Thursday, June 28, 2012

Supreme Court Decision on Health Care Triggers Epidemic of Spontaneous Head Explosions Among Conservatives

CDC says the “batshit crazy” and those participating in anonymous, unprotected “tea parties” most at risk

FREEDOMVILLE – Across the United States, computer screens, smartphones, televisions, and tinfoil hats are awash with blood as the Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s health care mandate as constitutional.

Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, one of the fiercest opponents to “Obamacare,” was also one of its highest profile victims. After months of crowing that the Supreme Court would “overturn the greatest threat to liberty since Will & Grace,” Ms. Malkin was eagerly live-blogging the decision. “Get ready for a slice of humble pie, traitors,” she typed. Moments later, she wrote, “Wait, what? UGGGGHHH!!!!” Many of her followers became suspicious because that line was much more literate than her usual postings, and they alerted authorities.

Police arrived to find a grisly scene. Ms. Malkin’s body was found at her blood-spattered computer, head gone, her hands still on the “Shift” and “1” keys. Police found no evidence of foul play but were baffled at what happened.

Similar scenes appeared at Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, conservative think tanks, country clubs, prep schools, and basements housing most conservative blog offices. Police again noticed no evidence of break in, violence, or insertion of air pumps into ear canals, which had explained an earlier rash of cranial fractures at the conservative Web site Townhall.

However, things came more clearly into focus when police were called to the offices of The National Review. After fielding numerous calls about popping sounds and a horrid stench, authorities walked into a nightmare crime scene. Nearly every staffer lay headless, their computers or phones open to the decision, some in the middle of tweets. Only one person remained alive, writer Jonah Goldberg, who had not yet read about the decision as he in the midst of his morning ritual of masturbating to hentai. After climaxing, Mr. Goldberg walked into the middle of the offices and saw the carnage, collapsing into a fetal heap. An examination of the seat of his pants also revealed him to be the source of the smell.

One veteran police officer noted a striking similarity to an incident that occurred at The National Review after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. He alerted the Center for Disease Control.

Dr. Richard Scanner, a forensic psychologist assigned by the CDC to examine the evidence, noted that the explosions were the result of a perfect storm of hubris, ignorance, and cognitive dissonance. “What happened is that you had a large number of people who were 100 percent confident this law would be overturned, creating high levels of arrogance, and that arrogance reached explosive levels after being amplified in the right-wing echo chamber. But then the actually ruling came, sending a shockwave through that same echo chamber, and pewwww, it’s like the front row at a Gallagher show.”

Some high-profile conservatives were able to avoid this spontaneous decapitation. Taking a precaution recommended by former head of homeland security Tom Ridge, Fox News host Sean Hannity preemptively wrapped his head in duck tape, which kept his head together, but also led to suffocation. Washington Post columnist and noted golem Charles Krauthammer avoided explosion due to his head being made of stone, although he reported some minor fracturing and a “bit of a migraine.” And former vice-presidential candidate and spokeswoman for the conservative spank-bank industry Sarah Palin appeared to be functioning normally, sending her incomprehensible tweets as normal. Dr. Scanner postulated that Ms. Palin may have been spared due to her brain being “mostly inert gas.”

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney did not escape so easily, however. Responding to the decision at a press conference, Mr. Romney was only able to say, “1-00-1-00-1,” before there was a loud clicking in his head and his face changed to a Blue Screen of Death. His IT staff are reportedly working on a patch.

There is no word yet whether the health care law will cover spontaneous decapitation.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top Ten Tuesdays: What else is Facebook changing without our permission?

10) Autotagging all of our nip slips.

9) Showing every status update we crosspost to Twitter as, “Cum see my new & improved Facebook pics bit.nip/@reol@s

8) Making us fans of the U.S. Border Patrol if we set the new required immigration status field to “it’s complicated.”

7) Logging in automatically fires off a message to Tom from MySpace asking why he hasn’t killed himself already.

6) Listing status as “stalking” when checking pictures of our exes.

5) Uploading our personal info to Siri so she can whisper important messages from Facebook’s preferred marketing partners to us while we sleep.

4) Defaulting our Spotify playlist updates to “All Bieber, All The Time.”

3) Changing all Farmville notifications to ask our friends, “Why not purchase a bushel of bountiful Facebook stock?”

2) Autocorrecting any mention of “privacy” to “Zuckerbergaliciousness.”

1) Pretty much every fucking thing every fucking day.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10!

After four-and-a-half years of being Branimaled (Branimauled?), my original Rock Band drums finally broke. One of the pads cracked, and that prompted this discussion between The Lovely Becky and myself:

Me: My Rock Band drums broke.

TLB: (Laughing) You just bought a new drum pedal.

Me: I know, but now the kit actually cracked. Here, look.

TLB: (Notices significant crack) You must really pound the crap out of those drums.

Me: Yeah, but I’ve pounded them for more than four years. I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner.

TLB: Well, my vagina’s been pounded for longer and that hasn’t broken.

Me: Actually, if you added up the amount of Rock Band minutes versus the actual amount of time we’ve engaged in intercourse, Rock Band might come out on top. Like the other night when you and Libby were gone, I played for two hours.

TLB: (sighs longingly) Two hours….

Yes, being married to me is the gift that keeps on giving. Tunes….

1) “The Once Over Twice,” X. That’s what she said! No, really, that’s what she said in the chorus.

2) “Go-Go Boots,” Drive-By Truckers. I wasn’t sure if anyone under 30 would know what the hell a go-go was, let alone that there were boots specifically for visiting one, but Wikipedia tells me (insert grain of salt) that there is a retro revival of go-go music. Who knew? Unrelated: no matter how many times I read Wikipedia, I will never, ever answer one of their appeals for money. I feel like I should say I’m going to give them $100, and then mail them $100 from the Monopoly bank. That would reflect the value of Wikipedia’s facts.

3) “Stove by a Whale,” Ted Leo & Pharmacists. I loves me some Ted Leo, but much like Moby Dick, this needs more stoving and less whaling (wailing?). I got a fever, and the only cure, is more Ahab!

4) “Old Man (Live),” Neil Young. This is from Live at Massey Hall and features a double-whammy of an intro: Neil Young saying “this is a new song” (imagine being their when a classic song is still in its infancy), and Neil Young actually cracking jokes. I’m sure Neil Young cracks jokes all the time, but I never picture him actually cracking jokes. It’s like Eddie Vedder speaking clearly—yeah, maybe it happens when he tells a waiter he’ll have the fish or when he has to say “Yes” into the phone when he says he wants to speak to a customer-service representative, but it’s hard to imagine.

5) “Highway 61 Revisited,” Bob Dylan. “I don’t always use a whistle in my songs, but when I do, I prefer the silliest whistle in rock history. Stay rocking, my friends.” Of course, I can't find the studio version on YT, but seriously, it is a very silly whistle.

6) “Art of Almost,” Wilco. The Lovely Becky and I are going to see them at a minor league baseball stadium next month. It’s general admission, and the last time I went to a GA stadium show, it was to see Soundgarden/Faith No More/Queensryche/Metallica. As you have probably inferred, that was not recently. That was a show where my buddy Moe and I tried to get close to the stage during the slow part of Faith No More’s “Zombie Eaters,” only to get caught in the mosh when the fast part kicked in. We looked up and saw this huge guy with blood running down his face, as if he had been bitten in the forehead by a zombie eater. We high-tailed it out of there in the most unrock-and-roll fashion possible, although I managed to contain my high-pitched screech of fear that I would be mentioned in an article, “Dashing college student trampled to death during concert and consumed by ravenous crowd” to my inner monologue. Anyway, I suspect the Wilco show will be more tame, although we will be in Chicago’s notoriously suburban western suburbs.

7) “Punch Me Harder,” Superchunk. The conclusion of the NBA season last night means that I got to remove my nut-punch of a Facebook profile picture. I actually had my account open as the seconds ticked down and swapped it out for a picture of this beer bottle. Because after you’ve been pictured wearing a pink-and-white NBA jersey that’s 13 sizes too small for a month, you might be tempted to overcompensate slightly when you replace that photo.

8) “Headknocker,” Foreigner. My brother Tickle informed me that Foreigner—which is now just Mick Jones and a bunch of musical Hessians—will be playing the casino near his house in central Iowa. That’s a show where you will see every kind of denim except skinny jeans.

9) “Cassandra Gemini II,” The Mars Volta. I have no idea what the fuck is going on here. The singer and the guitarist start out shouting at me like Stephen A. Smith trying to tell me something about LeBron James. JESUS H. CHRIST, STOP YELLING, I’M JUST WATCHING THE SCORE TICKER. Then the whole back end of this song turns into some time of laserium seizure that thankfully gets a spoon shoved in its mouth. For as much as I love Rush and especially the fruitiest parts of Rush, I actually don’t like that much progressive music. I tend to have the same reaction I do to Christmas fruitcake: this would be great if it wasn’t for all the goddamned fruit.

10) “To Be Over,” Yes. Oh holy hell. I love the The Yes Album-Fragile-Close to the Edge stretch. Three incredible fucking albums, and I will use my pan flute as a shiv to fight anyone who argues with me. But this…ay carumba. There’s the synth that sounds like a guy rubbing the lips of glasses filled with water (this being 1974, maybe it actually was a guy rubbing the lips of glasses filled with water). Then the singing starts and I feel like I’m riding in the world’s longest elevator to go have a cigar with someone, right after he’s done meeting with Pink Floyd. Something resembling rock guitar shows up briefly, realizes this is not at all his scene, and starts to exit, only to run into and proceed to have an awkward exchange with a pipe organ and an inebriated guy rubbing glasses of water. And then ten minutes later…my goodness, is that the time? I really must be going, I’ve got a meeting with Trevor Rabin at 90:125.

11) “Do You Wanna Hit It?” The Donnas. Some girls finally crash the helmet party, although they have bigger balls than some of the other dudes here (and maybe the Rock Band-loving nerdlinger typing this). I’m also not sure if the question about hitting it is rhetorical, but I’m going to answer no just in case, what with my blood pressure and commitment to monogamy.

Bonus: “I’m Sorry I Love You,” The Magnetic Fields. I know that TLB is not sorry she loves me. However, during the past four years, when she would walk into a room filled with the furious clacka-clacka-clacka of a rhythm-challenged grown man hitting four plastic pads with a set of drum sticks, trying desperately to reach the end of a Who song he’d been trying to beat for two months before the fictional crowd boos him off the stage, just as said man does reach the end successfully and lets out a completely unironic fist pump and war cry of “KEITH FREAKING MOON, BABY!”, I have felt sorry for her that she loves me so much. Although she would just chuckle and let me move on (futilely) to “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Thanks, baby!

Have a great weekend.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10!

It’s Rush week. No, not the week where a bunch of college bros engage in lobotomized hazing rituals that involve alcohol poisoning and various levels of butt play. A week where three Canadians descend from whatever passes for Mount Olympus in Canadian mythology and deliver a new disc of Songs from the Holy Trinity.

The album, Clockwork Angels, was released Tuesday, and I marched off to an actual store to buy a compact disc and went home to play it in a stereo system. That combination of things made me feel even older than getting a newspaper delivered to my driveway every day (the way God intended us to get the news).

It just so happened that The Lovely Becky and Libby were gone on Tuesday. Now, I love my wife and my daughter, but they hate Rush. If you ask Libby if she likes Rush, she says, “I HATE RUSH.” That it’s said in an adorable four-year-old voice doesn’t make it any less painful, and my wife, who I love dearly, cackles every time she hears that, knowing her Bathory-esque murder of Rush appreciation in our daughter has been successful. So, normally, I would be relegated to listening to this new album in the basement on my computer. But a night of abdication by the queen and princess meant I had control of the stereo upstairs. I threw on the CD, sat back, and listened.

I had a flashback to being in the eighth grade and buying Grace Under Pressure on cassette. It was the first album I ever bought on a release day, and I retreated to my room, threw it into my boom box, threw on my headphones that looked like two halves of an old McDonald’s Styrofoam Big Mac container strapped to my ears, and just listened. Over and over again. Side one, flip, side two, flip, repeat until dinner time, then again until bed time.

I got through the album twice. It won’t make my daughter say, “I LOVE RUSH,” but as someone who has been a Rush fan for 30 years, it’s a great album. With Rush pushing 60, it also makes me wonder if there will be another new Rush album. That makes me a little sad, but also glad that I got to savor it on release day.

Okay, Rush crush over, time for tunes.

1) “My Generation (Live),” The Who. Why not start the weekend with a 15-minute extended jam of the most rock and roll song ever recorded? In fact, if I could only take one album with me to a desert island, I might have to take Live at Leeds. Partly because it’s the greatest recorded rock performance of all time. Seriously, if you were to ask, “How much more rock and roll could this performance get?” the answer would be, “None.” Also, I would have a really hard time picking one Rush album.

2) “Summer Babe (Winter Vision),” Pavement. A fantastic song that I have played hundreds of times, and yet I have absolutely no idea what the lyrics mean. I wonder if Stephen Malkmus even knows.

3) “Go Ahead,” Rilo Kiley. I like them more plugged in than unplugged like they are here. This almost feels like it would be used in a Jetta commercial. I don’t even mean that disparagingly, because I discovered Nick Drake because of Volkswagen advertising. And, whoah, it was used in a VW ad in France!

4) “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” Led Zeppelin. My brother Tickle was in town last weekend, which resulted in drunken poker with some of the Vegas gang. We wanted some music and were not happy with the satellite radio selections we were getting, so I tried to pick an album everyone would dig. You can almost never go wrong playing the first Zeppelin album with a group of white guys, especially white ones between the ages of 30-41. It’s not overplayed like IV, it’s doesn’t have some random piece of bongwater like “The Crunge” that splashes you in the face, and it can get quiet and soft without slipping into ballad territory, which would just be odd to play with a group of guys. I couldn’t imagine saying, “Let me find something to play during the poker game,” and then having Extreme’s “More Than Words” start. Although that would be funny as hell, so I probably will use that during our fantasy football draft this year.

5) “Porchlight,” Neko Case. It’s funny to hear how much twang she injects into her early solo stuff. She almost sounds like Lurleen Lumpkin. It makes me wonder if that’s her real Virginia accent and she’s worked hard at sounding more Vancouverish with The New Pornographers, or if she’s acting the way I do when I add a little Superfan accent whenever I talk about Da Bears.

6) “Fast and Loose,” Motorhead. Along with the new Rush, I’ve been playing Japandroids Celebration Rock a lot. I still have a teenager’s interest in learning about bands I really get into, so after I picked up the new Japandroids, I was reading articles and watching videos about them. There was one interview of them from SXSW 2010, and they were asked which bands they were excited to see. Their lead singer not only answered, “Motorhead,” but that he saw them two nights in a row. He sang the praises of how Lemmy outrocked kids a third of his age, and this after Lemmy has spent a lifetime taking crank and other drugs you’ve never seen anyone take because you don’t hang out with bikers. That's what indie rock needs: more Motorhead appreciation.

7) “Someday I Will Treat You Good,” Sparklehorse. I got this from a friend years ago yet have never really listened to it. Damn, this is really good. I love when I get an iTunes surprise.

8) “Spiral Shadow,” Kylessa. They use two drummers, which is what most bands would need to do the work of one Neil Peart. I do really like this band, and the two drummers add a lot of percussive depth and/or womp. However, they aren’t quite in the same league as the best two-drummer attack of all time: Animal and Buddy Rich.

9) “Sunday Bloody Sunday (Live),” U2. Seeing a concert at Red Rocks is on my bucket list. Ideally, I would be able to take my Mr. Fusion-powered DeLorean back in time to see this concert, with a flag-waving Bono making sincerity and even mullets seem cool. I don’t even think Jesus could make those two things seem cool now.

10) “Humming,” Portishead. My friend and source of my current Facebook shame Tom called me yesterday. He was suffering from a very embarrassing dilemma. Not erectile dysfunction (or, at least, he didn’t mention that). Not an existential crisis. No, he found himself reluctantly, inexplicably, uncontrollably, just a little bit…rooting for LeBron James. “Why am I doing this?” he asked me. “I need your help in figuring this out.” 

This was a real problem. In fact, I wondered if we could still be friends. Why would someone who is not from Miami, a rapper, a member of LeBron’s entourage, or over the age of nine root for LeBron? It was the sports equivalent of rooting for Germany during the invasion of Poland. We talked some more, and we figured out that his wife—who watches almost no NBA games—hates LeBron James. Now, there is nothing wrong with hating LeBron James as a sports fan, because as a sports figure, LeBron is terrible. But he’s not a terrible person like, say, Tiger Woods. In fact, he’s probably less of a dick than Michael Jordan was, it’s just that Jordan was a master at hiding his dirty laundry. Really it was a case of him getting annoyed that his wife had this unvested hatred of LeBron, so his brain decided to take a contrary position, both as a counterbalance and also because it is fun to have opinions that annoy your spouse. After all, you have to keep things interesting if you’re going to stay married, and conflict is the basis of all interesting narratives.

Of course, this doesn’t excuse his rooting for LeBron. I commented that it was funny that he was having this argument at home as his wedding anniversary approached, and then remarked that it was also the anniversary of the O.J. Bronco chase, which happened the night before he got married. “Hey, I never asked you this,” I said, “but how happy were you when O.J. got off?” Because making your friends wear a girl’s NBA jerseys or asking them if they also root for despised wife-murderers who escape justice is how guys keep their friendships interesting.

11) “Danny Boy,” Johnny Cash. Amazing but way too fucking depressing to end this. In the spirit of the U.S. Open, I’ll take a mulligan.

11) Some audio atrocity from Dream Theater. Goddamn, I really need to delete this shit sandwich from my collection. Okay, I’ll take a drop next to the water.

11) “Drive Somewhere,” The Vulgar Boatmen. There we go. These guys are a great overlooked band from the late 80s who wrote that kind of jangle pop that conveyed a sliver of sun peeking through the window of a dark corner bar where you were already on your third double of bourbon at 2:30 in the afternoon, with no stop sign in sight because you had made a wrong turn onto a lonely road. Sure, it’s depressing, but at least it’s sunny.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Top Ten Wednesdays: How did we celebrate the release of the new Rush album?

Special Spirit of Streaming Radio Edition! 

XII. Remixed the track order using rolls from our 12-sided die.

XI. Discovered that the new album synchronizes perfectly with the movie Strange Brew.

X. Wrote fan fiction about the actual fiction that accompanies the album.

IX. Slappa’d sum bass.

VIII. Waxed our handlebar mustache, slipped into our most comfortable kimono, and lubed our ears.

VI. Composed a concept album about a young man looking for a woman who’s really into concept albums.

V. Answered every question anyone asked us by screeching, “YEAH, OH YEAH!”

IV. Filled a five-gallon drum full of Tim Horton’s and put on an adult diaper before playing all 20 studio albums in a row.

III. Tried converting our MP3 to 8-track.

II. Noted the irony that the current economy allowed us to recreate the conditions of listening to Rush when we were teenagers: being unemployed and living with our parents.

I. Spent the day with the album on repeat and an extended drum solo in our pants.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Top Ten Tuesdays: What new videogames are we unveiling at E3?

Special extra lives edition!

15) Kinect Karma Sutra (lotion sold separately)

14) Call of Duty: Drone Ops 

13)  SuperPAC-Man (requires 10,000,000 Microsoft Points to play) 

12) Tomb Raider: Girl Gone Wild

11) Artisan Pong (available exclusively in Brooklyn arcades)

10) Angry Words With People We Thought Were Our Friends

9) Madden: NFL Bounty Hunter

8) Dong Pic Construction Kit (require Twitter account)

7) Diablo IV: Quest for the Working Server

6) Turdwaffle II: The Turdening (beta available in Wisconsin; national release coming soon)

5) Sim Jobs (supplies limited and going down the drain fast)

4) Battleship: The Game of the Movie of the Game

3) Rock Band 4: Music Lessons (Teacher sold separately)

2) Resident Evil : Florida

1) The Videogame Industry Is Stuck in a Creative Rut and Headed Toward Obsolescence 6