Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Top Ten Tuesdays: Why are we rich folks so unethical?

Special extra crass for gold edition!

15) Final test of Skull and Bones initiation is to take candy from a baby.

14) Inherited an insatiable taste for precious metals at birth.

13) Moral compass doesn’t come standard in Rolls Royce.

12) Refuse to be common when it comes to decency.

11) Capitalism is spelled with two I’s, not a bunch of U’s.

10) Tend to fall from grace more quickly due to weight of golden parachute. 

9)  Consider it consensual when our naughty investors practically beg us to Ponzi their assets.

8) Colorblindness makes it impossible for us to see black and white, only green.

7) Would gladly have a conscience if they sold them at Tiffany’s.

6) Don’t consider it insider trading if it happens outside on the golf course.

5) Our health plans fully cover bleeding hearts.

4) What you call “cutting people off in traffic” we call “promoting the Bentley brand.”

3) Nice guys finish last and we graduated suma at Harvard Business School.

2) Got used to having people clean up our shit after we got the key to the executive washroom.

1) Laws are for people who can’t afford lawyers.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10!

President Santorum. God help me, but part of me wants to see that happen. That has to be one of the signs of Armageddon, right? And lo will the horseman ride, and ye will know it is Him by the stench in the air and the frothy mix of thy most unholy expulsions and the oil of passion. And if by some stroke of dumbfuckery he actually gets the nomination, where would that put Romney in terms of worst Republican candidates of all time? How can you spend a gazillion dollars, have shoulders you could land a C-120 on, and have the kind of winning squishy centrist cracker platform that appeals to people who are conservative idiots but don’t want to appear like conservative idiots, and then struggle against Newt Gingrich and a guy who says Satan is giving America the shocker? That’s worse than losing to Eli Manning, twice.

1) “Staying Fat,” Bloc Party. Seriously, my fucking theme song. I gained ten pounds over the holidays, mostly because I am like Pac Man and must EAT OR DIE. So The Lovely Becky and I decided to go on the lo-carb South Beach Diet, which has worked wonders for me in the past. The problem is the first two weeks are completely carb-free. They suck like the precious rock candy I would step over the still-warm body of my mother to shove in my piehole, which I can’t even call a piehole anymore. In typical fashion, we also started our diet by pigging out like we could smell the Santorum Administration riding in and wanted to eat as much pizza, wings, and sweets as possible before the Rapture. Although I guess if gluttony is a sin, that probably means that bakers, confectioners, and Culvers will be left behind. That’s a tribulation I can live with.

2) “Paint It Black,” The Rolling Stones. This always reminds me of high school. Sophomore year we studied poetry in English. Our teacher pulled the move of letting us bring in songs to analyze. This one girl brought in “Paint It Black,” and her explanation of it actually confused me to the point where I have no clue what this song means. I brought in “Witch Hunt” by Rush, which is a song about how bringing Rush songs to your English class will not get you laid.

3) “Lived in Bars,” Cat Power. I would like this song better now if it was called “Lived in Bars of Chocolate.” Seriously awesome, even sans chocolate.

4) “Bad Connection,” Yaz. AKA one of the songs other than “Don’t Go” or “Only You” on Upstairs at Eric’s. Could only find a live version, which made me ask, "There are live versions of Yaz songs?"

5) “Leaf House,” Animal Collective. If you can beat off while walking a tightrope, juggling a monkey with your free hand, and reciting Proust from memory, while I will give you props for creativity and difficulty, I still don’t want to watch you beat off.

6) “I Am the Walrus (Live),” Oasis. Of course, after slagging off Animal Collective, this cover of the classic Beatles tune comes on and I start bopping my head, even though I know all of the Animal Collective spirit of the original gets Blueshammered by the Fighting Gallaghers. Plus they wank the shit out of this at the end. So what do I know? Tangent: TLB has turned Libby completely against Rush. Libby will offer, unprovoked, a hearty “I HATE RUSH” on occasion. However, when I was singing to her before bed the other night, she asked, “Can you sing me more Beatles songs?” I immediately relayed this to infamous Beatles-hater TLB like I had just won my O.J. prize.

7) “Heart Skipped a Beat,” The xx. This would have definitely been on a mixtape from me. I would have laid on my bed, listening to it on headphones, hoping she was listening to it at the same time, and that even though she made me feel like the drums after the guitar solo on “Tom Sawyer,” I know that would really annoy her to put that on a mixtape, so would she please accept this instead?

8) “Burn Hollywood Burn,” Public Enemy. Twenty-two years later and White People Solve Racism is still what gets nominated for Academy Awards. Then again, Flavor Flav didn’t exactly help the cause.

9) “Don’t Look Back,” Boston. Except for “Foreplay/Long Time,” I can’t listen to them. This is coming from someone who wore a hole in my Boston tapes. Amazing video, lying somewhere between concert footage from Almost Famous and Blue Oyster Cult trying to give the Bruce Dickinson the cowbell levels he demands.

10) “High and Unhinged,” Les Savy Fav. Love, love, love. Fantastic couplets delivered by a guy who looks like Zach Galifikanis’s balding brother.

11) “Complete Control,” The Clash. Favorite Clash song of all time. What more is there to say? And what better way to end the list? Bonus: Maybe the Clashiest video of all time. 

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Top Ten Tuesdays: What are we doing for Valentine's Day?

Special extended love you long time edition!

14) Handing our true love a Valentine made out of the restraining order.

13) Asking the representative at 1-800-FLOWERS if they have same-day shipping on baskets of actual broken hearts.

12) Deregulating all of Callista’s activities during alone time even when we use our safe word, “Alinksy.”

11) Grabbing the Hitatchi Magic Wand and an electronic cigarette.

10) Opening a bottle of wine, playing some Carly Simon, getting our sewing needle, spreading out the surveillance photos, and going to town on the voodoo doll.

9) Treating our significant other like the pool boy/au pair.

8) Showing off our extensive collection of half-eaten Valentine’s Day candy on a special episode of Hoarders.

7) Trying out that K-Y stuff before getting kicked out of Target.

6) Going to a restaurant by ourselves, pretending to take a call that our date was killed, and getting a free meal and/or pity sex.

5) Including some sweetheart candies along with the bottle of lotion before lowering the bucket into the well.

4) Sending our spouse a very romantic text message.

3) Throwing steamed milk on every happy couple we serve at Starbucks while yelling, “Now you know what true love really feels like!”

2) Getting Boehner’d without birth control.

1) Wait, it’s Valentine’s Day? Fuck!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10!

This weekend is the shittiest weekend of the year: the first weekend after the end of football season. I feel a sports void only football can fill. As much as I like the NBA, college basketball, and baseball, football by far has the best ease-of-following to entertainment ratio. Baseball is like trying to keep up with a soap that you could only possibly watch all the time if you were unemployed. You miss a week and come back and there’s some dipshit from Triple-A starting because the starter landed on the 60-day disabled list when he accidentally got grapefruit juice in his eye. With basketball, while it’s fun to watch, you can pretty much coast until playoff/tournament time before you really have to pay attention. With football, I can watch a game on Sunday and maybe Monday, read a little on the Web on Tuesday, and I feel like I could step in as a guest house for Partdon the Interruption. “Tony, I am positive Peyton Manning will never throw again. In fact, I have it on good authority from the Internet that he can’t even feel his penis when he masturbates. How is he going to grip a football?”

Onto the tunes:

1) “Bad Reputation,” Thin Lizzy. Speaking of Mannings, you can pretty much use Eli Manning and the Giants's last two Super Bowls to explain what the hell happened to the econmy. In 2007-08, the last great football dynasty was on its way to unprecedented success, a 17-0 season that needed just one win over Manning the Lesser to achieve the best football season in NFL history. It was led by the most prolific offense in history, with a coach who wasn’t above cheating to get results and a pretty boy QB who traded supermodel girlfriends like cheesecake futures. Instead, the rails came off bus before anyone knew what happened. Tom Brady was outplayed by Eli Manning, a player who the series The League once referred to as “that goddamned mouthbreating dummy.”

After that happened, the NFL was complete chaos. Nothing made any sense anymore. Teams won without being able to run or play defense. The Arizona Cardinals made the Super Bowl, a sure sign of the collapse of civilization. The formerly robust Patriots couldn’t win a playoff game, let alone a Super Bowl. And the most buzzed about quarterback in the league was better at genuflecting and avoiding non-marital coitus than throwing a screen pass without skipping the ball off the turf.

In the meantime, Eli Manning took a beating despite his success. No one really believed in him. Even this year, as his numbers were crazy—he threw for the sixth-highest season total in history—he was like the Dow. Sure, he was up, but it seemed like only the 1% of fantasy football players who owned him were benefiting while the other 99% of us were missing the games because we ditched cable to save money. He wins again, and still everyone thinks not only that it’s a fluke, like Anthony Michael Hall having sex at the end of Sixteen Candles, but that we’re never going to get back to the era of great, reliable dynasties and that we should be thankful things don’t suck more. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Eli Manning, America’s quarterback.

2) “Fade to Black,” Metallica. A song about suicide for those non-sports fans who just waded through 500 words about football. The irony of this song is that these days Metallica does make me want to kill myself, at least the part of myself that once said, “I really like their new direction”  when the black album came out.

3) “Muzzle of Bees,” Wilco. I really hate to say this, but I like the idea of Wilco better than Wilco’s music. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is the only album of theirs I really love. Jeff Tweedy is really creative, they have a lot of soul, etc., but at the end of the day I’d rather hear Uncle Tupelo or the first Son Volt album.

4) “Six Months in a Leaky Boat,” Tim Finn, Bic Runga, and Dave Dobbyn. A great live version of the Split Enz classic that's sadly not on the YouTubes, but here's Tim and Neil Finn. I really want to go to New Zealand before I die, but I’m fucking terrified of the flight. I do okay when it’s just a few hours in the air, but I can’t sleep on planes, and after 20-some hours in the air I guarantee I’d be seeing a gremlin Tebowing out on the wing. God help me if I had been born 100 years ago and adrift in a leaky boat. I’d be the panicky idiot who gets eaten by the first week at sea. OH HEAVENS, IS THAT A SHARK? Nevermind, it was just some kelp. I do apologize for the false alarm. Say, why are you sprinkling sat on my leg?

5) “Have You Fed the Fish Today,” Badly Drawn Boy. That’s what would happen when the scraps of me were thrown overvboard. I love singing this song even though I really have no idea what it means. Is it about taking responsibility every day? What if I just buy one of those self-feeders for the aquarium and check back in a week? Does that mean I’m a bad fish parent, like giving my kid a box of Cookie Crisp and a half-gallon of milk and telling her daddy needs to sleep for a couple more hours?

6) “Pass the Mic,” Beastie Boys. This song is 20 years old. How is that possible? Jesus Christ, at this rate I won’t make it to theatrical release of The Hobbit, let alone New Zealand.

7) “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others,” The Smiths. My daughter falls into this category. Libby is off the charts in terms of height. A cashier recently thought she was seven. She’s three-and-a-half. Part of me is loving the basketball domination potential of this growth. I’d love to see her be unstoppable in the paint and back her way into a full-ride scholarship. But I also don’t want her to be freak tall either. That’s a rough road for girls. So I’m hoping Division 1 shooting guard or small forward size.

8) “Boys Don’t Cry,” The Cure. Still, it will be hard for me not to live vicariously through Libby if she winds up being good at basketball, because I have always wished I was good at the game. Instead I have been a terrible hoops player my whole life. My friend Tom reminded me of an event from junior high that illustrates the gap between this ambition and ability. We used to play basketball at recess (when we weren’t playing D&D). At the time, I lived in the DC area and Patrick Ewing was playing ball at Georgetown. One day, for reasons unknown, I decided to charge the net to see if I could dunk. I sprinted toward the hoop (sans ball), yelled “EWING” and jumped as high as I could. Instead of the rim, I got both hands about halfway up the net. Now, our playground was just a parking lot, and the hoops were positioned by the parking blocks that bordered the lot. I swung on the net until I was almost horizontal. I then let go. I fell and the small of my back hit the parking block. I still don’t know how I wasn’t paralyzed, and every time Tom brings this up, he says he thought I was paralyzed because of the thud I made when I landed. Anyway, it will take a lot for me not to pushing Libby to dunk, because I’d still risk a shattered backbone if I thought I could jam that rock home.

9) “I Believe in a Thing Called Love,” The Darkness. They randomly showed up in a Super Bowl commercial, and I laughed that they must be paying their rehab bills, but lo and behold, they are back with a new album. I was completely sucked into this song when it came out, using irony as a thin camouflage for what is my occasionally horrible taste in music. I’m not making that mistake twice. What’s that? Am I air guitaring this right now? Why would you ask such a silly question, of course…wait, I can’t type during the solo.

10) “SWLABR,” Cream. Clapton gets all the press, and of course he’s amazing. I, however, dig Cream for Ginger Baker, both because he played the drums so well and because he often did so while wearing a cape.

11) “The Humpty Dance,” Digital Underground. Great hip-hop track? Or greatest hip-hop track? Either way, even an unabashed Darkness love like myself loves shaking my booty to this.

Have a great weekend.

Top Ten Friday: How are we spreading Santorum?

10) Beginning with some master debating to prime our caucusing.

9) Getting our base really excited by talking about creating a frothy mix of church and state.

8) Acknowledging that watching a black guy have his way with our beloved country is driving us sooo crazy.

7) Explaining that any stains on our Congressional record were the result of ramming home our lengthy legislative agenda.

6) Showing our hardcore credentials by getting our knees and thanking God for showering us with His copious blessings. 

5) Promising that we will work tirelessly to hand jobs to any hard-working American who wants one.

4) Finishing ahead in a crucial three-way primary while the frontrunners beat off attacks from each other.

3) Having donors throw money at us after showing our rising polls.

1) Starting slow so that we could peak and come from behind simultaneously with the election in November.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10!

I got a text from my youngest brother, Snake Anthony, this week. “I’m about to platinum Skyrim. Fuck my life.”

Skyrim is the videogame/digital heroin that has gripped once upstanding men such as my brother. It has gripped me, too. In fact I haven’t played in two days and I’m feeling slightly twitchy, like I need my dungeon crawling fix.

The platinum part refers to the diabolical practice of granting achievements in videogames. When the Xbox 360 came out, it introduced the practice of giving the player points for accomplishing certain objectives in games. Some are easy, like score a touchdown in Madden. Some are hard, like score a 99-yard touchdown in Madden. Each game has a fixed number of achievements you can get. Each one also has a little name, often cutesy or punny. For instance, if you get 20 headshots in a first-person shooter, you get a 50-point “Dude, That Was My Skull!” award. (Note: not a real achievement, but should be.)

I thought this was the dumbest thing ever when I first heard about it. What do you get with achievements? Nothing, save bragging rights from other nerds. Not only can you not use achievements to do something useful, like get laid, the act of getting them will take the place of doing something useful, like making yourself more attractive by not holding a controller in your hand and screaming “Munch on those nuts, little squirrel!” to the 12-year-old you’re playing in Call of Duty.

But then I got a 360 and got my first achievement. When you get one, it makes a little noise and pops up. Sometimes achievements are secret, and you don’t even know that jumping on the princess’s head to make her sneeze out mushrooms that turn to gold coins was actually rewarded. I was looked like a bass in a fishing game (which nets you a five-point "You Da Gorton’s Man" achievement).

The Playstation 3 took this one step further by handing out little bronze, silver, gold, and platinum trophies. You get a platinum trophy for a game when you achieve all the others. Now when confronted with the gnawing accusation that you were wasting your life playing games, you could open a virtual trophy case and say, “Oh, really? Who’s laughing now, dad? Oh, and can I live here for another six months?”

As a fellow Skyrim player, I have seen the list of achievements. Getting the mystic platinum trophy is not something one acquires easily. Dare I say it would take less time to take a ring of power to Mordor and catch a ride home from a giant eagle, with time for a stop in Rivendell for a three-day bender with a pair of wood nymphs and a dwarf of undetermined gender. But how long exactly?

A couple days later, I had my answer. “Platinum. Done. Fack. 120 hours.”

That’s a lot of work to feel both secretly proud and very publicly ashamed. You could watch the entire series of The Wire twice in that time. They should at least give people like my brother a t-shirt that says, “I platinumined Skyrim” on the front and “Who wants to fucking touch me?” on the back. Either that or total consciousness on your deathbed. A little something, you know, for the effort.


1) “Long Distance Runaround,” Yes. I really hope that Newt Gingrich stays in the race. The GOP nomination process will become as boring and limp as a Mormon key party the minute Romney gets the nod (which is inevitable), and Ron Paul is like most SNL skits, a great premise that becomes repetitious and tiresome after the first 30 seconds. Santorum will only become interesting if he gets caught speading Santorum of the couch of some Nevada bathhouse. The race needs Newt, because while the prospect of a Gingrich administration is both ridiculous and appalling, watching him delude himself into thinking he’ll be president is fascinating. Of course, that would require him keeping a vow.

2) “Cult of Personality,” Living Color. Nice follow up, iTunes. You are becoming more genius by the day. This is easily in my top five of favorite guitar solos of all time. I think this was in Guitar Hero III and it the solo was such a blur of colors is was like going through the Star Gate in 2001. (Side note: freakiest goddamned "music" ever in a movie.) The Vernon Reid of plastic toy guitars I am not. Note: Live performance from Arsenio! God bless the Internet.

3) “Standing in the Shower…Thinking,” Jane’s Addiction. I wish I could work in the shower all day long, because there is no better place I think. It would require solving quite a few problems: hot water, environmental waste, electrocution, and modesty issues when videoconferencing, to name a few. But I could probably write my novel in a month if I could find a way to do it in the shower. And, from the TMI file, The Lovely Becky hates getting ready when I am in the shower because I take scalding showers, which steams up the bathroom and makes things like makeup application difficult (for her, I have no problems putting my makeup on). Take a water temperature needed to repel a group of Normans storming your castle walls and lower it by 3-5 degrees and that's what I like. If there is water in hell I may wind up feeling both refreshed and productive.

4) “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love,” Van Halen. It is appalling that they have gotten back together. It’s bad enough to Mick Jagger shaking his moneymaker, but the idea of old David Lee Roth talking about reaching down between his legs and easing the seat back is unappealing when his car seat probably has one of those beaded back rests to help his sciatica. And God help the first five rows if he breaks out the chaps.

5) “Pandy Fackler,” Ween. I don’t get them and honestly I don’t want to. I was sort of fascinated by Ween for a bit because they were so goddamned weird that I made the mistake of thinking they must be good. But sometimes weird is just weird, and they give off too much of a creepy uncle vibe. Yeah, he can play the shit out of his guitar and he’s really smart, but you don’t want to get stuck with him waiting for the isolated upstairs bathroom at your aunt’s house. I do, however, love that some hipster ad agency guy thought it would be a swell idea to hire them to write a jungle for Pizza Hut (their best song because it’s their shortest).

6) “I’m Eighteen,” Alice Cooper. I was too stupid and horny to be confused at 18. I knew I was going to college and that I wanted to have sex. Even when my medical study plans evaporated after my first chemistry midterm, I still knew I was going to get a degree and that I still wanted to have sex (with drinking standing by as a helper monkey/platonic friend if the latter didn’t work out). There was always another class/test/paper/party/bar/visit from TLB to keep me focused and/or content. Even in my 20s, I was just happy to be working and living in New York and then Chicago. No, my version would be called, “I’m Thirsty-Six,” and go I’m looking at these reports while sittin’ in my cube/the boss is calling me and IT’s blocked YouTube/I’m getting’ pounded and I’m all out of lube/I’m thirty-six and I don’t like it! Of course, now I get to work at home wearing whatever combination of sweats/jeans/hot pants I desire and can crank Alice Cooper when it shows up, so I’m good.

7) “Blister in the Sun,” Violent Femmes. Now here’s some Friday music. Funny college anecdote: My dorm roommate and I used to play this album a lot. We were going down to the mailboxes and he was humming this song. There was one other guy getting his mail, and as the three of us retrieved our letters and were leaving, we heard this guy starting to him “Blister in the Sun.” That’s some old school earworming, before you could just slap a YouTube thingy on The Facebook. I always think of that whenever I hear this song now. Unrelated: EPIC MULLET IN THE VIDEO. There is so much party in the back of the bassists hair I feel like I need a rehab stint at Supercuts just from looking at it.

8) “Destination Ursa Major,” Superdrag. A lost gem from the 1990s. Major labels have killed many a good band, but I have tended to enjoy indie power pop bands that got to take their songwriting talents to big studios. As much as I love this crackle and hiss of early Guided by Voices, I am a big fan of the stomp that they achieved on their two major releases.

9) “Go With the Flow,” Queens of the Stone Age. I got a whole new appreciation for drummers when I tried to play this on Rock Band. The first time I played this, I was winded, and this was even before I was in my current post-parent creampuff state, back in my Branimal salad days. It’s three minutes, and I thought I can do anything for three minutes (insert TLB joke here). But I couldn’t keep up and had to stop. How does Neil Peart do this shit for three hours? Alas, I can’t play it now because I done broke my Rock Band drum pedal, and there appears to a shortage of replacements—spare pedals are selling for $90 online by guys who are all about the money instead of the music, man! The invisible hand of the free market once again punching me in the nuts.

10) “You Know I’m No Good,” Amy Winehouse. I love the Tanqueray couplet she pulls off. It’s too bad she died, because regardless of how fucked up she was, she was talented and I think she could have made some great music about getting back from the edge of the abyss. At the same time, because my brain knows it’s no good, when someone like Amy Winehouse dies, I imagine Abe Vigoda sitting back in his easy chair and marking another vertical line in a notebook that tallies how many people he’s outlived. You want the secret to immortality? Find out what he eats and make a pill out of it.

11) “Portions for Foxes,” Rilo Kiley. It’s interesting to get a woman’s perspective on things. Jenny Lewis sings that “the talking leads to touching, and the touching leads to sex, and then there is no mystery left.” Whereas if a guy was singing this, he’d sing “the talkin’ leads to touchin’, and the touchin’ leads to sex, and…what do you mean and, that’s it, that’s the trick.” We apparently have differing opinions on what constitutes the prestige.

Seriously, though, how are men in charge? I think women could walk around with a little pen like they use in Men in Black, only instead of flashing some kind of amnesia light, it flashes boobs. Some guy is blathering on about his fantasy team or how he’s going to squeeze an extra five horsepower out of the Mustang or how feminism has been the undoing of America and, boom-boom. When he comes back to reality and asks what happened, you tell him he was just about to take the garbage out or cook dinner for the kids or withdraw from the race. Problem solved. You're welcome, women of America.

Have a great weekend.