Friday, October 30, 2009

troubled mind, healthy spirit (and so forth)

(or, I [heart] the New Shelton wet/dry*)

[N.B.: Some of the links in this post—really just the main one above and the, let's see, second one below [about war]—are NSFW for some reason.†]

Ideas related only by their all having to do with the world we live in:

People are assholes; get over it. We laugh sardonically now at the idea of "the war to end all wars," but it is it really so absurd or impossible? The reason we say uh‡ is that we're letting people know we're still talking to keep people from stepping in, and the reason we use that particular sound is that it, ə (that's a schwa, an upside-down e, in case it came out as Wing Ding bullshit), is a neutral sound, "the vowel sound produced when the mouth is not in gear."

This one gets its own paragraph. I think it was Peter Gomes who gave the speech that changed the way I thought about things by suggesting that joyhappiness, that in your moment of greatest grief you still might have a fundamental sense of joy. You could argue that this is just an arbitrary semantic gesture—I assert that joy means this!—but the concept is fascinating one way or the other and contains at least some self-evident (but easily ignored) truth. And, sure, yeah, it's maybe a religious truth, depending on what you mean by religious. (Gomes, as you'll know if you followed the link, is Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard. Holy moly!) You might say that the opposite of joy is not sadness but depression—turns out Søren Kierkegaard might say despair.§ "Happiness," he apparently wrote, "is the greatest hiding place for despair." Brilliant.

[Fromm, in a somewhat similar vein, submits that there are two ways to define neurosis, one having to do with being "well adjusted" and the other with being more in tune with your nature and human nature; he prefers the latter and suggests that a deeply fucked-up person might thrive in a deeply fucked-up society, whereas a healthy mind would quickly grow ill in a toxic environment—imagine a sadistic psychopath and an empathetic humanist both given jobs as guards in a concentration camp. Which one would sleep better at night? Which one would be likelier to go crazy?]


Is there supposed to be some sort of conclusion here?

* A weekly blog whose sudden disappearance a little while back was very sad, and whose return was a great relief. Keep it going, whoever you are!
† Actually this is part of what's fun about the New Shelton. A mathematical formula: N + naked women > N (where N = anything).
‡ Please note, too: uh = er, the latter being the British version, which, of course, is pronounced—how, more or less?—uh.
§ I only wrote his first name so I could use the Ø.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

a pirate's favorite letter (not a good title for this post)

I think it's just that the R's right leg sticks out a little too far, but it looks like there's too much space after each one. The result is that MICRODERMABRASION looks like four words: MICR, ODER, MABR, and ASION. (Except that of course it's actually MICRODERMABRASSION, which seems like some...I don't know, abstruse lit-crit term for a quality essential to a sophisticated understanding of a poet you don't understand at all?) Anyway, when I saw this sign I pronounced it in my head like this: "Miker, odor, maybur, ashen." Something a crappy wizard might say. And then some stupid miniature dragon appears. Bleah.

Anyway, I like this sign. I like the font; I like the different ANDs. AND what is going on with that hydrating facial? Is that two astrophes? Is it a 50-inch hydrating facial? I don't get it.

where not to put a urinal

Do they still make video games where you're supposed to design stuff like cities and roller coasters? They do, right? They should make one where you're supposed to design public restrooms. Here's an example of how you could lose that game:

This is in a movie theater in the East Village, in the good old N.Y. of C., and I'm not sure it's 100% clear in the picture, but if you were to use the left-hand urinal (the one for adult men of average height), then you would basically be standing in the door of the right-hand stall (the one for men who are not in wheelchairs). I think that's pretty clear from the photo, but what I don't think is clear is that unless you pee at an angle, your back will probably actually be touching that divider. In other words, you are seriously blocking the way: it's not just awkward, it's a full-on four-alarm obstruction we're talking about. No one can squeeze by you, not even uncomfortably. And God help us all if somebody starts to use that urinal when someone else is just finishing up in that stall. God help us all.

If I were looking to make a big cause out of this, get indignant, show how it's not just silly but wrong, I might point out that this basically means you must use the little-boy/little-person urinal and the wheelchair-access stall, regardless of your height and able-bodiedness. So who loses? Children, little people, and the handicapped.

But, I mean...come on.

Mainly I just think it's funny. (How funny? I don't know. Low C range? I'm not laughing or anything.)

[BONUS: Remember this guy, from 1999? I should have known it would be available as a Flash game. Note that it is in the category "Action Games."]

a human something

"There's no longer a whole man confronting a whole world, only a human something moving about in a general culture-medium."
The Man Without Qualities

Robert Musil, stroke and splatter.

Harold Bloom said something in Jesus vs. Yahweh about how the Cartesian mind–body split is originally a Greek idea and very much linked to the Christian universe, in direct contrast to what he identified as the Hebrew world view, wherein the human being is a whole creature (Bloom reminds us of Yahweh sculpting the first man out of the mud). As is true of much that Bloom says, I don't know whether any of this can be demonstrated or validated, even theoretically—for example, I don't know whether it's really true that this "whole man" concept is essentially Hebrew in any particular way—but I love the idea, regardless of its context, provenance, and so forth.

This is a jog in another [opposite?] direction, but another thing I always enjoy reflecting upon is the way in which all sorts of "truths" are really more like half-truths; another way to say this would be to say that all sorts of "wrong" statements have at least a germ of "rightness" in them. A favorite example is the advice sometimes given to boys and men that being mean to girls and women is a great road to romantic & sexual victory: that chicks dig assholes. As far as I can tell, the germ of truth in this is that women—people, really, but maybe especially women—find confidence attractive and insecurity unattractive, and that if you're being an asshole, you at least don't come off as preoccupied with whether the person you're talking to likes you; in other words, you might appear quite confident. I believe that being genuinely decent and confident will generally trump being mean—even from an amoral, results-focused perspective. Again, I'm bringing this up as an example of the ways in which what might seem demonstrably true to us might just be an accidental approximation of the truth (like if someone with severely restricted experience made some sort of casual reference to one's ability to look at himself "in the medicine cabinet," and you realized that he had never seen a medicine cabinet that didn't have a mirror on it or a mirror that wasn't on a medicine cabinet).

So what is behind my concern or preoccupation with "the truth" or "getting the story straight"? I've identified this as a problem I have. (I was talking a while back to someone who when telling stories has a tendency to embellish, explaining why I had objected to one particular embellishment in which my own actions had, I felt, been misrepresented; the storyteller conceded that she could understand why such a thing might bother me, and I for my part conceded that this particular objection was possibly a relatively reasonable instance of an often ridiculous pathology: "If we had been walking on Avenue A and you had said we were walking on Avenue B," I said, "I probably would have had the strong impulse to interject and say, 'Well, to be fair, it was actually Avenue A'—which is absurd."*) This tendency is certainly on display on this blog—more in a harmless, charming fashion,† I'm inclined to hope or imagine.

What is it, then? Might it be a misguided effort to simulate or approximate a kind of "wholeness" that is hard to achieve in an over-complicated world in which no authority can be trusted absolutely? If, as Musil (or his character) suggests in my epigraph, it is no longer easy or even possible to find an individual's borders in a scattered and chaotic social and intellectual universe, then could it be that getting a firm handle on "the truth" promises (falsely) to establish borders, to carve out a comfortable place in the world for an individual or at least a small patch of solid ground that is at worst no smaller than that individual's feet in comfortable shoes? (You know—so you can stand on it.)

Put it another way, more simply: is it a gesture toward reestablishing what religion used to do?

Martin Buber blew my mind by suggesting that the most important human responsibility is the responsibility to make decisions.‡ He even goes so far as to suggest that no decision can truly be wrong if it is made completely, with your whole self: wholly is holy, you could say—nyuk nyuk.

Anyway, I leave you with a big hunka Buber, from his essay "Jewish Religiosity." Enjoy.

Martin Buber knows how to brawl.

The act that Judaism has always considered the essence and foundation of all religiosity is the act of decision as realization of divine freedom and unconditionality on earth... The Mishnah interprets the phrase "Thou shalt love God with all thy heart" to mean: with both your inclinations, the "good" as well as the "evil"; that is, with and by your decision, so that the ardor of passion is converted and enters into the unified deed with all its strength. For no inclination is evil in itself; it is made evil by man when he surrenders to it instead of controlling it. The Midrash has God say to man, "You turned passion which was given into your hand into evil."
And it is stated with still greater emphasis: "Only when you are undivided" (that is, when you have overcome your inner dualism by your decision) "will you have a share in the Lord your God." On the other hand, inertia and indecisiveness are called the root of all evil; sin is basically nothing more than inertia. The man who has fallen prey to it but later, by a wrenching decision, extricates himself from it; who has sunk into the abyss of duality but later hews his way out of it to unity; and who, taking himself into his own hands, like an inert earthen clod, kneads that self into a human being—that man above all is dearest to God...
The meaning of the act of decision in Judaism is falsified if it is viewed as merely an ethical act. It is a religious act, or, rather, it is the religious act; for it is God's realization through man.
....a concept that is innate in Jewish religiosity: the concept of the absolute value of man's deed, a value that cannot be judged by our meager knowledge of the causes and effects of this world. Something infinite flows into a deed of a man; something infinite flows from it... It is said in the Mishnah, "Every man shall say: 'It is for me that the world was created.'" And again, "Every man shall say, 'The world rests on me,'" which is corroborated by the hasidic text: "Yes, he is the only one in the world, and its continued existence depends on his deed."
In the unconditionality of his deed man experiences his communion with God. God is an unknown Being beyond this world only for the indolent, the decisionless, the lethargic, the man enmeshed in his own designs; for the one who chooses, who decides, who is aflame with his goal, who is unconditioned, God is the closest, the most familiar Being, whom man, through his own action, realizes ever anew, experiencing thereby the mystery of mysteries. Whether God is "transcendent" or "immanent" does not depend on Him; it depends on man... "The Lord is close unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth" (145.18). That means, in the truth they do.
In the truth they do. This truth is not a What but a How. Not the matter of a deed determines its truth but the manner in which it is carried out: in human conditionality, or in divine unconditionality. Whether a deed will peter out in the outer courtyard, in the realm of things, or whether it will penetrate into the Holy of Holies is determined not by its content but by the power of decision which brought it about, and by the sanctity of intent that dwells in it. Every deed, even one numbered among the most profane, is holy when it is performed in holiness, in unconditionality.
...God does not want to be believed in, to be debated and defended by us, but simply to be realized through us.

[Of course, the problem with Buber is that in the end he probably thinks this all clearly points somehow to the importance of not eating pork, or of wearing a little hat. Ah, well: more than one way to skin a god. Good night and God bless!]

Yahweh: a rare photo§

* Actually, I think I used 74th and 73rd Streets, not Avenues A and B, in my example. (See what I mean?)
† Charming + harmless ÷ 2 = charmless (?)
‡ Actually he said it was the central religious act—or really the central Jewish act, but then I think that in this case Judaism:religion::assholery:confidence (see dating advice above), and that religion:humanity::confidence:love, or something. Anyway...!
§ Thanks, Google Image Search!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Enter McGruff.

Remember this one?

I didn't remember the details of the commercial, but the song has been stuck in my head for decades—seriously. Of course, part of the reason I've never forgotten it is the bizarre second half of the central line: "Users are losers and losers are users," whaaa? Really, McGruff?

What struck me watching the commercial again so many years later was the crappiness of the animation. Are kids really so dumb that any cartoon character is going to appeal to them, no matter how poorly conceived or executed? Maybe yes: I'm not sure this commercial would have made such a big impression on me if it had been just some guy sitting at the piano.

One icky touch is all the kids flocking around* to hear McGruff sing his stupid song: basically it tells you, the little kid, that you are excited and, interestingly, uses a form of peer pressure—artificial peer pressure—to get you in line. (Everybody is excited! You don't want to be the one loser sitting alone stoned in his yard!) I wonder how effective that is. It feels very '80s, which means they probably don't really do it anymore, which means it probably didn't really work so well...? Maybe?

Important note: I felt bad for taking particular notice of the running fat kid (and remembering that part, too, I think, from childhood), but then I realized—is that shit in slow motion? It is, right? I think it is! So why is the one slow-motion part in the commercial the part with a running fat kid? What the fuck??

Also: "If you know a user even part of the time" probably means "if you know someone who even sometimes uses drugs," but it comes off sounding like "if you have even a passing acquaintance with someone who uses drugs." And that I think, is probably bad advice for kids. "If you even pass a junkie on the street, tell him to quit. Take a bite out of crime!"—delivered to small children.

What a ridiculous society.

* Screaming "McGruff!" again and again—this sank in only after repeated viewings.

Fuck This Ad [UPDATED]

I think I've given up on a Fuck This Ad blog (last mentioned here)...partly because I like this stuff's being part of this blog, but mainly because I couldn't figure out what to call it: AdSmash was OK, Shut Your Ad Hole is kind of great, I think, but nobody liked it...and really in the end I just liked "Fuck This Ad" too much to part with it, and everyone said it would be self-defeating to put "fuck" in the title (tell that to Fuck), so, you know. Fuck that blog, I guess.

Anyway, here are a few ads I had set aside to complain about on the hypothetical ad-dedicated blog; they've been sitting around for months, and I figured I'd throw 'em all together into one big post here as a gesture of supreme carelessness and disrespect (or something). So here goes something:

1. Let's begin with that miserable, disgraceful monstrosity, thoroughly damned by God: the Kindle.

Agreed: the Kindle is bland and devoid of personality. Or—wait, was that not the point you were trying to make?


Fuck you, Kindle. Seriously. I don't have anything more to say about this ad, nor will I elaborate or elucidate. Just: fuck you. FUCK YOU.

2. This ad-related Onion article is pretty funny—and it basically "scoops" one of the best jokes in The Invention of Lying: Coca-Cola's lie-free TV commercial.

3. This probably wouldn't bother any sane person, but it bothers me:

Who's speaking? A kindergartener could tell you that the "tail" of a speech balloon points to (or rather comes from) the mouth or at least general head area of whoever is speaking. Free-floating speech balloons pointing nowhere and not even particularly suggesting a conversation? No. A speech balloon is not just a neat place to put your ad copy—not even if your slogan is "TALK TO CHUCK." I object to this. Strenuously.

4. Preposterous tie-in:

Because True Blood's original teaser ad campaign consisted largely of fake ads supposedly directed at vampires, this cheesy, unsuccessful Gilette–HBO team-up is particularly awkward: really it just leaves me feeling embarrassed...for our society. [SIDE NOTE: Do vampires shave? In Interview with the Vampire, Kirsten Dunst screamed because her hair grew right back when she cut it, and in True Blood (minor spoiler alert)* the cute redhead vampire's hymen grows back after she loses her virginity. On the other hand, Eric gets a new haircut. This is a very important question. I know Superman could only shave with the use of his heat-ray vision and a mirror...]

5. Sex sells...peanuts?

(click to enlarge if you must)

This ad is dumb and annoying in a couple of ways, but the most amazing thing about it is the central claim, that peanuts will give this guy the energy to grow some balls and ask some chick out—who he already knows is totally into him, by the way! Lisa said! And aren't she and Lisa, like, besties? Anyway, the copy at the bottom should really read, "PEANUTS: They'll get you laid." And that's weird. (While writing this, I decided that the secret reason why this guy is agonizing so much about calling the woman he likes is that she's his best friend's wife. Either that or Lisa's his girlfriend. Am I right?? "PEANUTS: They'll help you rise above good and evil.")

[I decided to give the McGruff stuff its own post. Fuck this post.]

yeah, copyright whatever you want, assholes

OK, so Bank of America has copyrighted the phrases "add it up" and "keep the change." Damn. They're like the guys who own the happy-birthday song.

Bank of America, you have given me a great idea—thank you! Or in fact what I mean to say is:



There are questions to which the answers are theoretically knowable but will never be known.

For example, how many times have you ever taken a shit? Neither you nor anyone else will ever know the answer, but there is an answer—and it's a specific finite number. What percentage of the total number of web sites on the Internet have you viewed? How many hours have you spent sitting in front of a computer? How many times have you said the words "I'm sorry"? How many times has something gone down the wrong way when you were drinking it? How many times have your lips touched another person's lips? (This one you might know if you're a teenager or the super-solitary type.) How many static-electricity shocks have you given or received? How many pairs of socks have you owned? How many times have you clipped your nails? How many times have you brushed your teeth? How many times have you yawned?

That sort of thing. Specific, finite numbers: answers that actually do exist.*

If you were under observation your whole life by someone or something that was keeping track, you could just ask. "Hey, how many times have I ever used the word unsubstantiated?" "Twelve." "Really? Twelve? Thanks, ceiling cat."

But, alas, ceiling cat is not in fact watching you masturbate, so you'll never know how many times you've done it. It's a lucky break for us that none of this matters even the slightest bit.

* I guess this actually kind of depends on what it means for an answer to exist.

The New York Times drops the ball in a BIG way. (I'm talkin' HUGE.)

Ehh, whassamatter, New York Timestoo busy to, ehh, close those quotes, there?*

* I don't actually know what "voice" I'm trying to do, or why. Let's just move on.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I wrote some similes.

[As with the tongue twister, please feel free to employ these liberally. Just give me money.]

Enemies to the R.A.F., originally.
  • Like an octopus on a motorcycle.
  • Like fighting gremlins with a fire hose.
  • Like a blabbermouth in Laconia.
  • Like sleeping in a bed of Pad Thai.
  • Like playing "Beatles Rock Band" while Paul McCartney's watching.
  • Like playing "Beatles Rock Band" while Ringo Starr is watching.*
  • Like a robot in a magnet store.
  • Like my Uncle Larry when somebody's eaten the last of those tiny miniature hot dogs.†
  • Like eating room-service breakfast in a fancy hotel room with Athena, the Greek goddess of, among other things, wisdom. (And she's topless.)
  • Like using gremlin images, exclusively, to illustrate a blog post that happens at one point to mention gremlins.
A Christmas movie, let's not forget.

* This is an entirely different simile from the preceding one, referring to an entirely different experience; that they can be phrased similarly is coincidence.
† The genius of this one is that you don't even really need to know Larry to get it, although obviously that wouldn't hurt. (Larry loves those little hot dogs!)

They love you, yeah, yeah, yeah.

The Beatles' #1 most-often-used word in all their lyrics? You.

(via, via)

Does this have any significance whatsoever? I wonder whether it might have some sort of weird influence on—or serve as, like, a roundabout illustration of the mechanics behind—people's strong response to the Beatles. Remember during the 2008 election when people were pointing out how much Obama said we instead of I? That sort of thing.

The Guardian article (first parenthetical via above) says, "Can you do something with this data?" and gives the word counts; it does strike me that if you omit articles, prepositions, conjunctions, and contractions, you're left with words that continue what you might call the personal effect of the you dominance:

#2: I
#3: me
#4: love
#5: my
#6: be
#7: it
#8: all
#9: know
#10: your

Aside from it,* the top non–personal-pronoun words are love, be, all, and know. Maybe it's me, but those words all seem to go together. Very '60s, you could say, if you wanted to be a dick about it.

Anyway, I don't really have a point to make (particularly since I have no idea what other bands' word counts are like: for all I know, all this is true of just about every band), but seeing that big old you in there does seem to say something. No wonder drugged-out psychopaths flocked from around the world to see, meet, worship, fuck, and murder the Beatles.

* Fuck it.

Monday, October 26, 2009


If you click to enlarge, you may be able to see that the helpful citizen who modified this advertisement balled up little pieces of torn-off poster to make new pupils, so now this guy—Chris Duhon, I guess?—is sorta looking right at us. With fucked-up eyes.

They say that if you look at this image long enough when you're all alone at night, Chris Duhon will climb out of your computer screen and tear your head apart at the jaws. (That's why you might want to look at Alt85 on a cell phone: he comes out smaller that way and is easier to swat. But then of course there's the risk of his climbing down your throat, which let's not even think about how that would turn out.)

Remember, kids: never look at this picture!


It has come to this.

Finally, expensive CGI effects have allowed us to take an actor like Jim Carrey and place him—as if by magic!—into a foam-rubber suit. Technology: finding fancier ways to do the same stupid shit.

Side note: why in the world is a Christmas Carol movie even necessary at this point in the history of human culture? We already have Scrooged!

[Remember when the Goonies soundtrack was showing up in trailers left and right? Well, I do. At least I think I do.]

Sunday, October 25, 2009

where babies come from

The Discovery of the Child Erichthonius, by P.P. Rubens

Athena was a virgin goddess, though she had a "son" in the following way. She went to Hephaestus to get some weapons. He fell in love with her, and, though lame, caught up with her. While she resisted him he ejaculated on her leg. In disgust she wiped his semen off with a piece of wool which she threw on to the ground. In this way Mother Earth was fertilised and ERICHTHONIUS was born. Athena regarded him as her son and brought him up without the other gods knowing...
Dictionary of Classical Mythology

Don't remember learning this one in fifth-grade English.

[BONUS: Don't fail to look closely at that statue. I can totally recall seeing something like that somewhere before.]

I am so disillusioned.

(click to enlarge)

This ad has weirded me out for a while now, at least a month. Either it's false advertisement or it's uncomfortably close to a kind of pimping: the steam shovel* blocks some relevant copy, but the ad shares this woman's hours at a particular branch of the chain in question. Are we actually being encouraged to visit (and basically harass) some woman who works in retail? Weird, weird, weird. Especially since she's holding up a sign that effectively reads, "Will fuck anything with a pulse."

But that's not why I called this meeting. It struck me just the other day that the whole crossed-out word conceit has been totally bungled. Let me ask you this: what function do those commas serve? Presumably she's supposed to have started out by writing, "Looking for a New Yorker" and then figured, "Nah, he could be from anywhere," and crossed out "New Yorker" to write in "man," and then was like, "What am I saying, I'm bisexual," so crossed out "man" to write in "person" (probably adding in "with less than 50 partners"† afterwards just so people wouldn't think she was totally indiscriminate). Yes? So at what point did she write in the commas, in this amusing little story? Do you cross out a word and then put in a comma before writing the correction? No. Or do I have the story wrong? Did she actually start out by writing, "Looking for a New Yorker, man, person," in which case it's reasonable to assume that she has some kind of neurological disorder?

In a somewhat similar vein, the hole-torn-out conceit doesn't work as well when the text is written around the hole. Or what was this exhibit originally called? "LIGHHT COMES THROUGH"?

BONUS: Somebody else had a similar response to the first ad:

* Is that what that is? My construction-work expertise has really taken a nosedive since 1982 or so.
† ...which should really be fewer, but you've got to pick your battles.

unrelated pictures

Sometimes feels that way. I'm reading Robert Musil's Man Without Qualities (finally) and the main character in it keeps talking about how religion is dead* ("if you are looking for the universal human element...there are really only three possibilities left: stupidity, money, or, at most, some leftover memory of religion"); I think sometimes the heat in my response to junk religion has to do with a sense that it's a kind of desecration, fooling around with a corpse. And—can it be?? My life is complete! At last I have the opportunity to use Weekend at Bernie's (1989) as an analogy for contemporary religion!

This was up at my local branch of the New York Public Library. I took them up on their generous offer and promptly did not make a computer appointment.

Aha! Well played, citizen! (BONUS: It sort of looks like Jamie Foxx is upset about the joke. Well, I don't guess he'd be thrilled.)

This is Joseph Stalin as a young man. Funny coincidence: it is also a photograph of the highly functional wino.

This was maybe a bit of a set-up. By which I mean it definitely was. But it is almost mildly amusing.

COMMENT: I attest to your grey matter.†

I wanted to get this before the doors closed, but through the window's fine, too. An eye. Why not?

* Like jazz, or the novel.
† Get it? Anyone? [hint] WARNING: not actually funny.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


♫ Spider-Man, Spider-Man
Does whatever a spider can:
Hiding out in a crack,
Staring out with an expressionless face.
Watch out!
Here comes the Spider-Man. ♫

What I did on my vacation, by Short Round [age 31]

(or, Review Frags)

what I've been up to

I saw these movies:

Best enjoyed in the mindset of a philosophical 14-year-old.* [Q.v.]

Life During Wartime
Happiness 2. I am not joking.†

Broken Embraces
Almodóvar's good. My favorite is still Talk to Her.

Where the Wild Things Are
Starts real strong. Max Records is the best name ever.

Why has no one noticed that Penelope Cruz is attractive?

I went to these events:

The Monty Python reunion at the Ziegfeld
Cleese and Palin: very funny.

George Saunders and Gary Shteyngart at the New Yorker Festival
These guys are awesome. [Q.v.]

Hamming it up like assholes.

I also consumed the following:

Marge Simpson in Playboy
I am a fucking idiot.

The new Lethem story in The New Yorker
Didn't like it.

Much Paul McCartney (solo)
When he's good, he's AMAZING.‡ When he's bad...[nauseated shudder].

The first 236 pages of The Man Without Qualities
[Insert joke about "meta-Musil."§]

So dreamy.

* Aren't we all sort of piloting our own robot selves from a safe secluded distance??
† Starring Paul Reubens as Jon Lovitz and Michael K. Williams as Philip Seymour Hoffman. Again—not joking.
‡ E.g., "Every Night," "Maybe I'm Amazed," "Another Day," "Oh Woman, Oh Why," and particularly the album Ram. I can't stop listening. [Q.v.]
§ Some say you can get the same effect from Joyce Carol Oates. Get it? Oates. Get it??

Sunday, October 11, 2009


People always compare me to Miley Cyrus. (For example, I'm only really Short Round when I'm wearing the wig.) Well, as John Lennon once sang, here's another clue for you all. As my multimillionaire friend did Twitter, I've dropped Facebook, and now I'm thinking I might take a little time off from this blogging baloney, too. (I ain't livin' for tabloids, I am living for me.)

One last note, apropos of nothing, before I duck out the back entrance. Has everyone seen this ad in the movie theaters, where these two cartoon characters "talk" in music and their music ends up coming together into a single mash-up speech balloon, their different worlds blended harmoniously by Coca-Cola (or possibly by the New York City subway system: it's not really totally clear)?

(click to enlarge this illegal photo)

It's like—wow, Coke, what a crazy and original thought, mixing hip-hop and hard rock! It's really an idea for a new era, huh? I mean, who would have ever thought of such a thing, aside from maybe Rick Rubin more than 20 years ago, with Run-DMC's and the Beastie Boys' explosively popular, chart-topping hit songs? Really, Coke: great job. Allow me to give you my money.

OK, that's it. Have a happy Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, Christmukkah, New Year's, apocalypse, and so forth. And may God use his magical powers to further enrich and empower the United States of America.

[IMPORTANT NOTE: I could be full of shit on this one and back within 24 hours, who knows. Only one way to find out.*]

* Time machine.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

1-liners: bite-sized reviews

(Oh, is "1-liners" already taken?)

The Squid and the Whale but with zombies.


Starring Jesse Eisenberg as Michael Cera!

I prefer Atmospheric Disturbances.

Return to Oz*
Fucking stones! Fucking heads! Fucking sand!

Fucking Wheelers!

The Invention of Lying
Religion is lies. And the New Yorker review is idiotic.†

The Humbling
Not as good as The Seagull.‡

Burn After Reading
In the Coen top five? No, no. Heavens, no. But pretty good!

Some laughs, some good times.

* See it again for the first time, for the second time!
† As (almost) always. Q.v.
‡ Being one of America's greatest writers (ever), Roth gets another line, although not really to praise him: It seems women's brains are kryptonite, or their skulls lead, to this otherwise omnipotent novelist.1

1 Here, Philip: I'll show you how it's done. Just an example at random: Women are always worrying about whether they should get bangs! (See, that sort of thing. Really getting into their heads, understanding them.)


This is funny because the ™ means they think they came up with something really clever. "Arm yourself." Get it?

Don't lose any sleep, Walgreens: this one's all yours.

[Did the TM come through in that first sentence, or is it Wing-Ding bullshit?]