he suffered from the early genius curse. His best creative output was top heavy, and he spent the rest of his life living in the shadow of what he’d done in his 20s. That happens to a lot of artists, but it’s especially endemic to rock musicians. I think it’s because, when they hit their mid-20s, they still have the teenage fire that fuels rock music, but they’ve acquired enough maturity to articulate ideas that can remain relevant long after adolescence ends. It’s a perfect storm of creativity for rock music, and it’s almost impossible to reproduce when you get older, because seeing someone in their 30s and 40s trying to rock out the way they did when they were 22 usually looks embarrassing. That means they either risk that embarrassment or have to move on, and in moving on they often lose what made their earlier music so captivating. I think that definitely happened in Chilton’s case.

However, how many bands can connect with people the way Big Star connected with me: nearly 30 years after they recorded their last album.

I had a very circuitous route to Big Star. Being a music nerd, I’d heard groups like R.E.M. name-check them, but also being a young doofus, I’d never looked into them because I was too busy doing things like air-guitaring Dio songs.

Ten years ago, when The Lovely Becky and I still lived in Chicago, our apartment was burglarized. We came home from an exciting evening of going to the movies and then late-night shopping at Jewel. Walking up the back stairs with the groceries, I noticed that our back door was open, and not just open, but missing a pane of glass and the deadbolt that normally kept intruders at bay. After calling the police and then entering the apartment, we found it ransacked. Among the many items taken were most of my CDs—about 250 at the time.

Here’s where the curse turned into a blessing. In my aforementioned air-guitar doofusing years, my record collection contained things like Lita Ford’s Greatest Hits, four words that have no business being grouped together. Thanks to renter’s insurance, I got a pretty fair amount of compensation for my CDs, without any judgment on their artistic merit, and also without having to spend the money on the exact same crap that was stolen.

We embarked on the greatest weekend of music shopping in my life, taking our insurance money and buying about 150 discs in a couple of days. I took the moment to upgrade my collection and add at least a few things that TLB would not mock me mercilessly for owning (there are few things as withering as hearing your spouse sarcastically sing, “Kiss me once, kiss me twice, come on pretty baby, kiss me deadly” and having absolutely no counterattack). One of my targets was Big Star. I found a CD of their first two albums, #1 Record/Radio City. Curious about all the fuss, I moved it to the front of the 150 disc listening queue.

I’ve had a few moments in my music fandom where I hear an artist and wonder why in the hell I didn’t listen to them sooner. Nick Drake was one. Graham Parker was another very recent entry. But Big Star was the biggest of the where have you been all my life albums. I was hooked instantly by the mix of instantly catchy melodies and warm jangle pop coupled with the little bits of chaos in the background and fraying at the edges. And while I loved the songs by the late, great Chris Bell on #1 Record, it was Chilton’s voice that was the final hook pulling me into the Big Star boat, so much that if my boat ever gets stranded on a desert island, that #1 Record/Radio City album is coming with me.

So, despite peaking early and never being the big name he should have been, it has to be satisfying to know you had that kind of impact on people.

1) “Back of a Car,” Big Star. I have to start with my personal favorite Big Star song, because it combines the pop sweetness of the first album with the rougher edge Chilton brought when he took over on Radio City. What cements it for me are the big fat drum fills. Everything’s better with big fat drum fills.

2) “All My Best Friends Are Metalheads,” Less Than Jake. Hey, remember the six months where ska punk was really pretty kinda huge? I think it was the six months after swing was really pretty kinda annoyingly huge. At the same time, this is one of those songs I still like a lot as long as I don’t listen to it too closely. Kind of like how I will gladly devour a hot dog if I don’t think about the ingredients.

3) “Let Them Eat Rock,” The Upper Crust. The best conceptual gag I’ve ever seen for a band. A bunch of nerdy white guys dress up like 18th-Century French aristocrats and play AC/DC style rock music with titles like, “Once More Into the Breeches,” “I’ve Got My Ascot ‘N’ My Dickie,” and this song. As a bonus, this song seems absolutely perfect for the current economic climate and especially the conservative response to it. Fun fact: one of the guitar players who went by the stage name Lord Bendover later worked for the Clinton Administration and was a Harvard history professor.

4) “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions,” Queen. iTunes is apparently aware that March Madness is going on. Despite my sports blood bleeding the blue and orange of the Chicago Bears, the opening weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament is the greatest sports day of the year, and frankly should be a national holiday for men. I tried to coin a name for it yesterday, and I thought of Manukah, but that makes it sound like a holiday for the NBA’s Manu Ginobili. So maybe Bracketmas. Oh, and my Final Four: Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, and Baylor.

5) “10 Gallon Ascots,” Tapes ‘n Tapes. Two ascot references in one Random 11? What are the odds of that happening? Well, higher than 14th-seeded Ohio University kicking Georgetown in their third-seeded Hoyas yesterday.

6) “Is There a Ghost,” Band of Brothers. Not to get too much into NCAA stuff, but this would be perfect for a March Madness promo, with the slow music going with the slow-mo montage of hoops, and then the fast part kicking into the quick-hitting montage of game-winning shots throughout the years. Even the lyrics work because, “I can sleep” could relate to the sleepers of the tournament. Note to CBS: My rates are quite affordable. I also love how, in this video, the lead singer looks like he was rushed on stage an hour after being rescued from a four-year exile on an uncharted island. "Hey, man, sorry, no time to clean you up, we gotta gig on Letterman. Just change out of that loincloth."

7) “Moby Dick/Bonzo’s Montreux,” Led Zeppelin. From the Department of Terrible Ideas: let’s take arguably the most classic of drum solos and add some really annoying heavily processed drums to the drum solo part.

8) “I’ve Made Enough Friends,” The Wrens. A perfect song for the Facebook-weary.

9) “Colony of Birchmen,” Mastodon. Metal today is definitely cooler than when I was a teenager. Fun fact for certain Genesis-loving readers: the title is an homage to “The Colony of Slippermen” from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Although I’m pretty sure no one in Mastodon is dressing up like a flower, unless it was a flower that eats people.

10) “S.O.S.,” ABBA. Look, I’m not going to shit all over what people like. Well, okay, I will, but at the same time I respect that we’re all like snowflakes and that some of us like music that others find as memorable as an IKEA nightstand. But ABBA in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Really? Sure, they’re the fourth-biggest-selling group of all time. But hey, Celine Dion’s in the top 10 of all-time album sales, sandwiched between the Bee Gees and Elton John (which also sounds like a song from another top 10 seller, AC/DC). So does that mean she’s destined to get in? And, no, none of this stems from bitterness over a certain Canadian power-trio being snubbed again. Not at all.

11) “Punkrocker,” Teddybears (feat. Iggy Pop). My acquisition of this is an irony train wreck. 1) It’s a song called “Punkrocker,” that I thought was an Iggy Pop song but is really from a group with the unpunk name “Teddybears”. 2) I bought said “Punkrocker” song that I thought was by the original punk rocker because I heard it in a TV commercial. 3) Rather than taking the punk route of downloading it illicitly from the Web, I went to iTunes and purchased it in an orderly fashion…with credit from an iTunes gift card. I am so not punk.

Have a great weekend, and I’d like to give a shout out to the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, because we all could use a little more Gaucho in our lives.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Top Ten Tuesdays: How are we going to get the health care bill passed?

10) Promise wavering Democrats that their spine transplants will be covered if they vote.

9) Rally Republican support by renaming the bill, “the War on Germs.”

8) Engage the support of America’s youth by presenting a special episode of Jersey Shore where Snooki learns she doesn’t have health coverage to get her foot fixed after breaking it off in some snooty Manhattan bitch’s ass.

7) Put on some Barry White, pour some red wine, and invite each dissenting Congressman into the Lincoln Bedroom with Obama.

6) Raise the funds to pay for the bill by selling Republican Congressmen into indentured servitude to the Chinese.

5) Ask the chamber to please pass the bill, and if that fails, say pretty please, and, if pushed to extremes, use the Cherry on Top option.

4) Counter any complex legislative tricks with an unbeatable Triple Lindy.

3) Lock dissenting legislators in a box with a stinging insect until they tell us what we want to hear.

2) Convince tea party activists to change their minds by reminding them their angioplasties will be covered, even in cases of extreme buffet abuse.

1) Tell the House that the Senate already passed the bill, and when they’re all, “nuh uh”, then go, “uh huh,” and when they say, “no way,” totally say, “way, it’s like, all finalized and stuff,” and then when they go, “fine, whatevs,” then presto, healthcare, motherfuckers!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Retropost: Interrogation for Dummies

I watched the fascinating interview between torture cheerleader Marc Thiessen and Jon Stewart on The Daily Show this week. It's a fascinating look into the mind of the pro-torture crowd, illustrating how hollow their tough talk is considering how much they whine when people put their logic into stress positions.

That led me to read this brilliant take down of torture by former military interrogator Matthew Alexander, which reminded me of the original brilliant take down of torture as an interrogation technique, "The Dark Art of Interrogation" by Mark Bowden that ran in The Atlantic Monthly in 2003.

Once again, with this whole Al-Qaeda 7 nonsense, we've re-entered the realm of not just arguing for torturing detainees, but also the with-us-or-against-us zone of equating people who don't agree with said torture as being terrorist sympathizers. That makes it seem like a good time to revive this post, which had been held in my archives against its will without any representation since 2006.

Interrogation for Dummies

From the creators of Classroom Bias for Dummies and American Foreign Policy for Dummies!

by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

Hola, future interrogators!

I am excited—so very excited—that you are interested in learning more about interrogation. Because the key to winning the War on Terror is information, and most of the time, the only way to get reliable information is to beat it out of someone.

However, as a society, we also follow certain rules and regulations. . . especially when the media are watching us! So to help make sure your next Q&A doesn’t venture into too much S&M, we present this handy guide. Read it, live it, and if necessary, rip the pages out and force feed them to an uncooperative prisoner.

Good luck!

Calibrating your compassion

It is imperative when conducting forceful interrogations to know where to draw the line. The following quick comparisons will help you understand what is considered acceptable behavior, and what is just barbaric.

Hooking a Sears Die Hard battery to a detainee’s scrotum—acceptable
Unhooking life support from a human vegetable—barbaric

Turning prisoners over to countries that practice torture—acceptable
Turning stem cells over to scientific researchers—barbaric

Ignoring the Geneva Conventions—acceptable
Ignoring the Ten Commandments—barbaric

Discarding the Fourth Amendment during a time of war—acceptable
Obeying the system of checks and balances in a time of war—barbaric

Smothering a detainee in a sleeping bagacceptable
Sharing a sleeping bag with a naked cowboy—barbaric

Beating prisoners with plastic cablesacceptable
Exposing children to plastic boobies on cablebarbaric

Forming naked detainee pyramids—acceptable
Publishing photos of naked detainee pyramids—barbaric

Lie detection checklist

You’ve been at it for hours with an interrogation and your subject still says he’s not Al Queda. Can you believe him? Before you accept his gurgling pleas as truth, follow this checklist.

Did you:

[ ] Attach electrified nipple clamps?
[ ] Let dogs gnaw on detainee’s appendages?
[ ] Rub fake menstrual blood on detainee?
[ ] Sodomize detainee with a glow stick?
[ ] Allow detainee to sit in a mound of his own feces?
[ ] Waterboard?
[ ] Cause sleep deprivation/suicidal tendencies by putting "Sister Christian" on repeat?

If you’ve done all these steps and still haven’t gotten a confession, congratulations, you’ve determined that your detainee is innocent. Pat him on the back and tell him he's free to walk away (or crawl back to freedom if his knees are broken).

Making your extraordinary renditions extraordinarily legal

One of the keys to good interrogation is knowing when to ask for help. That’s what extraordinary rendition is: asking a helpful partner in the War on Terror to see if they can extract information from a prisoner.

Due to the meddling of freedom-hating liberals, however, it is against the law to hand prisoners over to countries that practice “torture.” Here’s how you can make sure your rendition partner isn’t going to “torture” the subject.

1) Ask the representatives from the country if they torture prisoners
2) Check representatives for crossed fingers
3) Ask them again if they torture prisoners, and this time make them swear on the religious book of their choice
4) If yes, hand prisoner over

What to do if you are accused of torture

- Do not admit fault

- Do not discuss the incident with journalists, activists, tribunals, or anyone except your superior officer, the Attorney General, or the Secretary of Defense

- Ask accuser to define torture

- Acknowledge that said definition is only one of many definitions of torture

- Remind accuser that enemies regularly practice torture

- Ask accuser if he or she would like to see the world ruled by a pro-torture Islamic caliphate

- Deny that you are changing the subject

- Offer to show accuser just how humane waterboarding is

- Find the lowest-ranking person involved and blame everything on him or her


That's all the training you need to be a qualified interrogator. So grab your digital camera and billy club and get ready to embark on an exciting career in information extraction. And remember, your job isn't just to get people to talk, it's also to keep people from talking about what you're doing.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Top Ten Tuesdays: How are we missing George W. Bush?

10) WTF? Are you serious?

9) Okay, it was kind of awesome to be smarter than the president.

8) And we miss Jon Stewart’s Bush almost as much as his Dick impression.

7) Still, we’d rather have a CIA interrogator electroshock our taint than go through those eight years again.

6) Although, if we were rich, we’d love another tax cut to have the money to build walls around our McMansions and not have to look at all the foreclosure signs.

5) We’d also really love to get back to “don’t tax and spend,” which took Americans’ love of credit card debt and made it a national economic strategy. All we’d have to do is make a balance transfer from one foreign creditor to another offering us 0% APR for six months.

4) Plus, there’s something appealing about a president who didn’t overthink things, or even think about them, and instead just did what Jesus told him.

3) He also brought democracy to Iraq for the low price of our national integrity, trillions of dollars, and hundreds of thousands of bodies.

2) Finally, who didn’t admire the philosophical conundrums of his anti-omnipotence, such as: could George W. Bush make a mess so bad even he couldn’t fuck it up any further?

1) In the end, though, this is kind of like saying we don’t like the janitor and instead miss the guy who shit all over the toilet. And everybody hates that guy except for other assholes who think it's funny to shit all over a toilet and then make a black guy clean it up.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Senator Jim Bunning: “I Will Kick a Puppy Until Congress Balances the Budget”

WASHINGTON – Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning is once again in drawing fire from Democrats and Republicans, this time for vowing to kick a puppy until Congress stops all new unfunded spending and gets serious about balancing the budget.

The issue arose as the Senate voted on a bill to continue funding the “Government Gruel” program for orphans held under federal care. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asked if there were any objections.

“Arf!” came a loud, high yip from Senator Bunning’s podium. The senator announced that the puppy, named “Scooter,” would get a kick if Congress attempted to pass any unfunded legislation.

Chaos broke out in the Senate Chamber. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin asked Bunning how he would explain to the orphans in his state how they wouldn’t get any gruel because “a mean old man was kicking a puppy.”

“Haven’t these orphans suffered enough?” Durbin asked.

“Arf!” was the only reply.

While Democrats were horrified, they were also helpless. “As much as we would all love to go up there and rescue that poor puppy, there’s no procedure that allows us to prevent Senator Bunning from kicking an animal,” said Senator Charles Schumer. “We’re powerless to stop him unless some Republicans join us in an effort to prevent this puppy punting.” When asked why the senator could not simply take the puppy away, Schumer replied, “We’re law-abiding members of Congress, not vigilante savages.”

Republicans were reluctant to condemn a colleague openly. “While I don’t necessarily agree with his methodology, I applaud my colleague for using this puppy kicking as a way to call attention to the budget deficit,” said Senator Mitch McConnell, also from Kentucky. “He’s showing the insanity of Senate Democrats who refuse to change their spendthrift ways.”

Other Republicans attempted to find a compromise that would allow Bunning to make his point without striking a cute, adorable animal. Senator David Vitter of Louisiana went so far as to volunteer to let Bunning kick him, especially if Bunning would call Vitter, “a naughty, naughty boy.”

Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was much more open in defending, Bunning. Over the taped sounds of a yipping dog, Limbaugh said that the incident showed “liberals” were “soft” on “spending” and “puppy kicking.” “This is a byproduct of our P.C. culture,” Limbaugh said, “where you can’t kick a helpless animal to make a point. Oh, but if he was kicking a white guy from AIG, it would be okay.

“In fact,” Limbaugh added, “I think Bunning should kick a black guy. Why harm use a puppy when you can use a guy who probably voted for Obama anyway.”

Limbaugh’s comments simply added gasoline to the pyre of puppy abuse, as members of animal rights groups, civil rights groups, and people with souls protested Bunning’s actions and Limbaugh’s suggestions. The Republican National Committee attempted to control the damage by saying the senator and radio host did not reflect the true nature of the Republican Party.

“While we have had some historical issues with kicking both puppies and African Americans, the modern Republican Party does not condone the kicking of either,” said RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

A moment later, Mr. Steele lept from his chair and let out a loud, “Ow! Who the (expletive) kicked me?” Upon turning to confront his attacked, a large sign on Mr. Steele’s back became visible. It read “KICK ME.”

Senator Bunning appeared and explained, “I was only doing what the sign told me to do.”

Friday, March 05, 2010

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10!

I am nearing the end of my last winter in Marquette. For the past two years, the cold and snow have stayed through March, but it’s supposed to be sunny and in the 40s for the next few days. Not enough necessarily to melt the feet of snow still on the ground, but enough to put a good dent into it. Free at last!

I had a conversation with my friend Tom about Tiger Woods, specifically whether sexual addiction was a bullshit “affliction.” Now, I have zero sympathy for Tiger. He schuptted his bed, now he’s got to lie in it. But what about his alleged sexual addiction?

I told Tom that, a few years ago, I would have said it was indeed a made-up diagnosis, like Seasonal Affective Disorder. Then I moved to Marquette and experienced five-month winters and 40-degree days in August, and you know what: that shit is pretty damn depressing. We had a two-week stretch at the end of this last December and early January where it was overcast all day, every day, with snow and howling winds. In other words, perfect weather to keep the Ninth Circle of Hell nice and frozen. Did it make me want to kill myself? No. Did it make me think it wouldn’t be so bad if one of the giant icicles fell of my roof and hit me in the head, sending blood onto the snow, because at least then I’d see a color outside other than white and gray? Maybe. So congratulations, U.P., you made me a believer in SAD.

Given that Tiger couldn’t even go to a Perkins restaurant without dropping his pants, maybe there’s something to his sex addiction. Although I think his bigger problem is going to Perkins in the first place.

1) “Cinnamon Girl,” Neil Young & Crazy Horse. A classic song, but definitely better on the live recordings than the studio. Not that the original isn't , but Crazy Horse is decidedly more crazy when running free on the stage instead of corralled in the studio.

2) “London Calling,” The Clash. Well there’s a nice opening salvo. It’s hard to sit when this place. I want to get up and march around the room, which I could do since I am still home by myself today. But even I would make fun of me for doing that. I am also old enough to remember the phony Beatlemania that indeed bite the dust, at least until Beatles Rock Band came around.

3) “Good Day Sunshine,” The Beatles. Once again, iTunes would creep me out with its ability to string together seemingly related songs, as if it were part of some mystical coded message, except that this matches the bright and sunny day we’re having today. However, just to be safe, I’d best check to make sure there are no albino monks dripping blood around the house (note: gross link worth clicking on for the music).

4) “Along the Boundary,” The Mutton Birds. Whew, no bloody albinos, only three stupid cats.

5) “Gimme Sympathy,” Metric. She asks, “Who would you rather be, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?” I’m definitely The Beatles. Not nearly enough of a bad boy to be a Stone. After all, I still have my original blood. Also of note: I haven't seen a lead singer move like that since the days of Nu Shooz, and I mean that as a compliment.

Speaking of things metric-related, this Daily Show clip on CNN’s Rick “Dirty” Sanchez is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen a national news person do. You watch something like this and ask yourself: how the fuck did we become the world's greatest power when the people telling us what's going on in the world are stupider than a fifth grader?

6) “Changes,” Sugar. I have a confession to make: Until recently, I thought all brown sugar was alike. I feel bad about that because it makes me wonder if I had some subconscious discrimination going on because of my whiteness. The Lovely Becky recently purchased some Dark Muscovado sugar, and I now realize that all brown sugars are not alike. My God, where have you been all my life, Dark Muscovado? It’s so rich with a little bit of molasses to it, and I want to put it on everything: oatmeal, ice cream, omelets, pizza, my toothbrush. It’s like I have sex addiction for for Dark Muscovado.

7) “We’ll Be Together,” Sting. Is it possible for this to sound more 1987? Much like brown sugarists, many (white) people think that stereotypical 80s music was all Flock of Seagulls and Men Without Hats synth-poop. While that’s true of the early part of the decade, the true 80s connoisseur knows that the tail end of the decade had a shift to stuff like this: slappy white funk bass lines with drums so processed, they sounded fake even if they were real. Amazing that Police songs sound much more modern despite being half a decade older.

8) “Ill With Want,” The Avett Brothers. I keep wanting to stick an apostrophe in “Ill,” because any time “ill” is capitalized, it looks like “I’ll” with a typo. I have also said this before, but it bears repeating: I And Love And You is a folking amazing album. It’s got that warmth and intimacy that great 70s albums had, the ones that could be confused for “soft rock” except that they lacked that essential ingredient all soft rock possesses: shit.

9) “Ice 9,” Joe Satriani. It wouldn’t be a Random 11 without a little wank. Like Sting’s Wonder Bread slap bass, the studio version has a super-clean guitar that chimes in like a guy walking into a party wearing a Members Only jacket (the live version rocks much harder). And while a fun little song, it's not a great Satriani song because it’s essentially guitar p0rn: some random music at the beginning that only serves to set up some hardcore soloing. Might as well throw in a wah-wah guitar while he’s at it and a female vocalist singing about what a big whammy bar he has.

10) “Storm Vibrations,” Guided by Voices. A five-minute song by GbV is like a 15-minute epic by someone else. It’s a very arena-ready song, especially the little quiet part in the middle that’s like an eye in the storm of rock, but I like arena ready. Sometimes I just want to have the lid blown off the domed stadium of my mind.

11) “You! Me! Dancing!” Los Campesinos! Despite the plethora of exclamation points—a punctuation mark my old creative director said made you sound “breathless and silly”—they fit here. I love, love, love this band, because their exclamation points capture the energy and enthusiasm they bring to their songs. I just bought their new CD (yes, they still make those), Romance Is Boring, and have played it at least once per day for the last couple of weeks. The reason for the gushing is that they take the catchy indie pop my ears crave and dress it up with a lot of great little flourishes: sweet female vocals to counter the sour male ones, shouted background vocals that give it a little punk flare, and things like a long intro that builds to a big wave of noise before the bass drum tells you to get your ass on the floor. Also, glockenspiel. They’re not for everyone, but if they are up your alley, they’ll roll a lot of strikes.

A great way to end the list. The sun is out, it’s Friday, I just finished the second part of my three-part novel, and my lovely wife and daughter return home after a week away. Everything’s coming up Brando, and I hope everything’s coming up (your name here) for you.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Repeat post week: Revenge of the Schtick

Over the years, I've written a fair number of pieces that I wound up not posting. Often it's because I have a funny idea--Tara Reid writing a complaint letter to the MacArthur Foundation, asking why she didn't get a genius grant--that doesn't evolve beyond the funny idea stage. Other times it's because something in the news already gets beaten to death by the time I have an idea about it. And, of course, mostly it's because something just sucks.

All of those deserve to be tucked away, but there's one I've always thought was funny enough that I should have put it up: a parody of Revenge of the Sith as directed by Quentin Tarantino.

I didn't post it when I wrote it for a couple reasons. One, I kicked off this blog by going to the QT parody well, and did it with a far less obvious target.

The other was that I didn't write this parody until after I wrote another piece on Lucas's movie: Gene Shalit's parasitic twin reviews Revenge of the Sith, possibly the weirdest thing I've ever written for the blog. I think that post is better than the following sketch because, as astute zombie once pointed out, you don't see the punchline coming from a mile away.

Maybe that's why I never gave this much due: it's a straight parody, with few surprises. While I'm certainly not above the cheap laugh, I do aspire to not getting obvious and predictable in gaining said cheap laughs.

But after thinking about the Gene Shalit post made me think of this sketch, I laughed when I opened it and read it. Maybe you will too.

Quentin Tarantino’s Revenge of the Sith

We see OBI-WAN KINOBI and MACE WINDU standing in front of COUNT DOOKU, seated in a chair. MAR VIN, a young Jedi padewan, cowers on the floor near the door.

And if you strike me down, I shall become...more powerful...than you can possibly imagine!!


Mace slices off Duku’s head with his lightsaber, then retracts the blade. At that moment, a STORMTROOPER bursts through the kitchen door. He fires a dozen shots at point blank range, but all of them wildly miss the two JEDI. They grimace and unleash their lightsabers, cutting the trooper to bits.

The Jedi are riding in a landspeeder on Tatooine. Mar-Vin rides in the back.

OBI-WAN (to Mar-Vin)
Why the fuck didn’t you tell us about the Stormtrooper in the personal waste disposal? Slip your mind? Forget he was in there with a goddamned Galaxy Gun?

We should be fuckin’ one with the Force right now. Did you see that blaster? It was bigger than him.

OBI-WAN (to Mace)
Yeah, we were lucky.

That shit wasn’t luck. It was a Force miracle. The Force was trying to tell me something.

Mace, the Force ties us and binds us, but that doesn’t mean this was a miracle. Shit, I’ve seen a hundred Stormtroopers fire a hundred shots each and not hit a goddamned thing.

If you want to just see with your eyes, fine. But my mitochlorians are telling me that my ass is retired.

What? Because some guy in a plastic helmet couldn’t control his blaster?

I’m telling Yoda today.

Yeah, be sure and tell him why. I’ll bet you ten thousand credits he laughs his green ass off.

I don’t give a damn if he does.

OBI-WAN (turning to Mar-Vin and casually holding his lightsaber)
Mar-Vin, what do you make of all this?

I don’t even have an opinion, Master.

Come on, Mar-Vin, do you think....

Obi-Wan’s lightsaber unexpectedly discharges. Ma- Vin is decapitated, his head sucked into the landspeeder engine, which starts to smoke. Blood sprays everywhere.

What the fuck?

Oh shit, I just cut Mar-Vin’s head off.

Why the fuck did you do that?

It was an accident. You went over a bump of something.

We’re in a motherfuckin’ landspeeder. There ain’t no motherfuckin’ bumps, motherfucker!

All right, all right, don’t get all Bantha-shit crazy on me. Just get us to a friendly place.

This is fuckin’ Tatooine, Obi-Wan. Yoda ain’t got no friendly places in Tatooine. Wait...

Mace calls someone on the communicator.

Ani? How you doing, man, it’s Mace. Listen, me and a buddy of mine are heading out of Tashi Station and need to get off the sand pronto. Can we use your place for a couple hours? I can’t tell you why. Look man, I’m just asking for some sanctuary. Okay, we’ll be gone by then, I promise.

Mace and Obi-Wan stand in a Tatooine farmer’s kitchen. ANAKIN stands before them. Mace drinks a hot beverage.

God-damn, Ani! This is some good shit! Me and Obi-Wan would have been satisfied with some freeze-dried dilithium crystals, but you break out the gormet....

Knock it off, Mace! I don’t need you to tell me how good my fuckin’ morning stimulant is. I’m the one who buys it. When Padme goes to the spaceport, she buys shit. I buy the gormet stuff because I want to feel it on my taste buds. But what’s on my mind right now ain’t the morning stimulant. It’s the dead Jedi in my vaporizer shed. Let me ask you a question, Mace. When you drove up to my place, did you see a sign that said, “Dead Jedi storage?”

Ani, man....

Don’t Ani me, Mace! Did you see a sign that said, “Dead Jedi storage?”

No, I didn’t.

You know why? Cause storing dead Jedis ain’t my fuckin’ business.

Mace tries to interrupt but Anakin won’t let him.

No, you listen to me. Now Padme’s going to be home from the Galactic Senate in about an hour. You need to use the communicator? You need use the Force? You do it, and then get the fuck out of my vapor farm.

YODA sits at a table in his swamp, eating a rancid piece of meat. He is exchanging thoughts with Mace.

YODA (concentrating as we hear a voice over)
What she will do think you? (pauses) No shit fucking freak she will. How bad be it? A lot or a little, mmmm?

Mace sits in Ani’s bedroom, communicating telepathically.

MACE (voice over)
You’ve got to appreciate the explosiveness of this Padme situation. She comes home from a long day’s work in the Galactic Senate and finds a couple of Jedis doing Jedi shit, we might be up to our ass in X-Wings real quick.

YODA (voice over)
So what want you from me to hear?

MACE (voice over)
Me want say you...(grimaces, pauses). What I want to hear from your ass is, “You ain’t got no problem, Mace. I’m on the motherfucker. Go back in there and wait for the armada.”

YODA (imitating Mace)
Problem you ain't got, Mace. On the motherfucker am I. Back in there you go and wait for the Wookie you will.

You sending the Wookie?

Better you feel?

Shit, Master, that’s all you had to say.

In Anakin’s kitchen, there’s the sound of a spaceship landing, and a pounding on the door. Anakin opens it and sees CHEWBACCA. Chewbacca howls.

That’s right, but you can call me Ani. Please come in.

Chewbacca enters sees Obi-Wan and Mace. He lets out a long passage of growls and grunts, gesturing at them and toward the vaporizer shed. When he finishes, Mace and Ani turn to leave.

A “may the Force be with you” would be nice.

Chewbacca turns to him and grunts.

I said a “may the Force be with you” would be nice.

Chewbacca lurches toward him, howling and beating his chest.

I don’t mean any disrespect, I just don’t like people barking orders at me.

Chewbacca grunts and groans, then points to the shed.

In the shed, Mace and Obi-Wan clean the bloody speeder.

I will never forgive your ass for this. This is some fucked up repugnant shit.

I got a threshold, Mace. Right now, I’m a hyperdrive, and you got me revved up in the red and ready to blow through an asteroid belt without the proper coordinates..

Well I’m an ion-cloud-laying motherfucker, motherfucker! Every time I touch bits of blood and bone, I’m the giant asteroid that you’re going to crash into when you jump to lightspeed. In fact, what the fuck am I doing in the back? You should be on brain detail and picking up this padewan’s skull.

Later, the speeder has been cleaned. Chewbacca inspects it and grunts in approval. He motions for Mace and Obi-Wan to strip. They do, and Anakin hoses them down. They put on apprentice robes that are way to small for them. Chewbacca laughs and grunts to Anakin.

Younglings. They look like a couple of younglings!

Ha, ha, motherfucker, they’re your fucking clothes.

Obi-Wan shakes Chewbacca’s hand.

Mr. Wookie, I just want to apologize for what I said back there. It has been a pleasure watching you work.

Chewbacca howls, gestures to all of them, and makes a blowjob motion. All of them laugh, and then they climb into the landspeeder and drive off.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Repeat post week: Ozzy Ozzy Ozzy, Oi Oi Oi

Jennifer's in the retro post spirit this week, pulling up a couple of old posts that she loves (and wrote before she became a blogging sensation). That got me to take a peek back into the CJSD archives, back when I was in Single-A ball and three people were reading my blog (including me). I thought it would be fun to pull out a couple really old nuggets I like but don't make the best-of list.

I found a very early one that I think is still funny, has some significance for the blog, and demonstrates the fragile freshness of parody and satire: The Osbournes Animal Planet.

I read it over yesterday for the first time in years and found myself chuckling. If I may toot my own horn for a brief moment, I think it feels like one of those Saturday Night Live sketches people would be recounting to each other by the coffee machine on Monday morning. It helps that Ozzy is inherently funny and the jokes nearly write themselves when he's a main character.

The significance of this sketch is that it's taken from one of my many failed novels, Circle Jerk at the Square Dance. Before this blog was a gleam in Blogger's eye, I was writing a novel about a group of people trying to put on a sketch show, and I included sketches that the people were performing. The problem was, like many sketches themselves, the novel didn't have a particularly compelling plot. It seemed, as a wise man once said, like a bunch of stuff that happened. So into the trash it went. I was fairly devastated by this failure, as I thought it had a lot of promise at first...until I started writing it, that is. But out of that came the impulse to blog and the title for the blog, and that's given me nearly five years of entertainment.

The last thing this shows is how quickly parody and satire can age. Even at the time I wrote this, The Osbournes was on the way out as a pop culture phenomenon. Now, with what seems like decades since we watched Ozzy picking up dog poop in his kitchen and of course with the tragic death of Steve Irwin, it seems even more dated.

Despite all that, I still think the sketch works, and I hope you have a good laugh from it.

The Osbournes Animal Planet

Steve Irwin, aka The Crocodile Hunter, stands at a zoo.

G’Day, and welcome to a special edition of The Crocodile Hunter. As all of you know, I love animals. I love the way they feel, the way they smell, the way they brush up against you when you sleep...Er, but I also love rock and roll! And today, we have one of the greatest rock and rollers ever, the Prince of Darkness ’imself, Ozzy Osbourne and is family!

The Osbournes enter: Ozzy, Sharon, Jack, and Kelly. Ozzy shakes as he stumbles toward Steve. Jack and Kelly fight.

Fuck off!

No, you fuck off!

Mom! Tell Jack that I said he has to fuck off first!

Buh...buh...buh...Both of you can fuck off. Shut your meatholes, or I’m going to feed you to the bloody hippos.

Ozzy, hippos don’t eat people.

Very good, Sharon. ’ippos are plant eaters, or ’erbivores.

Right, well, I’ll feed you two to the uh, to the uh, to the uh, whatever eats the fuckin’ hippos.

Don’t worry kids, today we’re going to look at some animals that seem dreadfully frightening, but are really ’armless.

Why’d you cut off their arms?

No, Ozzy, there ’armless. You know, can’t hurt you.

Because they don’t have any arms?

No, he means they’re not dangerous, you fizzled old twat.

Well why the fuck didn’t he say so?

Steve brings in a rhinoceros and pets the rhino’s head.

First, we have one of the truly magnificent creatures of nature, the rhinoceros. No other animal is so powerful, so attractive, so sexy. Look at its jublies!

Steve grabs the testicles of the animal to show the audience.

OZZY (whispering to Sharon)
Gotta watch these Aussies. They've all been in prison.

Now, ’ere’s question for all of you. What’s a rhinoceros ’orn made of?


Good guess, Sharon, but incorrect.


Your mother already guessed that, Kelly.

But I wanted to guess it first!


Jack has his back turned to the camera and is making loud sniffing noises. He falls over.

Crikey! Is he okay?

SHARON (looking over)
Mmmm, no convulsions. He's just resting his eyes.

Um, okay then. Ozzy? ’azard a guess about what the rhino’s ’orn is made of?

Uh, uh, uh, cement?

All good guesses, but the correct answer is ’air!


No, Ozzy, hair.

Ozzy touches Steve’s hair, then the rhino horn, then Steve’s hair again, then the rhino horn, then his own hair.

But how...but how...but...Sharon!

Steve's kidding dear, it's bone.

No, it's...

Trust me, Steve, it's bone.

Ah, right.

I said bone!

No, dear, you said hair.

Oh, right. (pause) Fuck.

Steve leads the rhino away and returns with something concealed behind his back.

Now, for our next animal, what looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and lays eggs like a duck, but isn’t a duck?

A rubber duck?

Steve pulls out a platypus from behind his back. Ozzy leaps behind Sharon in horror.

Sharon! Sharon, it's come back for me!

Relax, Ozzy. This is a duck-billed platypus. This little guy is a mammal that lays eggs. ’e’s harmless. See for yourself.

Ozzy takes the platypus and looks it in the face. He turns it around and looks at its behind. Then its face. Steve sneaks up behind him and speaks as if he's the platypus

STEVE (whispering)
Ozzy, you will worship me!

Ozzy screams and drops the platypus, raising his foot to crush it. Steve cries out in horror.

Double Crikey!

Sharon casually picks up the platypus just as Ozzy's foot comes down. Ozzy looks at the ground.

Sharon! Get the gun, it's turned invisible.

Sharon hands the animal to Steve, who is calming down.

That’s probably a little too much stimulation for him, Steve. Do you have an animal that doesn’t do much?

STEVE (breathing heavily)
Oi, that was close. Thought the little guy was a goner. Okay, this next one is from a group of animals that usually scare people to death, but ’e’s really cute as a button. Say ’ello to the Jamaican Fruit Bat.

Steve holds up a cute little bat.

This little guy's name is Marley, and ’e's...


Ozzy snatches Marley from Steve and bites its head off.

Yuck! (spits out the head) It doesn’t taste like bloody fruit!

Steve grabs the head and the torso from Ozzy.

Marley, oh my God, you...you...killed ’im!

Tastes more like chicken.

Steve cradles the bat and rocks back and forth with it. He is unable to continue, so Sharon turns to the camera.

Thanks for watching the Alligator Guy.

STEVE (to Ozzy)

Please join us again when my husband will not be eating any animals. (To Kelly) Be a dear and fetch your father’s rabies kit.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Top Ten Tuesdays: Why are our cars getting recalled?

Special extended defects edition!

15) New advanced braking computer is tired of us taking its braking for granted.

14) Love Bugs tested positive for herpes.

13) Air bags mistakenly replaced with guillotines.

12) Objects in side mirrors may be more invisible than they appear.

11) White finish attracts gunfire and noxious one-liners.

10) “Steering dyslexia.”

9) Hybrid engine converts carbon emissions to PCP.

8) Dangerous levels of camp.

7) Stepping on gas pedal causes radio to blast “I Can’t Drive 55.”

6) Severely depressed GPS always giving directions to the nearest cliff.

5) Mobile, life-sized hood ornament deemed “distracting.”

4) Normally good, mild-mannered cars become unpredictable monsters when fueled after midnight.

3) Pre-loaded with babies on board.

2) Driver’s-side recliner induces dangerous levels of napping.

1) Fails to meet government standards for m.p.g.p. (mortality per gross profits).