Friday, December 28, 2007

Hitch: Not the Will Smith Movie

The Onion A.V. Club has an interesting interview with Christopher Hitchens.

Hitchens, whose best-seller "God Is Not Great" makes as forceful and persuasive a case against organized religion as you'll ever read, is always interesting to listen to. The downside to Hitchens is that, like many great debaters, he's better at scoring rhetorical points than he is at building strong, reasoned arguments. For instance, nobody made more eloquent or convincing denouncements of Saddam Hussein during the lead up to the Iraq War, though he failed to explain how his litany of (admittedly quite valid) complaints added up to a coherent reason to actually go to war.

There's a bit of that in his anti-organized religion writings, too, but you have to admire a man who says stuff like this:

The 'rape and lynch women for trying to be funny about Mohammed' community is entirely religious. The suicide-bombing community is not absolutely 100 percent religious, but it is pretty nearly 100 percent religious. The child-abuse and child-sexual-mutilation-of-genitals community is pretty exclusively religious. The "You must tell children they're going to Hell for minor infractions, to terrify them when they're little" community, which I believe to be child abuse, is exclusively religious. The "Bribe people with Heaven" community—that's not moral either—is exclusively religious. One could go on and on. Scientology is a religion. Now, secularism, I'm sorry, just isn't like that. You can be a secularist and a nihilist, or a secularist and a fascist, of course. Or an atheist and a fascist—not likely, most fascists are Catholics, but certainly you could be. You could be an atheist and a sadist, and a psychopath. But I think the connection would be much more contingent. And if you're an atheist, there's another immoral thing you're not doing, which is, you're not submitting to wish-thinking. You're not saying, "Things are true, or I believe things, not because they're true, but because they make me feel better."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Knowledge/Bullshit Economy

quick questions for paul smecker, milton friedman, or anyone else:

so after a few months, it seems: scientist share information. consultants horde it. someone remind me why this is better?

the knowledge economy: so we basically buy and sell bullshit. yes?

a lot of people think really really hard about how to get rich. it is a bit like kurt vonnegut said regarding all the energy spent trying to look at naked ladies, what if all that energy were rechanneled?

the name-dropping is obnoxious. I knowing that knowing a guy is how things get done. but being powerful is like being a lady, if you have to say you are, you aren't. (at least I hope. if that really is the path to power, count me out.)

if one more person tries to rationalize the carried interest tax for private equity using the simplified analogy of a person founding a grocery store or chocolate shop, I will absolutely lose my shit. while the analogy may be accurate financially, it views the tax code as a static object to be obviated rather than a philosophical instrument for striking a balance between progressive taxation and economic growth.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Santaland Diaries

NPR's annual broadcast of David Sedaris' "Santaland Diaries" is one of the few Christmas traditions I look forward to.

Last night's "This American Life" was a classic - Doug Rakoff, John Hodgman, David Sedaris, and Sarah Vowell presenting new poetry and Christmas stories. It isn't up online yet; I'll post it when it becomes available.

on bourbon, blogger, and small acts of defiance

so having just switched to the private sector, I have a great big run of posts about capitalism coming up. but let's start with a little one.

we blog on blogger was founded by Evan Williams.
According to the economist, mr williams was bought out and subsumed by google. but he quit because he found google stultifyingly bureaucratic and felt they didn't respect him because he lacked academic credentials. huzzah for you, evan. and thanks for making blogger.

N.B. Mr. Williams also shares his name with a middle-tier brand of bourbon.
how many people can say that?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Little Saint Nick

This is one of like three Christmas songs to which I hum along when it comes on the radio. I'm sorry the youtube video for it is so annoying.

Friday, December 21, 2007

buenos noches. i'm 8yearoldsdude. I'm new here. I'm a self-serious blogger, and i spend very little time on youtube. i used to be a field biologist and have opinions and well-crafted thoughts. but now i have an office job which takes all my time. so now I have dull, half-formed thoughts based on the same small universe of left-leaning intellectual publications as most folks: the new yorker,, NYT, NPR, theonion.

I'm pretty excited about the return of american gladiators, because i really liked the old one. although I suppose in the shadow steroid scandals, the gladiators aren't quite so funny anymore. but good god, the tennis ball cannon in assault. the giant hamster balls in atlasphere. i hope they preserve the kitschy joy of the old one instead of trying to make it slick like the XFL.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This One Goes Out To The Big Man

Today is my father's birthday. His favorite band is Fleetwood Mac and so, to celebrate, I'm posting a couple sweet videos from their glory years. Unfortunately, I'm not able to embed my favorite of the bunch, "Go Your Own Way," but, let's face it - the real reason for posting these videos is Stevie Nicks, who sings the first four songs embedded below.




"Silver Springs"

"You Make Lovin' Fun"

"Don't Stop"

So Lola's Moving To Williamsburg . . .

And commemorating the occasion by playing a game of hipster bingo.

As everybody knows, the neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn is the unofficial hipster capital of the world. I suspect that her posting of the hipster bingo board was and ironic act in its own right, because it represents exactly the sort of irrational anti-hipster hatred that pisses me off so much. During a long car trip last night, Jake and I discussed what it means to be a hipster. Are hipsters the new "yuppies" in that the term is loosely defined, everybody claims to hate them, and nobody admits to being one? How can you hate something that doesn't exist? Do hipster-haters realize that the term hipster has been around since the 1950's, and that only recently has it become 'uncool' in some circles to be one? Let's look closely at that hipster bingo board:

8 Foot Tall Guy & 4 Foot Tall Woman - Does being very tall necessarily make you a hipster? Isn't height fairly randomly distributed across fashion trends?

Old School Chuck Taylors - These haven't gone out of style in fifty years. These were really, really cool when I was in high school, they were cool when my dad was in high school, and they're cool now. Like faded jeans and black leather jackets, they still seem edgy decades after they first became cool. So what, exactly, makes them 'hipster?' And what to make of the other two 'ironic,' old-school sneakers?

Grandpa - Defined as a hipster who is more than 30 years old, which, as far as I can tell, is a significant percentage of all of the world's hipsters. How is it hipster to like indie rock music if you were born before 1977?

High School Sports T-Shirt - Um, if this makes you a hipster then approximately 90% of the men in the rural counties of the states of Wisconsin and Texas are hipsters, which I somehow doubt is true.

Miller High Life - See above.

PBR - Actually, this one I sort of agree with, even if, of all the beers in your grocer's freezer, its the only one to have ever won a blue ribbon.

Too-Small Sweater - These sweaters aren't actually too small, they're just cut differently. If you watch a tv show filmed in the late 70's, everybody wears clothes like this. They're long enough in the chest and in the arms, they're just a tailored fit. In the 90's, it was cool to wear everything baggy and boxy. In this decade, its cool to wear clothes that fit closer to your body. These things come and go - 50's - mid-60's = baggy, late 60's-1986 = form-fitting, Michael Jordan - 2000 = really baggy , 2000 - present = form-fitting. Its just how fashion works/

Mustache - There is no such thing as an 'ironic' mustache, only mustaches and no mustaches. Like other aspects of fashion, mustaches go in and our of style. In the 20's and 30's, everybody had mustaches. Same with the late 70's through the end of the 1980's. Suddenly, they became really, really uncool in the 90's, but now they're making a comeback. What makes this hipster? Think back to when you were a kid - all the cool/hot guys - Sean Connery, Tom Selleck, Burt Reynolds, Julius Erving, Mike Schmidt, etc - had mustaches. Like anything else, they go in and out of style.

Hoodie - When you mother starts referring to hooded sweatshirts as "hoodies," they are officially no longer hipster affectations. In my household, this started happening circa 1998. Old news.

Blogger with Digital Camera - At any given time, approximately 50% of the people on the streets of New York City are carrying a digital camera. At a glance, can you tell a blogger from a tourist? Me neither. Dumb distinction.

If anybody has a working definition of the term 'Hipster,' or can explain why people hate them so much, please do so in the comments section of this post.

Christmas Is A Rockin' Time

Tom Petty's "Christmas All Over Again" is the most criminally-underplayed holiday song ever to be recorded. Check it out:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

not quite there yet

How do I know my beloved Brooklyn has "arrived" to a lesser extent than some have advertised?

When Gawker/Gridskipper, who are supposed to be on top of this sort of thing, write a post on places to acquire transient companionship, so to speak, in the BK, and two of those are medical offices, for god's sake. And another one is in Bay frigging Ridge, aka "East Jersey."

Plus, they should have listed the Cherry Tree. Wade could write a small treatise on that subject.

My Plans For The Evening

The Onion is throwing its second-annual "Holiday Rampage" to raise money for 826 NYC, a non-profit organization in Brooklyn founded by the author David Eggers which tutors children ages 6-18 in expository and creative writing. Comedians Jim Gaffigan and the Daily Show's John Oliver will be performing, as will the bands Northern State and Celebration.

If you're in the New York City area and not doing anything tonight, you should come! Tickets are $15 and proceeds go to a good cause. Also, the event is sponsored by Jameson's and Smithwick's. How can you go wrong?

One again, you can get your tickets here.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Muppets and John Denver - The 12 Days of Christmas

The Common Sense Guide To Last-Minute Christmas Shopping

Stocking Stuffers (Gifts under $10)

Silk Pashminas - Apparently, women love these little shawl-thingies, which are available for $5 from shady street vendors on every busy sidewalk in New York City. They're pretty much a "can't miss," with the only drawback being that the cheap black plastic bags they sell them in mark you as a tourist, something no self-respecting New Yorker ever wants to be.

Starting Lineup Action Figures - These little figurines, made by Todd McFarlane, the former Spiderman comic book artist, are cooler than I'd probably like to admit. Every basketball fan over 25 is going to love this figuring, of "Big Game" James Worthy. For slightly older fans, check out this sweet figurine of Dr. J.

Clearance books from Barnes & - This is a pretty serious treasure trove. The list of authors whose books are available for $7 or less - Tom Perrotta, Jonathan Franzen, Edward P. Jones, Margaret Atwood, Susanna Clarke, Neil Gaiman, Elmore Leonard, Jonathan Lethem, Caroline Alexander, J.M. Coetzee, etc. - is extensive enough that just about everybody who reads books can find something they like.

Books, CDs and DVDs

The Wire, Season 4 - The best-reviewed season of the best-reviewed television show that's ever been made in this country.

Flight of the Conchords: Season 1 - This is one of the funniest new shows in years - part Curb Your Enthusiasm, part The Monkees, part Tenacious D, all of it hilarious. I'm not saying you have to buy these DVDs, just that you should think about it. Think, think about it.

Jeffrey Hobbs: The Tourists - The debut novel by my friend and former classmate Jeffrey Hobbs has received glowing reviews from the L.A. Times and The Brooklyn Paper.

Patton Oswalt: Werewolves and Lollipops - In our opinion, this is the funniest stand-up CD since David Cross' "Its Not Funny."

Michael Chabon: The Yiddish Policemen's Union - Michael Chabon's always been one of the funniest writers around, and this, his fifth novel features stylish prose and a page-turning plot. Chabon's ability to create fictional universes - here, the fictional District of Sitka, a Jewish state carved out of Alaska by the United States after the Zionists lost the War of Israeli Independence in 1948 - has never been better. You'll remember your time among "the Frozen Chosen" long after the novel's conclusion.

Just Plain Cool

Magpie Rings - This cool-ass jewelry is made by Brooklyn artist Megan Greene, and old family friend of Jake's and mine.

Subscription to McSweeney's Quarterly - It seems as if every literary talent under age 40 has gotten his or her start in this book-sized periodical. Subscriptions aren't cheap, but you get a lot of mileage out of them.

Marv Levy Sweaters - From eBay. Just because.

Things Not To Buy Under Any Circumstances

The Amazon Kindle - In the words of CSD favorite Jonathan Franzen: "In theory, words are words. But literature isn't data. The difference between Shakespeare on a BlackBerry and Shakespeare in the Arden Edition is like the difference between vows taken in a shoe store and vows taken in cathedral." Amen. I love Amazon as much as the next guy, but if you think that people are going to pay $400 for the ability to read a 400-page novel on a 3-inch screen, or people magazine in black-and-white with low-resolution photographs, is a fucking idiot. In two years, this technology will have gone the way of the laser-disc - trust me.

Mammoths - This one time, a Croc fucked an Ugg and nine months later the Ugg shat out a Mammoth. If you want your loved ones to look like a pack of assholes, buy them a pair of these pieces of yuppie consumerist shit.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lawrence O'Donnell Tells It Like It Is

Does it bother anybody else that the Mormon church excluded black people until 1978? In 1978, Mitt Romney was 31 years old. As Frank Rich discussed in his column this morning, Romney should explain why this was cool with him for the first thirty-some odd years or his life.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Weekend Links

Here's what we've been reading this week:

Due Considerations - A thoughtful review of John Updike's latest volume of essays on criticism. The reviewer compares Updike - who has been criticized for writing too much, for publishing whatever popped into his head - to a proto-blogger, an analogy that rings true in many ways. Then again, Updike has written seven or eight significant novels, which are weightier and more substantial that any blog you'll ever read.

Journey Into Night - A new David Sedaris story, about midadventures in flying first class.

Worth Remembering - Tim Layden's article on Kevin Everett's recovery from his spinal cord injury and broken neck is a must-read for Buffalonians and football fans everywhere.

Sweeping the Clouds Away - An interesting piece from the New York Times Magazine about how time has changed parents' perceptions of Sesame Street. Do you really want your kids watching a show where children routinely go home with strangers? Etc. Definitely worth a read.

Brett Favre, Sportsman of the Year - Sports Illustrated isn't what it used to be, but its recent profile of Brett Favre was really well-done.

What's The Worst Christmas Song Of All Time? Part XIII

Friday, December 14, 2007

Are You Ready To Rock?

The Onion A.V. Club's annual "Worst Band Names Of the Year" has been the highlights of my Decembers ever since I started law school. This year's is the best one yet.

What began as a footnote at the end of the "Best of the Year in Music" feature has now become a three-page article in its own right. Now that they've done three or four of these, some trends are starting to emerge. One or two of these bands are going to actually be pretty good, and will become fairly popular for their talent - You Say Panic, We Say Die! and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin are two good examples. Others, like "When Rocky Beat the Russian" and "Let's Get Out of This Terrible Sandwich Shop" become famous for having horrible names, and end up becoming fairly popular - for a struggling band, I suppose any publicity is good publicity. Most of the others just fall off the face of the earth.

This year, the Asbestos Tampons, Cock Rock for Cannibals, Wookie Hangover, Gay Witch Abortion, Doofgoblin and The Steaming Wolf Penis get my votes for the worst names of the year. One pack of assholes who call themselves "Candygram For Mongo" describe their music as sounding like "Cheap Trick moderating a debate between Social Distortion and the Dropkick Murphys over which was better: internet vs. home video pornography." On the other hand, I would totally go to see bands called "Slutbarf" and "Or, The Whale" - wouldn't you?

(Briefly) Getting in on the Act

This is typically Wade's territory, but I figured I'd chip in on the Christmas music thing. Generally "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" was a letdown, but, let's face it, Aaron Sorkin knows how to write a fucking Christmas episode. Fans of "The West Wing" will recall that two of the better episodes in the entire series (and arguably two of the best in the history of network television) were ones in which (1) Toby arranges an honor guard for a Korean War veteran who dies on Christmas Eve, and (2) Josh has a day-long appointment with a psychologist on Christmas Eve to treat him for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

This song appeared in the "Studio 60" Christmas episode last year. In the episode, the show featured jazz musicians displaced from New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina as musical guests. Sadly the video of the scene has been taken down since the show's cancellation, but the arrangement of "Oh Holy Night" that the band played is really quite beautiful:

A Christmas Classic From Bono and the Boys

A rare exception to Jake's Unified Theory of Christmas Music: U2's Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home.) He owed us one after his contribution to "Do They Know Its Christmas."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

hardly working

As I have been having monumental trouble working (again), I stumbled across this song from "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." It pretty much sums up every kind of working style I know. And it's depressing when you know exactly which one you are...

God help you if you're stuck working with a Lucy. Of course, every Lucy is saying "God help you if you're stuck with a Linus/Charlie Brown/Schroeder."

Hey, did you hear about the steroids report?

What a bunch of douchebags.

A Motown Christmas Classic

Every once in a while, I like to post a classic Christmas song, just to remind people I'm not a total humbug. For my money, it doesn't get much better than this.

What's The Worst Christmas Song Of All Time? Part XII

Gunther, and his mustache, are back for the holidays.

Found In Translation

Digital processing allows us to learn what Bill Murray whispered to Scarlett Johansson at the end of Lost In Translation. Spoiler Alert: If you haven't seen the movie yet, a) don't watch this clip, and b) shame on you! The movie is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen.

Via Andrew Sullivan.

Just because we're on the subject, and because its such a great movie, here's a bonus clip: Bob Harris singing Roxy Music's "More Than This."

Some Jokes Never Get Old

Wonkette is having a caption contest. Some of the proposals so far are hilarious - definitely worth a couple minutes of your time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thoughts On the First Twenty Games of the NBA Season

1) At 17-2, the Boston Celtics are as good as advertised, and every one of those games has been fun to watch. Veteran stars Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are leading by example, their roles players like James Posey and Rajon Rondo chip in their nickels every game, and their bench guys have been playing with an enormous amount of intensity. The NBA is at its most interesting when Boston has a good team, and having a dominant squad in the eastern conference gives the league a natural counter-weight to the dominant western conference teams like the Spurs and the Suns.

2) With a Player Efficiency Rating of 32.38, LeBron James is having arguably the best season any NBA player has ever had. Right now, he is more than half of a point better than Wilt Chamberlain's all-time leading 31.84 (from the '62-'63 season) and Michael Jordan's all-time highest 31.71, from '87-'88. The main advantage of PER as a statistic is that it accounts for both the pace of the team on which you play and for the pace of the league in general, which, like Bill James' "win shares" method in baseball, allows fans to compare contemporary players to those of earlier eras. PER doesn't take defense into account, and Jordan and Chamberlain were two of the greatest defensive players to ever step onto a basketball court, so of course there's room to argue. But LeBron isn't just having a good season - he is having a historically great one.

3) Has anybody seen the Toronto Raptors play this year? They're really fun to watch - good ball movement, old fashioned drive-and-kick point guard play, big men who can shoot and run the floor, and a couple of genuine underdog stories in Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon, both of whom were total unknowns plucked out of obscure European leagues by Toronto's savvy GM Bryan Colangelo. Jose Calderon, who I raved about all last year to little effect, has a chance to join the exclusive 50/40/90 club, and has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 6-to-1, the best in the NBA.

4) Every year, sportswriters predict that Manu Ginobili is over the hill, and that, while he may heat up in the playoffs, he is no longer going to be able to carry the Spurs for long stretches of the regular season. Well, this season his Player Efficiency Rating is 29.21, which means he is on pace for the twenty-second-best season of all-time. Ever. He's averaging 20.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.8 steals per game, which is even more impressive when you consider a) the pace at which the Spurs play, and b) that Ginobili plays only 29 minutes per game. Manu averages 1.55 points per field goal attempt, compared to LeBron's 1.40, Carmello Anthony's 1.22, Baron Davis' 1.19 and Rasheed Wallace's 1.17. Say what you will about the guy, but there aren't more than three players in the league who could put together a collection of plays this good in just a single game.

5) I don't think there are more than three teams in the NBA capable of beating the Utah Jazz in a seven-game series. Carlos Boozer is averaging 25 and 12, and has positioned himself as the next great NBA power forward, as Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Dirk all get up there in years. Deron Williams looks like a perennial all-star, averaging almost 21 and 9 and shooting an absurd 48% from 3-point range. Since Brewer has developed as a scoring threat, Andrei Kirilenko has been free to do what he does best, crashing the boards, roaming the passing lanes, and blocking shots from the weak side. Their execution is near-perfect, like a well-drilled international team. Check them out the next time they're on tv.

6) John Hollinger's Rookie PER ratings interested me. "Big Baby" Glen Davis leads all rookies with 17.53. I'm a little surprised that Atlanta rookie Al Horford didn't rate more highly - he grabs an incredible 27.5% of all defensive rebounds while he's on the court, but rates behind Davis because he turns the ball over more and doesn't get to the foul line very much. Glen Davis, though so-so on the defensive boards, somehow manages to get 19.2% of the offensive rebounds while he's on the court and has a true shooting percentage of .614%, due in large part to his ability to draw fouls.

7) Penny Hardaway was just waived by the Miami heat, to make room for rookie Luke Jackson. I don't know what's more amazing - that Hardaway attempted a comeback nearly two years after one of the worst NBA seasons in memory, that the Heat actually started him at small forward for a number of games, or that Shaq was willing to take the court with a 36 year-old retread he once compared to Fredo Corleone.

What's The Worst Christmas Song Of All Time? Part XI

Sure, you can see and hear their smug sense of self-satisfation, but, if you really concentrate, you can smell and taste it, too.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I Wrote A Song Today

Its called "Pashima Merchant Bystander Blues," and its about a dutiful son who shivers and breathes blue clouds of truck exhaust on Canal Street while his mother goes from street vendor to street vendor to shop for thin silk wraps. Then, on the way home, he prevents her purse from being stolen. No reason. But its a pretty moving story.

The song would be simple, in the guitar-and-harmonica Delta style instead of the electric-guitar-with-drum-and-bass Chicago style. I am thinking of making an album of my compositions inspired by New York City neighborhoods, including my industrial/trance track "Meatpacking Sidewalk Beer Vomit," my rap parody "Biggie Rulez," about a white Bay Ridge whose love of rap music angers his Bill O'Reilly-watching parents, my Eliot Smith-esque ballad "Hipster Suicide Note," about a Williamsburg 26 year-old whose indie band isn't catching on, my Cat Stevens-style ballad "Park Slope Pussy Whip" about a 40ish intellectual who convinced her husband that wearing open-toed leather sandals and a Baby Bjorn isn't totally gay, and and my rock-and-roll bolero "The City of Crowded Sidewalks," about mid-town Manhattan in the month of December. It'll be really great!

And the Show Has Reached A New Low

The Onion A.V. Club is currently running a great feature called "Let It Die: 23 Songs That Should Never Be Covered Again." I particularly enjoyed it since bad covers (or, even worse, covers that miss the point of the original song) have always been a pet peeve of mine.

The day that article was published, the pop singer Fergie delivered one of the single worst covers I have ever heard, of Wings' "Live and Let Die." In case you don't know who Fergie is, she's the lead singer of a group called The Black Eyed Peas and looks like an alien who's had 15 plastic surgeries, a boob job, and who sleeps in a tanning booth. Also, she's a former meth addict. Anyway, her screeching rendition of Paul McCartney's semi-classic was out of tune, overdone, off-time, soul-sucking, and embarassingly exposed her as a creature of studio voice manipulation and Madison Avenue marketing, instead of a musician with real, actual talent. But other than that, things went pretty well for her.

I'm not going to embed the video, because I refuse to have it on our blog, but, in case you want to check it out, here's the link.

What Christmas Means To Me

After ten consecutive days of cynical and manipulative Christmas music, it just felt like time to play a true Christmas classic - Stevie Wonder's "What Christmas Means To Me."

Monday, December 10, 2007

yeah, that is not going to get you the Catholic League endorsement


Jack Nicholson appears to have flown over quite a few cuckoos' nests. I mean, does he even realize that a great number of fatherless kids might be a bad thing!?

The Worst Christmas Song of All Time, Part X

We revisit "Jingle Bell Rock" . . . this time, performed by 80's icons Darryl Hall and John Oates.

I've previously mentioned how much I like Hall & Oates. Whatever - this is not one of those times.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Random Sunday Morning Thoughts

A couple of videos I've been watching to keep my sanity while studying for finals:

Patton Oswald on KFC Famous Bowls:

If there's a phrase that more succinctly describes my law school experience than "a failure pile in a sadness bowl," I have yet to hear it.

The Whitest Kids U Know - The Slow Jerk:

I can't count the number of times I wanted to start doing the Slow Jerk in Torts to show my professor how much I care about the differences between common law products liability standards.

How I Met Your Mother - Law School Party

I don't actually watch this show, but this scene definitely speaks to the degree to which law school taints the average student's worldview. You think you're above it, then you make a joke about prescriptive easements at a bar and want to punch yourself in the balls.


(1) Tim Tebow wins the Heisman. In sports, you've probably heard by now that last night Florida QB Tim Tebow became the first sophomore to ever win the Heisman Trophy. Voter bias against underclassmen in the past has always been a joke, and has robbed deserving candidates when they were quite clearly "the most outstanding player in college football" that particular season (Herschel Walker, Larry Fitzgerald, and Adrian Peterson immediately come to mind). A pretty good case could have been made for Arkansas RB Darren McFadden, who was the best RB in the country this year. Admittedly I have a bit of a "Tebowner," but anyone who has watched him play would agree that he's basically a force of nature. Even if you haven't seen him play,consider his stats. He completed almost 70% of his passes and threw for over 3,000 yards with 29 TDs and only 6 interceptions. In addition, he also rushed for 838 yards and 22 TDs. When you think about it, those numbers, when separated from each other, would merit all-SEC consideration for both QB and RB. While I feel bad for McFadden, who finished second in the voting for the second straight year, Tebow is definitely the rightful winner.
See a previous post about Tebow here.

(2) Bills vs. Dolphins. I also want to give quick shout-out to the Buffalo Bills, who will be playing division rival Miami Dolphins at home today. The Bills, a young squad which has experienced more significant injuries than any other NFL team this season, has nonetheless fought to a 6-6 record, and a win today against the Dolphins will put them in good position to fight for a wild-card playoff spot, a possibility that seemed highly unlikely before the season and downright impossible as late as a month ago. It seems to me that considering all the adversity the Bills have had to overcome, Dick Jauron deserves some serious consideration for coach of the year if they manage to finish better than 8-8.
Wade has previously posted on Dick Jauron here.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Wire Prequels

Some clips for fans of HBO's The Wire, whose fifth and final season premiers on Sunday, January 6th:

Season 5 Teaser:

This ad will likely have no impact at all on people who don't watch the show. On the other hand, for people who have watched all four seasons, the "McNulty is drinking again" line is enough to send chills down your spine.

In addition to the teaser, HBO has also released three mini "prequels," or brief scenes from the lives of certain key characters prior to the show's beginning.

Omar, circa 1985

I think this one is the best of the group, mainly because Omar (the scar-faced, shotgun-toting, bad-ass, openly gay, Robin-Hood-esque robber/murderer of Baltimore drug dealers) is my favorite character on the show, and in my opinion one of the great characters in the history of television. True fans of the show will notice he's with his older brother, the infamous "No Heart" Anthony, and deceased associate John Bailey.

Bunk and McNulty, circa 2000

A look at the first meeting of McNulty and Bunk, in Baltimore's CID Homicide office.

Proposition Joe, circa 1962

The Worst Christmas Song of All Time, Part IX

"The Chirstmas Shoes" by Newsong

Just as a techno song will layer the track with a new instrument or beat as the song accelerates, pumping you up into a dancing frenzy, this terrible song adds layer upon layer of tripe and scholck to produce a masterpiece of Christmas cheese. Even Jesus rolls His eyes and changes the channel when this song comes on.

The opening notes firmly establish this song in adult contemporary, immediately giving the song two strikes. Things do not get better. Each verse brings new groans and agony for the listener:
- a "dirty little boy", an urchin trying to buy something at Christmas time. WILL HE HAVE ENOUGH MONEY???
- urchin is buying shoes for his mom...BECAUSE SHE IS DYING and has to LOOK NICE FOR JESUS
- Urchin does not have enough $$. Shocking.
- Fortunately, the Narrator is a Good Guy, and gives the kid some cash. He's such a Good Guy he then writes a song about what an awesome guy he is. He also is a bit of a megalomaniac, assuming that God is killing this kid's mom to remind Good Guy the true spirit of Christmas.
- Cue Children's chorus.
- End with child solo.
- Stab ears with a pointy object

Awesomely enough, the music video uses footage from the made for TV movie. There were some changes that made it more acceptable for American audiences to digest, such as making the kid middle class and not a dirty urchin truly in need, and making the kid a Boston fan, so people wouldn't feel quite as bad about his mom dying.

OK, that last statement was said for pure flamebate. Anyway, in my youTube research, I found that comedian Patton Oswalt shares my disgust. A recommended follow-up from an actual professional.

The Worst Christmas Song of All Time, Part VIII

The awkwardly sexual Santa Baby! Let's ponder all of the 'spirit of Christmas' messages this song promotes:

1) Women will want to fuck you if you buy them expensive shit!
2) Mistresses are better than wives, because you don't really have to relate to them on an emotional level, you only have to bribe them with gifts.
3) Christmas presents should not be considered a show of love, or good will, or a way of thanking someone for all they've done for you in the previous year. Instead, they should best be viewed as consideration for future meretricious services.
4) When you get right down to it, "having a good sense of humor" and "being a good listener" and "loving them for who they are" are really all codewords for "having a lot of money."
5) Women love to analogize their vaginas to "chimneys" - which tend to be hard, dark, smoky, sooty, and, at least in New York, full of bats and/or cockroaches.
6) Despite all of that, "chimney" is still better than "poontang" or "nappy dugout."
7) Men prefer sexily-dressed sluts who talk in deep, breathy voices to intelligent, thoughtful women who will support them emotionally and engage them on an intellectual level.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Here Comes Another Bubble

As I ponder my public-interest salary, it brings me comfort to know that, sometimes, these rich venture capitalists have no idea what they're talking about. When the Tech Bubble bursts, try not to get any in your eye.

Money Quote: "Friendship bracelets + news is a game-changer"

Via The Onion A.V. Club's Videocracy

Interviews Worth Reading

Ian McEwan - The author of Atonement, Amsterdam, and On Chesil Beach discusses adapting one of his novels for the big screen.

Dan Castellaneta - The man who gives voice to Homer Simpson, Grampa, Krusty the Clown, Groundskeeper Willie, etc. sits down with the Onion's A.V. Club.

Ellen Page - The actress who once played Kitty Pryde in the X-Men is sure to become a big star once Juno hits theaters next weekend.

The 10 Most Bizarre Interviews of 2007
- Include weird and disturbing interviews with Carl Weathers, Eli Roth, Hugh Grant, Corey Haim and Paul Rudd, among others.

The Worst Christmas Song of All Time, Part VII

The contest isn't over, but we may have a winner:

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Music Is My Boyfriend

Sometimes I buy shit solely because of that aforementioned shit’s clever television commercial. If you stick a caveman with a wooden tennis racket in enough 30 second spots, you’re going to get Biff’s car insurance money. Similarly, that god damn catchy-ass CSS song that plays 30,000 fucking times during every fucking NFL game tricked me into buying an IPod Touch. My gentle suggestion to you is that you resist it - the Touch is still at least a year away from being worth your money.

Pluses include the fact that it has a web brower and wifi capability, and the cool “cover flow” thing, which enables one to, with the tip of one’s finger, rapidly scroll through all the album covers of your music like it's a jukebox. Very cool.

Minuses include pretty much everything else. The wifi sensor doesn’t seem overly concerned about picking up wifi signals. The typing function is clumsy and the output generally does not resemble what you think you typed. The hard drive on the more affordable model has only 8 gigabytes, which is a problem for those of us with substantially more music than that. The chief benefit of owning an IPod, in my opinion, is the potential for the CD-collection wide shuffle play, and for the shuffle play to bring up random songs that you didn’t know you wanted to hear. My IPod just went from Sinatra to Kings of Leon to Wu-Tang to Air Supp- I mean, to Black Sabbath in the span of twenty minutes. 8 gigabytes makes its listener make some hard choices – I don’t know that I’ll listen to “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” today, but I could conceive of a scenario in which I might want to.

The touch screen itself is the biggest problem. The Touch has a sensor in it which tells the device whether the listener is holding the device vertically or horizontally. This is a problem because one can only adjust the volume or skip songs when the device is being held vertically – and the Touch routinely froze up when it was held horizontally. Essentially, you had to hit two or three buttons and wait for the device to unfreeze just to adjust the volume or skip the next song. For the price, this is completely unacceptable.

If Apple can work out the touch screen thing and expand the device’s capacity, the Touch will be pretty cool. Until then, if you’re like me, you ought to return to whatever musical listening device you had before, and internally make fun of yourself for getting owned by that commercial.

Supreme Court Clerk Shout-Out

Above The Law has recently announced that two friends of Common Sense Dancing, Lindsay Powell and Dana Remus Irwin, will be clerking for Justices of the United States Supreme Court next term. Dana will be clerking for Justice Samuel Alito, and Lindsay will be clerking for John Paul Stevens. We wish the best of luck to them both.

So THAT'S What a Wolf Sounds Like!!!!

As a general rule, I hate the following things:
1) Anthropomorphic animals
2) AM radio teenage bubble-gum from the 1970's
3) Douchy hipster stuff that's weird for the sake of being weird without having a point
4) Advertisements that equate owning a gas-guzzling truck with carefree good times and/or patriotism.
5) Television ads that manage to combine all four of the above such that the white-hot ball of hatred inside of me keeps me up at night as I struggle to think of the most painful way to kill Madison Avenue advertising executives.

Last Christmas . . .

In November 2006, some fans of the defunct British pop duo Wham! founded a blog, Last Christmas, in an attempt to catalog every recorded cover of their 1984 hit single of the same name.

Its was good of a reason to start a blog as any, and I don't know what impressed me more: that they found recordings by one hundred and ninety-two different artists, or that they're doing the entire thing again this year! Apparently, everybody from obscure college a cappella groups to punk bands to jazz crooners have covered it. Who knew?

The Worst Christmas Song of All Time, Part VI

Billy Mack - "Christmas Is All Around Us"

I really enjoy this one, because its not so much a bad Christmas song as it is a parody of a bad Christmas song . . . but the reason its funny is because its only a slight exaggeration of how low pop stars will stoop to score an easy hit record.

Blog Notes

1) Yesterday, was a big day for Common Sense Dancing - it brought us both our 500th post and our 40,000th visitor. Thanks for reading!!

2) On Tuesday, my old friend Biff Von Bert joined the Common Sense Dancing team. I'll leave it to him to introduce himself, but trust me, you're going to like this guy. His first post, on Oregon Trail, the best computer game of all-time, can be found here.

3) We're in the process of updating our "favorite links" section, so if there's a site you think we should be reading that you don't already see listed, be sure to e-mail it to us!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Dear Bill - Quit, Please Quit

The late Jim Valvano is one of the most revered characters in sports, and rightfully so. In 1982, he coached North Carolina State University to the NCAA college basketball championship, overcoming what were, at the time, the longest odds in the history of the NCAA tournament. Already beloved for his enthusiasm, teaching ability, and fatherly demeanor, he became something of a national icon when, after his Wolfpack defeated a heavily favored University of Houston team with a buzzer-beating shot, he ran frantically around the court, in apparent disbelief and in a seeming attempt to find someone - anyone - to hug. It was an inspiring moment, and, when he was diagnosed with cancer nine years later, the sporting world wept with him. Shortly before his death, Coach Valvano - fans knew him as Jimmy V - gave a moving speech at the 1993 ESPY awards, during which famously gave hope to those suffering from cancer by saying "Don't give up, don't ever give up." With ESPN's help, Coach Valvano established the Jimmy V Foundation to raise money for cancer research. Every November, ESPN holds a series of fundraisers to benefit the Jimmy V Foundation.

Two weeks ago, ESPN football analyst Emmitt Smith misquoted Coach Valvano during a segment of ESPN's Gameday. Smith, addressing a down-on-its-luck NFL team, told them "Don't quit, don't even quit."

Five days later, Bill Simmons, ESPN's resident wise-ass, held a six-hour running internet chat to raise money for the Jimmy V Foundation. During that chat, Simmons made fun of Emmitt Smith for misquoting Coach Valvano. Whatever. Simmons, who used to be funny before he became too reliant upon recycled material and cheap 80's references, has been pissing me off in recent weeks, what with his cheap jokes about Emmitt Smith (who, despite his too-frequent malapropisms, is still a charming, likeable guy) incessant fellating of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots (sorry, there's no other word for it), comparing NFL officials to the Nazis, allegations that the Colts are losing on purpose to avoid having to lose to the Patriots in the playoffs, vapid speculations on how funny it would be if Indianapolis Colts players began homosexual relationships with each other, and numerous other things too annoying to list.

So, you can imagine how happy it made me to read this, in his most recent ESPN the Magazine column:

When Celtics fans like me were pulling the woe-is-us routine after last May's NBA lottery, outsiders found it distasteful that any fan base that had been fortunate enough to have enjoyed the Russell, Havlicek and Bird eras could complain about anything. In our defense, it was almost worse to have lived the high life (16 titles) before falling on hard times (14 mostly terrible years) than never to have lived the high life at all.

"It was almost worse to have lived the high life before falling on hard times than never to have lived the high life at all." That's funny . . . it sounds familiar, almost as if I've heard it somewhere before . . . OH WAIT. I know what that is!!!111!!!1

(Plods over to bookshelf, picks up Penguin Classics volume of English Romantic Verse)

Ah, yes, here it is:

I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
’Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam, 1849-1850

So, let me get this straight: Bill Simmons makes fun of Emmitt Smith in front of a national audience for misquoting a relatively well known speech from the 1993 ESPY Awards, then proceeds to misquote one of the most famous poems in the English language, by one of the greatest poets to ever live. Awesome.

My advice to Bill Simmons comes from another famous english language poet, O'Shea Jackson: check yourself before you wreck yourself.

The Worst Christmas Song of All Time, Part V

"All I Want For Christmas Is You" . . . wait for it . . . COVERED BY MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE!

that funny feeling

At the end of this silly pro-oil industry ad, jogging to work is presented as a grotesquely horrible outcome of energy regulation. Kafkaesque, one may even say. Since I frequently run to work, I don't know whether to be offended or amused. Of course, if you listen to some people, living in New York at all a grotesque nightmare half-existence... so there's that.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Worst Christmas Song Of All Time, Part IV

Today I nominate Billy Idol's interpretation of "Jingle Bell Rock." Apparently, Billy Idol's muse is Billy Mack.

He feels it in his fingers,
He feels it in his toes . . .

Extra! Extra! Read All About It! A Douchebag Got Married!!! A Douchebag Got Married!! Read All About it!

I hate the New York Times Styles Section. Nothing about the Style section remotely qualifies as "news;" rich people BUY articles about themselves so that they can brag about the amount of money they have. In case you didn't know, the Style section is a vestige of the old "society" page, though it would be politically incorrect to refer to it as such these days. To be featured in the Times' style section, you need lots and lots of money and at least a few connections. A partial list of things you don't need are: humility, charm, good taste, social graces, a sense of irony, and basic human decency.

Before I go any further, I should point out that there is a difference between a wedding announcement - which is published in the "weddings & celebrations" section, and the "Vows" portion of the Style section, which is basically a watered-down version of US Weekly for rich people who are not celebrities. I've had a good number of friends mentioned in the Times wedding section; I have attended weddings that were featured in the Times wedding section. It is entirely possible that, some day, friends of mine will be featured in the Style section. But the other day I read an article so douchy that I couldn't let it go without commenting on it.

I only know Jon Steitz based on a handful of interactions which took place several years ago. Its entirely possible that he has matured in the intervening years, but, at the time, he was really only able to converse on two subjects: how sweet he was, and how accomplished his parents, who are both - BOTH! - doctors, were in their respective fields. He's the sort of guy who thinks the characters in the movie American Psycho are cool guys. Mainly, I remember him as the guy who ruined gatherings a significant number of people were enjoying by calling attention to himself in a variety of different ways. He never let an opportunity to remind people that he was drafted by a major league baseball team pass by. Of course, his wedding was featured in the New York Times Style section last week, with two big color photographs.

You won't read about any of that in the New York Times Style section. Instead, in gushing, insipid prose, you will read a fairy-tale version of his life - his amazing talent, their love for each other, that love being threatened just enough to make things interesting, and finally their reunion. People who know Steitz in real life will realize that Vincent M. Mallozzi and Brenda Goodman (it takes two professional writers to come up with praise this fawning) failed to verify any of their stories, and that the New York Times lacks a fact-checker.

According to the article, a rotator cuff tendonitis injury in July 2003 ended Steitz' pitching career. Silly me - I thought his poor performance on the field was what ended his career! For the 2002 Beloit Snappers in the Class A Midwestern League, Steitz went 0-11 with an ERA of 7.82. As long as I'm, you know, citing real statistical evidence instead of taking the best man's quotations at face value, I should also mention that WHIP was 2.19, that opponents hit .328 off of him (this was in the low-scoring A league), and that he walked more batters than he struck out (7.24 walks per 9 innings). His career fielding percentage was .800, meaning he made one error per every five attempts in the field. Remember, all of this was in A ball, and all of this was before his shoulder injury.

Perhaps Mallozzi and Goodman didn't check their facts because they were too busy jotting down ridiculously wooden quotes. Check out these gems:

"Early on, we got very close."

Wow, this quotation is insightful. I'm glad they quoted him here, because so much would have been lost if the writers had paraphrased what he said and stuck it into the middle of a boring 'ol paragraph!

"We easily struck up a lively conversation"

Full of lively banter such as this, I see!

"From a distance, I saw this gorgeous 5-foot-10-inch blond woman."

Who talks like this? Try saying this sentence out loud. Go ahead. Don't you feel like more of a douchebag now than you did ten seconds ago? I sure do.

"But I was a little bit heartbroken because he was just 21, and I thought that the chances of anything working out was pretty unlikely."

Just a little bit heartbroken? Since when is it possible to be a little bit heartbroken? Either you're heartbroken or you're not heartbroken. If you are not in that much pain, you're not heartbroken. Sort of like how there are no small coincidences.

When Steitz is "passionate about something, it has his undivided attention. I think baseball was one of those things, and I became the other."

Most people, by definition, cannot pay undivided attention to two things at the same time. But Jon is so talented that he can do just that! He's a really special guy!

"There are actually three of us Yale pitchers who were drafted, and without pretension, I say Jon was the most talented."

Without pretension? As in, without a pretext? The word he sought, but failed to find, was probably "pretentiousness" (?) but even that doesn't fit. As Triumph would say "Hello, I am a moron, and my name is this guy."

My main problem with all of this is that its in the freaking newspaper. Publishing wedding announcement in the newspaper serves many valid purposes, but there is an enormous difference between a tasteful wedding announcement and a lavish, boastful spread in the Style section. How is it news in New York City that two people who live in Boston got married in Georgia, or that the bride wore an ivory gown and peach-colored shoes by Jimmy Fucking Choo? The New York Times is many things, but it is not a poor man's US Weekly. This type of trash does not belong in the newspaper of record in the largest city in the United States, and the New York Times should abandon its style section entirely, or at least hire a fact-checker and a couple of writers who actually earn their salary.

The Oregon Trail

Greatest video game ever?

You're beset by horrible, arbitrary things from the moment you and your family depart Matt's General Store: typhoid, snakebites, floating treacherous rivers. But don't hate the game; hate the playa. Can't carry more than 100 pounds of meat back to the wagon? Hey, whatever son; that's how it was for the settlers.

And even now, there are tons of reasons to love this game. You get to name your fellow travelers; it's funny to watch your roommate get cholera, or indulge in some schadenfreude when your slut ex-girlfriend breaks her leg and then drowns. And the hunting is awesome, though the bears are still inexplicably agile.

Video games have surely gotten more elaborate, but no video game holds a candle to the rugged, unbridled patriotism of this gem. Oregon Trail holds up.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Its 'A Charlie Brown Christmas!'

ABC is showing A Charlie Brown Christmas tonight at 8pm eastern. As regular readers of this blog are well aware, we at Common Sense Dancing spend a lot of time hating on things having to do with Christmas, but A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of the truly classic Christmas stories, a children's version of A Christmas Carol, Its A Wonderful Life, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. In case you miss it, you can check it out on YouTube:

Chapters 1-3:

Chapter 4:

Chapters 5 & 6:

The Worst Christmas Song Of All Time, Part III

Today, I nominate Band Aid's "Do They Know Its Christmas?"

Remember: Tonight, thank God its them, instead of you!

Calvin & Hobbes Snow Art

Today brought New York City its first snowfall of the winter. I don't observe many traditions, but winter just wouldn't be winter without Calvin & Hobbes' snow-themed cartoons. You can see them all here.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Conservapedia Is A Latin Word For "Clueless Assholes"

According to conservapedia, these are the forty signs of liberal bias. Do you have any idea what the fuck they're talking about? If not, then join the club.

1. calling conservative humor "unprofessional and meaningless, and degrades the quality of your encyclopedia." [16]
2. overreliance on hearsay, such as the false claim that most support evolution
3. unjustified praise of atheists and other liberals as "geniuses", despite little achievement
4. calling the use of the term liberal when used in a derogatory context "stupid"[17]
5. denial that people can grow out of a liberal viewpoint, such as atheism
6. denial of accountability
7. insisting on a mindless equality, as in "if you have an entry for Beethoven, then you must allow entries for vulgar rap artists!"
8. concealing one's liberal views rather than admitting them
9. calling conservative free speech "hate" speech [18]
10. pretending to know more than he does; Isaac Newton admitted that he knew almost nothing, yet a liberal rarely admits that and often pretends to know more than he does
11. resistance to quantifying things, such as liberal bias or openmindedness
12. preference for obscenity and profanity [19]
13. insistence on having the last word in a discussion or debate
14. over-reliance on mockery [20] [21] [22] [23]

15. over-reliance on accusations of hypocrisy
16. hostility to faith
17. insistence on censoring certain speech, such as a description of The Flood or even teaching children about a massive flood, despite its acceptance by a majority of Americans[Citation Needed]
18. believing that the education of children is for liberals to control
19. believing that conservatives will fail, and refusing to accept when they succeed, as when George W. Bush won in 2000
20. reluctance to admit that anything is morally wrong
21. bullying conservatives who disagree with liberal views
22. draw an analogy between opponents and racists, no matter how illogical
23. claim that science supports their position, and ignore any evidence that shows their position to be false
24. often declare that an adversary should be "ashamed of himself," while never saying that about a fellow liberal (such as Ted Kennedy or Bill Clinton)[24] [25]
25. willing to give away everything held dear by the majority to avoid serious conflict (such as the appeasement of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, or those liberals who wish to pull our troops out of Iraq, and embolden the terrorists).
26. using hyperbole instead of fact-based logic in an attempt to tug at people's emotions rather than appealing to their sense of reason.[26]
27. often long-winded and verbose, and in debates liberals often consume more than their fair share of the alloted time, leaving less time for the other side.
28. attempting to control the rules of evidence used in a debate. For example, claiming that Young Earth Creationism is false, and then refusing to allow supporting evidence by claiming that the scientists are religiously motivated.
29. attempting to control the definitions of words through political correctness. For example, referring to Israel as "occupied territories" or suggesting that Al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq are not part of Al-Qaeda.
30. Dismissing legitimate criticism as "a joke" [27]
31. Denying something widely known to be true but difficult to prove, such as observing that men are far more likely to work in gas stations than women.[Citation Needed] (????????????????)
32. Will often deny being a liberal, or will claim to be a "true conservative", while spouting liberal and democratic talking points and criticizing basic conservative beliefs and principles.
33. using non sequiturs in argument, such as responding to the point above that liberals over-rely on accusations of hypocrisy by citing an example of conservatives' observing liberal hypocrisy. But their example does not help their argument. Quite the contrary, use of that example tends to prove that liberals do over-rely on accusations of hypocrisy (relativism). Think about that. (?????????????)
34. selectively citing the Bible when convenient, even though they hold much of it in disdain.
35. believing that bureaucratic honors or appointments are meaningful achievements.
36. silly demands for apologies.[28]
37. can't understand the difference between identity (e.g., color of one's skin), perspective (e.g., Judeo-Christian) and bias (e.g., Bias in Wikipedia).
38. inability or unwillingness to differentiate between genuine conservative arguments and parodies of conservative arguments.
39. "Contrariness is creativity to the untalented" - Dennis Miller's general observation about liberal behavior.[Citation Needed]
40. Assuming criminals are on the other side of the political fence, without evidence.

Some thoughts:
#1-#40) Even if these are true, how many of them show liberal "bias?" Bias towards what? Against what? How is refusing to believe the Bible is literally true "bias" in any way, shape or form?
#1-#40) Almost everything the author says is true of liberals is also true of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Michael Savage.
#17, #31, #39) The author complains about the way in which liberals make arguments without citing specific evidence, then fails to cite these three points.
#17) Really, this is censored? News to me! Also, referring to chapters 5-9 of the Book of Genesis as "The Flood" is only slightly less absurd than referring to Colonel Sanders as "The Colonel."
#25) First, Neville Chamberlain was a Conservative politician, not a liberal. Given the context, this seems like a relatively important detail to overlook. This would seem to contradict everything the author says. The sentence is so ungrammatical that it makes it sound as if it was Chamberlain, not Hitler, who some members of the British government wanted to appease.
#26) Really? And what of your endless Chamberlain, Churchill, Reagan, and 9/11 references? Are those not cheap emotional ploys?
#29) No liberal I know has ever referred to Israel as "occupied territories."
#37) This makes no sense.
#40) Wait, liberals are guilty of this?

Weekend Links

The Ten Best Books of the Year - As decided by the New York Times.

Performance Pay Perplexes - The New Yorker's James Surowiecki analyzes the ridiculous bonuses Wall Street managers and corporate C.E.O.'s have been taking home in recent years.

Primer: The Coen Brothers - The Onion A.V. Club's feature is a good way to get yourself up to speed on the Coen brother's film career.

Flight of the Conchords
- Nathan Rabin reviews the first season of The Flight of the Conchords, now on dvd. (If you read Common Sense Dancing and are considering ordering FOTC on dvd, please use the button in the right-hand column to add it to your shopping cart!)

Mitt & Rudy Go Nuclear
- E.J. Dionne analyzes the "hate-off" that is the Republican primary campaign.

The Worst Christmas Song Of All Time, Part II

Nominee #2: Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You"

Mariah Carey!! Singing love songs that pass themselves off as Christmas carols! At Disney World! Nothing says Christmas like cleavage, palm trees, talking animals and anthropomorphic teapots! Its an overdose of wonderful! I'm going to blow my brains out!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

More Scattered Thoughts on 80's Music Videos

Laura Branigan - Self Control

This video contains more 80's video cliches than any other I've ever seen: the quasi-futuristic setting, the neo-noir cinematography, the Blade Runner-meets-the-Pet Shop Boys sense of inner city pressure, the random background dancers, etc. Consider how much different it is from her previous music video, Gloria, which looks like something picked up off of American Bandstand's cutting room floor. Also, look at how much they've sexed-up Laura Branigan - the weight loss, makeup, and plucked eyebrows all make the former Laura Branigan look like a vestige of the radio age.

Elton John - I'm Still Standin'

Elton's always had loyal fans in the Garrett household. Because I've always loved him, I can say this: "I'm Still Standin'" is the gayest music video of all time. Nothing else is even close. Elton got married - to a woman - shortly after this video came out, prompting Rod Stewart's manager to send him the single best telegram in the history of Western Union: "You might "still be standin'," but we're rolling on the fuckin' floor."

Madonna - Material Girl

This video takes too long to get to the point, but once it does, it more than earns its reputation as one of the best videos of the decade. More than twenty years later, it still seems modern - I love the dancing, and the way it praises old-fashioned elegane while simultaneously undermining it is really kind of timeless.

The Worst Christmas Song of All Time?

I nominate Wham's "Last Christmas."

More of these to come . . .